Relaxed, informal and rustic are how WWW readers Sonali and Laurence described their gorgeous wedding day held on the 22nd October 2017 at Woodlands Lodge Hotel in the New Forest. It was all just undeniably beautiful, from the bridesmaids in skirts to the woodland setting and Autumnal colour scheme. It really doesn’t get better than this folks, especially when you hear that Sonali and Laurence kept to a £10 000 budget when planning their celebrations too. Amazing!
There is so much I love about their day, the fact that their loved ones contributed to the decorations and touches, the special readings and those super gorgeous blooms throughout. Oh my. Sonali looked so very beautiful in a Phase Eight gown, which featured intricate beading and a statement foliage flower crown. Laurence meanwhile went for mix and match from the high street complete with a fun bow tie. I just love all of the stylish outfits here today.
We cannot thank Carrie Lavers Photography enough for sharing these sublime images with us. Enjoy it all guys.
THE PROPOSAL | I love our proposal story; it was completely out of the blue (for me!) and given how much we both enjoy the outdoors; very fitting as well. It was our 5th year anniversary and we’d planned to walk part of the stunning Norfolk Coast Path. Before we set off, the weather forecasters predicted a rather windy, unsettled day. After lots of umm-ing and ahh-ing, we decided to go for it anyway and packed for all climates. Anyway, when we arrived, the sun was shining and it turned out to be a most glorious day. The walk was really enjoyable but I could sense that Laurence was bothered about something but couldn’t work out what or why…. I now know he was very nervous. He kept asking me if I wanted to take a break and sit down for a moment but oblivious, I kept refusing, saying I wasn’t tired. When we finally sat down on a bench, taking in the incredible view, he pulled out a ring and asked me to marry him. I burst into tears: I really couldn’t believe it, because I thought he never wanted to get married. So that was a real surprise to me! I love telling this story to anyone who will listen.
THE VISION | We wanted a small and intimate wedding; set in the woodlands, and envisaged a rustic style with a completely relaxed atmosphere. We didn’t really have a set colour scheme and the autumnal colours just incorporated themselves into the vision.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We were engaged for 14 months before getting married but it felt like much less, particularly in the last few months, where everything snowballed. We went to a few wedding fairs and hit up some car boot sales to find bargains.
We found it was all too easy to make appeasing guests the focus and as soon as we accepted that was an impossible task, the decisions became easier. I read so much advice from previous brides who say it’s fine to do things your way and we did just that: planned a day that was for us. We were keen to try and do things ourselves but were also very realistic about how much to take on. We made a list of things that were a priority to us and allocated a bigger budget to those. We agreed that these wouldn’t be compromised.
BUDGET | Once we worked out what we could afford, we set a budget of £10,000 not including honeymoon and through some serious perseverance we kept just within it.
THE VENUE | Woodlands Lodge is a small rustic hotel in the New Forest. We had exclusive use of the entire space, including all 17 rooms. This was a big positive for our guests, particularly those with children. We wanted an outdoor ceremony weather permitting but were also keen to have a backup plan in case it didn’t work out. In the end, the weather was against us and we had to have the ceremony indoors but it didn’t matter at all: the interior was ornate and beautifully arranged.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Because of our budget, I tried lots of high street shops. I also went into a bridal shop to try different styles and get a feel of what I wanted. I didn’t have many accessories, just a set of vintage earrings and my gorgeous flower crown. I wore the most comfortable pair of shoes from Rainbow Club.
FINDING THE DRESS | I started looking quite early on until I eventually found my dress in House of Fraser. As soon as I tried it on, it felt like me! It was perfect!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Laurence wanted a casual look in keeping with the relaxed and rustic theme. His outfit was sandy coloured chinos, a white shirt; and a tweed waistcoat and jacket with a burgundy bow tie from lots of online and high street shops. He sourced the jacket and bow ties for his best man and our dads but gave them the option of wearing their own trousers and shirt. It worked really well.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had two readings: I’ll be there for you by Louise Cuddon and I will love you forever, from The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, read by two of our closest friends Abi and George. We chose a religious piece of music, to walk down the aisle to, in homage to my Hindu heritage.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | They were the most amazing bunch of people and helped us throughout the whole process. On the day, they all wore tulle skirts from Boohoo and I let them choose their own white tops. It worked really well as it gave them the opportunity to wear something they were comfortable in.
THE FLOWERS | It was really important for us to try and have local flowers even though our wedding was towards the end of autumn: where the choice is limited. The ceremony flowers, bouquets and buttonholes were the most beautiful arrangement I’ve seen. The entire process was incredibly smooth and the florist just got my vision. Nothing was too much for Andrea and she even managed to source the lovely dahlias I was after.
THE CAKE | There was never a question about who would bake our cake. My sister-in-law is the most talented baker I know. She has made numerous cakes for our family and we instantly knew that she would be the perfect choice. She made an incredible three tiered masterpiece that was decorated with rosemary and lavender to suit our rustic theme. All three flavours (lemon, chocolate and vanilla) were scrumptious.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | I cannot stop singing the praises of the wonderfully brilliant Carrie Lavers: she exceeded our expectations in so many ways. We were so happy with our decision to have her photograph our wedding. She really was like a friend on our wedding day: she was very relaxed but professional. She also did a lot of running around to help us. She was completely unobtrusive and managed to capture some fantastic moments. I think her work speaks for itself.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | The general theme was autumn woodland. Most of the decorations on the day were hand made. The wooden sign was polished and painted by my dad and the rest were joint DIY projects by Laurence and me. I am not very artistic and was incredibly grateful for my talented friends! My bridesmaid Rosie sewed over 8 meters of beautiful handmade vintage bunting which we hung around the conservatory room. Our best man, Dan designed and printed the invitations. Flowers were another key styling element and we had jam jars decorated in hessian and lace. I wanted English garden flowers arranged in a loose and natural way. I contacted a local flower farm and my mother-in-law was an absolute godsend when it came to arranging the flowers. They looked jaw dropping and smelt so fragrant.
We had The Benedicts, a four piece wedding band for us to dance the night away to. They were recommended to us by Laurence’s sister who saw them at a friend’s wedding. They are a really fun group of guys who truly loved what they do. We would not hesitate to recommend them for anyone looking for a band.
THE HONEYMOON | We spent a week travelling around Iceland; relaxing in thermal spas, hiking up glaciers and seeing the northern lights.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | We did a first look which turned out more emotional than I had anticipated. Oh and the ‘Strictly’ style judges score of our first dance, which was completely unexpected. Now we know it was all orchestrated by Carrie.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | On the day, try and take a moment to appreciate all your hard work and think about all the people who are there just for you. It is such a special day for you both and you’ll be amazed how quickly it goes. And dance ALL NIGHT!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Carrie Lavers Photography
Cake | Sister-in-law
Dress | Phase Eight Evangeline Tulle Embellished from House of Fraser
Dress alteration | Sew and Sew UK
Hair | Lisa West
Make up | Myself and bridesmaids
Groom’s Outfit | Burton, ASOS, Dobell and Mrs Bow Tie
Venue | Woodlands Lodge Hotel
Bridesmaids outfit | Boohoo and white tops (bridesmaids’ own)
Band | The Benedict’s
Ahh just magical!
Thanks so much to Sonali and Laurence for sharing their amazing day with us xo Lou