I can never turn down the opportunity to choose the confetti shot as the main image. It is always one of my favourites. Hannah’s Sottero and Midgley gown looks so so incredible on her, it hangs perfectly and I think she really encapsulates what all ladies would like to look like on their wedding day. I think the way they honour loved ones that couldn’t be there is simply love, and a little tear jerker. Also, Hannah’s Dad when she gets to the end of the aisle, oh I was weepy. Hannah and Ross have supplied so much info, tips and tricks so sit down, get some tea and enjoy!
Rothley Court, Rothley, Leicestershire. We were struggling to find venues we wanted to look at as we were really conscious of the price. We had only managed to find 3 venues within our price range. We fell in love with it as soon as we pulled in to the car park. It had so much charm and history, before we even had the full tour; we agreed we would wait another year if we had to. We never even looked at the other venues, and booked our date there and then (luckily, we managed to get a date for 13 months time)
Family is a really big part of our lives, and we really wanted to include our close relatives who are no longer with us. I had seen poems on line but found them a bit morbid. Instead, we decided to name all of our tables after our loved ones, to make sure they were spending the day with us. We bought a big baroque style silver frame from Costco, and had a navy blue mount cut to our specifications. We then hunted down photographs of our family – the older the better. Some of them were even from the 1940’s, and they looked wonderful in the frames. The table ‘numbers’ were made by us. We used a different photograph of each family member to the on in the plan. They had their name at the top, and a photograph underneath. On the back was a short biography about each relative/couple, with a few anecdotes, then a small family tree underneath so guests could see how we are related to the person featured. We did tell any of our guests who would have been affected by it – everyone was really touched by it.
We both really like the 1930s as en era, but it was the art deco movement from that time that really set the tone for the wedding. We wanted something that was a bit different (we had decided on art deco well before The Great Gatsby film came out, which coincidentally, we never saw). We made sure all of our stationary had an art deco theme and carried that through the day. Although my wedding dress wasn’t what you would consider to be that style, it was more understated, it inspired Ross’s Edwardian cut suit, the 1928 Rolls Royce, and of course, the wedding cake. During the wedding breakfast we had 1930’s music playing in the background to add to the atmosphere.
Groom’s attire – Ross wore a 3⁄4 length Edwardian cut navy blue herringbone suit with a black trim collar, white shirt and light grey waistcoat. It was hired (as were all of the suits) from Suit Yourself in Leicester. http:// www.suityourself.co.uk
The only accessories Ross wanted were his treasured brushed steel Superman cufflinks. Ross has been a huge Superman fan since he was four. Ross had two Best Men; his brother Mark, and best friend Laurence. We had one Usher; Hannah’s brother, Allan.
Ross: “Hannah had arranged with my Brother Mark and our photographer Jo, that my niece, Molly would hand me a handwritten note from Hannah prior to the ceremony. It was a very moving moment that I shall never forget, as it was immortalised by our photographer too.”
!Hannah: “I really don’t think I can pick out one part of the day to name as my favourite. The whole thing was amazing, even being at the venue at 7am to set it up! I think I would say the fact that we got to share our day with so many amazing people, everyone we invited accepted, and everyone who accepted came. I also love that we had our marriage blessed at 6.30pm, rather than after the wedding, as our evening guests got to see something official, and were included in our day, rather than just coming to a party.”
We wouldn’t have done anything differently. We were well organised and put a lot of thought in to what we wanted to do. It went perfectly.
My bridesmaids bought their own shoes – I wanted them to have something they would wear in the future, I only asked that they had silver.
I’ve never been particularly interested in traditional bridesmaids’ dresses. Again, I wanted something they could wear again if they wanted to. I also didn’t mind if they weren’t the same, as both of my gorgeous bridesmaids look so different, the same dress wouldn’t have looked right on both of them (Claudia is 6’1, and Kim is 5’4). I bought each dress individually – Kim’s was Debut at Debenhams and was reduced from £130 to £25. Claudia’s dress was Jenny Packham and was reduced from £135 to £30. A bargain total of £55!
!I bought earrings and a bracelet for each of my bridesmaids to fit in with the crystal and pearl jewellery I was wearing. Kim had crystal and pearl drop earrings and a crystal and pearl bracelet flower bracelet, and Claudia had a silver and pearl bracelet and crystal and pearl flower stud earrings (which matched Kim’s bracelet). All were Alan Hannah/Jon Richard from Debenhams.
The Cooke Motor Group, Leicester. I just happened to notice a sign stuck to the side of a building on my way to work advertising Rolls Royce wedding cars and decided to give them a call. We wanted a classic car, it fit with our time period/theme and it is something you don’t very often get the chance to go in. We went and had a look at the six wedding cars he hires out, and then were treated to a tour of his massive private collection! We settled on a 1928 Rolls Royce Deville in navy blue.
My Mum and I went out with the intention of just looking to see what was around and to get an idea of what I could get within my budget. Dona Nicole was the first shop we went in to. I didn’t want a strapless dress, and wanted something quite slim, so I anticipated it being quite a difficult task. My Mum actually spotted the dress I ended up buying – it didn’t look anything on the hanger, but I tried it on along with a few others. I really liked it, but I wasn’t going to buy anything just yet. My Mum and I went to most of the bridal shops in Leicester over the next few weeks, including the amazing wedding dress outlet in Burbage (great for anyone on a budget or those who much time to get a dress). Each dress I tried on got compared to the dress in Dona Nicole; nothing was quite as nice as that one. I went back to try it on again and ended up trying another four at the same time. I narrowed it down to two, but couldn’t make up my mind. After some careful thought over the next week, I dismissed the second dress and went back or a third time to try it on again. As soon as I put it on, I knew it was the perfect dress, it was so me, that’s the only way I could describe it. Mum agreed. Over the next few months, I put it out of my mind as I had so much else to do, but every time I saw wedding dresses in a magazine, photo’s or a shop window, I thought ‘it’s not as nice as mine’, so I knew it was right. I absolutely loved wearing my dress! It was lace on the top with short sleeves and chiffon from the waist down. I thought it was a really elegant and classic design that wouldn’t date, it really suited my shape and it hung beautifully.
Shoes – Irregular Choice, Lemon Pips (white) £79.99. I spent such a long time looking for shoes. I didn’t want to spend much if I was never going to wear them again. Of course, as I am always watching the pennies, I would rather have a gorgeous pair that I would wear again – these fit the bill perfectly. I really didn’t like any of the ‘wedding’ shoes, I didn’t like the styles and I hate satin. On the other hand, I adore Irregular Choice shoes; they are so me, so it’s no surprise I ended up with something away from the norm. They looked fab with my dress and look fab with skinny jeans. Win win!
Joanne Withers Photography – Jo was absolutely amazing – the best photographer we could have wished for. Ross used to work with her at Venture and has always said that she is the only person he would trust to do our wedding photography. Jo was fabulous to work with; she really had a genuine interest in everything we were doing to prepare for our wedding and really cared about what we wanted from our photographs. She went above and beyond our expectations, stayed a lot longer than we anticipated (we were thrilled she did!), and she blended in. We wanted a reportage style, rather than lots of posing. Jo captured the spirit of our day perfectly; we got the most amazing photographs. Everyone said how good she was, and how unobtrusive she was in her approach to her work. Her package was so personal, every little detail was so thoughtful – from the bottle of wine she gave us a few weeks before the wedding so we could have some time alone together, to the beautiful presentation of the totally unique memory sticks with her logo, little chocolates, gift bag, and the write up of our day from her point of view, made it all so special. She is wonderful and we can’t recommend her highly enough. She captured our day perfectly!
For our florist, we went with Tippett’s Florist in Oadby, Leicester. Ross and I agreed that we didn’t want the venue to be covered with flowers, we didn’t want a girly wedding as it was about both of us, and also we were trying to keep the cost down. We decided that I would choose the flowers as it isn’t really Ross’s area of expertise. I settled on Tippett’s as they were really well priced, and were willing to do whatever they could within the budget I specified. Not once did they try and talk me in to spending that little bit more. We decided to stick with the bride’s bouquet and a smaller bouquet for each bridesmaid. We had five buttonholes and two corsages, each made up of different elements of the bouquets, so that they all tied together. When I went, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted; I hadn’t managed to find anything in the magazines that I could pick out. I wanted something different, not your classic ‘wedding flowers’. As our colour scheme was navy, white and silver, I needed to white flowers but had to introduce one other colour – I didn’t want too many colours. Eventually I settled on the palest pink you can find with white. I decided on freesias (my Grampi’s favourite flowers, it was my way of having him with me), hyacinths, sweet avalanche roses (although not too many), veronica and ranunculus. I had no idea what to expect as I c!ouldn’t picture what it would look like, but all of the flowers were beautiful and they smelled amazing!
We were very conscious of keeping our cost down, and we didn’t want to waste money on favours such as bubbles, where it is unlikely anyone would actually want them. With the help of my Mum, I made 100 gingerbread hearts, then cut out a smaller heart shape in fondant icing and put it on the top. I then piped another smaller heart on the top of that, and the piping was then painted silver (with Ross’s help). They looked and tasted amazing! The favours were all individually bagged, and I made some luggage tags with our art deco theme, which said ‘handmade by Hannah’ on the front. The tags were then tied on with silver or navy ribbon. In total, I think it cost about £20 to make 100 favours. We had 50 day guests and an additional 50 in the evening – we wanted to make sure everyone had a favour, so the evening guests’ favours were laid out on a table with a sign asking them to help themselves.
My friend Beverley Hewitt has her own salon and did my hair for me. We had two trials beforehand to make sure it was perfect, and of course, it was! She also did Kim’s hair, and my Mum Sandra’s. Claudia did her own hair, and we all did our own make up. We went for free make up lessons at Benefit, got lots of tips and trials of the products, and then we had a few practice sessions to make sure we got it right. We are all quite confident with doing our make up anyway – I don’t think I could have had anyone else do it for me. I am such a perfectionist about how things look, that I prefer to do things myself. The exception was having my hair done; I just wanted to enjoy that.
We had been lent some crystal tea light holders and mirror plates which we used to decorate the tables for the wedding breakfast. Although they were very simple, the table looked lovely. We are very much of the view that less is more. I bought some cheap glass vases and wrapped silver and blue organza ribbon around the centre and tied it in a bow. These went on the top table for the bouquets to go in.
I really wanted to have some photos with confetti being thrown, and figured the best way to ensure it happened was to provide the confetti. We bought 10 boxes from a warehouse for 79p each, and I made 25 confetti cones from my card making paper stack. These were placed on every other seat for the ceremony. The alternate seats all had a tissue placed there with ‘special friend’, ‘someone special’ etc…. and a little verse, which I found in a garden centre. There’s always a few people will cry at a wedding. We also had tissues that were about Mum, Dad, and Grandparent.
Not everybody knows many people at a wedding, so we had the idea to make a ‘Who’s Who’ book. We kept it within art them and colour scheme, and had a little introduction page, a page with a very brief history of our relationship, and then we had a photograph of each guest, their name, how we know them and a short anecdote about them. We made enough for all of the tables, they were really popular – they must have been as we only managed to find one for us to keep (all the others were taken as souvenirs). Everyone was looking people up, and enjoying seeing that the day was about them too. Every single day and evening guest was included.
We were struggling to find a wedding card post box that we liked. In the end, we ordered a plain white chest style one from eBay. We bought some artificial flowers that would fit in with the bouquets, used the navy and silver organza ribbons, and glued it all to the box. We also made our own card to go on the front, and used the same pearl embellishments that were on the name card holders. The other thing we just couldn’t find was a guest book. So many of the things we had done were unique, and a normal guest book just didn’t fit in with it. In the end, we opted for a canvas instead. We already had a blank panoramic canvas that we had bought for something else and hadn’t used, so we painted a background colour on it and then stamped the date across the middle. We put it on an easel with a notice and some paint markers, and we now having it hanging on the wall at home.
As a thank you to our bridal party, we used the same design from our invitations and had mugs printed with our thanks and their name and role on it.
So many candles! As we were having our blessing in the chapel at 6.30pm, just as the light was beginning to fade, we decided to fill the chapel with candles. We spent months collecting/buying church pillar candles.
Our first dance was “Only You (And You Alone)” by The Platters. It is one of our favourite songs; the lyrics are beautiful and are really significant and appropriate to our relationship. I had “…and you alone” engraved in to my wedding ring, so that both my engagement and wedding ring combine to create the titles of both songs. We also wanted to get everyone straight on the dance floor, so we had Chris add a vinyl scratch at the end of the song and launched straight in to a girls Vs boys dance off to “Jump Around” by House of Pain. It was very well received and got the party off to a great start.
C.C. Karaoke – Although an evening disco was included in our wedding package, we didn’t really want it. We didn’t want people feeling obliged to get up and dance, and we aren’t massive disco fans. Instead, we went for the much cheesier option of karaoke! Ross and I are massive karaoke fans, and there are two venues in Leicester we go to regularly. Chris runs the karaoke at both of the venues. We asked him if he would do our wedding for us, which he did. Ross and I opened the karaoke with our version of ‘Jackson’ by Johnny Cash and June Carter. Lots of people got up and had a go, and Chris played some great tunes in b!etween that had everyone up on the dance floor.
I made my own cake. I am a bit of an amateur baker, and I figured it couldn’t be that hard to make your own wedding cake. We immediately ruled out having one made, we were not prepared to pay hundreds of pounds for a cake – we didn’t even go for any quotes. I watched lots of ‘Cake Boss’ and in particular ‘Amazing Wedding Cakes’ to pick up some tips, and searched online for art deco style wedding cakes (again, we didn’t want a cake full of sugar flowers). We saw a picture online, and that was the cake we wanted. No negotiations. There were no instructions, nothing to explain what type of cake it was, just this 2×2 inch picture. I resolved that I would find a way to make it, and that once we figured out how the surround could be made, it would be easy! I enlisted the help of the Head of Design Technology at the school I work in and we made the surround out of foam core. After that, I decorated it to look as it should and then made the wedding cakes, with the expert help of my Mum, Sandra.
We decided to make fruit cake as it could be done in advance (I didn’t want to be panicking over making cakes a week before the wedding). I covered them in marzipan and fondant icing at the end of March and trimmed them with diamante ribbon, ready to be stacked on the day.
I also scoured the internet to find just the right cake topper as it needed to fit in with the theme we were trying to create, it needed to look old fashioned. Eventually, I found one on e-bay. It had the right look, but both figures had ginger hair and the bride had a veil. I ordered it anyway and pulled the veil off, and peeled away the glue. I then painted the whole piece, changed the hair colours, painted a beard on to the man, and changed the dress from a pearl colour to ivory/white and the black suit to navy with a black c!ollar.
Ross: “Don’t leave it all to the Bride; Grooms should get involved as it is a day for the two of you. Take your time to prepare and discuss issues with each other.”
Hannah: “Be as thorough and well organised as you can with your preparations. Try to take it in your stride if suppliers are slow or things don’t go to plan. It always happens when you are relying on other people. On the day, just enjoy what happens and let everyone else take control (because they will want to make sure you aren’t getting stressed). If things don’t go quite according to plan, no one will even know. Don’t worry about things that are outside your control, the day will still go ahead, and it will be beautiful.”