We have an achingly cool, unique and personality filled wedding to share with you today. Introducing WWW readers Holly and Tomos who were wed at Silk Mill Studios in Frome, Somerset on the 28th September 2018. Their day was all about them and their favourite things, from the veggie-friendly cuisine to the relaxed vibes, this day shouts individuality. I also love the botanical and green style, with pot plants, greenery and tropical touches throughout. The leaf design cake was a real show stopper and the palm leaf stationery really tied together the whole look of the day.
Then there were the stylish outfits. Holly chose a vintage wedding dress; a 1950s lace gown, which was a bargain at £90, she then altered it to make it into her dream frock and added a floral headband to her chic ponytail hair do. Tomos went for a grey check suit with burgundy bow tie and oxblood brogues which looked incredibly dashing.
I have a sneaking suspicion that you will adore this celebration as much as I do. The striking images are courtesy of Andrew Brannan Photography which I am so grateful to be sharing with you today.
During the day, we had attended a family engagement party in Gloucester Road. We were walking back home through Hyde park on a bright, wintry afternoon with our borrowed dog, Harvey. Tom was acting a bit weird and I kept asking what was wrong with him! He suddenly got on one knee, the dog started barking and I just started nervously laughing. He proposed, I said yes and we headed off to our local in Crouch End to start the celebrations.
I wanted something that was cool and tied in our favourite things. I wasn’t the kind of bride to create loads of mood boards or need years of planning; I was happy to make decisions as we went along, be open to suggestions and go with the flow. We knew we wanted loads of greenery, delicious veggie food and an awesome playlist. The rest could fall into place around that.
The Planning Process
The planning only got really stressful in the last couple of weeks before the day itself – trying to get everything to the right place at the right time was a logistical challenge on a tight budget and an ever tighter preparation period!
We started the whole process by choosing a venue as early as possible and then progressing from there. Once we had that in place we could think about decor, caterers etc. Picking a great photographer was also an essential early booking – it was important to get a photographer whose style we loved and was as laid back as we were! Great ones get booked up fast so I would highly recommend making it a priority.
Writing lists and delegating to close family/friends is a low stress way to make sure you get everything done…we even wrote lists about lists!
We had some very kind help from our parents and also used some of our own savings. The whole event came in under £15000 – we pride ourselves on not being big spenders and buying second hand as much as possible in everyday life, and wanted to extend this policy to our wedding! We also pulled in plenty of favours from talented friends and family to help on the day.
The Silk Mill in Frome (Tom’s home town). It was the first place I looked at after a google search, and we both instantly knew it felt right. We were so lucky to find the venue – we were allowed 2 full days to set up and had wonderful help from the owner, Kate.
It was a complete blank canvas, which we loved. We were free to do whatever we wanted (as long as we returned it to its original state)! It is an old silk mill which has been lovingly restored, and is generally used for art exhibitions and cultural events. The inside has white brick walls with wooden beams and a beautiful sky light running the length of the building so there was lots of natural light.
It really consists of just that one big room, however (plus a decent size outside terrace), so this presented quite a challenge in working out how to plan and manoeuvre the room around for different parts of the day. Basically this involved a lot of help from Tom’s team of ushers!
Hair and make up was done by the hilarious and cool Evie Smith. She kept me laughing during the whole time we were together. When she came to do my trial it took 3 hours as we were laughing and chatting so much! I didn’t really have an idea what I wanted; I knew my hair needed to be simple due to the hair piece I was wearing, so I went for a simple ponytail with braiding. Make up was kept fairly minimal with plenty of highlighter.
The Readings & Music
We made a playlist of all our favourite music including The Stone Roses, The Smiths and Pixies, that played at the start of the ceremony and whilst we were eating dinner and doing the speeches (this was undoubtedly the most fun job of the whole wedding planning!)
Once we had said our vows, we walked back down the aisle to Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac. It was magical.
We had two good friends doing readings: ‘Hoppipola’ by Sigur Ros, and ‘Oh the places you’ll go’ by Dr Seuss. We wanted them to choose these themselves and surprise us on the day. They certainly did!
Your Outfits & Accessories
I wanted a vintage dress, vintage clothing having been a big passion of mine for many years. I went to my favourite shop, The Looking Glass in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. She stocks the most amazing selection of dresses dating from the start of the 1900’s. I had an amazing day trying on so many dresses, but settled on a lace, A-line, full length 1950’s frock. It was only £90! I took it to a vintage dress restorer who did an amazing job of taking the length up to the ankle, creating a boat neck and adding matching hand-made buttons running up the back to hide the zip.
My head piece was made by the incredible Lizzie McQuade. I had been following her on Instagram and then met her at the Most Curious wedding fair in London. She made me a bespoke piece in faux gold leather (we are both veggie/vegan so this was important) that was just stunning. She made the whole process so easy and was nothing short of wonderful.
I pushed Tom a bit out of his comfort zone with his suit! He was a bit nervous about wearing a patterned suit but it fitted him perfectly and looked different without being outrageous. We ended up getting it from Topman for under £200, including alterations, as they offer great skinny leg suits. He went for a burgundy bow tie (as the tie option made him look like a used car salesman) and then matched this with some oxblood brogues from Modshoes.
We are proof, I hope, that you can still achieve your dream wedding look without spending a fortune on outfits!
Andrew Brannan was a fabulous photographer who totally understood what approach we were after. We wanted as few posed photos as possible and to enjoy the day without worrying if he was capturing it all. We needn’t have worried – Andrew worked silently and professionally. He was really friendly and easy to communicate with. Most importantly, his photos were incredible and creative, and he captured things we never knew were going on!
We weren’t bothered about having everyone perfectly matching and just wanted everyone to feel comfortable in their own favourite suits. However, we provided burgundy ties and bow-ties to identify them as the groomsmen and to go with Tom’s.
There was only one possible baker who could have created our show stopping wedding cake, my favourite baker, The Bakemonger. I gave a brief that was based around the greenery and plants, then left it open to her (Helen) to interpret it how she wanted. We were not disappointed! It was stunning, so cool and different. We had vegan carrot cake for two tiers, plus a pear and ginger layer. It tasted as good as it looked, and in fact the cake also ended up featuring in the July 2019 edition of Brides magazine, which was a really pleasant surprise.
My wonderful and talented friend Leyla, aka Bloom of the Block, gave us a huge helping hand with the plants. She produced our tropical bouquets (which included plenty of plenty of big leaf foliage) and cool buttonholes which featured mini pineapples. They looked so cool and a bit different to the norm!
She also provided huge amounts of foliage, which we then attached to the beams for the botanical effect we were after. We then supplemented this by raiding every supermarket and homeware store in a five mile radius for green pot plants to put on every table. We were so happy with the result.
The Details & Décor
Tom and I got to the venue a couple of days before the ceremony and started decorating, helped by our respective families. As well as the main room, there was also a bar outside that we draped in similar plants to those inside. Tom’s mum and my step mum Julie have green fingers – they helped re-pot loads of plants into some specially commissioned plant pots from Concrete Candy. My mum did an amazing job of sourcing lots of macrame plant holders that ran down the sides of the room. We also wanted a cheeky nod to how we first met (on tinder), with a glittery ‘We swiped right’ banner hanging proudly above where the ceremony took place. Inevitably some of the oldies were asking what this meant!
The wonderful outside area was decked out with festoon lights and tassel garlands. As it was the end of September, we knew it would get chilly in the evening so we got a couple of fire pits to keep everyone warm.
The food was all vegetarian and mostly vegan, which was really important to us. Our wonderful caterer put together a buffet which had piles of delicious salads, fresh breads and dips. We served the wedding cake as dessert. The buffet kept the feel of the day more casual and cut out the need to find out specific allergies and meet all dietary requirements. In the evening, we served Somerset cheddar and crackers with anything left over from the main meal.
Tom’s day out with his family and best man sourcing the finest cheddar and cider in the region was reportedly also one of the highlights of the wedding planning!
I didn’t want the standard chiffon maxi dresses for my bridesmaids. I gave them a budget and let them chose for themselves with the only stipulation being that it needed to fit in with the greenery vibes. They picked tropical jumpsuits from Zara teamed with gold heels. Our flower girl wore a beautiful handmade dress from Etsy with glittery gold trainers – it was the cutest!
It was difficult to find somewhere to go that was new as Tom has been round the world on more than one occasion! We headed to Morocco, starting in Marrakesh then to Essaouira, finishing with a few relaxing days at the base of the Atlas mountains.
All the speeches were emotional and funny, but Tom’s grandmother Friedel stole the show. As a survivor of Nazi Germany who arrived in England on the Kindertransport as a young girl, she gave an incredibly moving and remarkable speech that made sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
A friend ended up putting their foot through the wedding dress towards the end of the night! The fragile lace didn’t stand a chance. There were tears for about 30 seconds until someone bought me a tequila. It was a sign everyone was having a good time on the dance floor.
We hadn’t planned a first dance – we wanted to avoid the cringe factor! However, the decision was made for us by our families and incredible DJ, Henry, and our impromptu first dance song ended up being Hot Chip’s cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’. It ended up being a great move to fill the dancefloor.
Advice For Other Couples
You don’t need to spend stupid amounts of money to have your best day ever.
No-one will even notice the bits you are stressing over.
Call in favours from as many friends as possible.
Get the key things booked in ASAP (venue, caterer and photographer, as the best ones get snapped up quickly), then you can afford to take your time with everything else.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Andrew Brannan Photography
Silk Mill Studios
Bloom Of The Block
Just so beautiful.
Holly and Tomos thank you both ever so much for sharing your wonderful wedding with us xo Lou