Today’s real wedding has a real contrast in venues, which I totally love. First up Josh and Sally were married at the stunning Bristol Cathedral and following the ceremony they headed to Sally’s family home for a beautiful pole tent marquee reception, all held on the 11th August 2018. It was a real country meets city affair for the best of both worlds.
The marquee looked really enchanting decked in festoon lights, bunting and pretty tall floral arrangements on the tables. I have to say I really loved their stationery choices too, their invites and gin themed table plan looked modern yet elegant. Their real focus though was on the food and drink, their menu sounded so delicious, I am sure their guests were over the moon.
Sally’s dress how real wow factor, with a long train and veil which was perfect for the Cathedral. Meanwhile Josh and his groomsmen wore navy suits and grey tweed waistcoats for a dapper look. They both looked so gorgeous.
Siobhan Beales Photography, thank you so much for sharing these beautiful images with us today, they are such a delight to view.
We had gone skiing with friends and family for a New Year’s Eve break. We were in a self-catered chalet up on the slopes in La Plagne. We had all chipped in to create an Alps themed NYE feast of hot rocks, cheese fondue and raclette.
It was after midnight, we had just finished watching the fireworks in the distance from our balcony, the boys were all finishing their cigars. Josh asked me back out on to the balcony and that’s when he dropped to one knee in the snow. I couldn’t believe it and even forgot to give him an answer, he had to ask twice!
The Planning Process
It all came around quite quickly, we were engaged in January and had pretty much planned and booked everything by the May. Luckily, we are both pretty good at planning and making decisions, I guess that’s where the nickname “Spreadsheet Sal” comes from! It was a DIY affair with friends and family chipping in to help.
We knew how easy it would be to over spend so we ensured we saved on the things that didn’t matter so much to us and splurged elsewhere.
We decided favours didn’t mean too much to us and figured our guests may appreciate a free bar more.
The vases for the flowers on the tables were borrowed from my brother, Jack and sister-in-law, Lauren’s wedding.
We chose not to have a videographer. We both think they are great, but we knew we could live without it, especially if we choose a great photographer that would capture our story. Neither of us regret that decision but we did ensure we had someone video the speeches.
We didn’t have a wedding car. My dad drove me and the bridesmaids to the cathedral and Josh drove us back to the marquee. Many people gave us advice to spend 30 minutes alone together to take it all in – when better than the 30-minute car journey back to the marquee?!
As Josh attended the Bristol Cathedral Choir school in his younger days he was entitled to be married in the Cathedral. That was an offer we could not refuse. I, on the other hand, had always dreamed of a marquee in one of the fields at my family home, so we merged the two. Town meets country. We think it worked well and reflected our lifestyle.
Your Outfits & Accessories
The dress picked itself. Mum and I went along to Allison Jayne in Clifton, Bristol to try on a few dresses. As soon as I tried this one on, we both knew it was the one. Originally, I was drawn to lace designs, but the fabric just didn’t suit the look I had pictured. The dress was by Justin Alexander and being a Cathedral, the long veil was a must!
Josh’s suit was from John Lewis and the waistcoat, tie and pocket squares were from Peter Posh. We knew we wanted a little bit of tweed thrown in and decided the grey was more suited to our modern style.
I wanted an up do that would last all day but look effortless. I found Kansas through Instagram and was sure she was the one for me, I only needed one trial to know for sure. Originally, I thought I would have a few flowers in my hair, but it turned out a pearl hair vine suited the dress and look I wanted to create much better.
I’m very fussy when it comes to having my make up done and therefore in the early days of planning I said I would do my own. My bridesmaids soon persuaded me that I may be feeling stressed on the morning and it would be a good idea to have a make up artist. I knew they were right, so I started looking for someone I knew I could fully trust and feel at ease with. I had followed Alex on social media for a few years and knew I liked her style. After a trial I knew she would be perfect!
The Readings & Music
During the ceremony we had two readings. My cousin, Laura, read “A recipe for marriage” whilst a family friend on Josh’s side, Ruth, read Colossians Chapter 3, versus 12 – 17.
We utilised the amazing organ and I entered to The Bridal March and Josh and I exited to The Wedding March.
We sang three hymns in the ceremony which were ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’, ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer.’
In the evening our first dance was ‘You Make My Dreams’ and was played by my brother Jack. Jack is quite the musician and it meant a lot to us to have him perform. We then had Richard Reeves and band perform in the evening, they really made it for us. We received a lot of comments from guests asking who they were!
Luckily my mum, Sue, has a good eye for flowers. I had found a few pictures on Pinterest of flowers I liked the look of, and we went off to the wholesale market to choose the exact colours.
There was a slight hitch and the David Austin roses we had ordered missed their flight from Holland. Luckily, the wholesalers managed to deliver a rose which was very similar to the chosen one and if anything, I preferred it!
Sue and her friend, Paula, worked hard on the Friday before the wedding to get all 11 table decorations, 4 bouquets and 10 button holes looking perfect. We were really pleased with the finished look.
Siobhan Beales – one word – wow! “It was like having your best friend take photos of you all day!” Quoted from the groom himself.
From first enquiry we knew Siobhan was the one for us. We started off with a pre-wedding shoot at Cirencester Park to get used to being in front of the camera. Siobhan made us both feel so relaxed and it was so nice spending that time getting to know her and vice versa.
Siobhan went completely above and beyond to ensure the whole day went without a glitch. The weather was against us but she managed to grab us away as soon as the showers passed to get some shots that will stay with us forever.
Siobhan was like a fly on the wall and we didn’t notice her at all, which was a top priority to us.
The Details & Décor
We kept decorations to a minimum. We figured the cathedral spoke for itself and we would only do it injustice attempting to decorate at all.
For the marquee exterior we hired some topiary which we popped some copper wire lights in, we didn’t want to clutter the look with anything else as the marquee did most of the talking itself.
We had a bit of a gin theme going on inside with 3 different gins available at the bar. A gin illustrated table plan and gin bottles as table names.
We also managed to borrow some bunting from a family member which we hung up between the festoon lights.
Food & Drink
This was a big one for us. We didn’t want any of guests to feel hungry or be without a drink!
Choosing a caterer was easy – my brother, Tom and sister in law, Sarah had got married in a marquee last year and we thought the caterer he had used, Sarah Capper was great.
Following their lead again, we also used the same company as them to run our bar – June from The Sherston Wine Company. June knows the craic and lived up to our expectations.
When we arrived back at the marquee we were greeted with prosecco and Pimm’s and a variety of canapés to line those stomachs, our criteria for this was ‘we don’t want to run out’ and Sarah certainly made sure of that. We had 10 different canapés in total including, smoked salmon, mini Yorkshire puddings with roast beef and horseradish, cocktail sausages with honey and mustard, camembert and cranberry and potato skins with sour cream and chive.
We served the main wedding breakfast after the speeches to allow the boys to relax and enjoy their meals. The main course was duck breasts, baby new potatoes, French beans and chantenay carrots served with a red wine jus. When we spoke about pudding I heard the words meringue, cake, chocolate mousse and whipped cream and I was sold. This was served with a raspberry coulis and summer fruits.
In the evening we had a burger bar as we are both partial to a good burger. The toppings included all the usuals plus chorizo, blue cheese, coleslaw, onion chutney and guacamole.
There was also a large scale cheese board to satisfy any late night cravings!
You will notice DIY really is becoming a theme now. The cake wasn’t too important to us. We figured you cut a cake for tradition’s sake and then some of it gets eaten. Sue once again turned her hand to the job and baked a perfect two-tiered carrot and walnut cake. It was decorated with a little Rosemary and finished with a copper wire cake topper from Etsy page, The Letter Loft UK.
We were planning to save up a little before going on honeymoon, but Josh’s parents kindly gifted us a week in Malta at the end of September. We started in Valletta for one night staying in a lovely boutique hotel called Casa Ellul, we had a beautiful meal in a restaurant called Guze and saw the sights. We then moved on to Golden Bay for seven nights for some much-needed relaxation.
Bristol Cathedral! Need I say more? We felt like royalty in the choir stalls.
My parents surprising me by organising for my pony, who is out on loan, to be guest of honour – a few tears were shed.
The groom finding himself up one of the marquee supporting poles (sorry Bisley Hire!) whose idea was it to put one of those on the dance floor?
Bridesmaid dresses were another area where we managed to save a little. After my other sister in law had successfully used an online company called For Her and For Him I followed suit.
I gave the girls a selection of dresses that I would be happy with and asked them to choose their own. It was important to me that they would feel as comfortable as possible. They wore two different dresses in two different shades, which suited each of them perfectly. I really liked the mix and match look.
The flower girl dress was an Etsy purchase from GillyGray which to me felt like a mix of traditional with a hint of modern thrown in.
The suits they wore matched Josh’s exactly so suits from John Lewis and accessories from Peter Posh. They all wore their own shoes.
Advice For Other Couples
Don’t be afraid to not follow suit, do what suits you!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Siobhan Beales Photography
Richard Reeves Band
Catering Equipment Hire
Alex Niven Make Up
Wise words of advice there Josh and Sally. Thank you both so much for sharing your stunning celebrations with us xo Lou