I always thought that writing this intro was going to be easy, I went to school with the bride, I have seen the groom pop up on my Facebook for years. But as I put this post together and teared a little at the images of Pete crying at seeing his bride, I realised I was actually quite lost for words. I have followed Helen’s entire journey. From being at school with her, drinking with her, keeping in touch with her, and liking every picture she uploaded of her wedding planning. Let me tell you, this girl put serious graft in to their day. And as did Pete. Whilst he was stationed in the Falklands, he folded 1000 origami paper cranes. Yup. 1000. I think you are really going to love this wedding.
I had a really clear idea of what I was looking to create for the stationery. It was something I was really passionate about because I wanted people to be able to take away a true reminder of the day. I keep every order of service and invite I get, although some are pretty standard. I used a graphic designer, Hannah Jack, to create the designs and then they were printed by Century Studios in Nottingham, the only company after all of my searching that could print matt using digital rather than litho printing.
Brides dress by David Tutera for Mon Cheri. Shoes by Menbur
Bride’s hair accessories/veil. Veil bought from Embrace Bridal, Market Deeping as was the pearl headband
Bride’s hair /makeup Hair by Sloanes of Uppingham, makeup was all Dior and was done by Eloise, one of the bridesmaids
I chose to dress the bridesmaids in different colours. Partly because I felt that one-colour palettes can be a bit limiting and I wanted to have a rich, luxurious feel, the idea of late autumn abundance when flowers are in rich, jewel colours. The bridesmaids wore fuchsia, emerald, mustard and dark purple with the flower girl in pale pink and gold. The dresses came from Reiss (mustard), Ted Baker (flower girl), Monsoon (fuchsia), house of fraser (emerald) and Jacques Vert (purple). Finding shoes to tie them all in was a nightmare but I found some nude ones with gold thread through from Dorothy Perkins which were ideal. The hair was simple, slightly beehive half up/half down with a trailing cream bow and ribbon down the back of slightly curled hair. I wanted something grown up, something the girls could dance in and something that suited each of them.
The next was when we were signing the registers. I asked my friend, Rob, who was playing the piano to play a piano version of Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden. Pete loves the song and had requested it at every disco we’d been at together over 4 ½ years and no one had ever played it. I even took him to see the band and they didn’t’ play it either. I wanted it to be funny, special moment where finally, on our day, he got his song!
Our first dance was amazing. We didn’t practice and ended up doing a romeo and juliet style spin which gave us a moment of magic as our guests spun around us and our eyes locked on each other. Our first dance was to All I want IS You by Barry Louis Pollisar. We’d said that if it was the first dance to begin all our future dances together, then we wanted all of our future dances to be full of fun, laughter and enjoyment, so the first one should kick that off. It was fun and quirky and really reflected us.
I think what stands out though was the next morning at 9am when the entire bridal party turned up to help clear out the marquee. People were hungover, weathered and there wasn’t any makeup between us, but after we cleared out all the things we’d spent two years creating into bins, bags and boots and sat down for a brew in the sunshine I realised how lucky we were to have such amazing people in our lives who had helped us create an amazing day. We couldn’t have done it without them and however special the day was it was that moment when I looked around and appreciated the work everyone, not just us two, had put into the day, well that really stands out.
We hunted high and low for a suit for the groom, flitting between tweed, stripes, morning suit etc. In the end after we’d looked around most suit shops, half of London and most of the rest of England, he happened to try on a suit in M&S from their Limited Collection which was perfect. The shirt was from Charles Tyrwhitt as were the shoes. Cufflinks were ‘always and forever’ dictionary definitions from notonthehighstreet.com and his pocket square was Philip and Cole for Liberty. He also bought his must-have Yorkshire tie pin as a nod to his homeland!
St John the Baptist church, Barnack, Cambs and then Barnack Cricket Ground, Barnack
We also had personalized Yorkshire tea bags which were wrapped with bands of printed tweets from Yorkshire tea. They blessed our wedding as official wedding sponsors which pete loved.
The theme was bright, rich, autumnal abundance using jewel colours. The flowers were big, heavy blooms in rich purples and pinks, they were peppered with crabapples, elderberries and blackberries with dill to bring out the mustard colour and lots of herbs, flowering mint, sage, masses of rosemary and lavender. We wanted it to be really informal, relaxed and non-stuffy.
There were some touches that I loved. We created hanging flower balls, which were a mammoth task. The creating and the hanging. We had a canvas on a wall with photos of ‘the making of this wedding’ which showed all the shopping experiences, making things etc that led up to the big day.
While pete was in the Falklands on deployment with the RAF he folded me 1000 origami cranes. It was a complete act of love and I was amazed. I’d asked him to do it but I never thought he would. My friend, Jennie, single handedly threaded each of them onto gold string to be suspended on the wall of the marquee. It was so personal and also looked really good.
We had quotes and photos everywhere to personalize it. We created wedding speech bingo, our own hashtag.
The table settings were something I’m sure no one really noticed but took a lot of work. We printed our own ‘thank you for sharing our first meal as mr and mrs blythe’ labels, sprigs of herbs etc.
I went to Latitude festival about six years ago and they had a tree there called the Tree of Lost Things. It was pretty simple, just a load of labels with peoples losses written on it. Things as diverse as ‘my mind’ to ‘my phone’. I used this idea to create a ‘tree of loved things’. Some people shared their wishes of love for our future, others things they loved, quotes about marriage and a whole host of personal messages. The labels looked beautiful on the tree and it was an unusual thing for people to try.
This was something we debated over. We had never really cared about wedding cakes. At most weddings we never got round to eating any, if we did it was dry and uninspiring. For a long time we planned not to have a wedding cake but I sent a quick email to Krispy Kreme’s team to see how much they would cost. It turned out to be a complete bargain at nearly 150 donuts for £90. My brother made us a tower out of reclaimed elevator cabling reels, we topped it with a flower display and a gorgeous silhouette cake topper I bought from etsy.com and we were so impressed with the result. What had been a cheap-fix actually became a really nice centrepiece for the day. One of my favourite things, especially with the berries hanging over the edge.
We’ve been to so many weddings where we are starving, or where the food is so pretentious that no one wants to eat it. I had a simple statement to illustrate the point ‘no tartlets’. There’s nothing more depressing than not having had a proper meal since breakfast and sitting down to a meal at 5pm and a crab tartlet and leaves being placed in front of you. So we wanted ‘proper food’. The main was fish and chips from Linfords Fish and Chip shop, award winning fish and chips which we personalised with stickers that said ‘we go together like fish and chips’. Then we followed this with an ice cream factory. We hired two ice cream machines from a company called Catertec and then bought masses of sprinkes, sauces, brownies, marshmallows, sweets, meringues and berries for people to either eat in cones or bowls. The guests loved it!
As well as wine on the tables we served raspberry gin with pink lemonade, elderflower presse and favours of absinthe in heart shaped bottles with hand painted labels and heart shaped pink sugar cubes.
For evening guests we had a hog roast from Willowbrook farm and then cracked out the donuts. No one left us hungry!
St Julians, Malta. We had planned a long, multi-centre trip around asia but realised that we would be completely shattered after the wedding and wouldn’t appreciate it. In the end, relaxing on a beach in the sunshine with cocktails was just what we both needed.
I wanted to create a relaxed, informal vibe so we hired a steel drum player- King Don- to play as guests arrived at the reception. Because the reception was only walking distance from the church down a country lane, we loved the idea of people walking up and hearing the steel drums floating down the lane. We decorated the alleyway with heard stencils dusted with flour on the floor and ribbons in jewel colours hanging from the trees. They blowed in the wind and gave a magical feel to the walk. In the evening we had a local DJ, Rick Santini for the music. Because the wedding was in a residential area we were only allowed to play music until 11pm, which was way too early for our guests to leave. So I did some research into silent disco equipment to hire and I found some at a reasonable price from Silent Disco Kit. They deliver a box of equipment which your DJ can use. It was so much fun and meant the party didn’t have to stop until 3am