Relaxed. Intimate. Happy. A mix of Irish and Essex. A bit vintage and so very personal.
Ian and Francine
Ian and Francine are joining us with their super beautiful Titchwell Manor wedding in Norfolk today. They held their celebrations on the 16th May 2019 and decided on their venue as they set their hearts on a conservatory setting. I have to say that the space was just stunning and enhanced even more so by their thoughtful and stylish décor choices.
Flowers ended up being a real centrepiece to their day, they had pretty pink and blue florals throughout, with a flower arch framing their intimate ceremony, a striking bridal bouquet and bottles filled with blooms nestled on the long tables. Other wonderful touches include rugs, candles, a moon booth, wooden signs, pretty place names and vintage touches. Oh so gorgeous!
I really love Francine’s Eliza Jane Howell gown, which she teamed with an ethereal Juliet cap veil, meanwhile Ian opted for a blue suit with a tweed waistcoat, didn’t they both look amazing? Honey and the Moon Photography captured all of their day so perfectly and I am so thankful to be sharing their happy vibrant images with you.
I’m not one for surprises and we’d been pretty open about marriage and everything since the beginning. In this day and age I wasn’t really into waiting for the guy to decide on such an important life event so Ian was very much aware that I wanted it to be a joint decision, and that I wanted to be involved in picking the ring. Only trouble is Ian is a hopeless romantic (one of the reasons I love him) and really wanted to give me a big romantic proposal. So we went shopping together in Norwich and chose a gorgeous antique old cut diamond ring. It needed a little bit of work so we agreed I wouldn’t see it in all it’s glory until he popped the question. A couple of months later Ian planned a weekend away for us in Wells-Next-The-Sea in Norfolk as he knows I love the seaside. We stayed in a cute little cabin and on 19th May 2018 (also the day of the royal wedding) after Ian made me walk to and from the beach twice (he later told me he wanted to get the lighting just right!) he got down on one knee. Apparently I turned to him and said “Oh you’re doing it now are you?”. After a few laughs, tears and words that neither of us can really remember, I said yes!
Everyone has a vision of what their wedding day will look like. Like a lot of girls I’d thought about this long before I was engaged and probably before I met Ian. The thing is nobody tells you just how much your vision evolves during from the time you get engaged until the day itself!
I always knew I wanted a small wedding and we’d talked about eloping. Being Irish I’d always thought I’d have our wedding at home in Donegal but after we got engaged and we began to realise how much was involved in planning a wedding it didn’t really make sense to me to have it in a different country to where we lived, especially as I wanted to be very involved myself. We also talked about having it in Italy or France but we wanted to have Ian’s Nan there and travelling that distance would’ve made it tricky.
Ian was very relaxed about the whole thing and really had no strong opinions on how he wanted things to look so he was happy for me to take the reigns in terms of the overall look of the day. Overall we wanted a small wedding with amazing food and music with a bit of a botanical or Mediterranean vibe.
The Planning Process
We started planning a couple of weeks into our engagement. We didn’t see the point in a long engagement and neither of us wanted to dedicate more than a year of our lives to planning a wedding and we ended up setting a date that was just 3 days shy of a year after Ian proposed.
Planning a wedding takes up a lot of time and we found that most of our weekends were taken up with wedmin. We did enjoy it but there were times where it felt like we just weren’t getting anywhere and many sleepless nights were had.
We both agree that one of the best decisions we made was to hire a wedding stylist. Initially we thought this was a bit extravagant but just having someone to throw all of your ideas at that knows how to realize them and put it all together in a truly creative and meaningful way is priceless and in the grand scheme of a wedding actually worked out not being crazy expensive. A wedding is one of those things that
you could get completely carried away with but we found that having Penny help us with styling, it allowed us to see where we wanted to spend and save. This also took a lot of the burden off of us on the actual day as well as we knew we were in good hands and didn’t have to rush around laying out signs and candles!
Planning a wedding is such a strange experience. We were quite clear about what we wanted from the start but it’s a difficult thing because in the best way, everyone has their own opinion about how they think your wedding should look or be and it can be so hard to stick to your guns. A lot of people are traditionalists when it comes to weddings and while we didn’t want to offend anyone, we knew that having all the traditional bells and whistles just wasn’t our cup of tea. We wanted to do things our way and for our wedding to represent our personalities and our relationship.
Once we’d decided on having the wedding in the UK, we then started looking at venues. We actually only visited about 3-4. Our main criteria was that a) it had a conservatory – I had a vision of getting married in a gorgeous bright room like an orangery or conservatory with lots of plants and flowers everywhere. Almost like being outside but not and b) all of our guests could stay at the venue the night before and the night of the wedding.
When we walked into Titchwell Manor it was love at first sight. It was perfect. It had a beautiful conservatory, really quirky décor and just the right number of rooms for our guests. And of course are well known for their exceptional food. I fell in love with the floor tiles in the foyer – so much so we got the illustrator to feature them on our wedding invitations!
Amy at Titchwell was so helpful to us during the planning and we met with her several times to go through things. Nothing was too much trouble and we had many unusual requests that she was more than happy to cater for.
Your Outfits & Accessories
The dress – I’d always wanted a grey wedding dress with heavy beading. I even bought one quite early on in the planning and had lots of tweaks done to it but 6 weeks before the wedding it just didn’t feel right and I ended up buying a second hand (but never worn) wedding dress online. It was actually the very first dress I’d ever tried on and I just never really got over it. It was the one I compared every other dress to but thought I couldn’t possibly buy the very first dress I’d tried. Because I’d always envisioned a grey dress it took me a while to accept that it wasn’t what I wanted now! Both dresses were actually from Eliza Jane Howell. Gill, the designer was so helpful in trying to create my dream dress but in the end it just didn’t feel like me. When I put on the Lady Lucille dress, it gave me all the feels and I just felt so happy in it.
The veil – Ever since I seen Kate Moss’s bridal Juliet cap years ago I just fell in love with that delicate vintage style. I didn’t want it to look like I was playing dress up but rather just giving a nod to the 20’s look. I didn’t realise it would be so difficult to find someone to embroider veils without having to spend thousands. As stressful as finding the right dress was, finding the veil was even more so. After a long search and much back and forth I found the lovely Ashley Wild who just got me and the look I was trying to achieve and we came up with the design to give the look of embroidered flowers using appliqué. I think my veil was my favourite part of my outfit by far! I just wish I’d clipped it in place better as it nearly blew off my head at the beach when having photos taken!!
The shoes – my shoes were made bespoke by Spanish brand Just-ene. They were blue velvet open toed sandals with an ankle strap and a gold floral embellished block heel. They were my something blue.
Accessories – I wore a pair of gold leaf earrings with a green gem drop, my mum’s old cameo ring (my something borrowed), a bracelet I bought in the US (something new) and a bracelet Ian bought me for my birthday years ago from Oliver Bonas which was my something old. I also wore a floral headband when I removed my veil from Botias accessories. And the most important accessory – my wedding ring which is a textured gold band with a catkin flower design by Scottish jewellery designer Alison Macleod.
The suit – Ian’s suit was from Moss Bros. which he wore with a Magee tweed waistcoat that we picked up when we were in Donegal. It was important for us to incorporate some of my Irish heritage into the day.
Shoes – He wore brown leather shoes from Debenhams.
Accessories – Ian’s tie was from Sainsburys! He also wore a Captain America buttonhole that I got him as a wedding gift and he fashioned a pocket square out of one of the cut offs of Magee tweed fabric. We bought a few bags of fabric cut offs which were used for various wedding décor. He had his gold wedding band made by Sonkai jewellers in Norwich.
I love doing my own makeup and hair but didn’t want to mess it up on the day so I searched high and low for someone with a very light and natural touch. I’m not one for heavy makeup and Poppy was exactly what I was after. We also used a lot of my own products which I know and love. She was such a pleasure to have around in the morning and listened to exactly what I wanted. She also did my mum and sister’s makeup and my mother-in-law’s hair and they all looked gorgeous.
The Readings & Music
Our mothers read during the ceremony. The mother of the bride recited a poem by Irish poet Seamus Heaney called Scaffolding. And the mother of the groom recited a quote from one our favourite movies The Nightmare before Christmas.
Music proved more difficult to plan than we anticipated. We initially planned to have some friends from Ireland play at the wedding reception but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Although looking back we wouldn’t change a thing as we had a gorgeous cello and vocal duo Nish and Will play during the ceremony and drinks reception. They are such a unique act and were more than happy to learn songs that we’d requested such as ‘And I love her’ by The Beatles which they played as I walked down the aisle and ‘You’re my best friend’ by Queen as we exited the ceremony.
During the evening we had the lovely Olly Edwards on vocals and guitar as we danced the night away. He was fantastic and learned our first dance song for us as well as others we’d arranged in advance. We’d made a spotify playlist for during the wedding breakfast of some of our favourite songs which we still listen to on pretty much a daily basis!
Ian’s best man Adam, wore his own suit.
My sister Tara wore a dress by Adrianna Papell that she got in John Lewis. We didn’t have a colour scheme that we wanted to stick to as such and I really wanted to avoid anything too matchy matchy.
I am very picky with photography and wanted to have our wedding captured in documentary style. Neither of us really enjoy having our photograph taken and are not big fans of ‘posed’ shots so wanted to limit those and capture all of the natural and raw emotion of the day. We had looked at photographers local to Norfolk and then by accident stumbled upon @honeyandthemoonphotography when searching through Norfolk photography hashtags. I knew straight away they were our cup of tea and just assumed they were local but when I showed them to Ian he said “You do realise they’re Irish?”. It felt like it was meant to be! Luckily they do a lot of destination weddings and were happy to travel to Norfolk for our day!
The package we chose included an engagement shoot so we thought it would be a nice idea to do this while we were visiting Donegal. It was a beautiful sunny day (few and far between in that neck of the woods) and we chose the gorgeous Clooney woods and Rosbeg pier for our shoot. It felt slightly awkward at first having pictures taken but Jess and Carolyn are so lovely and put us at ease very quickly. I definitely recommend having an engagement shoot just to get used to being photographed if nothing else and we have some gorgeous pictures and memories from the day!
On the wedding day it was great having two photographers as it meant one of them could be with Ian and one with me while we were getting ready. It also meant we got the same moment captured from different angles during the day! They were really easy going on the day and just went with the flow. We couldn’t recommend Honey and the Moon enough.
We are so happy with our photographs! They are just perfect and every time we look at them we see something new. We’ve just received our album and it’s a whole new experience seeing them in print. We will treasure it forever.
Flowers were something I did not have visions of or any strong feelings about before the planning stages. I’ve never been all that interested in flowers, until my wedding day! I will never ever forget how breathtakingly beautiful they were.
I knew I wanted a wild flower look and I’d been inspired by previous weddings that the Swaffham florists had worked on, realising immediately that we didn’t have to look any further.
I cut out some inspiration from magazines and gave them a very loose colour scheme to work with. I have no idea about the names of flowers but I wanted small blooms rather than large typical weddingy ones, but other than that we gave the Swaffham girls free reign and boy was that the right decision.
My one floral desire was to include some purple wisteria where possible and this was actually a big draw for having our wedding in the month of May – wisteria season. Unfortunately it’s quite difficult for florists to get hold of. A couple of days before the wedding a very kind colleague of mine let us loose in her garden to take as much of her wisteria as we liked! So there we were the day before our wedding clipping wisteria! Not wanting to clear her garden entirely, we took a few bunches which our florists very kindly used in decorating the conservatory.
We had a flower arch where we stood during the ceremony which we then moved to behind our table during the meal. Delicate flowers in blues and pinks also dangled from the ceiling of the conservatory and it just felt like the there were flowers everywhere and definitely gave the feeling of bringing the outside inside. I also pinned a locket with a photo of my dad in it to my bouquet so that he was with me as I walked down the aisle.
One of our wedding guests said about my bouquet: “It looks like you went out this morning and picked a bunch of flowers” and that was exactly the brief I gave so I’d say that was a job well done!
For something that I really hadn’t ever given much thought to, our wedding flowers became one of the most memorable parts of our wedding and I will never ever forget that scent as I walked down the aisle!
We had a three tier cake, each with a different flavour. Red velvet, coffee and walnut and rose and pistachio all iced with vanilla buttercream. Continuing with the wild flower theme it was decorated with some flowers provided by our florists. Our cake was made by Emma at Buns of Fun and it looked and tasted divine. We’ve kept a bit in the freezer to have on our 1st anniversary.
The Details & Décor
As we didn’t have any particular theme, I’m not sure how cohesive our décor was but we kinda wanted it that way. We just chose things we liked and didn’t worry too much about it all matching!
We hired lots of bits from Penny at The Little Lending Company which really made everything look super! We hired beautiful rugs, the arch for the flowers and lots of little knick-knacks for the tables like vases, candlesticks and tea light holders. We also hired in cross back chairs to tie in with the look we were going for.
We had lots of candles dotted throughout the venue which I always feel creates a nice atmosphere. I added a few of my favourite Jo Malone candles as well to really ramp up the fragrance. We used Iris and Lady Moore and Basil and Neroli. We now have these in our house and every time we light them it transports us back to our wedding day.
As well as hired items we tried to incorporate as many of our own personal items as possible to make it really personal to us and our families. We dug out lots of family photos and pinned them up around the venue. My dad passed away five years ago so it was really important to me to have photos of him around. We had our table plan written onto our own window mirror from our house. We also had quotes from our favourite movies and TV shows on various mirrors throughout the manor. Most of our guests probably didn’t get the references but they were quotes that were meaningful to us or just inside jokes! We also had ‘Welcome to our wedding’ written in Irish on the mirror in the bar.
One of our favourite foods is popcorn so we had little boxes of parmesan popcorn for guests to nibble on while waiting for the ceremony to start. We couldn’t really decide on a dessert so we thought that having many many desserts might be the way forward and we asked our guests to bring or bake something if they fancied it. We ended up with an incredible dessert table and we even had leftover Krispy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast the next day!
One of our favourite details was the place names which were some more off cuts of Magee tweed fabric with deckled edge card on top held together with a gold clip. This was something my sister and I came up with accidentally and thought it would look nice. Most of our guests ended up pinning them onto their outfits and wearing them as name tags in the evening!!
We loved all of the little details and décor at our wedding but the most special piece to us had to be our moon booth. I’d seen it on another wedding blog and thought it was a beautiful and unique idea so we looked at hiring one but it was tricky to find what we were after. Luckily Ian’s dad was up for the challenge and took it upon himself to make our very own giant moon a few weeks before the wedding. It was transported from Essex to Norfolk and Ian and I painted it. The whole family got involved in making the backdrop with fabric and stars until the big reveal to our guests on the day of the wedding. We set up an instax camera for guests to take pictures sitting on the moon and if they wanted to could put them in our guest book.
Where to start? There were so many memorable moments! Walking into the conservatory with my brother and just taking everything in in that moment; all our guest’s faces, the scent of the flowers, the sun beaming in through the windows, the excitement of it all and seeing Ian waiting at the other end of the room. I just wanted to cling on to that moment forever!
Obviously the ceremony was the most memorable part of the day – it was such an intimate ceremony with all of our favourite people there and we just felt so much love in the air!
Our first dance was truly memorable as it was unexpectedly lovely. We were both a bit nervous as we never really dance but it felt like it was just us two as we danced to Neil Young’s Harvest Moon.
The last dance was ‘Hey Jude’ by The Beatles and our parents gathered around Ian and I in a circle/hug while we all danced and sang “na na na, nana na na” at the top of our lungs and it was such an unforgettable and emotional moment.
We honeymooned in the Maldives for a week which was paradise. We were due to spend another week in Sri Lanka as well before we headed to the Maldives but there had been a travel ban due to the Easter bombings and we had to cancel that leg of the journey. We hope to visit Sri Lanka someday soon.
Advice For Other Couples
For brides thinking about buying a dress off second hand websites/shops don’t be put off! Mine was second hand but never worn and it still felt every bit my dress. You will save so much as well so it’s worth a look!
Remember what’s important to you both and prioritise those things. Don’t feel like you have to please others because if they see that you are happy they will more than likely be happy for you – even if it’s not the way they would’ve done it. Also remember you cannot and will not please everybody. So you might as well please yourselves!
Try and limit your time on pinterest. The images are beautiful but it can also be very damaging if you think your wedding has to look a certain way. It also makes it very difficult to make definite decisions because you keep changing your mind. So my advice would be to delete the app once the big decisions have been made and to trust yourself. That being said – be prepared to doubt every wedding related decision in the final weeks. Power through and it will be all right on the night!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Honey and the Moon Photography
Wedding Styling & Prop Hire
The Little Lending Company
Buns of Fun
Anglia Elite Hire
Hair & Makeup
Ashley Wild Bridal
So romantic, I love it all.
Ian and Francine, thank you both ever so much for sharing your incredible wedding with us xo Lou