WWW readers Elton and Olivia were hitched on the 20th May 2017 on a beautiful Spring day, with a church ceremony and marquee wedding reception. One of the loveliest moments has to be the country walk back to Liv’s family home, complete with super cool smoke bombs. A relaxed, fun and personality packed celebration was the combination of all of their DIY efforts. I am loving the multicoloured lanterns in the marquee to the pastel bouquets and Star Wars references. It was just so awesome!
Nicola Casey Photography was on hand to capture all the festivities, and I think you’ll agree her shots are utterly gorgeous. Thanks so much Nicola.
THE PROPOSAL | 20th June 2015. For Liv’s birthday we had our first summer BBQ in our new house, so invited Liv’s family and some of our closest friends over. We had a great time partying away and when Liv’s mum pulled out Pass the Parcel no one was surprised as it is her signature party game – it took 17mins to get to the last layer, which landed on Liv. She’opened it up to find what she thought was a pair of earrings from mum, only to find her late grandmother’s antique amethyst and diamond engagement ring. Elton was down on one knee and everyone was screaming! Liv burst in to tears and nodded a lot and we were engaged!! Elton had asked Liv’s dad’s permission a couple of weeks earlier and her mum had given him the ring, he suggested that Liv’s mum did one of her epic Pass the Parcels and she was well up for it. There is even a video of the proposal, which neither of us can’t watch without bursting in to tears!!
THE VISION | We always knew that we’d have the reception at Liv’s mum and dad’s house in a small village in Central Bedfordshire. We’ve been to over 20 weddings in the 8 years we’ve been together so we’ve seen a lot of things that we loved, and a lot that just weren’t our tempo. We wanted it to be bright, vibrant and not too matchy matchy; there wasn’t a colour scheme that we could agree on, so we decided to have all colours!
Most of all, we wanted it to be relaxed, fun and a reflection of our personalities. The last thing we wanted was a ‘paint by numbers’ wedding, but we weren’t going to re-invent the wheel in the process.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Liv is a Project Manager and Elton is a Creative, so Liv spent most of her time nagging Elton to do the invites.
We used as many local suppliers as possible, which could some times be challenging as we live in South London. We had a year and a half to plan and once you’ve done the big things you’ve just got to keep up with the smaller bits. Then it gets to the week of the wedding and if feels like the to do list will never end.
BUDGET | We spent about £20k in the end, which was more than we wanted to, but with the amount of people we had (and a free bar for them) it soon added up.
THE VENUE | We were lucky enough to have an incredible venue in Liv’s family home in Bedfordshire, they’ve got a huge garden, but even that wasn’t big enough, so her dad removed the vegetable patch, took down some fences and levelled out a part of a field to accommodate our marquee. Two of Liv’s sisters have had their wedding receptions at the house, so we knew how well it would work.
A short walk up the field and down a track leads you to a gorgeous 17th Century church on the top of the hill, overlooking the village and the surrounding fields. Whenever I (Liv) thought about walking up the field with my dad and my best friends, and in to the church to say my vows it choked me up, I knew this was where I wanted to get married.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | (Liv) I had my dress hand made in The Wedding Workshop in Ampthill and they were incredible. Hollie was my consultant and she was attentive, helpful and never pushy.
The veil was borrowed from my sister, my shoes were LK Bennett (thanks to my aunt Sandy for helping me choose them), my mum lent me a pearl and diamond necklace and I wore some simple diamond studs. I didn’t want any other jewellery on the day.
We had our hair and make up done by Lauren and Chelsea of Sweet Lemon Beauty and they were fantastic. Such nice people to have around you on the morning of your wedding and we all loved the result.
FINDING THE DRESS | (Liv) Knowing that I was going to be walking up the field, that I’m also quite short and seeing a lot of my friends shuffle around awkwardly under the weight of their dresses (and having to help them go to the loo), the full length, huge gown didn’t appeal to me.
I went to The Wedding Workshop in Ampthill and got mum and my bridesmaids to choose a dress each that they thought I should try on. Even though I knew I didn’t want to buy a long dress, I tried a few of them on anyway. The first dress I tried on I was in love with, I would have happily got married in it there and then!! They have example dresses but make all the dresses from hand, so I could make changes to the dress. That was in the November of 2015, so I knew I had a lot of time to look. So I went to a few other shops near to where I live in South London and didn’t find anything nearly as nice as the dress in The Wedding Workshop. I found that the wedding shops were pushing me to like a dress that I wasn’t comfortable in a bit too much. I did get some good inspiration for the final dress, which I used with The Wedding Workshop.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | (Elton) After looking at lots of suits in high street stores, none of which fitted my bizarre, potato-like frame, I decided to spend the extra money and go bespoke. Our friend got married a few years ago and I really liked his suit, so I found out where he got it from and it was his ex-flatmate who has started his own tailors business based in Bristol. After going through the Saville Row stalwart, I didn’t feel like I was going to get the best personal service for the money I was paying, it felt like they couldn’t be bothered with me because I wasn’t spending the big bucks, I needed advice and I wasn’t getting it.
I arranged to meet David from Brown in Town in London one week and after the first meeting we clicked. I felt like he totally understood how I wanted to look and feel on my wedding day and he gave useful advice and recommendations. David explained what would suit me and why and I felt very informed. He actually changed my mind completely from what I originally wanted.
The final piece was a brown, lambs wool, three piece suit with gorgeous purple paisley lining. I wore a classic white shirt from Charles Tyrwhitt and Liv made the tie and pocket square for me. The cufflinks were Darth Vader from M&S. I bought brown leather semi-brogues from Dune.
David was very accommodating considering the time constraints (I left it quite late deciding on a suit) and managed to make additional alterations to make me feel more comfortable in the suit. He was a really nice bloke and I enjoyed seeing him for the fittings.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We have a very eclectic taste in music and wanted to use it as a tool to show our personalities.
Liv walked down the aisle to the piano version of Nobody Does It Better, by Carly Simon. We then had The Lord’s My Shepherd and Lord of the Dance as hymns. When we signed the register we had Woman in Love, by Barbra Striesand and How Deep Is Your Love, by the Bee Gees. As our final hymn we had our friend Bayley play the guitar and the whole congregation sang Crazy Little Thing Called Love, by Queen, which was absolutely brilliant! On the way out of the church we had God Gave Rock n Roll To You, by Kiss.
For readings we had John 15:9-12 as our religious reading, read by Elton’s sister Kirsty. We had Liv’s sister Rachel read a Tom Lehrer song called When You’re Old and Grey, we urge you to have a listen if you’ve not heard it before!!
We introduced the wedding party to the wedding breakfast with Long Live Rock n Roll, by Rainbow.
Over dinner we had an epic playlist of classic 70s disco tunes and it was great fun to see everyone singing along and dancing in their chairs while eating!
Our first dance was to Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – the George Michael version, this gave us the perfect excuse to use it as an introduction to the newly married couple (Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr and Mrs Elton Lambden…), but also to our amazing Karaoke Band, Rockaoke!! We sang the last verse and then the bridesmaids, then the best man, and then Liv’s sisters got up and sang.
In between the band sets we had playlists that we’d made that contained all manner of things, the mini-mosh to Slipknot was particularly fun!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | (Liv) My gorgeous best friends, Nicola and Claire, were our bridesmaids. I’ve been best friends with these two since I was 5 years old, they are part of the family. I knew exactly the type of dress I wanted them to wear…. colourful and floral, but it took a while to find them. I finally found these dresses on ASOS in the sale for £27 each! However, when they were delivered they’d sent a completely different dress for one of them, but in the same fabric. The other dress was nowhere near as nice as the one I’d chosen, so I panicked for a bit and then managed to find the right dress in the right size, with its tags on eBay, which was brilliant.
The dresses came with a cropped jacket, which as a joke we put on Claire backwards to cover her massive boobs and lo and behold it looked awesome! So Claire was actually wearing the jacket the wrong way round for the whole wedding.
Their shoes were from M&S, lovely nude courts. With a dress that colourful we didn’t want to even try and match the colour with the shoes.
For the walk up the field I bought us some cheap white tennis shoes and replaced the laces with colourful ribbon.
THE FLOWERS | (Liv) An old friend from school is a florist as a hobby and came highly recommended by several people. Oonagh O’Neill loved being given free reign on the colours. I just wanted anything that was bright in the bouquet, I did insist on peonies though, they are my favourite. My mum is very green fingered so her and Oonagh discussed the types of flowers that would be in season in May.
The bouquets were absolutely gorgeous, and we also had buttonholes for the men and corsages for my sisters and Elton’s sister Kirsty too.
For months before the wedding we collected crystal cut vases from car boot sales (where you could pick up 2 for £1) and ended up with about 5 vases per table. Again, it didn’t matter if they matched or not, the more variety the better. Mum bought and arranged all the flowers for the tables, which was an incredible feat. The brief once again was colourful!
THE CAKE | Liv’s aunt is an incredible cake maker and sugar craft expert, so it was a no brainer to ask her to craft us a beautiful cake. We gave her a brief of colourful and floral with Star Wars and she created a beautiful double sided cake that everyone loved. She made every single of the flowers on the cake by hand, which is just amazing. The layers were lemon, chocolate, Victoria sponge and fruit cake.
We topped the cake with a little Lego bride and groom.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | It took us a really long time to find Nicola and we’re so glad we were patient. We wanted the pictures to look exactly like the day had done to us, so no filters or weird colour effects. We didn’t want anything too clichéd, so collected all the naff wedding photography we’d seen and made a Pinterest board, when we found photographers who were local or in our budget we found a lot of the naff photography was in their portfolio. Luckily, some friends of ours had used Nicola for their wedding and we absolutely loved the pictures. They were full of life, movement and colour and we knew it was exactly what we wanted. We had a Skype call with Nicola and she was so friendly and attentive to what we wanted. She’s got her own style and it’s exactly what we were looking for. Too many people told us they could match a style we’d seen on the internet and that just didn’t sit right with us.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Colourful, bright, fun, eclectic and non-matching. Elton would have had black, white and red as the colour scheme but we’d seen it done so many times, Liv wanted to have something that looked completely different from all our friend’s wedding pictures.
We used Pinterest to find our inspiration and the colourful lanterns was one of the first things we’d seen that we agreed on! Elton wanted Star Wars and Liv wanted Liberty print, so we had to come to a happy medium where we both got what we wanted and we didn’t go in to a theme wedding.
We started sourcing the cut crystal vases from car boot sales, Liv ordered loads of things from eBay and started crafting things.
The print for the ties took quite a while to get right as Elton hand drew the flowers and then added in Star Wars characters. We then made 4 different colourways and got the fabric printed and then it was up to Liv to make 5 ties and pocket squares.
One of the simplest and most successful things at the wedding was cutting some Liberty fabrics in to strips using pinking sheers and tying it around the napkins. We didn’t have a single one of them left by the end of the night, everyone took them with them.
For the name places we got beer mats printed with space for us to write each name on. They looked brilliant once we set the tables up.
We had a ton of inflatables, tattoo sleeves, glow sticks and wigs for the party. It’s always fun seeing very drunk people passionately playing an inflatable guitar.
Liv’s dad made an 11ft solid oak bar out of an old church pupit and pews. It took him months, it was modular and it took about 4 blokes to lift it! Elton did some excellent branding to make it The Pissed Priest and it was the bar for the wedding, everyone absolutely loved it. We had ale and larger taps, classic pub art and most importantly snacks!
THE HONEYMOON | In 2014 we were travelling in Asia for 3 months and absolutely loved it, so the plan is to do some more travelling with the money our lovely friends and family gave us. However, the plan is on hold at the moment due to work circumstances.
We did however get away to a lovely hotel in Turkey for 5 days on the Monday after the wedding. Liv’s work colleague recommended the Barut Lara in Antalya and it was fantastic. We’d never gone all inclusive before and were very impressed by the quality of the hotel, the food, the restaurants and the service. We paid a bit more to have a Jacuzzi on the balcony, so we enjoyed getting in that in the evening and having a drink and a snack from the free mini bar.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | For Liv it would be walking up the field exactly as she’s imagined in the sunshine.
The congregation singing Crazy Little Thing Called Love was also excellent and worked perfectly.
The speeches were amazing. They were so funny and sincere and we even got a few tears out of the guests.
While we were having the photos done we got the chance to relax, look at all our friends and family enjoying themselves and that was great, we were so proud of what we achieved and how everything came together.
Liv doesn’t remember much past the first dance.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Think about what is really important to you on the day and spend your money on that. Don’t spend money where people can’t see it. Be different but don’t be radical. Keep the planning up and don’t leave everything to the last minute. However, when it’s crunch time and you’ve got 10 things to do and only time for 5, really consider what is important and let the other 5 go, you honestly won’t notice on the day, and your guests sure won’t.
GET A BABYSITTER! We had two lovely girls come and look after our nieces and nephews (5 kids all 5 and under) while we had dinner. It gave the kids a chance to chill out, watch a film and eat food they actually want to eat. We also made up party bags for them, which was a huge success. This also gave their parents the chance to catch up with family and friends over dinner without having to worry about keeping their kids occupied.
Men – don’t leave it too late to get your suit.
Most of all, enjoy the process, it can get stressful (especially when it comes to things like the guestlist), but it’s not worth having feuds over.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Nicola Casey Photography
Wedding Dress | The Wedding Workshop
Suit | Brown In Town
Marquee | UK Tents and Events (Marquee, toilets, refrigerated van, tables, chairs etc)
Food | The Illustrated Chef
Band | Rockaoke
Drone Pilot | Elliott Heathcoate @drone_enterprises
Flowers | Oonagh O’Neill
Hair and Make Up | Sweet Lemon Beauty
Well that was just all kinds of brilliant.
Elton and Olivia, thank you both so very much for sharing your story with us xo Lou