Oh what a way to end the week. Pure unadulterated joy, happiness and love.
Izzie and James tied the knot on the 16th May 2015 at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire followed by a party in a beautiful marquee. Their vision was simple, fun vibes with good food, drink and music. Sounds pretty perfect to me.
There was rustic DIY styling which just worked, from the hand baked cake to the reams of bunting and sweet floral stationery. Live music was a key part of their day too and their music choices sounded brilliant. With maids in pale pink frocks, artisan fresh florals and an amaze confetti throw ↑ it was just all so pretty.
Many thanks to York Place Studios for sharing their wonderful imagery and film with us today.
THE PROPOSAL | James proposed on a trip to the Lake District with friends. They all knew it was going to happen so the girls spent the morning dolling themselves up knowing there would be photos (cheers for the heads up girls!). We stopped at the top of a hill for a break and James called me over to where he was and proposed! It was really emotional and so lovely that our friends were there to celebrate with us the whole weekend.
THE VISION | From the start we decided that we wanted our wedding to be a fun filled day with our family and friends. We felt the most important elements would be good food, drink and music. We didn’t really have a theme as such but our countryside style ended up shining through!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We both loved planning the wedding and getting family and friends involved. I was surprised by just how on board James was for the whole thing, he had an opinion about everything (excluding the dress!), it was great because we ended up creating our wedding not just the wedding I had always imagined.
We got all the big parts of the wedding planned early on and then took about six months off and focused on buying our house, changing jobs and moving to Derbyshire.
Then after Christmas it was back to the wedding planning, this time it was all about the details which I loved. I had designed all the stationery myself and really enjoyed doing things like CDs for the guests to play in the car between the ceremony and reception and signs to go up around the marquee.
THE VENUE | We had the ceremony in the Riding School at Calke Abbey and then the reception in a marquee in the field opposite my parent’s house. I had always imagined having my wedding at home, but as we didn’t want a church ceremony we found it so difficult to find somewhere that could accommodate us just for a ceremony. However when we found Calke Abbey we knew it was perfect. The riding school was just an empty barn when we first looked around, but even then it had so much character, plus the girls at Honeysuckle & Castle (who run the weddings at Calke Abbey) were amazing.
Unfortunately we couldn’t have the marquee in my parents’ field as the ground wasn’t flat enough so we used the football pitch in the field opposite which worked perfectly. It also meant I was able to trudge across the field to use the toilet in my parent’s instead of the marquee toilets!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I got my dress from Andrea Bambridge in York, it is Constance by Forget Me Not Designs, although with a few tweaks here and there; adding sleeves and using champagne coloured silk under the lace. My Grandad bought me my dress before he passed away last May, which made it so special to me. As he wasn’t there on my day I cross stitched a red rose (for Lancashire) which was sewn onto the inside of my dress.
My shoes were the first thing we got for the wedding, from LK Bennett. I knew I wanted wedges as it was going to be in a field so these were perfect, I also got 25% off so they were a bit of an impulse buy, but definitely a good one.
The jewellery I wore was my something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. The old was a pearl necklace I was given when I left university, the new was my wedding ring, borrowed was a bracelet from my Auntie Sarah and the blue was the sapphire in my engagement ring.
I also wore a veil from Andrea Bambridge and a flower garland made by my florist Emily Wisher.
FINDING THE DRESS | I visited three dress shops in total and my experience at each one was so different!
Andrea Bambridge was the first I went to and she made the appointment an absolute joy. She started by talking through all the elements of my day, from location to how long I would sit in a car and even James’ build. This gave her a better idea of what would work for the day. Then my Mum, Sister and I went downstairs to choose dresses, we were quite shy and polite and didn’t really know where to start but we managed to choose a few. I loved trying them on and Andrea was great and showing me how I could make everyone personal to me.
The next shop we went to was tiny but by this point my mum and sister had found their stride and before I knew it dresses were flying into the changing room for me to try… it was in this shop I found out that I was not going to wear a full skirted dress!
Finally I went to a shop near home with my girl friends. It was lovely and I totally fell in love with two dresses, but they were really expensive and as I couldn’t try them on in a size that fitted they just didn’t feel special enough and when I looked back at pictures they didn’t excite me.
I decided to go back to Andrea and try on some of the dresses that I loved there and it was on this trip that I chose my dress. I wanted to add sleeves to it and change the colour of the silk, but I felt lovely in it and I was really excited to finally see it when it was ready.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | James wanted tweed from the start and as I was having a dress made for me it seemed only fair that he had something made for him. With hind sight I think he would have given himself more time to find a tailor so there was minimal stress, but Tim from Timothy James Henderson made the experience great for him. He had the jacket and waistcoat made to his specifications, including the fun lining! For the rest James got his shirt, shoes and chinos from Next and then accessorised with a bow tie and pocket square from Mrs Bow Tie. The groomsmen were given a budget and told that we would like them in tweed waistcoats, white shirts and chinos and let them chose exactly what they wanted. Plus James got them bow ties as gifts, again chosen by them.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Music was always going to be a big part of our day and I knew early on that I wanted my bridesmaid Rosie’s band, Threaded, to play. Luckily for me the rest of her band agreed to play for us during the ceremony and the drinks afterwards. It was so special having them play us down the aisle and hearing Jamie start playing instantly made me well up on the day.
I walked down the aisle to ‘How Long Will I Love You’ the version in the film About Time.
We had two readings during the ceremony. James’ sister Sophie read ‘Oh the places you’ll go’ and Danni read Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnet 116’, she is a big Shakespeare fan so we were really glad she chose it.
Even though we didn’t get married in a church I still really wanted singing, so during the ceremony everyone sang ‘Walking on Sunshine’ which was amazing, everyone got into it and we have had so many comments from people afterwards saying that they loved it.
We signed the register to one of my favourite pieces of classical music, ‘A Postcard to Henry Purcell’ played beautifully by Ning Ning and then walked back down the aisle as a married couple to Coldplay’s ‘Paradise’. James is a huge Coldplay fan so it had to in there somewhere!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I was quite a chilled out bride to be and told my bridesmaids I was happy for them to wear whatever they wanted, they didn’t even have to match, I just wanted them in something pinky or nudey that was knee length. However they wanted to match and ended up in gorgeous Ted Baker dresses. I am quite glad that they matched as they looked so gorgeous on the day all together, my sister did wear slightly different shoes on the day though to mark her out as maid of honour.
We all did our own make up on the day and my sister and I went for lessons at Bobbi Brown to learn some tips (and buy some lovely make up!). My bridesmaid Rosie’s mum did our hair on the day and it was great having her there in the morning, she really put me and ease and gave us all beautiful hair dos!
THE FLOWERS | My florist was Emily Wisher, she is an artisan florist and I really enjoyed my visits to her studio to discuss things. My mum and I loved it so much we went and did a wreath workshop there at Christmas!
James and I just wanted flowers that were in season with whites, pale pinks and greenery. I did ask for Lily of the Valley in my bouquet which I knew was in season as it is one of my favourite flowers and my grandma and mum had it in their wedding bouquets as well so I kept up the tradition.
Emily did an amazing job and loads of people said how beautiful the flowers were. I think my favourite bits were my flower garland, which I have dried and kept and the wreath for my parent’s front door. We also had milk churns filled with flowers and jugs for the tables. Our mums had floral button holes and we organised for James’ sister to have a corsage which looked gorgeous. The boys had herb button holes which were James’ request; luckily Emily didn’t listen to all of James’ suggestions because at one point he was talking about edible button holes involving ham…
THE CAKE | The cake was a labour of love which I think on the Friday before the wedding at 2pm we began to regret! I wasn’t hugely bothered by having a big expensive cake so decided that we would just bake one ourselves for the wedding. We had four tiers in total each made by different people, my Grandpa, my mum and sister, James’ mum and sister and James and I. It was then assembled by some friends, my sister and I on Friday and our caterers decorated it on Saturday. I was actually really proud of it on the day and it all got eaten so must have tasted okay!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER & VIDEOGRAPHER| Photography and Videography were at the top of our list of important things for the wedding day and boy did we choose well. Dom, Alex, Liam and Matt at York Place Studios were AMAZING! They were a joy to work with the whole day and we felt totally relaxed during the day with them photographing us. I first watched the slideshow of the photos on a train back from Newcastle and couldn’t stop crying whilst watching, I didn’t even feel embarrassed! We have also received our wedding video trailer which is funny, heartwarming and filled with the feeling of fun that we felt the whole day. We cannot thank these guys enough for documenting our day so beautifully.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We did a lot of DIY which formed the majority of our decorations. James and my Mum made the bunting together, I was in charge of all stationery and my Dad was in charge of the tower of cheese.
We didn’t put any décor up at Calke Abbey and just let the location speak for itself. We did have flowers though and a floral I & J on our snack table.
At the reception we put up James and Mum’s bunting, put lots of candles on the tables and we also put up some of our families wedding photos as a feature. One of my favourite decorations was our Lord of the Rings sign which was a wedding gift from our Usher John, it says ‘No Admittance, Except on Party Business’, we hung it outside the marquee. Our table plan was a crate with cards hung on strings, it was simple to make and the crate is now used as a side table in our living room!
THE HONEYMOON | We love cooking so went and did a Raymond Blanc cookery course at le manoir aux quat’saisons for the first day of our honeymoon which was really enjoyable. Then we went to Collioure in the South of France and stayed in an apartment by the beach.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | My favourite moment of the day was singing during the ceremony, I just felt so happy at that point. I also really enjoyed all the dancing in the evening, we had a great band and DJ and they really kept the evening going strong.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | If it feels like the right thing for you to do, do it, no matter how many people tell you otherwise.
I had so many people tell me I couldn’t drive James and I from the ceremony to the reception and that I had to have someone drive us. It turned out to be such a lovely drive just the two of us and people passing by seemed to love seeing a bride driving the wedding car, I am so glad I stuck to my guns about this.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographers and Videographers | York Place Studios
Photobooth | Vintage Booth
Catering | Jack Rabbits
Flowers | Emily Wisher
Marquee | Top Marques
Ceremony Venue | Honeysuckle & Castle at Calke Abbey
Dress | Andrea Bambridge
Grooms Outfit | Tim Henderson
Ceremony Band | Threaded
Reception Band | Tuxedo
Bow Tie | Mrs Bowtie
Oh so charming and beautiful from beginning to end.
Izzie and James I cannot thank you enough for sharing your story with us today xo Lou