You’re in for a treat today with WWW readers Matthew and Charlotte’s wedding day. They chose to have their ceremony and reception at Packington Moor on Wednesday 20th July 2016 and their day was absolutely packed with beautiful personal details and plenty of funny moments. The soft pastel shades, gorgeous foliage and soft candlelight made for a relaxed and intimate atmosphere and you’re just going to love all the DIY that the pair and their families did for the day. There were so many special touches at the nuptials, from in-joke surprises for close family to the beautifully worded signs for guests.
Charlotte fell in love with a beautiful embellished gown and chose to have her hair down with a veil, while Matt cut a dapper figure in his blue suit.
Charlotte has lots of brilliant supplier recommendations and you’ve just got to see the incredible couple portraits taken in the sunny cornfields, stunning!
Thanks ever so much to Jessica Reeve for sharing these exquisite images of the day.
THE PROPOSAL | What a complete and utter shock this was! We had had one of the best years that year and Christmas was just the cherry on top, so I was on cloud nine. Bear with me as there’s a bit of a back story…We had spent the evening of boxing day with matt’s family at what was his Grandma and Grandad’s house. His brother now lived there with his little family and we had been playing bop it. The Talbot’s are a very competitive lot and after a few too many drinks it all got very serious and we played until the early hours. I looked over at Matt, who had his phone in his hand, and he uttered “We won!” We had played the Irish Lottery and our numbers had come up! Matt always says he is guided by a force much greater than luck. He believes his Grandma helped us win that night. So, a few days later while I was at work, Matt headed to town to go and get our winnings. I met him in town after work and he was saying his leg really hurt (he was in a cast as he had torn a few tendons during a game of football a few weeks previously) so we headed home. Another few days passed and it was New Year’s Eve. We had been invited to a party at Matt’s brother-in-law’s parents’ house. It was nearing 12 o’clock and matt seemed to be going out for a cigarette more than usual. I didn’t really think much of it, just that I remember saying make sure you’re here with me for the countdown. He just replied don’t worry I will be. Bob, whose party it was, came round asking who wanted Champagne and he wouldn’t take no for an answer, saying well even if you don’t drink it you have to have one to toast the new year! It was getting very close now and as more people headed to the living room to see the new year in and to watch the fireworks, I went to sit on Matt’s lap. He seemed uncomfortable and said sorry its just i think my wallet is in that pocket. We all stood.. 10, 9 , 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.. We hugged and kissed as we wished each other a happy new year. Thinking matt had hurt his leg as he crouched down i asked if he was OK, then he got on one knee and held out a beautiful ring in a red box as he asked me to marry him. I was completely blindsided. Hence my response “ Are you being serious?” He smiled and said yes.I replied of course I will! He stood and began to cry trying to tell me that he loved me. I, now very aware that the room is full of people looking at us, hugged him and told him I loved him too. After the shock had worn off it all started making sense. His leg was hurting so much that day in town because he had been there all day with his sister choosing a ring he was going to propose with. He had to keep going out for a cigarette to calm his nerves and it wasn’t his wallet in his pocket.. it was the ring! The cheesy smile that his brother and girlfriend had given me as we all shouted out the countdown as they knew what was coming.There were probably a hell of a lot more signs I had missed purely because I had been too happy to notice. Sounds corny I know but in the past I have been quite insecure and paranoid about things, so the happiness and calm I was feeling that whole year was blissful and I hadn’t wanted to think too much into anything any more, rather I bypassed them knowing I was just being silly. I had found the one, the one who would never hurt me or lie to me (other than to surprise me) and thus leading to the biggest surprise of my life and it was amazing! The money that we had won over Christmas had allowed matt to finally do what he had wanted to do for so long but not had the savings to buy the kind of ring he’d hoped to propose with. It was perfect!
THE VISION | We both knew exactly what wedding we wanted from the start. Rustic, intimate and as homemade and personal as possible. Close family and friends, something a bit different as a surprise to your guests (we had a magician) and just a whole lot of love. Perfect.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Our plan was always to buy a house before we got married as I was still living with my parents and Matt lived with his sister, brother-in-law and nephew. We both love those summer nights spent with family, having BBQ’s and chatting until the early hours sitting out under the stars. So with that in mind we had our date, July 2016. In two and a half years we would have our dream home and our dream day. So we made lists and spent most of our spare time going to wedding fairs, looking through Pinterest and google searching rustic weddings, saving any images or ideas to a wedding folder so we knew where to find things we liked when the time came that we were able to book and buy things.
THE BUDGET | We were so lucky to have such wonderful, generous parents who each helped out with our wedding fund. We couldn’t have done it without them! We did everything we could to keep costs down and by prioritising certain aspects of the day meant we didn’t lose out on anything that was important to us. Having our wedding on a Wednesday was one of the decisions we had to make to save a considerable amount of money but to have the perfect venue for our big day.
THE VENUE | Packington Moor is a rustic, rural country barn in the most gorgeous of settings complete with cornfields, towering trees and a courtyard that is an absolute sun trap in the middle of summer – everything we dreamt of, it was perfect! Our search for local rustic barns that just had that touch of elegance was proving rather difficult but after a visit to my Grandparents’ house I was filled with hope. My Grandma had remembered a wedding they had been to at Packington Moor a few years previously and said how lovely it was. We saw the pictures online and instantly booked a viewing. We loved it from the second we set eyes on the place and it ticked all the boxes! We just knew we would be getting married there! My Grandma sadly passed away the first year we were engaged, so I was so incredibly grateful that she had had a part in choosing our venue, it just made it even more special.
THE DRESS AND ACCESSORIES | I’m not the typical girly girl who always wears dresses and loves shopping for shoes etc. so this part scared me a little. One thing was for sure, no heels! I live in trainers.. and slippers. So a new pair of converse was on the shopping list. Dusky pink to go with our wedding colours. Im fairly body conscious but my ‘princess style’ lace up dress by Sincerity was absolutely perfect! My dress, veil and headpiece all came from the amazing Alison Evans Bridalwear.
FINDING THE DRESS | I had a vague idea of what I wanted but where to begin?! I first compiled a folder of images from the internet, sharing these with Matt trying to get a sense of how he had pictured me on the day. He was far more interested than I imagined he would be, which helped in some ways but then i was even more nervous that I would be able to pick something we both thought was perfect. My Mum and I began the search just 10 minutes away from where I now lived with Matt. As we approached the shop i glanced in the window at a dress they had on display. It was beautiful, I felt hopeful for the daunting task ahead. So here we were, Alison Evans Bridalwear in Swadlincote, surrounded by gowns and accessories. The ladies were so helpful and so genuine. There was no pressure selling or fakery, no telling me I looked stunning in everything I tried on and a “That that’s the one” at any dress i showed an interest in. Instead, they were honest and using their knowledge and experience we narrowed it down to a handful of dresses. Not yet getting that ‘feeling’, I felt I needed to continue the search. Then Mum said ‘‘Didn’t you want to try on the one in the window?’’ Yes! I had forgotten. As i stepped back to take a look in the mirror, I tried to hold it back but a girly smile wanted to burst onto my face. Being the indecisive woman I am though, I thought surely I just need to see what else is out there. So my Mum and I continued the search with three more bridal shops, 20 or more dresses. But still unsure, I went for a second try on at Alison Evans. I must have tried that particular dress on about four times or more but each time I would get that silly girly feeling and i just couldn’t stop grinning! I was so excited, mum paid the deposit and on mine and Matt’s 4 year anniversary of being together, I was delighted – I had found the dress I would marry this man in.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | We knew from the moment we started looking at suits that we both loved the blue suit. There was something about it that stood out and just looked perfect in a rustic wedding environment. We found the perfect suit at Brigdens in Burton on trent. My Stepfather, Mark had mentioned it as he loves going there to spend his birthday money but we thought it may be out of our price range as the shop is filled with top designer names. The lady was lovely and it just felt like such an experience. The colour, the cut, the finishing touches were all spot on! I couldn’t wait to see my future husband, his best men, ushers and our Dads all in these suits on our wedding day.
THE READINGS AND MUSIC | We chose traditional vows to say on the day but we also wanted to personalise it a little so we came up with our own promise that we would each say to each other before saying our I dos. This was our promise..
On this day,
I give you my heart.
That i will walk with you,
Side by side,
Hand in hand,
Heart to heart,
Wherever our journey takes us.
Living, learning, laughing, loving
Together with my best friend,
Unknowingly when we wrote this our journey was about to take an unexpected turn as we lost Matt’s brother, who was to be one of his best men, just under a month before our big day. We put our words into actions as we got through this heartbreaking time in our lives in the way we would soon promise each other and we will think of him always and whenever we hear these words.
We chose songs that had meaning behind them but also presented a joyful, happy feeling. When Matt and Steven Bailey, his best man, worked at a karaoke bar together in Spain, they would sing a certain few songs together, one of which is one of the first songs I heard them sing together and I loved it. Calendar girl. So we played that as our guests sat in the ceremony room waiting for me to arrive, along with two others they would sing together, “Under the moon of love” and “Let there be love”. I walked down the aisle to the instrumental part of Paolo Nutini “White lies”. Whenever we would play this when choosing our songs my heart would flutter and my arms filled with goose bumps. Such a beautiful piece of music and Matt always said that’s the song he pictured me walking down the aisle to. While we signed the book we played a song by one of Matt’s favourite artists Nat King Cole, “LOVE”, who we also chose for our first dance song, “When I fall in love”. We were nervous about having to dance in front of lots of people but this was perfect to slowly sway to.
For our evening entertainment we had the band “Achoosticks” who we found on the website Entertainment Nation. I am not one for dancing in front of people, on my own in my PJ’s while cooking is a different matter. But as soon as we started playing some videos of them I just felt like dancing, they show such enthusiasm whilst performing. Even when they were all sat down doing an acoustic piece, the faces they were pulling were hilarious. They weren’t just singing, they were acting out the story with their tones and expressions. They even offer to learn your first dance, unfortunately ours wasn’t one that was on their song list and contained too many strings for them to be able to do it justice without the whole band there. You can opt for the whole band for just a few hundred pounds more but we were really stretching ourselves and we just knew we wanted them even if we had to sacrifice a little. They were fantastic! We didn’t want the night to end, but when it did, it ended perfectly with our first dance song as our last. We would definitely recommend them over and over again.
THE FLOWERS | We went into this one blind really as we had seen photos of flowers we liked, but had no idea of names of flowers, so when we had our meeting at Johnsons florists in Burton on trent we struck lucky with the nicest, most helpful guy we had come across in the wedding planning process. He took a look at the photos I had found and individually hand picked a collection that worked stunningly together! We wanted soft pinks/peaches with plenty of pastel greenery to match Matt’s cravat. He helped choose the perfect ribbon and webbing to hold my bouquet together where they attached two small frames. Inside were pictures of my Grandma who I previously mentioned and Grandad who passed away when I was 12. Matt also had one with a picture of his brother, Jon, in his jacket pocket. Johnsons also took charge of decorating the Douwe Egberts coffee jars we had saved for the table centrepieces, which they wrapped in ribbon and webbing to match my flowers and pew ends in the ceremony room. They also did a stunning job of the archway we got married in front of and a rustic natural olive leaf swag on the front of our top table. It was all stunning and we were so happy that we chose them for our wedding, they really listened to what we wanted. We put all our trust in them and we are so glad we did! They also supplied us with tree slices for our table centrepieces, and these also sat under glass jars with sand and candles in running down either side of our isle. We also rented some gorgeous lanterns with candles in to sit around our guest book/remembrance table right next to our archway.We just loved the atmosphere that the soft glow of candles created.
THE CAKE | We chose quite a simple design for our wedding cake as we wanted it to be rustic and something that just represented us. I originally contemplated making the cake myself as this is one of my hobbies that I have slowly self taught myself over the years, making and decorating novelty/occasion cakes. I decided not to in the end and as I knew it would be too stressful and I knew our local cake shop (Delicious Dishes) would do an excellent job. They exceeded expectations and really took on board what we wanted. We asked for the bottom tier to look like a real tree slice to keep with the rustic theme and to match our tree slice centrepieces. I took in a picture of one I had seen online and they recreated it perfectly! We then had a further three tiers on top of that which we kept simple with the ribbon i had on my bouquet wrapped around each tier. Our cake topper was us lying on our sofa with our puppy on the arm of the sofa with us. It perfectly portrayed us when we are at home chilling in our PJ’s and Superdry hoodies (we live in Superdry hoodies), watching films with our pooch. Bliss.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Jessica Reeve. We couldn’t recommend her enough! This lady is beyond amazing. Do not hesitate, book her if you can. I myself love photography! I am constantly taking photos of things, Much to Matt’s annoyance sometimes as he is normally the one i’m pointing my camera at. Finding the perfect photographer was top of our list. What is better than reliving the best day of your life over and over again with photos that will last forever. Jessica made us feel so at ease, she is so friendly you feel like you’ve known her for years. Not only bringing her passion for her job to the day but her energetic enthusiasm of getting that perfect shot no matter what she has to do to achieve it. Every single person at our wedding said how lovely she was and asked how we found her as she wasn’t local by far. I spent months trawling the internet, looking through portfolio after portfolio of wedding photographers. I kept thinking it was hard to know whether I liked the photographer because I liked the décor at the wedding or the venue etc. But when I found Jess, I didn’t question any of that. To receive a message to say she was available was an amazing feeling, we were so excited. She captures the looks, the feelings and the emotions of you and your guests without you even knowing she’s there. Those special moments that make your heart smile when you see them. It doesn’t even stop there, The presentation of your photos when they arrive is simply stunning. It was the best decision we made hiring Jess.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | From the start we always wanted to try and do all the decorations ourselves, the rustic homemade theme was definitely what we wanted. So I created everything i could from invitations to our Thank You cards. Another perk of having a mid-week wedding is that there was less likely to be a wedding at our venue the day before ours, so this enabled us to set up all of our decorations on the Tuesday. Really not something I wanted to do the morning of the wedding. It would have been impossible.
We wanted to include our love of films into the wedding and, as our first date was at the cinema, we made our invitations to represent a movie ticket which displayed the name of the film as “Our Big Day” starring Charlotte Ashley and Matthew Talbot as the bride and groom. Our R.S.V.Ps were separate Admit 1 tickets with the tick boxes attend/ unable to attend options. Our Thank You cards followed the same theme with the movie reel in the background of the invitation now being the main focus with photos of our day positioned within the gaps in the reel.
We just wanted our wedding to be full of personal touches, full of US! I started by painting MDF letters in a soft pink to create words we would display throughout the venue.
SMILE was displayed on our guest book table as we wanted people to have their photo taken under the archway and we would later put their photo next to their comment in our handmade guest book.
MR and MRS was displayed on our top table.
CHEERS TUTS was displayed on our reception drinks table, this is something i used to say as a young girl when i would have a children’s cocktail on holiday. I think i may have been slightly drunk on sugar.
CAKE obviously next to our cake :)
I also bought chalkboard signs which I wrote on with chalk pens. One was a freestanding double sided board that went at the entrance to the ceremony room saying “Choose a seat, not a side, we’re all family once the knot is tied”, then on the reverse it said “Under the arch, where we said I do.. We’d love to have a photo of you. In our guestbook (next to your name) forever these memories will remain.”
We also put a chalkboard on our reception drinks table with a list of what drinks we had on offer, along with four photos, a then and now of matt and myself with a tipple when we were kids and present day.
Once we were married, we had a few moments saying hello to our guests then they gathered just outside the courtyard where our ushers were waiting with wicker baskets hanging around their necks ( in the style of the old ice cream salesmen at the cinema, following the theme of our invitations) filled with raffia and card cones that Mum and I had rolled and filled with dried rose petals for our confetti.
I love photos so I printed all of our favourites in a retro style polaroid print and we had these pegged up behind us on the top table under our large foil LOVE balloons. We also matched up photos of when we were children,doing similar things to each other in the pictures. A few included a photo of us both with a family pet, One where we are both on holiday having a picture taken with our siblings. It was quite hilarious when we found a photo of each of us on a pedalo, because in both photos our mums were sitting at the same place on the pedalo with their backs facing the camera and their heads turned (weirdly enough both topless) with us as kids also turning our heads to the camera.
With both of us also having lost loved ones before our big day, we displayed photos of them on our guest book table along with a poem which read “We know you would be here with us on our special day, If heaven wasn’t so far away!”
We displayed a trunk, which I bought Matt for Christmas one year, as guests walked into the venue. I also hand painted the CARDS bunting that hung on the lid, along with one that said MRS & MRS TALBOT on our head table and one that said BEST DAY EVER that we hung out in the courtyard.
Dusky coloured paper lanterns hung in various places throughout the venue, above the guest book table, above the cards and gifts trunk and hanging from the beams in the main barn where we ate and danced the night away.
Our seating plan was a large photo frame with the glass removed, which i decorated myself. Another little personal touch was that we both love watching the tv series “Friends” so instead of numbers 1-8 we had significant dates in our relationship along with polaroid frames with a picture of the relating occasion. We named them all in the style of friends episodes. For example we had table number 11 which was the date of Matt’s stag do, so the polaroid had a photo of all the lads at clay pigeon shooting with the description “The one with matts stag do” written on the frame. The seating plan frame had the iconic friends photo frame on it with “The one with the seating plan” written inside and polaroid frames with names of guests inside along with the number of the table they were sitting at.
Along with most of the males in our family Matt is a real ale drinker, so we had the venue install some ale from their Quartz brewery, My Stepdad Mark and Matt both sampled the four ales on offer, texting each other with their verdicts and coming to an agreement on which we would have on the day. So along with this I thought it would be different to have our wedding cake displayed on a beer barrel which we hired from Marstons brewery in Burton On Trent. One of Matt and Mark’s jobs the day before the wedding was to go and pick the barrel up and bring it to the venue, a couple of hours later they arrive having being “made” to sample a new beer they were releasing. “Well it would have been rude not to!” they said. Hehe.
One of our favourite touches was the retro beefeater plates we served a select few guests their main meal on for our wedding breakfast. These bizarre plates represented a memory of Matt’s childhood whereby his Grandma would serve the Grandchildren their Sunday dinner on them. They would all fight over which colour cow they wanted and this feud didn’t stop as youngsters. When both of matts Grandparents had passed away and the plates were divided between grandkids, Matt, along with his brother and sister, still couldn’t agree on which colour each of them should have. They all insisted that they had the blue cow plate when they were younger, so the original plates reside in the safe keeping of Matt’s parents’ house. We were so happy to find a set in great condition on eBay. We kept the plates at the wedding a secret so we could see all of their faces when they realised what was in front of them. It was such a heart warming moment when their faces lit up and were flooded with memories of Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house.
Next came our love of magic. We have been to see Derren Brown, Dynamo and also Penn & Teller in the years we have been together and we both knew we wanted to incorporate this interest into our wedding. I met Chris Peskett when i went with my Mum and Stepdad to a wedding fair at Packington Moor. He did a trick where he asked me to write the name of someone who i knew would be at the wedding on a post it note. He walked away from me and turned his back. With not long losing my grandma I nearly wrote her name, knowing she would be there in spirit, but with my Mum being with me I didn’t want to upset her. So I wrote Grandad. He took the piece of paper and without losing eye contact he gave me his prediction. On the piece of paper he had written “Say hello to Grandad for me”. Well Mum just burst into tears as she imagined it being Grandma passing on a message, I don’t think Chris quite knew what was happening :) We went outside and mum said “Book him, you have to book him!” I was going to anyway but that trick certainly stuck in our minds. On the day he was absolutely amazing, I desperately tried to catch him out but he was flawless! I won’t give any more away but you wont be at all disappointed if you book him for your wedding. He brings with him not only magic but his wit and charm. He is a genuinely funny guy and will no doubt bring a smile to you and your guests’ faces!
We ended the night with our sparkler send off which we presented in a glass jar along with a wooden box of lighters and a poem which read “As our big day comes to and end, a sparkler send off is what we intend. So form a tunnel, with your sparkler held high and bright. As we (Mr & Mrs Talbot) say goodnight!” I thought it was quite fitting that the table we had this display on was positioned next to a fire extinguisher :)
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Receiving poems and gifts from each other the morning of the wedding.
The lads not knowing how to tie their cravats and having to seek advice from staff and Youtube videos.
Listening to the Mamma Mia album whilst getting ready with my mum. Which she had bought me as this had been playing in the shop whenever we went in to try my dress on :)
The feeling when you realise you are now officially husband and wife!
Feeling the weight of your naturally dried rose petal confetti as it hits you and thinking, wow, that may have been a mistake – kind of wish we’d gone for the light floaty stuff! Dad picking it out of my hair like monkeys de-fleeing each other.
The amount of times Matt cried during the day :)
Having all the people you love and care about in one place, all having a great time!
The wonderful speeches and Matt’s best man’s poem.
The realisation of the plates.
Watching our magician.. brilliant!
Running through cornfields to get ‘the shot’ and looking around at our photographer, Jessica Reeve, and she’s wearing my veil, holding my bouquet and taking our photo.
Doing the long exposure shot of us with Ami, Matt’s sister, writing the word LOVE back to front with a sparkler. Jess running around trying to find something to steady the camera on.. a traffic cone worked perfectly :) and only having four sparklers to hand. Fourth times a charm, it looked great!!
Our band playing “Time of my life” the lead singer joining us to do the dance they do in the film then Matt telling all the boys to get on one side and girls on the other. All of a sudden the song approaches that moment and I’m standing opposite Matt who’s got the biggest smile on his face, gesturing to me to run to him. I run and jump as he, with the help of all the lads, lifts me into the air. It was so funny and even better that it wasn’t at all planned but worked surprisingly well. The film was something Matt grew up watching and he said he absolutely loved that part of our day.
Running through our sparkler tunnel at the end of our night and Matt being very aware of the fire above his head which is soaked with hairspray and gel, and the big puffy dress he could so easily trip on.
Getting back to our cottage and crashing onto the sofas with a glass of bubbly. Perfect day!
Receiving our photos and reliving the whole day again but also getting to see those looks and moments you may have missed on the day of you and your guests.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Throughout the day, take 5 minutes with your new husband/wife to relive the moments in the day that are making your heart smile. Having your photos together is one of the best parts because you’re so relaxed and so happy and in love. Treasure those moments. Also we were always being told that the day flies by so we made a conscious effort whether we were together or not to take a step back and take it all in. Watch your guests laughing and having fun, They are all there for you two!
Get to a point before your wedding where you say what’s done is done and what isn’t won’t matter. The little touches are amazing and what make part of the day special but the day wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for you both just wanting to declare your love and making a commitment in front of family and friends. Thats whats most important. Also, don’t dwell on things you can’t control, make the best of any situation, you only get this day once. The weather forecast for our wedding said it was going to be thundering and lightning all day with a 90% chance of rain. Then the day before the wedding it was glorious! The wedding arrived and it was as if we were abroad, they say rain is good luck on your wedding day, well we had about a minute of rain while we were eating which had all dried up by the time we were finished and out came the sun again :)
Make your wedding about you. It’s your day, no one else’s. Have the things you want and don’t follow tradition if tradition isn’t for you.
One of Matt’s regrets of the day was not turning around soon enough when I walked down the aisle. He didn’t want to turn around too soon but before he knew it i was by his side. I think I was just so eager to see him and become his wife :) His other regret was that he didn’t move the LOVE balloon out of the way for the meal. Which just meant that the air con couldn’t be directed onto us on the top table because it would have disrupted the balloons. It was a HOT day and now we think back we should have said “Sod the balloons, we need cold air!” :)
Hire Jessica Reeve as your photographer!!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Jessica Reeve
Venue | Packington Moor
Caterers | Galloping Gourmet
Florist | Johnsons Florist
Wedding Dress and hair accessories | Alison Evans bridal wear
Grooms attire | Brigdens
Hairdresser (for colouring my hair) | Hannah Edwards
Hair stylists | Lisa McGinn and Anthony Talbot
Make up artist | Rebecca Shearer
Wedding cake | Delicious Dishes
Magician | Chris Peskett
What a gorgeous day! Thank you so much for sharing your beautifully crafted wedding with us Charlotte and Matt. XO Rachel