We’re in multicolour wedding heaven today folks. There is no better way to start the week in my opinion than with WWW readers Ali and Bruce’s wedding, which was held on the 27th August 2016 at The Great Barn in Rolvenden in Kent. All the colours of the rainbow were infused into their family centred, happy day, which was also filled to the brim with hand cut confetti (see above). Their cute daughter had an important role in their wedding too and she looked gorgeous in her sweet white dress as walked down the aisle with a balloon.
Their nearest and dearest came together to craft many of the fab décor elements within the barn, from chevron bunting to a rainbow streamer backdrop and cool signage. It all looked truly magnificent, by evening the festoon lights lit the space to create a magical atmosphere too.
Ali’s stylish bridal look had me all aflutter. I adore her bridal separates by Karen Willis Holmes teamed with flowers in her hair. The gents all wore matching liberty print ties and handkerchiefs by Mrs Bow Tie, with their dark blue suits. How dashing!
Matt Parry Photography, I cannot thank you enough for sharing these marvellous images.
THE PROPOSAL | 1 October 2013 – at the Grand Canyon. We were on holiday in America, touring through Arizona and Nevada. Bruce proposed overlooking a gorgeous view of the Canyon. The next morning, we went back to the same spot and watched the sunrise over the Canyon. It was spectacular, and very cold!
THE VISION | We wanted it to be fun, colourful and a really good party. We considered pastel colour palettes, but decided that they didn’t reflect us so chose a bright colour scheme inspired by a design by Rosie Wonders.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We were pregnant with our daughter early on in the wedding planning. Not wanting to rush the wedding, we decided to wait until after she was born. Eleanor was born in May 2014 and, as babies do, she took up the majority of our time for that first year. It gave us lots of time to talk about our ideas and visions for the wedding.
THE VENUE | Like with the colour scheme, we knew a stately home or church wouldn’t suit us, and started looking for barns and halls to hold the wedding and reception. We weren’t tied to any area but as I was born in Kent, and Bruce just a few miles past the border in East Sussex, we searched around that area. We found The Great Barn in Rolvenden online and visited at Easter time. We loved the beams and gorgeous orchard space at the front. You really do have to use your imagination when visiting a cold barn on a wet day before the leaves start to grow on the trees!
Once we’d booked the venue, we could start dreaming up ideas for the decoration and finding caterers. Our caterers were called Home Gurr’own. Nikki, the owner and chef, and Sophie, who did all the on-the-day organisation and general amazingness, were fantastic. I honestly can’t recommend them high enough. They helped guide us through the mountain of decisions that comes with a dry-hire venue, and I’ve lost count of the small touches they did on the day.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | ‘Mabel’ by Karen Willis Holmes.
Shoes – LK Bennett.
Jewellery by Oliver Bonas.
Wedding rings – Lionel Wiffen, Hatton Garden.
Amy Huttely for hair.
Harriet Rainbow for make up.
FINDING THE DRESS | I am an indecisive girl by nature, and knew that finding a dress might be a challenge. I put together a Pinetrest board of favourites which I shared with my bridesmaids. I found a beautiful two piece dress by Karen Willis Holmes (Australia) and fell in love with the modern, no fuss style. I found out a bridal salon that stocked her dresses and booked at appointment. The salon was the Wild Heart Bridal. Two sisters had set up the shop a few months before my appointment and I loved to hear their story of how they took the initiative to set up their dream bridal salon stocking a selective collection of dresses.
I tried on the dress, not expecting it to suit me, and it just felt so “right”. It took me a few more weeks to pluck up the courage to order it! It’s a big decision and I needed those few extra weeks to be sure.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Bruce bought a blue suit from Reiss. Bruce, the groomsmen and father of the bride wore matching ties and pocket handkerchiefs from Mrs Bow Tie. It was a Liberty print from the same year that Bruce was born so it all felt pretty special.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had two readings by our friends.
‘I wanna be yours’ – John Cooper Clarke, read by our friend Alex.
‘On your wedding day’ – anonymous, read by our friends Clare, Karen and Rosie.
Bruce works in the music industry so he hand-picked all the music before the wedding, during the ceremony, throughout the afternoon and then a friend DJ’d in the evening. The music I walked in to was ‘Love and other verses’ by Iron and Wine.
It’s a band we both love and have seen many times together. I managed to get tickets for one week after the wedding as a gift to Bruce to open on the morning of the wedding.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My dear friends, Viv and Andy, were my bridesmaids. My daughter, and my cousin’s daughter, were our flower girls.
Viv and Andy wore dresses from For Her and For Him – rose gold sequin tops with a peach sherbet skirt. Neither matched the colours we had picked for the wedding but the sherbet was such a delicious colour, that I couldn’t resist!
The flower girls wore Monsoon dresses and carried a heart balloon and a big smile.
THE FLOWERS | A friend, Vicky Barrett Design, created the wonderful array of colourful flowers at our wedding. We bought gold and glass vivariums for each table and Vicky filled them with a breathtaking selection of blues, pinks, yellows and greens. She was lucky enough to buy some of the last peonies of the season – one of my favourite flowers. I wore cornflowers in my hair.
THE CAKE | Made by the wonderful Jo from Sweet Enchanted. I met her on Instagram – I like to bake a bit myself and she’s always posting her favourite recipes. We chose a three tiered cake – Coconut, Confetti and Chocolate all with different flavour icing. Choosing the flavours was a difficult choice! Jo asked us about decorations and sent ideas to help prompt us. On the day, when we saw the cake, we were amazed that she’d found our website, read our engagement story and recreated the grand canyon on the cake! She also gave us two cute MR and MRS cupcakes to enjoy the next morning.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We discovered Matt Parry on a wedding listing site. We were immediately drawn by his atmospheric and artistic style.
On our first skype call, we laughed at the similarities in looks between Matt and Bruce!
Matt was fantastic on the day and captured so many amazing moments of us, our family and friends. It’s very hard to choose which photos to print.
He was particularly great with our daughter when she was feeling quite shy. He cheered her up with a game and then captured some of our favourite photos of the day as a family (shot of us in the campervan).
Matt also took some photos of Bruce and I secretly practising our first dance in the early evening. It was a very hot day and the light in those shots is beautifully atmospheric.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | I’m one of those girls who likes to try a new craft every week. My ‘pinterest wedding’ was epic but I quickly realised that working full time with a toddler in tow was going to limit the time I’d have to spend on creating the picture perfect wedding. So, I called in for reinforcements.
My mum helped created some pretty chevron bunting, and dad created the most amazing backdrop from our top table. It was so simple but very effective. Our table plan was an old gold frame we had which we covered in ribbons and threaded the table plan cards on it.
Knowing how tricky it can be to keep kids entertained during a meal, I created kid’s activity boxes including stickers, bubbles, colouring books and pencils, snacks, play dough for the younger ones and cameras for the older kids.
Bruce and I hand stamped all our confetti – and there was lots of it!
Steph McGonigle, a dear friend, created our wedding stationery and most the signage for the barn.
We had festoon lighting draped across the high beams in the barn, and hung different sized white paper lanterns with ribbon.
THE HONEYMOON | As we have a two and half year old, we snuck away for a few days in Florence while she stayed with her grandparents. We stayed in an art hotel overlooking the river Arno. We ate, drank and wandered the city as newlyweds.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | After the official ceremony, we all gathered in the orchard for a blessing by a dear friend. During the blessing, he asked everyone to hold hands in a circle around us. Everyone laughed and followed his request – it was a lovely moment to see our parents holding hands with our work colleagues, and university friends holding hands with our cousins.
Walking back in to the barn when everyone had taken their seats. Our master of ceremonies introduced us as ‘Mr and Mrs Hay’ and we walked in to a raucous cheer from our friends and family. It filled us with happiness to see all our favourite people smiling at us. So much love in the room!
The first dance. On the recommendation of one of my bridesmaids, we had a few dance lessons to learn some moves for our first dance. We chose ‘Love is in the air’ as our song. We kept the dance lessons a secret from everyone apart from the bridesmaids, even our parents didn’t know. It was great fun and a really enjoyable part of the wedding planning process to practise the dance, and we were so relieved to remember the steps on the day!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Play on your strengths as a couple. You both know you have skills in different areas so decide on who is going to do what for the wedding planning based on what you enjoy and are good at.
Stay true to yourselves. Don’t stress about what other people might think about your day. If you want a hundred colours, go for it. People will enjoy the day because it’s all about you as a couple.
Everyone says this, but it’s true: let others help. I was quite resistant to this at first, wanting to do it all myself. But by taking on help it meant that this was a wedding crafted by our families and friends, as well as ourselves. The end result was pretty special and I’m so glad we accepted their help.
The day will rush by, but by being aware of that and taking a few minutes here and there to absorb the love and happiness in the room will stay with you forever.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Matt Parry Photography
Suits | Reiss
Bridesmaid dresses | For Her and For Him
Caterer | Home Gurrown
Stationery | Steph McGonigle
Cake | Sweet Enchanted
Wedding rings | Lionel Wiffen, Hatton Garden
Hair | Amy Huttely from Vicky Lord’s Bridal Academy
Make Up | Harriet Rainbow
Campervan | South Coast Vintage
Photo booth | Mustard Seed Photo Booth Company
Wow wee. I love it all.
Ali and Bruce, thank you both so much for sharing your special celebrations with us xo Lou