We’re headed to Kent for a gorgeous pink and red wedding at The House Meadow, which was held on the 13th July 2019. Victoria and Tony live in Hitchin, which is my local town too, so it was wonderful to hear how they wanted to support local businesses during their wedding planning, it’s always lovely to hear of familiar names and places when writing real wedding features. Hooray!
One of the most distinguishing features of their wedding for me, has to be their very unique and totally boho colour scheme of pink and red, which works so wonderfully together. The colours were woven into the dramatic flowers, the super awesome stationery and the gorgeous attire to name just a few. Above all though their focus was on a fun and relaxed atmosphere with an intimate guest list of 70, which meant that their day was filled with love.
You are going to adore everything from the beautiful dresses and suits (Victoria and Tony looked incredible!), to the signs and all the lovely little touches that made their day so very personal. These incredible images are courtesy of Three Flowers Photography, which I am so thankful to be sharing with you today. Enjoy it all folks.
Our proposal ‘story’ has got a few laughs in the past – it certainly doesn’t make for the most romantic anecdote! We had been together for quite a few years by the time the topic of marriage came up, and I knew Tony hadn’t always been a complete patron of marriage, as his parents had had a very painful separation when he was younger. However, it has always been important to me, and after we chatted about it on a journey down to his mum’s (on the A127 in Essex!) Tony suggested we get married, but in a quiet, intimate ceremony, which I loved the idea of. We actually decided we would travel to Florence, just the two of us, and have a celebratory party with family and friends when we got back. It was only after I agreed and we started telling our family and friends (who were all so understanding and lovely about it) that I confessed to Tony that the thought of being married without my parents, his parents and our best friends was secretly breaking my heart! Tony being the super chilled and super sweet man that he is, agreed we could get married at home, but on the strict agreement that the only guests we would invite, would be very close family and friends. We made a promise to ourselves that we wouldn’t be pressured into inviting anyone who didn’t mean the world to us. And we managed to stick to our guns there, and it was the best decision we ever made.
So all in all, our ‘proposal’ wasn’t a big, flashy saga, it was just us two, having a chat about our future, and what marriage meant to us both, in the car, on the way to Southend, for a weekend with Tony’s family!
We didn’t really have a vision to start off with; we just knew we wanted something intimate, fun and relaxed. Our top priorities were that our guests were all well fed (and we wanted the booze to flow all day!), and we wanted a great party to finish.
The Planning Process
Planning the wedding took two years.
We started with the venue, and from there everything just started to evolve. The venue is a family run, working farm, with cows and horses dotted through the landscape, and is flanked by beautiful woodland. It is rural, rustic and feels organic, so we took these elements and tried to implement them throughout our themes.
Clare (The House Meadow) recommended some wonderful suppliers to us, one of whom was our caterer ‘Home Gurr’own’. They are a Kentish company, who’s ethos of growing and producing all their own food locally, and responsibly was important to us, and their rustic presentation complemented our venue perfectly. We came up with a menu that reflected our tastes perfectly, and we planned his ‘n’ hers cocktails, and tequila shots for the speeches. It was already starting to feel like us! On the day, their menu was outstanding, with mac n cheese canapes, pulled pork and local cheese boards featuring, to name but a few. Their guidance through the whole planning process was actually invaluable to us, and they provided us with lots of inspiration for the remainder of the wedding.
Clare also recommended our florist, Gwenda from ‘Bohotanicals’, who managed to tie in our colour palette perfectly, whilst keeping the flower arrangements unstructured, boho and relaxed, as we had requested.
We had Pinterest boards, and I read lots of bridal magazines for inspiration, but we also took ideas from some of our friend’s weddings, whom we had attended previously, and whom had all thrown spectacular wedding days! However, whatever we organised, booked or made, we tried to keep the essence of the wedding relaxed and fun; our guest’s all having a good time was always our main priority.
The House Meadow also has a beautiful, rustic barn, with a beautiful lighting display of Edison light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, characterful, old windows, and huge double barn doors which lead out onto a beautiful lake, with a lovely little jetty and a rose-flanked gazebo. It also has a stunning old oak tree, and a beautiful flower meadow. It is literally the most beautiful backdrop, and you feel somewhat removed from the rest of the world when you are there. That’s how we felt on our wedding day actually… like it was only us, and our family and our friends, totally together and undistracted by the outside world for just that one day only. It also has the best toilet block ever…. A custom-built block, built from reclaimed materials from the farm with a window overlooking the indoor cow paddock! So when the ladies are washing their hands, or the men are at the urinals, they have some friendly faces smiling back at them, belonging to Clare’s heard of cows!
The best thing about the House Meadow (even including the beautiful landscape and the cows!) is definitely Clare, who by the end of our wedding, we thought of as a friend. The House Meadow only hosts ten weddings a year, so Clare is able to invest herself far more personally than at other venues, and is on hand all year round for advice or reassurance. She recommended some fantastic suppliers, and her personable manner really enhanced our whole wedding planning experience.
Helena at ‘Neighbourhood Bakes’ made our wedding cake. She had made a friends’ wedding cake, and she also stocks some of our favourite cafes in our hometown of Hitchin with a lot of their sweet treats, so we had already done the taste test there! We had a chocolate and peanut butter, and lemon-curd, two tier sponge, with a colour co-ordinating blended marble bottom tier, and cream top tier, with matching macaroons! It was absolutely delicious, and our guests still talk about it now!
Your Outfits & Accessories
I bought my dress from a local boutique in Hitchin, called ‘Morgan Davies’. It was the first bridal shop I went to, and I think the third dress I tired on! The wonderful Rebecca Simm of ‘Love from Becky’ completed the alterations, so it fitted perfectly. It was a ‘Rosa Clara’ design and had lots of beautiful beading detail and layers and layers of chiffon tulle skirt! I loved it. My wedding shoes, which were suede, dusty pink, strappy sandals, were from a local, independent Hitchin boutique called ‘What Sarah Did’. My ‘bee-pearl’ earrings were from Latelita London and my hammered bangle was from Alison Moore Designs, a little-Orkney based designer who made our beautiful wedding rings.
The Readings & Music
We had one of our best friends, Sam, do a reading during our ceremony, it’s called ‘Perfect Day’ by Brian Bilston. We had Florence and The Machine’s version of ‘Stand by Me’ as I walked down the aisle with my dad, and our recessional song was ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ by Blue Swede, who’s intro got a lot of laughs! Tony picked the song for our first dance, which was ‘Our Future Days’ by Pearl Jam.
The Details & Décor
We chose to have our actual ceremony at the Gazebo on the lake. We used hay-bales from the venue for our ceremony seating and hired beautiful Persian rugs from ‘Anthology Vintage’, which complemented our boho-feel. We dotted these in between the hay-bales to create an aisle.
We also hired some beautiful furniture from ‘Anthology Vintage’ including some amazing sofas and chairs. We chose regal pink armchairs, and a sage and bright ‘Ruby’ red sofa, which we organised into outdoor lounges, alongside rustic trunks and crates for make-shift coffee and side tables. We decorated them with a collection of vases and glass whisky and gin bottles we had been collecting at home. We dotted tea lights and faux flowers into these vessels, and put out throws and blankets in case in got chilly going into the evening.
We also hired reclaimed and vintage school easels to present our table plan and ‘Welcome’ sign, as well as a dark wood dressing table which we used to display our ‘order of service’ paddles, our favours and our confetti cannons.
I commissioned Sarah at Peach & Wolfe to make our wedding stationery; she made us our Menus, and Table Names, as well as our beautiful ‘Welcome’ sign and our ‘Order of Service’ paddles, with our ceremony reading inscribed. We both met in the film industry, so named our tables with film titles, associated with iconic groups of people… i.e. ‘The Goonies’ or ‘Inglorious Basterds’… we tried to keep them humorous, and Sarah managed to give them a vintage ‘movie’ feel, but kept them in our chosen pink, boho colour palette too.
We also hired our tables and chairs from ‘Hire Love’, who supplied us with the beautiful dark, wood seating inside the barn. I had deliberated over the added expense of sourcing these from an outside supplier, but I have to say, the cherry tones of the wood, against the rich, pink and plum floral bottle displays on the tables from Bohotanicals made it totally worth it.
We made a lot of the décor and signage ourselves, from peg boards I had sourced from bar suppliers, and we also strung little polaroid’s of our family members around the old oak tree, making it our ‘family tree’, as a tribute to those who couldn’t be with us at the wedding…. and the make-shift beer-pong table was a last-minute addition we came up with in the last few days before the wedding, but it went down an absolute storm with all our guests. As the evening drew closer, but before the party had officially began, our guests played, and we could hear their laughter from across the lake as we were having our sunset portraits done. It was a wonderful moment for us both!
Clare, the owner of the House Meadow, hires out her beautiful home for four days, so it also allows you to set up before-hand, and have a real input into the décor, etc, which was so important to us. Without her allowing us to run free those few days before, we would never have been able to make the setting so personal to us.
I am a make-up artist in TV and Film, so luckily, most of my best friends are amazing make-up artists! My bridesmaid is one of them, Lucy Sibbick, and she worked tirelessly on my hair and make-up that morning! I had a vintage wave in my hair, which I wore loose around my shoulders, and a dark red lip.
My dear friend Tina Brown did make-up and hair on my bridesmaids and my mum. It was particularly special to be surrounded by my friends that morning, and I feel very lucky to know them, they made the morning so fun and so chilled.
Gwenda from ‘Bohotanicals’ arranged all of our floral arrangements, including our bouquets, buttonholes and table arrangements. I had given her images of our bridesmaid’s outfits and the groomsmen’s ties and pocket squares, and she came up with the most beautiful arrangements we had ever seen! The table arrangements were displayed in brown glass, vintage style bottles and the arrangements were littered with light pink Hydrangea’s, leafy palms and deep red and plum roses… it was the perfect way to tie our colour scheme together. And when Gwenda delivered our bouquets in the morning, I almost cried! They exceeded every expectation I had. I couldn’t stop looking at them!
Tony purchased his light grey, tweed suit, and brown Barker brogues from a local independent store in our hometown of Hitchin called HRH Holmes & Son. It was important to us that we supported as many local business’s whilst we were planning the wedding, as we could. His groomsmen hired their suits from the same store. We bought the maroon ties and co-ordinating floral pocket-squares from Mrs Bow Tie.
I sourced the bridesmaid’s outfits from Whistles; Monsoon and Re-written. Each bridesmaid was in a contrasting colour from our palette of pinks, plums and red’s… they were all different shapes, and had varying styles, and I was really eager for them to feel comfortable, so they all had final approval on my suggestions. In the end, we had a plum, A-line dress from Monsoon; a light pink, floral patterned jumpsuit from Whistles, and a beautiful red maxi dress from Re-written, and they all looked stunning! My sister also wore a gorgeous flower comb in her hair, in a complimenting colour palette, by Rebecca Simm of ‘Love From Becky’.
We found ‘Tea for Two’ Films on the internet, and loved Olivia and Zac’s previous works so much, that we booked them immediately (when we had been deliberating over hiring a videographer due to budgetary reasons). They were a joy to be with on the day, so intrusive and chilled, and the highlight film they have delivered is amazing! So fun, upbeat and a real representation of our day. We will treasure it forever.
I had been to a dear friend’s wedding and loved her photographer Charlotte Kitchenside of Three Flowers Photography; she was unobtrusive and really chilled, and when I saw my friend’s beautiful wedding photographs, I booked her for our own wedding. She is a documentary-style photographer, which was really important to us… we wanted less ‘posed’ photo’s and more ‘spur of the moment’ snaps, and she delivered with the highest quality, precision perfect photographs! The colours are so vibrant and rich, and we are cracking up in almost all of them… mainly down to Charlotte and Lesley-Anne and their great sense of humour. They made two very awkward people feel so comfortable, and we have their beautiful images adorned all over our home!
We went travelling around Portugal and stayed in an eco-lead design hotel in Santa Cruz; a 200 year old ranch and winery in Monsaraz; a beautiful little boutique hotel in the hills of Porto and a vibrant city apartment in Lisbon! It was a very varied couple of weeks and so much fun!
Our whole day was made up of so many memorable moments; too many in fact to list. We both stayed locally with our friends and family in the lead up, and made a whole weekend of celebrating, which was incredible. But our ceremony was far more moving than we ever realised it would be, and our speeches were particularly memorable… there were a lot of tears, and what we still believe to be the world’s best ‘Best Man Speech’ ever! Our party and band were brilliant and topped off a perfect evening. We just loved every moment of it and loved spending such a fun-filled day with those who meant the most to us.
Advice For Other Couples
We worried constantly about money in the lead up to the wedding, and how much of a hit our finances were taking to fund it… but we worked hard and committed to the day we wanted and saved hard for it, and we are so glad we spent every penny. It was so worth it; we had the best day of our lives. So, don’t stress too much about it, it is totally worth it!
We also stuck to our guns, when it came to the guest list. We could only have 70 guests to our day, and with such a wide circle of friends, we knew that some of our long-distance relatives etc, might be a little put out for not receiving an invite. But we stuck to our guns, and kept it intimate, and only invited guests that we truly loved, and had an ongoing and long-term relationship/friendship with. The end result was a wedding packed full of love and support.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Three Flowers Photography
Tea For Two Films
The House Meadow
Persian Rugs, Outdoor Lounges, Props
Anthology Vintage Hire
Dining Room/Barn Tables & Chairs
Dress Alterations & Flower Comb
Love From Becky
Make-up & Hair
Lucy Sibbick & Tina Brown
Wedding Rings & Jewellery
Alison Moore Designs
So very cool and really fun too.
Victoria and Tony, thank you ever so much for sharing your really special wedding story with us xo Lou