Today’s real wedding feature is proof that weather needn’t be a concern on your wedding day, in fact it can well and truly make your day even more memorable and special, just as WWW readers Ben and Roh found out on their day! They were married on the 10th August 2019 and celebrated their nuptials at the Great Lodge in Essex. The weather turned out to be the most memorable part on their day, with 50mph gale force winds, a power cut in the church, a flying veil, rain and a beautiful rainbow appeared following, with a glowing sunset to end the day. Dramatic and beautiful in equal measure.
Ben and Roh had a strong vision for their wedding; a free bar, transport for guests, good timings, live music, no evening guests and plenty of entertainment. To me it sounds like the perfect recipe for a really fun day. Being environmentally conscious was also important to them and I think you will find their considerations during their wedding planning really interesting.
Keep your eyes peeled for gorgeous attire (Ben and Roh looked amazing!), stunning tropical vibe flowers, alpacas and arcade games. Wow. A massive thank you to Gemma Giorgio for sharing with us these sensational shots.
22nd December 2017 – My husband is a Titanic fanatic, so for our Christmas getaway we booked to go on board the Queen Mary 2, a cruise liner that looks almost identical to the Titanic. We sailed for 7 days from Southampton to New York, the same Transatlantic route that the Titanic had sailed in 1912.
The voyage was amazing. On our last night on board the ship, we’d set our alarms to wake up at 4.30am to see the Statue of Liberty as we sailed into New York.
We had the perfect view from our balcony. Just as we were admiring lady Liberty, Ben got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.
When planning our wedding, we really wanted to make an effort to be environmentally conscious. We were aware of how much waste there is from weddings, so kept that in mind when purchasing items and choosing suppliers. We also made a list of all the things that we enjoyed about weddings and made sure to include them. We didn’t think too much about a theme, our main goal was that we wanted our guests to have a good time.
Key things on our list:
- Free bar (we always resented paying for drinks at weddings, often overpriced too)
- Transport for guests (so great not being a designated driver)
- Good timing (It can often be boring if you don’t know many people, there can also be a long wait while the couple are having photos taken after the ceremony)
- Good music (even if you don’t like to dance, a band are entertaining to watch)
- Everyone is included (no evening guests)
- Entertainment/Activities (keep the guests and their kids entertained)
The Planning Process
Once we had our list, we began shopping around for suppliers and venues. We had a couple of venues in mind so started by booking in viewings. Our first choice was available and reasonably priced, so we locked in a date for our big day. Once we had that in place, we explored different suppliers and compared prices.
We wanted to keep the wedding as environmentally friendly as possible. We chose suppliers that didn’t use single use plastic. We put a coach on so that there weren’t lots of vehicle emissions (and to give our guests a free ride home). We purchased biodegradable confetti, wooden cake topper, ensured that there was a recycling system in place and banned plastic cups. We purchased most of our decorations second hand from Facebook Marketplace or borrowed items from friends’ weddings. The sleeves on the invitations we made using sequin waste, bought from eBay which we feel is a great use of recycling something that was destined for landfill after its initial use.
Our photographer was a great contact to have when it came to advice. She was more than happy answering any questions regarding timing for the day and tips she’d collected from other weddings, along with supplier recommendations.
£15,000 (We split this three ways between us, Roh’s parents and Ben’s parents).
We ended up going over budget by about £5,000 but that included every little thing for the wedding from wedding rings, jewellery, gifts, scissors, cable ties, batteries etc. Total spend £19,849.
Great Lodge (Ann of Cleves Barn), Great Bardfield. In the village where Roh grew up.
The Readings & Music
Traditional church reading – The Marriage at Cana.
Music – Church organ, church bells, hymns (Jerusalem and Give Me Joy in My Heart).
Evening Band – Technicolour (found through agency Alive Network).
Your Outfits & Accessories
When it came to wedding dresses, I had no clue what I wanted. When I thought of wedding dresses, they all looked the same to me. I went to Wed2b and tried on a few different styles. This helped me identify a shape that I liked. I then went to Belissima Weddings in South Woodham Ferres and selected a number of dresses to try on. There were plenty of ‘maybes’ but eventually, the last dress I tried on seems to tick most of the boxes. It didn’t look like a lacy puffy wedding dress, it was simple and elegant… but wayyyy more that I was willing to spend.
I thought about it and researched the designer. I saw that the designer had lots of variations of the same dress, and that’s when I found ‘The One’. I called Bellissima and they didn’t have the dress in stock but could order it in. I had seen online that there was one other wedding dress shop in Essex that supplied the designer, so I called Mili Mili Bridal in Colchester to see if they had the dress. The sales assistant told me that they had it, and that it was in the sale! I couldn’t believe my luck. I went to the shop the next day, tried it on and fell in love. It was half price as it was the sample dress.
Veil from The Wedding Veil Shop (ordered online).
Ben had an idea of what type of suit he wanted but, he’d left it until a month before the wedding to find a suit. He went on a shopping mission to Lakeside Shopping Centre with his groomsmen. He found a suit he’d liked, and what was even better was that a few weeks before, he’d won a £50 voucher for Next, which covered part of the cost of his suit.
Hair and make-up were done by Light Box Studio in Great Dunmow. They were great! When booking, I had the choice of booking a graduate or senior stylist. I chose Graduate. The images on their Instagram showed before and after images, which encouraged me to go with them. I booked in for a trial beforehand, which I highly recommend. I noticed my foundation separating throughout the day when I had my trial. I told the make-up artist on the wedding day and she changed a few things to make sure it wouldn’t happen on the day. Worked a treat!
The Details & Décor
‘R&B’ light up letters – hired from Little Big Things.
Flower garlands – purchased from Hobbycraft for the swing in the garden.
Welcome mirror – Purchased from Facebook marketplace.
Vinyl Decal – purchased from Ebay.
Tealight holders – Purchased from Facebook Marketplace.
Straw placemats – Purchased from Facebook Marketplace.
Demijohn bottles for centrepieces – Purchased from Facebook Marketplace.
Pinball Machines & Teddy Grabber machine – Belongs to the Groom.
Milk bottle vases (used in alcoves) – Purchased from Facebook Marketplace.
Photobooth backdrop – homemade, wood purchased from Wickes.
‘Order of the Day’ pallet – white paint from B&Q (sample pots on the sale shelf – only 10p each!) Pallet was something we had in the garage. Writing done by a friend.
Anna’s Bakery (Anna Steinbauer) from Great Bardfield.
Bouquet flowers, buttonholes, table and venue flowers – ordered online through Triangle Nursery but arranged by family and friends.
Gemma Giorgio Photography
(Roh’s 3 sisters – Cli, Orla & Aife. Ben’s sister – Lucy and my best friend – Emma-Louise) Dresses from Monsoon.
Bridesmaids – all different shapes and sizes. I wanted them to feel comfortable in their dresses. I’d been browsing the internet for dresses that came in the same colour but different styles. I’d sent a few ideas to the bridesmaids but they weren’t too keen! One day, my Mum saw some dresses in Monsoon, which were in a lovely pale blue/grey. They had three different styles of this dress (perfect!) and they were all the same colour. I sent a web link to the girls and asked them which style dress they liked the most. Surprisingly, they all chose the same style, an elegant beaded gown. I bought the dress in three different sizes and got them to try them on one evening. They loved the dresses and so did I.
Flower girl (Belle) – Dress.
(Ben’s two brothers – Seb and Jez, and his best friend – Alex)
We wanted to keep it simple. We’d been to Ben’s brother’s wedding the year before, where they had all worn navy suits. So we told Seb and Jez to wear the same suits that they’d worn to Seb’s wedding the year before. Alex also already owned a nice navy suit, so he wore that. A navy suit tends to be a wardrobe staple for a lot of men, so we’re all for reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Ties were a challenge. Trying to find a tie that coordinated the colour bridesmaid dresses was tough. As luck would have it, New Look had 3 ties, in the right colour…in the sale, only £5 each and came with a pocket square too. Ben’s tie came from Primark and was also in the sale, reduced to £2! Don’t knock the high street; it’s amazing what you can find.
Page Boy – mini version of Ben’s suit from Next. Tie from Next too.
22nd August – 8th September 2019
We struggled to decide what to do for our honeymoon, whether to do something traditional and go to an exotic beach location or have an adventurous trip. Eventually, we decided we’d re-visit some of the locations from our first ever holiday together on the west coast of America.
We flew to LA and spent some time on the original RMS Queen Mary, which is now a floating hotel in Long Beach, CA. We explored Venice Beach and then drove ourselves to Palm Springs. We had 3 relaxing days there in small, quiet boutique hotel. It seemed like we were the only guests there, it was lovely.
We explored Joshua Tree National Park and some of the old pioneering towns.
We then drove on to Las Vegas; we have such fond memories here from our first holiday together in 2016.
Next up, we flew to Seattle and caught a bus to Vancouver, Canada.
From there we joined a 7 day cruise which sailed to Alaska. We saw humpback whales, Orcas, bears, seals, starfish, salmon, glaciers and the most incredible scenery.
The weather! We had 50mph gale force winds on our wedding day, not to mention what felt like every season! The wind caused the doors to rattle aggressively in the church during the moment where the vicar asks if anyone had a reason why we shouldn’t marry. There was a temporary power cut in the church during the ceremony too. The confetti throw was hilarious, the wind blowing the confetti back into the faces of those throwing it. I almost lost my veil, a real Bridget Jones moment where it blew away, far up into the sky, almost landing on the roof of the reception venue. There was a split second where the wind stopped and the veil floated back down low enough for someone to grab!
All day, there were butterflies everywhere, really beautiful.
Just as we were meant to feed the alpacas, the heavens opened and it chucked it down with rain for about 5 minutes. The sun came back out and we were presented with the most beautiful rainbow – a little wedding gift from Mother Nature.
Then we had sunset, a lovely warm golden glow.
The weather was one of the most special parts of the day for us, in a spiritual (and cheesy) sort of way, it felt like our love was being welcomed by the Gods or the ancestors.
Feeding the Alpacas – A bit of calm amongst the fast pace of the day. Just a small group of people came to feed the Alpacas with us; it was quiet, relaxing and amusing. An Australian friend who is particularly fond of animals described this as ‘the best thing ever’ being able to feed an Alpaca in real life. Seconds after her comment, an Alpaca spat a large mouthful of gooey grass in her face. It had everyone in stitches, including her.
On the dance floor, it was so nice seeing friends and family mingling, talking to people they’d never met before, making new friends. A dance-off circle formed, which really got people bonding, linking arms and cheering.
One of my favourite moments of the night was when the last song played on the dance floor – Oasis ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’. All our friends and family were hugging, dancing and singing along and lifted us both up onto their shoulders. When the song was over, everyone was chanting ‘One more song!’
Another favourite moment of mine was standing outside the venue waving goodbye to everyone departing on the last coach. We were the last ones standing.
Advice For Other Couples
Shop around! Don’t be afraid to negotiate and definitely check the invoices carefully.
Any high street decorations, buy within a month of the wedding. Anything you don’t use can then be returned to the shop. We had gale force winds on the day of our wedding so were unable to use some of our decorations (paper lanterns, faux flowers etc) so they all ended up getting returned to the shop.
Keep a spreadsheet to keep track of suppliers details, arrival times etc.
Prepare a ‘To Do’ list for the wedding set up so that helpers can assign themselves jobs.
Label the boxes of decorations so that they don’t get muddled between transit and arrival at the venue. It makes setting up much easier and assists your helpers.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Light Up Letters
Little Big Things Essex
Hair & Make Up
Chinchin Mobile Bars
Thanks so very much to Ben and Roh for sharing their totally wonderful wedding story with us xo Lou