By Louise Baltruschat Hollis
Oh those balmy, long summer days. They feel like a distant memory all ready with the nights drawing in and the leaves turning don’t they? Well today’s wedding totally transports me back, thanks in part to the utterly stunning sun drenched images by the brilliant Katherine Ashdown today.
WWW readers Louise and Phill were hitched on the 10th June 2017 in a church ceremony followed by a country reception at Spixworth Hall Cottages in Norfolk. The cottages were perfect for their garden vision, with ample accommodation and tons of character. It was the perfect blank canvas for their DIY projects, assisted by their family, with flowers, pallet bar and stationery to name a few, all created by hand.
Louise had the most beautiful bridal look, her hair and make up flawless, her lace illusion back gown by Maggie Sottero just so pretty. Phill went for a modern yet country gent feel with a grey check waistcoat and navy suit, with his faves in matching ensembles. The bridesmaids really rocked their long grey dresses and the prettiest peony laden bouquets you ever did see. Perfection.
THE PROPOSAL | Phill had booked us a trip to Reykjavik in Iceland, little did I know he had a plan of a romantic proposal under the Northern Lights (he had even asked my Dad for permission!). After a delayed flight and a day and a half sitting in the hotel due to one of the ‘worst storms on record’ and no sign of the lights, Phill found a moment to pop the question on our balcony. It was the most un-expected and perfect surprise!
THE VISION | We wanted a fun, laid back, English country garden wedding with a great party.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | I really enjoyed planning our wedding! We were engaged for just over two years as I wanted some time to work out my vision. Six months after the proposal we were ready to set a date for the following summer. We wanted a church wedding so had the added task of getting a venue available on the same day. Once this was arranged we were then able to book the other ‘big’ things such as our photographer and catering. We were aware that costs can build very quickly so we were happy to do a lot ourselves. Pinterest was amazing for inspiration and I read a lot of wedding blogs, which had some really great ideas. From making our own save the dates, invitations and order of service, to creating our own playlist, a DIY photo booth and building our very own pallet bar. The venue lent itself to these personal touches so we could make the wedding our own.
THE VENUE | We knew we wanted to get married in our local church but we were unsure on where to hold the reception. We looked around a number of venues but they didn’t give us the freedom to make it very personal. A friend had mentioned Spixworth Hall Cottages after attending a wedding there. It has picturesque holiday cottages with a gorgeous rustic barn, which is only available for weddings for a few weekends of the year. It’s hidden down a private driveway and in amongst the beautiful Norfolk countryside. We could have friends and family stay in the holiday cottages on site with us, which was lovely. The barn was a blank canvas, which enabled us to have what we wanted down to the last detail.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was Jovi by Maggie Sottero. I fell in love with the romantic lace and the beautiful detail on the back. I had it altered to be a more fitted style and my seamstress Michele made me a simple veil. I had always wanted flowers in my hair and thought it would be in keeping with our rustic garden theme, so I decided on a small piece of gypsophila in my hair.
When we were on our travels, Phill bought me a delicate silver bracelet from Tiffany New York, which I knew I wanted to wear on my wedding day. On the morning my wedding gift from my husband to be was a pair of diamond earrings. Everything came together beautifully.
FINDING THE DRESS | When it came to my dress I was your classic commitment-phobe! I lost count of how many I tried on, I wasn’t ready to say yes to anything no matter how gorgeous the dress. I knew I wanted a fitted lace dress but I was so indecisive on what style I wanted on top. I loved the look of strapless but I was worried about the fit, so an illusion neckline was the perfect answer. I had been to Pure Brides in Norwich and tried on my dress on one of my many shopping trips, and ended up going back after my mum and sisters convinced me it was ‘the one’ and they were so right!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Phill and the groom party hired their suits from Pure. Phill wanted a navy blue suit and found a quaint tweed waistcoat, which fitted with our relaxed country style. He looked gorgeous!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had 1 Corinthians 13, 4-13 read by my God-Mother, Corinne and I Carry Your Heart by EE Cummings read by Charly, one of our closest friends. I walked down the aisle to Pachelbels Canon (which I had always dreamed of!) and Stevie Wonder – Signed, Sealed, Delivered played as we left as husband and wife.
I felt so much pressure when deciding on our first dance! Everyone would be expecting a slow song but we wanted ‘Use Somebody’ by Kings of Leon. We had heard Pixie Lott do a slow acoustic cover for Radio 1’s Live Lounge but as beautiful as the cover was we still loved the original. We thought it would be great if we could mix both of the songs together and my sisters friend did this for us! This was just beautiful and it was such a surprise for everyone when the original song started and we invited all our guests onto the dance floor.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I asked my two sisters and two of my oldest friends to be my beautiful bridesmaids. I wanted to buy their dresses from the high street so I didn’t want to get fixed on a certain colour or style. I eventually found some halter style maxi dresses in grey from Asos. They only needed some small alterations and the girls looked stunning!
THE FLOWERS | For the bouquets and button holes I used Lavenders Blue as recommended by my mother-in-law. They were so friendly and totally understood my vision. They made suggestions for alternative flowers that were in season or that were longer lasting, which was brilliant. They even made my little flower girl the cutest rose wand, which she adored!
I had my heart set on an English country cottage look for the barn and I was so pleased when I found Julie at Hillcrest Flower Garden on Facebook. She grows beautiful flowers locally in Norfolk and sells the hand cut stems by the bucket. I loved the look of wild flowers in jam jars for the centre pieces in the barn, my mum is amazing at all things garden and flower related and she was very happy to arrange these for me. Julie was kind enough to let me and mum have a practice run with the jars at her nursery and was really helpful when we were working out how many flowers we would need. We were able to create my English country garden look and I was over the moon with the result.
THE CAKE | We wanted a simple cake, which didn’t break the bank. Theresa is a friends of my mother-in-law Lynn and agreed to make the cake for us. We requested a two-tiered classic Victoria sponge with white icing, decorated with pink flowers. Teresa actually made delicate sugar flowers, which looked brilliant! I bought a wooden Mr & Mrs cake topper for the finishing touch.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | The photographer was the one thing I was sure of from the start – I found Kathy on Instagram and fell in love with her natural and classic style. Kathy has an amazing ability to capture every moment so beautifully and we were fortunate enough to get some incredible sunset shots.
We are so thrilled with our wedding photos, we love looking through them and re-living our perfect day.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We really wanted the wedding to be personal and to reflect us. Me and Phill took a gap year together to backpack round the world. I made our table plan using a map and each table was a different country that we have visited. We also put a little photo of us taken in that country on the table along with a jar of lolly pop sticks with questions about that country – a great way to get everyone chatting (shout out to my parents who thought up and hand wrote every question!).
Our families played a huge part in our DIY wedding, we couldn’t have done it without them! My Dad made a fantastic start on our playlist, to which we added some of our favourite songs and a dance section for the last hour of the night. Phill’s parents collected some brilliant props and large photo frames for our photo booth. Both of our Mums and some friends helped arrange the flowers for the centre pieces and arranged some beautiful displays in the windows and courtyard. Phill is a real handy-man and was able to make a bar out of pallets! He also made a cask stand for the beer and a bar sign out of corks, which we decorated in fairy lights. We hired festoon lights to string across the high beams of the barn, which looked so twinkly and romantic!
I think personal touches make such a difference. We had two days before the wedding to set up and it was brilliant to get friends and family together and great that so many people were willing to help us.
THE HONEYMOON | Our guests were kind enough to contribute towards our honeymoon. We stopped over for two nights in Singapore and then onto two amazing weeks in Bali. We had the perfect balance of relaxing and exploring, it was a holiday we will never forget.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | We made our own playlist and one of the most difficult decisions was choosing which song to finish the night on. Phill is a huge Queen fan so we decided on Bohemian Rhapsody – a real make or break song but we decided to risk it! Our risk paid off as it went down a treat, by the end of the song all our friends and family had circled around us dancing and singing along, a moment we will never forget.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Go with your gut instinct, I ended up having a number of hair and make up trials after finding things I loved on Pinterest, but they were not ‘me’. Pinterest is great for inspiration but my advice would be to try not to get too set on anything you find on there. I ended up going with hair and make up that I had first thought of before I started researching! Finally – enjoy every moment.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Katherine Ashdown Photography
Venue | Spixworth Hall Cottages
Flowers | Hillcrest Flower Garden
Flowers | Lavenders Blue
Dress & suits | Pure Brides
Bridesmaids dresses | ASOS
Seamstress | Michele Mulcahy
Catering | Expresso Online
Hair | Norwich Hair
Make up | M Haynes Makeup
Well wasn’t that just heavenly?
Louise and Phill, thank you both so much for sharing your divine day with us, and thanks also to Katherine for sharing these sublime photographs xo Lou
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