Ben and Gemma have a love for Bali and even got engaged there. After dreaming of tying the knot in Bali they decided instead to have a Bali feel to their Rutland wedding day.
On the Friday 5th June 2015 they married at Normanton Church followed by a river cruise and a marquee reception at Launde Abbey. They incorporated tropical blooms of King Protea and succulents which looked amazing, brought back sand and shells from their favourite beach in Bali for the centrepieces and used a surf board for their table plan. Brilliant.
Oh my, Gemma’s dress was stunning. She wore Goddess by Temperley London with a simple veil and exquisite hair jewellery. Ben looked very dapper indeed in his check suit and sunnies while the maids wore Dessy frocks.
Beaulieu Wedding Photography, thank you so much for sharing these dreamy images with us.
THE PROPOSAL | The whole ethos of the wedding was for it not to be too traditional, but that wasn’t the case when it came to the proposal.
I wanted to ask Gemma’s dad for her hand in marriage, so I invited him out for a game of snooker and a couple of beers at the local club in Peterborough (where I used to live) it didn’t feel quite the right place to pop the question in the noisy snooker hall. So I asked him on the way home in the car. It felt great and he was delighted.
I knew I was going to pop the question in Bali and the last thing I wanted to do was take Gemma’s official engagement ring half way across the world in my back pack so I decided to use one of two identical rings that I’d had for many years. I had dropped one (which I always intended to give to Gemma) down the back of the dashboard of my mum’s car years previously and it was still there, much to Gemma’s constant disappointment. So after a trip to the garage for mum’s car I had the proposal ring and boxed it up for our holiday. I’d hidden the ring in my rucksack the night before our flight because I thought she’d never have a reason to go in there. Unbeknown to me Gemma did have a reason to go in there and found the box. She assures me she never opened it!
I kept hold of the ring on me until the perfect time arrived. That happened when we took a night time walk along our favourite beach. Under the stars I dropped down onto one knee and asked her to marry me. The rest is history.
THE VISION | A relaxed laid back day shared with family and friends filled with love.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We initially thought about getting married in Bali on one of our favourite beaches. We looked into arranging an Indonesian wedding but soon discovered it required military organisation and there wasn’t much room for error with the planning. As Ben and I are the most haphazard disorganised couple we know, we thought that maybe it wasn’t such a great idea and could envision arriving in Bali with our families having not filled a form out properly and not being allowed to marry!
Additionally, and more importantly it would not have been possible to have had all of our family and friends join us and ultimately we took the decision to instead get married in the UK. We both feel very blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world and wanted to share our home county of Rutland with our family and friends.
We started our planning by finding the perfect venue for us and then a date was chosen based on availability of the venue. We then decided upon our wedding parties and invited our bridesmaids, groomsmen and ushers to be a special part of our day. We didn’t really know where to start with planning and it was all a bit overwhelming. The first thing I purchased was the wedding dress quickly followed by Ben’s suit. I ended up getting a beautifully unique dress which lent itself perfectly to the planning of the rest of the colour scheme and theme of the day. We decided to put the boys blue suits with purple ties and the bridesmaids in neutral colour dresses with purple pashminas. The colour theme emerged as ivory, gold, navy and purple and we loved it!!
As we could not take our family and friends to Bali we decided to bring Bali to them! We used sand and shells brought back from the beach we got engaged on, candlelight and exotic flowers to decorate the day. We used a surfboard for our table plan. We decided to use something we both loved as our wedding favours – flowering green tea for the girls and little wooden elephants for the boys – each lovingly labelled with a thank you message for sharing our special day with us. As the months rolled by with the continuing support of our wedding venues, bridesmaids and best men our perfect day fell into place. A bit of a mad rush at the end but we managed to pull it all off brilliantly!!
BUDGET | We didn’t really have a budget and to this this day I don’t really know much we ended up spending, probably more than we panned to! We were conscious throughout the whole process not to get swept up into spending a ludicrous amount of money. We went to one wedding fair and didn’t really enjoy running the gauntlet of smiley wedding company representatives. We felt like we were looking at buying and hiring stuff because that’s ‘what you do for a wedding’. We decided to try and stay focused on what really mattered to us on the day and that was to be surrounded by our family and friends in the beautiful English countryside. We were lucky enough to be able call upon our extremely talented and generous family and friends to help keep the cost down. We made our wedding invitations and stationery. Our table centre pieces were glass bowls filled with sand and shells brought back from Bali from the beach on which we got engaged. Our budget was used mainly for our wedding venue, an endless supply of alcohol, delicious food and an amazing band.
THE VENUE | We immediately knew with its position on the water and absence of religious intent that Normanton Church (museum) would be the perfect place for our civil ceremony. Katy Page from Anglian Water made planning our ceremony at the church incredibly easy. We had a 2 hour hire period at the church and decided to make maximum use of our time there by celebrating afterwards with Prosecco and canapés outside overlooking the water.
Through Katy we were introduced to Rutland Belle River cruises a family run business who operate boat journeys around and across Rutland water. We met with captain Matt to discuss hiring the beautiful Belle for our wedding guests to travel together to and from the ceremony. We created iPod playlists for the 15 minute crossing too the church and a 30 minute celebratory cruise around Rutland water afterwards with open bar!!
For our reception venue, exclusivity was one of the most important things to us. We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to find the gorgeous Launde Abbey and their exceptional staff nestled in the heart of the English countryside. From the second we stepped out of the car we felt an instant inner peace and connection with the place. Suzanne the wedding planner was on hand to help us create our perfect individually designed day. Andy the chef was amazing and we put together an absolutely delicious wedding breakfast meal and evening buffet. The day would not have been made possible without the stand out staff especially, Ian, Aaron, David who made us feel so comfortable and every want and need was catered impeccably for. Recognition also to the many staff behind the scenes also that made the day run so smoothly. We cannot commend the team at Launde Abbey enough on their hard work and dedication that day to create for us the best day of our life.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Goddess wedding dress by Alice Temperley. Full length veil by Nobel and Wright.
No other accessories required as the dress was embellished with a stunning golden neck piece. I did however feel I wanted to wear a head chain in my hair to compliment the dress. I searched for hours on the internet but couldn’t find what I was looking for. Through a friend of a friend I was finally (3 weeks before the wedding!) put in touch with an amazing lady called Yvonne who from a little workshop at the end of her garden designs and makes beautifully individualised jewellery. I met with her to discuss my ideas and she created for a me a gorgeous beaded head piece to wear with my dress. She even suggested asking Alice Temperley for some of the dress beads which she could incorporate into the head jewellery. I was blown away when I opened the box of what she had made, it was much more than I had ever envisioned.
FINDING THE DRESS | I initially went wedding dress shopping with my mum and aunty a year before the wedding, bottles of champagne in hand and a style of dress in mind. We had great fun tying on lots of gowns but I didn’t feel really comfortable in any of them. I’m not really a girly girl and the big dresses didn’t feel or look right on me. I started to Google ‘quirky’ and ‘unique’ wedding dresses and happened upon a London designer Alice Temperley. I loved her collection and after finding a local stockist contacted the owner and made an appointment to try a few on. I love intricate metal work and Indian designs and so I was mainly drawn to Temperley’s Goddess dress. I was a bit scared of the open back, and the price tag but the dress was amazing. It was the one. It didn’t need any alternation other than the length. Paired with a simple full length veil the look was complete. No jewellery or accessories required :).
GROOM’S ATTIRE | After one fitting at a wedding suit hire shop we quickly decided that Ben would not be hiring a suit. There was a choice of 4 suits in 3 colours and they all looked awful on him. We both felt that Ben’s suit was as important as getting the perfect bridal dress. We went shopping for suits, and the first suit in the first shop was the one he bought (much to my horror). Needless to say we tried many more on but none where as special as that first one he tried.
We wanted our male wedding party to feel the same as us but unfortunately couldn’t afford to buy 6 suits. We struggled in the hire shops to find the suits that we were looking for until we found Mike in Moss Bros Leicester. He knew exactly what we were wanting and showed us a fairly new range of Ted Baker hire suits in navy blue. They were great and the men loved wearing them.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We decided we would like a reading or two in the church as part of our wedding ceremony. We spent a while looking at verse and poems but they just didn’t feel personal to us. Our friend J, an extremely talented spoken word performer, kindly offered to write us a reading detailing our lives together. It was incredible and a stand out part of our ceremony.
We hired a local band called Children of the Revolution to play our evening reception, they performed 1 acoustic and 2 electric sets in the marquee tent in the beautiful grounds of Launde Abbey. Drummer Dave Smith is also an extremely talented solo artist and played an acoustic medley of his own music in Normanton Church along with a beautiful version of Eta James’s ‘At Last’ which he learned especially for us.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My 6 bridesmaids were my 3 very good friends Jo, Kams and Ems, Ben’s 2 sisters Amy and Gemma and Ben’s niece Abbie. I had an army of girls and loved it! We spent a while searching for bridesmaid dresses and finally decided upon the Dessy Collection – there where hundreds of dresses in every colour imaginable! We found a local stockist, Blush Bridal in Bourne, and with the help of the very patient and knowledgeable Suzy and the ladies there they helped us find the perfect colour dress. We decided on everyone having the same colour – taupe but everyone choosing a style they felt comfortable in. This worked beautifully and they looked gorgeous.
We accessorised with purple pashminas to match the mens’ ties and gold jewellery to tie in with my dress. When we all got together on the day and the look was complete it was completely stunning!! My girls were incredible on the day ensuring that I remained calm and oblivious to a couple of minor disasters!! They followed every plan to a tee then helped me dance the night away – one of my best memories was walking to the marquee and seeing all my girls dancing their hearts out. I didn’t leave the marquee from then on!
THE FLOWERS | Flowers were one of the last things we ended up arranging. I had been looking for a while at ideas for bouquets and buttonholes but struggled to put together the right combinations of flowers, and find the right kind of flower to compliment my unusual wedding dress. I popped into a couple of local florists before finding the extremely knowledgeable and talented ladies at The Flower House in Stamford. I had a couple of appointments to chat though ideas and finally decided upon using King Protea for the bouquets and succulents for the buttonholes. To keep costs down we decided not to use flowers to decorate the church or reception venue. However 2 weeks before the wedding we had a bit of money left so I popped into a local florist, Pollen in Oakham and Ellen helped me put together an order for a few buckets full of astrantia, freesia, limonium, alliums and lisianthus. The day before the wedding my mum and aunty helped me arrange these into various vases and into hand tied bunches to fill the church. I loved doing these flowers myself and they looked amazing.
THE CAKE | No brainier……. Ben’s mum’s delicious coconut celebration cake, but never before made on such a grand scale (I’m not sure how many practice cakes were made but were gratefully received by all the family at various point throughout the year in the run up to the wedding). Three beautiful tiered cakes of layered soft coconut sponge and coconut cream filling covered in fresh grated coconut. Ben’s mum found a company in Devon that supplied fresh flowers to decorate wedding cakes and these finished the coconut cake off beautifully.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | One of the most important things for us was to find the right people to capture our special day and for us to have beautiful pictures of our families and friends. We decided quite early on to have two photographers as we felt that capturing Ben’s morning was equally as important as the bridal party’s morning. We met with a few of photographers before finding our Rutland wedding photographer.
When we met with Lou and Tim of Beaulieu Photography, we knew immediately that we could put our complete confidence in them to document our day. We met a couple of times before the big day to have an explore of the church and reception venue. We were all excited by the stunning locations and the images they lent themselves too.
Lou and Tim worked tirelessly to capture our whole day, from beginning to end. I hardly remember seeing them, but knew they were there capturing every special moment. We didn’t have any doubt that the pictures would be amazing and so we were so excited to get the email letting us know our pictures were ready! Lou & Tim met for us dinner and drinks at a pub in Oakham and we spent a couple of hours looking through our online album.
We were completely blown away by all the images… we knew they’d be good but they are beyond what we ever imagined!! We are so happy with our wedding photography.
THE HONEYMOON | It was always going to be Bali!! We have been for the last few years and absolutely love everything about this amazing Indonesian island. We always backpack and don’t have much of a plan for our time there other than staying on our first and last few days with a beautiful Balinese family we met on our first time there. Nestled down a little quiet street, seconds from Berawa beach in Canggu, live Mr Rama and his family at Puri Rama Homestay. We always have a very relaxed and welcoming stay there and this year we are booked into the honeymoon suite …we can’t wait!!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Ben approaching Normanton Church across the water on the Rutland Belle surrounded by family and friends in the sunshine. Driving down to the church with my dad, in the back of his friend’s classic cherry red Jag and my mouth going dry when I saw the church. The unexpected feeling of completion stood at the top aisle together holding hands saying our vows. The sight of our family and friends smiling and laughing and having a good time.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Stay true to yourselves and what you want your day to be, it’s your special day. Tip for the bride – if wearing a backless wedding dress make sure you’re getting ready bra is off at least an hour before the ceremony!!! Oh and don’t drink red wine (luckily we found an amazing dry cleaning company)!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Bridesmaids dresses | Blush Bridal Company
Wedding dress | Noble & Wright
Rutland Belle | Rutland Water Cruises
Wedding venue | Normanton church, Rutland
Honeymoon | Rama Homestay
Photography | Beaulieu Wedding Photography
Reception venue | Launde Abbey
Ben’s suit | Suit Yourself
Groom party attire | Moss Bros
Flowers | The Flower House
Makeup | Ruth Elizabeth Makeup Artist
Hair | Amy’s Mobile Hairdressing
Band | Children of the Revolution
Jewellery & Accessories | Frankly Unique
Wow. Just gorgeous.
Thanks so much to Ben and Gemma for sharing their wonderful nuptials with us today xo Lou