Oh I do miss a spot of crochet. Since W arrived 16 months ago I haven’t had a chance to grab my wool and hook once, so when I clapped eyes on these glorious hand crafted crochet details I was head over heels. Craft lovers, you are going to heart this.
WWW readers Danny and Rachael were married on the 21st August 2015 at Swallows Oast in East Sussex. They wanted to create a wedding which was relaxed and fun with plenty of food and drink.
There was an eclectic feel to their day, with multi colours and oodles of hand crafted touches. The blooms were so pretty and Danny and Rachael looked gorgeous. Rachael opted for an embellished gown from Monsoon while Danny was suited and booted courtesy of ASOS. Such a joy filled day.
Marianne Chua, many many thanks for sharing your amazing images with us.
THE PROPOSAL | In a Shepherd’s Hut, on a sheep farm in Sussex during lambing season. We celebrated the next day with Danny delivering a lamb (!) Credit also to Danny for making several secret trips to Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter where he found a specialist to design and make my beautiful orange sapphire and diamond engagement ring. Unique and made especially for me. I love it.
THE VISION | The vision did evolve somewhat. It started a lot smaller and grew over the year of planning. We wanted to get a balance of a traditional wedding but without loads of (in our opinion) pointless, overpriced wedding *stuff*. We wanted all guests, adults and children, to have fun and didn’t want to give anyone an excuse to leave early (bored kids, loud music etc). Ultimately we aimed for a relaxed day with plenty of food and drink and it’s fair to say we definitely achieved that judging by the hangovers and food comas the following morning!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Plenty of googling, blog reading, daydreaming, planning, disagreeing and re-planning… It was made slightly trickier as we were getting married outside of London and in an area where neither of us grew up so we had to do lots of online research into everything from the hotel to the flowers to taxis to take people back. We made a couple of trips to the venue but everything else was done from home. Even though our wedding was pretty laid back with not too much to organise, neither of us are very good decision makers so it felt like every small detail took far too long to decide upon. I can’t say I particularly miss the planning!
BUDGET | Well… it grew… as these things do. Those naïve moments when you’re first engaged and think “we can definitely do a wedding for £5k, how hard can it be?!” Ha! We saved lots of money on the flowers, the dress, the entertainment, cake etc but by the time you’ve found a building and fed and watered all your friends and family, it does add up a bit. I think we were under £10k in the end.
THE VENUE | Swallows Oast in Ticehurst, East Sussex. We live in London and neither of us grew up in Sussex but looking for a nice venue for a reasonable price ended up taking us around most of the country. We decided to look in East Sussex as it’s so beautiful down there, and always seemed to be sunny when we visited! We spent a day looking at venues in the area but when we visited the Oast we were sold by the woods and views that surround the venue, and the fact that we could really make the day our own. There were no set-menu weddings to choose from, just several chats with the chef about what we like (pies!) and the rest was left to us, all for a good price. The food was incredible, we were totally stuffed by the end of the day.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress came from Monsoon. I didn’t wear much jewellery other than some pearl earrings my Mum gave me for my birthday the week before. My shoes were bought from Office and my headband from Anthropologie on a shopping trip a few weeks before the wedding with my long suffering, infinitely patient Mum! So thank you Mum – without you I would have had a dress and nothing else!
My make-up was done by Lucy Oldham who is based in Wadhurst – she worked absolute wonders on me and was really lovely to have around in the morning.
FINDING THE DRESS | I saw the Monsoon dress online back when we were first engaged. I loved the beading and detailing instantly and kept thinking about it. It was also a bargain (in wedding dress world) at £500. I did a few trips to bridal shops to try on some different dresses but I knew I would never feel comfortable spending so much money on a dress. So I waited patiently for the Monsoon sale to come around and then bought the dress for half price, win! I had it altered by a lovely lady called Luda Taylor who made some beautiful little cap sleeves and did a few nips and tucks to make the dress fit me perfectly.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | This was harder than buying the dress! After lots of traipsing around shopping centres, arms laden with suits of every style and colour, we found a tweed suit on Asos that was perfect. The liberty print tie came from Woods of Shropshire.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | One reading – Danny’s cousin Beth read AA Milne’s ‘Us Two’. Winnie the Pooh is the perfect illustration of friendship and loyalty and we thought this was just right for a wedding. It’s also the only piece that nearly bought my usually dry-eyed husband to tears!
I came down the aisle to ‘Better’ by Tom Baxter, during the signing of the register we played ‘Grow Old with Me’ by Tom Odell, ‘We’re Going to be Friends’ by the White Stripes and ‘I Like’ by the Divine Comedy. We walked back out to ‘Bring me Sunshine’ by Morecambe and Wise’ – one of the first and best wedding decisions we made! We wanted all of the music to tell a story and help create the atmosphere of the day – meaningful, not too cheesy and most importantly, fun!
During the drinks reception a friend of ours, Blake Hutchings played a brilliant guitar set which went down very well.
Not readings or music but we decided to have Danny’s two older brothers host a short pub quiz in between courses over dinner. We were very unsure about this one as we’re not fans of ‘organised fun’ but it worked great and offered something a little different. There were still the usual speeches of course.
For daytime and evening entertainment we created Spotify playlists. Cheap entertainment and a great way to discover new music! Any fears that a lack of DJ or band would prevent dancing were soon laid to rest as the playlist meant we could be flexible on the music and even managed to plug in the iPad outside so we could dance under the stars by the fire.
THE FLOWERS | Another area I couldn’t justify spending crazy money on. I found a local lady who grows her own flowers, we bought 2 buckets worth for £100 and my Mum and mother in law were put to work the day before the wedding arranging jars and making my bouquet and the buttonholes. They did an amazing job, the flowers looked so vibrant and happy, yet they were so simple. I still felt horribly guilty throwing them away the next day even though we only spent £100.
My Mum also ‘sourced’ (stole) several armfuls of wheat from a local field to use in the arrangements and for place names etc.
THE CAKE | My Auntie Teresa made us a beautiful two tier traditional fruit cake, and some lovely friends contributed their own creations as well. I also spent the Wednesday before the wedding baking hundreds of cookies and brownies as I didn’t want to feel left out of the baking fun!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | The awesome Marianne Chua. We got totally bogged down trying to research photographers and ended up with a ‘shortlist’ of about 50! Marianne’s work stood out for its bold, un-photoshopped, non-cheesy and fun style. It was when Danny’s cousin recommended her from another wedding that we felt like it was meant to be. We couldn’t be happier with our photos. It really is the best investment you can make, these photos are not just ours but they are for our family and friends too – how often do you get the chance to have beautiful, professional, candid photographs of a sunny summer party with all of your loved ones around?
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Crochet…. lots of crochet… I made the table centrepieces, jam jar covers, little stuffed hearts and toys for all the children who came. This was probably the most ‘twee’ bit of the wedding but I just couldn’t help myself! Most people are aware of my love for crochet so it just wouldn’t have been our wedding without it.
We made a table plan out of polaroid photos of all our guests – it took FOREVER to find all the photos but was totally worth it as it looked great and caused a lot of laughter as friends tried to find their, often very old, photo.
Our lovely friend Darren kindly let us use his beloved campervan, Indy, as our wedding transport. She looked beautiful on the day and seemed to be a star attraction for pictures.
Outside were various games including swing-ball, table tennis, a monkey-head piñata(!), a small ball-pit and lots of bubbles. Much of this stuff was bought from Tiger. Yeah, we spent A LOT of time in that shop!
If all other inspiration fails you, you can’t go wrong with a ton of fairy lights and candles.
Probably the best wedding purchase was the firepit for the evening. We wanted to give guests an alternative to dancing so we decided to take our chances with the weather and set this up in the evening with hay bales and blankets. In the end we had a beautiful sunny day and a clear night so we moved the party (i.e. the iPad with the playlist) outside and danced the night away under the stars. We could never have dared hope for such a perfect end to the day.
THE HONEYMOON | We went to Sardinia for 12 days just after the wedding and it was everything a honeymoon should be… beautiful, peaceful and with food and wine in abundance.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | All of it, up until the champagne kicked in at around 11pm – then I don’t remember much…
The moments with just me and my Dad before the ceremony.
Merrily bashing the bejeesus out of the monkey piñata and making the children cry.
Danny’s best men (his two older brothers) presenting him with ‘his very first love’ – a model of Mr Spoon from Button Moon during their very funny and thoughtful speech.
Partying outside under a full moon.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t drink too much!
Keep young guests entertained. Happy children = happy grown-ups.
Don’t spend all your money on the wedding so you have to delay your honeymoon. Go straight away. It felt like the wedding and honeymoon was wrapped up in one lovely package of fun and excitement and you will NEED a holiday big time!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Venue | Swallows Oast
Photographer | Marianne Chua
Flowers | Blue Hen Flowers
Dress alterations | Bridal Dress Alterations
Make up | Lucy Oldham
Rings | Kensington Jewellers, Birmingham
Music | Blake Music Man
Credit mainly to our families for all their hard work – arranging flowers, stringing hundreds of metres of fairy lights, collecting jars for months, driving up and down from Sussex with car loads of wedding paraphernalia and never once complaining.
Wow, what a fun celebration.
Many thanks to Danny and Rachael for sharing their super lovely story with us xo Lou