I am overjoyed to be sharing this gorgeous wedding with you all. The most stand out element? The food. This gorgeous couple wanted a street food area at their wedding and brought in a breakfast truck, fish shack, pancake cart, pizza van, VW cocktail campervan and tea and coffee bar. Epic.
WWW readers Mark and Helen held their wedding on the 20th August 2016 after legally marrying the day before. They chose to hold their day at Brighton College, which enabled them to really make their mark and get creative. The hall looked incredible donned with pallet backdrop, flower bombs and stylish furniture. In fact I just adored the whimsical organic blooms in pinks and whites with oodles of foliage for good measure.
Helen wore a stunning gown by Heidi Elnora; a strapless number with lace panels and a delicate sparkly belt. Mark was suited and booted in a stylish check suit by Ted Baker teamed with tan shoes. I so love how intimate and happy this pair look in their portraits, too romantic.
Huge thanks goes to Oxi Photography for providing these dreamy photographs today.
THE PROPOSAL | Funny story really! We started dating at end of February 2015. We met at work, so we already knew each other relatively well. Within a week we’d expressed our love for each other, and within 2 weeks we’d decided we wanted to get married (I kicked that off by texting Mark when I was drunk, telling him I wanted to marry him and have his babies!)
We bought the ring 2 months later on Mark’s birthday in April, but Mark didn’t ‘officially’ propose until the end of August. We had started planning the wedding in the meantime however!
THE VISION | We’re not really weddingy wedding people, so we wanted to make sure we had elements of what we loved and enjoyed on the day.
We went to the VIP area at Parklife festival in Manchester in 2015, which had a great street food area, and wanted to create that relaxed vibe at our wedding. We didn’t want the 3 course sit down meal, so we set about finding street food that we loved, and people would enjoy.
We also wanted to represent our taste in interior design, which is definitely more on the rustic side of things, with a secret garden/romantic edge.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We had a registry office wedding to deal with all of the official documents on the Friday, then had the ‘proper’ wedding day on the Saturday. We spent the Friday night apart, and didn’t exchange rings or have my Dad give me away until the Saturday. We didn’t want that day to feel like our wedding day.
We were very lucky to negotiate a one off deal with Brighton College, whereby we could use the venue on more of a dry hire basis, which they’d never done before.
I love breakfast. It’s my favourite meal ever, so this HAD to be one of our street food options. Luckily, The Breakfast Club have a trailer they take to festivals, so we booked these guys straight up. Funnily enough, we ate breakfast there on the day Mark officially proposed. It was meant to be!
I trawled hundreds of websites and emailed countless suppliers to find other food options for our guests.
We found Olly’s Fish Shack, which is a local Brighton food trader. He spoke of how he’d worked with Rick Stein in the past (my FAVOURITE celebrity chef of all time!) and discussed options such as Fish & Chips, as well as Fish Taco’s. The photo’s looked amazing, so we couldn’t resist!
We needed a dessert option. We’d been to Thailand over New Year 2015 into 2016, and little pancake carts are found all over the place, so that’s what we searched for. I found Matthew at Pancake Pod, who was one of the nicest guys I dealt with throughout the whole planning process! These went down an absolute storm!
We actually booked our evening food before anything else. We wanted a pizza van, and found the guys at Dough and Deer who had some yummy topping options! Everyone was in need of pizza after drinking all day, with my grandad taste testing all 5 options haha!
Drinks wise, we wanted to make sure we had lots of options for our guests and that the drinks weren’t too expensive. We hired Beetlejuice who had a VW cocktail campervan, which served as our outside bar doing cocktails, spirits and shots! They also ran the inside bar that we hired, serving up beer, cider and wine. All options were very popular.
We thought we should have some tea and coffee during the day, just in case anyone hit the alcohol too hard, too soon! So we booked The Mobile Coffee Bean, who were great with their little piaggio! Lots of people made use of the coffee van, as many had gone in too hard, too fast, as expected!!!
Again, trawling countless websites to find all of the rustic elements I wanted to help bring the detail together, which I’ll explain below.
It was a last minute decision for us, but I stumbled across a wedding video by Papertwin on one of the wedding blogs I lived on during the run up to the wedding. I cried at every video! I didn’t think they’d be available at such short notice, but they were!!!
Here’s the link to our highlights trailer: https://vimeo.com/182132452
THE VENUE | Brighton College
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Andy Darling, Heidi Elnora.
Belt from the bridal shop, Heart a Flutter.
FINDING THE DRESS | I was really looking for something different. I didn’t want a traditional wedding dress, or something that was like what every other bride would wear. I wanted the dress to represent my personality. I’m spiritual, a bit of a hippy some would say! I didn’t expect to go for strapless, but as soon as I slipped that dress on, it transformed my skin colour. I loved the lace panels, and how relaxed it was. It was perfect.
I had been to around 8 bridal shops. You expect the experience to be magical. It isn’t! It’s stressful and you feel a lot of pressure to find ‘The One’!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Ted Baker.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Joey Tribbiani – ‘Giving and Receiving’ (I couldn’t stop laughing!).
Also, a quote on soul mates by Richard Bach.
Aisle Walk – Kissing You, Des’ree, performed by Nero String Quartet.
Exit Music – Harry Potter Medley!!! Again, performed by Nero String Quartet.
Nero String Quartet continued to play until the tables were called for food. They had the best mix of songs ever, even Bohemian Rhapsody!
At 6pm, I kicked off the band by singing ‘Make you feel my love’ by Adele. When we bought my engagement ring, we popped outside the jewellery shop to see the ring in the light of day. Over the road a busker started to play/sing this Adele song, and it became a very emotional, magical moment. That’s when that became ‘our song’!
No Exit, were the band we hired. Luckily enough, Mark’s dad is lead guitarist, so we could tweak the full setlist to what we wanted!
From around 9pm until the end, we had MyDJ playing the best old school hip hop, R&B, Garage and dance music. The older guests weren’t as keen as the younger guests, but we were wanted to dance to what we loved!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | ASOS for Leanne and Samantha’s dresses, ASOS for the Bridesman, Ashley’s Blazer and trousers.
THE FLOWERS | The Flower Story. The flowers absolutely made the day for us. I saw Lizzy at a wedding fair in Milton Keynes shopping centre, and knew she was perfect. We met with her and she really understood our romantic secret garden vision. The way she transformed the pallet backdrop, and built the hanging flower bombs was just fantastic. The day wouldn’t have been the same without those flowers.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Oxi Photography. I found Oxana what feels like a lifetime ago. I wanted someone to capture the essence of the day, and didn’t want forced, formal photo’s. She absolutely did us proud. What an amazing woman – such a joy on the day, she had a laugh with me and the bridal party while we got ready, and she went about the day without being noticed.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | This was really fun for me, as we had such a blank canvas with the college. Normally they would provide tables and chairs for the drinks reception outside, but I wanted to make sure I included some other elements here too. I hired deckchairs, and had hoped to lay a couple of rugs with big cushions on the grass, but the weather was just too unreliable. We’d also hired big flags from Festival Flags, but the wind was a menace, so these didn’t get used at all.
The décor inside was where I had the most fun! We didn’t want to use the bar that the College provided, so I looked about finding a rustic bar. I didn’t want the space to feel empty around it, and had hoped to have some big barrels as poseur tables, as well as some short barrels to sit around.
I loved how the bar area looked with the big shutters and blackboard, although I think the seating area could have been improved with a big rug to separate the wooden furniture from the wooden floor. It was a tad too ‘open’ for me, but I still loved it!
The table plan was very simple. We tied some string to either side of what was called a ‘laundry stand’ I believe, and pegged the table lists there. Leaving some string with pegs for our guests to write little messages and peg these underneath.
One of my favourite hires was the wooden trough that we used to collect our cards and gifts. I want one for my house!!! In the same area, we’d had pictures of us with each of our bridal party/groomsmen printed off, and pegged these on a rustic wooden tray. We wanted everyone to see who was special to us, and know their names!
As we were having a relaxed wedding breakfast, I wanted to keep the tables as simple as possible, and let the centrepieces sing. The flowers spilled out of the small urns, with lovely foliage sprouting out in different directions!
We wanted to print the menu options on brown paper bags, that would contain bread rolls, but our lovely wedding stationer couldn’t find a supplier that could do this for us, so these were printed on card instead.
The bread rolls were much bigger than expected (a shock for Mark when he picked these up the morning of the wedding!), but looked brilliant sticking out of the paper bags! And the eco palm plates we bought were perfect to hold a couple of butter portions and sit the place names on top. It was lovely and rustic, just what we wanted.
THE HONEYMOON | 18 days in Sri Lanka. We travelled round, with the help of our tour guide driver, Don. We visited Negombo – Kandalama – Madukelle – Ella – Yala – Galle – Colombo, seeing so many amazing things and learning a lot about the history and culture. A truly beautiful country.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Seeing our guests reactions to everything we’d organised. It was different to any other wedding any of them had been to, and they all loved it. They were especially blown away by the flower bombs and the backdrop in the hall.
The speeches. They were all fantastic. My dad’s and Mark’s were very emotional, and the best men’s speech (4 of them!) was hilarious! They really took their opportunity to embarrass the groom!
Visiting the sea front early evening was so special. As the weather wasn’t great on the day, the beach was relatively empty. It was still very windy, but we managed to get some amazing photo’s, and footage for the video!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t let the weather affect how you feel on the day. We had rain on and off for a lot of the day, and we got caught in a downpour where we took shelter at The Breakfast Club trailer! Yes my dress was very dirty by the end of the day, but it didn’t stop me dancing my socks off all night!
Cherish every moment. It goes in the blink of an eye.
Don’t worry about what you’re expected to do. Yes, speak to your guests, but if you want to dance all night then dance all night!!! If people want to speak to you, they’ll make the effort to seek you out!
It’s your day. Make sure you arrange things that you love, rather than trying to please your guests.
Delegate jobs! Mark was running around picking things up and putting last minute touches to the venue on the morning, so he couldn’t enjoy going to the pub with his groomsmen. The groomsmen and bridal party are there to do jobs, don’t take it all on yourself!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Oxi Photography
Videographers | Papertwin Weddings
Hair and Make up | Kylie McMichael
Florist | The Flower Story
Wedding dress | Heart a Flutter
Musicians | Nero String Quartet
DJ | MyDJ
Pallet backdrop | Gas and Air Studios
Hire | Virginia’s Vintage Hire (we hired A LOT from here!)
Mark and Helen, thank you both so much for sharing your brilliant wedding story with us xo Lou