This quintessentially English wedding is sure to give you a warm fuzzy feeling today and oodles of gorgeous summer wedding ideas to boot.
WWW readers Marianne and David decided to get hitched on the 20th June 2015 in the pretty Gloucestershire countryside. They steered away from a vintage chintz feel to their marquee wedding opting for trestle tables and festoon lights which gave a rustic chic feel. The marquee looked spectacular draped in foliage with crates filled to the brim with flowers and colour pop gingham table cloths. They wanted a relaxed atmosphere and the scrumptious food was served on the tables along side Victoria sponge cakes and ice cream for dessert. Yum.
Marianne looked utterly stunning in her beautiful Katya Katya Shehurina gown with vintage gold peep toes, while the gents donned tweed kilts. It sounds like a fun time was had by all.
Sophie Duckworth, many thanks for providing the amazing photographs today.
THE PROPOSAL | David proposed to me on a cold Christmas Eve morning in 2013. The sun was low and golden in the trees, the frost was on the ground and we were both wearing my parents’ old scruffy coats and boots having arrived in South Gloucestershire from London ill equipped for the country air! David – a man who likes to do things properly – got down on one knee in the mud, on the hill overlooking Thornbury and my family home and produced a beautiful hammered silver ring by Noemi Klein to propose. He’d been a bit fidgety and keen to go for a walk together in the days before but I assumed he was getting cabin fever about a Christmas with my family! Love was clearly tangibly in the air as the night before in the pub my friends had been teasing me about how a proposal wouldn’t be far off – my friend Vicki mischievously slipping her ring onto my wedding finger under the table!
THE VISION | I’ve always wanted a summer wedding, mainly because I love flowers and wanted to have lots of them and work with what was in bloom at that time of year. I love the countryside in South Gloucestershire where I’m from and have always wanted a marquee wedding where I can create the space rather than going to a venue. We also knew that we wanted to take our time in planning all the elements of the day so decided to wait 18 months after getting engaged.
We both wanted a proper country marquee wedding but wanted to go light on the chintz and vintage factor and try and keep it simple and rustic. So lots of flowers in the tent and foliage hung from the centre, trestle tables and festoon lighting but no cute bunting or vintage suitcases and singer sewing machines which always seem a bit out of place to me at a wedding!
Another element that was important to us was that the food was just brought to the tables for people to help themselves like at a dinner party. Serving each other chicken and spuds is a good way to break the ice and posh plated up food didn’t feel quite in keeping with a tent in a field!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | I’m a theatre and dance producer so I organise for a living! For me, it’s the subtle details that matter and make the day personal and reflective of you. Remembering to put a couple of vases of flowers in the toilet trailer or writing each guest a little note to open before the meal to recognise how little time you get to talk to everyone were the things that made the day feel like ours.
I was really glad we gave ourselves 18 months to plan the day as there’s a lot to do when you’re starting with only a field (and we had quite a job to find out whose field it was in the first place) no electricity and a pig trough plumbed to the mains for your water supply! My parents were totally amazing in supporting us in the planning too and without them it just wouldn’t have come off. My dad designed a little myrtle pattern we used on our invites and signage on the day and he made all the signs and chopped and hung all the foliage in the marquee. My mum enlisted all of her friends – who have known me since I was a baby – to help us pick and arrange the flowers for both the church and marquee. They also hosted a walk and ploughman’s lunch at our house the next day for around half the guests!
My approach to planning is always to work backwards which means starting with some of the least fun stuff – how were we going to dispose of all the rubbish after the event?! My friends did think I was mad but getting some of the less glamorous bits out of the way – talking to several marquee companies about how their quotes broke down and what they included, looking at toilets and waste disposal services, electrical generators and how to organise the water supply early on meant I could concentrate on the fun bits – the flowers, decorations and my accessories nearer the day.
THE BUDGET | When David and I sat down to work out our invite list our first count came to 369 guests and even with massive cuts we ended up with 150 invitees and about 140 on the day. Getting a tent big enough for our guests – particularly if it bucketed down with rain all day and we had to stay under cover – isn’t a cheap exercise and the marquee was probably one of the most expensive elements of the whole day. I haven’t actually totted up the full costs yet but I will say that despite our best intentions it is hard to find areas where you’re happy to settle for second best!
THE VENUE | We got married at St Arilda’s Church, Oldbury-on-Severn – which was a bit of a squeeze for all our guests – and then walked down the hill to the marquee in the neighbouring field. We chose a traditional, unlined marquee as it seemed to fit best with the country surroundings.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was a combination of two designs by Katya Katya Shehurina, Shoes were 1950s gold ballroom shoes I bought from an American vintage seller on etsy. I had to stretch them quite considerably before the day as vintage shoes are so narrow. The leather was also so delicate that one of the straps snapped the day before and I had to get an emergency stitch job by Lee’s Mend A Shoe down the road from my house the day before!
Katya Katya Shehurina also made me a hair band I could attach a double layer veil to. I have such fine and hopeless hair a traditional veil on a clip wouldn’t have stayed on my head for a moment and Katya was amazing at problem solving with me to find a way for me to wear a veil. I’d initially had my heart set on an antique lace veil but decided something simpler would work better with the strong lace pattern of the dress.
I kept everything else very simple and wore gold Noemi Klein (also a David gift!) stud earrings and a silver and gold flower bracelet by her too. A walking advert! I just used a leather clutch from Folk I had for my make up as I didn’t really carry a bag round with me and didn’t end up wearing any wrap at all.
FINDING THE DRESS | Finding my dress wasn’t a cinematic emotional crescendo of knowing – neither my mum or my bridesmaid Vicky or I cried – I think we just all quietly knew. I’d loved the designs of Katya Katya Shehurina from my first visit to the shop. Her designs are exquisite, feather light lace and detail but with a contemporary edge. In the end Katya was able to combine two of her designs to create something that suited my figure but enabled me to use the beautiful lace fabric cap sleeves and neckline with the fun pockets and lace skirt of a different dress. It was the, most fun and beautiful dress to wear and so light. Charging down the tent during the ceilidh was no problem at all!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | David grew up in Aberdeen so was always going to wear the full kilt regalia. He wore Robertson hunting ancient tartan as did most of his brothers and male relations. It was fun to have a mixture of tartans and kilts from the other guests represented on the day too!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | David was a chorister at Aberdeen cathedral growing up so incorporating some beautiful choral music was really important to us both.
I walked down the aisle to St Mary Redcliffe’s choir singing Thomas Tallis If Ye Love Me which is performed unaccompanied. I worried I would find it too emotional and end up walking down the aisle in floods of tears but on the day I ended up just feeling overwhelmingly calm and happy.
My Godmother is a wonderful organist so she accompanied the rest of the hymns – Lord of All Hopefulness, Oh Lord and Father of Mankind and Thy Hand Oh God Has Guider. The choir also sang Psalm 121 ‘I Will Lift Up My Eyes’ and Sicut Cervus during the service too.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I asked my friend Vicky to be bridesmaid and then had David’s 8 year old niece Dara as my flowergirl or junior bridesmaid. They both wore white as we wanted to go for something simple and timeless. Vicky’s dress was from French Connection and I bought Dara’s from Monsoon. Both wore white sweet Williams in their hair and a bracelet and necklace respectively that I bought as a gift from The Darkroom in London.
THE FLOWERS | Doing the flowers was my favourite part! My mum and I had so much fun planning them and she grew a lot of Ammi Majus, Cornflower and Sweet William which we mixed with flowers we cut from local cutting garden and florist Organic Blooms. We did all the church and flowers for the tables and marquee ourselves, leaving Wendy at Organic Blooms to do the bouquets and buttonholes. We went for a seasonal, relaxed look and everyone pitched in to help which made it feel all the more special.
THE CAKE | Neither of us were bothered about the traditional cutting of the cake moment and were aware that the cake can often end up not getting eaten. Instead we asked our cater to make each table a Victoria sponge cake with fresh cream and strawberries as the pudding for people to help themselves. Ivor, the farmer who lives next door to the church and field also makes amazing ice cream so each table also got served an enormous slab of ice cream decorated with pine nuts to carve up as cake accompaniment!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We were a little bemused by the choice of wedding photographers to begin with and didn’t know how to choose until we came across Sophie Duckworth. Sophie completely got the vibe of our wedding and that we didn’t want loads of posed or set up shots. She also really embraced the country vibe and was happy wading through the long grass to get the shot she wanted! All our guests commented on how friendly and helpful she was and the photos she presented us with in the end completely blew us away.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We really went to town on the flowers and foliage and sourced everything locally from Organic Blooms Cutting Garden, my parents’ garden where my mum had been growing flowers specially and raided friends and neighbours gardens for additional pittisporum, willow and other foliage. My local Polish corner shop in Wood Green London has a lot of fruit and veg delivered in wooden crates so we filled these with flower and stacked them up to give the tent a bit more variety.
My aunt made us checked table runners and serviettes which looked fab and gave a space which is predominantly white a bit of jolly colour.
My dad designed amazing signs for the menu and running order and also drew little tree designs for all our table names which were named after trees in honour of his job as a tree surgeon!
Our caterer was Talia from Cotswold Cooks who specialises in simple, rustic and hearty food using the best seasonal ingredients. We ate Pan Con Tomate with Pancetta when guests arrived followed by roast chicken, new potatoes, roasted squash with gremolata dressing, pan de champagne with jersey butter and salad leaves. It was simple but totally delicious!
THE HONEYMOON | David and I decided that after so much organising for the day itself we wanted to go somewhere simple and relatively near so we didn’t end up planning a destination holiday too! We spent 5 nights in Patara on the beach lined south coast of Turkey followed by 3 nights in Istanbul. The Hotel Viewpoint Patara was a small, simple hotel but had a beautiful pool, incredibly friendly and accommodating staff – always ready to supply an additional poolside G&T – and an adorable hotel dog called Ziggy. The hotel also organised excursions to local beauty spots and a daily shuttle to the beach by tractor trailer. After 4 days of beach and pool lazing we were ready for the sights and sounds of Istanbul and had an incredibly luxurious room at Soho House – absolutely one of the most beautiful hotel rooms I’ve ever stayed in!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | We’d left David’s friends from his MTV days Will and Alex totally in charge of the evening DJ set, knowing we’d be in good hands. At the end of the night they played LCD sound system ‘All My Friends’ and suddenly I found myself dancing madly with David whilst all our friends and family had formed a circle around us – grinning and dancing madly – before lifting us above their heads. It is a moment that defined the day and I will never forget it. It’s not ‘our’ song, it’s not even a song I would say I’ve listened to particularly before but it just captured the moment spontaneously and absolutely, summing up everything coming together and was just wonderful in the face of so much rigorous planning before.
I also loved the fact our first dance ‘Must be in A Good Place Now’ by Bobby Charles was performed by David’s three brothers and sister-in-law Annia. It felt incredibly personal. This was followed by a raucous ceildh led by the band Lupercalia where everyone fell about laughing and some of the moves got quite wild!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Be realistic about what you can achieve in the time available and make sure you have no jobs to finish the night before the day itself which mean you’re stringing together orders of service at midnight! We went to the pub and said hello to guests the evening before but made sure we left early!
If you’re getting married in a marquee where there is no one person in charge then save yourself and friends and family a lot of stress and get a wedding planner to coordinate the day! We used Olivia Mills who runs Host Management and she was worth every single penny, helping us in the lead up to the day, getting in touch with all the suppliers so they knew to call her in case of an emergency, averting a lot of crises and protecting us from the things that went wrong on the day – failure of a generator and the water supply being turned off by Thames Water (so fairly major!) – so we were completely oblivious. Our wedding was quite DIY and she really got involved and pulled everyone together and I would recommend her whole heartedly to anyone.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Marquee | South West Marquees
Flowers | Organic Blooms and my mum
Caterer | Talia at Cotswold Cooks
Dress | Katya Katya Shehurina
Ceildh band | Lupercalia
Photography | Sophie Duckworth
Alcohol | Majestic Wines
Wedding Stationery | Clarendon Press
Choir | St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol
Rings | DB Gems at Gray’s Antique Market
Wow what a day.
Huge thanks to Marianne and David for sharing their truly wonderful story with us xo Lou