I do like to be beside the seaside, but I think a seaside inspired wedding in Nottinghamshire is just as good! WWW readers Aimee and Ollie wed at Bridge House Barn on Saturday 8th April 2017. Situated right on the Grand Union canal, Aimee made her grand entrance, looking simply beautiful in her Kula Tsurdiu dress, by the family narrow boat and I think you’ll agree that the day just kept getting better from there. Both décor and attire had a vintage feel and there are just so many beautiful touches to take in.
The pair’s bravery with an early April outdoor ceremony paid off, I just adore the deck chairs that guests were seated in. Lots of couples ask guests to provide cakes for a “Bake Off” but I love that Aimee and Ollie also got their guests to vote on their favourite with prizes for the winners! Of course there had to be bunting and you must see all the details on the tables. Grooms – be sure to heed Ollie’s wedding diet advice!
Thanks ever so much to Thomas Thomas Photography for the glorious images.
THE PROPOSAL | I (Ollie) proposed to Aimee in Rome in a quaint boutique hotel, the day before leaving for a 2 week cruise around the Mediterranean. Good job she said yes! We had been together for almost 4 years after having met at Nottingham Trent University. The engagement ring chosen was a 1940s vintage ring with cluster diamond – I knew Aimee was not the type for a typical silver band and single stone. Although I thought it was an obvious time to propose, Aimee was actually very surprised. After the initial calls back to the family to tell them the news, we went out and got some gelato to celebrate.
THE VISION | A traditional British seaside-themed wedding in the heart of the Leicestershire – bringing the seaside to the Midlands! This is because Aimee and her family are originally from the seaside town of Morecambe, Lancashire and Ollie and family are from nearby Nottingham. We also wanted to keep the wedding relaxed and it was important to us to only have close family and friends there during the day.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | From the engagement in August 2013, we focused on buying a house together first so the wedding itself took a backseat. However, once we bought our house in 2015 it became back on the cards. We booked the venue in January 2016 after looking around a few similar countryside locations, but felt most of them were a bit of a ‘wedding conveyor belt’. We wanted somewhere that was flexible for us; to make it work to our taste, meet our vision and feel personal. From there we just chipped away at the to-do list making sure we did everything in good time – we’re quite chilled out people so there was little stress in getting it all sorted. We were very lucky to have help from friends and family to make the day go smoothly and it also saved us money on booking professionals including the flowers, the registrar and the evening entertainment.
THE VENUE | Bridge House Barn, Leicestershire. We knew when we first visited the venue it was the one for us. Emma who runs it is so calm and open and told us we could do whatever we liked. It is essentially a field next to a farm house and the Grand Union canal runs right past it. Emma has always had marquees and tipis hired into the field, but our wedding was to be the first where Emma’s own tipis would take centre stage, so we felt very lucky to be the first ones to use them.
However, the main reason we even went to look at the venue in the first place was because of the canal. Ollie’s parents own their own narrowboat so we thought it would be unique for Aimee to arrive to the venue on-board. On the day itself, this all went exactly to plan and made for a very memorable day not only for us, but it was the first time anyone had arrived by boat in the venue’s history.
Another selling point of the venue was the outside terrace where the vows would be said. People said to us that we were really taking a risk booking a largely outdoor venue in early April, but thankfully on the day they couldn’t have been more wrong. It was like the middle of Summer! Everyone was sunburnt, jackets off… We were very lucky! It made for some lovely pictures during sunset.
The venue met our vision perfectly and everyone said what a fantastic location it was.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Dress and Veil: Kula Tsurdiu, Nottingham.
I (Aimee) always knew I wanted a shorter dress as I’m fairly short!
I chose a 1950s style ivory dress. It had a high neck line and a V- shaped open back. I was fairly self-conscious about my arms, so I ended up adding sleeves and an extra petticoat for more impact. In terms of the veil, I definitely didn’t expect to have one, however we tried one ‘just to see’. When the curtain was pulled back and I saw my Mum burst into tears, I knew it was a must!
Flower crown from Frond & Bloom. This was always something I wanted and I spoke with my florist (and close friend) at length about the type of flowers we should use. In the end, we opted for a small, delicate waxflower, which was perfect.
Shoes: When I saw a pair of Rachel Simpson shoes in a wedding magazine, I instantly decided I needed a pair of my own. The mint green colour I chose complimented the colour theme.
FINDING THE DRESS | I found ‘the one’ the first day I went dress shopping with my Mum and maid of honour. I liked the fact that the shop was boutique, independent and it also used famous Nottingham lace. The buying experience was very relaxed and I was always made to feel welcome by Laura and her team whenever I went in for a fitting.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Navy three piece suit from Next. Burgundy shirt from Zara. Brown brogues from Next. Mint bowtie and pocket square from Swagger and Swoon.
Protip: Seems obvious, but don’t buy your suit 6 months before the date knowing you are going to diet for the wedding. My suit ended up being a bit too baggy and although I was able to exchange the trousers I ended up having to keep the jacket and waistcoat. I think I got away with it, but I would have felt better wearing a better fitting suit on the day.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | For music:
Guests arrived to a compilation of 1940s classics to help reinforce the vintage vibes we were trying to put across.
London Elektricity – “Just One Second” for Aimee’s arrival on the narrowboat. We’ve always liked the lyrics to this song and the bright energy it has. Its pace also contrasts to the speed of the narrowboat so we thought it would help make the entrance more exciting.
The Lumineers – “Ho Hey” for the aisle music. Again, we thought the lyrics were very fitting especially in the chorus, but it has also always been one of Aimee’s favourite songs.
Two Door Cinema Club – “Something Good Can Work” for the final ‘you may kiss the bride’ and walking back down the aisle with all the confetti being thrown. This song was one we both liked when we first met and again the lyrics in the chorus and the upbeat energy it brings suited the moment.
Foo Fighters – “Everlong” for the first dance. Ollie created a special mixed version from the acoustic version to the full rock version so that we could dance together for the first part then get everyone on the dancefloor when the crescendo and full band kicks in. Again, it was a song we both shared a love of when we first met.
We had one reading by Aimee’s brother Tom during the ceremony. We didn’t know what it was going to be about but we trusted him as someone with stand-up comedy experience to do a great job and he did just that. Touching and funny at the same time, everyone said to us after what a brilliant job he did.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Aimee’s only bridesmaid was her close friend Iona who wore a knee-length burgundy dress to mirror Aimee’s and compliment Ollie’s attire.
THE FLOWERS | The idea was as if you put your hand into an English meadow and pulled a whole bunch of flowers out. Everything wild! Hydrangeas, ranunculuses, anemones… Charlotte, our florist, did an outstanding job creating an arch on the terrace during the ceremony and a flower ring hanging from the centre of one of the tipi peaks where ate. She also did two bouquets, flowers for the tables and buttonholes for the gents.
THE CAKE | Breaking tradition, we decided instead of having a typical wedding cake, we would keep to our British vintage theme and have a ‘Great Wedding Bake Off’ competition, with guests bringing along their entries. In total we had 16 different bakes and we bought baking-related prizes for the top 3 with guests all having a voting slip as part of their place setting. It went down really well and gave guests a choice of what dessert to have with their tea or coffee after their fish and chips.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Ben Robinson of Thomas Thomas Photography. Ben worked so hard! He didn’t stop from morning to night and we are so happy with his photos. We picked him originally as we loved his natural looking, documentary style pictures. We never wanted the whole ‘forced smiles to camera’ as it feels so false. We did get a few of these for the parents but they are our least favourite from the album.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Plenty of bunting and other seaside and nautical props dotted around including a traditional peep through board and deskchairs. All of the bunting was sewn by Aimee’s mum so we could keep it within our colour scheme. We handmade little boats for the place-names and each table was named after a seaside town.
For the seating plan we placed lolly sticks in sand castle buckets full of sand for people to find their seat.
Our mixologist friend Adam provided custom seaside themed cocktails for guests on arrival and after the ceremony including Twister lollies and throwable airplanes as garnish.
We also had inflatables such as beach balls and lilos on the dancefloor.
THE HONEYMOON | With Aimee being a teacher we have had to wait until the summer holidays for our main honeymoon which is a fly-drive to Westcoast USA. Three nights in Las Vegas, then flying onto San Francisco before hiring a convertible Mustang to drive down Highway 1. Stopping in Monterey, LA (with a day at Universal Studios), Santa Barbara and ending in San Diego.
We did have a mini-moon the week after the wedding in Barcelona which was a great few days. We definitely recommend doing something to unwind after the big day.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Arriving on a narrowboat; Tom’s reading; playing Bingo after the fish and chips; being able to have the speeches outside in the sunset; an amazing party in the evening with Ollie’s London DJ friend playing everything from Rage Against the Machine to Justice to Whitney Houston. Not forgetting, some guests genuinely saying it was the best wedding they’d ever been to!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Do what you want to do! Don’t listen to family or friends. It’s your day so don’t compromise, even if family politics can get in the way.
Don’t feel you have to follow tradition. We would have liked to have done something more unusual with the first dance, for example, but we were too busy spending time perfecting everything else.
Pace yourselves. Don’t put off buying things that you can get sorted sooner rather than later. It also helps spread the cost.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Thomas Thomas Photography
Venue | Bridge House Barn
Flowers | Frond and Bloom
Dress | Kula Tsurdiu
Make-up | Ruth Elizabeth
Catering | KK Catering (fish and chip van)
Seaside props | Living the Cream
Just brilliant! Thank you so much Aimee and Ollie for sharing your beautiful day with us. Rachel x