Pretty as a picture aren’t they? Today’s wedding had a delicate pale pink and lace theme running throughout which was just so very chic.
WWW readers Ruth and Chris tied the knot on the 25th September 2015 and held their reception at Swancar Farm in Nottinghamshire. Their day was really very thoughtful and many of their loved ones crafted and contributed towards the lovely touches. The barn was decked in bunting, stylish stationery goods and statement letter lights. How fun does the ‘pimp your own Prosecco’ station sound?
Ruth looked just stunning in her lace gown and sleek up do, with sparkly Jimmy Choos finishing off her look. Chris decided to wear a modern suit during the day and a traditional kilt for the evening Ceilidh performance.
Thanks so much to the brilliant HBA Photography for sending over these wonderful images.
THE PROPOSAL | After 6 years, Chris got down on one knee on the top on a sand dune in the middle of the Arabian desert at sunset. It turns out our driver for the private desert trip was quite the photographer and took hold of our camera to capture the exact moment. Some people questioned if we had recreated the proposal which was hilarious!
What followed was an almighty sandstorm, we were determined to watch the rest of the sunset and drink our champagne despite being pounded in the face by strong winds and sand – a bonus facial!!!
THE VISION | As neutral and laid back as possible, I am a real girly girl and love anything pink but was a little scared to go too out there and hate it in the years to come, I wanted classic and timeless and that is what led me to lace which ended up being a running theme in the wedding. I love all the details you can do in a wedding but didn’t want anything too matchy or perfect so I described the theme as ‘shabby chic’ that meant if anything was a little messy it didn’t matter!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Shortly after our engagement we went back home for a visit. During this time we booked to see 12 wedding venues in 4 days.
We considered our taste and the look and feel of the venue as well as the more practical details like number of guests, availability for 2015, distance from home etc.
As it turned out, we fell in love with the first venue we viewed Swancar Farm and Country House and set a date of 25th September 2015. Next we approached the local church who agreed to marry us and we set about arranging all the practical paperwork that came with planning a wedding!
We had two more wedding intensive trips to Nottingham before the big day, we met with all our suppliers and got everything confirmed. Things that could not be done in these two trips were done via email from Abu Dhabi.
We did quite a lot of the smaller details ourselves, I was of the attitude that we were only going to plan this day once so I wanted to throw myself into as much wedmin as possible and enjoy it!
THE VENUE | Swancar Farm is set in 250 acres of Nottinghamshire countryside just 10 minutes from my childhood home, we couldn’t believe our luck!
The main house dates back to the 16th century and is full of character with lots of exposed brickwork and views of the beautiful countryside it was just what we hoped for with a traditional, homely feel but modern enough for our taste and theme of the wedding.
The owner Tracey showed us around and sold us on her passion for the venue along with the family feel we got from the place, it was low key but beautiful, relaxed and informal and we felt right at home immediately.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | The dress is Sicily by Kitty Chen and was found in the Bridal Showroom Dubai along with my veil, my hair comb was from ASOS and my shoes were Jimmy Choo, I changed into some white haviana flip flops for our photos marching through the cornfields and ready to party at night.
FINDING THE DRESS | I knew that I want lace to feature in my dress and was pretty sure I wanted the dress to be fitted with sleeves.
Finding the dress did not happen how I had planned. I arranged a trip to Dubai to visit a couple of stores just to try on, the company we went to had two stores with different designers in each.
The first branch we went to I tried on 4 or 5 different dresses, different styles all having an element of what I had in my head, it helped me to be more confident in what I had in my mind but no dress.
We then decided on the spot to go to the second branch, the second dress I tried on was it! Funnily enough it was the first dress I saw online that I had saved the picture of but didn’t link the two together at the time! It was fitted in all the right places, low at the front which suited my figure with short sleeves with a beautiful heavier looking lace.
After trying on several delicate lace dresses this one stood out as a little different. I had never intended to choose my dress that day but I teared in the dress and the bridesmaids were silent, any dress that shut them up I decided was special!
At Christmas time my actual dress was in the store so I took my mum who was out on holiday with me to pick the accessories, as I was getting married in a church I felt a cathedral veil could be pretty dramatic but didn’t want to take away from my favourite part of the dress, the back! We found a gorgeous single layered veil with a lace and pearl edging which complimented the dress perfectly. The veil didn’t feel too practical to wear all evening so I decided to go for it for the ceremony and photos and then show off the back of the dress at night!
For my shoes I knew I wanted something special so was delighted when Chris marched me to Jimmy Choo to shoe shop – I had already done a bit of research and being the girly girl I am went for some sparkly peep toes. I knew that I would be able to wear them year after year, I was in love!!!
Jewellery and other accessories, I ordered some drop earrings but when they arrived I felt they weren’t very ‘me’. I normally wear a pair of diamond studs so having big earrings in just didn’t sit right with me, I decided to wear the earrings I wear everyday on the day of the wedding too. I didn’t want a necklace as I didn’t want to take away from the lace detailing so I went for a blingy comb instead.
For some reason the comb shopping really bugged me, they all looked very similar online and I just felt overwhelmed with the choice and secondly the price for something that I wasn’t head over heels in love with. I was just browsing randomly on ASOS when I came across a comb that I loved, it was more of a super shiny comb with mirrored stones which felt more like me and at 20 pound it was a bargain, sold!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Chris has a mixture of English and Scottish family so was torn between a suit and a kilt, so he did both! I liked Chris in a suit so it was decided Chris would wear a suit to the ceremony and change into his kilt to match his brothers and dad for the ceilidh at night. It worked perfectly but he did get nick-named a diva with the outfit change.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Our vicar suggested a passage from Corinthian 13 during the ceremony, we want to keep things simple and liked his suggestion so we went with his recommendation. For the hymns we went for two ‘crowd pleasers’ that we were confident everyone would know ‘all things bright and beautiful’ and ‘give me joy in my heart’.
Music both ways down the aisle and during our entrance in to the wedding breakfast was extra special as Chris’ two younger brothers played the bagpipes and drums, I think every single person there got goose bumps as the pipes started up ready for my big entrance!
For other music we didn’t want lots of cheesy love songs – it’s just not us, so tried to think outside the box. Driving home from work I had a bit of a light bulb moment thinking of BBC Radio One’s Live Lounge and This is Acoustic albums. We got them all downloaded and went through each song over a few evenings to pick out the nicer of the options, no cheese but no rapping during the wedding breakfast either!
While listening to the music we discovered a Paloma Faith cover of Rudimental’s Feel the Love and an acoustic version of Latch sung by Sam Smith by Disclosure which we both fell in love with, nice songs but very much our own everyday style, it was decided those songs would be played while we signed the register and the rest of the songs were played during welcome drinks and our wedding breakfast.
A first dance song was tough for us, ‘our song’ is Arctic Monkeys – Mardy Bum, not very wedding-y! So we asked that the band play that song later on in the night when everybody had relaxed. We chose Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud for our actual first dance, a song that we both loved especially after seeing Ed Sheeran live in Dubai a couple of months before the wedding and now had its own special memory!
For the evening reception we opted for a traditional Scottish Ceilidh band, we wanted a band that did the traditional dancing as well as normal music too. That wasn’t too easy to find in the East Midlands so we contacted Corra who are Edinburgh based! They agreed to make the trip down to Nottingham and we are so glad they did! The ceilidh dancing got every single one of our family and friends up on the dance floor and it was hilarious everybody a little worse for wear trying to get the hang of the routine. When everybody gave up the normal wedding music kicked in and everybody had a good dance!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Choosing bridesmaids was pretty straight forward for me. My maid of honour Raylene has been in my life almost 10 years and has always been an amazing friend despite me living 3000 miles away. My other two bridesmaids, Helen and Elaine had been in my life a lot less time having met them both in Abu Dhabi but were the first ones queuing up to take me for post engagement drinks (just to have a nosey at the ring), there to hear about all the boring wedmin jobs I had to do and were there ready to plan what turned out to be an incredible hen party. All that along with the fact they are good friends in a place so far from home I thought they had earned a free dress.
During a trip home, Raylene and I went to look for bridesmaid dress inspiration, but struggled to find anything that I loved! It was also a little tricky having bridesmaids across two continents so when I met Barbaranne at House of Moirai in Dubai all my bridesmaid dress problems were solved!
Barbaranne designs and creates bespoke dresses for all special occasions. I knew that I wanted the girls to be in long dresses with the lace theme incorporated but I wasn’t overly fussed about all the girls matching. Barbaranne guided us on fabrics for the dress, lace and designs that would be comfortable and look amazing! The lace used was quite thick a similar to my own but each girl chose how the top of their dress looked.
The matching material brought everything together perfectly. Shoes, hair and make-up again was up to each girl as I wanted everybody to feel like themselves. We all wore Arabic style bracelets with our names on them as a little nod to our lives in Abu Dhabi.
THE FLOWERS | Zinc Flowers were recommended by our venue and knowing that they were familiar with the venues candelabras that we wanted to incorporate was a good match. Zoe went through so many pictures of different styles of bouquets and while I happily said what I did and didn’t like – what I didn’t realise was Zoe was reading me like a book and on our second meeting had all our favourite flowers to look at and finalize the details. We wanted to stick to our neutral theme with whites, creams and hints of light pink. We went for a mixture of bouquets in the candelabras and mixed jars on the tables with the jars along the top table all sat on lace and hessian table runners.
THE CAKE | Chris’ aunty Jill fills her spare time making cakes so we were thrilled when she agreed to make ours! We sent through a few pictures of styles we liked and left the final design up to Jill, it was so exciting not knowing what to expect!
Jill massively exceeded our expectations with a gorgeous three tiered cake with lace and sugar crafted flower details. The cake travelled 300 miles from Jill’s home in Scotland to Nottingham and it was still so perfect! The cake sat on a tree stump surrounded by Gypsophila and our ‘best day ever’ gold cake topper was purchased on Etsy.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Choosing our photographer and videographer was our next most important job after choosing the venue. We really wanted natural, in the moment pictures and didn’t want to stand around posing for hours on the day.
I discovered HBA Photography through a wedding blog and was instantly sold, the pictures on their website were so natural and relaxed – just what we were looking for! We were even happier after meeting Hannah and Ben and really warming to them as people, just a lovely couple that were going to give us amazing pictures! Photography on the day was as we hoped fun and easy, there was minimal posing a lot of our favourite pictures are as we have relaxed and are in our own moment – not worrying about the cameras!
Any couple I had spoken to about wedding ‘musts’ said get a video, the thought of having video cameras everywhere did not appeal but knowing that our day would be captured to relive on DVD forever won us over! We wanted the exact same style as the photos – natural and real.
We met Geoff from our Wedding Videographers at a coffee shop 6 months before our wedding and could see the passion he had for his work. Geoff talked us through what to expect on the day and showed us all the styles and techniques he could use to capture our big day – Chris was amazed by the drone footage in particular! We really had no idea the amount of work that went into the videos to get the final edit. We are so in love with the final version!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | The main hall was decorated with hessian and lace table runners, flowers, personalised table numbers with photos of Chris and I at each age. We had bunting hand made by bridesmaid Helen and each name card was hand stamped by Chris or I on brown luggage tags. My dad made the seating plan which we decorated with mini bunting from Helen.
We also had signs throughout the venue and church made by my dad, our favourite being the sign post with all our favourite places including our home towns, our Middle Eastern homes and Vodka Revolution where we met!
Our wedding favours were camel milk soap bars made in Dubai with personalised ‘Mr and Mrs’ stickers.
We had a ‘pimp your own Prosecco’ station with ‘Mr and Mrs Arnott’ cocktail stirrers and different flavoured syrups.
We put together a sweet station for the little ones decorated with cream, pink and green pom poms. Our guest book was in fact a large oak drop drop box where our guests wrote nice messages on heart shaped chips to post into the frame.
A big hit on the day was our father of the bride sweepstake, everybody got involved and it was a real talking point on the day.
We were incredibly lucky to have the most beautiful weather on our wedding day which meant we were able to make the most of the beautiful courtyard, we filled it with out door games and giant balloons which were so fun doing the photos.
THE HONEYMOON | Straight after the wedding we went on ‘minimoon’ to Northumberland for 5 days where we rented a little cottage with a huge hot tub in the kitchen. We spent our days exploring the area around us going on walks and bike rides and eating lots cheese and champagne.
We have booked flights to LA for next April, we will be doing a west coast road trip around Vegas, Yosemite, San Fran and LA and cannot wait although I’m leaving the planning to Chris on this one!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | For me arriving at the church to the bagpipes in the background was incredible, something came over me in that moment and the nerves lifted, I decided I was not going to cry and just enjoy this time – that was pretty special! The bagpipes and drums were also a highlight entering into our wedding breakfast to
Scotland the Brave (The one out of the music man song). Everybody had relaxed and had a few drinks by then and was having a great time.
All our speeches were great and there were lots of laughs and watching so many English people try to master the Scottish Ceilidh was hilarious!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Make sure you like your suppliers! These people are responsible for turning your vision in to a reality and we genuinely liked every single person we worked with. I couldn’t think of anything worse than having a photographer that you hate – you spend a lot of time with them on the day so making this time fun is important!
Enjoy every single second of the planning process! It can be stressful at times but you’re only doing this once and at the end of it all, the only thing that matters on the day is getting married.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
The photography | HBA Photography
The videography | Our Wedding Videographers
The venue | Swancar Farm
The dress | The Bridal Showroom Dubai
The bridesmaid dresses | House of Moirai
The shoes | Jimmy Choo
The hair | Alison Jenner
The makeup | Claire Dorkes
The suits – blue suits | Moss Bros
Kilts | McCall’s
The cake | Jill’s Cakes
The flowers | Zinc Floral Design
The disco/band | Cora
The Wedding Car | Linton Limousines
The Bus | Blackmore Commercials
The stationery | family/ DIY
The favours | The Camel Soap Factory Dubai
The décor | various/ DIY
Ahh so beautiful.
Ruth and Chris, thank you both so much for sharing your nuptials today xo Lou