Sunny summer days, an outdoor setting and festival vibes this morning. I’ve definitely got that summer feeling. YAY.
When WWW readers Suzie and Daniel submitted their wedding to me, held on the 8th August 2015, I was over the moon. What’s not to love about a wedding filled with personal DIY touches, cute styling and fun attire? I mean just check out the gents in their yellow bow tie and braces combo, so amaze! Suzie’s look was classic and timeless while the bridesmaids had custom blue dresses made, gorgeous.
They chose Voewood House in Norfolk to host their day, due to the lack of restrictions and the weekend hire. The wedding breakfast held on the lawn looked amazing! Not to mention the fire performers in the evening, such a fun day.
Thanks so much to Lightening Photography for sharing these fantastic shots with us.
THE PROPOSAL | 8th August 2013, Trocadero Gardens, Paris, overlooking the Eiffel Tower light show. It sounds so romantic….. But sadly as people we are not great at this.
Danny is not a nervous person, however he suggested we sit on a bench while we waited for the light show to start. At this point he started asking me what I considered to be very random questions, as I was answering them, I noticed that he was wriggling lots and not really paying attention to my answers. I couldn’t help but think ‘Why did you ask me the question if you don’t really care about the answer?’ He seemed really distracted and quite nervous which isn’t like him at all. The thought then crossed my mind ‘Is he going to propose?’ this instantly made me feel nervous as I was worried about giving him the correct reaction and making sure he knew how happy I would be and excited!…….. It turns out neither of us quite managed to replicate the magical moment that was playing out in our heads into reality.
In preparation for the proposal Danny had come up with a series of questions which would eventually lead onto him asking me to marry him. One of these questions included ‘If I was to poo myself would you help me?’ We laugh now and still to this day he’s not sure why he thought this was a good romantic question to ask ha. Apparently I wasn’t responding to his questions the way he thought I would and this was putting him off (I think at this point I had started to think something was going on and became nervous so started to ramble, which apparently isn’t helpful in this situation). He also in order to make sure he didn’t lose the ring had placed it in a velvet bag in his pocket with a double knot and safety pinned it to the inside of his pocket. Trying to retrieve the ring from his security tight storage method was what was causing all the wriggling, I was holding a newspaper at the time which is why I couldn’t see his hand in his pocket.
When he finally managed to retrieve the ring he finally asked the question, shoved the ring on my finger, didn’t wait for an answer and instantly hugged me. Realising he hadn’t waited I said ‘By the way it’s a yes!’. In my nervousness to give him the right reaction my brain decided at this point that I didn’t want him to think it was all about the ring, it was about my love for him, I therefore decided not to look at the ring or make a big deal of it (This translated in Danny’s head to OMG she doesn’t like the ring!). My brain also thought it was a good idea to show no emotions on my face and sit still like a statue. Inside I think I’m jumping for joy with a beaming smile but on the outside I am like a stone statue….. Poor Danny!
We laugh at our engagement because really it is just so us. Even with the best intentions we fail at being romantic at all times! Haha!
THE VISION | We wanted relaxed, fun and above all lots of food. Both of us have attended many weddings and a big memory from most is the hunger! Waiting hours before you can finally eat is a big no for us. We like our food!
I have always dreamed of having an outside wedding, this was a big thing for me. We wanted the majority of our day to be outside. We love festivals especially Glastonbury and wanted a festival, summer party feel to our wedding.
We wanted the ceremony to be graceful, and then after the formalities we wanted a big party where people could relax and enjoy the day.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We had 2 years to the day to plan our wedding. I was instantly excited and wanted to plan straight away, my mum and Danny both thought I was crazy for wanting to start so early.
The first thing I did was start looking at planning blogs and pinterest for inspiration and ideas. Once I spent every spare moment of the first few engaged months on these sites I had a pretty clear vision of how I would like the day to go. Luckily myself and Danny both like similar things so after looking through the things I had pinned we came up with a pretty clear idea of what we wanted.
This mostly involved DIY, I spent several nights, weekends and any other spare time I had making and decorating. I can honestly say I used the full two years to make and plan things for our wedding. Danny made most of his bits in the last 6 months before the wedding.
The first thing we looked for was a venue, this helped us know, what we needed, informed our budget and gave us an idea of decorations we might need.
BUDGET | This was Danny’s area, he loves a good spreadsheet! He spoke to several of his friends who had previously been married to get an indication of costs. We didn’t want to come out of the wedding in debt so we felt it important to save monthly in preparation for the wedding to ensure that we weren’t paying for it beyond the day. We put in indicative costs and saved monthly accordingly we edited the spreadsheet to show actual costs once these had been confirmed. This was a great way of making sure we didn’t have surprise costs sprung on us. It also helped us to see what we could and couldn’t afford from the beginning.
THE VENUE | We wanted something different, we didn’t want a conveyor belt wedding that is replicated every weekend. Norfolk is a small place and therefore finding a venue that hasn’t been used by at least one of your friends is really difficult.
We looked around so many venues, but many had curfews or we felt were ‘too controlled’. We wanted to do our wedding our way and unfortunately we felt a lot of wedding venues want you to fit in with how they do weddings. We found there were a lot of restrictions on what you could and couldn’t do, what you had to buy from the venue etc which can work out quite costly when you could easily make things yourself.
We finally found Voewood House in Holt and instantly loved it. The house itself is beautiful. The floor print is based on a butterfly and the gardens and surrounding grounds are beautiful, offering well-kept areas and meadow like areas. The house is eccentric, every room is decorated differently and is so interesting to look around.
The owners were absolutely brilliant, they give you the keys on Friday and provide you with the house and grounds as a blank canvas. The venue is solely a house with a wedding licence. Couples source, caterers, staff, seating, cutlery, EVERYTHING themselves. Although for some this may seem daunting and at times it is but for us it meant we could have the day we wanted with no restrictions. I cannot begin to explain how perfect that made our day as we didn’t have to compromise on anything. Luckily we have supportive friends and family that all helped to set up the day before and (rather hungover) helped to tidy the day after. If money was no object I definitely would hire a clean-up team for the day after!
We had the venue for the whole weekend and it allows 32 people to stay. This is great as some of our family and friends live far away it allowed us the chance to spend time with them before and after the wedding, which is ideal as the day can go so fast and you often do not get the chance to get round everyone.
After setting up the day before we all had takeaway, and decided to play rounders on the field. This was a perfect way to enjoy the night before the craziness of the next day. We only stopped when the ball flew close to my face and we decided black eyes wouldn’t look good in the wedding photos!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Justin Alexander Signature dress. I was desperate for a cathedral length veil with a small lace trim, I had this hand made. My lace shoes were from New Look really cheap but very comfortable and I still wear them regularly! I also bought some flat diamanté flip flops from Dune for comfort which I pretty much put on straight after the ceremony. My Tiara was from Prima Donna bridal shop where I purchased my dress, I had a voucher to spend and got the tiara with this.
My jewellery is all from Tombland Jewellers a local jeweller. My mum gave me as a wedding present some diamond earrings and necklace. Danny gave me a diamond bracelet which I love. I also bought as a gift for the bridesmaids and my close friends the night before the wedding, rings which were engraved with love, live, dance or sing depending on their personality. They all wore them on the day and I attached mine to my garter so that we all had one during the ceremony.
My garter was from Etsy.
My underwear was Jasper Conrad from Debenhams.
FINDING THE DRESS | This involved many (sometimes drunken) trips! I lost count of how many dresses I tried on, I went dress shopping separately with bridesmaids and my mum. I loved every moment of dress shopping. I had in my head a style I thought would work however I had read previously to try on different styles as you may be surprised. I have to say this is the best bit of advice. The style in my head made me look like I was wearing a tent ha! I went into shops initially to pick up lots of different styles and that way we honed in on the styles that suited. I then concentrated on that type. Some dresses I really liked and hummed and hared but eventually I put one on and instantly knew that was the one I wanted.
I have to say it’s important not to feel rushed into decisions and whilst it is nice to have other people’s opinion remember it’s what you feel comfortable in and what you want that counts.
I recommend wedding dress shopping with bridesmaids as a great bonding activity if they do not all know each other plus it is great fun (Especially watching their polite responses when you have blatantly put something hideous on). However when you decide on the final one go with either your mum or one bridesmaid, as once I had decided I didn’t tell anyone what it looked like and getting that ‘first look reaction’ from the bridesmaids on the morning of your wedding is great.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Danny wanted a more casual look along with a suit that his ushers and best men could wear again. He wanted a light suit and loved the idea of a yellow bow tie.
He looked for suits and ended up organising as group trip, with food and beer to try the suits on. He found them in Next and ended up having to order suits in from other stores in order to get the sizes they needed.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Music was a big thing for us, I found it really hard to pick songs for various different times.
I walked down the aisle to A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, We both liked this song and wanted it to be our first dance song but my brother used it for his wedding a year earlier! Ha. This song still brings a tear to my eye when I hear it as it reminds me of just before walking down the aisle.
We walked out to UB40 (I can’t help) Falling In Love With You. We just really liked this song and wanted something slightly up beat for the exit.
After we had signed the register we walked amongst our guests and had confetti thrown to Elbow One Day Like This, this is one of our favourite songs.
At Last by Etta James was used as our first dance song (Which my nana and grandad loved!).
During canapés and food we had a play list of songs we enjoyed as background music. Following the wedding breakfast we had a local acoustic guitar player called Miserable Man who sings reggae type songs, he created a lovely chilled atmosphere. Our guests really enjoyed listening to him.
For our wedding readings we had the Apache Wedding blessing read by one of our close friends. We liked this reading as it was nice without being too lovey dovey!
For our second reading we couldn’t find one we liked so we decided to write our own, which was slightly humorous. We loved this personal touch and added a light tone to the ceremony. My uncle read this perfectly pausing in all the right places.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had 6 wonderful bridesmaids each from different times of my life. My friend from primary school, my friend from high school, my friend from university, my friend from work and finally my friend I made through Danny. It was great to have all my close friends together and everyone got on so well.
There beautiful bridesmaid dresses were made by a local dress maker. What was great about this was that we had to have fittings which meant we all got together frequently and had bridesmaid days. Every bridesmaid help in little areas both on the day and before. We spent the evening before the wedding in the bridal room where we exchanged some gifts (which was jewellery for them to wear on the day).
The bridesmaid’s partners all got on really well which means we are looking forward to all meeting up again soon which is excellent.
For their gifts on the day I made them scrap books of my friendship with them all. This took about 6 months to do but completely worth it. It meant so much to all of them and I loved making them in the lead up to the wedding.
THE FLOWERS | One of my bridesmaids has a great creative side and said she would happily help with the flowers. We wanted really laid back country flowers spread around our venue. I hand decorated loads of jars to give a vintage look and we placed the flowers in these on the table. We went to our local market flower stand together to pick a range of colours and flowers we liked and also went to a local wholesaler (AGM) to buy some fake flowers and bases for the centre piece flowers.
My bridesmaid and her mum made the flowers the day before, including the bouquet and bridesmaid bouquet and I couldn’t of been happier. I wanted a teardrop bouquet with a slightly wild forest look to it. The bridesmaid bouquets I wanted to be bright and cheerful. We love sunflowers! Daniel loves the colour yellow so this is the colour we decided.
We were really laid back with the flowers and didn’t necessarily see them as a particularly important part of the day (especially for how pricey they can be) but I must say I truly love the pictures of our flowers and I really do think they make a difference.
THE CAKE | Again we weren’t particularly fused about the cake as neither of us really like traditional wedding cakes. I did however want to cut the cake, we asked our friend who works in a cake shop if she would make us a naked cake as we don’t really like icing. She made it for us and it was delicious!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Daniel Lightening, He is truly wonderful. He captured every moment of our day (Even though he had a broken leg!). He took pictures at our friend’s wedding and we remember him being laid back and not a pushy photographer. We came across him at wedding show and decided to go with him. We loved his wedding photos he gets those amazing shots where no one is looking. He creates natural photographs and we couldn’t be happier with the results. He is truly one of the nicest people you could ever meet and really got involved in enjoying our day.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We wanted a very personalised wedding and therefore decided to make everything, from decorated jars, hessian table runners, bunting, invitations, save the dates, table plans, table names, sweet table, photo booth area, arch to get married under, wedding scrolls and covers for the hay bales.
One of my favourite things to make was the individual seating names, we made cards with photos of us with that person or one of our favourite photos or memories with that guest along with a personalised message inside the card. We loved doing something personalised things for our guests. We also named the tables after something which reminded us of the people on that table.
We also gave as our favours Kilner jar mugs which I places beaded named rings on for the guests.
We aimed to make all that we could which was very time consuming however we as we had two years we used the time well.
THE HONEYMOON | We travelled around Bali and the Gili Islands for three weeks. Definitely recommend the Gili Islands they are lovely with no cars so very relaxing.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Suzie – My bridesmaid and dad seeing me in my dress for the first time. Walking down the aisle. Ceremony in general Bridesmaids opening their gifts. Getting ready the night before.
Danny – Suzie walking down the aisle. The fire show. Waiting to enter the garden for the meal as a married couple.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Do not be bullied by other people into doing things you don’t want. We did everything the way we wanted and we couldn’t of been happier. It was the best day.
We recommend only telling a select few about the details of the wedding so that people are surprised on the day.
Pick a good photographer and videographer as these are your memories
We felt it was important to make every guest feel welcome, we made it a point to have something personalised for each person and this was really well received.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Lightening Photography
Benches | Wooden Bench Hire Company
Film | Thompson Granger Films
Bridesmaids | Bernie Dress Making Services
Venue | Voewood House
Musician | Miserable Man
DJ | Ross Collins
Marquee | Ace Tones
Fire Show | TriFieR
Ahh so gorgeous and I just love all of those happy sunflowers. I also have to mention how much I love their down to earth proposal, it reminded me of ours so much hehe.
Thanks so much to Suzie and Daniel for sharing their brilliant story with us.