WWW readers Polly and Will are with us today and I will begin with their totally lovely words, thanks so much guys!
We adore the blog and the variety of unique weddings on this and I (Polly) used this loads during the planning and inspiration stages! It still, even after wedding planning, remains the most visited site alongside BBC News (quite the contrast) when I open up my internet browser!
Wow, isn’t that just lovely? And onto their delightfully pretty and home made wedding day, which was held at Polly’s parents’ house following a really special church ceremony on the 22nd June 2019. They had a vision of a relaxed buzzing homely and countryside wedding in the most gorgeous celeste marquee. The whole celebration was a real team effort with their nearest and dearest coming together to craft the day of their dreams. Think home-grown flowers, DIY décor and really personal touches all round.
I adore the country rustic vibes meets bohemian style (hello gorgeous lace gown and flower crowns), the really touching wedding readings and the unique song choices (I love Outlander too!). Do look out for super stylish attire, tuk tuk transport and stunning flowers everywhere.
We had been for dinner with our friends and, as big foodies, we were all very concerned Will hadn’t eaten pudding and might be ill… In fact, he was just incredibly nervous as that evening he got down on one knee at home to ask me to marry him. It might not have been the most glamorous proposal but it suited us perfectly!
A relaxed yet exciting countryside wedding surrounded by personal touches and things we love! It was really important for us to involve Polly’s late granddad who was a huge part of her life in some way so we decided to create ‘Bird Garden games’ as a subtle tip of the cap to his love for birds which led to him helping to start the local Lotherton Hall Bird Garden. We made flamingo hoopla, hen-ga and our ‘Sitting ducks’ table plan where guests hooked their own duck then turned it over to reveal their table number. We had such fun assigning people themed ducks and the games were a real talking point keeping people entertained.
To add to this personal feel, we wrote and printed personalised limericks for all of our 90 guests for their table setting in honour of our split time between Dublin and Leeds and Polly’s dad’s Irish heritage. These were full of funny snippets from our relationships with each person and led to a lot of amusement! Guests loved these and their individual ducks which both doubled up as favours.
The steel drums, long tables, sumptuous BBQ and video booth (where guests gave somewhat hilarious advice for the bride and groom) all added to the laid-back yet buzzing atmosphere of the day.
We hired morning suits for the ushers from Harrogate Suit Hire, opting for grey waistcoats and navy ties from Hawkes and Curtis so that Will stood out.
The Planning Process
We had 10 months to plan the wedding. This mainly involved chatting through what we both love before incorporating as much of this into the wedding as possible. For example, Will adores bacon, Polly has a serious sweet tooth and whilst we are home birds we also love travelling and have fond memories of our times together in Asia. We therefore decided to get married at Polly’s parents’ home, have bacon butties as evening snacks, pick n mix on the bar and a tuk-tuk! Originally Polly joked about getting a tuk-tuk due to the short but very steep distance to the church making a wedding car seem excessive but we amazingly managed to source one locally. This was a really fun surprise on the day and many guests used the tuk-tuk from the church, hurtling by other guests that had chosen to walk in the splendid sunshine.
In addition to planning based on random things we love, we were conscious to try to support environmentally friendly businesses or charities where possible – it only seemed right when we were becoming the Greens. We sourced a charity as our steel band, used seasonal and locally grown flowers to remove chemicals and air miles and award winning environmentally friendly caterers who recycle all by-products and provide to the homeless. Incidentally, it also ended up a rather feminist wedding with a female vicar, DJ, drummers, caterers and photographer!
Polly’s parents’ tireless work meant we had an incredible readymade wedding venue with stunning gardens which helped enormously. We also opted for personal DIY touches which were a family effort instead of more expensive, glamorous ones. We spent many hours in our garage making all of the signage, had cake instead of dessert, stocked our own free bar and used a fantastic bar staff company, did our own make up, made our stationery and used hay bales we had for seating. We kept an excel spreadsheet and stuck to our original budget spending less than £18,000.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were relatively loose fitting in keeping with the bohemian vibe and were a bargain from Debenhams, the last 4 available which luckily fit everybody! They had flower crowns with gold knot earrings and bracelets which were a thank you for helping us to ‘tie the knot’.
We got married at the local village church in Bardsey followed by a reception at Polly’s parents’ house in a celeste marquee.
The Readings & Music
For music at the reception we had steel drums playing a mixture of current and old songs including the tune to our favourite programme Outlander which was amazing. Our first dance was Toy Story’s ‘You’ve got a Friend’ because of its fitting lyrics and in church we had the organ playing Canon in D for walking down the aisle, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring for signing the register and Arrival of the Queen of Sheba for leaving.
We had 3 beautiful readings from close friends which were highlights of our day. Firstly, Colossians 3:12, followed by a poem written by a soldier in World War 2 called ‘To My Wife’ which was found by chance in the back of a prayer book recently. The words are very poignant, particularly in the circumstances it was written and we love that it was to his wife back in Yorkshire where Polly is from and we live. A lot of our friends have asked if this can be there something borrowed for their weddings after hearing the beautiful words. The link is here. Finally we had Blessing of the Hands which we know is a popular reading but we still can’t help tearing up at the last line “And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch”.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Polly wanted a comfortable dress in keeping with the setting and our family friend Gill Ford’s, a dressmaker in Knaresborough, creation was stunning. The exquisite silk and lace fit and flowed perfectly (supplemented by second hand Rime Arodaky dress material). Polly paired this with a two-tier veil by Gill, her mum’s borrowed diamond studs, a diamond bracelet as Will’s wedding gift, a fresh flower crown and Georgia Rose T-bar heels. Will hired his morning suit from Harrogate Suit Hire, choosing a buff waistcoat and a cornflower blue tie from Hawkes and Curtis, paired with personalised Badger and Brown cufflinks and a Longines watch from Polly.
We spent a very long time searching through photographers and are so grateful we found the unbelievable Sarah. She had a challenging job as we realised we only gave her about 5 minutes for photographs due to our desire to maximise time with guests! Whilst giving her so little, she still somehow managed to get the most wondrous photographs as well as capturing genuine, real moments. Sarah’s photography is outstanding and she is also a lovely, calming presence to have around on your wedding day. She is both subtle and incredible – perfect.
Amy from Westrow, Roundhay styled everybody’s hair in a bohemian way with curls and plaits above their flower crowns. Not only was everybody’s hair incredible, lasting all day through whatever was thrown at it, but she also was such a lovely person to have there in the morning and provided much appreciated moments of calm. We all did our own, naturally styled, make up.
We ruled out a video thinking this was a luxury but thankfully a friend demanded we get one after receiving hers! G&A Media were an absolute blessing. They are recently married and this is so clear from the whole way they approach their filming. They were subtle, flexible, lovely and most of all incredibly talented capturing our day perfectly. The video is phenomenal and left us genuinely speechless. We don’t believe anybody could offer better artistry and we are truly lucky to have found them. The video has provoked tears and laughter in equal measures from family, friends and even colleagues who didn’t attend our wedding! People still can’t stop talking about it and we can’t recommend them highly enough – extraordinary.
The Details & Décor
Polly’s mum and nana collected lots of jam jars and intricate vases and filled these with flowers on tables, they also made the bunting and their basket held the confetti cones which they made up with biodegradable petal confetti. We used our own plant pots in the marquee and DIY’d a lot of signage with pallets and frames as well as the games. Charity shops and eBay were used for things we needed such as floral china plates for cake, napkins and glasses. In many cases, it was cheaper to buy than rent and it means you have things to keep after the wedding as well as things to resell or give back to charity. The illustrations for our stationery were designed by Andrew Finnie, a friend who is incredibly talented at graphic design. We then made all of the orders of service, invites and place settings ourselves using online printing. We tied these with twine and a rosemary sprig from the garden.
We adore natural English flowers and Polly’s mum and nana amazingly provided all of the flowers in the marquee and in the churns from their own gardens, arranging these the day before. Our flower crowns, bouquets and button holes were provided by Claire from Flowers from the Farm in Ilkley.
Polly’s nana, her friend Wendy and sister kindly made our beautiful cake. It was a three-tier delicious Victoria sponge with homemade jam which we served as our dessert with fresh raspberries.
Hong Kong and Flores in Indonesia before ending in Bali.
Too many to even mention such as the beautiful ceremony, buzzing wedding reception, delicious food and epic evening dancing. If we really had to choose a few we would probably say leaving the church together as husband and wife after a perfect ceremony and greeting our beaming loved ones coming out of the church in the glorious sunshine, hurtling up the hill in the tuk-tuk as newlyweds for a moment just the 2 of us, watching people react to their limericks at their tables, all of the speeches which were both emotional and hilarious and Polly spontaneously twirling Will during our first dance whilst everybody roared with laughter.
Advice For Other Couples
- Digital detox for at least some of the day. We loved seeing people’s beaming faces instead of the front of their camera phone and felt people were so much more present and joyful.
- We had some really traditional elements but never felt we had to have things. For example we had a joint ‘sten’ in Poland where everybody really got to know each other instead of a stag/hen, speeches before dinner, cake instead of dessert, no wedding car and no formal 3 course meal. Choose what will make you happy instead of box-ticking what’s expected.
- Videographer, especially G&A Media. We honestly believe this is a priceless memory to look back on over the years and relive special moments, especially for things such as family member’s speeches.
- Yoga or meditation in the morning to fight nerves and stay present.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Sarah Longworth Photography
G & A Media
How utterly gorgeous!
Thanks so very much to Polly and Will for sharing their really very lovely wedding with us xo Lou