There’s something so liberating about having a winter wedding and releasing yourself from any expectations about the weather. WWW readers Fay and Neil tied the knot on the 18th November 2017 at the East Quay in Whitstable. As the ceremony and reception were both under one roof, there was no stress about moving guests around outside if the weather turned out to be inclement!
Rain it did, and our pair got some really fab wet weather shots courtesy of the wonderful Livvy Hukins who had suggested they brought brollies and wellies to venture out in. Including the wellies, I count three shoe changes for Fay! I absolutely love the glittery Jimmy Choo shoes she went for and not forgetting the sparkly converse for dancing in the evening. Both pairs compliment her Sarah Seven ‘Sullivan’ gown just wonderfully.
The other brilliant thing about a winter wedding is how cosy you can make the atmosphere inside. Our pair gave their florist a vague brief of wild and colourful and the results are absolutely stunning. It just goes to show that often letting your chosen wedding suppliers run with a brief really does produce the most wonderful results. The whole venue is filled with colour and you can almost feel the atmosphere. Enjoy, especially if it’s raining where you are!
THE PROPOSAL | Neil had planned a surprise weekend in London and proposed at Ham Yard Hotel in Soho (somewhere he knew I would love to stay!) with a beautiful Alex Monroe white gold and diamond ring. Then we had afternoon tea at Soho Hotel followed by The Mousetrap at St Martin’s Theatre. Unfortunately Neil hadn’t been well all weekend and we spent most of the night in the Urgent Treatment Centre at UCH with suspected food poisoning! We will certainly never forget the weekend we got engaged!
THE VISION | A relaxed and fun day, nothing too traditional, that would be enjoyable for everyone. We didn’t want a theme or particular colour palette – we just picked things that we liked!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Once we had booked the venue we had around 11 months to plan. The only wedding fair we went to was at the venue itself, East Quay, and most of the suppliers we booked we had met here. The list of recommended suppliers from East Quay was invaluable but there was no pressure to use them. We couldn’t believe how flexible the venue was and our Events Manager, Kirsty, was fantastic.
A lot of our inspiration came from Pinterest, Instagram and wedding blogs – the ideas were endless! All of these ideas were kept in a Kate Spade wedding planner that Neil had bought me for my birthday!
BUDGET | We didn’t work to a budget particularly but were very lucky that our parents and families all helped us out a lot, which we couldn’t have done without.
THE VENUE | East Quay Venue, Whitstable.
We booked it just before Christmas 2016, having already looked at a couple of other venues that weren’t really ‘us’. The ceremony could be held on the mezzanine level and the reception downstairs at East Quay meaning that guests didn’t have to venture outside again once they had arrived, so we were able to choose a November date and not have to worry about the weather. I found East Quay through the wedding blogs I read (including WWW!) – Neil grew up in Whitstable, we both loved the idea of getting married by the sea and it was perfect!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was the Sarah Seven ‘Sullivan’ and I bought it from Emma at Love Bridal Boutique in Altrincham. I also bought a beautiful Eliza Vale necklace (thanks to Emma’s styling suggestion!) at the same time. I had thought the dress might look too plain so this was perfect!
I bought the vintage faux fur jacket from Emma’s seamstress, Corinne at Cupid’s Treasure – my mum mentioned to her at my fitting that we’d been looking for a faux fur jacket (we were a bit tight for time as this was only a few weeks before the wedding!). This was one that Corinne had bought for herself a while ago and hadn’t got around to altering. She altered it, had it dry-cleaned and posted it to me all in a matter of days!
I bought my bespoke chapel length veil from Daisy Sheldon Embroidery, who I found through Instagram – it was embroidered in her beautiful Wildflower design with our initials and wedding date. My shoes were Jimmy Choo Romy in Anthracite lamé glitter– heels low enough for me to be able to walk in and to wear after the wedding. I wore my sister’s diamond earrings as my ‘something borrowed’ and a simple silver bangle that my grandparents had bought me for my 17th birthday. My toenails were painted as my ‘something blue’. My wedding ring was a narrow white gold band with diamonds from Alex Monroe, to sit with my engagement ring.
For the evening, I had the “In any universe I would still pick you” star hair piece from Luna Bea Bride (once I had taken my veil and fresh flowers out) and a pair of gold glitter Converse which I laced with satin ribbon.
FINDING THE DRESS | The Sullivan gown was one of the first dresses I saw online and was the one I couldn’t forget, although there are only two UK stockists of Sarah Seven so I didn’t try it until a few months after I started looking for a dress. I did try several dresses beforehand (my mum in particular spent a lot of time trawling wedding dress shops, department stores and designer shops – thanks Mum!) but I still wanted something simple and not fussy. Having been a fan of Sarah Seven for several years, since seeing her first shop on Etsy, and not being able to forget the Sullivan gown I had seen online, my sister and I visited Love Bridal and, after trying on several Sarah Seven dresses, bought the Sullivan gown!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Neil wore a navy DKNY suit with a white shirt and dark red knitted tie, all from Moss Bros. It was the first suit he tried and the whole outfit was bought in less than an hour! His tan shoes were from Paul Smith.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Neil’s niece, Libby, read “Some Things Go Together” by Charlotte Zolotow and my brother-in-law, Giles, read “He Never Leaves the Seat Up” (Anon) as we didn’t want anything too serious. I walked down the aisle with my dad to Elvis Costello’s ‘She’ and Neil and I walked out to Stevie Wonder’s ‘For Once in My Life’.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My sister, Sophie, and best friend from school, Sarah, were my maids of honour and wore navy dresses (with a bow at the back) from French Connection and nude suede court shoes from Dune. My bridesmaids were Neil’s niece, Libby, and my cousin’s daughter, Grace, and my flower girls were my niece, Etta, and Sarah’s daughter, Lily-Mae. They all wore navy dresses from Little Dickins & Jones (mini versions of Sophie’s & Sarah’s dress!). Grace and Libby wore gold glitter shoes and faux fur jackets from M&S. Etta and Lily-Mae had pink glitter high-tops from Boden, navy star tights from Accessorize and pink faux fur jackets from Zara.
HAIR & MAKE-UP | Emma Smisson did hair and make-up at The Marine Hotel for me, my mum and my maids of honour and hair for the bridesmaids and flower girls. She did a fantastic job – everything stayed in place perfectly all day, despite the weather and some fairly vigorous dancing!
THE FLOWERS | Helen at BluBelle Creative in Whitstable did the most amazing job of all our flowers and venue styling – East Quay looked incredible! She worked wonders with a couple of inspiration photos and our very vague brief – bright and wild!
THE CAKE | Sally at Sally4Cakes made our lovely three tier semi-naked wedding cake, with each tier a different flavour: Coconut & Lime, Lemon and Butterscotch & Caramel, decorated with fresh flowers from Helen and a gold personalised cake topper we bought on Etsy. Sally also made all of the fantastic cakes for our dessert table – cake jars, muffins and bite-sized cakes in a selection of delicious flavours. It looked brilliant and tasted even better!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | The wonderful Livvy Hukins. We found Livvy at the East Quay wedding fair and her style suited us perfectly – relaxed and natural. Livvy was an absolute star, arriving at 11am to take photos of the prep at the Marine Hotel and staying until 9pm to capture the party in full swing!
On the day we had some fairly typical November weather – grey, cloudy and mostly wet – but this didn’t put Livvy off at all. She had suggested early on that we bring our wellies and brolly so we braved the elements and the results are fantastic!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Lawrence at Retro Rides 4 Brides (the first supplier we booked at the East Quay wedding fair!) chauffeured the bridal party to the venue in Hector, his VW Campervan. As a surprise, Neil’s sister, Karen, and brother-in-law, Andy, had also booked them for our journey back to the Marine Hotel at the end of the night!
The venue itself was decorated beautifully by BluBelle Creative, with flowers, foliage and lights everywhere – it had a really cosy feel set against the gloomy November weather. The tables were filled with flowers in jars and bottles, Neil and I designed and made menus (each guest had a choice of meal) with names at the top as placecards and we ordered gold foiled “please don’t take my drink, I’m dancing!” coasters from Etsy. My dad made all of the wooden table numbers (thanks Dad!), meticulously cutting them out, then spraying them with gold paint and glitter – they were a real labour of love! I made our table plan with a chalkboard and chalk pens, which was set up on an easel, and a welcome sign in a vintage frame decorated with flowers.
Our band were The Tommy Guns and they were fantastic! Two of the band played an acoustic set between the ceremony and meal and then the whole band played in the evening, including our first dance song, ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’. They were brilliant, the dance floor was full from beginning to end and the atmosphere was incredible!
We also had a photo booth set up for the evening that our guests loved. Duplicates of each set of photos were printed and guests added them to our guest book and wrote their messages.
My sister designed the invites and I did the calligraphy for them – we had them letterpress printed with gold foiling at Cherry Press in the Cotswolds, near my parents’ home.
THE HONEYMOON | We stayed for a couple of nights after the wedding at the Marine Hotel. We then spent a lovely and relaxing mini-moon in Mousehole, Cornwall.
As we already live together we asked those guests that wanted to give us a wedding gift to contribute towards our honeymoon with a Trailfinders Wishlist, which they very generously did. We have yet to book but are hoping to spend our honeymoon first in New York and then on to St Lucia.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | I was so nervous before the ceremony but seeing Neil at the end of the aisle put me at ease straight away – it was all smiles from then on! Walking along the beach with Livvy, in the rain, while our guests waved at us from the warmth of the venue was very entertaining!
The speeches from my dad, Neil and Neil’s best man, Paul, were all fantastic and brought a tear to many eyes! We both loved spending the day with people who are so important to us and a real highlight was dancing the night away (even though neither of us are keen dancers!) with our family and friends.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Do whatever the two of you want without worrying about what anyone else thinks. The internet is a great resource for inspiration but there are almost too many ideas – remember that you don’t have to do it all! Don’t stress about the details on the day (you won’t notice and neither will your guests) and, most importantly, enjoy the day!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Livvy Hukins
Venue | East Quay, Whistable
Flowers & Venue Styling | BluBelle Creative
Cake & Dessert Table | Sally Laker
Transport | Retro Rides 4 Brides
Band | The Tommy Guns
Hair & Make-up | Emma Smisson
Veil | Daisy Sheldon Embroidery
Hair Piece | Luna Bea Bride
Bride’s Rings| Alex Monroe
Hotel | The Marine
Invitations | Cherry Press
What a wonderfully fun and cosy day you had Fay and Neil – thanks ever so much for sharing it with us here at WWW. Rachel x