I’m absolutely loving Charmaine and Charlie’s relaxed country wedding day and I think you will too! Their nuptials took place on 3rd May 2019 at the Gate Street Barn in Guildford. This pair made lots of personal touches themselves, especially thanks to Charmaine’s crafty skills! Can you believe that with some help from family and friends, this clever thing did all the flowers and greenery?
Our pair chose Tony from Photography34 to capture their day after seeing his work at a friend’s wedding. It goes without saying that they were delighted with the results of their own images and we’re so happy to be sharing them today. Thank you Tony.
I’m also a big fan of Charmaine’s Charlie Brear separates with fringed skirt, what a stunning look! Her bridesmaids also looked fabulous in two pieces and of course groom Charlie didn’t half look dapper in his suit from The Drop. Enjoy their whole day WWWers.
We went away for a short city break to Rome, Italy back in February 2017 for what I (Charmaine) thought was just a weekend away. On the Saturday night after the most expensive drinks we’ve ever had in a tiny bar and a lovely evening meal, Charlie popped the question at the Trevi Fountain. He proposed with my nan’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring and was extremely discreet, no formal down on one knee, thankfully as I would have died of embarrassment, although there was a guy there taking photos who clocked on to what had happened and kept trying to get us to have a photo. All our friends and family were quite shocked as I had always said I would never get married.
From the start, we both knew we wanted something very relaxed and not too formal. As neither of us are too keen on a particular colour, we decided to go for natural colours with a lot of greenery and a few white flowers. As neither of us are religious we again knew that we didn’t want a church wedding and ideally would like something all in one place so our guests didn’t have to travel once they were at the venue.
I love crafting and knew I wanted to do as much ourselves as we could.
The Planning Process
We started planning quite quickly after we got engaged and visited quite a few venues. We are both super organised so this really helped and Charlie insisted we have everything logged on a spreadsheet! As we spread out the planning, we never really felt like we had too much wedding stress which was great. We ended up having pretty much everything sorted with still a few months to spare.
We started off with a budget but very quickly everything became a lot more expensive than we anticipated. We both agreed we wanted to have all the things that were important to us as we only plan to do this once!
The beautiful Gate Street Barn in Bramley, Guildford. We booked the venue back in mid-2017. When we booked the venue, they informed us they were going to be doing some work and adding an atrium and orangery to the building, we looked at the plans and it looked amazing. As the building work started a few months later, it hit us that what if we didn’t like what they were about to do to the venue. We couldn’t have been more wrong, we ended up loving the venue even more after the work was complete.
We opted for our own caterers as I knew a company who had catered for one of my close friends’ children’s wedding and also some events at work. From the beginning we knew we didn’t want a formal sit down and The Fat Hog served up some great big pan dishes, jam jar desserts and fish and chip cones for the evening guests. Nothing was too much trouble to these guys, they did an amazing job and went above and beyond, even making extra room in their van to bring a barrel for us to put the cake on!
Your Outfits & Accessories
I started looking for a dress quite soon after we got engaged, I’m super fussy with clothes and was never one of those girls that had an idea of my ‘dream wedding dress’, I had no idea of what I wanted, other than I didn’t want a big meringue dress. I went dress shopping with my mum, sister, Charlie’s mum and one of my close friends. I found the whole process pretty exhausting as I tried on so many dresses (including the biggest meringue) and didn’t really like any of them. I’m only 5” and most of the dresses completely swamped me! I then decided to go to a couple of shops myself, I felt guilty dragging people around to sit for hours watching met try on dresses and I prefer shopping by myself. I spent hours Googling ‘non traditional wedding dresses’ and came across a shop in Reigate called The Secret Dress House. They stocked a designer that I liked so went along to try them on, turns out they didn’t suit me either! However, whilst I was there, I tried on a few more and found one that I really liked so I took the girls back to see it. They were running a bit late and told me to look around, there was another dress that caught my eye, I tried it on and decided that was the one. It was a two piece by Charlie Brear. It was double the amount of the original budget but it was the first one I’d tried on and really felt like ‘me’. I also tried on a belt but as the dress was already over budget, I decided to save a few pounds and make it myself, I bought some leather, a popper and dye and my friend and I spent a few hours making it.
Ideally, I wanted a pair of shoes that I could wear again and found a pair of Miss KG blue suede heels on ASOS in the sale for £20! They were super comfortable and doubled up as my something blue. I also found a cute little pair of earrings whilst on ASOS too.
Charlie bought me a beautiful Swarovski bracelet for the day which matched my earrings perfectly.
I got my suit made to measure from thedrop.co. I wanted something in keeping with the style of the wedding, and liked the light brown jacket with the stone coloured waistcoat and trousers. The green tie and green socks were from ASOS. The shoes were my favourite part. I popped into Loakes in Guildford and found a lovely pair of suede shoes in brown that went perfectly with the suit. Loakes are a classic English shoemaker that have been around since 1880, and it was a pleasure to buy my first ever pair of Loakes! The guys in the shop were really helpful, and managed to persuade me to buy the matching suede belt to go with the shoes. I’m pleased they did.
My cufflinks were from H.Samuel. I wanted a pair of rose gold ones to go with my wedding ring, and I found the perfect pair in here. Turns out that Charmaine got me an amazing watch for our wedding day which was also had a rose gold frame. The watch was made by Ingersoll.
Keeping with the relaxed theme I knew I wanted something quite informal for my hair. I was pretty relaxed with what the bridesmaids had, I wanted to make sure they felt comfortable on the day. I got in contact with my sisters’ hairdresser who I knew would be able to do exactly the kind of thing I wanted.
For our makeup, I’ve known Shel for a few years and worked with her in a previous role in the corporate side of her life and she had since started work as a MUA as job number two.
The night before the wedding Looking Pretty Nails came over to my mum’s house and gave us all a bit of a pamper by doing our nails. I’ve known these ladies for a while now as they come in to our office at work to give manicures to our employees.
All the ladies did a fantastic job and made our little niece feel like a princess.
Charlie has no hair so didn’t need any help with this!
The Readings & Music
We had a pianist during the day who played during the ceremony, for the reception drinks and during the meal. This wasn’t something we planned to have originally, we had gone to the National Wedding show and found our wedding rings for a complete bargain, at the same time we saw the PianoDJ stand and ended up spending the money we saved on the rings on a pianist!
We had two readings during the ceremony, one by a close friend of each of ours. Charlie loves penguins so my friend read Penguin Love and I bake a lot of cakes so Charlie’s friend read A Good Wedding Cake.
When we started planning, one of the main things we knew we wanted and didn’t want to compromise on was a band for the evening reception. We booked a band called The City Folk, unfortunately their lead singer was unwell on the day of the wedding so the agency sent another band who were just as good and everyone loved. A live band really does make such a difference and got everyone up on the dance floor.
The gent’s outfits were all sourced through ASOS, so quite easy really. Although the process wasn’t as they all live in different parts of the country, so I got the blazers and trousers posted to them – took a few attempts to get the perfect size for all!
Our Page boys’ shirts and trousers were from M&S and their shoes from Next.
I’ve been involved with creating wedding flowers in the past with one of my close friends so knew it was something I wanted to give a go for our day. My aunt used to be a florist so we spent some time getting some advice from her in what we needed. We decided we wanted mainly greenery and things like eucalyptus and a few white roses. My aunt and uncle’s garden had a few huge eucalyptus trees so we got ourselves round there a couple of days before the wedding and hacked away the trees and the rest of their garden for all the greenery we needed! The roses were ordered from Dutch Masters flower wholesalers.
We had a whole team of our family and friends at the venue the day before the wedding making up jam jars with flowers and decorating the venue. We really couldn’t have done it without them and it was great fun all getting involved.
I wanted the bridesmaids to feel comfortable in what they wore and didn’t want them to feel like they’d been stuffed into a dress they hated! We opted for a two piece, which ended up matching in with my dress well.
Their skirts were from Boohoo and cami tops were from Matalan. One of my bridesmaids’ lives in New Zealand and it meant I could get the skirt from Boohoo delivered to her direct from the NZ Boohoo site.
They wore their own shoes, again because I wanted them to be comfortable with what they were wearing.
They were all going to wear a floral headdress, me and one of my bridesmaids spent a few hours the night before the wedding attempting to make something that looked half decent, we laughed a lot and failed miserably so decided to ditch that idea and opted for a small piece of gyp in their hair which actually worked out better as their bouquets were quite large.
Our flower girl’s dress was from Monsoon and her shoes were from Debenhams.
Our photographer was the amazing Photography34. I’d seen some of Tony’s photos on Facebook as one of my friends had been a guest at a wedding he had photographed. Both of us loved the style of his photos, the natural shots and the moody filter he applies to the pictures. We didn’t hang about getting him booked.
He captured our day beautifully and we didn’t even realise he was there most of the time. He ended up staying well in to the evening and getting some great drunken dancing shots.
We weren’t originally going to have a videographer as we couldn’t find one we liked but a few months before the wedding I watched a wedding video of a lady at work and loved it. She gave me the details of Samuel and we got him booked. The video was such a great addition and so lovely to capture the day in a different way. We are definitely glad we made this last-minute decision. Again, like our photographer, we didn’t realise he was there for most of the day and a lot of our guests just thought he was another guest.
The Details & Décor
Most of the detail and décor was done by me. I love crafting so it was great to make the most of this!
We asked all our friends and family to collect jam jars for us as we wanted these to use as vases, we ended up with absolutely tons of them.
The logs for our centre pieces were made by one of my bridesmaids partner a few years ago for our Christmas dinner table, luckily, we kept them so made use of them again. We also bought some from one of Charlie’s friend’s following his wedding as they were getting rid of them. We also collected lots more logs from various different places when we saw them.
The invitations and signage were made by one of my close friends who is a graphic designer, I printed it all on brown kraft paper and we spend many hours putting them all together. Who knew rounding corners of pieces of card could take so long!?
The order of the day was on a pallet which my friends husband constructed for us and I painted the lettering.
Our table plan was made out of old scaffolding boards which me, my friend and her brother put together.
Our venue had a fire pit so we had jars of marshmallows for toasting and biscuits to make smores.
One of my friends is a sewing whizz and she whipped up a tepee for us which was had outside as a little chillout area. It was a big hit with the kids and the adults!
Charlie’s uncle is a toastmaster and he offered his services as a wedding gift to us which was an extra special touch. He made sure everyone was where they needed to be during the day and was one less thing for us to have to think about.
We are lucky enough to be having two honeymoons! Our first was at Stella Island in Crete. It was amazing and Charlie has booked it as a surprise, I knew we were going to Crete but had no idea where we were staying. Honeymoon number two will be in India in November, we are going to be travelling around to a few different places, such as Mumbai, Udaipur, Jaipur and Kerala.
There isn’t one thing we could say is the most memorable moment, we both had the best day!
I make cakes as a hobby so I knew that I would definitely make ours. I’d seen an idea on Pinterest with donut tiers, we both loved the idea (and donuts!) so decided to go for this so our guests could help themselves. I made the small top tier and we got the donuts from Krispy Kreme.
For our cake toppers, I ordered these awesome bride and groom penguin toppers and as a little surprise for Charlie, a little ginger cat in a party hat to represent our cat.
The one thing we forgot to get was a cake knife so we ended up cutting the cake with the toastmaster’s sword!
Advice For Other Couples
Don’t sweat the small stuff! You spend so much time planning and arranging that on the day what will be will be, no one else will know if something doesn’t quite go to plan. Just enjoy your day, take it all in and remember, you can’t change the weather!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Gate Street Barn
The Fat Hog
Cake Topper Animals
Groomsmen outfit & ties
The City Folk
What a wonderfully personal and lovingly crafted day! Thank you ever so much for sharing everything with us Charmaine and Charlie. Rachel x