This afternoon I have another WWW reader wedding, you guys are the best… it’s official :-)
WWW readers Tom and Emma married on the 28th September 2013 at Flanesford Priory, Herefordshire. With a vision of a countryside rustic celebration they home made almost everything themselves.
They had pretty paper details, luggage tag labels, hessian, logs of wood and decorated jam jars filled with flowers. I love the gorgeous bouquets and the bridesmaids in pink. Emma looked stunning in a classic dress with birdcage veil while Tom went for a dapper grey suit. Beautiful.
Thanks so much to the wonderful Marta May Photography for sharing her imagery.
The Proposal… The proposal was perfect, although not so perfect for Tom who had the ring for 3 months! He tried so hard to create the dream proposal; romantic walks and picnics in the forest; at the beach in Rhodes; carving ‘Will you Marry Me’ into a pumpkin. None of the proposals quite went to plan; either I ditched the romantic walk in favour of a shopping trip, or the pumpkin fell apart…either way I had no idea what was going on! Eventually Tom decided to boycott the traditional proposal and do something more understated and private. He drove us to our favourite spot along the River Wye a couple of miles from our home. It’s really beautiful but seems to be relatively unknown so he knew there would be no one around. He completely surprised me when he took the ring out of his pocket and to this day we’re not sure if I ever actually agreed to marry him!
The Vision for the Day… Both of us love the countryside and that played a very big part in our day, and we also love all things rustic; so we opted for log chumps over charger plates, sticks and twine over sparkles and glitter, old bean tins and jars over vases, and hay bales over sofas! We created nearly everything from scratch (with lots of help from our friends and family!) and the end result was a really relaxed environment for our family and friends to eat, drink and have fun.
The Planning Process… We loved the planning and had great fun deciding what we were going to do. Some things we agreed on straight away, like the colour scheme (i.e. we didn’t really want one!), the place settings (Kinder eggs!), the arrival drink (local Broome Farm cider…lethal stuff!); but the venue and budget were both slightly tougher to agree on! I worried about every detail whereas Tom was happy to go with the flow. In hindsight he definitely had the right idea, although no one would have had anything to sit on if I’d left it all to him!
Budget… We knew we didn’t want to spend lots of money on just one day, so we set ourselves a budget of around £7,000 and stuck to it. Luckily we had lots of friends and family that were happy to get stuck in making pompoms, bunting, arranging flowers, sewing lavender bags…! We’re also both real bargain hunters and so we got anything we couldn’t make ourselves from e-Bay and old antique shops…looking for wedding stuff became a bit of an addiction!
The Venue… We selected Flanesford Priory in Goodrich, Ross-on-Wye for its relaxed country feel. We drive past it all of the time and always admire the beautiful setting, we knew it would make for some perfect photo ops! Flanesford is better known for its self-catering apartments and many of my friends and family from Bristol stayed with us celebrating over the whole weekend, having BBQs, drinking wine and sitting around the fire in the garden. The ceremony was held in a cute little room that comfortably held our 55 daytime guests and the meal and evening party were held in an adjoining marquee. We were lucky enough to have some late September sun so our cider and canapés were enjoyed on the lawn, along with some big outdoor games and bubbles.
The Dress + Accessories… My mum, sister, niece, best friend and Grandma B helped me choose my dress. I’m so grateful for those moments as my Grandma, who sadly passed away two weeks before our wedding, got to see me in my dress.
I thought I wanted something untraditional but when I tried this dress on we all really loved it. I had it customised with a waistband to add a bit of sparkle to our otherwise un-sparkly day! My very talented friend Kate Brown is a trained milliner and designed and created a beautiful headpiece for me and my bridesmaids, all with a new born baby to look after!
My jewellery was all very special. The bracelet was given to me by my Grandma B, she’d had it specially made for me using crystals from her mother’s necklace. My other Grandma had given me the pearl necklace the day I was born, but my mum didn’t tell me about it until a few weeks before the wedding. Even my wedding ring came from Tom’s late Great, Great Grandma who got married with it some 50 years earlier.
My birthday was at the end of August and Tom bought me some pink Converse to wear in the evening (because he knew my shoes wouldn’t last through the night!), he then surprised me on the wedding morning with a bottle of Channel perfume, so I had a practical and romantic gift!
Groom’s Attire… Tom and the other groomsmen hired their suits from Mervyn James in Ross-on-Wye. It was so much easier (and cheaper!) than buying new suits for everyone and Tom was happy as long as he had a waistcoat and no tails.
The Readings + Music… Tom really loves music so this was one job he was happy to take on, although we also allowed our friends and family to select songs for the evening DJ to play. I walked down the aisle to one of my favourite songs, Cat Power, Sea of Love. It isn’t too soppy so I knew I wouldn’t cry! We left the room practically skipping to Paulo Nutini, Pencil Full of Lead. Our first dance was Pete Doherty, Song for Lovers – we’ve always loved that song. One of our first concerts together was Pete Doherty acoustic and from that day on we decided we’d have that as our first dance one day…!
My best friend (and bridesmaid) Sam Glover did a beautiful reading during the ceremony; ‘A lovely love story’ by Edward Monkton, the author of Purple Ronnie. It’s about a couple of dinosaurs so the younger ones loved it and the adults all had a giggle. She did such a great job!
Beautiful Bridesmaids… My sister Nicola Powell and my best friend Sam Glover were my joint Maids of Honour (I couldn’t choose!) and our 4 beautiful nieces were our Flower Girls: Nanci (7), Amelie (7), Jessie (3) and Isabelle (2). They were all brilliant on the day and looked so lovely in their dresses!
The Flowers… Tom’s mum Sandy helped us with the flowers as we don’t really know too much about them. We went to a wedding show together and met Nicky from Like’s Florist in Ross-on-Wye. Nicky and the team were great at creating our country style wedding. My lovely sister bought me a beautiful pendant with a photo of my Grandma on and arranged for it to be fastened to my bouquet, so she’s in nearly every picture!
The flowers for the jars were also supplied by Like’s but our close family friend, Tracey, and my sister Nicky arranged them for the tables – they all looked so professional!
Part of our bargain hunting involved spotting things in shop windows and asking if we could hire it. Field Fayre, an organic fruit and veg shop in Ross, had two enormous milk churns and they let us borrow them for free! Like’s filled them with tall flowers and they made the entrance to the marquee look fab!
The Cake… Rather than a tiered cake we decided to have tiers of cheese, so we could eat it in the evening! We had great fun sampling the cheese! It was on a huge section of tree trunk that my dad lovingly prepared for us and we had two wooden mice wearing a handmade veil and top hat sitting above the cheese.
We wanted something sweet so we asked some of our friends and family to bring cakes with them. My mum and sister made an amazing two-tiered fruit cake, decorated with pink flowers; and our friend Sarah made the most amazing red velvet heart shaped cake and cupcakes…unfortunately they disappeared so quickly I didn’t get to try them!
Your Photographer… Our photographer was absolutely amazing! Marta May, along with her husband Artur gave us 600 photos and we love every one! We had a free photo shoot a few weeks before, which we chose to do at the spot we got engaged. On our wedding day they rounded up the troops really well and captured pictures of everything. Even now, months after our wedding we’ve received a beautiful 2014 calendar in the post with our wedding snaps throughout. We’re so pleased with our pictures, we’ll cherish them forever.
We also had a Photo Booth in the evening from Enter Leisure (owned by Tom’s Best Man’s dad!) so we have hundreds of hilarious photos from that.
The Details + Decor… We went for rustic / country chic, which basically involved lots of wood, jute, raffia, chalk boards, hay and wild flowers. We decided to have four long trestle tables and ditch the top table, so it was far more informal and sociable. Because we had a big marquee we really wanted to break the dinner section up from the bar and dance section. We went to the forest and collected big tree branches, put them in pots and tied twine to either end. We then covered them in photos of everyone there, so we managed to divide the room and give everyone something to laugh at!
The meal itself was very relaxed, in fact, we made our guests do the hard work! We secretly selected 8 guests to be the ‘Head Chef’ and they were dressed in chef’s whites and given pork and crackling joints to carve and serve-up. It was a great way to break the ice for those people that didn’t know each other too well.
We had lots of other weird and wonderful little details, but there were two things that kept appearing in peoples Facebook posts after the wedding; some teeny little wooden hearts with Mr and Mrs Waller carved into them, and a sign that Tom made to go next to our bacon baps in the evening saying ‘Roses are Red, Bacon is Red, Poems are Hard, Bacon.’…it goes to show it’s not the expensive things that people take notice of!
The whole day was so enjoyable, but the night was so much fun! We had about 140 guests and there was a real party atmosphere. The dance floor was full into the early hours of the morning and the photo booth was a huge hit!! Even the pretty chair sashes we handmade were whipped off and used as headbands!
The Honeymoon… We had the most amazing two weeks in New York and San Francisco, leaving just a couple of days after the wedding. After all the excitement of the wedding it was so good to whisk straight off on our big adventure (although we were grateful for a couple of days’ sleeping at home first!).
We did lots of touristy things in New York, visiting Central Park, going to a Show, walking along the High Line and taking a trip out to Statten Island. In San Francisco we travelled out to the wine country and drove along Highway One, with the most incredible views of the coast. Despite it being October we were lucky enough to have 30 degree heat every day, so our bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge was a real highlight! We then relaxed in the tranquillity of the Japanese Tea Gardens in Hyde Park.
Memorable Moments… For me, the most memorable part of the wedding were the speeches from Tom, my dad and Tom’s best man Steve. They all made me cry and laugh in equal measures, I loved them! I’ve got copies of Tom’s and my Dad’s speech, but Steve did the whole thing ad lib! For Tom, the highlight was his speech being over!
We ended the night on a high… with me being lifted up on the dance floor to the Dirty Dancing music, that’s something everyone keeps talking about!
The main highlight though was just having so many of our friends and family there celebrating with us, we are so lucky to have such brilliant people around us.
Advice for Other Couples… Be creative and make things yourself, not only will everything be really personal and individual but you’ll save so much money! Having said that, it can get pretty stressful making things from scratch so be organised, get your friends to help and make sure your venue has a really good events planner to help you put it all into action!
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Venue | Flanesford Priory
Photography | Marta May Photography
Cider | Ross Cider
Flowers | Likes Florist
DJ | Peter Stead
Entertainment | Enter Leisure
Suits | Mervyn James
Dress | Bride at Home
Cheese | Mouse Trap Cheese
Marquee | County Marquees
How gorgeous, and all of those details looked so amazing.
Thanks so much to Tom and Emma for sharing their wedding with us here at WWW XOXO Lou