This morning’s wedding is just so achingly stylish and elegant.
Jemma and Joe tied the knot on Saturday 11th July 2015 at The Manorial Barn in Yorkshire. They envisioned a vintage feel rustic affair jammed packed with details and decoration. The barns were transformed into a magical wonderland. Lighting included fairy lights and LOVE letters, then there were oodles of fresh flowers and pom poms. I adore the pretty paper goods, signage and the quirky transport too.
Jemma donned Viola by Claire Pettibone which looked utterly stunning, the maids had sage green flirty frocks and Joe wore a navy suit with floral tie. WOW. Then there were those rose gold Jimmy Choo heels and lush bouquets of pastel florals. I’m in heaven.
Thanks so very much to the wonderful Helen Russell Photography for sharing these photographs with us today.
THE PROPOSAL | Joe proposed at the top of the Empire State Building whilst on a Christmas shopping trip to NYC. He had secretly bought the ring I had completely fallen in love with 12 months prior when passing a vintage jewellers in town, and whilst watching Leona Lewis perform at the Christmas light switch on, proposed privately on the 86th floor. It was just us 2, there was nobody else to be seen, and that was just what I wanted. It was perfect.
THE VISION | The vision for the day was pretty much all in my head from things I had previously seen on Pinterest, in magazines, and from going to other weddings and piecing together what I liked and disliked. Whilst Joe had no idea what this vision was, what we both wanted was to create something that was different to the typical hotel wedding, something that people would remember for being alternative but wedding appropriate, and that really focussed on the detail. Having a keen interest in everything vintage, I wanted this to play a massive part in the day.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | In terms of planning we wanted to give ourselves a decent timeframe so we could spend the time needed to get to the right level of detail. We booked the wedding with 18 months to go, and at such an early stage only booked the venue, ceremony itself, and photographer. This then gave me time to research the finishing touches, and to then start to create the DIY vintage inspired wedding that I so desired.
BUDGET | Budget didn’t play a massive part in our wedding planning. Whilst we had a budget in mind to prevent things running away with themselves, I knew for what I wanted to create, it wasn’t the money that was an issue, it was the time it would take to get to the right level of detail. There were elements of the day that we thought right to ‘splash out on’ so as to keep the balance right between DIY and true wedding, but in the main we kept the planning within a reasonable budget.
THE VENUE | When it came to the venue we wanted something that had the WOW factor! We knew what we definitely didn’t want, but finding what we did want then proved really difficult. We both wanted a building that spoke for itself, that we didn’t need to decorate to add life as such, but more to just complement its beauty, and we definitely found that with The Manorial Barn in Whiston, nr Rotherham. The thatched stone built barn dates back to the 13th century and therefore provided us with the perfect backdrop to our vintage wonderland. It was really important to us that the vintage, rustic theme ran throughout the whole day, and because the barn was full of character it meant we could really go to town with the décor and lighting, taking advantage of all the barn’s quirky nooks and crannies.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I knew I would really struggle when it came to the dress. I’m not one of those people who always imagined what my wedding dress would look like, and then cry when stood there looking at myself in the mirror wearing it. Again, I wanted something a little bit different that guests would always remember, and that suitably complimented the vintage theme, and after desperately searching for what seemed impossible to find, that was exactly what I did find at The White Room in Sheffield. Chloe had so many vintage inspired designer dresses to choose from and I settled on a Claire Pettibone number, the beautiful ‘Viola’. She was the perfect addition to our whimsical wonderland. I paired Viola with a delicate cathedral length champagne veil to add a traditional touch for the ceremony, a beautiful Suzanne Neville headpiece that perfectly complimented the floral embellishment of the dress, and the icing on the cake, my rose gold Jimmy Choo peeptoe heels. I wanted my outfit to be all about the dress so I kept jewellery to a minimum and just had a lovely pair of Odette crystal studs made by Debbie Carlisle that again complimented Viola’s floral design.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Joe always had his heart set on a slim fit navy suit, and with the time of year (July), and my champagne wedding dress to coordinate with, it was a perfect choice. It was really important to us to have all the groomsmen in matching suits (again all about symmetry), so we set out to find one suit that fit every possible shape and size out there. In the end we settled on a bright navy 3 piece from Next, paired with a crisp white shirt and tan brogues, and against my wedding dress it looked absolutely amazing. When it came to the ties and pocket squares we really struggled to find a print that coordinated with our vintage theme, so in the end after endless searching, I bought a vintage print fabric from Liberty and had the ties and pocket squares made on Etsy. And the boys absolutely loved them. To finish off Joe’s outfit and to set him apart from the rest of the wedding party, as a wedding gift I bought him a vintage pocket watch to wear on the day. He looked very dapper.
THE MUSIC | Having such a passion for live music, Joe took on the role of the music man and was in charge of all things music. We wanted the day to have a relaxed feel and therefore chose an acoustic double act, Kieran and Dom from ‘Rock My Reception’ who we have had the pleasure of listening to before, to play a mixture of our favourite songs, from guests arriving at the church, right up until the first dance. They were absolutely fantastic, they didn’t stop all day, and all the guests commented on how appropriate they were across the different elements of the day. I chose to walk down the aisle to something a little bit alternative which was a complete surprise to Joe, one of his favourites, ‘Use Somebody’ by the Kings of Leon, and we walked out to ‘You and Me’ by the Wannadies. The whole day was a fitting tribute to Joe’s passion for music.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | It was really easy for me to pick my bridesmaids as I’ve been friends with the girls for such a long time. I had 4 bridesmaids (as I like symmetry on photography), and each of them brought something different to the plans that made my life so much easier. They organised the most amazing surprise hen do to Marbella, they threw me a surprise bridesmaid party, came to help decorate the barn the day before the wedding, and were there on the morning of the most important day of my life. We had the most amazing morning together with my mum, one of my favourite parts of the whole day, and a time that I will never forget. It was only right therefore that I put them in the most beautiful dress that made them all feel as amazing as they deserved! I wanted to find a dress that sat well with my wedding dress, nothing too formal or poufy, and in a pastel colour to coincide with the vintage theme. After taking some inspiration from Millie Mackintosh, we got the dresses from Ghost. They were a really soft mint green silk number, knee length with a slash neck and tie back, almost flapper style around the hem. And we paired them up with a gold T-Bar style sandal. Just beautiful. Everybody commented on how lovely they were.
THE FLOWERS | The flowers were the only element of the whole wedding that I hadn’t planned in endless detail. I had no idea what I was looking for, and even after confirming the details with my chosen florist (Fantail Design), I was still none the wiser what my bouquet was actually going to look like. The only brief I gave Sam was that I wanted my bouquet to be rustic, full of large blooms, with colours and different textures that complimented a pastel theme. When it came to the tables our centrepieces were an array of vintage glass bottles of different shapes and sizes. We decorated the bottles ourselves with twine and/or lace and ribbon to add another vintage touch, and Sam filled the bottles with single flowers. They looked amazing!
THE CAKE | The cake was a bit of an afterthought if I’m honest. It’s something that I always miss when going to other people’s weddings, so wasn’t something that was at the top of my priority list. We were lucky in that the best man’s mum was a super cake maker and therefore offered to make our wedding cake as a gift, which was really nice. All Joe specified was that one tier was carrot cake, our favourite, and all I specified in terms of design was something vintage-esque that would sit with its surroundings. We settled on a 3 tier sponge cake, decorated with homemade pastel pink flowers and topped with a vintage teacup.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | When it came to the photographer I knew exactly what I wanted. Me and Joe aren’t very posey people, therefore we wanted a photographer that perfectly captured the moments as they were happening, taking photos of us and the guests in action, without us even noticing he/she was there. I stumbled across Helen Russell when researching Fine Art Vintage photography and got in touch with her straight away. She was everything that we were hoping for and more, and as soon as we met for our engagement shoot we were made to feel so at ease in her company, and behind the lens. Helen travelled all the way from Newcastle to be with us in Yorkshire, she made such an impression on our guests, and her photography of the day is absolutely beautiful. We are over the moon – she was definitely worth ‘splashing out on’.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | After the wedding ceremony itself, it was all about the details and décor for me, as it’s something that I really enjoy anyway. I wanted to create a venue that our guests would talk about after the event, that as soon as they walked in had the WOW factor; a venue different to anything they had seen before.
When it came to the room itself there wasn’t actually much we needed to do in terms of decoration, because it was so beautiful as a completely empty space. We just wanted to soften the surroundings, and turn what was an empty barn, into a sympathetic vintage affair, and the way in which to achieve this was through lighting. With the barn itself being quite dark we wanted to incorporate a number of different forms of lighting to add to the whimsical feel. We placed a single tea light in all of the barn’s tiny windows; wrapped fairy lights provided by Cover In Style around the floor beams; hired drapes from Wedding Venue Lighting that had fairy lights within, and hung these from the ceiling beams, and the show stopper, hired a 6ft light up J&J letter display from The Word Is Love, which provided a real focal point as guests entered the barn.
When it came to the tables, I wanted them to look quite busy, again to fit in with the vintage theme, but I also wanted them to be all about the elaborate centre piece. To Sam’s beautiful flower displays we just added an array of vintage tea light holders, and labelled the tables with large brass numbers which I bought online from BHLDN.
Our favours were small bottles of home made Damson gin courtesy of Ruth Blackwell at Dutch Courage Ltd, and each guest also got a small bag of vintage sweeties to keep them occupied during the speeches.
Stationery was really important to me, and the theme that we set when we sent the initial save the dates continued throughout the whole wedding process from invitation, through to table plan and then thank you card. I really wanted to set the scene for the whole day as early as the save the date to show consistency, and 100% commitment to the theme. The table plan provided by our stationers Susie Said was a vintage suitcase on its side with the table settings themselves pegged to twine to create a bunting effect.
Talking of bunting, we made our own out of paper doilies and twine, and wrapped it around the beams in the drinks reception room, again to add a vintage feel, and paired this up with crochet doilies on the tables. We had quite a lot of signage around the room to add more interest – a chalkboard and easel on the dance floor with ‘dance floor rules’, print outs of lyrics to our favourite songs which were framed and placed around the flower displays within the room, and wicker chalkboards hanging from the ceiling beams with quotes from famous love stories. It was all about the finishing touches for us.
We had a card table at the back of the room; the card box was an open vintage suitcase stacked on top of another, and next to the card case was the guest book, and a polaroid camera for each of the guests to ‘snap it, shake it, sign it, and stick it’. The camera went down an absolute storm and we have so many great photographs of our guests throughout the course of the day, definitely a recommendation for brides and grooms to be.
In terms of happenings to keep the guests occupied throughout the day we hired an ice-cream cart from A Taste of Italy which was up and running for when the guests arrived from the church. We chose our favourite 3 flavours and guests were welcome to unlimited ice cream during the drinks reception and beyond. Lucky for us it was a beautiful sunny day so the ice cream worked really well.
Something we said we would always have was a VW Campervan to take us from the church, so this is what we had. We hired a beautiful cream split screen camper from The Yorkshire Wedding Car Company Ltd which took the bridal party to the church, and then myself and Joe from the church to the barn, accompanied with a bottle of bubbly. For the rest of the guests we hired a red double decker vintage bus so the only transportation guests needed to then worry about was getting home at the end of the night. And finally, Joe had one request for the day and that was to have a photobooth at the evening reception, so a photobooth he did have. I surprised him with Picabo, a converted VW camper van photobooth. Just amazing, and again, we have a full record of all of the photographs taken, such a nice keepsake.
THE HONEYMOON | We wanted to go somewhere on honeymoon where we wouldn’t normally choose to go on a typical summer holiday. It needed to cater for the adventurer in Joe, and the sun worshipper in me, and have guaranteed good weather for the 3 weeks we were there. Because we had so much to organise for the wedding day itself we passed all responsibility onto Kuoni who organised the whole trip in infinite detail on our behalf. Our destination was Thailand, and we spent 4 nights in Bangkok and then travelled onto Koh Samui and Koh Tao for the balance of the trip. It was the perfect end to what had been a crazy busy 18 months, and really was the best of both worlds – lots of exciting day trips for Joe, and lots of lovely spa hotels and massages for me.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Probably when one of my bridesmaids stood on my veil as I walked down the aisle? Or maybe when my Jimmy Choo shoe got stuck in a crack in the pavement? No definitely the speeches for me. Joe isn’t a public speaker at all so it meant the world to me that he was prepared to stand up in front of 100 people and talk about himself, me, and our wonderful friends and family. I was so proud.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Have fun; find a theme and stick to it; and try not to get caught up in the minute details. Remember what’s important, and that’s the wedding ceremony itself.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Venue | The Manorial Barn
Florist | Fantail Designer Florist
Dress | The White Room
Earrings | Debbie Carlisle
Music | Rock My Reception
Stationery | Susie Said
Letter Lights | The Word Is Love
Lighting | Wedding Venue Lighting
Furniture | Yorkshire Furniture & Events
Ice Cream | A Taste of Italy
Photo Booth | Picabo
Confetti | Shropshire Petals
Honeymoon | Kuoni
Photography | Helen Russell Photography
Oh me oh my. How gorgeous was that?
Thanks so very much to Jemma and Joe for sharing their brilliant wedding story with us xo Lou