We have the utter pleasure of sharing WWW readers Howard and Madelaine’s awesome alternative wedding today, which was held on the 18th August 2018; firstly with a ceremony at St Andoenus Church followed by a reception at Monmouth Priory in Monmouthshire, Wales. Their day was just achingly cool, modern and chilled. I especially love the sound of their laid back wedding planning process and their “what will be will be” ethos.
There are a lot of fantastic and personal elements to their wedding. First up there was their amazing Cadillac wedding car, not to mention brilliant crystal inspired details and fabulous greenery laden flower arrangements. Gorgeous.
I also have to say though just how stylish their outfits were. Madelaine’s lace belted frock looked stunning on her and Howard’s jacquard blazer teamed with bow tie looked really very dapper.
We cannot thank LoveSeen Photography enough for sharing with us these brilliant images. Do keep an eye out for the smoke bomb portraits, which are really incredible too.
Howard got down on one knee at sunset on a deserted beach in Cape Verde during our holiday in 2013. Madelaine was pretty sure she knew exactly what was going on as earlier that day a bottle of champagne arrived at the room with a ‘congratulations’ card written by the hotel staff… but she played along with it anyway.
The wedding vibe was going to be totally laidback, with everything done for a reason and no extra faff, our wedding was not going to be about standing on ceremony it was more important for us to focus on how it felt, rather than how it looked. We were more concerned that the day was as comfortable for our guests as possible than insisting on X,Y OR Z. It was important that our day wasn’t extravagant, OTT, wasteful or overly love and romance focused.
In essence the visual elements of the day were going to be based on an abundance of greenery with a rock and roll twist. Initially we went with black as the accent colour but this softened to a dark grey theme instead.
The Planning Process
Planning was super relaxed, we had been engaged for years so it didn’t feel as inspiring and exciting as a new romance might. We know it may sound funny but it was more an element of ‘ok it’s time to get this rite of passage done with’ rather than ’omg I’m so excited to get married’ so aside from booking the photographer in March time, nothing really got sorted until May when the mother of the bride found the perfect venue.
We knew we wanted to get married in the year 18 as we like the number 8, it just so happened that we managed to get everything available for the 18.08.18. Both of us were laidback, almost reluctant and left lots of the planning to pure luck, within reason we took the stance that what will be will be.
We had 5k starting budget but knew it would be more like 10k. The final figure was just over 11k.
St Andoenus Church, Mountain, Chepstow. (Where Howard’s parents got married)
The reception was held at Monmouth Priory – the team there are just golden and we were so lucky to have had them as part of our wedding journey!!
The Readings & Music
We had chosen a few hymns to be sung at the church but having written the words wrong on the order of service it turned into a bit of a disaster and everyone just ended up laughing rather than singing.
“Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away…” is a excerpt from captain Corelli’s Mandolin that was beautifully read by bridesmaid Serah Whatley.
The Alliance provided welcoming music to the guests in the courtyard. Andy Mumford provided the evening beats.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I went through about 3 dresses from the high street store WED2B and finally settled upon a peach style off the peg dress from House of Fraser.
I was battling so many opinions. Internally I felt I conflicted between what felt right against what looked right for my body shape. About a month before the big day I finally found a belted silver/ grey lace dress by Rosa Clara from All About Eve sale rooms in Newport. It was very princess-y and far from the relaxed and bohemian style I had originally been searching for, but as soon as I saw the unique colour I knew it was for me. Trying it on felt great and looking back I am so glad I listened to my instincts (and mum!) and went with it.
We kept the new dress style and colour under wraps… with everyone in the bridal party thinking I was still wearing the peach dress from House of Fraser until I walked down the stairs on the day.
Madelaine wore a moonstone ring, given by Howard that morning as well as moonstone earrings, a gift from her dad, Kieth.
Madelaine was keen for Howard to wear anything but a blue suit, and after a little scroll through Instagram wedding hashtags and seeing a sea of the same blue style suit and brown shoes he was on board with creating this as point of difference. He chose a very distinct outfit of a grey, blue and silver jacquard blazer with a bow tie and pocket square that he chose from Next.
The rings are being made by Nicole Iredale who has created a design that uses the diamonds from both the groom and bride’s grandmothers engagement rings.
Madelaine’s friends Carina Halley and Ffion Hazlewood were on hand to deliver the hair and makeup looks, while Madelaine went for a more glammed up Hollywood inspired look the bridesmaids had a classic pretty, fresh style.
The hair was quite curls with side twists.
Bride’s lipstick: Chilli by Mac
The dresses were a soft grey from MixBridal.com. The girls were free to choose their own style dresses as well as shoes, as it was important that they were comfortable.
Hair grips were homemade by Madelaine and the girls a few weeks beforehand.
Bridesmaids Lipstick: Velvet Teddy by Mac
Howard chose the velvet paisley blazers that the groomsmen wore from Next, the hardest thing was trying to find a style of cut that suited the range in sizes. One of the boys even ripped a pair of skinny fit trousers while trying them on in the changing room! Our florist incorporated feathers from Madelaine’s grandmothers wedding headpiece into each of the buttonholes as well as the bouquet. A significant nod to the fact they were unable to make it in person on the day.
The Details & Décor
Of course we tried to get as much of ourselves into the day, as everyone does so the vibe was laidback, with a hint of alt rock.
Everything was as relaxed as possible, from the timings to the table setups.
Crystals played a big part in the day, the bridesmaids had homemade hair pieces with amethyst and quartz, and were gifted gold and quartz earrings as a thankyou gift. Madelaine’s special girl friends were gifted crystal drop earrings as a symbol of their importance to the bride and being involved in the day, while the bro-mance was solidified with the giving of classic vinyl.
The long trestle tables were not numbered but named after crystals. We hoped to provide a little talking point on every table by listing that particular crystals proposed properties as well as, on the back of each place setting, there were quotes from a few of our favourite songs.
Joe from Sick Vintage provided the signage and arrows for the day ensuring our guests were pointed in the right direction and sat in the right seat.
Joshua’s Catering provided the incredible veggie and vegan bbq food as well as an evening buffet.
Emma Webster Flowers did the main floral elements, we met multiple times before the day to be sure the look was on point. Emma was careful to balance the requested abundance of greenery with enough flowers to keep the look bridal.
Eucalyptus from the local churchyard was used to add abundance and theatre to the welcome sign and cake table.
Marks and Spencer provided the cake and there was a quirky topper that we got from not on the highstreet. If we could go back and do the day again, we would make sure the cake got cut and eaten earlier, although it did provide a great hangover cure as we tidied up the next day.
Clare Lawrence from LoveSeen Photography captured the laidback vibe completely. We chose her because we had seen her flitting about with her camera at a friend’s wedding. The fact she was chilled out and not putting anyone under-pressure was what drew us to her… even before seeing her work!
The speeches were amazing and so funny! The best man and bridesmaid arranged a gift for our son during the speeches and as soon as he heard his name called he came running from the back of the hall where he was sat. It was the sweetest thing and he totally stole the show!
We had a classic black Cadillac Cope De Ville to take us to the venue, the car nearly didn’t make it the whole way as we went winding though the wye valley with black smoke trailing out the back.
Advice For Other Couples
We both have separated families and it caused a lot of unnecessary stress for us in the lead up to the day. We decided the best thing to do was to have an ice breaker a few weeks beforehand so all sides of the family could meet each other. We organised to go to a local bar and after a few drinks everyone relaxed. It really settled our minds and gave us confidence that there would be no awkward introductions on the day.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Signage & Arrows
Props, Candle Holders etc.
Emma Webster Flowers
Just so so cool!
Howard and Madelaine, thank you both ever so much for sharing with us your fantastic wedding story xo Lou