By Louise Baltruschat Hollis
What happens when you mix Sylvanian families, abundant peonies, hook a duck and a garden party? This glorious summer wedding celebration of course!
John and Amy were married on the 25th June 2016 and chose Lanwades Hall in Suffolk to host their quirky and fun loving reception. They focused on thoroughly entertaining their guests with garden fete games, board games on the tables and a live band to name a few. Some of the brilliant touches included a hook a duck table plan (buckets of fun for the adults and children alike), pick n mix, space hoppers and the brightest confetti ever.
Amy looked utterly gorgeous didn’t she? She chose a romantic tulle Vera Wang gown, gold Christian Louboutin flats and a statement peony flower crown. John went down the bespoke route for his attire and opted for a dark navy blazer, pale grey waistcoat and trousers teamed with a polka dot tie. WOW. The bridesmaids rocked really lovely pastel frocks and the most stunning peony bouquets. You’re going to really love these images today WWWers.
Thanks goes to Michelle Wood for sending over these divine shots.
THE PROPOSAL | John proposed to Amy when they moved into their first house together, in the middle of the living room. Amy immediately burst into tears and John had to prompt her to give an answer – luckily it was a “Yes”!
THE VISION | ‘English Garden Party’. We wanted it to be summery, fun and full of distractions to get people in the party spirit. We decided early that we would have afternoon tea for the wedding breakfast, which is how we came to our theme. By investing lots of our own time into the little details we would make it a really personal affair. Our venue was very relaxed with how we wanted to run the day, so we could provide our own caterers, staff, food, drinks, entertainment, lighting and sound, etc. Although this meant a bit more hassle in sourcing everything we needed, it meant that we could tailor the day to exactly how we wanted it.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Amy had a Pinterest board that she spent most evenings on, adding ideas as she saw them online. Some things she insisted we had to have (a table of pick’n’mix, giant balloons, bunting, hook a duck) and some were open for a bit more debate! It was then John’s task to source these items without incurring extortionate expense, which obviously included a few times when the dream and the reality did not quite match!
BUDGET | Approximately £15k, excluding engagement ring and wedding dress.
THE VENUE | Ceremony: All Saints’ Church, Barrow, Suffolk.
This was our local church in the village we live in. John particularly wanted a Church wedding to give the day some variety and so that there would be a proper ceremonial aspect to it. It also meant Amy could get her dream ‘confetti shot’ as we came out!
Reception: Lanwades Hall, Newmarket, Suffolk.
We went to look at a few venues but were put off by them either being expensive or prohibitive in terms of catering arrangement. At Lanwades Hall we were free to do exactly as we liked, which was really refreshing. In addition this was where Amy lived and worked when we first met, so we had a personal connection to the venue. It was a brick manor house built with the winnings from a huge bet on the races in nearby Newmarket in 1905 with a wood-panelled dining room for the wedding breakfast and an amazing terrace and walled garden for drinks in the afternoon.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Vera Wang, Christian Louboutin and vintage Chanel, of course. I had a cathedral length Vera Wang veil. My peony flower crown was handmade on Etsy as I wanted something different to a traditional tiara. John bought my Chanel pearls as a wedding gift.
FINDING THE DRESS | I’d had my heart set on a huge Vera Wang princess dress for as long as I can remember.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Modern cut ink blue jacket, grey trousers and waistcoat, bespoke by Guy Field. Navy spotted tie (Duchamp) and matching handkerchief. Brown Magnanni wholecut shoes. Vintage 1950s opal cufflinks which were a wedding present from Amy.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Service:
Entrance: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.
Exit: Mendelssohn’s Wedding March from Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Hymns: Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer, Jerusalem, One More Step Along The World I Go.
Readings: Song of Solomon 2: 10-18 & 8: 6-7, The Velveteen Rabbit.
Reception: Session 6-piece from Nottingham organised and occasionally fronted by the Groom’s hugely talented brother and Best Man, Peter. They decided to call themselves ‘The Maflingoes’ and played jazzy versions of classics.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Candy coloured vintage inspired cap sleeve maxi dresses tailor-made on line (sorry I can’t remember the website).
THE FLOWERS | Fortunately for us the village flower festival was on the weekend before our wedding so we managed to agree this to be broadly in line with our theme and the church looked resplendent with no effort from us. The bouquet, buttonholes and table decorations were blush peonies sourced from our local flower shop and Amy and her mum hand tied the bouquets and button holes.
THE CAKE | A three-tiered delight made by the Mother of the Bride and topped with Sylvanians, a favourite childhood toy, which Amy had loving dressed in handmade outfits that matched ours. The Sylvanians were stripy grey cats like our own pet cat Velcro. The tiers were lemon drizzle, chocolate and Victoria sponge, the cakes were naked, scattered with fresh summer fruits.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Michelle Wood. We were searching for a more ‘documentary’ style photographer who captured the day as it unfolded rather than lots of posed photos. As soon as we spoke to Michelle we knew we had found the perfect person. We had an amazing engagement shoot on the beach at Wells-Next-The-Sea in North Norfolk from which we knew we had chosen wisely. Michelle was always so enthusiastic and positive, it was a pleasure to work with her.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Vintage bunting – handmade by a friend of the family.
3’ balloons on each table, weighed down by a vintage milk bottle with a blush peony.
1950s Jaguar MK9.
Board games on each table to get people talking and having fun.
Fancy dress box, picture frame, polaroid camera and coloured pens instead of a traditional guest book.
Hook-a-duck to find your seat on the handmade ‘duck pond’ table plan.
Garden games: giant jenga, space hoppers, coconut shy, giant connect 4, croquet painted like flamingos.
Pick’n’mix in vintage glass bowls.
Cake stand sourced off gumtree and hand decorated with flowers, with Sylvanian cake toppers in home made outfits.
Paddling pool ‘duck pond’ filled with 100 individually named plastic ducks, to be hooked by hand made poles which matched the duck pond home made table plan.
Ice cream cart.
Home made ‘A’ & ‘J’ signs and vintage hamper with home made ‘cards’ bunting.
A lot of prosecco, and Pimms with flamingo straws.
Late night hog roast and cones of chunky chips.
Sparkler send-off along candlelit path.
THE HONEYMOON | Greece for 12 nights covering Zante, Athens and Santorini – our favourite bit was swimming with turtles.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | John: Amy not realising the vicar was talking to her when she was meant to be reciting her vows. A LOT of confetti! Epic sing-along versions of Craig David’s “7 Days” and The Pretenders “500 Miles”.
Amy: the whole day was so memorable, I honestly loved every second of it, and being surrounded by everyone I love meant I didn’t mind being the centre of attention for once, and I even sang and danced, which I’m never usually brave enough to do! And of course wearing the biggest Vera Wang dress made me feel like a princess.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | The more time and effort you invest in the little details the more you will enjoy the day.
A free bar always creates an atmosphere.
Work your bridesmaids and ushers hard to get people to do things like sign the guest book, which can easily be overlooked in all the fun.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Michelle Wood
Groom’s attire | Guy Field
Catering | Serendipity Street
Balloons | Party People
Car | Excelan
What a fun and colourful day!
Many thanks to John and Amy for sharing their brilliant wedding story with us, such a joy xo Lou
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