Happy Monday, I hope you had the loveliest weekend and are feeling refreshed. I have a beautiful wedding to share with you this morning, filled with fun and smiles.
Julian and Alexandra wanted their September wedding to be low key and intimate with a fun country fair feel. There was a lovely hint of pretty pastel colours, with the bridesmaids in blue and pink and pretty rose bouquets.
They had fun and games to entertain their guests, beautiful calligraphy stationery and in the evening their venue was candlelit which looked so romantic.
Alexandra looked stunning in her lace gown and oh you just have to see that cake.
Thanks so much to the brilliant Lucy Turnbull for sharing her photographs with us.
The Proposal… Julian surprised me at Proms in the Park 2012! He set himself a deadline to get down on one knee as soon as fireworks come out. Unfortunately as I had to make a quick dash to the ladies, that moment came at an awkward place and nearly did it outside of the loo! Quite comic and emotional, we hurried quickly to our friends and family who were even more ecstatic of our news! It was euphoric!
The Vision for the Day… I’ve never had an English “vision” for a perfect wedding in my head. Coming from Cebu, Philippines it was almost assumed that a wedding will happen in one of the islands there for a beach wedding! It was clear from both of us that we wanted it to be low-key, personal and intimate and to almost have a country fair feeling where different areas of the venue provide something different and fun for the guests. As much as it was going to be a special day for us, most of our decisions and costs were based on the guest experience! Weddings in Philippines are completely free food and drinks. So we had to factor that into our costs and planning!
The Planning Process… We’ve thought about hiring a wedding planner but as we have quite an OCD-personality, it wouldn’t be fair to her as we’d drive her mad. I wanted to be wholeheartedly involved in it to appreciate my own wedding and to be able to tell a story. So I assigned myself as the wedding planner. From scheduling supplier meetings, narrowing down choices and made sure that Julian was actively involved in making the final choices on food, music, stationery, readings, layout of the table, venue, and flowers. Pretty much everything. As much as I was doing the hard work, I wanted him to truly be part of the process. He really showed himself up and played a role contributing and ordering all the little details that really reflected our personality and personal touches.
The Venue… We’ve had a look at manors and mansions around Somerset and Devon area but they were very restrictive on what’s allowed or not, not to mention, outrageously pricey! Luckily, I stumbled on the website – www.naturalweddingcompany.co.uk and found our florist, photographer and venue there! Our visit to Roughmoor Farm with Cowparsley Weddings was an immediate decision for us. It was low key, simple and a complete canvas for what we wanted on the country fair theme! They have this beautiful house that can fit in all our immediate family to stay. Once we’ve had the date set, everything just fell into place!
The Dress + Accessories… I tried on a number of dresses and found that they were all stunning so it was hard to make up my mind. But the underlying look I was going for really was a dress that embodied simplicity, elegance, vintage-inspired that’s timeless! That when I glance at my wedding photos 50 years from now, the dress will still look relevant as it’s classic. And lastly but importantly, a dress that was flattering to my petite figure. The dress I decided was a cap sleeve lace mermaid gown. Vintage style lace overlay dress in champagne, richly embellished with delicate sequins, beading and embroidery. It has a V shaped neck at the front and back. One of my bridesmaids, Indera, her brother is a well known fashion designer in Philippines so she took with her the when she flew back home and organised minor alterations on the cap sleeves and length. She also custom-made a simple five metre veil and a beautiful ornate wedding belt to match my dress and accentuate my waistline. She even brought with her a tiara to complete the whole ensemble so I felt like a proper princess that day! My shoes were from Belle Bridal which was simple, lovely and so easy to run and dance around with!
Finding the Dress… I am a bit matter-of-fact and can be unsentimental at times! The tradition in Philippines is that you don’t get to wear your dress at all until your actual wedding day, otherwise it’s bad luck! Of course I had to scrap that, so I didn’t bring my mother with me for gown fittings because I know I’ll never hear the end about not following traditions and also as her taste and mine are very different so I took my bridesmaid Lily instead. Lily loved all the dresses I tried on though she did her best to give her opinion on each. As much as I gushed at all of them and tried to be objective on the choices, still it felt like I haven’t found the right one. So I searched online for dresses and narrowed them down according to its look with key words “mermaid gown”, “ivory” as white doesn’t really look flattering on me and it has to be in “lace” with intricate beading! Voila, I got my dress online! It was quite a gamble as didn’t really know what to expect considering you only rely on photos but it was a near perfect fit for me and ticked all the boxes! I bought my dress six months before the big day and made sure I had another fitting a few weeks before the wedding in case I’ve gone size up than down! It fit like a glove and so was a happy camper!
Groom’s Attire… Julian was torn between wearing his dad’s wedding suit which was a light brown suit or whether to go for the top and tail look. He looked online for a good whilst and found Simon James Menswear who fit in to his style!
Beautiful Bridesmaids… I had seven bridesmaids in total including my matron of honour and it is quite a lot considering that most will have three to four max! The dresses I got them for them was from David’s Bridal and just looked perfect on them as they were all stunning and the pink and blue colours really fit in with our theme! I also gave them personalised silver necklace to wear, a cream shawl from a market in Mauritius to keep them warm, nude peep toes to match and a silver jewelled brooch to accessorise the look! I wanted them to look simple, elegant and “clean” look so advised them to keep their hair into a nice tight bun especially as almost all of them have long hair! After running around at the party, they’re glad that their hair was still in tip top shape and they still looked fresh as a daisy.
The Flowers… I wanted my flowers to have roses and also a hint of blue to complement the colour. I wanted it to be simple but also provide a hint of country to it. So we’ve decided to go for dusky pink roses, ivory avalanche roses, pink lisianthus, pale blue delphinium/nigella and white astrantia. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were similar to mine but just smaller. We’ve also had milk churns in front of the church filled with dusky pink, lilac, and ivory flowers including ammi, stocks, lisianthus, roses and other flowers and foliage to compliment. Each pew was decorated with similar flowers and was then used again at the dinner tables. Doing it that way saved us some money from having to spend another arrangement. The button holes and corsages were also lovely using dusky pink rose with eucalyptus foliage and white astrantia. The flower girls looked really cute with their fresh roses head garland. We used dried rose petals for the confetti and flower girls to use.
The Cake… We were so blessed that my Auntie Alice and my mum were extremely gifted on cake making! We gave our ideas for the cake to be simple but filled with luscious sugar icing roses around it! It took them weeks to make nearly 150 roses and lots of preparation as each layer was different – we had chocolate, fruit cake, sponge cake and purple yam cake! It was beautiful, sumptuous and quite a labour of love! Julian jokingly mentioned in his speech that the cake was taller than this wife!
Your Photographer… It took us a bit of time to find our photographer. Personally, I don’t have the creative or professional “eye” to judge what makes a good photo or not. This was more Julian’s forte! So I narrowed down a few choices of photographers available on our wedding day as most were booked up already (even at 11 months in advanced!). I showed Julian their websites and photos and he picked Lucy Turbull! Meeting Lucy for our engagement shoot really put us at ease as the shots were incredible! They ran around like a headless chicken trying to cover everything they could on our big day and the photos turned out amazing! We’re very happy!
We also ended up booking a videographer! It’s very popular in Southeast Asia especially to include a videographer in the budget and we are so happy that we did! We weren’t so bothered initially but saw Jessie of Love Storage’s website randomly. After flicking through clips and footage, I was like a girl in a candy shop all giddy with excitement and knew that she had to be booked! Our pre-wedding video was a lot of fun to do (mostly for me! Julian was grumbling at the first hour) and made us feel comfortable in front of a video camera! It was a bit cheesy in some moments but I just thought that the only time you can get away being cheesy is usually on weddings! The wedding video highlight had us in tears after watching it the first few times but now all we see is just a happy day being captured! The actual wedding footage is yet to come to which we’re so looking forward to see!
The Details + Décor… Dessert Table. The lovely cupcakes were made by our friend Joe whose mixer got broken the day he was making it! So everything had to be manually done especially the icing. He claims to have grown more muscles in one arm than the other from all the egg beating! The gorgeous cake pops were a present from our friend Amy who specialised making these. It was so pretty and a great addition to our dessert table that it got wiped out in no time.
I’ve bought an assorted number of sweets in jam jars already and we did have quite a number but even hardly anything was left by the end of the day. We also had a personalised sweet bag which was handy! On top of that we had an ice cream tricycle offering 10 different kinds of ice cream and sorbet. The sweets addict definitely had a ball that afternoon from the sugar rush especially the children.
Toilets. We bought viewfinders and put them on top of each cubicle! Most guests found them incredibly amusing and actually did have a look on what’s on offer! The wash basin were also decorated with lavender and plants with a basket that has got French soaps, scented candle including a jewellery holder with some bits and bobs in it! We ordered French lavender hand wash and lotion to match with the whole décor! Just to make it quirky and “at home”. Underneath the wash basin we’ve hidden a portable CD player and put on repeat love poetry CD! People were wondering who was talking and where it came from so that was a fun area to play with.
Cigar and Whisky Table. This is more Julian’s remit and his “guilty pleasure” part of the décor. He bought quite a few cigars and whisky bottles and laid it out just to his liking. He bought a few old postcards of Devon, old maps, frames, and vintage surveyor books spread around the whole table. It was random and definitely had his name written all over it. Apart from food, men flocked and hover around this table all night!
Table décor. Julian bought LOADS of vintage poetry books in Ebay. This was used in our tables as props and had table numbers with pressed flowers in ornate gold and cream photo frames. We cut some fabrics to be used as cutlery ribbons and asked my mom’s friend if she can be kind to provide us some lavender bunches from her garden which was sweetly tied with raffia! The name place settings were acetates that we put on the plates and people thought they were stickers at first! We laid out some candles everywhere in the table and some bubbles! For wedding favours, my friend Jannet sent us small white-shell jewellery boxes for women and beautiful green ones for men. Our food menu was laid out like a newspaper/newsletter that we also put in each table!
The Honeymoon… As I have my family and friends from the US and Philippines who stayed a bit longer after the wedding, I didn’t think it would be fair to leave them on their own. So we decided to roam them around and made them enjoy a memorable trip and postpone our holiday for a longer one in December! We did sneak in a few spa trips in between. We’re planning a nearly four week honeymoon to Brazil and Argentina. I’ve planned laidback days and adventure tours that will take us to the most southern tip of the globe in Ushuaia (unless we go to Antarctica), embrace the beautiful, scenic Iguassu falls, enjoy the buzzing cities of Rio and Buenos Aires and of course, relaxing, sun-kissed days in Buzios!
Memorable Moments… Vows. It was like a “this-is-it” moment! And the feeling of joy was beyond words. It was like a huge sigh of relief not only because of preparations and everything else, but that insatiable feeling of being at “one” with that person has finally been committed and sated.
Matron of Honour Speech. My Matron of Honour sang Call Me Maybe in her own lyrics had everyone in stitches!
Julian’s Speech. He had such an amazing speech that had us in tears and giggles. I thought it was prepared with a lot of love and work.
First Dance. We worked for more than six months preparing for our first dance. We didn’t just want to turn up and look unprepared. We wanted to impress ourselves importantly and everyone to be entertained. They all enjoyed it and appreciated the effort that we’ve made!
Games and Ora Loca. The games were all good fun which we did in between band breaks. The music and dancing just really got everything going particularly when the ora loca dress up gears came out! Everyone loved the fancy dress and hats that we all distributed as they danced to the funky tunes of Family Funk! This was a brilliant suggestion from our Brazilian friend Tiva which seems to be the tradition within Latin weddings!
Advice for Other Couples…
Do what you want to do. It’s your own wedding and everyone will be there to enjoy your special day no matter what.
Organise and plan ahead. You’ll be so thankful rather than leave it to last minute as you can haggle, be more creative and realise that you may have forgotten something but at least you have plenty of time to still act on it.
Allow for some things not to go according to plan. The reality is no one will notice it but you!
Bask and savour every minute of your day as it happens too quickly but you’ll remember it as one of the best days for both of you.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Venue |Cow Parsley Weddings.
Music | Family Funk
Piano Rental | RK Pianos
Pianist |Kazu Shiraiso 07753603073
Flowers | The Rose Shed
Food | Food 4 You
Stationery | Roeni
Wedding Cake |Alice and Aleta 07733054965 [email protected]
Wedding Car | Wedding Vintage Cars
Vintage Bus | Crosville Motor Services
Ice Cream | Cafe Bon Bon Ice Cream
Photography | Lucy Turnbull
Videography | Love Storage
First Dance Choreography | Jennifer Welch 07795 228990 [email protected]
Menswear | Simon James Menswear
Confetti | Shropshire Petals
Such a wonderful day with every little detail thoughtfully considered.
Thanks so so much to Julian and Alexandra for sharing their wedding with us today XOXO Lou