Romantic Formal & Fun Party Wedding

George Rye Wedding Hollie Carlin Photography

I must profess, I am not well travelled, but I have been to the delightful seaside town of Rye in East Sussex and it’s just so charming. After vetoing a destination wedding to Italy, WWW readers Steven and Juliet opted for a weekend away to Rye instead and I have to say it was just so stunning. Their loved ones all travelled down to Rye to enjoy a relaxed weekend of celebrations, with a big party at the heart of the couple’s vision. They chose to marry on the 20th April 2018 at Rye Town Hall followed by a reception at The George in Rye. Their day included so many lovely moments, beautiful portraits with their amazing photographer Hollie Carlin in the cobbled streets (thanks for sharing them with us Hollie!), a town crier leading a walk through the town and confetti all round. It’s no wonder that they fell for the location.

Their style really is impeccable and they had formal outfits for the whole wedding party, think dinner suits and bow ties for the gents, long black gowns for the bridesmaids and a show stopping fit and flare lace dress for Juliet. So gorgeous. One touch that really stood out to me was the florist adding in the Juliet Rose to the bouquets after Juliet decided they were too expensive to include, how lovely is that? It just shows how much love and happiness was incorporated into their wedding.

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THE PROPOSAL

This is actually a lovely story.

In the summer of 2016 we went to the West Coast of America, hired a Mustang and drove from San Francisco to Las Vegas, it was the trip of a life time and we had been planning it for months. Earlier that year Steve had turned 30 and I had secretly been planning with his parents, brother and his now wife (who also happens to be my best friend) to join us in Vegas to surprise him for his birthday. We had planned it all and managed to keep it top secret between all of our friends and family. All of our friends were getting engaged, planning weddings and it wasn’t something on my radar. We have been together for 10 years and getting married wasn’t something either of us were overly fussed about. I was planning this huge surprise for him and it never occurred to me, he was on his own secret mission.

For two days we drove along Highway 1 and The Big Sur, stopping at viewpoints along the way on Steve’s mission to spot some Whales or Dolphins. We arrived at one viewpoint and Steve was trying to persuade me to climb up onto this sand bank to look out to sea to try to see some sea life.

We had been driving for two days and saw no sea life whatsoever so I huffing and puffingly I climbed up to join him. He then quickly took my hand and asked me to marry him. I was very shocked, a little bit embarrassed because people could see us and I wasn’t really sure what just happened! And then… a family of Dolphins dived out the sea like they had been following us along for the two days waiting for him to pop the question. It was all very romantic and the most perfect setting. And, as you can imagine, the 30th birthday surprise in Las Vegas was the cherry on top. Memories we will cherish forever.

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THE VISION

Italy, lets go to Italy.

THE PLANNING PROCESS

Italy isn’t going to work! Language barrier and financial commitments were not working in our favour so we went back to the drawing board. Still in love with the idea of doing a ‘destination wedding’ we wanted to get out of our home town of Gravesend and make a weekend of it. We wanted something quite low key and wanted more emphasis on the party and we kept this in mind throughout the planning process.

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BUDGET

As I mentioned earlier we have been together for 10 years and didn’t want or feel the need to justify spending a load of money on just one day of our lives, but we did have a budget and stuck to it. I was pretty savvy and if there was something we liked I would either attempt to make it myself or source a cheaper option. We really enjoyed getting creative and doing things our own way.

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GROOM’S ATTIRE

Dinner Suits from Jack Bunneys in Barking.

We knew from the very beginning we wanted the Men in dinner suits and our bridesmaids in black floor length gowns, it was a ballroom after all! We both agreed early on we wouldn’t extend this dress code to our guests.

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THE VENUE

We were about to put down a deposit on a venue in Kent so when all the roads where shut due to severe weather conditions I talked myself out of driving down to Rye. However, my Mum persuaded me to go with her to visit The George in Rye as she had taken the day off work and I think more than anything she wanted to get out the house! When we arrived, we were blown away by the stunning Ballroom that appeared out of nowhere, the charming pub feel and intimate courtyard but most of all when I saw the honeymoon suite (Room 1) I knew then and there that I wanted to get ready with my no.1 girls in that room on the morning of my wedding. It felt like everything just fell in to place. Wanting to break up the day and add a little more charm we booked the Town Hall with the Town Crier a real treat for all our guests. It is a stunning venue, relaxed and a beautiful location.

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THE READINGS & MUSIC

We wanted our ceremony to be personal to us, being together for so long we didn’t want anything too cheesy. We wrote our own vows and had our favourite pieces of music throughout.

Reading – ‘On your wedding day’ read by my sister Sophie, my maid of honour.

Walk in ‘Can’t help falling in love with you’ Haley Reinhart (Elvis originally).

Singing of the register:

‘Make you feel my love’ Adele

‘Rule the World’ Take That (I’m their biggest fan and the song was played at both my grandparents funerals)

‘Sweet disposition’ Temper Trap (our song)

First dance – ‘You & I’ John Legend followed by ‘Ready for your love’ Gorgon City along with lots of confetti.

Dance with my Dad – ‘You never can tell’ Chuck Berry from Pulp Fiction

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THE FLOWERS

I don’t know anything about flowers so I called in my Mum to help with this one. As we didn’t have a colour scheme as such, I wanted the flowers to compliment the Ballroom and be quite wild and summery. I had spotted a bridal bouquet on Pinterest and was told that the flower in there was called the Juliet Rose. Whilst it is a lovely flower these roses are expensive so I decided against having them, but when my flowers were delivered on the morning of my wedding my florist told me she loved the idea so much that she added them for me, which was a lovely personal touch.

Along with our bouquets we had a lovely love heart wreath made which was hung onto the railings of the town hall which we moved to the ballroom door later in the day.

The florist also provided flowers for our hair and our cake.

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THE DETAILS & DÉCOR

I wanted to do as much as possible for our day. I made our invitations and ‘capture the love’ stationery to go on the tables to encourage people to take photos and use our #thehurdles18. I also bought a load of props from eBay and a few inflatables to use for guests to sign our guest book using a polaroid camera. Steve wasn’t so keen on the random monkey and sombrero but they went down a treat.

I had seen DIY place names on Pinterest and really liked the idea of having shells with people’s names on as we were by the seaside. A year before the wedding Mum and I went to Whitstable after the Oyster festival to collect shells so I could clean them up and use them as name places. I really enjoyed doing all the little bits and pieces that brought everything together.

Our good friend is a tattoo artist designed our chalkboard and seating plan that was out in the courtyard throughout the day.

We decided not to do favours but instead made wicker love hearts to hang on the hotel room doors with a thank you card on them, we managed to find out where all our guests were staying in Rye so they all had a little keepsake to take home with them.

Let’s not forget the donut wall! In the evening our donut wall was revealed (provided by The George) with donuts that we sourced from Greg’s… less than half the price and much tastier than Krispy Kreme. Believe me we spent a whole Saturday morning doing a taste test!

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THE CAKE

Made by one of my closest friends Natalie Samuel.

Two tiers of deliciousness, Victoria sponge and lemon drizzle! The florist provided the flowers on top.

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BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS

My Maid of Honour was my sister Sophie and my Bridesmaids where my closest friends Alex, Lucy and Katie.

They wore black floor length gowns from Coast. It was very important to me that they felt beautiful and comfortable on my big day. I arranged a shopping trip and we went to Oxford Street early one Saturday to hit the shops, luckily, we found the dress within an hour and spent most of the day brunching afterwards. They all picked their own black strappy sandals and I gave them all a Katie Loxton bag and a pair of stud earrings, then the florist provided flowers for their hair.

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YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

The amazing Hollie Carlin. The photos where one of the most important things for us and knowing Hollie from school I had always said to Steve, if we ever get married I would like Hollie to be our photographer. As soon as we set the date, she was the first person I contacted.

Hollie is an absolute pleasure to work with, her photos say it all and she captures all the special moments. Our couple shoot was one of my most favourite parts of the day and this is down to Hollie who made us feel very comfortable and relaxed when at first feeling very overwhelmed and nervous.

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THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES

Dress – Blue by Enzoani

Shoes – Dune

Bag – Katie Loxton

I actually didn’t enjoy this process that much, I felt immense pressure to find a dress that was ‘the one’ not once did I look in the mirror and say to myself ‘girrrrl, you look fine!’ I looked in the mirror and thought how many more shops do I have to go to?!

I knew I wanted a sweetheart neckline, a fish tale but then something with a bit of vava voom. One of my bridesmaids said to me it’s all about being the best version of yourself on your wedding day, and that was one of the best pieces of advice I was given.

I found my dress in Bride and Groom Bridal Shop in Gravesend. I went in there with my mind set on a dress that was simple and very plain. They didn’t have it and I thought, typical. Just my luck. So when Linda (the owner) sussed out what I was after encouraged me to try on the Irvine dress that was a bit bling for my liking but I thought I would try it on to rule it out. It turns out I like a bit of sparkle and it was perfect in every way. My sister’s reaction was what sold it to me and she also reminded me who was I kidding I LOVE a bit of sparkle!

I need to give Linda a big shout out here; she offered a wonderful and personal service and her experience shone through. She knew what I wanted before I did and she did not try to sell anything to me or push a hard sale. She made me feel comfortable and gave me loads of confidence. She is an absolute gem.

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THE HONEYMOON

We made it to Italy! We left a few days after our wedding so it felt like a proper honeymoon. We spent 4 nights in Lake Garda, 7 nights in Tuscany exploring the wine region and 2 nights in Florence. We hired a car and just took each day as it came. It was perfect.

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MEMORABLE MOMENTS

The whole day was very memorable. Steve said it went quickly but I can honestly say it was one of the longest days of my life and I like to think I will always remember it all. We are both very family orientated and it was so lovely for the both of us to see our families all together.

One of our best memories we have that we will never forget was during our ceremony. The registrar noted at the end that we were both born in the 80’s and recited the lyrics from The Power of Love from Back to the Future, at first I thought Steve had stitched me up but turns out he didn’t have a clue she was going to do it either. Everyone said to us how lovely and personal the service was and that means a lot to us.

The Town Crier was great, a real surprise for all our guests. All our favourite people being in the same place at the same time and having the best party ever which was kicked off by our Fabulous wedding singer Zoe Kypri… not forgetting one of the ushers ripping his trousers by slut dropping! To be honest it was all the best, we wouldn’t change anything and would like to rewind and do it all again.

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ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES

Unfortunately, it is normal to hate your future husband/wife in the last few weeks of planning a wedding but try not let the pressure make you lose focus on why your actually getting married!

No one tells you just how nervous you will be on your wedding day, it is the best day ever but it is also very overwhelming and I could have done with being pre warned about it! I think they need to emphasis this more in wedding magazines haha.

Remember to have some time to yourselves; you are pulled from pillar to post and all the attention is on the two of you for the day, so make sure you make some time to reflect and take it all in.

Just do whatever you want to do as a couple, it doesn’t matter if someone else had a similar thing at their wedding, if you want it at yours have it, if it will make your day, have it, if someone doesn’t like it, so what it’s your day and it’s up to you.

Enjoy your day. It is the best one of your life.

Be prepared for the wedding blues!

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Credit Where Credit Is Due

Just so perfect! And I totally need a trip back to Rye now.

Thanks so much to Steven and Juliet for sharing their divine story with us xo Lou

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