Terri and James are with us this fine Wednesday to share their beautiful Voewood wedding in Norfolk, which was held on the 31st May 2019. At the heart of their wedding vision was an eco friendly ethos, with a recycle and reuse plan for their day. For instance Terri’s gorgeous Laure de Sagazan gown was second hand, all the divine flowers were dried and the table runners were gifted after being used. I really love how thoughtful they were and eco concious in their wedding planning.
Terri and James’ wedding was just so laid back and they chose their venue due to it’s ample accommodation and eclectic style. Their children were integral to their wedding day, with their children giving them their rings, doing a reading and walking Terri down the aisle, so so special.
I have a funny feeling you are just going to adore Ellie Gillard Photography‘s images just as much as me, they are just incredible. Huge thanks to Ellie for sharing them with us.
I proposed to James on his 40th birthday. We set the date there and then for my 40th birthday, it also marked 20 years together.
To be honest and true to ourselves. To keep things relaxed and fun. To minimise our environmental footprint- to reuse and recycle wherever possible.
The Planning Process
We had 18 months to plan and found the venue within 3 months which set the tone for the rest of the wedding. We picked off one area eg catering, entertainment or photography per month, discussed it and then acted. Conversations had to be natural and not a negotiation, if we didn’t reach consensus quickly, we went back to the drawing board. We didn’t want to compromise and had lots of time so didn’t need to.
Voewood, Holt, North Norfolk.
We wanted to host our friends comfortably for the weekend- many were travelling a long way with children to be with us so we chose a venue with lots of accommodation. It’s a really dynamic venue and its eclecticism suited our style.
I did my own hair and make up. I don’t really wear make up so a good friend took me to Bare Essentials in Covent Garden and they helped me to find cosmetics that would help me to look my best but also be sheer so that I felt like myself.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I wore a floor length Laure de Sagazan dress. I really like her silhouettes because they are simple and straightforward. I bought the dress secondhand from Still White a peer to peer secondhand wedding dress website. It was really important to me that the dress had a life beyond one day.
James wore a Donegal tweed suit from Magee a family owned Irish tailor.
The Readings & Music
We wanted contemporary music but played by a live band to stop it from sounding too cheesy. I walked into David Axelrod’s Holy Thursday which is a beautiful, slowly building atmospheric piece of music. We walked out to Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren’s Zoo Be Zoo Be Zoo. Its light and effervescent and one of the many songs we play on family road trips.
We asked our eldest son to do a reading and chose John Cooper Clarke’s I Wanna Be Yours. Because it’s dry and humorous it felt like a good choice for a child to read.
We had two best men, James’ best friends, they came as themselves, we didn’t ask them to wear anything in particular just something they would feel comfortable in.
The Details & Décor
This was relatively straightforward, the house and grounds at Voewood are the best stage for a wedding so we kept it simple.
Food, it’s an overlooked detail, a lot of our food was shared whilst standing so that people could chat and mingle and dance. People are still stopping me to remember the canapes. Eliza our chef was phenomenal.
We arranged for Oak Circus Centre to entertain the children for two hours to ensure that everyone had a great time and that the children felt it was as much their party as ours.
We hired in tables and chairs for the ceremony and meal and bought a roll of fabric to drape over the tables which we later donated it to our children’s school for shows. We collected used gin and tonic bottles from our favourite pub and used these for centre pieces and to line the aisle. We dressed the bottles with gold ribbon and used sea lavender, wheat and peasant feathers to make arrangements as they connect us to Norfolk where we were getting married. Again, because these were dried all of the decorations were prepared ahead of the day.
We had lots of children at the wedding so found Laura at Make it Pop and hired melamine cups in colourways that complemented the rest of the decoration. This kept waste down and gave us peace of mind that the children could carry their drinks around just like the adults.
Most of our wedding was outside and the weather in Norfolk in May is changeable so we bought recycled wool blankets for our guests which they could snuggle under if it got cold, we also took them to the beach the next day for a mass picnic and were able to send everyone away with a memory of the day.
The Wedding Party
We didn’t have bridesmaids, but our three children completed the wedding party. Our youngest two waited with the best men and gave us our rings, our eldest walked me down the aisle. We took them to a department store and asked them to choose a new outfit each. I would have been happy with shorts and Hawaiian shirts, but they all came back with blue suits and took the occasion seriously.
Ellie Gillard. She was brilliant. We wanted a reportage style but with a focus on good framing as much as the moment. Ellie’s portfolio ticked both requirements plus we loved the way she uses light and her palette. Most people thought she was guest because she blends right in, but she is totally focussed and great at directing where it is needed. Our guests loved her.
We didn’t have one. We went on our annual trip to France when school broke up for the summer.
I wasn’t keen on fresh flowers; their life is short, and I wanted to keep my bouquet beyond the wedding. Using dried flowers extends their life beyond their bloom and seeds provide really interesting structures and textures in bouquets. I met an amazing woman Gaia Elkington who specialises in dried flowers. She designed and made my bouquet, headpiece and buttonholes based on a cup of tea and a chat we had together. They were perfect and ready before the wedding so there were no extra logistics to manage on the day.
My eldest son, he walked me down the aisle and gave the only reading, he was really composed, I was super proud of him.
Looking into James’ eyes as we said our vows and feeling nothing but love and joy.
We insisted that our guests sat in alphabetical order for the wedding breakfast so that they got to know one another a little better- it raised some eyebrows.
Having the time to step back and see everyone having fun.
Advice For Other Couples
Don’t sweat the small stuff.. or the big stuff, think about what you want rather than what the done thing is, if your parents are shy they don’t have to give you away, it’s ok not to have cakes, first dances, or even rings if they are not for you. You will be happier if you stay true to yourself and don’t try to please others or conform. Don’t overfill your day but think about how it flows. Everyone is there to celebrate with you so give yourself and your guests the time to do just that, if you have nothing else make sure the food and drinks are delicious.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Ellie Gillard Photography
Gaia Elkington Storm and Grace Flowers
Melamine Tableware Hire
Make It Pop
Terri and James, thank you both so very much for sharing your very special wedding story with us. If you are a planning a wedding and have children, there are some top tips from me on how to include your little ones into your wedding day xo Lou