a teacher themed back yard wedding with a maggie sottero gown| uk wedding blog

facebook-profile-picture By Phoebe
A People Photographer

Morning! I hope you had a good weekend? I love that the temperature has properly dropped up here in The North. We had a rare weekend with nothing planned so we caught up on TV/films and so many little jobs that needed doing round the house.

Can I get away with calling this a back yard wedding? Is that mainly an American term? Is garden better? This beautifully floral heavy wedding took place at Amy’s family home (dans le jardin), it had a teacher theme running through the day. Also, Amy’s family friend made every inch of bunting…that must have taken so long!!!

Photography by Julie Michaelsen

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Amy didnt give much information so I have put all the credits here

Venue:  Amy’s family garden, I grew up here and it holds many happy memories, it was never an option to have it anywhere else. The garden needed work and Dave and I spent many weekends gardening. Dave even built further decking to accomodate the musicians who played during the welcome drinks. We wanted a marquée that represented our theme – English Country Garden and the Capri marquée gave us this option, not only was it quite a lot cheaper than a traditional frame marquée but we preferred the look of it as well and throughout the day and even now everyone comments on how lovely the marquée was. Provided by OutIsIn Ltd, Partridge Green, West Sussex.

Wedding photographer: Julie Michaelsen Photography. Julie was recommended to us by a friend and from the moment we met her we knew her photographs would do our wedding justice. Julie was sensitive to detail and picked locations for photographs I would not have even thought about. She was never intrusive and was just a pleasure to have around! She could not have done more to make us feel comfortable and we really appreciated her professional yet friendly and accommodating manner.

Flowers: Hummingbird Floral Designs, Phoebe Tomlins has just started out her company and is married to a boy I went to school with. I was overwhelmed with how perfectly she captured the theme of our day. I asked for flowers that look as if they had been scooped up from the garden and not only did I get that but the smell of the bouquets was incredible.

Flowers on the tables and pots on the decking were provided by my mum, Dave’s mum and family friends.  It was really important to us to have as much personalised as possible.

Bride’s dress /shoes: Maggie Sottero, got from Amaryllis in Alton. Shoes were Rachel Simpson and bought for me by closest girl friends for my birthday (we chose them together). It was so lovely to wear something that they had helped choose – having 4 sisters and a large group of girl friends it meant that they all had a part in our big day. I deliberately wanted shoes I could wear again and I have already worn them to two further occasions.

Bride’s hair accessories/veil. I had a simple slide from Vintage Sweetheart. I wanted some sparkle in my hair to match the Swarovski crystals on the band of my dress.

Bride’s hair /makeup. My usual hair dresser Kelly Kennedy did my hair and is a family friend. She knew exactly what I wanted as she too had pinned similar hairstyles for her own wedding hair ideas (she got married in September). Make up was done by Nikki Louise and I was so impressed with her professionalism. She did such a good job on my make up, the bridesmaids and my mum. My sister is getting married next year and has booked her after our wedding because she was so impressed with the attention to detail of Nicky.

Bridesmaids’/dresses/shoes/accessories: In keeping with the English Country Garden idea we chose 6 different colours for our bridesmaids and Alfred Angelo do a fantastic selection of colours and dresses. I always thought I would get dresses from the high street for my bridesmaids but the colours wouldn’t have worked if I had. I loved the dresses and the girls were all really happy with them, each colour suited the personality and style of each girl and I was so happy with how it turned out, I got from Love Me Do Brides in Walton-on-Thames which were by far the most reasonable for Alfred Angelo dresses – I saved £60 on each dress simply by shopping around the various Afred Angelo stockists.

Groom’s outfit/accessories/shoes: Impeccable Menswear, in Weybridge. Dave was adamant he didn’t want tails yet when we went to try suits on he completely changed his mind. We decided that he would only be a groom once and just as a bride only wears her dress once he would only wear tails once and he looked very handsome indeed!

Groomsmen’s outfits/accessories: We chose to provide the ties ourselves as they needed to match the colours of the bridemaid dresses. We managed to get them as close as possible from a couple of websites: Tie Planet and Swagger Swoon.

Cake: My mum’s friend Isobel Treloar. She bakes for enjoyment and despite melting icing the two days before the wedding she remained calm and captured the theme of our day perfectly. The cake was absolutely stunning and I had to have a make up touch up after I saw it in the morning as I was overcome with emotion at the time and effort Isobel had put into this stunning cake. 

DJ/entertainment
When we got engaged my sixth form Performing Arts students (I am a Drama and English teacher) offered to play at the wedding during welcome drinks in the garden. I was delighted and got Dave along to their next performance to show how good they were. Three girls: Katie Smale, Sophie Shrimpton and Becca Cornford (all who have now left school) played a set on the decking while we had the welcome drinks and nibbles. They put a huge amount of effort into preparing the set and it really set the tone of our relaxed wedding.

Stationery: We were really lucky as Dave’s cousin and his wife are graphic designers and offered to help out with invites and general stationary. Leanne Balchin designed them and Andrew Balchin printed them. They provided name place settings, orders of service and invitations all in the matching style that Leanne designed. We simply sent her a few ideas of what we liked and she then designed a number of personal and bespoke invitations for us to choose from. We could adapt and change anything and it did not take long for us to finalise the design.

Décor/wedding details (did you have a theme?): Bunting was ALL hand made by mum’s friends Isobel Treloar and Ros Nutbeem. Teacher theme… Dave and I are both teachers and although we didn’t meet working together we felt it important to have a nod to the profession and we did this through our table names and seating plan. The table names were different groups you see at school. Top table being ‘Prefects’ and the others ranging from ‘Mean Girls’, ‘Class Clowns’, ‘Skivers’, ‘Sporties’, ‘Drama Queens’ and ‘Geeks’ to name a few. The table plan used register pages taken directly from our old teacher planners and inbetween the table registers were the classic profession pictures everyone has at home of us from when we were at school. We included some group shots too and there were lots of people at our wedding who we grew up with and went to school with so the photos were a huge talking point and those who know us later in life had a good laugh at our embarrassing pictures!

Catering/food/drink: Denny’s Catering. As a teenager I worked as a waitress for Denny’s and always said I would have them cater my own wedding. I know their food is amazing and they are ultra professional and efficient. We had posh bangers and mash for our main meal and every plate went back empty – an absolute classic!

Wedding favours: Sadly we lost my father to cancer 3 years ago so we decided to do Cancer Research favours. It was really lovely to see our guests wearing their broaches.

Honeymoon Destination:Tanzania safari, Pemba and Zanzibar. We went to the Selous Safari Reserve for 3 nights in a luxury camp (best experience ever) and then went to a part of Pemba Island that you could only get to by boat – Fundu Lagoon. An incredible 5 nights of paradise. We then went over to Zanzibar for some 5 star luxury away from it all in the north of the island to a resort called Gold Zanzibar – beautiful beach and some excellent excursions. Our favourite was a spice tour… doesn’t sound thrilling but really was a great experience.

Favourite Moment?  After the meal Julie took us off for 5 minutes to take some twilight photos and it was really nice to take a step back with my new husband and watch all our guests laughing, smiling and joking – thoroughly enjoying the party we had been planning for 18 months! It was the perfect time to have a few moments with my new husband to reflect on the day so far. The photos Julie took at this time are my favourites,; it was a really special and important 5 minutes before the party really got started!

Budget: 11-15K

Tips for those in the planning process: Shop around!

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