Where to even begin? Quite frankly there is nothing I don’t adore about this happy and loved up wedding celebration.
WWW readers Emma and Adam tied the knot on the 22nd May 2015 and held their reception at the Riding School at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. The rustic barn setting was just perfect for their mismatched natural style nuptials. Think rustic furniture from The Poppy Trading Company alongside potted plants, blooms in bottles and stunning festoon lighting. The results were magic.
Emma and Adam certainly added their personality to the day with home made touches and some serious style. Emma looked beautiful in Mimi by Watters, accessorised with a cathedral length veil and pretty bouquet. The bridesmaids looked so lovely in their white lace dresses from Monsoon while Adam chose a brown suit and dapper bow tie. Love love love.
Matt Brown Photography, thank you so much for sharing these utterly wonderful photographs.
THE PROPOSAL | Ad and I had been together for 10 years and it’s fair to say Ad had taken a lot of stick from friends and family encouraging him to pluck up the courage to propose. It was the week of my 30th birthday in the February 2014 and Ad was taking me away for a few days as a surprise. I found myself in a gorgeous small cottage in the middle of nowhere in Pembrokeshire, South Wales. It was during the time of all of the floods and awful wind and rain and it was touch and go if we would make it there taking Ad’s “scenic” route!! Having fought the elements we made it. The following day (the day before my birthday) was the better of the days and we woke up to gorgeous sunshine. Ad said he had seen a beach he wanted to take me to so he packed up a picnic and headed to Barafundle Bay. We walked along the costal path until we finally reached the most amazing beach where we set up camp for the afternoon. The sun was out, which was a dramatic contrast to the rough sea and massive waves. We were the only people on the beach other than that odd dog walker – it was amazing! We opened up a bottle of Prosecco and tucked into our picnic. Next thing I knew Ad had turned round to get “something” out of his bag whilst telling me that maybe we should celebrate something else as well, and before I knew it he was on one knee with my beautiful ring. After bursting out crying (and telling him he could have just brought a Harribo ring), he asked me if it was a good thing I was crying and “did that mean a yes?”, to which I finally managed to say yes!! It was absolutely perfect and he really thought about everything.
THE VISION | We knew we wanted our wedding to be informal and completely relaxed and chilled out with no fuss however it was important for us to still have some of the traditional aspects and for it to be very family oriented. We were very keen to have just our closest family and friends and definitely pulled on their resources, who all helped us achieve our perfect day.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Ad and I are a pretty no fuss, laid back, kind of a couple and we wanted that to show through the wedding. We didn’t have a “theme” or any set colours as we didn’t want to put added pressure on ourselves to match things up however we did pick lots of purples, greys, yellows, blues and creams.
BUDGET | We didn’t have a budget as such but we were sensible and shopped around to get the things we wanted. We made lots of things ourselves, which helped cut down costs however people forget that it actually costs to do the homemade things too. We also had amazing friends and family who helped tremendously and we are forever grateful to them.
THE VENUE | My Mum told about a wedding fayre at Calke Abbey and asked if I fancied easing myself gently into the world of weddings? I reluctantly agreed to go but Ad said he would leave us girls to it this time. As soon as we walked into the Riding School at Calke it completely took my breath away and I instantly fell in love with it. Ad and I had discussed wanting to keep the wedding very low key and relaxed and informal and I thought that it ticked every box. When I got home and couldn’t stop talking about it and was keen for Ad to see it. The fact you could do pretty much whatever you liked in the space was a massive selling point and it had its own unique character. We loved how natural and completely untouched – “something different” compared to a lot of other wedding venues. The photo opportunities available was the icing on the cake – there was nothing that came close to what Calke could offer and so we were hooked!!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Both Ad and I wanted feel comfortable as neither of us are very “showy”. Ad decided he didn’t want to have the conventional wedding attire and wanted to feel comfortable and so he chose to buy his suit rather than hire it. Ad also decided that if he couldn’t see what I had chosen then I wouldn’t see what he had chosen!
Because my dress was so plain I knew go to town with everything else. I wanted my shoes to be a little different and so I picked Rachel Simpson Mimosa Powder Blue shoes, which were the comfiest shoes I’ve ever worn (thank goodness). I knew I wanted to wear a veil especially with a blusher (I feel there is something quite romantic and traditional about this). My veil was Cathedral length with a plain satin trim. Both of these were brought from Cicily Bridal shop in Ashby de la Zouch – they were so kind in helping me find something to suit my dress. They also put me in touch with Cherilyn Leeon who was my amazing Seamstress based at Staunton Harold. She was so lovely and kind and really helped me during my hour of need with some emergency alterations. Such a gem!! Ad gave me a surprise box of goodies on the morning of our wedding and in it was a beautiful silver bumblebee necklace from Alex Monroe which I wore on the day. I borrowed some blue floral earrings from my Mum and my sister and Mum brought me the rest of my wedding jewellery.
Our amazing hair was done by Natalie Hilton from Sassy Hair and Beauty. I wanted us all to look natural and relaxed and she did an amazing job with this. She also helped position the Bridesmaid’s floral circlets in their hair and fresh flowers in mine. My make-up was done by Demi from Bobby Brown – again I wanted to look quite natural and low key and she really helped achieve the look I wanted. The rest of our beauty treatments were done by my amazing bridesmaid and Jarah Hair and Beauty.
FINDING THE DRESS | My dress was from a small bridal boutique on Sadler Gate in Derby, which unfortunately is no longer open. I was drawn to the shop as I felt the dresses they offered were a little different to what I had seen elsewhere. The dress I picked was designed by Watters, called Mimi. My Mum originally asked me to try it on as I had dismissed it at first for being too plain. As soon as I tried it on I felt like it fitted my criteria, not too fussy and I could accessorise it as little or as much as I wanted to, to my taste.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Ad chose a brown suit from Holland Esquire, his waistcoat was from Marc Darcy and picked a purple/blue floral bow tie from Mrs Bow Tie. We didn’t want everyone to match too much and so we asked our Groomsmen and Fathers to wear their own suits (no matter what colour) as we liked the thought of the wedding being quite mismatched. We did however provide a little gift box of bits for them to wear for the day; home made pocket hankies, ties (grey for the Dad’s and yellow for the lads), random patterned socks and cuff links with a bumblebee on them.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | I walked down the aisle to Puccini’s ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’. It’s a beautiful piece of music and I have always known I would walk down the aisle to this since I was a girl. It also has a lot of sentimental meaning for me. We had two readings, read by two very close friends, Song of Solomon, Chapter 2, verses 10-13 and an extract from Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. We wanted to use hymns that both our Parents used at their weddings, these were, All Things Bright and Beautiful, Love Devine all Loves Excelling and Jerusalem.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Our bridesmaids wore cream lace dresses from Monsoon and my sister (who was heavily pregnant at the time) wore a grey floor length dress from Tesco of all places!! We gave them bumblebee gold bracelets and different coloured rose earrings to wear on the day. As 3 out of my 4 bridesmaids were pregnant on the actual day we decided comfort was the way forward and so they wore some boho style flat sandals which I think they all appreciated at the end of the day!!
We had our beautiful Flower Girl in a white rose dress from Monsoon with yellow ballet shoes from Zara and plenty of girly accessories. Our Page Boy (and my Godson) wore sandy coloured chinos and a navy jacket, with white pumps all from Next and a purple and yellow tweed bow tie and pocket square from Moaning Minnie.
THE FLOWERS | Our florist was the very talented and amazing Emily Wisher. We met her at Honeysuckle and Castle’s Pop-Up Wedding Village Fayre. My now Father in Law had been chatting with Emily who came over to Ad and I and suggested we speak to her. As soon as we got chatting we knew that Emily knew what we were trying to achieve. I was very keen to let Emily’s flowers do the talking and she didn’t disappoint. Emily listened to everything we wanted and brought it all together. I was keen to have flowers which my Mum and Ad’s Mum had in their bouquets on their wedding days. I also was keen to have lavender throughout the wedding as my Grandma picked me a sprig some years ago, a few months before she died, and it had a lot of meaning behind this. Emily came up with some amazing ideas to make use of the stunning beams in the Riding School which she did fantastically. The smell of the flowers were AMAZING!!
THE CAKE | Our cake was made by an old family friend whose Mum was actually my Mum’s Bridesmaid at her wedding. Mary Cakes by Jessica Mary was so lovely and open to trying new things from what she normally makes. Jessica made us the most amazing 3 tier naked wedding cake with berries surrounding it. She made a mix of flavours, vanilla, lemon and carrot sponges. We didn’t want it to look traditional and fussy. We just wanted everyone to enjoy it, and we had so many compliments about the cake.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | The amazing Matt Brown!! We saw his photos from a previous wedding he covered at Calke. His photos are relaxed and informal which is exactly what we wanted. We didn’t want the day to revolve around the photos or for guests to be waiting around yet we wanted to capture the moments and make use of the amazing surroundings at Calke which he absolutely did and we are over the moon with what he did for us. Matt is so down to earth and gave us sound advice during the build-up and made us feel so relaxed on the actual day. We have so many fantastic photos to choose from.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We made all of our own stationery as we knew we didn’t want it to look too formal and had alternative ideas with how we wanted things laid out and worded etc. We had a bumblebee stencil which we used throughout the whole wedding.
The ceremony was held in my home village in Mickleover at All Saints Church where my Parents also got married. We wanted to use hymns that both our Parents used at their weddings and were very keen for all our family and friends to just fill the seats in the church rather than be so traditional.
Ad’s Boss from work leant us his beautiful cream and blue Austin Healey for the day which we were very grateful for although I think Ad was a little nervous on the morning as to whether this was going to actually start!! We were keen for the two of us to be on our own on the drive up to Calke and I’m so glad we had that time together, just the two of us, to reflect and enjoy what had just happened! We used Campervan Weddings and hired out their amazing Sally-Jo Campervan to take the Bridal party to the Church and then onto Calke. We felt it fitted with the relaxed vibe of the wedding and the owners were so lovely and helpful and cared about the service they provided we couldn’t not use them.
Fabric Theatre provided our amazing festoon lights in the middle of the Riding Stables. We picked these because we wanted to create an outdoor “Italian” “country” laid back feel to match the room.
We chose to hire in trestle tables and miss-matched chairs from The Poppy Trading Company. We wanted to have three long tables where couples sat opposite each other to keep to the informal feel. We made our own runners to go down the centre of these using hessian and lace. We collected all sorts of glass bottles and jars which were filled with meadow flowers by our florist and positioned terracotta pots of Rosemary plants and sprigs of lavender which were placed down the centre of the tables.
Ad made all of our table signs and our amazing table plan. We made our own lace bunting and hung this along with meters of fairy lights down the sides of the room. In the evening we provided little table games (dominos, a deck of cards etc) in the sofa area and hot drinks, cake and jars of our favourite biscuits. We used our mugs from home to continue with our random mis-matched feel. Rather than putting a favour on everyone’s place sitting we chose to have a “Favour Table” so all of our guests could pick and choose a favour they would like. We gave bags of coffee and different flavours of tea, fans and soap and offered flip flops for those who wanted to kick off their shoes. We wanted all of our guests to have something and I believe they went down well.
Our caterers were the fantastic Butler’s Pantry. We chose Ralph and his Team because he was open to trying different ideas and we felt he instantly knew what we wanted – no fuss and good food. We wanted to offer something a little different with the food. We love Italian food and visit Italy often. We liked the informality of a sharing antipasti which worked well with our tables and seating plan. We told Ralph the things we liked and the food he came up with was out of this world. We also had fish and chips wrapped in paper for supper which is always a crowd pleaser!! We had so many compliments about the food and how tasty and different it was. We interlinked the speeches in between some of the courses to break up the wedding breakfast a bit and so people could fully enjoy the food. I think his worked quite well and it also filled time in between courses.
Ashley Goodchild (owner of GC Events and husband to one of my bridesmaids) provided our “LOVE” letters. We wanted to use these as a back drop as part of our guest book and provided a polaroid camera and film for guests to use and stick into our book so we could capture another side of the wedding. My sister’s boyfriend is a graphic designer and he designed the front of our guest book for us which is so personal and unique. We wanted something a bit different and quirky and I think our quests quite enjoyed it too.
My friend Jemma Mead and owner of “Oh Sew Precious Memories” wanted to make us a memory quilt. She asked guests to write us little notes on bits of material which she would patch together along with bits of left over material we used throughout the wedding, to make an amazing keepsake.
We wanted to provide a little entertainment whilst the photos were going on so we had my sister’s very talented friend Stephen Turvey-Wright came to do a short acoustic set during arrival drinks.
We knew we wanted a band to play in the evening and my sister recommended the Burgundys after having seen them play at a friend’s birthday party. They were absolutely brilliant and had everyone up dancing all night. They were incredibly helpful during the run up to the wedding and again listened to the things we wanted and liked. They were just genuinely, great guys. They even reworked our favourite song ‘Happy’ by Pharral Williams which we danced to for our first dance. It was so memorable!!
THE HONEYMOON | We wanted to go somewhere where we might not have the opportunity to go to again. We pick the Maldives as we knew we just wanted to chill out after the wedding and just do nothing and so we thought where better to do that then on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. We had heard such amazing things and thought that was just what we wanted after the busy few months. It didn’t disappoint and came back totally chilled out and a few pounds heavier!!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Everything!! It was by far THE best day of our lives and having all of our amazing family and friends there made it even more special. Everyone who helped us achieve what we wanted, were just amazing and helped make it a day that we will never forget.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Go with your gut! Ad and I picked people and suppliers who were kind and courteous and who responded to us – not necessarily straight away, but who were able to answer our questions fully and offer helpful friendly advice. We had just over a year to plan between getting engaged and our wedding day. We didn’t rush to get things done but then we also didn’t leave things to the last minute either. I would get the main things booked as soon as you can and then you don’t need to worry about it until nearer the time. If you have used good suppliers then they will contact you in the lead up and help guide you through the chaotic last few weeks.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Matt Brown Photography
Wedding Co-ordinators | Honeysuckle and Castle
Flowers | Emily Wisher Florist
Caterers | The Butlers Pantry
Entertainment | The Burgundys
Bridal Accessories | Cicily Bridal
Grooms Suit | Holland Esquire
Styling | Fabric Theatre
Tables and Chairs | The Poppy Trading Company
Campervan | Campervan Weddings
Cake | Mary Cakes by Jessica Mary – Facebook
LOVE Letters | GC Events
Wow so lovely.
Thanks so much to Emma and Adam for sharing their simply wonderful wedding story with us xo Lou