We have a really special real wedding to share with you WWWers today as we hear all about Ashley and William’s big day. Ashley has been kind enough to share the ups and downs of wedding planning with us and now we have the privilege of seeing all of their hard work come to fruition!
Their nuptials took place at Rockbeare Manor in Devon on 28th September 2017 and the whole day was just dreamy. Our pair put lots of time into DIY projects, not to save money but rather to bond as a family, isn’t that just wonderful? My favourite touch is that William roasted nuts himself to serve at the bar!
The outfits were as classic as the setting, with William kitted out in a made to measure Reiss suit and Ashley looking just gorgeous in her Anita by Augusta Jones gown.
The beautiful images have been captured by Ben Goode Photography, thank you very much for letting us share these today.
THE PROPOSAL | Those of you who have been WWW readers for a while will probably remember my proposal story, but I love telling it! William took me to London on a surprise trip (he’d told me we were going to Bath). After a morning of wandering around the city we found ourselves in Trafalgar square where he simply said “Will you marry me?”. I was so surprised I thought he was joking! He didn’t have a ring and wasn’t down on one knee, so once I had determined he wasn’t playing a very unfunny joke, I of course said yes! Will didn’t have a ring, but he did have an appointment booked at Tiffany on Bond Street… so he whisked me away and we had a fabulous afternoon sipping champagne and choosing the perfect ring.
THE VISION | Our vision for our day evolved over time, and the wedding that we ended up with was so different to what we had originally thought it would be. But I am so glad it did! We had set out with a Midsummer’s Night Dream theme, and ended up with something quite different. I loved it though! All we really knew for certain was that we wanted to marry each other and that my son should be a part of it!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | When we started planning, I had pictured maybe something outdoors or even abroad. However, we very much wanted our families to be a part of our day and to have complete control over the planning process, so we decided to stay in the UK. We came to the decision that we would rather compromise on the time of year to save money and therefore we decided something outside also would not be practical given our lovely British weather! The planning process was full of changes of heart and mind, and we tried to stay flexible with our vision to avoid stress. We both absolutely loved planning our wedding and it definitely brought us closer as a family.
We did lots of DIY projects, which although didn’t save us a vast amount of money, did really get the three of us fully involved in the process. We spent many a weekend making chalk boards, experimenting with recipes or just researching and making decisions. We were engaged for 19 months so we did have plenty of time to make decisions and embark on DIY projects, but I would definitely recommend giving yourself lots of time. Projects often take more time than you realise, and sometimes decisions were harder than we anticipated!
THE VENUE | Rockbeare Manor near Exeter was the third venue we had looked around and I think it was just meant to be. We went down to visit it from our home in Dorset with my mum and it was still being refurbished so we very much had to try and imagine what the finished result would look like. We all absolutely loved it from the moment we drove up the beautiful tree lined drive. It had style, class and elegance. Everything I could have hoped for. We felt that Aimée, Andy and the rest of the team there understood our vision and helped bring it to life. The attention to detail is just phenomenal and the stunning rooms made our guests feel as pampered as we did.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was Anita by Augusta Jones, which was a floor length lace gown with a small train. It was ivory in colour and covered with tiny hand sewn sequins which just caught the light when I moved. It had an open heart shaped back and was quite fitted to show off my curves. It was everything I could have wished for in a dress and it made me feel fabulous!
With my dress I wore Rachel Simpson Mimosa shoes in powder blue (purchased from Rachel Simpson online), and a floor length Rainbow Club un-edged veil (purchased from Kate Walker Bridal). I wore an aquamarine Elsa Peretti Color by the Yard necklace from Tiffany and William surprised me with Tiffany pearl earrings the morning of the wedding (can you guess that I love Tiffany?!). I also had a fun sparkly clutch from Threaded by Pooja on Etsy for the evening that reads “Mrs G”.
FINDING THE DRESS | My dress… Oh my dress! I still love it more than I ever thought I could. My dress was lovingly supplied by the most amazing Kate Walker of Kate Walker Bridal in Honiton. Kate is a bridal designer herself so really really knows her stuff! She was such an amazing support in helping me not only choose the perfect gown, but also in helping me alter and customise it to be precisely what I wanted. I can really struggle with my self-image, but Kate helped to calm my anxieties and put me at ease. It honestly felt like I was buying a dress from a friend and she was one of the best parts of the planning process.
Kate Walker Bridal was the only bridal shop I visited and from the first trying on through to the final fitting the service was impeccable.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | William wore a rather dapper three piece suit which was purchased from Reiss through their personal tailoring service. We went to their Cabot Circus shop in Bristol where the store manager was absolutely wonderful in overseeing a series of appointments. We got to choose every aspect of the suit, from the fabric to the lining and buttons and even having a little embroidery of the wedding date on the inside of the jacket (so Will can never say he forgets our anniversary!). The suit was made in Italy and then comes back to the store where we had a few more alteration appointments to get the fit perfect before we took the suit home. The suit was a lovely navy blue colour and Will absolutely loves it. Will wore tan Loakes with his suit. The ushers’ suits were from M&S and my son’s suit was from Monsoon. I made all of the ties and pocket squares myself, the fabric was from Liberty.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Our ceremony was held at Rockbeare in their stunning dining room, so we wanted to ensure that we had some readings so that it wasn’t over quite so quickly. We found Sam De La Haye online and I just fell in love with her beautiful voice. Sam was wonderful in providing music for the guests arriving, the ceremony and for the drinks and canapés after too. I walked down the aisle to Fleetwood Mac’s Songbird… I cried, Will cried, the bridesmaids cried, everyone cried. Even now if I hear that song I’m reaching for the tissues! During the signing of the register we had If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys followed by Nina Simone’s Feeling Good. After the ceremony we walked out to Etta James’ At Last. We had three lovely readings, my maid of honor read “Sonnet 116” by Shakespeare, a friend of ours read an extract from “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” by Louis Berniers and then Will’s brother read “He Isn’t Perfect” by Bob Marley. Our ceremony was absolutely incredible and it was really made by the music and readings.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had three wonderful bridesmaids, who were all such a source of support and strength from day one. They wore stunning grey floor length dresses from Biba at House of Fraser and chose their own shoes.
THE FLOWERS | My flowers were absolutely incredible. I started planning with a rather small budget for flowers, I don’t think I really had an accurate idea of how much flowers were likely to cost. Once I had received a few quotes I decided that I would order what I considered to be the minimum (bridal party, table centres) and then reassess whether I could afford more at a later date. Well… I couldn’t really afford more but Will and I decided that flowers were something we would find the money for. So I did definitely spent more than expected on my flowers but I don’t regret it for a second. My florist was Emma Hewlett who understood my vision from the day she met me, she looked through my mood boards and was just drawn to a few of my ideas and ran with it. She created the most stunning arrangements in the perfect colours, just the right combination of wild and elegant. I am so grateful to have had her talent be a part of my wedding. For me they made the day so full of joy and beauty.
THE CAKE | My amazing friend Emily of Ebb and Flow Cakes made the cake. She was so patient with us and was fantastic at working with us to create a cake that fell within our budget, would look special and would feed enough people too! The cake was four tiers with a chocolate layer, a white chocolate and vanilla layer, a lemon layer and a coffee layer. I don’t like fruit cake so I definitely didn’t want a traditional cake and this was just perfect.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Ben and Josh of Ben Goode Photography were our super talented photographers. They were so patient with us and were great at capturing all of the moments throughout the day. I love their relaxed reportage style and they were so unobtrusive. Our wedding pictures are beautiful and we will treasure them for the rest of our lives.
Siobhan and Sinead of McGill Sister Films were our videographers and they were so much fun to work with. It felt like having a couple of my friends videoing us! Their film of our day is just perfect and every time I watch it I end up in tears! We met them at a wedding fair in our very early stages of planning and I had never seen such elegant and creative wedding films before. William took some convincing on having a videographer but he now says he is so glad we did. It’s amazingly special to be able to relive our day in that way.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Other than the flowers, much of the decor was created by us. We used Canva to design our orders of ceremony and the menus for the tables and printed them using printed.com. The table settings were bits of copper pipe kindly cut by my dad and then polished by my mum to be all shiny. We bought cheap cards and I taught myself calligraphy to write the place settings. We splashed out on our invites which were designed by Stacey at Belo Paperie, which were gorgeous floral watercolour invitations.
Our chalkboards were all home made and designed by myself and William. Our favours were home made fudge made by myself in the days running up to the wedding. We hired a post box for cards, giant light up love letters, and gold easels to display our table plan and ceremony signs on from The Prop Factory. We decorated the venue with candles from Ikea and we did a memory display in the entrance of Rockbeare to remember Williams grandparents and both of my grandads. We kept our decor quite simple and let the venue speak for itself.
In the week leading up to the wedding William roasted cashew nuts and these were placed on the bar for our guests to nibble on, they went down so well we keep getting requests for them now! We also hired a vintage style photo booth from Booth Nineteen which our guests loved, and our evening band was Black and Gold who we booked through Earcandy.
THE HONEYMOON | We jetted off to Mauritius for an adults only holiday a couple of days after the wedding. It was beautiful and the definition of paradise. I would definitely recommend Mauritius to anyone who is looking for a long haul honeymoon destination! I was quite sad to say goodbye to the planning process so it was really lovely to be away on holiday and have some time out to process everything.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | It’s so hard to pick any particular memories which stand out for me. It sounds clichéd, but the whole day was just perfect. I think the funniest moment would have to be my dad reading from a 1950’s “Good Wife Guide” about pleasing your husband in the bedroom!! It was very embarrassing but we were all crying with laughter! The ceremony was so emotional and walking out of the ceremony knowing we were finally married was definitely a highlight!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES |
Be organised! And try to be flexible – if you’re engaged for a little while like we were your vision can evolve so much over time! It’s easy to think a wedding is about yourself and your fiancé but it really is about both of your families as well. Our day was so important to our parents and I am so glad it was so special for them as well as us.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Ben Goode Photography
Videographer | McGill Sister Films
Venue | Rockbeare Manor
Bridal Boutique | Kate Walker Bridal
Shoes | Rachel Simpson Shoes
Groom’s Suit | Reiss Personal Tailoring
Musician | Sam De La Haye
Florist | Emma Hewlett Flowers
Cake | Ebb and Flow Cakes
Paper Goods | Belo Paperie
Accessories | Threaded By Pooja
What a beautiful day you had! Thank you so much Ashley and Will for sharing it with us, and of course having us along for the ride during your planning journey! Rachel x