Every now and then I get sent a wedding submission by a bride and groom and I get so very excited.
WWW readers Lewis and Melanie married on the 10th May 2014, holding their wedding reception in a quaint village hall setting. They had a budget of £5000 and homemade near enough everything, from the cake and décor, to the flowers and bridesmaid dresses. Their wedding was a real crafty labour of love. And just you wait until you see the said décor, they decorated 500 tea light filled jam jars and suspended them from the ceiling to create a magical starry sky feel. WOW.
Melanie’s vintage dress was a bargainous £20 a, her shoes were a £5 eBay find and boy did she look beautiful, while Lewis found his dapper checked suit in Next. Fabulous.
Thanks goes to the amazing Foxley Photography for sharing their imagery today.
THE PROPOSAL | We’d had a conversation early in our relationship about our differing opinions of the film (500) days of summer, so to prevent us having the same ending Lewis proposed on our 500th day. Lewis threw Mel off the scent by giving her a soundtrack of our relationship (so far), but no ring. Later on that day, in a very rainy car park in hurst green, Lewis gave Mel a photo book he’d designed compiling photos and memories of our time together. By the time Mel had turned to the last page, displaying a photo of roses and a ring box, Lewis was on one knee. We then got right to it and began planning the wedding over dinner (Mel said yes of course!).
THE VISION | We wanted a very ‘English country garden’ inspired wedding, without too much pomp and ceremony. We discussed the idea of having an outdoor wedding, although we didn’t dare risk it in England (good job!), so we wanted to bring the outdoors in, and make our guests feel as though they were at a garden party. With our mutual love of all things crafty, we wanted to create most of the look ourselves.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We hadn’t given ourselves much time, with only 8months from engagement to the big day, so most of our evenings and weekends were taken up with all things wedding, and it was pretty full on! We called upon our friends and family on a few occasions to help us with the handmade decorations, and although this was an awful lot of work, it was nice to thank so many people on the day for helping make our wedding so personal.
THE VENUE | We decided from the outset that we wanted our reception at a village hall, as we wanted a blank canvass to decorate according to our theme. We struck gold with barley village hall, as it was the perfect balance between blank canvass and vintage character, complete with wooden beams and iron pillars, which really set off our theme. The village itself was very rural giving beautiful views and the perfect location for our ‘newly-wed’ photos.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | The dress was a 20’s inspired vintage silk dress with lace detail, picked up in a charity shop for £20. The shoes were champagne court heels, found on eBay for £5. The birdcage bandeau veil was found on etsy coupled with a gold antique look hair-comb.
FINDING THE DRESS | In an effort to stay on budget, Mel ordered a wedding dress made to measure from China, having heard many good reports about the quality and fit. However, when the heavily sequinned, boned and structured dress came, complete with built in padded bra, it was nothing like the delicate pure lace one Mel had ordered, sending her back to square one. One of our bridesmaids offered to take Mel around the charity shops in Preston, and it was there they found the bargain dress in St Catherine’s hospice. For anyone who is looking for a budget wedding dress around Preston, St Catherine’s charity shop has bridal basement definitely worth a look. After being altered by a friend and properly cleaned, it was absolutely perfect and many guests commented on just how ‘Mel’ it was.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Probably the most simple part of the whole process, we started queuing outside Next at 5:30am on Boxing Day, and by 8am we were driving home with a grey check three piece suit, a white and blue dotted shirt, and tan brogues from next, as well as a wine red paisley tie from river island. It was exactly what Lewis wanted, fitting well with the theme with a fun and youthful edge. The whole outfit came to around £150
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | To fit with our theme Mel wanted 50’s style bridesmaids dresses all in different coloured floral patterns. To get exactly what we wanted Mel decided to make the dresses herself, with the help of her soon to be Mother-in-law. 2 of our bridesmaids volunteered to make their own with the material we’d picked, and the three flower girl dresses were made to match by a friend.
THE FLOWERS | Having worked in a florists in the past, Mel was keen to save some money and ensure she got the hand-picked unstructured look she wanted by doing the flowers herself. We did a practice run together by visiting a wholesaler in Manchester, and Mel constructed the real thing the day before. With the leftovers, we used them in tea pots and birdcages to add to the decorations in the village hall.
THE CAKE | We wanted to make the cake ourselves, although Lewis had to compromise on his traditional views due to Mel and the majority of guests not liking fruit cake, so we had a fruit cake base, topped with two carrot cake tiers, and a red velvet tier. All of this was rough iced with a simple hessian ribbon around the bottom tier. Our cake topper was one of the only things we didn’t make ourselves, finding a rustic squirrel couple on etsy. It was so hideous, but so wonderful.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Foxleys photography. We cannot recommend the Foxleys enough. Right from our first meeting with them we knew we were in good hands, as they fully understood our vision, and got excited about all the same things we did. Neither of us are particularly comfortable in front of a camera, so the engagement shoot included in the package was invaluable. It helped us to relax and feel comfortable with the Foxleys, so that on the day there were no awkward wooden poses, and the photos we have are all full of natural emotion. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to remember our day.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | To give the feel of an outdoor garden party, Mel’s dad created a structure to suspend trellis’ from the ceiling over the tables, from which we hung decorated jars filled with tea lights and artificial petals. We wove fairy lights and ivy into the trellis’, so that during the day the room had a green and wooden canopy, but at night it gave the impression of a starry sky. We decorated about 500 jars in total, and the ones that weren’t hung from the ceiling we dotted around on window ledges and tables to add to the rustic homemade feel. We decided to have long tables for the sit down meal, as we thought this fit well with the garden party feel, but also it helped mix up the guests better. We made hessian runners for the tables and used peat pots filled with a small bedding plant and a sign for place settings and favours. This helped us to fill the room with flowers without cluttering the tables too much. By filling tables with old books and potted plants, it helped us to carry or theme to every corner of the room, without spending a fortune at a florist or on expensive decorations.
THE HONEYMOON | We spent the two nights after the wedding in Ashmount country house in Haworth, which was the perfect comedown after weeks of hectic planning. Then we spent a week in Marrakech.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Being sat in the hall during the meal, looking at everyone enjoying themselves surrounded by all the décor and little things we’d put so much time in gave us both a real sense of achievement and it was lovely just being able to soak the whole day up after all the hard work. After the speeches Mel’s friends from Australia who hadn’t been able to make the wedding sent a video across without telling her beforehand, which was the perfect end to a very emotional set of speeches. And almost everyone we have spoken to since has mentioned Mels brother’s DJing skills as he brought the house down with his dancing behind the decks!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Do what you want to do, make decisions that reflect your personality, so that you can spend your wedding day with people close to you and partying the way that makes you happiest! Oh, and delegate. It’s hard to do, but your friends will be more than happy to help, and as much as you want to try, it is impossible to do everything yourself.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Foxley Photography
Thanks so much to Lewis and Melanie for sharing all about their brilliant wedding with us here at WWW XOXO Lou