Emmi and Oli were married back in August at the idyllic Dodmoor House in Northamptonshire. The country barns setting was really very lovely and made the perfect backdrop to their pretty and informal day.
First things first, Emmi may just have the most beautiful bridal hair do I’ve ever seen. All plaits, waves, fringe and gypsophila, definitely one for your pin boards girls. She wore a romantic tulle gown with a large seasonal British bouquet which was gorgeous. Oli meanwhile donned a blue suit with claret tie and the maids looked wonderful in their pale pink multi way dresses.
There was a delicious naked cake, simple chic décor and a really relaxed atmosphere.
Thanks so much to Jessica Grace Photography for sharing these joyful images today.
THE PROPOSAL | Oli and I met when we were 17 in Newquay, Cornwall during the summer holidays. We were both there with separate groups of friends and we came together during a very un-classy drunken night out! Not really a romantic tale for the Grandkids! It turned out that Oli and I were actually at the same sixth form college at the time but just hadn’t come across each other before. What followed was a few months of teenage ‘dating’ before we made our relationship official. We were kids back then but we’ve grown up together over the last 11 years! Oli proposed in September 2013 at the top of a sand dune in the middle of the Western Sahara desert in Morocco during a gorgeous sunset. Definitely a more suitably romantic one for the Grandkids!
THE VISION | We knew we wanted a relaxed informal day full of love and laughter with all of our closest friends and family. We also agreed that we didn’t want to rush the planning process too much so decided to look for venues for Summer 2015. We knew we loved Dodmoor House pretty much as soon as we got out of the car on the day of our first viewing! It’s a really beautiful setting and we could see it would be easy to put our own stamp on it without it being too daunting a task.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Over the 18 months of planning Oli and I came up with our vision of the day. We could see things happening mostly outdoors, with games for the kids, plenty of delicious food and drink for our guests and music all day. Oli took charge of getting a playlist sorted with great music to play throughout the whole day and finding a band a little different to the average cheesy wedding pop covers band. He found ‘Festival Sons’ who were fantastic – got everyone dancing all evening!
THE VENUE | Dodmoor House
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I found my dress at a lovely little bridal shop in Twickenham: Emma Elizabeth Bridal. Before I found this place I’d really struggled to find anything I was even interested in trying on! Luckily this place stocked a couple of designers specialising in romantic, relaxed, ‘flowy’ dresses – the kind of dress I had imagined myself in but seemed to be pretty few and far between! I was really happy with it on the day and am sad I won’t get to wear it again!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Oli found his gorgeous blue suit in Reiss along with his claret tie, pocket square and socks. ‘Coincidentally’, blue and claret are the Aston Villa colours so along with the perfect fit, that sealed the deal for him!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Oli and I quickly decided on our ceremony music choosing two of our favourite songs for the entrance and exit: ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ The Maccabees and ‘Wonderful World’: Sam Cooke. Its lovely to listen to both songs now with all the new lovely memories we have associated with them.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | On my search for bridesmaids dresses I had spotted multi-way dresses. Luckily we managed to avoid the massive price-tag by finding the same style in an Etsy store. The girls were happy and comfortable in them and they fit the relaxed feel of our day brilliantly.
THE FLOWERS | The lovely Chloe from ‘Bare Blooms’ put together the most beautiful bouquets and jam jars of beautiful seasonal British flowers for us. She is such a lovely person, really understood our idea of having more relaxed, wild looking flowers and even grows a lot of her blooms herself in her own garden!
THE CAKE | My super-talented sister Jodie made our gorgeous naked wedding cake. The sponge layers were lemon and mint flavoured with a mascarpone and mint flavoured cream and fresh berries. The caterers told Jodie it was the best naked wedding cake they had ever seen and tasted! The guests all loved it and were super-impressed. Once her career as a contemporary dancer starts to tire her out, she definitely has an alternative vocation in wedding cakes!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We found the lovely Jesse Toksvig-Stewart through a friend of mine. She produced the most gorgeous photos for us which we felt captured the real feel of the day perfectly! We couldn’t believe some of the shots she managed to get without us even noticing she was there! She was also just lovely to chat with at the pre-wedding meetings and over email and we felt so comfortable having her around on the day. Oli and I would highly recommend her to any couple who would like a gorgeous bunch of natural photos of their day.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Dodmoor House is such a gorgeous setting, we didn’t feel we needed to add very much to it. We decided on white paper pom poms, simple jam jars and mixed glass bottles of flowers and fairy lights inside the large barn which made a great backdrop for the band. I made hundreds of soft salted caramel toffees which we popped into small card boxes which Oli spent hours folding! They looked pretty on the tables and matched our more rustic décor nicely.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | We were both quite surprised I think to look back at the day and feel the ceremony was our favourite part! We had felt quite nervous about the potential for the ceremony to leave us over-emotional and thought there was a possibility we might both just weep all the way through!! It ended up feeling just perfect. We chose The Maccabees ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ for the bridesmaids and my entrance which set the atmosphere beautifully, and rather than weepy, we both just felt full of joy and managed to hold it together through our personalised vows and my sister Jodie’s lovely reading.
One of the ideas we thought worked really well was having the speeches outside in the courtyard before sitting down to the meal. The sun was shining, and it felt much more relaxed and informal than we’ve experienced at other weddings. It also meant that Oli, my Dad and our best man Ben could completely relax and enjoy the food and drink without any concern about impending speeches!
Another idea that went down very well on the day was our more informal style of wedding breakfast. We had sharing platters of Greek Meze and Italian Antipasti followed by paella cooked in big pans outside. We served my sister’s amazing ‘naked’ wedding cake outside for desert which again meant less time sitting down and more time to mingle and make the most of the lovely outdoor space.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | The one piece of advice we would give to others would be to plan a wedding that reflects you as a couple! We didn’t necessarily follow the usual wedding format and we, along with our guests had an amazing day. We had more relaxed, personalised vows, we didn’t have a plated 3 course menu, we didn’t have a top table, we did the speeches outside, we didn’t have a first dance (instead a more spontaneous natural dance happened later in the evening to the bands cover of ‘Wonderwall’ with all of our friends forming a circle around us!). We both feel as though this is one of the reasons the day felt perfect – it was everything we wanted it to be!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Venue | Dodmoor House
Caterers | Lemon Zest
Dress | Emma Elizabeth Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses | The Dainty Yard
Photographer | Jesse Toksvig-Stewart
Band | Festival Sons
Flowers | Bare Blooms
Ahhh so sweet.
Thanks so much to Emmi and Oli for sharing their wonderful story today xo Lou