I’m not usually one for favouritism but I have to admit this must be my favourite wedding of 2015 so far. Yes I said it.
WWW readers Toby and Kelly unintentionally planned an Americana themed wedding back in August of last year. There were cowboy boots, denim shirts, a US mailbox for cards and a Lemonade stand to name a few. In fact there are so many details and fantastic ideas I just cannot even list them all.
You see Toby and Kelly are wedding stationery designers (White Cottage Weddings) and boy was their paper goods a total delight. Not to mention the amazing décor in the majestic tipi. There was stylish attire, a break from the usual traditions and a Mariachis band. So much FUN.
Thanks today goes to the brilliant Georgi Mabee for sharing these wonderful photographs.
THE PROPOSAL | We were watching TV one night and the Doritos advert came on with the Mariachi band. We LOVED them but agreed that the only way we could justify them gigging at one of our do’s would probably have to be a wedding and so it was agreed that we’d get married! Not very romantic, but shows dedication to throwing an epic party :D Toby did sneak a ring under my pillow one night though and proposed properly before we went to sleep. Vintage, white gold, diamond with low ‘in your face’ bling factor; the boy did good.
THE VISION | We worked out what we wanted to include and what we didn’t and made a plan to suit. We knew that having an extravagant cake or a first dance weren’t important to us, so they were out straight away. Quite simply, we wanted to give our friends and family a day packed with stuff that they wouldn’t usually do. We wanted a balance between relaxed and informal but action packed! We were pretty obsessed with making sure our guests wouldn’t get bored or go hungry, so we knew from the get go that there would be plenty going on and lots of grub. We didn’t want to get locked in to a specific theme or colours but when asked what our wedding theme was, we told folk that it was going to be laid back and rustic with lots of natural tones. On the day of the wedding when we were saying goodbye to Georgi, our photographer, she asked if she could blog our day as ‘Americana’. It wasn’t until she asked, that we realised that we had pretty much had an Americana without even intending to. Vintage US mailbox for our cards, cowboy boots and hat, denim, vintage Chevy wedding car… It seriously hadn’t occurred to us! And so the theme ‘Unintentional Americana’ was born :D
THE PLANNING PROCESS | I am a LEGENDARY planner. Honestly, I relished all the plans and lists and had more flow charts, mock ups and colour coded notebooks than you could shake a stick at. Pretty much all of the vendors and venues were booked nineteen months in advance, making sure that we had oodles of time to fine tune all the pretty stuff. It was throughout the planning and research stage that we set up our wedding stationery business. We were quite shocked to find that there were no stationery designers or suppliers anywhere locally to us that we felt could sum up our style. At the time, Toby had just started at as freelance graphic designer, so it was pretty much a no brainer that we would design our own stationery from that point. It’s fair to say that our wedding was pretty stationery heavy :D Our invitation bundles were a labour of love to say the least. It took what seemed like forever to decide on a direction, but once we did, they were an absolute dream to design. We were so pleased with them.
BUDGET | After research, we worked out what we wanted versus what we could afford and then made a plan to suit. However, Toby was made redundant nine months before the wedding and as we’d already laid down all of our deposits, we felt we’d committed the scale of day we had planned and borrowed money from relatives to make it work. We DIY’d everything except the food and we found vendors that could work within our limited budget. We had areas that we wouldn’t scrimp though; photography, our Mariachi splurge and envelopes!
THE VENUE | We were married at Normanton Church on Rutland Water and we partied in tipis at The Secret Garden in Wymington, Bedfordshire. Jacquie, Richard and team from Elite Tents were great and after deliberating between lots of different tipi companies, we were so pleased we went with them as they went above and beyond their roles to make sure our party ruled. We had lots of terribly complex power issues to get around, but Richard and his team made sure that we had all the bits and bobs that we and our band needed before they left.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Custom designed dress by House of Mooshki, based on their Veronica dress. Ivory French corded lace and masses of it! I don’t wear jewellery (it feels like it’s smothering me!) and knew that I would boogie out anything in my hair or on my head so I was pretty much bare except my engagement ring. I’ve never really seen the point in bouquets; of course they look lovely whilst they’re in your hand but I felt bad that they would be discarded after the service. So to stop me looking completely accessory-less and feeling sorry for lonely discarded bouquets, us girls opted for floral corsages. I bought the most amazing silver heels with a paper floral corsage, by Irregular Choice. When they arrived, I remembered that I can’t walk in heels for toffee and so quickly aborted that idea! I’d already decided that my bridesmaids were going to wear cowboy boots, so I got in on the action and rocked a pair too. I searched high and low for a cool pair in the UK but couldn’t find any that I liked below £120. After a dedicated weekend to finding some, I ended up importing three pairs of gorgeous brown leather kicks for around £100 which included import duty. Winner!
FINDING THE DRESS | Ah, the dress. Not being a girly girl and the thought of having all eyes on me, flouncing about in a frock in front literally everybody I know made me want to cry and did a fair few times. Spending thousands on something that was going to make me look horrid and feel crappy, didn’t give me too many good vibes so I spent £200 and bought a second-hand dress from eBay. It was a nice dress, but it certainly didn’t make me go weak at the knees and I didn’t even bother to try it on until about nine months before the wedding. I’m pretty short, with big boobs and it was instantly obvious that the dress I had bought was never ever going to fit. So I promptly ignored the problem for five months until the four month countdown commenced and Toby, amongst others forced me to address the issue of the non existent dress.
Luckily, I had met Megan, the loveliest bridal shop owner on the planet at a wedding fayre White Cottage exhibited at a few months earlier and so reluctantly, I popped along to see her. I tried on three dresses, all of which looked dreadful and I went home feeling even more depressed about the whole thing. Megan had told me about House of Mooshki and that they could tailor make a dress to fit my quirky proportions and so I had a peep at their website. Their dress, Veronica was the first one I saw and it was glorious! To cut a long story short, I ordered it without seeing it in the flesh and the first time I tried it on was when it was delivered to Megan’s shop two weeks before the wedding. It needed tweaking but it was all good in the end!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | WAY more thought was put in to dressing Toby than me. We had originally searched high and low for a skinny tweed suit for Toby and we eventually settled on one bought from Next. To be honest, we never really went mad for it, so when Toby tried it on with three months to go and it didn’t fit, not too many tears were shed. After some persuading, Toby agreed that a three piece tweed suit in August, might be a little stuffy and so I set out to come up with an alternative.
We knew we had a general rustic feel and look to everything we had planned and made that far and so in keeping with the laid back theme, I suggested denim and tan to Toby. After the shock of potentially wearing a denim shirt to get married in had sunk in, he went for it. We bought the vintage look, fitted skinny shirt from eBay and the tan chinos from Superdry. Toby got his tweed fix in the form of his waistcoat, also bought from eBay, which after some tailoring, fitted a treat. The hardest part of Toby’s gear was finding a non shiny tie! We eventually found a cool denim one from Debenhams. Toby’s best boys wore the same shirt and tie and we found some absolute bargain tan trousers from Bench for £12 each! My son Rowan, rocked the day in the same colours as the big boys, with added braces and cowboy hat. We wondered what some of our older guests might think to the boys get up, but they loved it!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We didn’t feel that we had any readings or specific words that we felt deep enough about to play a part in the service. We did have an amazing cellist that learned a piece of music from a song that we love and was appropriate for the sentiment, Flames by Vast. At the tipis, my brother in law had his decks set up and did a great job of keeping people dancing until our band arrived. AND WHAT A BAND! Facsimile are a really good covers band but the real reason we booked them was for their other guise… A Pearl Jam tribute act! Good grief, they were good.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Our amazing sisters. They couldn’t be more different in shape or size though, which made dress buying more of a challenge. I was originally looking at mismatched dresses for the girls, as a colour theme wasn’t an issue. However, nothing really took my fancy in terms of two dresses that complimented each other and would look ace with the cowboy boots. We bought four dresses all in all for the girls, the fourth being navy blue chiffon skater dresses from Topshop which looked absolutely perfect on both lovely ladies.
THE FLOWERS | My sister is a really talented florist and she put together the flowers for around 100 vintage jars we had imported from the US and collected on our travels. She also made the boys buttonholes (Toby’s button had a stag shaped nod to our business in it :) and our corsages. She finished our corsages at 11.30pm the night before the wedding in our hotel room!
THE CAKE | Having a big expensive cake and cake cutting ceremony really wasn’t important to us and so we decided to simply have cakes for afternoon tea that our guests could tuck in to, whenever they liked. My bridesmaids made some delicious cupcakes and our caterer made an impressive giant Victoria sponge.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Georgi Mabee. Georgi totally bought in to our style, vision for the day and the type of coverage that we wanted. Georgi delivered exactly what we expected; beautifully shot and natural documentary of the day.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Wow, where to start!
It felt like we were DIYing forever and pretty much every weekend on the six month countdown (as well as most week nights on the three month countdown!) were spent designing, building, painting and crafting. We had lots of help from our our super awesome bridesmaids though and I don’t suppose you can really grumble about spending a day and night in the sun, having a beer, making one hundred vintage map pin wheels can you? It was time gladly spent :) We knew we had to pull out all the stops as we wanted to offer wedding styling and prop hire to our customers after the wedding and if you can’t make your own day look gorgeous, well who is going to hire you?!
It’s a tight turnaround at Normanton Church and we didn’t have long before or after our guests arrived, so with that in mind and the fact that it’s such a beautiful place anyway, we didn’t go crazy on dressing the church. Which left us plenty of time to plan, craft and dress our tipis! It’s not hard to make a tipi look amazing, but we went full force on it. With no fixed colour scheme, we had bags of room for creativity and we threw a lot of different tones at it. We tried to keep to natural materials and used lots of wood, glass and cotton. Toby’s sister hand crocheted fifty doilies for us, now that’c commitment to the cause! I loved everything we designed and made for the day but my personal favourite pieces are the Tshirts we designed as thank you presents and our escort tags; they looked super cool.
THE HONEYMOON | The weekend after the wedding, we were booked to take White Cottage Weddings to the wonderful Vintage Wedding Gala in Northampton and the weekend after that was our very good friends wedding, so we booked our flights to leave two and bit weeks after the wedding. To be honest, we were absolutely exhausted after the wedding and so it’s lucky that we didn’t go immediately afterwards, as we would have slept through the first week! We flew to New York and spent a couple of nights there, before travelling around New England, ending up in Boston. We had unseasonably hot weather and all the gorgeous early fall colours, what a winner! Loved every Yankee second of it, such a beautiful slice of America.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | My sisters take on the ‘Something old, something new…’ The night before the wedding, Siouxzie presented ‘Something old, something older and something grey’ which included a great photo of my dad (who passed away in 2011) as a little boy. The next day, my seven year old son suggested taking him with us to church. Cor, what a tear jerker!
Several months after the wedding was booked, we were informed there would be a triathlon at Rutland Water on the day of our wedding! Us girls and my son, Rowan, roughed it on the day of the wedding and trucked over from the hotel to the church on foot in our trusty cowboy boots. We had to walk the course of the triathlon run and so we popped in to the hydration station mid walk and refuelled!
I’m told that I was pulling a strange kind of ‘rabbit in the headlights’ face for the duration of the vows. I wasn’t aware of it but by the end of the ceremony, my hands were so sweaty and I was getting really nervous that the pen would shoot out of my hand. I had the brilliant idea of giving Toby a nonchalant arm stroke to dry my hands, but by all accounts I didn’t play it particularly cool as our guests found it immensely funny and burst out laughing.
We commissioned the Rutland belle boat to take guests to and from the church and when we disembarked after the wedding, the quiet mooring we were expecting had been transformed in to a finish line party complete with disco, loud speakers and half dressed men and women in wetsuits collapsed on the beach – we had to step over them to get to the wedding car! Our guests found it amusing and said it added to the ambience :D
Our DIY rustic lemonade stand went down a storm and thirty litres of home-made lemonade disappeared pretty quickly.
Toby and I had decided to keep the Mariachi’s a secret and so when they rocked up at the Secret Garden, only ourselves, Georgi our photographer and Rob our caterer were in the know. There were a lot of stunned faces, it was ace!
Toby, getting heckled off the microphone when reading out the answers to our table quizzes, so funny.
Our super cool caterer Rob having to go to his happy place and hand fry hundreds of desert churros in the dark as his fryer kept tripping the power, what a trooper!
Our Pearl Jam tribute band totally blew us away. They did two encores!
Our best man made a little video on his phone during one of the songs, Porch. It really summed up the whole vibe of the wedding; lots of friends, laughs, twinkly lights, singing so loudly you lose your voice for a week, hugging and a bride totally losing her crap on the dance floor. Seriously, I danced so hard I STILL can’t feel the big toe on my right foot…
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Work out what’s important to you and cut out the other stuff. If you don’t want a cake, don’t have one. If you don’t want to have a first dance, that’s OK too. If you don’t want to wear a suit, your grandparents will forgive you! Spend your saved cake money on the things that are really important to you like kick ass bands and super awesome stationery :D
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Boat | Rutland Belle boat
Photography | Georgi Mabee
Styling and prop hire | White Cottage Weddings
Stationery | White Cottage Weddings
Floristry and jar hire | White Cottage Weddings
Catering | Cortado 22
Tipis | Elite Tents
Venue | The Secret Garden Functions
Mariachis | Mariachi Mexteca
Band | Facsimile Band
Cellist | Fedora Strings
Favour design | White Cottage Design
Evening Pizza | The Piazza
Oh my! I’m off to pin my little heart out… why not join me ;-)
Thanks so much Toby and Kelly for sharing your super amazing wedding with us today XOXO Lou