We’re getting to know the loveliest of couples today and their sweet love story. There is nothing better in my opinion than a wedding planned with love at the core and this wedding is no exception.
WWW readers Andrew and Eve tied the knot on Saturday 11th June 2016 in a church ceremony followed by a reception at Southwood Hall in Norfolk. They envisioned a day where they could incorporate; “who we are, who we love, and what we love into our big day.” Isn’t that a lovely sentiment? And a really rather wonderful beginning to a marriage too. They didn’t find the planning stressful thanks to their agreement on decisions and focused on crafting all the personal touches, from their wedding rings to stationery, signs and decorations. Some details I really loved were the guitar guest book and bucket list map requests, which will make for great keepsakes.
They love to travel and planned a pretty epic honeymoon you can read about below. Plus being musicians, music was really key to them. In fact they recorded their first dance song especially, what a beautiful touch. Andrew was suited and booted in a suave check suit while Eve chose a Justin Alexander lace top gown and veil, weren’t they stylish and equally adorable? Another stand out part of their day was the unexpected rain shower, which didn’t faze them in the least. In fact it made for a truly memorable moment…
Thanks so much to Kate Gray Photography for sharing this splendid shots.
THE PROPOSAL | Andrew proposed next to the Eiffel Tower on 14th December 2014. We had been out for dinner, and been up the Eiffel Tower, but we decided to take a walk through the park. On the hour, when the lights on the Eiffel Tower began to twinkle, I was taking some photographs when Andrew said he had something to tell me. He had prepared the most beautiful speech before getting down on one knee and asking me to marry him. Of course, I said yes! The ring was perfect, and the moment so much more romantic than even I could have expected. We wandered through Paris as I pieced together why he had been so nervous during dinner, how he had asked for my Dad’s permission, and how on earth he had managed to keep the ring hidden in his coat pocket for the whole weekend!
THE VISION | Right from the start, we always imagined our wedding day as a hugely personal day. The main thing for us was just actually getting married – we always told ourselves that even if some things didn’t go to plan, at the end of the day we would end up being married, so that was all that mattered. We’re both very family-oriented people, so celebrating with our family and friends was the focus, but we really wanted to incorporate as many aspects of who we are, who we love, and what we love into our big day.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | At the very beginning, Pinterest and wedding magazines were our best friends, but it didn’t take us long to get all of our ideas together, and the decision making process was surprisingly easy and stress-free because we agreed on everything! We booked our venue early on and then pressed pause on the planning while Eve completed her degree. After that, we jumped straight into designing and making different elements of our day. We designed and made our save the dates and invitations, and put together a wedding website to share information with our guests and to make RSVP-ing a bit easier.
BUDGET | As Eve was still at Uni when we got engaged, we didn’t really know what a realistic budget would be. Instead of setting a budget, we tried to save on everything we could, by doing things ourselves and enlisting the help of our family and friends. In the end, we were able to afford to add in a little extras, like Ice-Creams in the evening!
THE VENUE | We’re both from different parts of the country, so deciding where to get married was a bit of a challenge. After looking at a few different venues in both locations, we eventually decided on the first venue we looked at – Southwood Hall near Norwich (Norfolk). We met at The Salvation Army, so it was great to be able to have our wedding ceremony at The Salvation Army in Norwich – Eve’s church when she was growing up.
Francesca at Southwood Hall was fabulous. Nothing was too much trouble, and she was so committed to making sure everything was just how we wanted. We had a cocktail bar for our drinks reception, and we had chosen to serve the drinks in personalised jam jars with paper straws. For our wedding breakfast, we served an afternoon tea, with sandwiches and cakes of our choice. As the evening guests were arriving, we served ice-creams in 3 different flavours, and we chose to have a BBQ and a S’mores bar during our evening reception.
Another awesome feature of our day was the bouncy castle, which was enjoyed by the younger guests (and the young-at-heart). Everyone commented on how lovely the venue, food and staff were at Southwood Hall, and we totally agree – it was the perfect choice!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I had pictured my dream dress as slim and fitted, quite simple, but with lots of detail, especially on the back, in ivory. And I found it – 8792 by Justin Alexander! I wore a cathedral length veil with lace trim round the edges to add more detail to the bottom of the dress, and chose shoes that perfectly matched the lace and the satin of my dress. The detailing on my dress meant that I didn’t need to accessorise much, but I wore a Thomas Sabo bracelet bought for me by Andrew as a gift for our wedding day, and I wore both of my Grandmas’ engagement rings so that they could be with me on the day.
FINDING THE DRESS | I went dress shopping with my Mum and Maid of Honour, and it was such a surreal experience at first – I just kept thinking ‘I’m trying on a wedding dress!!’ I had a pretty good idea of the style I was looking for, but I wanted to do wedding dress shopping ‘properly’, so made sure I tried on lots of dresses in all different styles. I found my Justin Alexander dress at Prima Donna Bridal in Norwich – the very same shop I bought my prom dress a few years before. It was so comfortable and fitted brilliantly when I first tried it on, and I fell in love with the lace detail and the gorgeous buttons down the back of the dress. The ‘this is the dress’ feeling is pretty unbeatable!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Andrew had a very clear idea about the suit he wanted for the day. He eventually bought his grey checked suit from Moss Bros, which he paired with a black waistcoat, and a pair of tan Loakes. I bought Andrew copper personalised cuff links with our initials and wedding date on, and his best men bought him a matching tie clip. The Best Men, Ushers and Fathers bought their charcoal suits from Next. The men all wore teal ties from Swagger & Swoon, and each had a pair of socks in different colours. Our page boys, Andrew’s nephews, wore a shirt and waistcoat set with chinos from Next – they looked great!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We decided on two readings for our ceremony. The first was a selection of our favourite bible verses about love and marriage, which was read by Andrew’s dad, Graham. The second reading was a mix of quotes about love from some of our favourite TV shows and movies, read by Eve’s bridesmaid Carina.
We are both musicians, so the music was one of the most important aspects of our day. Eve walked down the aisle to ‘Can’t help falling in love’ by Haley Reinhart, and we had a more unusual choice of a song by a Christian band, Gungor, as our recessional. Family and friends provided musical accompaniment for the hymns and during the signing of the register.
At our reception, we put together a playlist of some of our favourite songs for during the wedding breakfast, and our friends’ band Jocelyn provided the music and entertainment for our reception – so many people commented on how brilliant they were!
The musical highlight for us was our first dance – for our first dance song, we wanted something really personal that no-one else would have, so we pre-recorded our own cover of ‘The One’ by Kodaline, as a complete surprise to all of our guests!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My four beautiful bridesmaids all live in different parts of the country (one lives in Germany!) so we met up for a day at Westfield in London to go shopping for their dresses. We found their dresses in Coast and they fitted beautifully. I decided to let them each choose their own white/sparkly shoes (there’s nothing worse than being stuck in uncomfortable shoes all day), and bought them each a personalised bracelet as a little gift to wear on the day.
Our three nieces were my flower girls, and we chose cute cream lace dresses from Next with daisy chain flower crowns – they definitely stole the show walking down the aisle!
THE FLOWERS | Sam Powell at The Little Flower Shop was absolutely brilliant! Based on our very limited knowledge of flowers, she created our bouquets, buttonholes and table arrangements exactly as we had imagined them. My bouquet was full of bright colours to complement our teal colour scheme, and my bridesmaids had smaller posies of whites and creams, which looked great with their dresses. The men had buttonholes to match, and we loved the daisy chain flower crowns that were made for the flower girls. Sam did an equally awesome job at Southwood Hall, where she filled our hand-decorated jars and bottles with the same beautiful bright flowers. It really brought the room to life! Our family friends also decorated the church hall with flowers to match this theme.
THE CAKE | A family friend (who just happens to be a professional baker) made our wedding cake. We opted for a four-tiered cake – because when else do you get the chance to have a mountain of cake!! It was decorated in keeping with the themes and colours we had chosen, and displayed on a log cake stand, but the most important thing to us was the taste! We opted for four different flavours – Victoria Sponge, Lemon Drizzle, Coffee, and After Eight. It was one of the best cakes we’ve ever tasted!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | When you have incredibly talented professional photographers as your brother and sister-in-law, there really is no question! Jon and Kate are the best around, and they just get it. They made us feel so at ease, and you can tell by how natural we look in all of our photos. So many people have said how wonderful our photographs look and they are so right – we’re over the moon with them! They’re so amazing at capturing all the little details and special moments, and we couldn’t have wished for a better set of photos to remember our day by!
Our lovely friend Ella-Sophia, who is studying Film at University, did our wedding video. It’s exactly what we wanted – a 6-minute long trailer-style video that we can just sit and watch over and over again! She used our pre-recorded first dance song for the music and managed to capture so many special moments and things that we hadn’t seen on the day.
All in all, we definitely made the best ever choices about who we wanted to document our day – the happiness just shines through!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Mostly handmade! We handmade everything, with a little bit of help from our friends – from our invitations, to our guest book, to our table decorations. For the ceremony, we had hand-stamped the covers of our Orders of Service, decorated jam jars, which were filled with flowers, and our family and friends hand made cakes, which were enjoyed after the ceremony.
At Southwood Hall, we had a welcome sign handmade by the best man, a handmade table plan made from a wooden pallet, photo bunting, a handmade ‘Mr & Mrs Gray’ banner, and giant ‘LOVE’ letters. Our table centres included a range of hand-decorated jam jars and bottles, filled with flowers and candles, I Spy cards, hand-stamped confetti made from Eve’s favourite novel, and incredible artwork of landmarks in Paris as our table names, which were designed by a close friend. We had a ‘Bucket List’ map, where we asked guests to suggest places to add to our bucket list, and as well as a traditional guest book, a guitar, which we asked our guests to sign. We bought a guitar and Andrew repainted it to match our colour scheme. We had hand-made hessian heart place names, and our favours were personalised M&Ms in little jars.
We even handmade our own wedding rings!! Mark at The Jewellery Cottage was amazing, and we had a fantastic day at his workshop making each other’s wedding rings, which were made from the same piece of platinum.
THE HONEYMOON | It didn’t take us long to decide that we didn’t really want a ‘standard’ honeymoon – we would both just have been too bored laying on a beach for more than a couple of days! We chose to visit Reykjavik in Iceland, then Toronto, and finally on to New York. People have asked us so many times which place was the best, but they were all so different that it’s impossible to choose. We love visiting new places together, and we had so much fun exploring three different cities and doing so many different things, like Whale Watching in Iceland, visiting Niagara Falls, and going to a New York Yankees game. It has definitely given us loads of memories (and photographs) to treasure, and we’re already planning our next trip!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Exchanging gifts the night before and then reading our cards that we’d written to each other on the morning of the wedding.
Eve walking down the aisle.
The wedding ceremony – we almost forgot that there were other people in the room, it was such a special moment.
Coming out of the church and seeing just how many people were there to see us get married.
The speeches – the perfect mix of cute, sentimental, embarrassing and hilarious!
Andrew’s nieces and nephews drawing pictures of me in their colouring books and writing ‘Best Auntie Ever’ – my heart melted!
Escaping for photos and just having a bit of time together to get super excited about it all.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Just do what you want – its your wedding day, not anyone else’s! You’ll remember it forever and once it’s over you’ll want to do it all over again, so make sure it’s the way you want it (as much as you can)!
Accept help when people offer – it gets really tough making 100+ place settings!
The weather doesn’t reeeaaally matter – we had a shock rain shower and it was hilarious – it will only ‘spoil’ your day if you let it!
Make some time to spend just the two of you to take it all in and talk about different things that have happened – but also make time to speak to your guests! They are there to celebrate you.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographers | Kate Gray Photography
Venue | Southwood Hall
Florist | Sam Powell at The Little Flower Shop
Dress | Prima Donna Bridal
Hair and Makeup | The Little Hair and Beauty House
Artwork | Ella Smith
Wedding Rings | The Jewellery Cottage
Band | Jocelyn
Favours | myM&Ms
Didn’t I tell you it was a special day? So wonderful.
Thanks so much to Andrew and Eve for sharing their amazing nuptials here at WWW xo Lou