Beer and bicycles? Yes that’s right folks. It’s time for Helen and Chris’ nuptials today, which were held on the 20th June 2015.
With a budget of £8000 they crafted the whole day themselves. Chris’ parents field provided the perfect setting for the marquee which was lovingly decorated in yellow and grey décor. There were bicycle chain buttonholes, a quirky brooch bouquet and a tandem for the bride and groom’s transport. The tandem was also in use for their honeymoon where they cycled for a week in the UK and it sounded just incredible.
Helen found her super pretty vintage style dress in Fur Coat No Knickers, which she teamed with colour popping yellow petticoat and shoes. She looked amazing. Meanwhile Chris went for a brown suit and dapper grey boots while the maids wore Coast frocks. Oh the attire was very lovely indeed.
Thanks so much to Jennifer Langridge Photography for sharing these wonderful images.
THE PROPOSAL | Arena di Verona, Open Air Opera. Verona. We were on holiday in Italy and I had booked us tickets to go and see Madame Butterfly at the open air opera. As the seats we so expensive I had booked us unallocated seats and so was being quite territorial/irrational about the space I had found. Chris was keen for us to go and “look at the view” from the top of the amphitheatre but I was absolutely adamant that we should stay where we were. He also keep asking me if I wanted a glass of bubbly or something nice to eat but again because I didn’t want to move we settled with a can of becks and a sandwich. Because I had clearly but unknowingly, ruined all of his great ideas he ended up just going for it and getting down on one knee in front of half of the auditorium and we toasted with a Becks. Everyone around us looked quite bewildered and I was so excited I couldn’t watch the play. The comedy of errors genuinely made it the perfect proposal!
THE VISION | Our theme was ‘Beer and Bikes’- after the two things that we both love! I also wanted the colour theme of yellow and grey as it reflected the colours of my engagement ring (Yellow and white diamonds). Using the style of a classic village hall reception or tea party as inspiration I brought loads of bunting and made a ridiculous amount of pompoms to brighten up the marquee. We ordered the beer from a local brewery and had mini beer jugs for all of the guests as an alternative option to the rather more traditional Champagne!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Having made the decision to do a lot of it ourselves rather than rely on a venue meant that we had to plan early – thankfully my mother-in-law is a great organiser and so was instrumental in making sure that we started on the “make and do” projects early otherwise it may have been a bit stressful.
Because we handmade lots of the small touches it means we can keep them as mementos which is so lovely and they are great reminders of the day.
On the Friday before the wedding we had all the ushers bridesmaids and parents helping us to put up the marquee and decorate the venue so it felt like a whole weekend of fun rather than just one day.
BUDGET | £8,000 – it sounded a lot but it was actually a really tight budget in the end including our dresses. We helped to cut costs down by doing some runs to Calais (close to our home in Kent) for the booze and by making most of the decorations ourselves.
THE VENUE | We wanted something that was really relaxed and outdoorsy – so we went for a marquee in Chris’ parents’ field. We then used the country setting as inspiration for a simple village hall type feel with long tables for the seating arrangements to ensure that everyone felt free to move around and mingle.
We had the drinks reception in Chris’ parents garden and then moved people up to the big field later in the afternoon as we wanted people to be able to take advantage of the outside space and thanks to the weather they did – at one point we had two football games taking place as well as a tug of war between our uni-friends and a Frisbee competition!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was made by a company called Fur Coat No Knickers who were so fantastic. I fell in love with all their dresses but sadly could only pick one. I wanted a dress that was evocative of my Mum’s dress from the 1960s as I loved the fact it was a short, fun style but still with a touch of glamour.
My veil was also from FCNK and I found an amazing head band on Vintage Styler.
I chose yellow shoes to bring a pop of colour to the dress and asked the girls at FCNK to match the ribbon to the trim of my petticoat. My shoes were from the Rainbow Club (John Lewis) as I wanted them to be very bright shade of yellow and they can dye them to any shade you like. They also sell a range of clips to add to the shoe so I went for a Silver sparkly flower that I later took off and added to some yellow flats from Oasis.
I had my trusty old blue wellies for my “Something Blue” as I had anticipated rain – which thankfully only materialised for 10 minutes.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | My husband’s suit was Oscar Milo. He had actually been circling it for a few months so the wedding just gave him a good excuse to buy it. He is a shoe fanatic and actually brought 4 pairs of shoes for the day – in the end he went for a pair of grey brogue boots from Jones and thankfully took the others back.
He made his button hole from some bike chain freshly picked daisies on the day. He made enough button holes for all of his ushers and also managed to find some bicycle link cuff links, again made from real bike chain, online.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had three bridesmaids all of whom I have known since school and they are all really different, after looking around for a while we ended up getting their outfits from Coast. We chose them quite a long time before the wedding as I wanted to make sure that they were unique to the girls and no-one else rocked up on the day wearing the same thing! As one of the girls was pregnant she wore a slightly different dress that we waited until the last couple of weeks to buy. They all had pins in their hair from Vintage Styler that matched my own headband. Their gold shoes were from Next and their bouquets were made by a family friend.
I also gave them each a coloured umbrella in case of rain that matched the colour theme of the wedding, these were an inexpensive but amazing find from Amazon that I purchased last minute!
THE FLOWERS | My best friend’s wife Lisa (mrsfoxfinery.co.uk) made my jewel bouquet. She had made her own for her wedding and I loved it! She is a connoisseur of all things vintage and pretty! It was so lovely of her to lend me an idea from her own wedding as well as take the time and effort to make it. She sourced all of the brooches from local markets and boot fairs. I went along with her on one occasion and was really impressed by her bartering skills!
Local friends helped with the flowers in the church and Chris’ parents spent months making sure their garden was just right with lots of planted yellow and white roses. I wanted flowers that were evocative of summer and not too “done” and so I picked lots of gypsophila, delphiniums, cornflowers and fox gloves as well as daisies and hedgerow flowers for fillers. We got some of the flowers from Covent Garden flower market but most were picked locally from the local hedgerow. To match the yellow theme I had individual sunflowers lining the pews. The church ladies also made my bridesmaids bouquets to match the flowers around the church.
We used Shropshire Petals for the natural confetti and it was stunningly pretty and because you can choose your colours it matched perfectly!
THE CAKE | We both love cheese! So we had a Cake of Cheese from Cheeseworks Cheltenham and a selection of Cheesecakes from The English Cheesecake company. Both were really yummy and it meant that people could go and help themselves to what they wanted. I also hate icing so it was a selfish decision really!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We chose Jennifer Langridge as our photographer as she is a close friend of a friend and I had seen her work on social media and loved it. I wanted someone that I could trust and have a normal conversation with as well as someone who had a professional and yet relaxed style. I also loved that Jenny’s wedding are all very personal to the couple and she has a way of picking out the small details.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Chris made his button holes from bicycle chain, barley and oxide daisies – these were really simple to make but he had loads of compliments on them.
We also used an old bike wheel for our table planner which we decorated with oxide daisies from the field.
I made candle holders for each of the tables from mason jars filled with barley and decorated in grey ribbon.
Chris’ Dad made tripod lanterns to decorate the field and my mum made lots of bottles with hop decorations.
We made the table planners from brown beer bottles that we had washed and removed the labels from and popped an old fashioned wooden peg in the top to clip our table names to.
Each of the table names were after a beer that we both liked and we used the stamp of a tandem to tie them in with our other stationery. Our own table was called St Edmunds as it was the beer we drank (lots) of on our first date.
A friend of ours decorated our own red tandem bicycle with painted tin cans and ribbons so we were able to ride off into the sunset in style! We actually kept much of the decoration on for our honeymoon which meant we got lots of attention “on tour”!!
We both love fancy dress and so we asked an usher to help us to add to our already pretty full fancy dress box. We gave him £100 to spend in various charity shops and ebay and we ended up with loads. £100 was a bit of an extravagance on such a tight budget but everyone loved it and it’s a great conversation starter! At various points in the evening I bumped into a musketeer, a penguin and a ghost all dancing the night away. Don’t expect to get the fancy dress back though – people get weirdly attached to it!
THE HONEYMOON | We left the next day on our tandem and cycled from Winchester to Bournemouth, Bournemouth to Studland bay and then over the Isle of Wight. We treated ourselves to some amazing hotels along the way-something we never do usually. My only requirement was that we had a roll top bath to soak our legs at the end of a long day cycling. It was bliss. We were really lucky with the weather and when it’s hot you really can’t beat England’s coastline. It was so fun and as we were cycling together all week it meant that we got to chat and relax as well as do something together.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Plan early – but don’t stress about things that don’t happen as no-one knows about them apart from you and your husband! For example we had planned on having small jute bags of beer nuts as our favours., but the bags were delayed as we had ordered them from America – (it was weirdly hard to find small jute bags in the UK?!) So we had to ditch the favours. No-one noticed!
Everyone says it, but the day goes so quickly – remember to take it all in and spend as much time as possible with all your lovely family and friends :-)
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Shoes | Rainbow Club
Accessories Headband and bridesmaid hairpins | Vintage Styler
Bouquet | Mrs Fox Finery
Photographer | Jennifer Langridge
Food | English cheesecake Company
Cake of cheese | The Cheese Works
Confetti | Shropshire Petals
Dress | Fur Coat No Knickers
Honeymoon hotels | The Kings Head – Winchester, The Green House Bournemouth, The Pig on the Beach- Studland, Thy Yurts @ The Priory Oyster Bay (Isle of Wight).
Many thanks to Helen and Chris for sharing their gorgeous wedding story with us xo Lou