If you’ve read Whimsical Wonderland Weddings for a while, then you’ll know I am a sucker for incredible photography. This wedding today is no exception in the beautiful images we have the honour of sharing every day and the dark moody sky portraits captured here today by Joshua Patrick Photography are quite simply breathtaking. There is even a glimpse of a rainbow, one of my very fave things in the whole world. What a spot of luck.
WWW readers Gabriella and James were married on the 24th June 2017 and held their reception at Back To The Garden in Norfolk. Being a restaurant, deli and farm shop by trade, it was the perfect hidden gem for their relaxed and alternative feel celebrations. The food as you can imagine was divine and the light filled barn was decorated in minimalist style with it’s natural atmosphere taking centre stage. The couple did add fairy lights, bunting and lanterns to the ceiling, plus some lovely lush florals for the tables. The flowers were mainly focused on the wedding party though. With the girls clutching dreamy bouquets and wearing waxflower crowns and the buttercream cake was lavished with greenery too. Amaze!
Gabriella’s Ti Adora Bridal gown was so delicate and pretty. It worked so well against the peachy boho bridesmaids dresses, while the gents were suited and booted in Slaters grey checked suits and bow ties. Did you ever see such style? Wow.
THE PROPOSAL | James proposed to me when we went to Prague for my birthday in January 2016. It was a perfect weekend filled with ice blue skies and plenty of beer! On our final day we walked to a tiny island on the river, it started snowing and we sat in our hats and scarves looking at the city. He asked me to stand up, then got down on one knee. We celebrated with drinks by the river, it was perfect.
THE VISION | I didn’t really have an exact vision of how I wanted the day to be but when James and I started discussing it we both agreed that we wanted it to be a relaxed, fun day with all the people we love most. We wanted it to be beautiful and natural. Before all else we wanted the day to be enjoyable, not to do anything because we feel we ought to.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We went to a few wedding shows to get some ideas but I actually found them really stressful and uncomfortable. I know they are all just trying to sell their products but I would come away feeling more confused than ever, having given my email address to all sorts of companies I’m not interested in!
I actually ended up looking on the internet and using hashtags on Instagram to find what I wanted. One of the wedding fairs we did enjoy was the ‘Most Curious Wedding Fair’ which was aimed at alternative weddings and featured only independent local companies. My mum helped so much during the planning, going to meetings with me and asking questions I wouldn’t think to ask.
THE VENUE | The venue was a place called Back To The Garden, near the town of Holt in Norfolk. It is actually a restaurant and farm shop, serving all local seasonal products. The building itself is a big converted barn and we fell in love with it as soon as we walked in. It is light and airy and stunning inside without being overstated.
Because it is a restaurant and not sold as a wedding venue they were so flexible with what we wanted. There was no ‘wedding package’ so we just explained what sort of thing we were after and they did everything they could to make that happen. The events coordinator Annie was so lovely and helpful; nothing was too much trouble and she was always up for meeting for a cup of tea to go through anything with us.
The food was shredded lamb, pan fried sea bass or mushroom and binham blue tartlet, which the guests pre-ordered in the RSVPs and there were salads and cous cous in dishes on the tables so everyone could help themselves. I really liked this style of serving as it was a sort of buffet without everyone having to get up and queue for their food like school children! The venue has a proper pizza oven so later in the evening there was fresh pizza on wooden boards for guests to help themselves to.
DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was made by Ti Adora; it was a an ivory dress with straps, which tied in a delicate bow just above a low back. The skirt was tiered lace down to the floor with a small train. My shoes were nude ballet pumps with satin ties, which wrapped around my legs like proper ballet shoes. I bought the shoes from ASOS before buying anything else because I loved them so much!
FINDING THE DRESS | I only went to one wedding dress shop to find my dress. Classic bridal shops intimidate me quite a lot and I knew I didn’t like particularly classic wedding dresses. My mum and I had a horrible experience walking into one shop and before we even said hello a shop assistant looked down her nose at us and said ‘I hope you’re not expecting to look at any dresses today because there’s no chance of that.’. Oh well, her loss!
When we went to The Frock Spot however, the experience couldn’t have been more different. The shop is an alternative wedding dress shop with lots of vintage inspired and tea length dresses run by a mother and daughter. They were so friendly, welcoming us into the shop and offering drinks. My mum and two of my bridesmaids came along and a tried on about five dresses, the fourth being the one I went for. As soon as I put it on I felt like a fairy and didn’t want to take it off! On the day I was so happy with my dress; it was comfortable, not too heavy and I could still dance all night in it! I have put it on a few times since the wedding just to float around the house!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | The groom and groomsmen wore grey Chelsea Check suits from Slaters with white shirts and grey bow ties. James bought them all individual cufflinks of their favourite films.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | During the ceremony we had two readings; one had to be biblical, as requested by the vicar; and the other was completely our choice. The biblical one was the passage from Corinthians, a classic but still lovely. The second reading was a beautiful piece from The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. It’s so emotional and makes me cry every time I hear it.
My mum is in Norwich Community Choir, a fabulous A Capella choir. A small group of them came to the church and sang while we were signing the register. We really dragged out the signing as we had requested a few songs and wanted time for all of them. The first song they sang was Hallelujah, it was incredible and always brings tears to my eyes. The choirs soloist Kyanna has a stunning voice and she sang ‘Beauty and the Beast’ from the Disney film. It’s one of my favourite Disney songs and she sang it perfectly. I don’t think James was too thrilled by that particular song choice..
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My gorgeous bridesmaids were in all different dresses from ASOS. I really wanted them to love their dresses and feel happy in them hence why we went for different dresses. It worked really well, the dresses were very similar colours and all complemented each other. I also had a little flower girl, the daughter of one bridesmaid, who wore a pretty little white dress from Monsoon.
THE FLOWERS | Flowers were from Passion of Flowers in Holt. Rita the florist was so helpful as I was probably the most vague and useless bride she had ever worked with. I wanted a natural, wildflower sort of theme with very little structure and no particular colour palette. She asked for pictures of my dress, the bridesmaids dresses, my mum’s dress and the men’s suits and designed the bouquets from there. When she brought them on the day we were all speechless because they were so gloriously beautiful, exactly what I imagined but couldn’t quite put into words. The bridesmaids and I also had delicate waxflower circlets made by the florist. I’ve still got mine, dried and hanging in our bedroom.
THE CAKE | Our cake was made by ‘Buns of Fun’, a baker a found through Instagram. Emma was so lovely and helpful; her cakes we were not traditional wedding cakes and they were stunning. We went for a two tiered cake; one tier was lemon, the other was ginger. It was a semi naked cake with just a crumb coating and it went down an absolute treat! Our florist brought some extra bits of greenery and a few flowers to the venue to decorate it and it was perfect!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | I literally cannot say enough about our photographer, Joshua Patrick. I found him on Instagram as well and loved his style of capturing real moments rather than the standard portrait wedding pictures. We met up for drinks a few times before the day and got on like a house on fire! On the day he was so helpful, playing with the children and carrying things to the cars when we were a bit stressed! One of my favourite memories from the day was when he took me, James, the bridesmaids and the groomsmen (along with a bottle of prosecco) for a walk in some fields. It was lovely to spend half an our away from the madness and just have a laugh. The pictures he took were all so perfect and captured the happiness of the day perfectly.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We didn’t do an awful lot to decorate the venue, it is so beautiful as it is plus I am not a huge fan of going over the top with bits and pieces lining the walls and ceilings. I don’t think most guests really remember it and I didn’t want to get stressed making 25 metres of bunting or whatever! The only thing we did was out some lace on jam jars for the flowers on the tables, which looked pretty.
THE HONEYMOON | We had two weeks in Italy for our honeymoon. We flew to Verona and had three nights there, then travelled to Lake Garda where we spent four nights, followed by flying to Sardinia and spending the second week there. It was the most fantastic holiday mainly spent wandering the beautiful Italian streets, swimming in the lake and sea, and drinking endless Aperol spritzes. If anyone is at a loss as to where to go on honeymoon I would absolutely recommend Italy. It is so easy to get around, the food is delicious and the scenery is out of this world. In Sardinia we hired a car and explored the mountains, going around hairpin bends with sheer cliff drops, dodging the occasional mountain goat or cow! It also gave us the freedom to explore the beaches, finding our own little pieces of heaven!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | It was such a perfect day it’s difficult to pick my most memorable moments. The choir in the church was fabulous, I always cry when I hear Hallelujah. At the end of the ceremony when the wedding party came back down the aisle and out of the church we all cheered and whooped once we got outside. There was so much hugging and kissing and joy! My mum’s speech was definitely something I won’t forget. She wrote a poem called ‘Gabriella’ which filled the room with tears. One of the best bits was when she mentioned her ‘34Ds’ during pregnancy! I also loved our first dance, which I wasn’t expecting to enjoy! We didn’t tell anyone the song we had picked, and when it came on (Elton John – Your Song) everyone sang along while we danced.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | For other couples getting married I would say don’t get bogged down with the little things. As long as you do what makes you both happy, you will be happy on the day and your guests will feed off that and be happy too. We spent so long worrying about the design of the table plan and exactly how much pizza everyone would get. On the day I realised how trivial that was. I would also say don’t try to do everything by yourself. I was a bit of a control freak at the beginning but once I let other people help me I was so much more relaxed.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Joshua Patrick Photography
Suits | Slaters
Florist | The Passion of Flowers
Cake | Buns of Fun
Transport | Station Campers
Bridesmaid Dresses | ASOS
What did I tell you? Absolutely gorgeous!
Gabriella and James, thanks so much to you both for sharing your incredible wedding with us here today xo Lou