Today’s real wedding story really does have it all lovelies. A day filled to the very brim with love, colour and personality. I defy you not to love every single capture by Curious Rose Photography here today, whom WWW readers Ros and Chris found on these very pages by the way. YES.
Their celebrations really were very relaxed and super fun. At the very core, was their outdoor ceremony held beneath a eucalyptus tree against a hand made paper cone backdrop, which swayed in the breeze. It really was perfect and a lot of personalisation went into their ceremony to make it so very meaningful to them both. The party then started at The Secret Barn in West Sussex, which was laden with peonies and hand crafted touches. The ‘Best Day Ever’ banner really was a striking centrepiece to the characterful barns, believe it or not it was a pretty simple DIY project too.
I have to say that the attire these two chose is just so stylish. Ros fell for a lace Rue De Seine wedding dress with a gorgeous bohemian feel, which she teamed with a colourful flower crown and red lips. Chris and the groomsmen all wore navy tweed suits with bow ties from Vintage Suit Hire and Mrs Bow Tie (have you seen our collection of bow ties yet?). Just beautiful!
It happened in Copenhagen in November 2016 after we had been together for 10 years. I had packed TERRIBLY for the trip and it was seriously cold. Chris knew exactly where he wanted to propose and had planned the day so that we could end up next to a gorgeous river. We sat down on a bench and I, as normal, was talking nonsense about god knows what (I had absolutely no idea he was going to ask me). I asked if we could carry on walking as I was so freezing and as we stood up Chris uttered the words “I’ve got something that might warm you up” whilst putting his hand into his pocket to get the ring. I’m not sure it was exactly what he had planned but it was hilarious and perfect. Once I had got over the shock we hit the bars!
I’m not sure either of us had an exact vision – in fact everything was slightly haphazard. We knew we wanted everything to be relaxed and to be outside as much as possible and love crafting so we knew there would be bits and bobs around and about.
The Planning Process
Slow and steady. We booked the venue early on, after only seeing two and then booked another big thing every now and again. We made sure to have fun during the planning so that we weren’t doing everything for the sake of one day. We went on a road trip to Calais with friends, did a group trip to Covent Garden Flower Market, endless craft nights, and did more than one wine tasting session. It turned into a whole year of fun rather than just 12 hours and we involved as many people as possible in the preparation.
We picked The Secret Barn in West Sussex as it was a completely blank canvas. Hannah, from Petal and Feast, is in charge of the venue and is super chilled out which really helped to keep us relaxed. One of the main reasons we chose this venue was the area where we had our ceremony – under a eucalyptus tree and apple orchard. It was exactly what we were hoping for. We were able to camp after the wedding with 40 of our friends in bell tents. The morning after when all of our friends ate bacon sandwiches and de-briefed on the day before turned out to be one of our highlights. One final bonus point about the venue is that they let you bring your own alcohol and there’s no corkage – this saved us a lot of money!
The Readings & Music
Our ceremony took place in an orchard in gorgeous sunshine. A few years ago we had seen Declan Zapala perform the guitar at Edinburgh Fringe and were so excited when he agreed to play during our ceremony. Chris’s friend Liam read “To love is not to possess” by James Kavanagh and my Aunt (who was also our celebrant) read “Union” by Robert Fulgham just before we read our vows. My Mum also did a reading which encompassed a poem written by a friend of hers and a passage about being amongst the trees. We wrote our own vows.
In the evening we asked our very good friend James to DJ for us. He alternated with our band, Truly Medley Deeply. We really struggled to find a band who we liked and almost gave up but these guys were recommended by some friends. There are 11 of them in the group and you get 2 of them on the day – you don’t necessarily find out who until a couple of days before. This might sound risky but I can vouch for Danny and James who played for us – they are so good and I have heard great things about the other members. Everyone (of all ages) danced HARD… they play medleys of favourite tunes taking on different genres with each song. So much fun. BOOK THEM!
Your Outfits & Accessories
I didn’t originally want a wedding dress as I didn’t think they would suit me. I went to a couple of shops and everything looked awful so I was very excited when I found a designer I liked. The only shop that stocked Rue De Seine just happened to be having a sample sale the following day so I organised a last minute trip to Brighton with some pals and ended up buying my dress. I picked my dress because it felt comfortable and fun as well as being bridal. The lace is so gorgeous and I love the shape! It was a sample so was much cheaper than usual allowing me a bit of budget to pay for alterations. As at heart I’m not much of a full length gown person, I hitched the whole thing up with massive metal crocodile clips for ultimate dancing freedom. Don’t let your dress get in the way of you having the best time!
My sister made my veil for me. We picked the tulle and lace together from The Silk Society in Soho. They sell all sorts of bridal fabrics and are so helpful. Over all it was way cheaper than buying one and so special.
Hannah from Petal and Feast made my flower crown the day before. It had fresh peonies, roses, and greenery. I loved it!
Chris is in the RAF but chose not to get married in uniform. Instead he hired from Vintage Suit Hire. He loved this company as soon as he found it as they provide tweed three piece suits (Chris is a huge Peaky Blinders fan!). He went with blue because it suited all of the groomsmen and was slightly similar to the RAF uniform but brightened it up with bow ties from Mrs Bow Tie and Vintage Suit Hire.
Petal and Feast did all of our bouquets and put up an amazing flower hoop. They also provided us with a few “DIY buckets” of flowers which we weaved into foliage that we had bought from Covent Garden Flower Market. That place is amazing for everything green – we went on the Thursday before the wedding and stocked up on eucalyptus, rosemary, general foliage and ferns. We used the phrase “more is more” when decorating the barn with all of the flowers and greenery.
The Details & Décor
As I mentioned before, in the run up to the wedding, we went with the theory “more is more”… more flowers, more vases, more candles. We collected various glass bottles over a year or so (all mega cheap from Ikea and charity shops). Friends and family made limoncello and sloe gin for the favours and we put them in miniature bottles and decorated them with floral labels with people’s names on so they doubled up as name places as well.
Chris has spent a lot of time in America and loves the game corn hole. The boards are impossible to buy in the UK so in the end he took some wood to a local carpenter and he turned it into a board – this was so much cheaper and easier than buying it online! Don’t be afraid to ask local crafts people for help.
The three main crafts that took up time but were totally worth it were:
- “BEST DAY EVER” banner. This was quite easy – we just measured and cut out the shape, hemmed the edges and used fabric marker to add the wording)
- Photo table plan – this took us forever! We found photographs of all of our guests, had them printed on square photo paper in black and white, added their name below and stuck them on to a large sheet of wood. We added fresh foliage along the top. This craft went on for months but it was so worth it and we are hoping to keep it forever.
- Cone backdrop. A friend of mine promised to organise a wedding arch but after many discussions about carpentry, a “cone curtain” seemed like a simpler option. The reality was we had to make over 1000 cones, each hand cut and stuck together. There were four of us making it and I would say it took us at least 4 days – I don’t like to think how many man hours that is. It was the centrepiece of the wedding however, acting as the backdrop for the ceremony and photos later on. We have kept it and as a friendship group have promised to get it out at every big birthday or wedding from now on! My advice would be to only take this on if you really love your friends and they really love you.
My sister decided to take on the cake and recruited a friend to help her (thank god as I’m not sure she quite realised how much work goes in to cakes feeding 120 people!!) I can’t remember how many eggs they used but it was a LOT. They chose a really simple design and decorated it with some of the fresh flowers. My mum had found my grandparent’s wedding cake decorations and they were hidden in among the flowers. The whole thing got eaten within an hour!
Side note – Rosie, my sister’s friend, has now decided to start making wedding cakes professionally. I think all of our friends and family will agree that this is an extremely good decision by her!
I didn’t want the bridesmaids to wear the same dress as I knew they all had such different tastes and styles. Over time we settled on a vague theme of reds/pinks/flowers/navy. Like many parts of the wedding, there wasn’t much of a plan but it worked out in the end! They chose their own dresses but checked with me along the way. I think they felt really relaxed wearing dresses that they’d chosen themselves and hopefully they’ll be able to re-use them at other events in the future. They came from Reformation and Whistles.
I’m not really into make up and hair ordinarily so I was so relieved to find Poppy. She was super chilled about everything and made me feel really relaxed – I completely trusted her. We went with natural make up with a bright lip and simple curled hair. I’d thought about doing my make up and hair myself but am so glad I didn’t as it meant the morning before the wedding was completely stress free.
We found Laura on a Whimsical Wonderland Weddings post. You can tell from her photographs that the couple and all of the guests are relaxed around her. She avoids too many posed photographs and captures natural moments perfectly. We met up in Birmingham a few months before the wedding, drank coffee, chatted for hours and had a mini shoot which helped us to get used to having our photo taken. On the day, we not only trusted Laura to take amazing photos, we loved having her around. She’s a real pal (so much so that she stayed into the evening and partied with us until the wee hours).
We weren’t going to get a videographer until a couple of different friends said it was their biggest regret from their wedding. I am so, so, so relieved we did as our video gives us the perfect sense of the mood and joy from our day. Alice, like Laura, was chilled out and so easy to spend time with. That really is so important as you spend so much time together on the day!
View here: https://vimeo.com/281784104
Our RAF friends sent us away for three days straight after the wedding as their wedding gift to us. We stayed at the Humble Bee in Devon which is built in the shape of a bee hive – it’s the perfect place to relax. Check it out. We’re going to California for a two week road trip in September for our “proper” honeymoon.
- Setting up the day before with all of our friends.
- Walking down the aisle together.
- Having my aunt as our celebrant. We worked with her for over a year to create a ceremony that felt completely right for us. I would definitely recommend choosing someone you really love to do this for you if possible as it is the most special part of the day.
- Entering dinner with our bridesmaids and groomsmen one by one to TNGHT “Higher Ground”.
- The moment I told Chris I had got a tattoo of “The Dills” – our unofficial surname. I told him at the end of my speech having had it done two weeks before.
- All of the dancing.
Advice For Other Couples
Don’t worry too much about the final result. Pick things steadily that you really like and it will all come together. Don’t put too much pressure on yourselves to get it all right. Get friends involved – especially when doing fun stuff like tasting wine! If you are going to think carefully about one thing, think about the ceremony. Take time off before and after the wedding and just ENJOY IT ALL.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Curious Rose Photography
The Secret Barn
Flowers & Food
Petal and Feast
Truly Medley Deeply
Ros and Chris, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your incredible nuptials with us here today, what an honour xo Lou