Today’s fun, rustic, whimsical and quirky wedding comes courtesy of WWW readers Anneka and Graham who tied the knot on the 29th June 2017 at Micklefield Hall in Hertfordshire. Thanks to Anneka’s mood boarding, the décor makes this big day an absolute stunner! Think rich jewel tone florals, gold dinosaurs and an incredibly sweet nod to their proposal story.
An outdoor ceremony got the day off to a wonderful start, which ended with what sounds like a very energetic and enthusiastic ceilidh!
Our pair had a relaxed time of planning as they had just over a year before their wedding and did things bit by bit. We’re also over the moon that they used WWW for planning and craft ideas.
Red On Blonde Photography were Graham and Anneka’s chosen photographers after they captured a friend’s wedding. Aren’t these images spectacular? Thank you so much for sharing them with us Hannah and Toby.
My mum always used to give Kinder eggs to my sister and I when we were feeling poorly or just as a treat and Graham continues that tradition now. He had carefully unwrapped a Kinder egg, placed a proposal note inside the plastic toy box, carefully sealed it shut and hidden it in the freezer. He planned on proposing just before Easter as my family were due to be altogether and he thought it would be a great opportunity to celebrate. However, I was stressed trying to finish work and pack for the weekend after trying to get home after yet another bus strike in the pouring rain, that I was in no mood for his constant attempts to thrust a Kinder egg in my face! Back into the freezer that egg went until after Easter when we had just finished dinner while catching up on The Voice and Graham mentioned having a Kinder egg with a cup of tea. I thought that was a brilliant idea. I normally open the toy first (habit from childhood) but this time I decided to eat the whole egg first, totally oblivious to the fact Graham was down on one knee beside me. I finally got round to opening the toy and there was the note inside! I immediately burst into tears! It wasn’t a typically romantic proposal – I had my pyjamas on, needed to wash my hair and The Voice was on in the background – but it was perfect for us! I have an unfortunate habit of ruining surprises – Graham had attempted a few proposals prior to this without success due to my knack of ruining a moment. This finally successful proposal meant I could blub away without feeling embarrassed and it was a total surprise. The boy did well!!
We wanted a day that would be as relaxing and fun for us as it would be for our guests. We wanted it to be reflective of our personalities, our interests/quirks and of us as a couple.
The Planning Process
We had just over a year to plan the wedding and we were pretty organised throughout that time, doing bits here and there. It never felt particularly stressful, as there was no mad rush at the end. We shared a clear vision and once the important bits were booked like venue, caterer, photographer etc, we could get on to the fun creative stuff! Pinterest and wedding blogs were a great starting point and our theme quickly evolved.
Just after the proposal, Graham saw that our venue was having an open day after a recommendation from a friend. As soon as we saw Micklefield Hall, we knew it was perfect for us, especially as it is so local to both us and my parents. The owners allowed us to visit whenever we wanted which really helped the planning process and our vision. The Great Barn is so beautiful and we immediately fell in love with the outside ceremony space with its pond and temple structure. It felt very special and peaceful there, without it being religious. We only viewed one venue so that was the easiest job of the whole process!
Your Outfits & Accessories
I knew I wanted a bohemian style dress, with sleeves, that I would feel comfortable in all day. I work in the fashion industry and I must admit, I went to A LOT of bridal shops as I genuinely enjoyed looking at all the beautiful possibilities! I originally gravitated towards floaty ‘Florence and the Machine’ type dresses but with my curvy figure, they did nothing for me. After exhausting much of London, I went to a bridal shop more local to me called Pure Couture, which stocks Essense of Australia. Their dresses have gorgeous detailing but are much cheaper than other similar brands. I fell in love with Style D2124, which with its low cut bodice and slimmer fit, was not part of the original vision! However, I felt very glamorous yet comfortable. The unusual lace gave it that boho vibe and I ordered extra lace to add to the tops of the sheer sleeves for added modesty. The ladies at Pure Couture were very helpful and reassuring in making my dress perfect for me. I wore a plain cathedral length veil, which complemented and didn’t overshadow the detailed lace and beading on the dress. Since our theme was starting to include a lot of gold, I went for gold sandals from Dune with crystal encrusted block heels. They were really comfortable and as they were in the sale, a proper bargain! During the day, I wore a flower crown and for the evening do, I wore a gold tiara from Anna Marguerite, a designer from Auckland that I found on Etsy.
Graham was dressed in a royal blue three piece suit from Moss Bros and brown shoes from Clarks. Graham wanted to surprise me at the altar with his outfit so I had no idea what he was going to wear. He lives in shorts and t-shirts (proper Aussie) and there were hints at ‘smart’ shorts being worn but luckily, I was pleasantly surprised!
Olivia Mills was at our venue’s Open Day so I booked a hair and make-up trial with her. She’s lovely, relaxed and very efficient so she was perfect. I wanted a bohemian up do and a more glamorised version of my normal makeup. I felt glamorous but not too ‘overdone’ and my make-up and hair stayed put all day long, even despite the energetic ceilidh dancing! Olivia also did the hair for my sister and our flower girls. They all looked great.
My sister, Jessica, was my only bridesmaid and wore a navy cap sleeve lace dress from Pretty Kitty. She had just had a baby a few months prior to the wedding so I gave her free rein to buy what she felt comfortable in. Having just one bridesmaid made that so much simpler! Her lace dress complemented the lace on my dress and she looked lovely.
Graham’s nieces, Saffron and Matilda, were our flower girls and wore pale pink/coral dresses from a department store in Ireland. We bought them gold glittery handbags from Monsoon as a thank you present, which they loved!
The Readings & Music
My sister read ‘I Love You by Roy Croft’, which perfectly sums up myself and Graham’s relationship, as it describes supporting each other through ups and downs and getting through it together. Graham’s brother read ‘The Blessing of the Marriage’ which is a traditional Irish wedding poem. Graham’s family is Irish and the majority of them live in Australia. They sadly couldn’t be at our wedding due to the distance so it was important to us to represent them in this way.
I walked down the aisle to ‘Irish Wedding Tune’ by Ceoil Cu Chulainn, which is a beautiful Irish instrumental piece I randomly found on Spotify. We signed the register to the Jurrassic Park theme tune and it was funny to hear the giggles of our guests when they realised what the song was! We walked out to the instrumental version of ‘Toss the Feathers’ by The Corrs. To save money, we made our own compilation of modern folk songs for the drinks reception and our own compilation of dancefloor favourites for the evening do. We hired a ceilidh band called Fiddle Paradiddle, who played after the wedding breakfast and got everyone’s energies back up after a rather large meal! It was great fun and the unlikeliest guests got up and danced with each other!
Wedding flowers can get very expensive and all these dramatic whimsical bohemian floral arrangements on Pinterest can be very tempting! Instead of expensive table arrangements, we decided to split the flowers in to smaller containers. Our tables were laid out in long banquet styles and the containers running along the middle looked very effective. Andrew Fleming was our florist and after showing him my mood board (I am a designer after all!), he totally understood our vision. We wanted a ‘woodsy’ feel, with rich deep tones of blues, purples, pinks, reds and lots of greenery. To further this theme, I sourced pheasant feathers on eBay to mix in with the flowers. Andrew made me a beautiful trailing bouquet and flower crowns for myself and our flower girls. We hired artificial greenery from Andrew to decorate the ceremony area and also on the ceiling candelabras in the Great Barn. This really added to the bohemian and rustic feel.
Red On Blonde photographed my friend’s wedding and we were so impressed with the photos, it was an easy decision. In fact, we booked them before we had even finalised a date with our venue! Their photos are so fun, spontaneous and vibrant which made them the perfect choice. Hannah and Toby are so professional yet very relaxed at the same time. They captured so many funny, sweet moments that made us cry (me) and laugh out loud when we saw them. Their photos truly told the story of our day from a peaceful whimsical ceremony through to an energetic ceilidh. Perfect!
The Details & Décor
We are both creative and knew we wanted to do as much of the decor ourselves as possible. We knew we wanted a rustic, woodland feel and after choosing our venue with its Great Barn and natural setting, we got to work. I’m a textile designer and I designed all the wedding stationery and seating plan, plus the writing on the chalkboards. We found lots of small animal toys cheap on ebay, which we sprayed gold and used them as our place settings. Jurassic Park is my favourite film and as soon as I saw large dinosaur toys being sold cheap on eBay, our rustic theme evolved to include dinosaurs! We sprayed egg cups gold for our Kinder egg wedding favours as a nod to our proposal. We sourced lots of glass containers and tins which we sprayed gold for our flowers. Graham loves Marvel so we used some Marvel themed wallpaper on our ‘Welcome’ sign. Graham is very practical and he made a photo-booth, which was a hit on the night and much cheaper than hiring one. eBay was yet again a brilliant source for finding cheap props for this.
As Graham’s family is mainly in Australia, we decided to have a ‘Wedding Part Two’ over there in January 2018. Yes, we did indeed fly LOTS of gold animal toys over to Oz! We had a great time celebrating and I got to wear my dress again! From there, we flew to Hawaii and spent a magical ten days exploring the volcanoes and beaches before heading over to San Francisco for a couple of days. I’m glad we had a gap between our UK wedding and our honeymoon as it meant we had something to look forward to after all the excitement. Post wedding blues is definitely a thing!
We definitely enjoyed going to a few tastings and eventually decided on Jessica Lauren Cakes. She was very enthusiastic about our theme and yet another one of my mood-boards! We wanted a semi naked cake with fruit, fresh flowers and edible gold. Instead of a traditional bride and groom topper, we sprayed a stag toy and a doe toy gold and used these as our toppers. We also included a porcelain clog, which was on my parents’ wedding cake (my Mum is Dutch) and I sourced a porcelain Irish boot to represent Graham’s heritage. We chose chocolate Guinness and salted caramel as our flavours, which were delicious. Jessica did a great job and the cake was stunning.
Walking down the aisle towards the pond and its beautiful setting was very surreal and moving, especially having Graham and all my friends and family grinning away at me as I was doing so! Listening to the epic Jurassic Park theme tune while signing the register and walking out to an Irish jig, while our guests were blowing bubbles at us were also very special moments. In the evening, watching everyone, particularly my very animated Dad (!), vigorously ceilidh dancing, was highly entertaining! Being surrounded by our friends and family with sparklers at the end of the night completed the day perfectly.
Advice For Other Couples
Our advice is the only thing you have to do is say ‘I do’! Everything else is up to you so keep it personal and meaningful to you as a couple. Also, don’t sweat the small stuff. Enjoy the process. Enjoy working together as a team. There are plenty of things you can do yourselves without paying ‘wedding’ prices. If something doesn’t quite go to plan, it really doesn’t matter on the day. You are surrounded by people you love, everyone is in a good mood so relax and enjoy yourselves – it really does go super quick!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Red On Blonde Photography
Jessica Lauren Cakes
What a fantastic day Anneka and Graham! Thank you so much for sharing all the gorgeous details and great advice with us today. Rachel x