Today we have WWW readers Natasha and Patrick’s magical nuptials to share with you. Their wedding took place in not one but three beautiful locations on the 2nd June 2018. Beginning with a church ceremony, they then moved onto gorgeous Elford Hall Gardens for drinks and canapés and finishing the day with the reception at Alrewas Hayes in Staffordshire.
Decorating three locations was no mean feat but luckily Natasha’s mum was on hand to help! It sounds like the day was really full of surprises including alpacas turning up dressed as a bride and groom and the maids of honour getting a very special video together featuring all of the guests. What a day it must have been!
I think you’re really going to love all the personal touches and the style of this gorgeous wedding. From the abundant florals and foliage to the amazing table plan and stationery, it’s difficult to take in all the beautiful details. The sparkly bridesmaids look simply fabulous in sequin frocks and I’m really loving the page boys acting as ‘ring security’ – amazing!
We’re really grateful to David Boynton for providing us with these marvellous photos of the day, they really are just stunning.
It didn’t go to plan! We had been together for about 6 months and were not living together. Patrick had been away skiing for a week and we were due to spend the day together on the Saturday he was back. On the Saturday morning, he messaged to say that his boots were broken and he needed to go to London instead of seeing me. I thought something didn’t seem quite right so I messaged to say exactly that and had a panicked message back asking me to go to his flat. I got there and he explained that he had been in London but his boots weren’t broken… he was actually meeting my best friend and designing my engagement ring. He had booked a weekend away where he planned on proposing but explained that he wasn’t a good enough liar to keep it going any longer and asked me to marry him! I said yes, we put some champagne in the fridge and told the world!
The vision was to keep it as personal as possible by involving our family and friends. I really wanted everything to appear relaxed with informal bouquets, flower crowns, lots of greenery and lots and lots of food and drink! We wanted to organise our perfect party with lots of individual touches that made everyone feel special and I hope that we achieved that.
The Planning Process
Stressful! I must credit my mum now- she was amazing in every way and I just don’t know what we would have done without her. She is naturally very creative and organised and nothing is ever too much trouble. I think both Patrick and I learnt a lot about ourselves in this process and our answer to stress was often “well we don’t need that bit anyway” whereas my mum really knew the importance of the small touches that made the day so special.
One of the aspects of the day that made the day both extra special and extra stressful was that we had two parts to it. We were at the church and Elford walled garden first and then the venue later. This meant that there was twice the decorating. Again, this is where the talented friends come in! My friend Georgie is an events organiser and she took on the decorating and co-ordinating at the venue which allowed us to focus on sorting the other aspects. I couldn’t recommend her highly enough and it was definitely money well spent!
Other than that, it was just tackling everything on the “to do” list one by one. I did make a spreadsheet early on to keep track of RSVPs etc and this was useful (the budget spreadsheet was less enjoyable and we put my dad in charge of that!).
St Peter’s Church, Elford
Elford Hall Gardens, Elford
Alrewas Hayes, Alrewas
We both knew we wanted a church wedding and the village that I grew up in has a beautiful one so that was an obvious choice for us; and I already knew the vicar! We also both knew that we wanted to show everyone the walled gardens behind the church. This is a place that is really special to my family because we spend a lot of time there and it is beautiful. We were torn between having just drinks and canapés there and having the whole day there but felt that it would be really weather dependent therefore decided to find a wedding venue to do the rest! We were really happy with the decision because Alrewas Hayes had everything we wanted. Having different locations throughout the day also meant that it kept it interesting for guests because there were new bits to explore.
The Readings & Music
The music in the church was played by Chris Keys who is a really talented pianist. I walked into Ludovico Einaudi-Il Giorni which is one of our favourite pieces of music. I wanted to walk down the aisle with my dad and Bampa but it just wasn’t wide enough so my Bampa had the honour of walking my Maid of Honour in just before me.
Patrick’s father read “If I do not have love, I gain nothing” from the first letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 12:31- 13:8a
My brother, Sam, and his girlfriend, Vera, read “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton.
We chose one hymn each. My choice was “Shine Jesus Shine” because I had great memories of singing that as loud as we could at school! Patrick had chosen Jerusalem.
My mum had done a wonderful job producing the Order of Service and my favourite part was that she had done a page of ‘fun facts’ about us that meant people had something to read whilst they were waiting for the service to start.
While we were signing the register we had chosen Little Mix’s- “Touch” as an acoustic piano song as Little Mix are Patrick’s favourite (I wish I could say he would try to deny it but he is loud and proud about being a Little Mix fan!)
Your Outfits & Accessories
My dress was from Wed2B in Hinckley. My mum and I had been to a few different shops and one thing that frustrated me was trying on lots of dresses in a particular size that didn’t fit. I found that stuffing sponges down the back and holding the dress to imagine it fitted just didn’t quite do it for me! I went to Wed2B knowing that they have dresses in ‘your size’ and had a really good experience. It is quick and efficient so you try on lots of dresses in a short space of time so you know what suits you. I went thinking I would come out knowing what I liked but I ended up finding the perfect dress!
My shoes were some champagne velvet ones from ASOS with a big bow and chunky heel. Certainly not traditional wedding shoes but comfortable and ones I will wear again.
I asked for my flower crown to be simple at the front with a bigger feature at the back and I loved that massive rose!
My jewellery was all made by my Maid of Honour who owns Chalk Designs. She made my engagement ring which is a diamond with rose gold setting and lots of little sapphires. She made my wedding band and earrings to match and I love them!
Patrick and all of the men (and page boys) had suits from Kevin Paul in Hednesford. We wanted to find somewhere who would match the adult and children’s suits so that the page boys felt part of it all.
I had six beautiful bridesmaids including two Maids of Honour because I just couldn’t choose! My Maids of Honour were Charlotte and Lucy and my bridesmaids were Beckie, Alice, Katie and Ellie. I also had Patrick’s goddaughter Lemoni as my flower girl and she looked beautiful in a dress made by her grandma Gill. The bridesmaids were amazing both on the run up to the wedding and on the day. The night before the wedding, they gave me a book that all of my hens had written in which made me feel so special. I must also thank my friend Vicki who had taken us all to the walled garden for a ‘bridal yoga’ session the night before where she had made different wedding-themed poses! It was the perfect way to spend my last night as a ‘Miss’.
I loved the bridesmaid dresses more than my own dress! They were from ASOS and I knew as soon as I had seen them that they were the ones. I wanted quite a neutral colour that would look great with flower crowns and knew I wanted a bit of sparkle without it being blingy. They were perfect! And the flower crowns were exactly as I wanted. I wanted the Maids of Honour to feel extra special so they had some larger pink flowers running through.
My Bampa (Grandad) can make pretty much anything so he made them a wooden swan ring holder each which was really special.
Patrick’s best man was his brother Alex and his groomsman were Paul, Ed, Kieran and my brother Sam who travelled back from Zimbabwe for the wedding. They were all so helpful on the day and had the job of pouring Prosecco in the walled garden which they did very well! My godsons were page boys and we dressed them as ‘ring security’- my mum made the cases which they loved!
I was clear on what I wanted and when I met Lily from Flower Design of Lichfield, she just got it. I wanted lots of foliage and peonies in an informal arrangement. I also knew I wanted anemones which weren’t around in June therefore she got silk alternatives which have been a lovely thing to keep.
And there was lots more to do! The flower crowns, bouquets, button holes, foliage and flowers for the church. We had also borrowed two large milk churns that she filled and she also created a beautiful pedestal arrangement which we took to the venue after the service so that it could be used there too (little money saving tip!). She also did the foliage for the tables and the long runners and I loved it all!
One thing I did learn is that fake ivy garlands for the ceiling are expensive! After a lot of trial and error, we found cheap green wire from amazon and wired our own greenery on from the garden (credit to Georgie who did this for me!!) which looked far better than the fake stuff for a fraction of the price.
My hair was something I really struggled to know what to do with. I knew that I didn’t want ‘formal wedding hair’ that looked overdone and found it really difficult to trust anyone to do it! I found Sarah Russell who did an amazing job. We had two trials and on the day ended up doing something completely different again but it was exactly what I wanted. She also did a wonderful job on blow dries for the bridesmaids who looked wonderful.
My make-up was done by Alison Tye and again, she was wonderful. I was clear that I didn’t want to look ‘overdone’ and wanted everything to look quite natural and I was really pleased with the result as I looked like me, but on a good day!
David Boynton was our incredible photographer. We had seen his work online and loved the style. We agreed that we wanted to avoid having many formal line-up photos taken and wanted to spend our day enjoying ourselves rather than waiting for photos to be taken. Both he and Ryan (the videographer) blended into the day perfectly and got on with everyone really well. We were so happy with the photos as we felt that they captured every element of the day in the way we wanted. We haven’t received our video yet but can’t wait.
The Details & Décor
- My mum produced beautiful personalised signs and flowers to lead people from the church to the walled garden. She also made a big heart stencil so that there were chalk hearts on the road leading the way. She also designed the artwork for welcome mirrors which looked amazing. She made personalised napkins, name cards, signs for the canapés, the order of service… the list goes on. I particularly loved the personalised welcome mirror with the alpaca faces on. Patrick had seen it the week before (when he didn’t know about the alpacas) and thought it was really an odd choice!
- I had wanted there to be a very very subtle reference to one of the big things that we have in common- that we’re both doctors. I ripped up an old medical dictionary and made confetti cones out of it. Not everyone noticed but enough that it was definitely worth doing!
- The transport to the church was again organised by my mum. Our friend Max has a vintage tractor and trailer so let us decorate it with foliage and drove us there on the day. It was such a lovely touch and meant we could all travel together.
- The alpacas were money well spent. They’re so much fun and bring everyone together
- The canapés were incredible. We had collected lots of different plates and made platters from vintage wooden trays to serve them on so that they all looked individual. Our mums are amazing cooks so they made some of the canapés and my mum’s friend Claire did the rest and executed it all brilliantly on the day
- We felt that the room really did have the wow factor and was exactly as we wanted. We have Georgie from Addo Events to thank for that. I really didn’t want anything that felt too ‘weddingy’ and loved the idea of hanging vines and an ‘outdoors indoors’ vibe. Beckie, my bridesmaid, was responsible for the flower artwork and the amazing seating plan- that’s another of our favourite bits. We had also had trees made out of a log and big branches and wrapped lights around them so that we had 6 large trees in the room. We used these to hang photos off and I really loved that too.
- The favours- we were really keen to have something that looked good on the table but didn’t cost too much. Luckily for me, my Nanna is a keen gardener and knows her plants! She got every lady a plant and planted them all (and the boys got chocolates). They looked great on the table and were cheap to do. We also gave everyone a Welsh love spoon with a personalised message which pleased my Welsh Bampa!
- Props in the evening! We had masks made of our faces which although mildly creepy, were really good fun. We also had a prop box with loads of bits in, this really brought people together.
- Music- we have to thank Tru Groove for being incredible!! They had my grandparents dancing til midnight and they tell me they still feel ‘20 years younger’. We couldn’t have had a better band and can’t wait to see them again in the future at the Jam house in Birmingham.
Patrick’s mum made the cake and what an amazing job she did! It was such a special thing to do together because she started by asking what our favourite flavours were and we had unlimited cake tasting sessions! She truly is a star baker and every layer was perfect. We had red velvet, banana and Nutella and a hummingbird cake. She then made a lemon and elderflower for our BBQ on the Sunday. It was a naked cake covered in beautiful flowers- it couldn’t have been more perfect.
We had a minimoon in Cornwall just after the wedding and just slept and slept- its surprising how exhausted you are for a good few weeks afterwards. We then went to Mauritius and Dubai two weeks after that and it was just perfect. Going all inclusive in Mauritius was lovely because after all of the money you spend on the wedding, its quite nice feeling (falsely) like you aren’t spending anything there!!
- When the photographer took us away for some photos briefly after the wedding service. It felt nice to have some time just us and step out of the whirlwind momentarily.
- It took some convincing but I managed to get my Bampa to do a speech and it was amazing. He ended it with a dab and I will never forget that
- The walled garden was my favourite part by far. Seeing everyone enjoying the gardens that I have enjoyed my whole life was really special. There were loads of canapés (including heart-shaped welsh cakes my grandparents made, biscuits by Patricks mum and brownies by my mum) which were amazing!
- The ‘marry you’ video mentioned above. Incredible and totally unexpected.
- Seeing everyone on the dancefloor with the props. You know that a wedding is a long day and I was worried people may flag a bit but they did us proud!
- The romance between the flowergirl and page boy. She had caught the bouquet and that meant she could pick the boy of her choice to marry. He wasn’t quite ready yet (he can be seen sulking in one of the photos!) but who knows what the future may hold…
Advice For Other Couples
It sounds simple but try and get some time to yourselves on the day, even if its just a few minutes.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Rebecca Richards Illustration
Flower Design of Lichfield
Just magical! Thank you so much Natasha and Patrick for sharing your wonderful wedding day with us. Rachel x