Creative & Personal Budget Friendly Wedding with Pretty Florals

Arnos Vale Cemetery Wedding Rob Smith Photographer

Hannah and Buddy how lucky am I to be sharing your beautiful Arnos Vale Cemetery wedding in Bristol today!?

Hannah and Buddy were hitched on the 9th August 2019 and their day was just so personal and creative, not to mention full to the brim with love. At the heart of their wedding planning vision was a relaxed atmosphere with good food and music plus plenty of fun, all creating the perfect recipe for an amazing wedding.

So just what do I love about their day? So so much, such as the gorgeous flowers (I just adore the Peony bouquet!), the amazing cake table laden with treats and the epic macramé backdrop. Then there was the illustrated welcome sign, the flower arch framing the vows and all of the super gorgeous attire.

The images here are courtesy of Rob Smith Photographer and I am so grateful to be sharing them with you all.

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The Proposal

We were staying at the pub Buddy’s parents ran in Wiltshire for Christmas and went back to our room to watch TV. Buddy asked me to save him from a “spider” on his pillow! I pulled back the pillow and a grey velvet box was underneath. I definitely remember looking at him and told him to not be an idiot! He then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! Of course I said yes and it made for the loveliest Christmas eve of celebrations with family! One of my best friends had been in on it and helped Buddy to select my engagement ring! I kept getting strange messages from her all day, but in hindsight it was just her checking up on us to see if he’d proposed yet!

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The Vision

We wanted an incredibly relaxed wedding that had good food, good music and lots of fun! I knew that I wanted to use local suppliers and handmade creations rather than rely on big companies and managed to track down so many lovely small businesses to celebrate on our day!

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The Planning Process

After the proposal I threw myself into a Pinterest hole and internet searches for venues in and around Bristol! Initially I wanted to get married in my hometown (Gloucester) in the church that my great-grandparents were married in. However, we had no demonstrable connection so settled on a venue without religion!

We actually booked the first venue we went to as we fell in love with it on first sight! Our wedding co-ordinator, Buffy, was just insanely amazing! She was so organised, patient and fun – I loved all of our meetings! She made the whole process so stress-free and enjoyable! After booking the venue, we found our photographer – Rob Smith – and then kind of didn’t do anything for a while! It wasn’t until September that I eventually went wedding dress shopping and really got the ball rolling!

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Budget

I think we managed to keep everything around the £8,000 mark?!

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The Venue

We got married at the amazing Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol. Despite my parents reacting in horror at the thought of getting married in a cemetery, they realised how beautiful the venue was and soon came around to the idea!

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The Readings & Music

I walked down the aisle to Friday I’m In Love by the Cure.

As an English graduate and bookworm, I was determined to find something a little bit different for our readings! Thankfully we met the lovely Beth (The Poetry Machine) at a wedding fair at our venue and she wrote a beautiful, personalised poem about our relationship called “weird”. Our friend Katy read it for us on the day.

The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman was our second reading, read beautifully by my Godmother, Debbie. This was really emotional and showed just how powerful words can be!

We had Fleetwood Mac and Hall & Oates playing as we signed the register.

We walked back down the aisle to “Tellin’ Lies” by our favourite band, The Menzingers.

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Your Outfits & Accessories

Buddy wore a suit from Slaters in Bristol. He decided that he wanted a more informal look for the day as he doesn’t really do suits! The suit he decided on has an almost tweed like pattern and a really lovely navy colour. Initially he wanted stone coloured chinos but changed his mind to burgundy…much to my relief! Buddy chose a burgundy knitted bow tie and braces to jazz up his outfit and a great pair of brown leather shoes from House of Fraser.

My hunt for a dress began with a trawl through high street wedding shops like Wed2B before I went to a more traditional wedding dress shop in Chipping Sodbury. However, everything I tried on made me feel like a child playing dress up. I didn’t feel a connection with anything – everything was too flouncy, lacy or poofy! I saw an Instagram post from our wedding venue featuring E&W couture and other dresses from Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique – this was more like it for me! I booked an appointment and instantly fell in love as soon as I walked through the door. Rachel is just incredible, so welcoming, knowledgeable and bloody hilarious! She listened to what I liked, asked about my venue and then set about pulling some of her “girls” off the rail. I tried on about six different dresses before I decided on my dream dress. As Rachel works so closely with the designers, all dresses can be made into bespoke works of art! I decided to mix two dresses together to create my dream dress – polka dot lace and floaty sleeves were key features for my dress of dreams. I also chose a beautiful sash made by Claire Hill Designs which was also handmade with my own choice of ribbon to pull the look together. My shoes were a bargain pair of sandals from Accessorize and my only other form of accessories were a beautiful pair of pearl earrings leant to me from my mum – a gift for her 30th wedding anniversary from my dad!

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The Cake

I am incredibly lucky to have a fantastically talented cousin who offered to bake our cakes! Our wedding was always going to have more than one cake as we are a family of cakeaholics! We settled on a classic Victoria sponge with Italian meringue icing for our main cake which was topped with fresh berries. We had to have a coffee and walnut cake in honour of my late great-aunt who made the best coffee and walnut cake I’ve ever tasted! My cousin used her Mum’s recipe for the day which added a really special connection for us. We also had a carrot cake with orange cream cheese icing; lemon cake with homemade lemon curd and icing; traditional fruitcake; chocolate and salted caramel cupcakes AND chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes!

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The Details & Décor

The venue itself almost didn’t need any décor! However, our initial plan was to get married outside in the Underwood area of the cemetery. BUT with it being August, the British weather was NOT on our side! A mighty storm was brewing the night before the wedding and high winds and rain were forecast for the actual day! At the last minute we made the decision to move the ceremony and wedding breakfast inside! Thankfully Buffy our amazing wedding co-ordinator had several backup plans and was on hand to calm any panic! Throughout the whole planning and organisation of our day, Buffy was just incredible! She was so patient, creative, open to new ideas and supplied delicious coffee and cake along the way! There is good reason that she is called the wedding slayer! The Spielman Centre provided our ceremony location and the Anglican Chapel was to be the most beautiful dining hall imaginable.

Again, Instagram provided our wedding décor guardian angel in the form of Fliss from LouBelle Macrame! We hired an incredible macramé arch as a backdrop for the Anglican chapel – which Fliss made herself! She also brought along a copper arch, which we had as a backdrop for our ceremony – Priya added some fresh flowers to the copper arch for a pop of colour. We hired some props from Valentina Hire and used those to accessorise the venue alongside some items from Fliss. Everything was a little bit quirky and mismatched, but it all worked and was definitely our theme of the day!

Priya and I created the flower centrepieces which were all in jam jars or gin bottles! Priya was a lifesaver in the floral department, saving us lots of money but also giving us ultimate creative control on what we wanted on our day. I wanted it to look like we’d raided a meadow for wildflowers, with nothing too formal or structured.

We hired the beautiful vintage trestle tables and chairs from the lovely Alex at Earth Village Events – who was originally going to supply a stretch tent for our outside ceremony and reception (the storm meant we had to cancel!).

Fliss styled the Anglican Chapel so beautifully and then in the blink of an eye, flipped the ceremony room into a room fit for dancing! The copper arch was used as a backdrop for a DIY photo booth, alongside a dreamy pink couch from the café on site and a plethora of fairy lights supplied by the venue. We already had a Fuji Instax camera and decided to utilise it at the wedding! People roamed around with the camera capturing some beautifully candid photos! Some went into our guest book and others will end up in a big display! Valentina Hire also supplied some games for the evening including massive Jenga, connect four, bean bag toss and some spacehoppers! Claire from House of Bendy set up the Sparkle Parlour to turn guests into the sparkliest version of themselves. We were super lucky to have some delicious brownies for our evening sweet treats from Country Bumpkin Bakes – Susan makes the best brownies I’ve ever tasted! Our evening music was provided by a family friend with DJ equipment.

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Your Photographer

After searching wedding fairs for photographers, I headed back to Instagram to find our photographer. We found Rob and instantly loved his relaxed and natural story telling style. After chatting over email, we took the plunge and booked him! Included in our package was an engagement photoshoot, which was a lovely way to get to know him better! The photos from that were incredible and that only made us more excited to have him document our day! Rob was just brilliant on the day, all of our guests said how lovely he was and that at times, they didn’t even know he was the photographer – he blended in so seamlessly and captured so many beautiful shots! Communication with Rob was excellent in the run up to the wedding and he made us feel so calm on the day – especially in the morning when everything was a bit hectic!

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Groomsmen

Buddy had four groomsmen including his best-man, Ben! James, Andy and Ryan are all member of Buddy’s family and Ben is almost more important to Buddy than I am. All the guys wore suits from Slaters (Bristol branch). Buddy chose all of their outfits and decided on their ties as well.

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Beauty

As somebody who doesn’t really wear a lot of make up, I was a bit worried about make-up for my wedding day! I wanted to look like myself, not a stranger! I headed back to Instagram to search for MUAs in Bristol and found Toni-Ann. We hit it off instantly and she created a soft and subtly glam look for me! I bought a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick (Coachella Coral) to keep for the day and a fragrance combination from Jo Malone – Basil and Neroli with Blackberry Bay.

I knew I wanted my hair to look completely natural and effortless. I had it coloured and cut by my amazing hairdresser, Kiya, two days before the wedding. My bridesmaid Priya curled my hair literally twenty minutes before walking down the aisle!

My nails were floral works of art thanks to Mer at Mez-Mer-Eyez in Gloucester!

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Bridesmaids

I had three bridesmaids and one bridesman! I didn’t have a maid of honour as I just couldn’t choose! I’ve know Cathy and Craig since primary school and even lived with Craig at uni. I met Priya whilst working for an insurance company and we instantly bonded over our love of cake! Xenia and I met whilst studying for our PGCE and have been friends ever since!

Priya, Cathy and Xenia all wore dresses from the Maya range available on ASOS. I wanted them to have the same style but give them the option of a different colour. It was important that everybody felt comfortable in what they wore so it was a real collaborative effort in finding the dresses! Cathy and Xenia wore grey and Priya wore rose gold. I wanted them to feel comfortable all day so they wore their own shoes! Craig provided his own suit which he accessoried with a tie from Slaters.

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The Flowers

After doing her own flowers for her wedding in 2018, my bridesmaid Priya offered to do the flowers for our wedding as a gift for us! I definitely had a clear vision of what I wanted and Priya was integral in making this come to life! I wanted a very whimsical, informal feel for our flowers – like we’d raided a meadow! We ordered our flowers from Cheltenham and Gloucester Flowers and collected them on the Wednesday before the wedding! My bouquet featured peonies (the last of the season), roses, wax flower, eucalyptus, veronica, lisianthus, cornflowers, nigella, craspedia, delphiniums, scabious and daisies.

My floral crown was made using similar flowers to those in my bouquet as were my bridesmaid’s bouquets.

Buddy’s button hole had the pop of colour from the craspedia and lisianthus as well as a thistle and some wax flowers. The groomsmen and Craig had similar button holes, just slightly less jazzy!

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Memorable Moments

A spacehopper race in the pouring rain! Scoffing woodfired pizzas on the dancefloor. A personalised video message from DJ Jazzy Jeff for Buddy – a lifelong fan which almost brought him to tears! My mum also arranged for a surprise video message from the boys I used to be an au pair for in Australia…this was the one moment of the whole day that made me cry!

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Advice For Other Couples

Be organised and keep a spreadsheet of expenses so you can track exactly what you’re spending! Don’t be afraid to accept help from people or to ask family/friends for things. If you have a relative who is amazing at baking, ask them to make your cake! If you have a friend who dabbles in floristry… ask them to help you! We saved A LOT of money this way and had the extra special involvement of people we loved on our day.

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Credit Where Credit Is Due

Brownies
Country Bumpkin Bakes

Props & Games
Valentina Hire

Suits
Slaters Menswear (Bristol)

Caterers
Clever Chefs

Make Up
Toni Ann at Glitterbug Bristol

Sparkle Parlour
House Of Bendy

Oh so pretty! You both looked stunning Hannah and Buddy and to plan your wedding on a budget of £8,000 is just amazing!

Hannah and Buddy, thank you both so much for sharing your fantastic wedding day with us xo Lou

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