An inclusive wedding day filled with family and friends and a great big party… sounds pretty perfect right? No theme, just picking the things you love along the way, it will all come together beautifully, just as it did for Lucy and Tom.
Lucy and Tom tied the knot on Sunday 2nd August 2015 and held their celebrations at Harlestone Village Institute in Northamptonshire. The mismatched feel of their day was wonderful, with an array of colours and eclectic styles. The overriding idea was that their day was to be hand crafted, and their talented loved ones contributed with home-grown blooms, a cake bake off and décor too.
Lucy’s swishy Mia Mia dress complete with spaghetti straps and big bow was stunning and Tom opted for a dashing suit and knitted tie. Ohh I love it all.
Huge thanks to the marvellous Ed Godden for sharing these beautiful shots with us.
THE PROPOSAL | Over the seven years before Tom asked me to marry him, there had been quite a few occasions which I thought were potentially prime proposal moments. One time which I thought would have been perfect was on Mount Snowdon when we were huddled by a rock to shield ourselves from the blustery wind, looking down over lakes which were rippling in the ragged Welsh mountains. But he didn’t ask, and I didn’t want to put on any pressure, so I stopped trying to predict when he might pop the question. I’m so glad that I did because when he did ask me to be his wife, he caught me completely unaware and it was the most special surprise ever.
As it happened, we were at the top of a mountain when he proposed but this time it was in the French Alps on a skiing holiday. The potential for cheese overload here is too much to risk, so suffice to say that I said a big fat yes, cried, said yes again, cried a bit more and then let my mind fill with all the wedding ideas I’d tried to suppress since we’d been together for about six months. All of a sudden it was legit to peruse wedding blogs, the bookmarked page I had of a ring I quite liked didn’t have to be secret, and I’d have an actual excuse for ripping pictures out of friends’ wedding magazines!
All of a loved up dither, I seemed to lose all capacity to ski on the way down the mountainside but we safely made it to a little village where we called our parents to tell them the very exciting news. Cue more tears. It was perfect.
THE VISION | We both knew that we wanted all our family and friends at the wedding and to have a big party to celebrate, so these became our priorities. We didn’t have a theme and instead just chose things which we liked along the way. Thankfully it all came together and turned out OK!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Before we made any decisions about anything, I spent many enjoyable hours collecting ideas on Pinterest, reading wedding blogs and cutting pictures out of magazines. I loved our Wedding Scrapbook which ended up being full of images of things collected, crafted, grown, up-cycled, appliquéd, shabby chiced, sewn, baked and quite often presented somewhere rustic and filled with fairy lights.
We soon realised that a DIY barn or marquee style wedding was what we were looking for. After we’d found a venue and decided on a date, we prioritised booking our photographer, caterer and band, knowing that they’d be booking weddings months and months in advance. We also cracked on with making the save the dates and getting them posted. Once these ‘big’ things were done, it was definitely a relief and then everything else fell into place.
THE VENUE | We found a few barn wedding venues which were all beautiful but none allowed much time for setting up, and availability for the next summer was often limited to a few random dates. So, we expanded our search to include village halls, and came across the fabulous Harlestone Village Institute which was just a twenty minute drive from the church which we’d be getting married in. We could hire the hall for an entire weekend and there was a good choice of dates for the following summer. We hired it from midday Friday to midday Monday with the wedding on the Sunday. It happened to be a gloriously sunny Sunday so we had the drinks reception outside. We had a marquee next to the hall itself where we ate our BBQ and the evening entertainment was in the hall itself.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I wore a Mia Mia dress which I loved to bits. It was very simple – no lace or bling – and had spaghetti straps and an oversized bow. I wasn’t convinced at all about having a veil because I’d tried a cathedral length one in the first shop I went to and felt silly in it. I was persuaded to try a shorter one on though and to my surprise, I really liked it! I also wore a vintage style hair comb from a shop on Etsy called LeFlowers. It had three ivory flowers and was embellished with lace, pearls and tiny beads. My shoes were soft leather ballet flats from thewhiteribbon, also on Etsy.
FINDING THE DRESS | I thought the first dress which I tried on was The One. It was absolutely beautiful and I swished around the bridal boutique sipping on complimentary bubbles, feeling delightedly smug that dress shopping had been so easy. That was until I saw the price tag and realised I could buy a car for the same amount of money. I was sure I wouldn’t find a better dress but also couldn’t quite bring myself to part with that much money. I’m very glad I didn’t splash the cash in the champagne induced wedding bubble haze because two dress shops later, I found my Mia Mia dress in a sample sale at a quarter of the price!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Tom wore a blue pin stripe Jaeger suit, which we bought from Brand Alley for a snip. Buying it felt like a bit of a risk because we guessed the size and it’s always difficult to know from an online picture exactly what it’ll be like. However, we got lucky and it fit perfectly. Such a win!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We were married in a Catholic church so our readings were taken from the Bible. We had John 15: 9-17 in which Jesus speaks about loving one another as He loved us, and the well-known reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians: “Love is always patient and kind.” We sang Jerusalem at the start and Guide Me Oh Thou Great Redeemer at the end. During the signing of the register, my cousin Francesca and friend Elly played The Lord’s My Shepherd by Stuart Townend and our organist played Better Together by Jack Johnson.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My sisters Naomi and Charlotte were my bridesmaids and their dresses were from both from Kaliko. Buying their dresses was an interesting experience because at the time, Naomi was on the other side of the world topping up her tan! Charlotte, Mum and I had to try and choose her a dress which she’d like, that would also complement her sun-kissed complexion and which would fit… We developed the questionable strategy of me trying on dresses for her. It was a tad risky because I’m a good 5 inches taller than her and couldn’t look less tanned if I tried, but luckily, she liked what we chose and it fit!
THE FLOWERS | My in-laws are keen gardeners and have the most beautiful garden, so when Elly (my mum-in-law) very kindly offered to grow the flowers for the tables at the reception, I was so excited. She did an amazing job. Emily from Manic Botanic made our bouquets. We decided on various ‘English country garden’ flowers such as peonies, avalanche roses, alliums, craspedia, stocks and gypsophila. The boys had craspedia with daisies which were bound with twine for their buttonholes. All the flowers looked and smelt beautiful on the day.
THE CAKE | Neither of us was particularly fussed about having a traditional wedding cake and really we wanted to avoid the posed cake photo. So, we held The Great Wedding Bake Off instead. We invited family and friends to contribute cakes and our guests helped themselves to whatever they fancied after dinner. Turns out we know lots of very talented bakers! There was a lemon drizzle cake, a Victoria sponge, chocolate brownies, a coffee and walnut cake, carrot cake, courgette cake, oreo cake, sticky ginger cake… The list goes on!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Booking Ed was one of the best decisions we made. He was so friendly and we immediately felt at ease in his company. He merged into the background like one of the guests, capturing so many special moments. His relaxed and cool style of work is exactly what we were looking for and he absolutely nailed it on the day. We love our photos so much and can’t recommend him highly enough!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Some of my favourite things…
1000 paper cranes. Naomi folded 1000 paper cranes for us for good luck. She liked the idea of the challenge at first, but after the first fifty or so I think she began to regret it! It took her hours and hours (and hours) but her persistence paid off and they looked amazeballs as the backdrop to the top table.
Find Your Face To Find Your Place. Instead of writing their names, we had a photo of every guest on our table plan. Charlotte took charge of finding and printing the photos – again, a time consuming job, especially when people had decent Facebook privacy settings! I arranged them into a wooden presentation box which I rescued from a skip and up cycled à la Kirstie Allsopp. Instead of name cards on the tables we had larger prints of the photos. These doubled up as our guest book as we asked everyone to write us a message below their picture which we’ll bind together into a little book.
Love Gin. For our favours, Mum made the most delicious strawberry infused gin which she decanted into little glass bottles. She made labels by painstakingly stamping LOVE GIN onto Kraft card, and tying them to the bottles with twine. The gin went down very well, especially when mixed with prosecco to make ‘gin fizz’ (thank you Pearl for that idea!) There were a few headaches the next day…
Our wedding crossword. Dad took charge of making us a wedding crossword which we put copies of on each table. It had questions about Tom and me, and it was fun to watch people trying to work out the answers!
Flowers in glass jars. One of my favourite crafts leading up to the wedding was up-cycling various glass jars and bottles. Mum, Elly, Charlotte and I spent a sunny afternoon sitting in the garden tying lace, hessian, ribbon and string round them. The day before the wedding, Elly arranged the flowers into them and grouped them onto slices of oak in the centre of each table.
I’m not sure that the band comes under details or décor but they have to have a mention. We found Quantum Class on Alive Network and they came with great reviews. They did not disappoint! They played an eclectic mix of pop, funk, soul and motown with amazing energy and the dance floor was full all night. We LOVED them and would highly recommend them to anyone planning a wedding.
THE HONEYMOON | We went to the Lake District for a week after the wedding, and stayed at The Love Shack – a gorgeous wooden cabin overlooking Lake Windermere. So, so lush.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Preparing for the wedding was such a special time with so many people offering to help us. Our mums and my sisters gave so generously of their time during the planning and preparation. During the wedding weekend itself, we were surrounded by friends and family who came along to help set up. Our friends Seth and Sam did an incredible job setting up the hall with strings and strings of fairy lights and metres and metres of home made bunting, John (my father-in-law) set up the bar, Elly spent hours arranging all the flowers, others helped string the final paper cranes and hang them, arrange the tables, lay the tables, collect straw bales from the farm shop… It was a huge team effort.
On the wedding day itself, there were so many memorable moments… Walking into church with Dad and seeing everyone’s smiling faces, seeing Tom for the first time as I walked up the aisle, saying our vows, everyone gathering round the car and cheering when we drove off to the reception, driving to the hall in the Cobra feeling like celebrities with people waving at us, being clapped into the marquee as Mr and Mrs, the speeches, dancing the night away to the band… I hope I never forget them!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | If you’re making things yourselves, it’s never too early to get started. Things take time to make, especially when you’re making them in large quantities, and it’s much more enjoyable if you don’t have the pressure of time. Let friends and family help and try not to be too much of a control freak about the little details!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Ed Godden
Venue | Harlestone Village Institute
Marquee | T and L Marquee Hire
Band | Quantum Class
Caterer | The Butler’s Pantry
Bridal boutique | Serendipity Brides
Hair and make-up | Donna at Beauty Angels
Rings | Erin Cox
Car | Great Escapes Cars
Honeymoon | The Love Shack
Lucy and Tom, thank you both so much for sharing your wonderful nuptials with us here at WWW xo Lou