Morning lovelies, I hope you are enjoying June so far. As we head into Summer it means I begin to feature pretty Spring weddings and they are just my favourite of days.
Sharese and Kevin actually made a live TV appearance on their wedding day. Oh yes. You’ll have to read on to find out more.
They were married on the 7th March 2015 at Towcester Racecourse in Northamptonshire. They wanted a country feel to their day, with wild blooms, tweed, hessian and twine. In fact many of the lovely touches were handmade and those floral creations were just divine.
Sharese looked sensational in Maggie Sottero’s Bernadette with her hair in a pretty rustic up do. There was the sweetest flower girl, bridesmaids in green and happiness all round.
Frankee Victoria captured these lovely images and many thanks goes to her for sending them over for us to enjoy today.
THE PROPOSAL | Kev proposed on the morning of our first Christmas together as a family, following the birth of our daughter Robyn in November 2012. We were awake early hours of the morning, as is statutory with new-borns, and when we opened our stockings I completely unsuspectingly opened “the” present, whilst Kev managed to kneel next to me in wait to ask the question. As I looked at Kev he became completely overcome with nerves and didn’t actually ask the question however managed to slide the ring on my finger and said that maybe I could wear it on this finger and we could organise to get married someday! That was a good enough question for me and I burst into tears (also statutory I believe for a girl being proposed to!) whilst attempting to mouth the word yes! I then spent the day in a haze of complete and utter happiness at having our first Christmas as a three and now that we were also engaged and couldn’t wait to get married!
THE VISION | We knew we would need to save so set the year 2015 as the goal. We then started to talk about our ideal wedding. There was talk of three weeks in New Zealand and transporting our family over, however we knew that for some of our most treasured friends and family such a long distance would not be possible, so we looked at destinations closer to home and toyed with the idea of getting married on a ski slope, combining our love of skiing together. Again though we realised we would be preventing some of our loved ones from joining us. SO we started to look in our back garden – literally! We live on a farm as Kev works on it and we were kindly offered some space to set up a marquee by Kev’s boss. We started looking at hiring marquees and costs of caterers etc. and all was beginning to take shape. We decided to have a civil ceremony and began looking at licensed venues in the area, as the local registry office was not quite big enough for our intended guest numbers. That was when we came across Towcester Racecourse. This was perfect for us as it is a stone’s throw away from where we would have been having the marquee, so our guests could just walk the very short distance following the ceremony. We then viewed the Grace Stand at Towcester Racecourse and completely fell in love with the venue and its possibilities if we had the whole day there. Straight away it was decided the marquee was binned and the Racecourse was booked! We decided to have the ceremony, reception and evening celebration there!!
We booked our wedding for spring, as it is our favourite season, and our theme quickly formed and we went for “spring country”, comprising wild flowers, tweed, hessian and twine!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Once we had got our ideas together and agreed on the venue the initial planning came quite easy. We were also helped along by an amazing wedding folder entitled The Wedding Companion by Murdoch Books, which my Mum gifted to us and which was full of things to think about and had useful notes sections. Being the super organised control freak that I am this fitted in perfectly with my soon to expand lists and spreadsheets ensuring we had everything covered.
We did the big things first, booking the venue, booking the registrar and telling our friends and family to save the date. These were all very simple and once we began to book we found things naturally took us to the next steps without worrying about what needed to be done next. We also found, as we booked just over a year ahead of our wedding date, that once we completed the initial bookings there was a lull in organising until about 6 months before the date when we began looking further into the finer details such as decorations, hair, make-up, transport and general logistics of the day.
We made great use of spreadsheets for recording guest RSVP’s and menu choices and also a running to-do list which grew and shrank in varying measures during the last six months! We found keeping all our plans on a to-do list helped us keep sight of our initial vision and theme so we didn’t end up getting swayed by the many different options available for every aspect of wedding planning. We also found that as we did the decorations and favours ourselves that completing these as far in advance as possible was a smart move, as the last month appeared to become so busy that we would not have been able to add those personal touches had we not done it way in advance.
THE VENUE | We chose the Grace Stand at Towcester Racecourse for our ceremony and wedding venue. We were blown away by the stunningly beautiful scenery from the stand looking across the Racecourse and its spacious and light rooms. The Grace Stand has three floors so we were able to utilise these for different parts of our day. We had our ceremony on the top floor of the building then welcomed our guests as Mr and Mrs Gascoigne in the Champagne Bar on the ground floor before moving up again to the first floor for our wedding breakfast. The venue offers a varying selection of delicious menus to cater for every bank balance, we chose the basic package and were not disappointed by the amazingly presented and delicious food that we were served. The staff were friendly and extremely efficient, particularly the wedding co-ordinator that was allocated to us for our big day to ensure everything ran smoothly, which undoubtedly it did.
The Racecourse also had Greyhound racing taking place which we incorporated into our wedding and which our guests absolutely loved. Towcester Racecourse went the extra mile for us and allowed us to name and present the winner of the first race, which was also televised live on Sky TV, with our guests joining us for an official group photo. We couldn’t recommend Towcester Racecourse enough for a wedding venue as it is simply stunning and the customer service experience we received from them was excellent.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I already had my dream dress in my mind, I’d found a picture, although did not know who the designer was, and I was on a mission to find it…… second bridal shop I booked into I found it and it was perfect. It was a Maggie Sottero’s Bernadette and it was even more beautiful than the picture I had. It was Ivory lace over light gold and had delicate beading adorning the slim design. I was looking for a dress that had that little bit of something extra too and had found it in this dress as it had a key hole back to it, which was classily entwined with a lace collar.
I found wedding dress shopping unfortunately a little disappointing as I had been wedding dress shopping with my best friend in Manchester the previous year and loved sharing every minute of it with her as the shop staff were so attentive and friendly to her, sharing in her excitement. Unfortunately for me I just didn’t seem to get the same service in Oxfordshire but all the same I was completely and utterly head over heels with my dress and chapel length veil!
One bridal shop I wish I had visited earlier was Fairytale Weddings in Towcester. I was struggling to find the perfect shoes that would combine the style and height I wanted to go for and nipped into this shop as I noticed it passing by. The shop was beautifully presented with a stunning array of different styles of dresses, definitely one to visit if you want something a little different. The staff were also very welcoming and extremely helpful. I found my perfect shoes, by Rainbow, in here and once ordered they were ready for me to collect the next day!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | As our theme was spring/country we definitely wanted tweed! We searched high and low for lightweight tweed suits at a reasonable cost and were beginning to panic when all we could find was heavy weight or designer suits way over our budget. Then we found Montgomery Jeffery in Northampton who have such a unique range of excellent quality and reasonably priced suits. We saw “the” suit straight away and were also able to suit and boot the two best men in here too, which meant we could co-ordinate their tweed waistcoats with Kevin’s 3 piece suit.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | As we aren’t really extroverted as a couple about our affections for each other and aren’t particularly into grand romantic gestures we struggled a little to find some readings that portrayed our commitment to each other but in a way that captured us as we are as a couple. We found a fantastic reading after searching the internet for hours using searches such as “short readings” “funny readings” “simple readings”. When searching for another we then started to fall about laughing when we began to make up our own. After a few goes at trying to compete with each other for the best line we actually started to think about doing one ourselves. So we did! We wrote our own second reading and it made our smiles even bigger on the day listening to someone read the words that we spent hours poring over (and sometimes bickering over) that had exactly the sentiment we wanted to capture.
Hand in hand we walk together, through the days ahead.
Side by side we stand and face all problems head to head.
All our love we pool, in its sharing it grows stronger,
Now that two are one, we are alone no longer.
Let friends and family witness that our love has brought us here,
And may you all be joyful as in our joy you share.
Just us two….Plus one
We wasn’t two ships passing in the night
This wasn’t just an endless plight
We tried to be strong, we tried to be brave
But love struck us like a tidal wave
I closed my eyes to see your face
To hold your hand my heart would race
It mattered not if you were near or far
I’d make endless journeys in my car
But now you’re close and always there
From today we are a pair
The future holds a big bright light
So hold my hand, we dance tonight
For our music we chose together we had songs that were “our” songs and then others that the lyrics were perfect for the occasion. All of our songs were quite upbeat and sunny and certainly set the tone for us for the ceremony and the rest of the day. We had: Walking down the aisle: George Ezra – Budapest. Signing the Register: James Blunt – Bonfire Heart. Exiting as Mr & Mrs: American Author – Best Day of My life. First Dance: Saint Motel – My Type.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | We had 5 stunning bridesmaids and 2 beautiful flower girls. The colour for the bridesmaid’s dresses was set in my mind as soon as the engagement ring was on my finger! I knew the colour but just didn’t know where to find it. I began looking at bridal shops but nothing hit the mark then we found the Allure dress in Thyme in Coast. The cut of the dress was perfect for the varying bridesmaids and the colour suited them perfectly with having a range of hair and skin colours. We found their blush pink shoes at New Look which just matched perfectly with the shawls we also ordered from Amazon.
Our little show stopper flower girls were dressed in blush pink dresses from BHS, which had small butterflies on them (a sure winner with the little princesses themselves) and a gorgeous silk sash. We then made sure they were snug with a simple white cardigan and tights and topped off with a cute white faux fur shrug. Once they were in their ivory ballerina shoes from Debenhams they were twirling away and didn’t stop all day!
THE FLOWERS | We had an absolute diamond of a florist! Neither of us are particularly great with flowers so had no idea of what flowers we wanted but Paula listened to our idea of “imagine scooping up a load of spring flowers from a cottage” and created bouquets, button holes, ceremony flowers and table flowers that were so stunningly beautiful and perfect for us that they left me speechless (Not an easy task!). Paula linked in our spring country theme, blush pink and pastel green colours and hessian and twine to totally join up our whole wedding day. I did hunt Pinterest for ideas of what we wanted for bouquets and shared these with Paula however a great deal was all down to her own skill as a florist. Whilst organising flowers with Paula I had explained I had planted some spring bulbs in the hope that they would be flowering and we could use our own home grown flowers for the table decorations as a personal touch, however as Spring came and I could not bring them on in time to flower Paula was super accommodating and said I could just let her know two weeks before the wedding if I needed any further help. It turned out we did and we are so pleased we are enjoying the bulbs now rather than at the wedding as Paula just wowed us with her creativity.
THE CAKE | We were able to save considerably with our wedding cake as Kevin’s Mum and I are a good team when it comes to cakes….one makes, one decorates! My mother-in-law has made a fruit, chocolate and lemon cake for us previously when trying new recipe’s out on us and we loved them so we chose them as our flavours and then we decided to go for a simple design (as I didn’t want to be stressing out three days before the wedding with some complicated detailing on a cake). I made the sugar flowers a month before, as they keep, and then just had to ice the cakes once ready. Thankfully it all came together well and due to my mother-in-laws cake baking reputation the cake disappeared quickly too!!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Frankee is another gem who we could not recommend enough! Firstly her photography skills are amazing, we don’t know how she does it but she just has magic in that shutter finger of hers and captures moments so beautifully and naturally that the pictures she is able to produce seem to speak a thousand words even though they are a still split second moment. She is also an extremely likeable and relaxing photographer who sets you at ease when being photographed, at times we didn’t even notice she was there! It was great to have an engagement photo shoot with her beforehand too as we got to know what it feels like to be professionally photographed and we realised quickly we didn’t need to feel awkward. Frankee is also super-efficient and super organised!! We heard other friends tell stories of waiting months and months for their wedding albums yet Frankee had our online photo’s ready and waiting for us when we returned from honeymoon 3 weeks after the wedding. Words cannot express how pleased we are with her work and we have just finalised our pictures we would like to be included in our album!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We attempted to do a lot of the décor ourselves and wanted to add a few home made touches to some aspects of the wedding too.
For the Bridesmaids I was able to find some gorgeous floral decorated water jugs that could be doubled up as vases for the Bridesmaids’ bouquets and put on the top table to save money on further table flowers. Paula, our florist kindly suggested this idea to us to utilise the bridesmaid’s bouquets and I was able to add a personal touch by labelling each of their water jugs with a little note telling the bridesmaids what makes them special to me.
I also bought wooden hangers for us all and labelled them with “Bridesmaid” and the relevant name so they could all find their dresses easily.
For favours for our wedding guests we painstakingly went blackberry, apple and sloe picking and made 100 mini jars of home made blackberry and apple jam and 10 litres of Sloe Gin that we decanted into miniature whisky bottles. The bridesmaids then devoted their time to helping us wrap them up in cellophane and make them look pretty with shredded pink tissue paper and twine. The sloe gin went down a treat on the day and we have had so many more comments coming through, sometimes with pictures, from guests having jam on toast and reminiscing about the wedding.
Hobby Craft was amazing for bits and bobs to help decorate the 30 jam jars I claimed off someone who had recently had a wedding. We also made our own invites, name cards and Order of the Day/Ceremony leaflets, by utilising Hobby Craft. Although this took a lot of time, as we had over 120 day/evening invites to send, it seemed crazy to pay a business a lot more money to create the look that we wanted, when we felt we could achieve it ourselves.
THE HONEYMOON | As we have a 2 year old daughter we struggled to decide on where we would like to go as we were torn between having a short period of time away just the two of us or to spend a few weeks away as a family. After much deliberation we both agreed we missed our usual and much loved yearly ski trip so booked 6 days away last minute to Morzine in France and packed our little girl off to Grandma and Grandad’s for the duration where she was unbelievably spoilt and cherished. The honeymoon was a fabulous chance for us to remember what life was like before we became parents and relax! We spent long days in the sun on the ski slopes and long evenings drinking wine, eating good food and socialising with the other chalet guests who complimented our honeymoon perfectly by being such an entertaining and friendly bunch of people. On our return we were refreshed and couldn’t wait to claim our daughter back and resume our family life.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | So many people gave us sound advice to sit back and take it all in on the day as it goes so quick. As we were super organised we were able to do just that and we loved every minute.
My favourite part of the day was the part I had dreaded – walking down the aisle and the ceremony. It didn’t sit comfortably with me being centre of attention and having all eyes on me but a good friend advised me everyone who would be looking at us would be our friends and family who all love us and are routing for us. With this advice ringing in my ears when I had that first glimpse up the aisle I could see our friends and family with beaming smiles looking back at me and as soon as I saw my very soon to be husband my nerves melted away and it was all about how much I loved him and why I was there to marry him.
Kev’s most memorable moment was just before the first dance and standing back looking at our wedding guests who all had lovely smiles on their faces and appeared to be enjoying our day just as much as we were. We both felt so proud and privileged to have such amazing friends and family who supported us.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Do as much as possible as soon as you book your wedding. I have spoken to many brides who were up till 4am the eve of their wedding attempting to finish off tasks that needed doing for the day. Although our friends joked about our spreadsheets, timetables and keenness to do things straight away they were impressed we could sit down and relax with our guests that were staying over the eve of our wedding and were not running round like headless chickens!
Also if your budget allows for it or you have a friend who could help then definitely video as much as you can of the wedding! So many people said to us they wished they had videoed their day as they had soon forgotten things like the speeches. A friend helped us video ours and we relived our wedding for the first time last week. It was amazing and we can imagine it being just as amazing in 50 years’ time, particularly when time has taken its toll on us and our guests, it will be great to look back and remember clearly what such a special and momentous occasion it was.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Venue | Towcester Racecourse
Cottages | Tove Valley Cottages
Photographer | Frankee Victoria
Flowers | DewDroPs Floral Design
Brides Dress & Veil | Katherine Allen Bridal
Brides Shoes | Fairy Tale Weddings
Bridesmaid Dresses | Coast
Bridesmaid Shoes | New Look
Flowers Girls Dresses | BHS
Flower Girl Cardigans, Shrugs, Shoes & Tights | Debenhams
Groom & Best Men Suits | Montague Jeffery
Ushers Suit Hire | Henrys of Banbury
Invites/Favours/Décor | Hobby Craft
DJ | 1 Entertainments
Bridesmaid Jugs | Debbie – [email protected]
Such a fun day. Wasn’t it just lovely?
Thanks so so much Sharese and Kevin for sharing your wedding with us today xo Lou