This real wedding is so thoughtful, so meaningful and just so full of love. It really brought a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart.
WWW readers Jess and Simon were wed on Saturday 24th March 2018 and held their reception at Llanrhaeadr Springs in North Wales. They wanted to create a day which was both elegant and classic yet rustic and vintage in style. With details such as home made stationery, hessian table runners, candlelight and contributions from family and friends, it all turned out so beautifully.
The florals here today are really something else. With a striking flower arch above the church door and bouquets which must have smelt incredible. Then there were the outfits, Jess wore a a Champagne lace and pearl embellished gown, Simon chose a grey three piece suit for himself and his groomsmen, while the bridesmaids wore blush pink floor length frocks. They all looked stunning.
One of their top priorities was great photography and Jessica Reeve Photography was the perfect choice, these beautiful captures will take your breath away! Thanks so much Jessica for sharing them with us.
One Thursday evening, after work, I came home to a spotless house and Simon suggested we go out for dinner! Too good to be true right?! However, I was so unsuspecting of the events to unfold. I had just got a new job and so thought this could be the only reason why. We had not long bought our house and so all our savings had been plugged into our new home. Never in a million years would I have thought Simon would have the money for an engagement ring now!! Little did I know, he had a sneaky secret savings account the whole time!!! He asked me where I would like to go for dinner…probably expecting me to choose some nice restaurant…but I opted for my favourite fish and chip shop! Typical me! So off we went in work clothes and rain jackets…just in case. We followed up dinner with a wonderful walk along the Estuary to our favourite spot to watch the sun going down. It was so lovely, quiet and peaceful with not a sole in sight. It was here, that Simon got down on one knee, pulled out a tiny box from his rain coat and asked me to marry him…..It was so very us, simple, understated but just perfect!!! I was in total shock and repeatedly kept asking if he was joking! I loved it! The ring was beautiful and the location idyllic! A stone’s throw from the Church where we would be married 18 months later!
The main ingredients to our day were family, friends, good food and music! Family being the most important of all. Simon sadly lost both of his parents in quick succession when he was just 21 years of age. We wanted to honour them through our day and ensure all our nearest and dearest, who could be there, were.
Spring is one of our favourite times of year, so we chose the month of March for our wedding, the same month that my parents were married. This time of year was also just at the end of the low season for weddings, so it helped us from a budget perspective as low season is slightly cheaper than the high season in summer. We were very lucky with the weather. It was a beautiful crisp, sunny spring day! I think in the UK, any day of the year is a total weather gamble so you can’t worry too much about it!
We opted for a traditional church wedding, and I am so glad we did! It really was wonderful! I think growing up I had always envisaged getting married in a Church, just like our parents and grandparents before us. It’s a personal choice whether you choose a church or civil ceremony or even something like a humanist ceremony. They are all equally beautiful; it’s what reflects your personalities best!
Our Church, close to home, is in a gorgeous little village called Burton. Our vicar was so friendly and really helped us to create a marriage ceremony that was both in keeping with the church, but also with our own personal touches throughout. Burton village also has a wonderful charity maintained manor garden. The manor is no longer in use so there is a somewhat whimsical feel to the old sandstone building set amongst the slightly wild and unkempt gardens. It made a perfect backdrop for some of our portrait photographs. The bridal party walked through the village, from the Church, to the garden after the service.
We wanted to fill our day full of champagne tones and neutral sparkle; a unique mix of classic elegance with a hint of rustic vintage romance in the smaller details. We had lots of pastel florals, greenery and wood amidst twinkling lights and candles. There was no specific theme to our day other than including our 2 favourite past times…cycling and cake!!! We had our own personalised ink stamp created with our names, a vintage bicycle and our wedding date which we stamped to all our stationery. Our tables were all named after our favourite cakes! It was simple, perfect and captured our personalities beautifully.
The Planning Process
I adored the planning! I think if I could have another job…wedding planning would be it!!! A friend of mine bought me a wedding planner file which was a god send and I used it daily!
The best thing we did was create a list of what we needed for the day…venue, band, dresses, suits, rings, flowers etc and put them in an order of priority. Getting the venue and church sorted first was imperative as this allows you to set your date. Then you can set about booking other important items. We ranked our band/photographer/videographer high up in the list as these people can get booked up 1-2 years in advance!! So it’s really important if you have specific suppliers in mind that you book early!
All our family and friends helped to make the planning process a dream. I honestly could not have done it without them!
We handmade all of our church decorations, invitations, order of service cards, menu cards, table names and place names. We also made our own seating plan and order of the day. I adored making things by hand. It is very time consuming and we are lucky we had help from my Mum and Dad and others to put everything together. Making things for your wedding by hand is not for everyone, but we loved being able to get involved in an intimate way and we are both so proud of what we created. It definitely saved us a few pennies too, especially the invitations!
My loving Dad grew huge quantities of Eucalyptus in the garden to stock the Church and handmade adorable and quirky signs to place in the grounds of the venue. He also created an amazing photo board covered in pictures of Simon and I growing up through the years.
Our friend, Elaine, is a dab hand at baking. She whipped up over 300 homemade truffles for us to place in the yoghurt jars we had collected which would become our place names and favours! They were delicious!
My cousin and his wife have a fantastic laser business and they created an incredible personalised wooden cake topper, dress hangers and a unique wooden jigsaw puzzle which we used as our guest book!
Without them all, the day would not have been possible!
Budgeting is so important!! Our number one piece of advice on this one is that you need to budget for more than you think! Over budget and you will be fine. And once you have set your budget, stick to it! Some items you will want to splash out on but others you can cut back and save for the bigger things. If family are going to contribute, it’s helpful to find out early on numbers so you can plan early on. We set a budget and we worked out how much we needed to save by our wedding date so that we would have the whole day paid for in time. This also helped us to choose our wedding date. We worked out that we needed about 18 months to save so our date was in keeping with this. We are really pleased we did it this way. I think in total, for absolutely everything, we spent about £17,000 for our day and we did have some help from family which we are incredibly grateful for.
Our venue is a true Gem!! We knew that a stately home was not for us, so we set to looking for something different! We stumbled….quite literally…upon the stunning Llanrhaeadr Springs. It is a beautifully converted stone barn in the picturesque Clwydian Range of North Wales, near to where we both now live. With just 3 weddings under their belt, they were very new and quite unknown…but we loved that! We can both say, from the bottom of our hearts, that the team at Llanrhaeadr were just amazing!! They are small, but incredibly personal and could not have done any more for us!! The owner, Harry, was just amazing. On every visit we made to Llanrhaeadr he would make us feel so welcome and greeted us with hugs and smiles. Nothing was a problem, every query answered and an incredible day created! They made our planning process a dream! We had an all inclusive package, the food/drinks/décor and even guest transport were taken care of. The food was absolutely amazing! So many people commented on how good it was! Their packages are totally personable so you could chop and change things to suit your needs. You have your own wedding coordinator in the wonderful Alex Bell, who ensures every little detail of your day is perfection! She is so experienced in the wedding industry and has a talented eye for venue styling! The fact the venue was so new was great for our guests! Nobody had ever been there and so it was a real treat for everybody! Llanrhaeadr has so many exciting plans for the future where weddings and amazing food is concerned, and we can only see this amazing little place going from strength to strength! You have to check it out!!!
The Readings & Music
For the Bridal entrance we chose an instrumental cello/piano version of “Thousand Years” by the Piano Guys.
During the signing of the register, my wonderfully talented cousin Alex, sang the original version of “Thousand Years” by Christina Perri and “Over and Over Again” by Nathan Sykes.
Our exit song was a nod to Simon’s Mum and her Liverpool roots choosing “All You Need Is Love” by the Beetles. This made everyone smile!
Our readings included a bible reading, “1 Corinthians Chapter 13 Verses 1-13” read by Simon’s brother Craig, and a lovely poem called, “The One” chosen and read by our friend, Kate. We also added a candle lighting in memory of our family and friends who sadly could not be with us for our special day.
For our evening reception we had an incredible band called “Agent Smith” who have the most unique style that absolutely everyone loved. Not only did they learn and play our first dance and Father-Daughter dance, they also create really amazing mash-ups of all your favourites and had us all laughing and bouncing for hours! These guys know how to entertain! Lots of our guests commented on how good they were!
Your Outfits & Accessories
I adored my dress! It was a bespoke creation by the immensely talented Sophie at Dorothy Rose Bridal. A local boutique close to where we are from. I had been to quite a few stores before this one and was struggling to find the dress that gave me the all important “reaction”.
I went to Dorothy Rose with just my Grandma and finding the dress with her, was really special! All the dresses here are quite unique and I loved how different they were compared to what I had seen in the usual high street bridal stores.
Think twinkling vintage ivory lace over champagne satin with a sweetheart neckline and corset bodice encrusted with hundreds of tiny pearls and sparkle…I just loved it! Like nothing I had ever seen before! I just wish I had an excuse to wear it again! I really surprised myself choosing a champagne dress. You always imagine yourself going for the white or ivory dress. But I was intrigued by how the ivory lace detail stood out so strikingly against the champagne beneath. I very nearly caved a couple of times to have my dress made in Ivory instead, purely because I was nervous to have a colour that I hadn’t seen many others wear before, but I am so glad I stuck with it!!! It was perfect and really different. Sophie and her amazing team will do anything and everything to make the dress that you dream of! I am so lucky to have had that wonderful feeling when I put it on and never wanted to take it off!
The amazing thing about Dorothy Rose is how you can customise your dress. I often tried dresses in other stores and loved the neckline or the skirt but there would be one aspect I wished I could change to suit my tastes. But you just can’t do this with most designer dresses. At Dorothy Rose, anything is possible!! I was able to customise my neckline in order to make the dress perfect for me! And I loved it!!
I paired the dress with a beautiful plain champagne cathedral length veil and 2 beautiful ivory hair pins from Jon Richard at Debenhams.
I wore sparkling champagne court heels from M&S which were a real bargain and incredibly comfy!! I will definitely wear them again!
My earrings were a gift from my husband, Odelia Silver tear drops from Liberty in Love. My perfume was my favourite Coco Madmoiselle by Chanel.
Choosing flowers is quite difficult as its one of the only things that you won’t see complete until your special day! I knew in my mind what I wanted but trying to find an exact picture was really difficult.
Leaf Flowers, in Heswall, were absolutely amazing!!! All I had to do was tell them my visions and they created them…and some!! We were all blown away by how beautiful the bouquets and button holes were! My little heart skipped a beat as I walked up the church path and caught a glimpse of the stunning flower arch they created for the church door! Just more than I could have dreamed of! I can’t thank them enough!
My bouquet was a hand-tied collection of ivory and Sahara avalanche roses, miss bombastic spray roses, David Austin garden roses, white veronica, Narcissus paper whites amongst an array of greenery foliage. The girls had a smaller version of my bouquet in all ivory with champagne ribbons. All the gents had a single ivory avalanche rose and Simon the same but with the addition of a blue thistle. The rose was for his Mum and the thistle for his Dad and his Scottish roots.
Even the smaller details were accounted for in the champagne ribbon around the bouquets, attaching my tiny picture charms I had to carry on my bouquet and remembering a few extra fresh flowers and gypsophila for our bridesmaids hair and cake decorations.
I had 4 bridesmaids made up of my sister, sister-in-law and my oldest friends from school and University! Jodie, Nina, Katie and Alys. I loved having them together and it gave my sister the opportunity to get to know my friends and new family even more so as we don’t often get the chance to all be together!
The dresses we found for the girls were amazing!! We wanted something long, but with one of my maids being very tall…lots of the dresses were always too short. We found a dress from the high street and online brand AX Paris which was long enough for Katie, and could easily be altered to fit everyone! It was an absolute bargain at £35 and looked amazing on all 4 of them! It also blended perfectly with my dress and the flowers being a lovely nude blush colour so we were thrilled!
Their shoes were beautiful champagne barely there heels from ASOS and each had a matching silver bracelet from Joma Jewellery as a thank you gift!
The girls all styled a loose curly up do and we laced their hair with sprigs of gypsophila.
Simon had 4 ushers to compliment my 4 bridesmaids made up of his best friends from school; Joe, Stephen, Twig (yes that is his real name), and best-man Andy, who flew in all the way from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia for our special day!
Simon didn’t want to be different to his groomsmen so they all wore the same mid-grey 3 piece skinny-fit suits from Next teamed with a champagne floral print tie and pocket square, brown belt and shoes. They looked very smart and very handsome next to our lovely bridesmaids!
Given Simon was wearing the same suit, to make him stand out, he wore a much larger button hole and I had a special photograph pin made, as a surprise, with a picture of his Mum and Dad on to attach to it. He loved this and wore it on his left to keep them close to his heart. This was created by Treasured Memory Charms.
He wore Dolce and Gabbana, “The One” as his scent and Fossil brown leather watch that I bought as his wedding gift.
For each of the Ushers, Simon gave them a personalised tie pin, engraved with their initials, which they all wore on the day.
I was simply spoilt in this department. My sister, Jodie, is a hair stylist and my sister-in-law, Nina, a make up artist! I would not have trusted anyone else to do my hair and make up on such an important day and they did not disappoint!! Both girls were also my bridesmaids so to take the pressure off, they both brought a friend, Ellen and Lorraine, to help style the bridesmaids and my Mum, so the girls could enjoy the day too and spend a bit of extra time with me! It was so wonderful and personal to have 2 very special ladies help me to get ready for this amazing day! I opted for neutral tones for my make up. Lots of browns and golds for my eye shadow and a soft natural lip. My hair was a half up/half down voluminous curly style! Complimented my strapless dress perfectly.
I think Simon and I knew what style we wanted from the beginning, but during the planning process we got caught up in trying to stretch our budget further and initially cut a corner with our photography. We ended up changing our photographer half way through our planning, and boy are we glad we did!!! You absolutely have to listen to your heart on this aspect and DO NOT cut corners for photography. Your photographs are all you have to hold on to, along with your memories, of this day and therefore they are so important!!!
Simon and I adored the classical fine art photographic style, and when we saw Jessica Reeves’ work…we were hooked! It’s just so beautiful and this style will never get old. There are so many beautiful photographic styles out there, but make sure you choose what suits you best!
Jess was amazing! So relaxed, professional, easy to contact and a real artist in her work! I do not regret our photographs one bit and literally stare at them daily…even now 5 months down the line!
Videography is the second most important item behind my photographs that I urge couples to consider! Photographic stills are amazing snapshots, but your video really does throw you back into the movement and sound of your day!
Hearing our vows and speeches in real time is an absolute treasure and only helps you to re-live your day long after it’s gone.
We were spoilt again on this front as our dear friend, Michael and wife Victoria, have an incredible company called “Capture My Big Day”. These guys did a wonderful job of documenting our day and I adore hearing everyone laughing at the speeches and having a good time over and over again.
The Details & Décor
Alex Bell styling for Llanrhaeadr Springs was absolutely amazing. She was in charge of all the decorations and styling for our day and listened to absolutely everything we wanted. She would even respond at the drop of a hat to my many emails and text messages of random Pinterest images and ideas! She was not just our stylist but became a great friend. She also enabled me to add in my own little details like the menu cards, table names, favours and helped lay out all the jigsaw puzzle pieces for our guests to sign then collected them all in for safe keeping.
Our centrepieces were a mix of ivory lanterns and twigs/foliage with twinkling fairy lights, candles and ivory petals. She even filled the log burner with pretty lights/logs and placed our hired vintage bicycle out front filled with fresh flowers to greet our guests!
Our cake was a simple creation! We bought 3 huge chocolate fudge cakes from our local Costco Bakery and placed them on 3 tiered wooden log slices. We then decorated them with cut fresh flowers from our florist and added our personalised wooden cake topper! Simples!! Cost us no more than £50 to create looked and tasted amazing and went down a treat with the guests!! What more could you ask for?
We broke the mould a little with our honeymoon, opting for a cold and wintry location over the typical sunshine and beach! We travelled the very next day to our honeymoon destination of Lapland in Finland!! We booked an incredible trip through Artisan Travel and spent 2 weeks above the Arctic circle husky sledging, snow mobiling, visiting reindeer farms, swimming in ice lakes, relaxing in the Arctic spa…you name it…we did it! We even managed to see the Northern Lights! On our flight back we stopped over for 2 nights in Helsinki to sample some city life before heading home.
There are so many wonderful memories from our day!
Getting ready at my parents was a real treat. Waking up on our wedding day in the same room I grew up in felt like a real throwback and was so nostalgic.
We travelled to the church in a cream vintage 1965 VW split-screen, named Nelly! The journey to the Church with my Dad was really special. It was so nice to be able to be with just him for a few precious moments before the day unfolded. I will always remember that!
Seeing Simon at the altar was so incredibly emotional. I had no idea how I would feel, but in that moment, when I saw him stood there as I walked arm in arm with my Dad, I was totally flooded with an overwhelming feeling of love. The tears just welled up in my eyes!! I could do nothing about it! I have never felt like that before! It was just so right and felt like this day was always meant to be!! Cheesy…I know! But so very true!!
Towards the end of the celebrations, everyone poured into the night and lit sparklers to give us a magical send off! It was amazing to see everyone stood together, laughing and cheering and genuinely looking like they had the most amazing time!! It is so rare to have all of your wonderful friends and family in the same place, at the same time and we will remember that forever!
Advice for Other Couples
Make sure your day is about the two of you. Don’t worry about what others think or what others feel you should do or wear on your day! It is about you and the love of your life, and whatever you choose, your friends and family will love too. It is a reflection of your personalities and everyone will hold different aspects in higher or lower regard. As long as you are happy, everyone else will be!!
Don’t cut corners on the important things, especially the photography/videography! What you have to hold onto for your memories is so important!
If you enjoy making things…do it!!! We saved a ton on stationery and decorations due to making much of it ourselves! Be prepared though, it is time consuming but if you love it, it’s so worth it!
Above all…..relax!!! Something will go wrong, or won’t be 100% perfect, but that is normal and happens to us all! Don’t let your day get swallowed up by sweating the small stuff. Once the day arrives…let it all go, you have done an amazing job, just take a deep breath, relax and ENJOY EVERY SECOND because it goes by so very fast!!! If you get a moment to, on the day, just take a step back with your hubby to look at what you created and see all of your friends and family laughing. The greatest treasure of any wedding is the memories created by it.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Jessica Reeve Photography
St Nicholas Church, Burton Village, Wirral
My sister and maid of honor, Jodie, supported by friend and hair stylist, Ellen.
My sister-in-law and bridesmaid, Nina, supported by friend and fellow MAC make up artist Lorraine.
Dorothy Rose Bridal
Leaf Flowers Heswall
Capture My Big Day
Alex Bell Styling
Liberty in Love
Treasured Memory Charms
House of Hilbre
Perfume and Aftershave
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle and Dolce & Gabbana The One
Laser Cut Decor
Jess and Simon, I cannot thank you both enough for sharing your wonderful wedding story with us xo Lou