An Old Fashioned English Country Charm Wedding

Many wedding bloggers are sure to agree, nothing can beat featuring a wedding of a bride who read their own pages for inspiration in their wedding planning.

Gorgeous {www} bride Anna, wore the most stunning Phase 8 wedding dress, doesn’t she look beaming? Anna and Gray wanted to achieve an old fashioned English country wedding full of tradition and i think this classic wedding is just perfect.

From the setting to the flowers, to the amazing photography, you are going to heart this :-)

Thanks so much to the brilliant Brisol based wedding photographer, Taphouse Photography for sharing their images today, enjoy:

                           

Names….  Anna  & Gray

Wedding Date…. 25 June 2011

The Proposal….  Ahh, it was ridiculously perfect. We were holidaying in beauuutiful Lake Como and had gone for a picnic in the gardens of Villa Carlotta. I was nattering away and chopping a tomato with a pen-knife when I realised Gray had gone uncharacteristically quiet. He shuffled round and got down on one knee and asked. We spent the rest of the day pretty much teary-eyed and telling everyone we met.

The Vision for the day….  Both being massively greedy types we knew we wanted our wedding day to be a big feast for all our nearest and dearest. I also really wanted an old fashioned English country wedding full of tradition, where people could really let their hair down and celebrate. I think we got there!

The Planning process…. We shared the planning by using the most hideous multi-tabbed google spreadsheet. Gray was given the tricky men’s tasks like sorting out the sound system, posh loos, booking a great band and hiring a fab campervan (more of that later…). I did the rest with the help of google and lots of wedding blogs (including WWW and Snippetandink.com).

The Venue… We were so lucky that my Mum and Dad live in a gorgeously rural bit of Devon – and were even luckier they agreed to let us have the reception at home. The service was conducted at the local church; St Michael’s in Shute, which is the loveliest old church, by our great vicar Kate.

I completely fell for the tent we had our reception in as soon as I saw it on the Arabian Tent Company website (http://www.arabiantents.com/) . Katherine there helped me figure out the seating configuration for our 90 guests: I knew I wanted long tables so that food could be passed up and down between people, so Katherine suggested the E shape that we used. I loved seeing everyone in long rows feasting and chattering.

The Dress + Accessories….. I wasn’t going to admit this… my dress was from Phase Eight. It was tailored to fit me, with the sash added and a few bits slightly altered. I adored the old fashioned feel of it, and loved the little lace cap sleeves. It was my favourite by a mile even without the fact that it was a fraction of the price of most of the others! I wore it with Chantilly lace peep- toes from Russell & Bromley which miraculously survived the muddy lane, the grass, and the dangerous dancing.

Finding the dress…. I’m an online shopping fan and love being able to try things on in my own home, so I ordered a range of dresses online from sites like Net a Porter as well as high street shops. When my dress arrived I didn’t really think it would be ‘the one’ so just hauled it out of the box – I loved the heavy beading as soon I held it up, and when I stood in front of my mirror I got a bit teary! Pathetic I know.

Groom’s attire… Gray looked gorgeous in a bespoke suit by Whitcomb and Shaftesbury (http://whitcombandshaftesbury.com/Welcome.html). He also had a Gieves and Hawkes tie, a Turnbull & Asser shirt and Barker shoes. Super smart!

The Readings + Music…. These were a real highlight for us – Rosie, my bridesmaid, read from the Song of Solomon, an old testament reading about the strength of love and the beauty of the earth; my sister Sian read a funny poem that we ‘tailored’ a little to make more appropriate to Gray; and our talented friend Malene wrote and read an incredibly moving poem for us. My cousin Lucy has a beautiful voice and sang while we were signing our certificates – she had the congregation in floods of tears.

Beautiful bridesmaids….. My only bridesmaid was my right-hand woman Rosie, completely beautiful as ever in a Whistles pale pink lace shift, topped off with her gorgeous 6 month old bump!

The Flowers… My and Rosie’s bouquets and the sweetpeas in my hair came from Clare at Haughty Culture in Honiton (http://www.haughty-culture.co.uk) as did the buttonholes. The buttonholes were big fat cream roses with a little stem of olive leaves and a sprig of rosemary in there as a reminder of Italy (plus I thought the rosemary looked quite manly!)  In my bouquet my mum pinned an old brooch which was my great grandmother’s which has little wedding bells on it- I loved having something so special tucked away in there. I wanted the flowers to smell great so ordered hundreds of sweetpeas from a grower in Chichester (http://www.sweetpeasdirect.co.uk) and masses of old English roses from Country Roses in Essex (http://www.countryroses.co.uk/). My great girlfriends came round on the Friday and we arranged them all in jam jars with ribbon round them, and made the pew ends for in the church. This was such an enjoyable day and a lovely unexpected highlight.

The Cake… We decided to have bowls of tiramisu instead of a cake, which our brilliant caterer Tamsin at Wild Thyme in Honiton made with extra marsala to add to the fun.

Your Photographer…. Jonathan Taphouse (www.taphousephotography.com) who was totally brilliant, fitted right in and was a pleasure to have around for the day. I’m delighted with his work.

The Details + Decor….  One of my favourite details was the tractors that transported everyone from the church to mum and dad’s house. A friend of my dad organised them and drove one on the day himself – even dressing up in traditional gear for the occasion! We decorated the wagons with personalised bunting made by our friend Rosie.

Instead of putting everyone’s name beside their seat we dug out old pictures of each person from past nights out and when we were all little. It was great seeing the reactions to the pictures, and allowed us the time to have a few family photos taken without holding anything up.

The Honeymoon…. Gray completely spoiled me and took me to Bali, Thailand and Hong Kong. Total bliss!

Memorable moments… The original plan was for me to arrive at the church in a vintage campervan, which we would then use to serve champagne from outside the church. But when we went to set off for the church it wouldn’t start. We had 25 minutes of neighbours with tow-ropes trying to bump-start it, while I walked along the muddy lane behind it with my dress hitched up. Eventually we gave up and a kindly neighbour ran home for her little hatchback and took Dad and me in that. This was a blessing in disguise because it meant that Gray and I travelled from the church to the reception on the tractors with our guests, which was one of the highlights of the day!

Our service was hugely memorable, and was far more emotional than either of us expected. We’re both hopelessly weepy, so I provided a basket of hankies in the church foyer for our guests to use. My ‘something borrowed’ was a beautiful lace hankie that was made for one of my great friends by her husband’s granny for their wedding. It was a real honour to be able to borrow it.

On the bar I had a pot of stripy paper straws for people to use – as the drinks flowed these very quickly became Britney style mics as we danced and sang, they look ridiculous in the photos and I loved it!

Advice for other couples… Do everything your way, and don’t worry about what people say you ‘should’ do. If you don’t want a cake, don’t have one. If you want everyone on long tables, do it. And just enjoy the chance to see all of your favourite people in one room for the day.

Credit where credit’s due….

Invitations: Hello lucky
Tent: Arabian Tent Company
Photography: Taphouse Photography
Catering: Wild Thyme
Flowers: Haughty Culture
Sweetpeas: Sweet Peas Direct
Roses: Country Roses
My dress: Phase Eight
My hair: Fiona at Melanie Brown’s, Axminster
Gray’s suit: Whitcomb & Shaftesbury
Sweet jars: Maxwell Williams from Havens
Stripy paper straws: Pipii
Photo holders and wedding signs: Cox &Cox
Band: Funkification
Loos: Premier Luxury Loos

Thanks so much to Anna and Grey for sharing their beautiful day with us today, do you love old English charm as much as me? ;-) xoxo

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