Colour lovers, this one is for you! We are sharing WWW followers, Steph and Chris’ super gorgeous Birtsmorton Court wedding today, held on the 22nd August 2019 in the West Midlands. Woohoo! There is nothing I love more than colour and the more colour and fun the better in my opinion. Steph and Chris injected so much personality and love into their day, with multicolour décor, featuring smoke bombs, watercolour stationery, board games and books. It was also important for them to not be bound by tradition and to have a really relaxed atmosphere.
I also love Steph’s bridal separates, I mean that tassel top is just everything. She also wore an amazing rainbow crystal crown, which is something I’ve not seen before, she looked stunning. Chris chose a suit with contrasting waistcoat and colour pop orange tie, which coordinated with his groomsmen outfits too. The bridesmaids meanwhile wore grey dresses which was the perfect tone to work with all the colourful bouquets. Oh so stylish.
I will leave you with The Dignums incredible images, which I am so thankful to be sharing with you.
18 August 2018
Chris proposed to me on the Ferris wheel in Weston-super-Mare! We went to Weston for our first ever break together a few weeks after we first met in July 2015 and have gone back for long weekends almost every year since. It’s a special place for us. We arrived on the Friday afternoon and I wanted to go on the Ferris wheel straightaway, but Chris was adamant that we should wait until the next morning – I found out why the next day! I was looking out to sea at the view and when I turned around he was holding the ring (which he’d designed himself) and he asked me to marry him. We celebrated afterwards with a champagne afternoon tea on the pier!
We wanted our wedding to reflect our personalities – in particular we love anything colourful – so we wanted a really vibrant colour scheme. I love reading and have a massive book collection, and Chris has an equally huge board game collection, so we managed to incorporate those into the day as well, with papier maché coloured books displaying the table numbers, meeples [board game components – little people] in our colours on the name plates, and board games and garden games set out for people to play.
We also wanted the day to be as informal as possible, and a real celebration of our love. We didn’t want to feel that we had to keep to any traditions just because they were traditional, and we wanted everyone to feel relaxed and have a good time.
The Planning Process
We had just under a year to plan, and if I’m being honest, I would have liked a bit more time! We both have busy jobs and lots of other things going on so it was hard to carve out the time to do things sometimes, but it all came together in the end! We started with our colour scheme: we wanted a defined palette of bright colours so we took inspiration from a home décor shop and plumped for orange, pink, purple, blue, yellow and green.
We’re not super creative but decided to do a few things ourselves, like painting the table decorations and making the name plates for the tables. All of this came together rather last-minute which was quite stressful, but I don’t think we could have prepared much more in advance than we did!
When we started looking we knew that we would be inviting over 100 guests and we also knew that we wanted to get married somewhere with character. It was important to us to be able to get married in the venue itself so Birtsmorton Court was on our short list from the outset. We didn’t have any preference for venue location – we both now live in London but Chris is from the Midlands and I’m from Norfolk – so we cast our net wide.
I think it’s fair to say that we fell in love with Birtsmorton Court as soon as we saw it. The wonderful Kelly Anne Page was our guide (and she ended up being our wedding planner there, too) and she took us all over the building and grounds. When she took us into the Garden Room and told us we’d be getting married in a sixteenth-century converted bowling alley Steph was sold!
My hair and make-up was done by the fabulous Rose Forrest, who stepped in very last-minute after I was let down by not one but two hair and make-up artists! Rose was fantastic. We didn’t have time for a trial in the end but on the day she listened to me, understood the look I was going for, and executed it perfectly. My make-up didn’t budge all day and my hair even survived the vigorous dancing in the evening! Rose also did my mum’s hair, creating a sleek side up-do which went perfectly with the hat Mum had – Mum was totally chuffed with how she looked on the day.
The lovely Alison Ward of Bombshell Makeup UK did the hair and make-up for my four bridesmaids (also stepping in last-minute) and she was amazing. She tailored each look subtly to each bridesmaid, and was so chatty and friendly it really put us all at ease and helped us to enjoy the morning.
Your Outfits & Accessories
My top and skirt were both by Otaduy, and were purchased at Rock the Frock in Essex. I knew I wanted something fun and quirky, and had been experimenting with several options including colour and different fabrics, but as soon as I got into RtF I saw the top with tassels on it and knew I had to try it! I actually thought I’d already made my mind up about a different dress but I tried the top on with the skirt ‘just for fun’ and as soon as I had it on I knew it was the one for me! I really didn’t think I was going to get ‘The Feeling’ but I did so it just shows you need to listen to your gut! I felt amazing on the day and I’m so happy with the choice I made. Plus everyone at RtF was so lovely, even when I had a last-minute panic about it all!
Chris’s outfit came from Debenhams. I (Chris here now!) had to go with a bigger company as I had to dress the fathers and best men; eight in total. This meant I needed store coverage in London, Leeds, Coventry, Norwich and Bath! I wasn’t sure what I wanted other than wanting something different for me that would feel special on the day. I usually wear a suit, and sometimes a three-piece suit, for work. I wasn’t particularly fussed about wearing a morning suit and Steph had vetoed this suggestion anyway! When we went to visit Birtsmorton Court we stayed at the Tewkesbury Park Hotel (where we ended up staying on our wedding night) and I saw another wedding party with the groom wearing a dark suit/grey waistcoat/bold tie combo that looked quite cool and I felt would feel different enough for me on the day. When it was combined with my favourite colour orange tie, pocket square and buttonhole I felt it really set it off and I felt great on the day!
The Readings & Music
As we’ve said, we wanted to keep things relaxed and informal, so we opted not to have any readings during the ceremony. We took turns in choosing the music that we loved, so while guests were arriving they got to listen to a bit of Kate Bush, some Game of Thrones and some music and instrumentals from films including The Deer Hunter, Inglorious Basterds, and Pulp Fiction.
My entrance music was the Pride and Prejudice (BBC version 1995) theme! I’ve loved this version of P&P ever since I watched it first time around with my Mum as a Sunday night treat, and it’s really special to me. The book is also one of my all-time favourites. I loved hearing the music start up as my Dad and I began heading into the venue!
Our exit music was ‘It Must Be Love’ by Madness. Steph’s a big fan and we wanted something fun and uplifting to get the party started so it was the perfect fit. I even asked Chris to walk a bit slower so I could enjoy the song as we walked back down the aisle together!
The Details & Décor
Birtsmorton is such a beautiful and historic venue so we wanted to let it shine and keep things quite simple. We had in mind the colours we wanted and thought they would look quite striking against the white tablecloths and we were so happy with it on the day. To further enhance the colour theme we had large balloons dotted about in our colours, coloured books and table runners on the tables to provide a splash of colour, and coloured bunting outside, but everything else was left as it came. It looked really pretty and summery, with the added bonus that we didn’t have to spend ages decorating the day before!
Jackie Dean of Bluebell Wood Florist in Tewkesbury put together my beautiful bouquet, my bridesmaids’ bouquets, and the groom’s, groomsmen’s and fathers’ buttonholes. Jackie was fantastic – as I live in London I couldn’t just pop in and see her so we arranged everything via email and phone. I told her about our colour scheme, that I wanted bouquets that weren’t too formal and that were really vivid in colour (no pastels), and she honestly delivered way beyond my expectations.
We met Phil and Toby Dignum at the Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza in Birmingham, which is an alternative wedding fair. You could just tell from chatting to them that they were so much fun and so lovely (Toby was wearing neon light-up trainers!), not to mention talented, and we knew that we wanted them to capture our special day! We even had a pre-wedding photoshoot with them, which really helped to get rid of any nerves but also gave us some lovely photos to cherish. We weren’t planning on having a pre-wedding shoot but it came with The Dignums’ wedding package and honestly we’re so glad we did it.
On the day they were great – so professional we didn’t even realise they were there half the time. They’ve captured some amazing shots of us and our guests looking natural and having a great time, which is exactly what we wanted. We didn’t want to spend ages doing formal photos when we could all be busy having fun! They came and boogied with us on the dancefloor, too – now that’s dedication!
In addition, we hired Benedict and his Make You Look photo booth. We also met Benedict at the Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza and his photo booth is fantastic: we all had so much fun with it on the day. The photo booth uses a really flattering light so everyone looks incredible on the photos (very handy after a few drinks and a lot of dancing) and it records Boomerangs too, which, combined with the props Benedict brought along, has made for some very entertaining footage which we will treasure forever!
We honestly couldn’t recommend The Dignums or Benedict more highly.
Our cake was from M&S and was delicious! Steph’s lovely cousin, Naomi Harvey-Franklin, has her own cake-making business and used her excellent skills to decorate it for us in our colours and an abstract design.
The groomsmen’s outfits also came from Debenhams. We made a small difference to make them stand out from Chris and to keep them in line with the bold colour scheme: Chris had an orange tie, the best man had a yellow tie (for easy identification), the groomsmen had bold blue ties and the fathers had purple.
My main focus when shopping for the bridesmaids was finding something that they would all feel comfortable and confident in. My bridesmaid Jules took one for the team and spent the entire day at my beck and call trying dresses on! The bridesmaids’ outfits came from Dorothy Perkins and it was actually the last dress of the day that Jules tried on. We liked it straight away. We knew that the bridesmaids were going to have colourful bouquets and shoes, so we thought that the grey would be neutral enough to set that off nicely, and it was such a flattering length and cut.
A few days after we got married we went to Santorini for a few days. (We’re still planning the ‘main moon’!) Santorini was beautiful and so relaxing – just what you need after the chaos of organising a wedding! We spent five days reading by the pool, eating, drinking, and resting. On our last day we took a private catamaran tour of the island with cocktails on board and swimming in the sea! It was a really great way to finish off our trip before heading back to reality.
For both of us three things really stand out from the wedding. The first was the speeches which were all very genuine and had everyone in constant laughter! Steph’s brother Tom gave what would usually be the ‘father of the bride’ speech: as he does stand-up we had high hopes for hilarity and he didn’t disappoint! In addition, we found out that our bridesmaid Jules had been in touch with Chiltern Railways to tell them that we were getting married (we met on a Chiltern train to London in 2015) – they wrote back with a card, a poem, and a lovely gift of a weekend away for the two of us in Stratford-upon-Avon with train travel and accommodation included! Tom read all of this out as part of his speech and it was so thoughtful of everyone involved and such a lovely gift to receive. Then Chris and I both did a speech, and finally the best man, Chris Love (perfect name for a wedding!) rounded things off with some excellent jokes at the groom’s expense!
Second was the Made You Look photo booth. We were in stitches for almost every moment we spent in front of the camera. We’ve got a little photo album provided by Benedict which includes photos everyone took on the night and it’s so great to be able to look back and see everyone having fun. Our only regret from the day was not taking even more photos and Boomerangs!
Third was the mini photo session we had just before sunset. We had wanted right from the start to have some fun with coloured smoke flares, so we took some out to the corn fields at the back of Birtsmorton Court. It was just me, Steph, the bridesmaids and groomsmen. It took us a little while to understand how to work with the smoke flares and the ten of us ended up having such a laugh with some fun group shots and smoke-filled chaos.
Finally, we must say that the most special thing was just to have everyone we both love there to celebrate with us. Some of our friends and family had travelled long distances to be there, others we hadn’t seen in a while, and it was incredible to look around at dinner and see everyone there celebrating with us. It’s a memory we will always hold dear.
Advice For Other Couples
Stay true to your vision and don’t let anybody dissuade you from what you want! Try to remember that the day should be a celebration and not a stress. And to share some advice from a friend: on the day itself, try and take a little moment to step back and take everything in – it all goes so quickly that before you know it you’ll be falling into bed and you won’t remember half of what went on. Try your best to fix it in your mind and you’ll be able to treasure that memory forever.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Venue & Wedding Planner
Birtsmorton Court – Kelly Paige
Hair & Make Up Bride
Rose Forrest Hair and Make-up
Hair & Make Up Bridesmaids
Alison Ward Hair and Make-up (Bombshell Makeup UK)
Made You Look Photo Booth
McBaile Exclusive Catering
Steph and Chris, thank you both so so much for sharing your awesome wedding with us xo Lou