Welcome to a brand new week here at Whimsical Wonderland Weddings and what a way to kick things off! WWW readers Nancy and Dan are gracing our pages with their whimsical wedding day, which was held on the 5th October 2018 at Houchins Farm in Essex. Their day was so vibrant, so seasonal and so filled to the brim with love, I just know it’s going to become a firm fave real wedding feature of yours, just as it has mine.
Their day was all relaxed, cosy, autumnal vibes, with gorgeous décor and boho style. There were pumpkins everywhere nestled beside wooden signage and candles. One of the stand out elements to their décor though has to be the incredible hanging flower installation, suspended from the barn ceiling, it really was a sight to behold.
It’s also great to see that WWW fave and Supplier Love member Jeccabox provided the darling paper goods. Do keep your eyes peeled for sensational outfit choices, a bountiful bouquet, a cute dog and a very cool personalised leather jacket. Oh yes!
We are so thankful to Ivory White Photography for sharing with us these bright and beautiful photographs.
My family are very lucky to have a villa in northern Spain where I’ve been going my whole life. I was taking Dan to visit for the first time. I honestly had no idea marriage was even on his mind, on our first night we got all dressed up to go down to the town for paella and sangria, and when I came out onto the terrace he was on one knee. I was completely taken aback – but obviously said yes. We spent the next week relaxing by the pool and eating tapas.
Contrary to most girls I’d never actually thought much about my “dream” wedding. Initially, I was pretty overwhelmed by the seemingly millions of options. So Dan and I had a long chat about what we wanted – and we decided we wanted all our family and friends surrounding us, great food and brilliant music. The rest of the wedding sort of fell in around the dress!
The Planning Process
I planned for a good 2 and half years and I’m super organised so I booked all the big stuff quite far in advance – the venue, caterer, florist and photographer. From then on I just did little and often, and it worked really well for me as I never felt massively overwhelmed with lots of jobs to do.
Closer to the wedding I realised that although all my ideas were great – I’m not the most creative person in the world, and I would need someone to execute my vision. That’s how I found the girls from Rock the Day Styling and they helped me with the little teething problems as we went through the last few months.
Funnily enough we went to an Open Day for another wedding venue in Essex, which wasn’t for us, but they did give us a goodie bag which had a wedding magazine in. I was flicking through it on the way home and saw that Houchins was also having an open day that day – so Dan and I popped in for a look around and fell in love. I felt a lot like when I found my wedding dress, when I first saw Houchins. I couldn’t imagine us getting married anywhere else.
Houchins is the perfect combination of rustic and modern touches – which is exactly what I wanted. The space was really open for us to adapt to how we wanted it. The beautiful farm house they have on site was the perfect space for my family to stay in, as they were coming down from Kent. I loved the idea of waking up in the morning with all my loved ones and having a relaxed breakfast.
Your Outfits & Accessories
My dress was by Stella York and I found it in a little Bridal Boutique called “Bridal by Jodi” in my hometown of Maidstone in Kent. It was right after I got engaged, and we had nothing else booked, not even a date, just the season! But we went for a wander and a look as my beloved Nana (and style guru) was starting another round of chemotherapy. I was under no impression that I would find anything – let alone the one.
I had no idea at all what I wanted, except I didn’t want a traditional colour, so I tried on every different style in the first shop we went and found one with a handkerchief style skirt which I liked but wasn’t in love with. So we went for some lunch and then wandered in to Jodi’s for a nose; my Nana was always known for finding the best deals, the quirkiest items and the best suited clothing for you – and like magic she spotted my dress in the corner.
I was besotted instantly – but the girls at Jodi were amazing and wanted me to have the proper dressing up experience so made me try on another 5 or 6 first. But as soon as “Stella” was thrown over my head I knew she was the one – before I’d even looked in the mirror.
My mum asked me how I’d feel if we came back in 3 month and she was gone and I replied with “I wouldn’t get married” – and my Nana bought it for me there and then. My Nana passed away almost a year to the day before the wedding, and I truly believe we found the dress that day so she could see me in it.
My mum had a diamond ring of my Nana’s remade into a necklace that I wore on my wedding day – my something old and new. I wore her vintage pink diamond earrings for something borrowed, so she was with me all day.
My shoes were Ted Baker and so comfortable! I wanted something I could wear again and again, rather than just wedding day one-offs.
The Readings & Music
I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of Tale as Old as Time from Beauty and the Beast – which is a long running joke between Dan and I, as he always says we are like Belle and the Beast. Although afterwards he said he didn’t even hear any music because he was looking at me.
We had a mixture of Stevie Wonder and songs from the Greatest Showman to sign the register – we tried to show our eclectic music taste throughout the day. We walked out to Dancing in the Moonlight – which was such a feel-good moment.
We had one reading in the ceremony “If You Love Something by R.Queen” – read by my Maid of Honour Belinda and she did a beautiful job.
We hired The City Folk as our band for the evening, and their lead singer did a fab acoustic set for us during the drinks reception. After many long hours of 100s of songs, we decided on possibly the most non-traditional first dance song “Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Hard to Concentrate” – but it was perfect for us. The City Folk did an insane set and the dancefloor was full the entire time, with upbeat tracks all night long.
Sapphire Bates from The Flower Arranger did our flowers and she was an absolute goddess through the whole process. She was like a psychic managing to extract my vision for the flowers from a few pinterest images and my jumbled words. She had massive odds against her in terms of the scale of the installation and the timings, and she absolutely rocked it.
I wanted my bouquet to be pretty big and an unusual shape, and just let Sapphire go with whatever was seasonal and gorgeous – and she did me super proud. Lots of greenery, quicksand roses, dahlias and autumnal colours. She used the same to fashion my statement floral crown, which looked so beautiful next to my dress and blonde hair.
I went for greenery bouquets for the girls, and individual greenery buttonholes and corsages. They looked so effective and I loved that each one was different.
Then the décor – I originally thought I had big plans for the flowers but it was nothing compared to how it panned out. As I mentioned previously my Nana passed away during the planning – she adored flowers, and when she left me some money I knew I wanted to “level-up” the flowers in honour of her. That’s when we came up with the floral installation, and the photobooth doors, and it looked incredible – I’ve never seen anything like it, it was like an autumnal grotto.
My bridesmaids consisted of my oldest friends and my two sisters – and between them they are every possible combination of style, colouring, height, body type and personality. Which I LOVED. But it wasn’t necessarily conducive to bridesmaid dresses. Initially I found some dresses in a similar style but different neck lines or sleeves, the girls really liked them and I was envisaging them all in different styles; typically 4 of them wanted 1 of the dress and 1 wanted another entirely, so that idea was thrown out pretty quickly.
I found the girls dresses from Little Mistress on ASOS, they were all the same which initially wasn’t what I wanted; but the colour and style looked so beautiful and different on all of them. It really brought the pink colour out in my dress, and I knew the colour would look beautiful with their greenery bouquets.
My flower girl Holly wore an adorable little velvet dress from primark, with embellished shoes from next and a suede bomber jacket – the edgiest flower girl on the playground.
I wanted the guys to be comfortable and relaxed. Dan is like a walking furnace – so he didn’t want to wear a jacket, as that’s not his style. He decided he just wanted to wear a waistcoat, which actually really went well with how the rest of the wedding panned out.
I sourced the tweed waistcoats from a manufacturer through eBay, and the shoes, trousers, shirts and ties are all from the high street. But I like to think; you can’t tell how much of a bargain the boy’s outfits were.
They looked so effective all together, Dan’s waistcoat looked great with the colour of my dress, and they were nice and cool in the 26 degree October weather!
The Details & Décor
The details were basically all things I’d gathered from the beginning of planning, completely artfully and creatively put together by the fantastic women of Rock the Day Styling.
We had pumpkins EVERYWHERE, every different shape, size and colour. With the added cosiness of fairy lights. We had a memory table for both of our Nana’s with their wedding photos, which meant so much to us.
We used my instax camera to make a photobooth – in front of some reclaimed doors from Brown Birds, decorated by flowers with Sapphire and styled by RTD.
Our table plan was on styled on beautiful reclaimed wooden shutters from Brown Birds, with jars of individual flowers, and surrounded by pumpkins. The tables themselves were also adorned with pumpkins, and gorgeous little glass bottles with individual flowers.
We also had some beautiful bits provided by Teresa from Sweet Delight Hire Services, who went out of her way to make my life easier. Her rustic Love Letters were so unusual compared to what else was available, and they fit our day perfectly, as did her order of the day plan, which was a big feature outside.
I love love love makeup and whenever I need my makeup and hair doing – there’s only one girl I go to. My incredible friend Emma – she runs The Garden House Beauty Boutique in Ashford with her best friend. No one else would have dragged themselves across two counties, at 5am in the morning, at 30 weeks pregnant.
Because Emma has done my makeup for such a long time she knew what works for me and I have complete faith in her – she uses the Airbase makeup, which would last for 3 days if you didn’t take it off, and is completely flawless without feeling heavy. I showed Emma my dress and let her work out what would look great, and I was so happy with what she came up with. Super glowy, beautiful skin, warm toned eyes and lip.
I knew I wanted a floral crown from the beginning and Emma worked in a really low maintenance, boho-esque updo – messy but controlled mess. The whole look was amazing.
Due to my many bridesmaids and my Mum needing glam as well – Emma bought her friend Alex who I’d never met before, but fit right in to the gaggle of girls, and did amazing makeup looks for all for them. Factoring in how they prefer their brows and skin, and what suits them best. She was amazing.
Helen was the only photographer we ever met – the night we had our first meeting, Dan was in a super stressy bad mood and didn’t want to go, but once we left he was in a great mood. That’s the effect Helen has – we honestly felt like we had one of our best friends taking our photos and we laughed all day long. The photos were incredible, exactly what we wanted, and we have a photo of every single tiny detail of our day. She also totally understood when we explained how obsessed we were with our French Bulldog Celia, being in some of the photos.
We didn’t end up meeting Dylan until the day of the wedding – but he was great, he was absolutely everywhere without us realising and the video he created still makes me cry every single time I watch it.
Call us crazy but the very next day we hopped on a plane to Playa del Carmen in Mexico, we were grumpy, and tired but we landed in paradise. The Platinum Yucatan Princess made our honeymoon so unbelievably special, with amazing food and a constant supply of cocktails. We got to relax, spend quality time together not talking about weddings and did a once in a lifetime trip to Sian Ka’an – a magical biosphere where dolphins and sea turtles just swam straight up to us.
My girls seeing me all dressed up for the first time.
Waiting for the music to start and just feeling so completely ready to marry my soulmate.
Dan’s face when he saw me.
All our loved ones in one place altogether.
The weather being so unexpectedly beautiful.
When Celia arrived for photos and she was so excited.
Dancing with everyone to the Chilli’s.
We weren’t overly fussed about a wedding cake, and always planned to have Krispy Kreme donuts. But our families wanted us to have the whole sh-bang including the “cutting the cake picture” and we wanted to make sure everyone was happy – so we did it our way. We got amazing friends and family to bake us all kinds of goodies, including a big Lemon Drizzle cake for us to cut, brownies, rocky roads and cup cakes. My Mum, Dan’s Mum and godmother, styled it for us with added greenery and fairy lights for the whimsical effect. We still had Krispy Kreme donuts – on an amazing donut wall provided by Brown Birds.
Advice For Other Couples
Don’t let anyone else tell you what are the important or essential things for your day.
Have no regrets about what you want to spend your money on.
Having your pet at your wedding is amazing, and your photos will be treasured forever.
Let your photographer advise you on your schedule – the wedding venue staff know what they’re talking about but at the end of the day, the photos are what you have to look back on and you don’t want to miss out or rush them.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Ivory White Photography
Make Up Artist + Hairdresser
Rock the Day Styling
Brown Birds Wedding Hire
Sweet Delight Hire Services
Sapphire – The Flower Arranger
Bridal Gown Shop
Bridal by Jodi
Dress Name & Designer
Stella York – 6432
Ted Baker Peetch Court Shoes Mink
Groom & Ushers Suit Shop
Waistcoats: eBay Trousers: Asos Shirt: Next Shoes: ASOS Ties: Next
Ahh so gorgeous!
Nancy and Dan thank you both so so much for sharing with us your super special wedding day xo Lou