Quirky Summer Sunflower Filled Rustic Wedding

Summer Sunflower Rustic Wedding Masha Unwerth

Oh how this glorious real wedding will bring a smile to your face this chilly November morning. It certainly gave me that warm fuzzy feeling and all the summer nostalgia. WWW readers Stevie and Kit were married on Sunday 5th August 2018 at Gaynes Park in Essex. They had a vision of a quirky, colourful and fun day, which they created so beautifully. They really thought of everything and a rustic, personality filled celebration ensued.

One of the personal touches I loved was the book themed table décor, keep your eyes peeled for a hot air balloon, umbrella and a hint of Alice in Wonderland too. Oodles of sunflowers were used throughout with other seasonal blooms, for a punch of colour and pretty.

Then there was the stylish attire, ice cream, delicious cuisine, live music and sublime photography by Masha Unwerth to name a few. Thanks so much Masha for sharing these gorgeous captures with us.

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The Proposal

Kit and I had been together for almost 6 years when we got engaged. I had kind of been expecting a proposal because I knew that Kit had asked my dad for permission at a recent family dinner. How did I know that, you ask? My dad can’t keep a secret! Yet even so, the actual proposal took me completely by surprise – and Kit, for that matter.

It was a bitterly cold day in December and we had gone for a long walk with Kit’s family and some friends along the banks of the river near Hampton Court Palace, which was going to culminate with a pub lunch at The Mute Swan. Kit had chosen a beautiful emerald and diamond engagement ring a few weeks’ prior to this and had arranged to have it delivered to his parent’s house. So, on the day of the walk, Kit’s mum sneakily found a moment to give him the ring. From that point, unbeknownst to me, I was no longer walking beside my boyfriend but a fiancé in waiting, with a ring box the size of a lump of coal burning a hole in his pocket.

I was going through a tough time in my life at this point – I was feeling really burnt out in my job and it was making me very stressed and unhappy. Earlier during the walk, we shared a set of headphones and ended up listening to “(I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be) Free/One” by the Lighthouse Family on repeat, and Kit and I had a huge discussion about our future and the changes that we were going to put in place to make life happier again.

Next thing I know, he was pulling me to sit down on a bench on the riverside (and I was stressing out because we had completely lost everyone else as we were so far behind) and presenting me with a ring! I remember time slowing and being in absolute shock that he had decided to propose in this less than ideal situation – it was a freezing day, I was wearing a huge bobble hat, I had no make-up on and my eyes were red from crying about my job! But Kit, loveable goofball that is he is, started quoting the song lyrics that we had listened to earlier and told me that we had one life to do what we should, so we’ve got to marry each other, marry each other!

Of course, I said yes, and we rushed to the pub to meet everyone else and announce the news. Kit’s family were delighted and immediately ordered a bottle of champagne to celebrate and then I called my family and friends to let them know.

When I spoke to Kit afterwards, he said that he had intended to propose months later with a grand gesture but had realised, over the course of our discussion, that there was no more perfect time than as soon as he possibly could.

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The Vision

I always knew that I wanted a fairly traditional white wedding. Ever since I was a child, prancing around with a tea towel ‘veil’ on my head, I had imagined having a big, fun wedding surrounded by lots of friends and family, and that vision never really went away.

Initially, though, wedding planning was a bit of a jumble and we agonised for weeks over the need to choose a distinctive ‘theme’, but gradually the jumble evolved into a more organised list of things we both really liked and the desire to create a day and evening that would reflect who we are as a couple, allowing our guests to feel a true part of that union in a fun, welcoming and relaxed atmosphere.

I wanted a lot of colour, sunflowers, garden games and ice-cream. Kit really liked the idea of holding the wedding in a rustic-looking barn venue with really creative table settings. Oh, and a great dance floor.

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The Planning Process

We were engaged for 20 months before we got married. Within the first few, we booked most of the big things: the venue; the photographer; the videographer; the florist etc. Then we procrastinated for the better part of a year, without the pressure of the beginning or end of the engagement to spur us into action.

Kit found a DJ to suit our eclectic music tastes and sat down at the drawing board with his good friend Meri, who had volunteered to design our invitations and save the dates. He also began the lengthy process of trawling Pinterest for wedding suit inspiration in line with our rustic styling. It certainly wasn’t something he had ever imagined himself doing as a child!

When January 2018 arrived, we started to feel the pressure and set about booking everything else – confirming final selections from each supplier now that we had clear pictures in our heads of what we wanted. From that point, I actually really enjoyed planning my wedding and that surprised even myself, because I’m not known to be the most well-organised person! However, it was really important to me that I pushed myself to make decisions and stick to them because I wanted to get things right.

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Budget

We had an initial budget, but it soon became clear that we were going to blow that number out of the water! Until you plan a wedding, it’s really hard to conceptualise just how many things there are to pay for and how much things really cost! However, we were so lucky to receive help from both of our families and we all agree that it was worth every penny.

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Beauty

Hair and make-up came courtesy of the fabulous Leigh Irving and her assistant Lauren from The Bridal Stylists. I originally planned to have my hair in a high bun with a braid, as in our trial, but then changed my mind quite last minute. I’m really glad that I did as I loved how my hair turned out on the day. In terms of make-up, I wanted to still look like me (but a much more glamorous version!) and Leigh knew exactly what to do.

I wanted my mum and bridesmaids to choose their own hairstyles, and so on the day we had a mixture of up dos, down dos and braids. Everyone looked absolutely beautiful. My Maid of Honour, who got married three weeks after me, originally planned to do her own make-up but then decided to book Leigh for her own wedding, so it was amazing to see her again and say thank you!

My perfume was Jo Malone’s Earl Grey and Cucumber. I knew that I wanted a distinctive scent that I had never worn before, so that every time I sprayed it I was reminded of my wedding day. I popped along to a Jo Malone concession stand one day with a friend and smelled all the samples until I was sure of which one was my favourite. The Earl Grey and Cucumber won because it was so light and refreshing!

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Your Outfits & Accessories

I had quite the journey with my dress! I initially ordered a handmade two-piece from California on Etsy, about a year before the wedding, which was very ‘boho’ and quite simple. I was so excited for it to arrive and thought I’d made the perfect choice, but when I tried it on I was underwhelmed. I didn’t feel like a bride. I tried to convince myself that everything was fine and that I’d love it on the day, but when I couldn’t get that niggling feeling out of my head, I confessed to Kit: “I don’t love my wedding dress!” He told me straight away to buy another one and covered the cost of my first attempt so that I wouldn’t worry about my spending on the second. What a guy!

I booked some more bridal appointments and tried on other dresses, but none of them were giving me the ‘bride’ feeling I was after and in a lot of them I felt like a kid playing dress-up. As the day drew closer, I began to panic – and consequently binge-watched loads of episodes of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’, as if vicariously finding success through all of the other brides featured on the show. Finally, with the new year approaching and, if nothing else, inspired by what I was watching, I made an all-or-nothing, last ditch effort, and booked an appointment with Confetti & Lace Bridal in Lakeside (where the show is filmed) for New Year’s Day.

Although we were all very tired from the night before, I went with my parents, younger sister and Maid of Honour, and found the staff to be just as helpful as they appeared on the show. They were so kind and attentive and were determined to find me the perfect dress at a great price. By dress number fifteen, I was beginning to despair, but then the consultant, Kim, had an epiphany and pulled out MY dress. As soon as I saw myself in the mirror, I thought: “oh gosh, I’m getting married in this!” and I just knew it was the one. The dress, by Justin Alexander, made me feel amazing, and the demi-fishtail style flattered my figure in ways that no dress ever had. Whether from the emotion of the day, the struggle of the year before or my dreams of the year to come, I couldn’t stop crying. The dress was the complete opposite of what I thought I wanted. But that’s always the way, isn’t it?

In a complete contrast to the dress, finding my veil was effortless. It was the first one I tried on with my wedding dress ‘just to see what it looked like’ and it was perfect. It was a single tier, chapel length veil by Richard Designs.

My shoes were the first thing I ever bought for the wedding! I love the colour green (hence the emerald engagement ring) and when I saw the Rachel Simpson Mimosa heels in mint green I knew that they belonged on my feet! I’m normally terrible in heels but they were really comfortable and lasted for the majority of the day.

I knew that I wanted to wear flowers in my hair and I’m so pleased that somebody recommended Gez Axford-Batey to me. She owns Folky Dokey Bespoke and she supplied the preserved flower crown I wore on the day, along with flower combs for each of my bridesmaids. I simply sent her a picture of my bouquet and my bridesmaids’ skirts to gauge the colour palette and Gez did the rest. I squealed when they arrived in the post – they were absolutely perfect. And, because they are preserved flowers, my crown will last forever and I’m going to find any possible excuse I can to wear it again!

We chose our platinum wedding bands from the same boutique in the Brighton Lanes where Kit had found my engagement ring – Baxter & Hanks. The city of Brighton has always been a special place because it’s where I lived for the first three years of our long-distance relationship while Kit was back in London. There’s something poetic about buying rings from a tiny jeweller’s boutique that we would have walked past, hand in hand, unwittingly, during one of our rare weekends together.

The only other pieces of jewellery I wore on the day were pearl droplet earrings that originally belonged to Kit’s grandmother. Because she is in her nineties and lives in Canada, she was unable to make the journey over for our wedding, so it was really special to be able to wear something of hers. Going by the traditional rhyme, this was the borrow. The shoes were my new, in one of which was taped an old silver thruppence, and I also wore my mum’s garter which was blue.

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The Venue

Gaynes Park was the third venue we viewed and it ticked so many boxes for us. I really wanted a countryside wedding with lots of outdoor space, but I also wanted it to be easily accessible from our home in London. Luckily for us, Gaynes Park was located close to Epping tube station, and it had the most gorgeous barns, which were steeped in rural charm and surrounded by beautiful gardens, fields and woods.

We had originally planned to get married in a church, but we changed our minds when we saw the Orangery on site, which is a stunning room to get married in. It was so light and airy and also had the longest wedding aisle we had ever seen! (Second only to Westminster Abbey, or so we were told!).

During our first visit to Gaynes Park (with my parents and Kit’s mum), the wedding co-ordinator played Still Falling For You by Ellie Goulding during our tour of the Orangery, suggesting we imagine my walk down the aisle with my dad. The next thing I knew, everyone was in tears! That was the instant I knew that we wouldn’t be looking any further, and that I had found my ‘walking down the aisle’ song! It is the moment I still remember first whenever I play it; the first time I felt like the wedding was actually happening.

On the day of the wedding, all of the staff at Gaynes Park were amazing, but I want to give a special mention to my co-ordinator Chloe who looked after us so well. She kept checking in to see if we were OK and made sure that the whole day ran seamlessly.

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The Readings & Music

We asked both of our mums to perform a reading during the service that was meaningful to them.

Kit’s mum chose an extract from ‘Anne of Green Gables’ by L. M. Montgomery. It describes the moment that Anne walked down the aisle to meet her groom, Gilbert, and how all the nerves and uncertainty were swept away in that moment. We didn’t realise how much it would truly affect us until it was read on the day and I turned to see Kit crying. He described it as the latch that opened the gate on all the emotions he had been feeling as I walked down the aisle.

My mum chose ‘Union’ by Robert Fulghum for the second reading, which describes how a relationship progresses from first acquaintance to husband and wife, and how things will never quite be the same. When my mum sent it to me, I absolutely loved it. It was spot on, in more ways than I had thought possible. And it was very different to the other one, but both encapsulated the way we felt and the kind of day that we had been trying to create: personal; the joys of adult life as seen through the lens of childhood; simple and witty but deeply moving.

Kit and I had both chosen mellow love songs for the signing of the register that leant themselves naturally to this idea. Inspired by the cry-every-time first season of ‘This Is Us’, I went with Watch Me by Labi Siffre, while Kit chose On and On by Thirdstory. As I mentioned before, I entered the Orangery to Still Falling For You by Ellie Goulding, but we both left to a very different tune – a complete change of pace and the giddiest, most exuberant song we could imagine to kick-start the afternoon’s celebrations the right way: You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon. It was time for the party to start!

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Groomsmen

I wasn’t allowed to see Kit’s suit until the wedding day! He wanted to keep it a surprise, like my dress was for him. Truth be told, I was quite curious on how he was going to pull it out of the bag. He hadn’t had the easiest time finding something to fit his particular vision. I knew a little bit of what he was willing to share – a three-piece in a lighter tweed – but that was it. When he had been out suit shopping with his dad in the months of February, March and April, the year of the wedding, things had either been out of season or unavailable in the colours he wanted, and although he was confident he could find it all in time, I could tell it was worrying him.

In the end, it was a leaflet I had taken from a wedding exhibition that he turned to in his hour of need, and he emailed Alexandra Wood Bespoke in Shoreditch, who were incredibly prompt getting him in for a fitting. By the end of that first appointment with his dad and two London-based groomsmen, he had ordered a made-to-measure three-piece for himself and put hire orders in for all four of his groomsmen, one of whom lived in Bristol, and the other in New Zealand. Ultimately, Kit’s friend James couldn’t make the trip overseas, so after some deliberation, that suit became my dad’s and both fathers chose to wear matching silver ties from John Lewis to ‘tie’ it all together.

Kit’s suit came in a perfectly tailored earthy green tweed, while the four hire suits were grey tweed in a similar style. Honestly, I don’t know how they kept those suits on all day considering we were married in nearly thirty-degree heat! They are troopers.

All the men wore brown brogues to complement the suits’ buttons. Kit’s came from Church’s on Regent Street. These were probably the quickest purchase in the whole process, made at the last stop on a long day of shoe shopping with his dad, during which his only success had been a pair of brown Happy Socks dotted with green, yellow and magenta leaves. The shoes were the second pair he picked up in the store and, named ‘Toronto’, seemed to be alluding strongly to his Canadian heritage.

He deserved an easy win. The ties and accessories were another headache for him, but he managed to get what he wanted from online sellers: for the groomsmen, bronze maple-leaf cufflinks and floral silk ties paired with pocket squares in pink, yellow and green to match the bridesmaids’ skirts; for himself, a pair of bronze sunflower cufflinks and a champagne paisley silk tie and pocket square set. Kit also wore a pocket watch that was given to him by his parents and used to belong to his dad.

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The Details & Décor

Although I frequently changed my mind during the planning and booking process, I never lost sight of my wish to bring childhood joy and playfulness to our reception.

We rented some vintage funfair-style garden games from ‘The Prop Factory’ to entertain our guests. We had Coconut Shy, Beat the Buzzer, Ball in a Bucket, Hook a Duck, Stand the Bottle and Strongman Striker, all of which made such a difference to the atmosphere of our wedding day. Even traditionalist family members who had been on the fence about the decision agreed that our games went down a storm, and not just with the children! One of my only regrets is that Kit and I were far too busy to play, but fortunately we did get to make use of the Kissing Booth that we had also hired from them!

To continue with the funfair style garden theme, we bought some large white balloons from Ginger Ray that had confetti inside and the Gaynes Park staff kindly blew those up for us.

Because our wedding was at the height of summer, we bought some parasols and paper fans to be used by guests and we also hired an ice-cream bicycle to serve four different flavours during our drinks reception. I think anything to help ‘cool down’ our guests was greatly appreciated at this point!

For general venue styling, we used Mediterranean Occasions, who work with Gaynes Park. They set everything up for us perfectly and it was really nice to not have to worry about doing these things ourselves. We hired white, green, pink and yellow paper lanterns to hang outside the Gather Barn and bring a pop of colour to that area. Inside the Mill Barn, we had a nude ribbon backdrop behind the top table, a large black and white checked dancefloor for the evening and rustic festoon lighting to twinkle above the dancing. We also hired colour-changing uplighters for the evening and some electric candles leading up the stairs to a Moroccan-themed break-out mezzanine area.

To honour our parents and commemorate those who couldn’t be with us, we placed framed wedding photographs of both sets of parents and grandparents to be placed on either side of the Orangery, with a little British and Canadian flag next to each family. These photographs were really important to me and I wanted our guests to see the wedding photos of those people who are so special to us.

We tried our hand at DIY and made things where time and creative talent allowed! I used a large blackboard and posca pens to painstakingly create a ‘welcome to our wedding’ and ‘order of the day’ sign and I also made smaller signs for the guestbook, cake flavours and a few other things. Kit used Canva to design the quotes for our storybook themed tables, the menus and the place cards for the table plan and had them printed on Printed.com.

We also made our own ‘candy buffet’ table, buying jars from IKEA and tongs, scoops and stripy bags from Amazon. Then me and my mum went on a hunt for sweets, which was the fun part! I scoured Ebay for any props to use to make it look a bit more exciting and found an amazing white wooden ferris wheel, which Kit constructed for me, and we placed even more sweeties in that.

My mum helped me to make a ‘temporary tattoo’ station for the evening reception which turned out to be a big hit. I bought some sparkly gold and silver tattoos from Superdrug (of all places!) and my mum bought spray water bottles and sponges and we wrote out the instructions and left them on a table. It was so fun the next morning to see lots of our guests at breakfast sporting pineapples, love hearts and feathers on their arms!

My bridesmaid Jenny very kindly offered to make our wedding favours for us as a gift. She made fudge in 3 different flavours – chai tea, chocolate orange and vanilla – and placed these in a gift bag alongside some maple sugar candy that my mother-in-law brought back on a plane all the way from Canada. It was so lovely to have a mixture of British and Canadian in our favours!

Alongside the favours, at their place setting everyone had a wooden name that we ordered from Wooden Crafting Supplies (whom I would highly recommend) and a little envelope with drinks tokens for the bar. As it turns out, we completely over ordered on booze for the afternoon drinks reception which lasted well into the evening, so we ended up having an accidental free bar all night and the tokens weren’t really needed!

I found the idea of choosing one meal for everybody far too stressful, so we decided to go for a hot buffet style wedding breakfast. Our caterers, Galloping Gourmet, were excellent and very flexible with regards to meal choice. After a bit of agonizing, I settled on burgers, chicken kebabs, salmon and vegetarian tarts alongside different types of salads. For dessert we served shortbread with raspberries and a glazed lemon tart. I was determined to eat on my wedding day as I know many brides don’t, but even though I sat with a plate full of food I only really managed to pick at it! I think it was just the adrenaline of the day. I’ve heard excellent feedback from our guests regarding the food, however, and the little bit I could manage to eat tasted delicious!

Galloping Gourmet were also fantastic at catering for different food allergies. My husband is severely allergic to nuts and I wanted to be certain that he would be fine to eat everything at the wedding and that we wouldn’t have to worry about it. Luckily, we didn’t!

We hired a band and a DJ for our evening reception – Groove Therapy and Graeme Smith – who we booked via Wedding Jam. They were both excellent and kept the dance floor going all night. We gave Graeme quite an eclectic mix of songs that we wanted to hear and he managed to play them all seamlessly!

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Bridesmaids

Finding bridesmaids’ dresses was tricky because I kept changing my mind about what I wanted. I really liked the idea of all the girls wearing a different dress in the same colour, but as we didn’t have a distinct colour scheme in mind, I found it really difficult to decide the main colour to put them in! After lots of searching and discussions, I came to the decision that I wanted them in the same dress but in different colours, to match our colourful wedding. Eventually, I decided to put my sisters in olive green, my two other bridesmaids in mustard yellow and then I put my Maid of Honour in a dusky pink. I wasn’t sure if the three colours would ‘work’ together but thankfully they did! And that’s how our ‘sort of’ colour scheme was born.

I still really loved the two-piece look that I had toyed with for myself and was browsing ‘For Her and For Him’ online when I found a winning lace top and tulle skirt combination. I was nervous about ordering them online, especially after my first dress disaster, but I just couldn’t find what I was looking for in the shops. Even though the dresses did require quite a lot of alterations when they arrived, they worked perfectly with the overall look and feel of our day and all my girls looked absolutely wonderful.

My niece and nephew (aka flower girl and page boy) looked adorable in their wedding outfits, both from Marks & Spencer. Taking an 8 and a 6-year-old out shopping for wedding clothes is not fun, so thankfully we found both outfits fairly quickly!

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The Flowers

Clare Luke from ‘Luke and Lottie Floral Design’ is a genius. From our first phone conversation, she understood exactly what I wanted, and was even able to make more sense of Kit’s abstract plan for the centrepieces than he could. Every decorative aspect of our wedding was made whole by her balanced interpretation of our summery sunflower theme, and through meeting with her at her studio in Maldon we developed each aspect far beyond any of our early imaginings.

My bouquet was a gorgeous mixture of sunflowers, pink roses, daisies, green bell foliage and other seasonal flowers, with smaller versions for the bridesmaids. The men had classic buttonholes which comprised of a large white rose and a smaller pink rose and we also had a basket filled with pink and yellow rose petals for my flower girl and page boy to sprinkle down the aisle. They were so cute and did such a great job!

We kept the flowers for the ceremony pretty simple. The gardens at Gaynes Park were in full bloom and had such natural beauty that we felt like we didn’t need to add much to it. We had two large milk churns either side of the ceremony table which were bursting with flowers, and a medium sized crate on the actual table which had our names and wedding date on. This was moved to the guest book table later in the evening and now has pride of place in my Mother-in-Law’s kitchen!

The real masterpieces created by Clare, however, were the table centrepieces. Kit’s plan was to theme each table after a different childhood book, complete with unique props, excerpts from the pages and flowers used simply for maximum effect. Nothing too grand that guests would have to crane their necks around to talk across the table, but nothing too small either. Our top table was a long, eight-seater with moss and miniature bonsai trees, silver swords and curated floral arrangements that channelled Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, while the eight oval tables included features like an open parasol for Mary Poppins, a potion bottle-filled owl cage for Harry Potter, and even a levitating hot air balloon and flower basket for Around the World in 80 Days. On the morning of the wedding, I remember sneaking into the barn in my dressing gown and feeling completely overwhelmed and overjoyed by what Clare and her team had managed to create. They had really understood our vision and done everything possible to bring it to life.

For our table plan, we hired a large copper frame from Clare which she decorated for us and we pegged up everyone’s names on brown card. On the other side of the card was a symbol with a clue for which table they were sitting on. We didn’t want to make it too easy because we wanted people to wander around and look at the centrepieces instead of going straight to their seat. I was a bit worried that people would get lost, but by the time Kit and I came into the barn for dinner everyone was in the right place, so I think it worked out OK!

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The Photographer

You will know by now that I am extremely fussy and indecisive, so it should come as no surprise that choosing a photographer was quite a lot of trouble for me. How can anyone be blasé about picking such an important chronicler of the day, who (in my book) is responsible for creating images that need to make my heart explode every time I look at them?

I think this was the Law of Attraction at work here, because Masha Unwerth was fairly new to the industry when she got in touch after I posted on a wedding forum asking for recommendations. She asked me to check out her portfolio and I absolutely loved it. There was an elegant warmth to her images, which captured both the tiny details and the grand, and she was well within budget, so I decided there was no arguing with fate! We are so glad that we went with Masha and I am completely in love with our photographs. She encapsulated the whole day so well and was a pleasure to work with.

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The Videographer

We used Ian Coulson for our wedding video. I saw his work on a friend’s facebook page and knew immediately that I wanted to book him for our wedding (before we were even engaged!). His camera work is completely outstanding and like nothing I had ever seen before. On the day itself, Ian and his assistant Al were so lovely and funny, they felt more like guests than suppliers, and I can’t wait to see our video when its ready.

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The Honeymoon

We embarked on the honeymoon of our dreams two days later – five nights in New York City and nine nights on a Royal Caribbean Cruise visiting Bermuda, St Maarten, Puerto Rico and Haiti – but it was only through the generosity of our guests that we made those dreams a reality and were able to fund every excursion, treatment, experience and purchase we wanted. Honestly, the outpouring of donations, both in Pounds Sterling and US Dollars, was phenomenal, and meant that we were able to achieve the ideal blend of adventure, relaxation and recovery that we so desperately needed by that point.

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Memorable Moments

There were so many memorable moments from our wedding day! Here are a few:

Kit and I changing into converse for the evening and doing our first dance. We played a song called Dela by a legendary South African artist called Johnny Clegg, and it’s such a beautiful song about feeling complete and content. At one point during the song, Kit picked me up and spun me around 4 times and I remember everyone clapping and cheering and it was the most incredible feeling.

Walking with all my bridesmaids and my dad towards the aisle and hearing the music start. I remember feeling so calm and so ‘ready’. Then, actually walking down the aisle and seeing my future husband looking so handsome at the other end!

I almost ate a wasp! Getting married in August and surrounded by flowers meant that I was followed around by wasps for the majority of the day. One of them landed on my ice-cream, and I licked it up without even noticing. It was only when a groomsman shouted “NO!” that I realised that there was a wasp in my mouth, and luckily I spat it out before it stung me!

Kit and I walked into a field for a romantic photoshoot during the evening ‘golden hour’. The pictures came out beautifully, but what people don’t see is the amount of sheep poo that we had to try and avoid to get those shots! Also, when I wanted to remove my veil for some pictures but had nowhere to put it, my amazing photographer wrapped it around her neck like a scarf and kept on shooting!

The speeches! I loved each and every one of them, and I also really enjoyed giving one myself. It’s not often that you get to talk to all of your favourite people in the same room at the same time.

Giving everyone their gifts. I got the bridesmaids a goodie bag filled with various items including a fan, personalised Vaseline tins, chocolate, hand creams etc. and Kit gave his groomsmen cufflinks and pocket watches. We also wrote detailed cards about why we loved them so much and how special they are to us. The morning after the wedding, we gave our parents my favourite gifts of all – watercolour paintings of the churches where they got married.

My dad having a slight wardrobe malfunction. Kit got him a pocket watch to wear with his suit, but just before walking down the aisle we realised that the pockets were stitched together and he had no way of wearing it! It gave us a good laugh.

Our last dance. We played (I’ve had) The Time of My Life which is one of my favourite songs ever, and everyone was so happy and emotional and I just remember feeling over the moon at how our wedding day had gone. At the end of the song, I burst into tears and said to Kit: “I can’t believe my wedding day is over!”

Summer Sunflower Rustic Wedding Masha Unwerth Summer Sunflower Rustic Wedding Masha Unwerth Summer Sunflower Rustic Wedding Masha UnwerthBride Bridal Dress Gown Lace Fit Flare Train Justin Alexander Bride Bridal Dress Gown Lace Fit Flare Train Justin Alexander Summer Sunflower Rustic Wedding Masha Unwerth Groom Suit Green Tweed Waistcoat Summer Sunflower Rustic Wedding Masha Unwerth

The Cake

Our fabulous cake was made by Georgia Hinkley of ‘The Cake Doll’ whom we contacted after much Pinterest-ing and lusting over cakes on wedding blogs. We had decided to jump on the semi-naked cake trend as neither of us are a fan of lots of icing, and Georgia designed it before our very eyes when we visited her at her home. The cake was dressed by our florist in sunflowers and foliage, and I added a ‘Lady and the Tramp’ cake topper that I bought from Etsy. I thought it was super cute, and I wanted to sneak a bit of Disney into our wedding (Kit had vetoed the idea of having a full-on Disney affair!).

As for the flavours, we went with lemon, piña colada, white chocolate with raspberry, and chocolate. It was moist and delicious, but sadly we were far too busy to eat any on the actual wedding day. Fortunately, Gaynes Park’s staff have a lovely tradition of placing two slices of each tier in the fridge of the Apple Loft cottage (where we spent the night as husband and wife). So, early the next morning, before we met everyone for breakfast, Kit and I sat outside drinking tea, reminiscing about the day before and munching on wedding cake. It was a pretty great start to married life!

Summer Sunflower Rustic Wedding Masha Unwerth Summer Sunflower Rustic Wedding Masha Unwerth

Advice for Other Couples

Do exactly what you and your other half want. It’s your big day! Take the advice that you find useful and forget the rest. Don’t feel like you have to stick to traditions if you don’t want to, but equally, if you love a bit of tradition – go for it!

Walk SLOWLY down the aisle and savour every moment of it. Don’t forget to smile!

Prioritise photos and a video. After your wedding you will be desperate to relive the day again and again.

Write a detailed itinerary with everything you can think of – timings, table plans, instructions for setting things out, diagrams, addresses, phone numbers etc. Make many copies and send to all suppliers and to your bridal party. Things will always go wrong, but it helps to try and minimise the impact as much as possible. Make sure that you have one reliable person who is your ‘go-to’ if anything goes wrong on the day – you don’t want that person to be you!

Let people help you. Delegate the small things. It will save your sanity and you’ll be glad that you did.

Don’t settle for a dress you don’t love! Every bride deserves to feel their absolute best on their wedding day.

Wedding blues are real. I remember waking up on our honeymoon and suddenly feeling devastated that it was all over. I also then found myself thinking about the wedding so much that I started dwelling on all the small things that went wrong or that I didn’t get to do or the people I didn’t get to speak to. I was so upset that we never got our evening ‘sparkler shot’, but on the day I was having too much fun on the dance floor to do it. These blues eventually pass, and now I just remember having the most joyful day ever, despite all those tiny niggles.

Make your wedding as personal as you can, but don’t let yourself overly stress about it. At the later stages of the planning you might find yourself panicking about all the DIY you haven’t done, all the extras you haven’t provided etc. People will notice these lovely elements, but they won’t contribute that much to the overall enjoyment of your wedding. As long as there is plenty of love in the room, plenty of food and drink and a good dance at the end of the night, your guests will be thrilled.

On the day itself, you have to let go and trust in your suppliers and everyone around you. Don’t stress about the small things, seek out your new spouse as much as possible, let yourself be swept up in the love and have the best day ever!

Summer Sunflower Rustic Wedding Masha Unwerth

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Photographer
Masha Unwerth

Venue
Gaynes Park

Videographer
Ian Coulson

Florist
Luke and Lottie

Hair & Make-Up
Leigh Irving via the Bridal Stylists

Wedding Dress
Justin Alexander at Confetti and Lace Bridal

Veil
Richard Designs

Bride’s Shoes
Rachel Simpson

Flower Crown
Folky Dokey Bespoke

Suits
Alexandra Wood Bespoke

Groom’s shoes
Church’s

Bridesmaid’s Dresses
For Her and For Him

Flower Girl & Page Boy Outfits
Marks & Spencer

Venue Stylist & Lighting
Mediterranean Occasions

Catering
Galloping Gourmet

Wedding Cake
The Cake Doll

Invitations
Meri Wills

DJ & Band
Graeme Smith and Groove Therapy via Wedding Jam

Garden Games
The Prop Factory

Stevie and Kit, thank you so so much for sharing your magical wedding with us xo Lou

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