Ben and Courtney were married on the Saturday 6th September 2014. Their wedding was a real home made affair with so many of their family and friends coming together to create a meaningful celebration. Without a doubt, the best way to do it.
The rustic barn venue was perfectly adorned with hessian, rustic signs and Gypsophila. I adore the cute attire, with the bridesmaids in peach, Courtney looking beautiful in lace and the boys in tweed. Such a stylish wedding party.
Thanks so much to Emma Kenny for sharing her marvellous happy photographs today.
THE PROPOSAL | The day began quite differently for both of us. I (Courtney) had lectures; it was a typical student day. BUT I was looking forward to our date later at Kew Gardens. I got home and Ben arrived to pick me up. As we were walking to the tube station from my house Ben suddenly stopped me, turned to the left towards a small red car and said, “Get in! I’ve hired a car.” At this point I was obviously pretty suspicious and had ideas of what might happen. Ben drove us to Box Hill in Surrey where we went for a lovely walk, then sat on a bench watching the sunset (which was a massive fluke, not planned) and Ben proposed. Cute.
Ben had actually travelled that morning to a wood near us where we’d gone on a walk on our first date. He’d gone to put some flowers there so they’d be there later when he proposed but it turned out there were people doing gardening work or something there so he had to switch to plan B. We don’t really care though, it was great and we were engaged! We finished the evening off with a meal out and then got home and called everyone on the face of the planet (it felt like) to tell them the good news.
THE VISION | We wanted a joyful day spent with all of our friends and family! And a hog roast.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | I can’t remember much about the planning process, we’re not really the sort of people who dream of planning our wedding again. It was quite fun though, and we tried to make sure that with everyone was happy with every decision. It wasn’t easy but we managed and everyone put a lot of work into making it happen and getting things done!
Mainly we just wanted all of our friends and family there. Many of Courtney’s family and family friends who live in South Africa flew all the way to be there and we’re SO happy they could! But for those who couldn’t, Ben’s dad Tim was able to set up a live feed so that the video of the wedding could be streamed across the world!
THE VENUE | Courtney and I got married in our church (St Mary’s, Basingstoke), which is also the place we met! I’d been going there my whole life and Courtney’s family moved there when she was about 8 years old. Then our reception was at “The Great Barn”, 5 minutes drive away from the church.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I wore a long sleeved lace dress, a veil, green nail polish, and flat shoes that I stuck extra lace onto! Clare, one of my bridesmaids, did my hair and make up which I loved!
FINDING THE DRESS | Fortunately I didn’t have to go through the long and tiring (I find it tiring) process of trying on dresses because my mum’s friend made it! I described what I liked and she did a fantastic job. I’m not really a dress wearer at the best of times but I loved it! It was exactly what I was looking for. THANKS SO MUCH TRICIA.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | We bought the tweed jackets off of ASOS for £70ish each, and we got stripy linen green ties from one of these TiesPlanetWorldDirectOnline.com websites. All my ushers, Bertie the page boy, and mine and Courtney’s dads wore the same jacket and tie, and then to make the rest of the “outfit” a bit cheaper we went with a plain white shirt, black trousers and black shoes. I wore a pair of Star Wars socks that had “May the force be with you” on them, and my pants were blue.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We are Christians, so our readings were from the bible. One of the readings was from the book of John, a historical biography of Jesus. We chose John 2:1-11, which is the bit everyone knows where Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding! We didn’t just choose it because it’s a fun story (although it’s actually quite funny because the only drink Ben likes is water) but if you read it, the imagery shows Jesus as the promised one from God who is able to bring true joy, which will be greater than we expect or could imagine! And it points to the climax of the book of John, where Jesus dies on the cross, taking the punishment of those who believe in him and making this kind of joy possible. We want to keep that at the centre of our marriage!
Our songs were ‘Crown Him with Many Crowns’, ‘Praise to the Lord the almighty’, ‘Before the throne of God above’, ‘Come thou fount of every Blessing’, and ‘And Can it Be’. They all sound pretty weird, but if you’re interested then look them up because they’re great songs! And they were all played really well by our talented friends!
I walked down the aisle to “Cascades” by Fleet Foxes, and we walked out to the Throne Room music from Star Wars. Three guesses whose idea that was.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My maid of honour was my amazing friend Lydia, we’ve been friends since we were about 8 years old. My sister Chevonne and Ben’s sister Lucy was both bridesmaids too which was lovely, along with my good friends Clare, Kirsty and last but not least another Lydia who I’ve known practically my whole life! Tricia and her partner in her dress making business, Sue, also made their dresses (thanks ladies!). I just chose the colour and material and they did the hard work. They put a little bit of lace from my dress onto the bridesmaids’ dresses, which was fun! Then we spent an hour in Debenhams trying to find the same shoe in all the sizes we needed. Chevonne and Lucy did the bridesmaids hair beautifully!
THE FLOWERS | We bought a bunch of peach flowers and gypsophila from a wholesaler, and picked a huge amount of foliage from friends’ gardens. Then Tricia the dressmaker, having arranged wedding flowers once or twice before, led us all in putting together bunches of flowers for the bridesmaids and me. As a group of amateur flower arrangers I think we did a pretty cracking job! We even made pretty decent buttonholes for the boys!
The ladies who are members of our church and usually arrange flowers for Sunday services kindly arranged the church flowers! The last thing we did was to put gypsophila into jars as decoration.
THE CAKE | The cake was made by Ben’s Godmother, Sarah, and it was so good. She just made it how we asked! It was simple on the outside, just icing with a few flowers, but fruitcake on the inside. And anyone who knows us knows how we love fruitcake.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Our photographer was Emma Kenny. She’s AMAZING. She’s not just fantastic at photography, she’s also just so so kind and friendly and just wonderful. Ben and I aren’t exactly naturals when it comes to posing for photos, but Emma made it so easy and enjoyable. Her Northern Irish accent is also fab. She asked us what we wanted for the day and spent time with us the day before to get an idea of how everything was going to run. Her photos captured the day perfectly, check em’ out.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Because I used to make paper cranes quite a lot as a child I thought it’d be cool for them to feature in our wedding decoration plans. I’m not sure whether making 2000 of them was a good idea but I think it worked out in the end! I also painted signs that were dotted around both venues. At the church we decorated with flowers in jars and tins. In another part of the church we also had a ‘gallery’ where we hung up loads of pictures of Ben and I from when we were babies.
At the reception venue we decorated the tables with hessian and flowers, and our mums made jam for favours which we put in decorated jars!
THE HONEYMOON | The honeymoon was incredible! We spend a week in Amalfi in Italy, which was amazing. Aside from getting very burnt on the last day whilst on a small boat we rented, we ate delicious food, had a wonderful time swimming, and enjoyed driving on crazy Italian roads. Amalfi is beautiful.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The most memorable part of the day was definitely getting married (surely that’s the best bit of anyone’s wedding, right?). The ceremony was just great – the marriage, the talk, the reading, the prayers and the songs. It was all brilliant!
Another reason the day was so memorable is the amount of friends and family that helped out. Tricia and Sue who made the dresses, Sarah who made the cake, a group of friends led by Janet from church who made and served the lunch, a different Sue who made lovely cupcakes for the lunch, our church family who provided a venue, all of our amazing friends (Toby, Leo, Clara, Jenny, Hannah, Andrew, and Ben) who played music and sang at church, Becky and Dave who read during the service, Rory and Gill who travelled from South Africa and prayed for us in the service, Ben’s Godfather Neil who married us, Simon who prepared and did the talk for us, one of my best friends from school Meg who played guitar at the reception, my sister Chevonne who made the invites and orders of service, every member of our bridal party (Lydia, Chevonne, Lucy, Lydia, Clare, Kirsty, James, Dan, Steve, Richard, Joe, Bertie), Clare who did my hair and makeup, our fab friend Ruth who drove us around in her 2CV, and finally our parents who did a whole bunch of stuff including making jam for favours and setting up cameras to live stream the wedding to family across the world! Oh, and everyone who made one of those flipping paper cranes.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Marriage is amazing. The wedding is just the very start and it’s a day to enjoy with friends and family, so make sure you enjoy every moment and don’t worry about the little things that may not go exactly to plan! Also, a friend advised me that during the day whilst everything is bustling around you to just sit and take it all in, make sure you’re not rushing through it because it goes so quickly!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Emma Kenny
Wedding Venue | St Mary’s Church, Basingstoke
Wedding Reception | The Great Barn, Old Basing
Wedding Dress and bridesmaids dresses | Tricia (wedding and bridesmaid dresses) and Sue (Bridesmaid dresses) [email protected]
Catering | Pat from Catering for Special Occasions
Just utterly lovely.
Thanks so much Ben and Courtney for sharing your amazing wedding with us today xo Lou