Where do I even begin? This wedding just nails the fun ethos down to a T, not to mention how much I love the explosion of colour and smiles throughout.
WWW readers Alex and Kate tied the knot on the 1st August 2014 at Buckinghamshire Golf Club followed by a back garden reception in a drop dead gorgeous yurt. They decided on eclectic multicoloured décor, which included bunting, DIY flower arrangements and cute lanterns.
Kate donned a sweet Enzoani tea length dress with floral heels teamed with a ribbon adorned bouquet, while Alex went for a blue suit and floral tie. How gorgeous? There was live music, bridesmaids in vintage style frocks and a move away from more traditional elements.
Huge thanks today to the amazing Miki Photography for sharing these glorious shots.
THE PROPOSAL | Alex is a keen photographer and had been wanting to go to Corfe Castle in Dorset for a while to take pictures. Sometime in November he arranged for us to go down to Dorset for the first weekend in December… ‘I’d love to photograph Corfe Castle in winter’. Somewhat reluctantly, I agreed to go and watch Alex takes photos, again.
When we arrived at Corfe, we walked through the village and up a hill opposite the Castle. Alex was snapping away and I was acting photographer’s assistant, as usual. I asked him if he had any good shots, he replied with ‘what do you think of this one?’ and handed me the camera. On the screen was a picture of a beautiful engagement ring in a box. Alex was down on one knee, ring in hand asking me to marry him as the sun set over Corfe Castle. I had no idea and was completely bowled over!
THE VISION | Relaxed, colourful and fun! Did we say colourful!?
THE PLANNING PROCESS | From the outset we were keen to involve our family, keep the wedding day fun and make or collect as much as possible ourselves. We tried not to get caught up in the small details and planned everything around our guests having fun, being well-fed and making sure there was plenty to drink!
BUDGET | About £15K, although we may have gone a little over…
THE VENUE | We started with the reception venue; Alex’s dad’s garden. Having been to a family wedding in Australia recently that was at the family home we were inspired to do a similar thing for our wedding. Alex’s sister also had a small post-wedding celebration at Alex’s Dad’s house a couple of years ago and we wanted to keep the family tradition going. We looked into marquee hire, but settled upon a gorgeous wooden framed extended Yurt from Cheltenham Yurt Hire.
We then needed to find a ceremony venue. However, very few civil ceremony venues will let you have a ceremony without a reception too. We eventually found Buckinghamshire Golf Club, the ceremony took place in a lovely room in the manor house (Denham Court Mansion) with views over the river and lawns.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | The dress was Danbury, made by Enzoani. It was strapless originally, but I had a top made and attached to the dress in the same lace as the bodice. I wore my gran’s antique ring, a vintage bracelet given to me by my sister and pearl earrings that Alex had given to me on my 30th birthday. My shoes were flowery peep toes I found on the internet and my mum gave me the garter she had worn on her wedding day.
FINDING THE DRESS | Initially, I had no idea what I wanted and really struggled to find any dress I was happy in. I couldn’t imagine wearing a full-length dress with a train and felt really uncomfortable in all the long dresses I tried on. In one shop, I tried a tea length dress on and came out swirling and grinning from ear to ear, decision made, I wanted a shorter dress! However, for every 50 full-length dresses stocked in a bridal shop, they seemed to only have one or two shorter dresses. I even considered buying a long dress and having it shortened!
After weeks of shopping with my ever-patient mum, I found a beautiful tea length dress by Enzoani at Veils of Berkeley in Gloucestershire. The ladies who owned the shop were so helpful and lovely; as the dress was strapless, they organised for the seamstress to make a lace top for the dress using the same lace as the bodice. It ended up exactly as I had imagined it and I loved every minute wearing it!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Alex knew he wanted to wear a blue suit and after looking at a number of options – including some very expensive ones – he found a lovely mid-blue Ben Sherman three piece suit that fit him straight off the peg! We added a white TM Lewin shirt, tan shoes from Aldo and a handmade liberty print tie that the best men also wore.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Kate, her dad and the bridesmaids danced down the aisle to ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’ by Nina Simone. It set the tone for the rest of the day and was a complete surprise to everyone in the room. We also had a lovely sing-a-long with all our guests – ‘I Got You Babe’ by Sonny and Cher.
Alex is a massive Bob Dylan fan and was keen to feature some of his lyrics. We found a song with an appropriate title – Wedding Song. It has beautiful words and made for a very emotional start to the ceremony as Alex’s youngest sister, Nikki, delivered the verses – there wasn’t a dry eye in the room! Kate’s sister Emily suggested another more light-hearted song for her reading – All I Want Is You by Barry Louis Polisar. Both sisters did us proud!
We had the amazing ‘Candy Girls’ to perform at our afternoon garden party. They played a selection of Andrews Sisters style 1950s music and we had our first dance in the garden to their version of the 80s classic ‘You Make My Dreams Come True’ by Hall & Oates. Plenty of dancing in the garden followed throughout the afternoon. We also had a Ceilidh during the evening to keep the fun going.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Kate’s sister Emily was an absolute given as a bridesmaid, as was her cousin Hannah. (Emily and Kate had been bridesmaids for Hannah’s parents and in Hannah’s words “the circle is now complete!”). Kate also had two friends from school Clare and Heidi. The girls all looked amazing in their Lindy Bop dresses with different coloured petticoats made by Kate’s very clever mum.
THE FLOWERS | We bought the flowers from Bristol Flower Market and Kate’s mum, auntie Jacqui and various other family members (with some help/interference from Kate) arranged them all. They filled jugs and vases, collected from charity shops and flea markets, with beautiful, colourful native English blooms. Kate’s mum also used these gorgeous flowers to make all the bouquets and Heidi and Clare made the button holes.
THE CAKE | We didn’t want to have a formal wedding cake, so Alex’s mum made and iced a cake which we cut after dinner. Kate made some miniature bunting to tie in with the bunting that we had in the yurt and Alex insisted on having Lego figurines as cake toppers – him as Obi Wan Kenobi!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Alex found our amazing photographer, Mick Shah, after looking at a lot of websites! We loved the informal, creative style his website portrayed and after an initial phone call in which Mick talked through how he did things, we felt he was exactly what we were looking for.
Part of the package was an engagement shoot, which we loved and helped us get used to being photographed.
Mick really captured the day perfectly and we haven’t stopped looking at the photos since! He caught lots of lovely moments between us and our family and friends and we didn’t notice him doing it.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Kate made over 100m of bunting to decorate the Yurt and front garden. We teamed this with hundreds of fairy lights, plenty of brightly coloured ribbons, paper fans, vibrant paper lanterns and painted jam jars with tea lights. The overall look was very colourful, but eclectic – thankfully it worked and all came together on the day.
We had confetti and a drinks reception in the front garden with live music, then a hog roast with gorgeous salads in the yurt, followed by an ice cream tricycle and a selection of home made cakes for dessert.
Kate’s very talented sister, Emily, designed and created the totally stunning wedding invites, signage for the day and order of service. She did an amazing job and we received lots of compliments on her work. Alex’s sister Nikki was also an invaluable support on the run up to the wedding and during the day, we really couldn’t have done it without her!
THE HONEYMOON | We went to Namibia and Botswana for our honeymoon and finished off with a few days at the Victoria Falls in Zambia. We don’t really do beach/sunbathing holidays and Alex had never been to Africa, so we had a week exploring the landscapes of Namibia and then headed off to Botswana on safari. We allowed ourselves a bit of relaxation and luxury at the end and stayed at The Royal Livingstone hotel overlooking the Victoria Falls.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | We absolutely loved our ceremony. It was probably part of the day we most worried about due to the formality, but we managed to keep it light-hearted, informal and fun. There was dancing down the aisle, tearful moments, laughter, a lovely sing along and it just worked!
We also loved the afternoon in the front garden before we had the meal. The vocal trio, the Candy Girls, we had were amazing, the sun was poking through the clouds enough to keep it warm, the drinks were flowing, everyone looked great and it was just a lovely atmosphere.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t let traditions dictate how you plan your day – we did away with favours, a proper wedding cake, a formal meal, a first dance in the evening and instead spread our speeches throughout the day, sang a pop song during the ceremony and had ice cream and sweeties for dessert. Try not to get tied up in the tiny details and remember it’s all about you two, so let your personalities shine through in everything you plan!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Mick Shah
Yurt | Cheltenham Yurt Hire
Singers | The Candy Girls
Ceilidh | The Ship Band
Crockery | Floral Vintage Crockery
Dress | Veils of Berkeley
Ceremony Venue | Buckinghamshire Golf Club
Oh me oh my, what a perfect day.
Alex and Kate, thanks so much for sharing your wonderful love story with us xo Lou