Be prepared for pretty overload today, this wedding is a beauty.
WWW readers Kate and Matthew married on the 24th May 2014, holding their ceremony at the Pitville Pump Rooms followed by a reception at Great Barrington Village Hall, in the stunning Cotswolds countryside.
They hoped to achieve a natural country folksy Pre-Raphaelite fee to their day, which worked so beautifully. There were seasonal blooms, hand crafted details, flower garlands and a Ceilidh band in the evening.
I am head over heels for Kate’s enchanting bridal look, with her wearing Queen Anne’s Lace by CIaire Pettibone with a romantic veil, Rachel Simpson shoes and a Jennie Baltzer headpiece. Let’s not forget those gorgeous bridesmaids and Matthew who looked dapper in a sharp blue suit.
Thanks so much to the utterly fabulous Georgi Mabee for sharing her photographs with us.
THE PROPOSAL | A surprise trip to Venice for our anniversary. Matt produced the most beautiful sapphire ring over dinner and I immediately started crying! We walked back through the dark streets and found a gorgeous little bridge to sit on while we called our mums. When we got back, he’d also arranged a little engagement party with our closest local friends so we got to celebrate all over again.
THE VISION | Country, folksy and natural with Pre-Raphaelite touches and lots of flowers. I guess it’s a cliché for a reason, but we wanted something that felt personal to us, not just generic ‘wedding’.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | I’m an ideas person and Matt is good with spreadsheets and budgets, but we were incredibly lucky to have super organised and creative friends and family who helped us to make things happen. We made the first couple of decisions and everything else seemed to follow on from there. I also religiously followed wedding blogs for ideas and inspiration to the extent that it became a pre-work ritual. Matt would make me a cup of tea and then we would both sit and look at that morning’s weddings!
BUDGET | We were conscious that we couldn’t afford not to think about money and we tried to keep costs down where we could. Our reception venue probably saved us the most as it was so much more reasonably priced than any of the hotels or official ‘wedding barns’ we saw. In the end we were still over budget, but we had a truly amazing day and it’s hard to think about where we could have cut things down without losing some of the feel of things.
THE VENUE | We had our ceremony at Pitville Pump Rooms in Cheltenham where we live. It’s an amazing honey coloured, Jane Austen style building in a gorgeous park where we’ve picnicked, walked and relaxed throughout our relationship. Then we loaded our guests onto a coach and headed out to Great Barrington Village Hall. Great Barrington is picture perfect Cotswold village territory, surrounded by fields and flowers and the hall itself is architecturally beautiful.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was Queen Anne’s Lace by CIaire Pettibone. It was lacy and flowy and made me feel like a character from a novel. I had a head piece from Jennie Baltzer for the day, and changed into a floral circlet for dancing in the evening. My granny also very kindly brought me lovely, comfortable shoes from Rachel Simpson. I rarely wear high heels and was worried about tripping over half way down the aisle but they worked really well.
FINDING THE DRESS | I knew I didn’t want a traditional strapless dress from the start, but I was less sure what I did want. Mum and I visited several shops but nothing really seemed to fit the bill. Then I saw some Claire Pettibone dresses online and fell in love! Sadly, they were way beyond our budget. Mum and I talked each other into going to Carina Baverstock in Bradford on Avon where we knew they had Claire Pettibone dresses, but we told ourselves it was just to see if the styles would even suit me. Predictably, after a couple of hours in the most beautiful wedding shop I have ever seen we had ordered Queen Anne’s Lace… by Claire Pettibone!
It actually became one of the nicest parts of the whole process because for each fitting Mum and I would make a day of it, driving down to Bradford on Avon, having afternoon tea and then trying on the dress. The ladies at Carina Baverstock were lovely and made the whole experience a joy.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | We really struggled with this! We knew that we wanted Matt to have a suit to keep rather than just hiring one but we both ended up with ‘suit blindness’ after the first couple of shops! In fact, after a couple of grumpy ‘Well I don’t know’ – ‘Well I don’t know either!’ exchanges we decided it would be better for him to shop with one of the ushers instead of me! Luckily they did a great job and he looked extremely handsome in his TM Lewin blue three piece.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | My degree was English literature and I wanted readings people wouldn’t necessarily have heard before. In the end we settled on three extracts from different novels – The Passion by Jeanette Winterson, Room with a View by E M Forster and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Our readers were all brilliant, particularly a dramatically inclined university friend, who put Laurence Olivier to shame!
We agonised over the music, but in the end I came in to an instrumental version of Everything I do, from Prince of Thieves and we exited to ‘Feeling Good’ by Muse as we are both huge fans. Just before I came in we also played an instrumental version of ‘The Final Countdown’ which made people smile.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I was greedy with my bridesmaids but I wanted people from different parts of my lives, and all of them were and are hugely important to me. I had my sister, two of my best friends from university, one of my best friends in Cheltenham and another mutual friend who has been a bit like a fairy godmother throughout our relationship! I hope I was fairly un-bridezilla like about it all. We found a monsoon dress in shades of pink and green and brought a selection of these and the girls wore their own shrugs and shoes. Our florists made them each a flower circlet and they looked so pretty. I also had two female ushers, three flower girls and a paige boy so we were a pretty large bridal party!
THE FLOWERS | We saw the wonderful Green and Gorgeous cutting garden online and went to visit the summer before the wedding. It’s a magical place with profusions of gorgeous flowers growing across several meadows and cats and chickens padding around, giving it a proper ‘rural idyll’ sense. They were happy to pre-arrange some of the flowers for us but also to provide us with buckets of flowers so we could do the table arrangements ourselves. I loved the fact they they were local and seasonal, and the flowers had the woodsy, romantic, country-ish feel I really wanted with sweet peas, stock, foxgloves and peonies. I adore flowers so this was one of the most important parts of the day for me, and Rachel gave us exactly the look we were after. She was incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated and I can’t recommend Green and Gorgeous enough.
THE CAKE | We had two! One traditional tiered sponge with jam and cream and flowers and fruit everywhere, and one cheese board with a variety of yummy cheeses. These were made for us by dear friends who did an amazing job!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Georgi Mabee. She was ace! Neither of us expected to enjoy being in front of the camera much, but she genuinely did put us massively at our ease. It’s also been so lovely to see all the little moments she captured for us that we might otherwise have missed. It’s so true that amazing photos become a really precious memento of your day. We also went for the second shooter option last minute and I’m so glad we did. It’s really nice for me to see how Matt’s morning went and vice versa. Georgi and Olivia were both lovely too and all of our guests commented on how friendly and professional they were. It feels like the photography is an important decision to get right and I’m so glad we did.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | My mum was an absolute superstar when it came to decorating the village hall which was an entirely blank (albeit beautiful) canvas when we began. We collected blue and white porcelain jugs from car boots and charity shops and saved jam jars, and used both of these for flowers and candles. We also had several ‘décor making and cake’ sessions at my mum’s house where our bridesmaids and friends came round and helped us out. This was particularly useful with invitation making, as well as for decorating the jam jars with lace and ribbon. I knew I wanted a touch of Pre-Raphaelite style so we incorporated this into our table plans, and scattered greenery that we foraged from nearby fields over the tables and windowsills. Again, my wonderful mum came to our rescue with favours, using blackberries from her garden to make home-made jam and gin. We had fun deciding who was a ‘jam’ person and who was a ‘gin’ person as we put these out!
The other thing that made a huge difference to the look of the hall was large amounts of fairy lights everywhere. When we arrived to decorate the day before with twenty or so of our wonderful friends and family, we realised we had no ladder tall enough to get the lights over the beams. However our ‘lighting team’ improvised with a complex throwing and twisting system! This was interesting when it came to getting the lights down again!
In the day time, the Chipping Norton Tea Set catered for us, with proper and delicious afternoon tea so we also had all of their lovely vintage crockery out on the tables. Some of our guests noticed early on that rather than champagne flutes out for toasts we instead had shot glasses! We love gin, so rather than going with traditional prosecco we provided bottles of sloe gin for the speeches!
In the evening we had a hog roast and live ceilidh band and caller which was fantastic and really encouraged everyone to socialise and get involved.
THE HONEYMOON | One lovely night of traditional luxury at the Ellenborough Park Hotel, followed by four nights of less traditional luxury in a gorgeous yurt on Dartmoor. This was truly idyllic as the yurt is right on the edge of the moor. We swam in the River Dart, ate in local pubs and warmed up with the yurt’s amazing wood burner, and basically just relaxed after the crazy run up to the wedding.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Seeing each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle, watching our guests react to the village hall, some lovely, hilarious and moving speeches, photographs in the gorgeous country lane outside the hall itself, dancing in the middle of a circle of our friends, going home on the coach with everyone happy, tipsy and singing. So, so many!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t worry about the weather! It poured most of the day for us but it didn’t make a blind bit of difference. We had a really difficult year in the lead up to the wedding and I was worried I’d be anxious and distracted even on the day, but actually the sheer good feeling of it all meant that I didn’t think about anything other than how happy I was. Let other people help you out but remember how lucky you are to have them. We literally couldn’t have had the wedding we did without the amazing people we have around us.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Georgi Mabee
Dress Shop | Carina Baverstock couture
Flowers | Green and Gorgeous
Caterers | Chipping Norton Tea set
Ceremony Location | Pitville Pump Rooms
Venue | Great Barrington Village Hall
Honeymoon | Ellenborough Park
Honeymoon | Dartmoor Yurts
Wow. There really are no words.
Thanks so so much to Kate and Matthew for sharing all about their amazing wedding day XOXO Lou