By Louise Baltruschat Hollis
Goodness me are you in for a treat with today’s glorious real wedding feature lovely readers. Here we have WWW readers Lyd and Josh who were married in a meaningful ceremony at Cambray Baptist church followed by a back garden marquee wedding reception at home in the Cotswolds on the 2nd September 2017. It was all so relaxed and pretty, with Lyd and Josh and their loved ones all coming together to create their home made celebration of love.
The pole tent marquee was nestled in a picturesque field and was adorned with hanging silk flowers as well as fresh flowers, rustic signs and personal touches. The beautiful cake was baked by Lyd’s dad, the flower arrangements created by Lyd’s mum and sister and Lyd’s brother designed the stationery. I don’t know about you but I love it when family and friends all craft and make for a couple, it makes everything feel all the more special.
I have to say that bride Lyd looked so beautiful in her lace gown by Eddy K; by all accounts dress shopping was super fun and I know you are going to love reading about her dress search. Josh found his suit in House of Fraser in a lovely navy blue hue teamed with a teal tie and custom made shoes. Very dapper indeed.
I am so thankful to be sharing these amazing images by the wonderful Kate Waters Photography today. Such a delight!
We headed to Marseille for a long weekend after getting tickets for Euro 2016. On the Sunday we decided to explore the area so, after heading to a boulangerie and packing a picnic, we set out on a one hour bus ride followed by a two hour hike in the sun to explore the Parc National des Calanques. We eventually made it to Calanque de Sugiton. We had a quick dip in the Med before enjoying our picnic. After going for another swim we decided to hike back in our swim stuff. Josh was failing miserably at packing his clothes into the backpack so Lyd took control. She couldn’t make out why there was a hard square lump in the pocket and confronted Josh to which he replied “that is an engagement ring. Congratulations on ruining the proposal”! This explained why Josh had been so shifty on the hike down and kept stopping to ‘get his breath’. After composing ourselves following the fit of giggles that ensued, Josh got down on one knee and Lyd said yes. We then headed back to Marseille for a slap up meal but on the way Lyd fainted on a bus due to sunstroke but was rescued by a wonderful French lady and her sachet of sugar! What an eventful day!
We wanted something unique to us. The most important part of the day for us was making our serious commitment in front of all the people we love and then having an awesome celebration. After visiting numerous wedding venues we realised that we did not want a conveyor-belt wedding and wanted ours to be personal to us. We wanted everyone to feel relaxed, at home and not on show. Essentially we wanted everyone to be able to let their hair down and have a good time.
The most stressful time of our lives bar none. A week after the proposal the planning had already started. Our friends and family were absolutely amazing and gave us so much assistance and support. Having looked at numerous options we realised that our perfect day meant that all the venues should be in locations special to us. We probably were not the most organised to begin with but what we lacked in organisation we made up for in sheer graft!
We knew that we did not want a soulless, extravagant wedding. We have always been sensible about money (Josh would say Lyd has been stingy) and although we realised this was a once in a lifetime event we still did not want to spend silly amounts. Therefore, we went full-on DIY crazy and did most of it ourselves. Thankfully, we are blessed with hugely talented friends and family so were pulling in favours left, right and centre. We were careful not to let our spending get out of hand but knew that there were certain things we wanted to be perfect (band, marquee, catering, etc.) and others we didn’t mind about, for example, we had wanted an Austin Healey but settled on Lyd and her sister’s red and blue VW Lupos!
We used the church Lyd has been part of since being born – Cambray Baptist church in Cheltenham. Lyd’s faith is incredibly important to her and she has been dedicated and baptised at Cambray so it made perfect sense to have another important day of her life at Cambray. For the reception we headed back to Lyd’s house in the Cotswolds. Lyd’s parents let us use the field and we had a traditional wooden pole marquee by the pond. It was absolutely stunning and made all the more special as Lyd’s granddad who unexpectedly passed away just before the wedding had worked tirelessly on the land making it look so perfect.
The wedding dress was the Bali dress by Eddy K. It was absolutely stunning – a long sleeved, cathedral train, Chantilly lace beauty. It was so delicate and regal it will never age. Choosing the dress was near impossible. Vicki and her team were so patient and we had so much fun choosing the dress with them that they all came to the wedding! The accessories were all sourced from the high street at reduced prices.
Lyd had tried lots of different wedding dress shops which ranged from fab to abysmal in terms of customer service. Lyd stumbled across Trousseaux Bridal in Swindon and as soon as she walked in she was made to feel like part of the family and knew she would be buying her dress here. Vicki and her team were fabulous and we had so much fun that we were always booked in on their last slot on a Saturday so the appointments could overrun and it would ensure the day ended on a high.
We managed to find a fantastic organist (Des George) on Last Minute Musicians. Due to Lyd being late, Des was great and played until she arrived. Lyd walked up the aisle to the Wedding Processional from the Sound of Music. This is her favourite film and the same was true of her late Granny who is so important to Lyd. She was adamant this would be the song and when it started playing everyone in the church sighed with happiness as they knew the very personal reasons behind it. As Lyd had her choice Josh got to choose the music to walk out to and after much fun going through the more unusual organ music he settled on the Infernal Gallop by Offenbach, better known as the Can Can. It went down a treat with everyone bopping up and down and clapping!
All the hymns had a personal meaning to Josh and Lyd. For example, the first hymn (Guide me O Thou Great Jehovah) was particularly poignant as less than a month before this had been sung at Lyd’s Granddad’s funeral and, as a deeply missed proud Welsh man, it was belted out with such gusto at the church. We also had our Fijian friends sing whilst we were signing the register – they have such beautiful voices.
The readings were chosen to reflect our love for each other, the faith founding principles of marriage and for guidance in our future.
At night we had the fantastic Tru Groove band. They are supremely talented and their music is simply incredible. People were absolutely blown away by them. We had two first dances – My Baby Just Cares For Me by Nina Simone and Oh, What a Night by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Tru Groove are such wonderful warm hearted people and their enthusiasm was absolutely infectious and they had everyone on the dance floor. Such amazing people and the most perfect way to end an awesome wedding.
We knew that morning suits would absolutely not be suitable for our wedding. We toyed with tweed and Austrian style suits (which Lyd’s dad fell in love with) but eventually opted for some navy three piece suits teamed with white shirts, brown shoes, ties and pocket squares that matched the bridesmaid dress. The suits were from a House of Fraser discount store and Rose the shop assistant helped us get an even bigger discount. Josh had his wedding shoes custom made by a Portuguese cobbler. We could not find ties to match the kingfisher blue bridesmaids dress and searched high and low but two months before the wedding Lyd stumbled across the perfect ties in Debenhams. As for the pocket squares, they came courtesy of an off cuts section in a material shop!
The bridesmaid was Lyd’s little sister, Bithia. Lyd has a very big family and wide friendship group. Due to this, she knew that potentially she could have unlimited bridesmaids. Bith has been hugely influential in our relationship and was the one that gave Lyd the push she needed when getting back together with Josh. She was an ace bridesmaid as were my two unofficial bridesmaids (my two older sisters). In terms of the dress, Lyd and her sister found it just after the engagement but thought it was too soon to buy it. Despite looking at others they kept coming back to it but when they tried to buy it they found it had sold out. Luckily, with the help of the Hobbs team we managed to track down the last one which was in storage and amazingly in Bith’s size. Another fabulous surprise was that it had been heavily reduced to £24. Bargain!
Again, no hesitation here. Lyd has known Kate her whole life and grew up together through church becoming friends in the process. Kate is more or less part of the family. Her talent is unquestionable and we knew that her approach to photography and the shots she would capture would perfectly suit our wedding and we were right!
The flowers were based on a country wedding and were simply stunning. Lyd loves flowers but we could not afford to spend money on a florist. Happily enough, despite no formal training, Lyd’s mum and her sister, Bith, have a natural flair for floristry. Her mum has been asked to do several weddings in the past and knew just what the wedding vision was, which was lucky as Lyd was so indecisive in choosing her flowers! Lyd’s mum knew what would work and she and Bith worked tirelessly to create exquisite bouquets, delicate button holes and fill the marquee and church with beautifully arranged fresh flowers. They looked better than any professional florist could have done and everyone commented on how fabulous they were.
Nyama Catering did us the most amazing South African inspired Braai. George and his team were so flexible and really allowed us to play with the menu so it would suit our guests and also included some food that was particularly relevant to us! The food was not only a feast for the belly but also for the eyes as they cooked it by the marquee in huge charcoal pits. Most of the guests had at least three plates of food and despite being full the food tasted so good they kept going back for more! Lyd’s parents did the puds and they looked awesome. There was everything from mango and coconut panna cotta to an enormous egg custard tart. Despite hugely over catering, there was not a pudding left in sight.
Lyd’s dad is a master baker so there was absolutely no hesitation in booking him in quickly. He comes from generations and generations of bakers and he made the wedding cakes for both of Lyd’s older sisters. Despite being classically trained he was happy to do whatever Lyd and Josh wanted and produced a beautiful cake that fitted in perfectly with the feel of the day. It looked beautiful and tasted even better!
We wanted a country style theme but something that was unique. Lyd’s brother, Josh, has worked in marketing and designed all the stationery for the wedding which set the tone for the day and ensured it was something specific to us. In terms of the decorations we knew we had a big space to fill. We wanted the decorations to fit our theme but not break the bank. Josh stumbled on to an absolute winner when he managed to persuade Hobbs to give us the ex-display silk flowers which we hung up in the marquee to create a stunning central display. Lyd also secured some flower pom-poms from Allum & Sidaway in Salisbury as a free hire. We sourced bunting made from material we had chosen, had hay bales delivered, borrowed fire pits from neighbours and Josh’s parents built the bar! Everything came together so beautifully.
Straight after the wedding we went on mini moon and stayed in a luxury Shepherds Hut in Cornwall. This enabled Josh to try out his wedding present from Lyd – a wetsuit. This was a beautifully chilled break which allowed us to reflect on the awesome day. In December we then went on our actual honeymoon and travelled through Nicaragua. It was absolutely stunning – beautiful scenery, incredible wildlife, awesome people and amazing memories. We boarded down the side of a volcano, galloped along a beach, sunbathed on a cathedral roof, surfed in the Pacific, swam in a volcano crater and crammed as much in as possible in this wonderful country.
The whole day was totally fabulous and was everything we wanted – to share the most important day of our lives with the most important people in our lives. From the emotionally powerful service to the floor filling Hokey Cokey we could not pick out just one moment.
Give yourselves plenty of time from the engagement to the wedding day. Write down what is important to each of you and decide what sort of wedding you want. Do not feel that you have to spend loads, live up to others expectations or do the ‘norm’. It is your day and make sure it is unique to you and you will look back with no regrets. Above all, cherish it.
Kate Waters Photography
Oh so pretty and romantic.
Lyd and Josh thank you both so much for sharing your utterly special day with us xo Lou
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