I don’t think I will ever tire of looking at weddings. Especially when they are this beautiful. A gorgeous summer wedding (though I don’t think I would have looked as radiant as Amber in 33C heat!) full of family, flowers and smiles. There are so many personal touches which I think are very important in making your day true to you, and not just copied from a magazine, or heaven forbid, Pinterest. Also LOVING Amber’s choice of shoe, I adore mint green.
Photography by (the wonderful) Sophie Duckworth
Venue: Leez Priory, a Tudor manor house in Essex. We decided to drive past to have a look and our jaws genuinely dropped. It had such an impact on us that we phoned up and put down a deposit without actually viewing it. It work for us but I wouldn’t recommend it as a rule! I really wanted somewhere historic and Leez Priory had gorgeous rooms and grounds, with fantastic trees and it was really nice to have the entire venue to ourselves. We got married outside, beneath the tower and had our wedding breakfast in the coach house.
Wedding photographer: The lovely Sophie Duckworth, who we also had a brilliant engagement shoot with. She has such a great eye and captured the day so well – we love her and her photos! The digital photos arrived though the post in a really cute box with three wooden USB sticks in – she takes that many photos! Sophie is so passionate and enthusiastic, it made such a difference to have someone who cared about our wedding.
Flowers: The flowers were supplied by Margaret Kay Flowers and Wines. They offered great advice and listened to what we wanted. They end result was stunning and miraculously they survived the 33 degree heat! We had lovely bouquets, buttonholes and a really beautiful spray for the top table – which sat on mum’s coffee table for about two weeks after the big day! We are having some of them preserved and framed with a photo by the Flower Preservation House, I can’t wait to get them back in December.
Bride’s dress /shoes: I wore a Justin Alexander ‘Sabina’ dress. I was at The National Wedding Fair when I found it – it was actually the first dress I tried on but I went on to try another twenty to be sure! I knew I was on to a winner from the reactions of all the people queuing behind me and wandering past. Also, my bridesmaids cried. It was a very funny and very weird sensation! I’m a bit of shoe fiend and ended up having three pairs of shoes – A pair of mint green sky-high Call it Spring platforms for the ceremony which are my absolute favourite. And they honestly were comfortable! My husband is 10 inches taller than me, so they were necessary. He actually bought the second pair for me the day after he proposed. The final pair were good old M&S flats, which by midnight I could not have done without!
Bride’s hair accessories/veil: My silk veil was perfect and a complete bargain. It was made by Margaret Byrne from dream-veils.co.uk who was so helpful. It completely finished my outfit. My gorgeous bespoke headpiece was by Gillian Million, who is fantastic. It has lots of different colour pearls as well as rosebuds and crystals, it is just beautiful. I am going to get it made into jewellery at some point. Pearls were a bit of a theme actually. I wore a pearl ring that belonged to my Nan, pearl and diamond earrings which were a birthday present from my Dad and a pearl bracelet belonging to my Mum. Something old, something new and something borrowed. My ‘something blue’ was my sapphire engagement ring, and I had a silver sixpence from my husband-to-be tucked in my shoe! My engagement ring, earrings and bracelet all came from a local family jewellers, Zelleys, who I cannot recommend more, they took great care of us. Our bespoke wedding rings came from Coo Jewellers, who were also really great.
Bride’s hair /makeup: My hair and make-up were done by Elsa Springham, based in Stansted. Amazingly both stayed put all day! The bridesmaids, the mums and I all got our nails done the day before by the wonderful Barbara at Bonne Sante Salon, also in Stansted. It took most of the day but it was a lovely girl-bonding exercise.
Bridesmaids’/dresses/shoes/accessories: I was so impressed with the bridesmaids’ dresses. I loved the TwoBirds dresses but they are just so expensive! After quite a bit of trauma I found the wrap dresses on Etsy from a seller in California called CoralieBeatrix. They were brilliant. I loved everything about them – the colour, the way they hung, the versatility. I’m tempted to get one for myself… The girls had matching hairslides and mint greet nails but mismatched shoes, which I thought was really cute.
Groom’s outfit/accessories/shoes: Andy, his groomsmen and our Dads all hired from Coles in Epping – and they looked very dapper! Andy was reluctant about his top hat at first, but when it came to the day he got quite attached to it – he wouldn’t take it off! The hats were a great success all round really. Some of my favourite photos Sophie took were when I ‘borrowed’ one.
Cake: Where do you start with the cake? It was incredible. Emma from We Want Cake couldn’t have made it more spot on. It was exactly what I wanted and Emma couldn’t have done more. She posted samples for us to try, matched the colour to my shoes and even topped it with sweet avalanche roses made from icing to match the ones in my bouquet. More to the point, it tasted amazing. We had a pink ombre tier which was vanilla sponge and white chocolate, a lemon sponge and champagne tier, and a traditional fruit tier on top. She assembled it onsite and provided the stand too.
DJ/entertainment: Helpfully the DJ was provided by the venue. We were able to submit a short playlist to him and he did the rest. The venue set up a candlelit dance floor outside which was really great as it was such a lovely warm evening. We hired wonderful harpist Claire Jones to play during the ceremony and drinks reception. She played a mix of classical music and movie soundtracks – at our request. I walked down the aisle to the Glasgow Love Theme from Love Actually. All our guests loved her and said she was a highlight of the afternoon. In the evening we hired Tom Halliday who set up a great photobooth, complete with props, which was hilarious and brilliant fun. It went down a storm. He also took some really dramatic night-time shots. We also booked a firework display with dynamic fireworks, which was a great addition.
Stationery: I loved our stationery. It had touches of the three colours we chose and featured the lace detail from my dress. Best of all it was designed by my Dad. 🙂 We sent thank you cards we ordered online which had one of our favourite photos from the day on.
Décor/wedding details: We did quite a few bits and pieces to personalise our day. To accompany our guest book we bought scrabble mugs spelling LOVE and put cheap and cheerful pot plants in them. We also hung a string of photos of us from the last six years behind it, which was really effective. It was so simple – we ordered prints from snapfish.com and I bought tiny wooden clothes pegs from Waterstones. We ordered confetti petals on eBay and put them in little favour bags to give to our guests to throw as we walked up the aisle after our vows. For the seating plan we bought mismatched picture frames from charity shops and my Dad mounted them onto a canvas which was covered with flowery wallpaper. It was one of my favourite things we did actually. Instead of floral centrepieces at the wedding breakfast we had pillar candles in storm lanterns, which we tied mint green pearly beads and scattered artificial pink petal around, again an excellent eBay find. We also made chalk boards and moustaches for the photobooth. It seems a lot when you write it down, but it didn’t feel like it at the time!
Catering/food/drink: The food and drink at the venue was really tasty, and it was really good that we were able to provide a choice to our guests. We had plenty of pimms, mojitos and bellinis to keep us cool!
Wedding favours: For our favours we tied together two mini tiptree preserves with mint green ribbon. We opted for strawberry & champagne jam and whisky marmalade, which were really tasty, but as we had to buy in bulk we are still working our way through them!
Other: My husband has the co-ordination of a teaspoon so I bullied him into dance lessons, which I really enjoyed as it was something we were doing together. Of course our first dance song ended up being a really quick Viennese Waltz so it was hard going and by no means perfect, but I loved it all the same.
Honeymoon Destination: We went to Cape Verde for our honeymoon and stayed on Boa Vista island. It was the perfect place to lie in the sun and do not a lot! We got up close and personal with a nesting sea turtle and did a bit of quad biking, but that’s about it!