I think this real wedding feature may well go down in my list of all time faves. It really is stunning from beginning to end and is just so creative you guys!
WWW readers Kirsty and Sam described their day to me as boho chic and I think it really sums up their style to a T. I mean the neutral colour palette and uber cool styling is just the epitome of bohemian style. The pair were hitched on the 30th September 2017 at a private barn in Hertfordshire. Their venue was dry hire and a working barn, which meant a lot of hard work was involved in transforming the space. Boy oh boy was it worthwhile though, it looked just incredible with their DIY décor and WWW fave Fleur de Lace on hand to style their day.
Moving on to the outfits swiftly, because I think Kirsty and Sam, along with their wedding party looked gorgeous. Kirsty wore bridal separates by Sassi Holford, Sam was suited and booted in a made to measure Beggars Run suit and the bridesmaids wore mismatched frocks.
There is just so much to love about these celebrations that I think it’s best to let Beard and Mane‘s incredible photography do the talking, we’re so thankful to be sharing them with you today.
Sam planned a surprise weekend in Nottingham, where we met and went to Uni. Neither of us had been back since we’d graduated and so the Sam suggested that we visited our old haunts a.k.a. a number of sticky floored “cocktail bars”. We landed in Nottingham from a holiday in Italy really early on the Saturday morning. It was too early to check into the hotel, so we planned to go for breakfast at Warsaw Diner (University of Nottingham students will know…). On our way to breakfast, Sam suggested that we take a detour past our old student houses. When we got to the my old student house, they Sam asked if I wanted a picture outside the house. He then said something along the lines of “oh, I think something is missing” and the before I knew it, he was down on one knee with a sparkly ring in hand!
Afterwards, we had breakfast with the Sam’s mum, who had driven all the way up from Birmingham to deliver the ring and had been waiting at the hotel to hand the ring over since the very early hours, as she was so worried about being late. The handing over of the ring took place in the hotel lobby while the I was in the loo – risky!
To top it all off, Sam had booked me a little pampering sesh and arranged an afternoon of champagne drinking and an evening of fine-dining.
We wanted a very personal ceremony, with a lovely sing-a-long and talks from our best friends. The whole ceremony was led by the pastor from the church I grew up in. We were keen to support local business and wanted amazing food, delicious wine and lots of dancing (with the help of an excellent DJ and friend, Jevanni Letford).
Ultimately, we both really wanted our personalities to shine through in little ways throughout the day. The inclusion of some Christian Karaoke, a Donald Trump piñata and a whole lot of female speeches helped with this. We didn’t want to be overt or scream about our views from the rooftops – nice and subtle does the trick!
THE PLANNING PROCESS
The planning process was the best ever, although don’t let anyone tell you it’s not overwhelming at times. The first overwhelming moment was when the we had to pick the venue. I had fallen in love with a local privately owned Hertfordshire barn (or rather, barns), which needed a lot of work, but that I knew would be just gorge! Sam was less certain, but acknowledged that perhaps he just didn’t have “the vision” (to be fair, the barn was at the time of viewing full to the brim with alpaca fur and classic cars, and there were some dead pheasants knocking about… not exactly “dream wedding” at first glance). We were eventually persuaded by the amazing original features of the barns, the lovely vibes we got, the fact we could do the ceremony and reception in the same place, and that the barn was close to London and easily accessible for family and friends.
A friend of the mine gave me some really good advice at the start of the planning process: give yourself one thing to do at a time, and just focus on that one thing. I love a good spreadsheet, so this came in handy when sorting out the budget and making sure all suppliers were paid on time. The spreadsheet also helped to keep tabs on number of guests and dietary requirements.
Cheap as far as weddings go (another draw of the venue they picked)! We wanted to strike a balance between having the best day ever, but also realising that it was just one day (and wanting to have the best honeymoon ever). We did things to control costs like doing a Calais run for the wine, getting friends and family to contribute their skills (where they offered!) and doing the bulk of the decorating ourselves.
We were agreed that we wanted a completely blank canvas. We’re both City lawyers and don’t really get the time or opportunity to be creative in our day to day lives and so wanted the wedding to act as a creative outlet. Aesthetically, we wanted a rustic, countryside setting and wanted everything to look light and fresh, with a lot of personal touches. Being lawyers, we both have a real eye for detail! The barn they selected offered all of this (as well as a few unwanted cobwebs).
We were able to access the venue about 10 days before the wedding, which was an absolute dream. Our families very kindly travelled from around the country to help with the (literal) mucking out of the barn, trying to even out the floor with random offcuts of carpet, extreme dusting (!), washing down the walls and various other tasks we never would have dreamed would be part of our wedding preparation. The team effort that went into transforming the venue from a working barn to a stunning wedding venue, made the day a hundred times more special.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES
The dress was a two piece – crop top and a-line tulle skirt by Sassi Holford. I wanted the dress to be super simple, so that I could accessorise and make sure I was sure I loved the dress forever. For the day time, I buttoned the top and skirt together and added a blush pink lace belt. I had a flower head piece made by my florist that coordinated with my bouquet. For the evening, I detached the top and skirt and wore a flower crown by Johnny Loves Rosie.
I am a big lover of jewellery and so wore a couple of Monica Vinader necklaces in rose gold, Swarovski earrings (a gift from my Grandad!) and a rose gold Monica Vinader ring (a gift from the new hubs!).
FINDING THE DRESS
I searched high and low for the perfect dress. I steered clear of the more mainstream shops where you have to pay for appointments (what!) and aimed to support local business. I finally found the dress at a Sassi Holford designer day at The Bride, St Albans. They were incredible and very accommodating in terms of last minute alterations!
Sam got his suit made to measure from Beggars Run in Shoreditch. If you want to feel like you’re too cool for school, definitely go there!
THE READINGS & MUSIC
We wanted our friends to be as involved in a ceremony as possible, and so asked one of our school/university friends, Jasmine, to do a key note speech. Some of our other best friends did readings, which included an extract from Captain Correlli’s Mandolin and “I Wanna Be Yours” by John Cooper Clarke. We wanted, too, to bring some of our personal spiritual beliefs into the ceremony and so invited family to lead the congregation in a couple of songs.
I had nine bridesmaids, including my sister (shout out to Romy!) who was my maid of honour. I wanted everyone to feel really comfortable in their dresses and appreciated that it’s difficult to get one dress that looks lovely on nine people, so picked four different dresses and let the bridesmaids have a choice. All of the dresses were from Asos, which is a perfect choice if you don’t want a traditional looking “bridesmaids’ dress”.
All of the bridesmaids (and groomsmen!) really helped with setting everything up in the run up to the wedding, as well as doing the inevitable last minute jobs on the morning of the wedding. Remember that bridesmaids aren’t just there to look the part (although they very much did) – they are there to hold down the fort and to be responsible for the smooth running of things on the day.
The flowers and floral table decorations were by the amazing Stephanie Randall from the Flower Studio in Harpenden. I am obsessed with eucalyptus and so wanted to incorporate this in as many of the flower arrangements as possible! I also love hydrangeas, but at 5 ft exactly (ahem) didn’t feel as though I could pull off having hydrangeas in my bouquet, in addition to the other flowers I really wanted (amnesia coloured roses, thistle, all of the eucalyptus). So, instead of bouquets, the bridesmaids carried a single hydrangea each.
The lovely cakes were by the even more lovely Jane Day, who is one of our bestie’s mums. We opted for a Victoria sponge (the Sam’s fave), a passionfruit curd (my fave) and a lemon drizzle (everyone’s fave!).
The wonderful Beard & Mane!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR
We wanted to do a lot of the décor ourselves, and fortunately were able to enlist the help of the my interior designer sister and maid of honour, Romy. Romy created a lot of the signage and assisted with the vision. We wanted a lot of fresh foliage, little personal touches and beautiful neutrals. My sister and I made the “Mean Girls” themed seating plan, printed all of the table names and place names off on marble paper from Paperchase on our home printer (!), spray painted approx. 50 pineapples copper.. the list goes on. The time and effort this took was immense, but totally worth it!
We also enlisted the services of Alice from Fleur de Lace, to rig fairy lights, draping, the décor at the altar, hanging vases and to assemble their “K & S” pinwheel wall hanging.
We only saw the finished product (with flower table settings and all) about 30 minutes before everything kicked off and it was an awe-filled moment.
As mentioned, we wanted a honeymoon to remember and so didn’t want to totally blow the bank on the wedding day itself. We have a shared love of travel and so wanted to go somewhere out of the ordinary and also make the most of our time off work!
Our first stop was LA, where we stayed in Venice Beach so that we could enjoy the delights of Abbott Kinney. We then ventured to Honolulu and stayed in a gorge, boutique hotel called the Surfjack for a couple of nights. Maui was our final Hawaiian stop, where we stayed at the Hotel Wailea (what a place!). Seattle was our final final stop, before heading back to London.
The whole day was one incredible, magical moment. I’m sure every couple will vouch for the fact that you feel like you’re floating on a cloud for the entire day.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES
Remember that the day is about you and whatever is important to you. This is especially significant when you’re putting together the guest list and sending out invites (the number of requisitions was surprising and also not appreciated too much!).
Be honest with each other, set aside free time to dedicate to the planning and make sure jobs are distributed evenly, so that you both enjoy the planning process. Focus on each other’s strengths and make sure that when you’re allocating jobs, you take account of these strengths.
Make sure you communicate properly before you commit to anything, and try to understand each other’s motivation for really wanting/not wanting certain things.
Pick things that are meaningful to you and not just because you think you’re having a wedding and so should have certain things!
Do your research! You can save a lot of money by picking local or small businesses as your suppliers and in turn, you’re supporting something special.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Beard and Mane
Wedding reception food and evening food
Godfreys Fish & Chips
The Pudding Stop
Well wasn’t that just marvellous.
Kirsty and Sam, I cannot thank you both enough for sharing your wedding with us here at Whimsical Wonderland Weddings xo Lou