Good morning and happy December!! I don’t even know where to start with this wedding, there are sooo many details and so many wonderful aspects that I am just exceptionally glad Stella did a great job and wrote loads so I didn’t have to! This really is a wonderful wedding, Stella collected bits and bobs for years prior to the day and it pays off. On top of this, she looks incredible, the dress, the hair, the veil, all perfect. I love that it took place in Rich’s parents garden amongst sensational flowers and chickens. This wedding is one of a kind and I truly hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Photography by Livvy Hukins (also brand new advertiser, yay!)
My parents live abroad so I was lucky enough to get this dress made for me to the exact design that I wanted. It was a bit full on and rushed but they managed to get the dress pretty spot on in the two weeks I went to visit, and I just needed to make a few alterations a few weeks before the wedding. The shoes were a bit of an accident and ended up being my something borrowed. My mum lent them to me for my dress fittings just for the height, but after days of trawling the shops and internet I couldn’t find anything that I wanted, so I ended up just borrowing mum’s! I was very tempted by some beautiful heels many times, but I wanted something I could dance all night in and they did the job.
Bride’s hair accessories / veil: Lily Bella (online)
Hair Come the Girls. Katie got us out of a sticky situation at really short notice for which I’ll be eternally grateful. I don’t normally wear a lot of make up so the thought of foundation made me really nervous. Katie used airbrush foundation which I didn’t even know existed but it stayed put the whole day and most importantly looked really natural; I’d highly recommend it.
We made slabs of rocky road finished with edible gold spray with a cheesy little sticker that said ‘You rock!’ to hold the cellophane down. Rich’s parents keep bees and were kind enough to make up some little jars of honey that we gave to each couple.
There were so many it’s so difficult to choose one. It has to be when I walked down the aisle and saw so many friendly, smiling faces of all my nearest and dearest, and my future hubby waiting for me at the end. This would be very closely followed by our trip in the VW to take some photos; it was bumpy but epic.
The dresses were from Coast, the shoes from Dorothy Perkins and the necklaces were personalised gifts from J&S Jewellery on Not on the High Street
We designed all of our stationery thanks to Rich’s Photoshop and Illustrator skills. Between the two of us we came up with some really personalised stationery which was at times a bit mismatched but everything linked into the day and our theme. My favourite was the booklet (order of service/menu/book of all sorts): I scrapbooked each page by hand which made up the backgrounds, using bits of bunting and paper and then Rich scanned them all in and overlaid the text on Illustrator. We sent them off to a printers to make little A5 booklets, when we received them we were so chuffed with how they came out
It’s a bit of a running joke that I am very partial to pork, so there was only one way to go – hog roast. We used the Spit & Grill Co and it was absolutely delicious. They also offer sides however we decided to do our own to keep our costs down and my bridesmaids spent the day before the wedding making various salads and side dishes. We ordered trays of sandwiches from Costco as nibbles after the ceremony, and as well as the cheese cake we had pork pies from a local deli (Rickwood of Bearsted) for the evening snacks. Dessert was scones with clotted cream and jam with various cakes and tarts that were shop-bought. We had a Pimm’s reception and our dads did a little trip across the Channel to buy all the bubbly and table wine. Otherwise, it was bring your own booze and we had a little beer tent out the back for guests to drop and label their drinks, and we also provided a few basics to make sure no one went wanting
Livvy Hukins. When we got engaged, booking the wedding photographer was right at the top of our list. When we found Livvy it was really exciting – her wedding photography style was` exactly what we were looking for. We had an engagement shoot where Livvy made us feel really at ease which gave us some practice for the wedding as we’re both a bit awkward in front of a camera. The wedding pictures themselves were incredible; Livvy really captured our day beautifully and I couldn’t really have asked for much more.
So much effort went into the details I’m not really sure where to start! We put together a colour palette after sifting through design-seeds.com and used those colours as the base for everything (or near enough anyway). After rummaging through Pinterest, I’d built a good idea of the look I was going for – outdoorsy, festivaly, laid-back, garden wedding.
I started hoarding bottles and jars which I used for my centre pieces; some were painted plain, some were patterned, some were spray painted gold. We used little spice jars as little flower pots for big, bold dahlias. I bought some little cheap plastic farm animal toys and spray painted them gold to make little scenes in interestingly shaped jars. It was basically an opportunity for me to use up all the knick knacks and bits and bobs I’d been hoarding for years, thinking one day I would use them! Old jewellery, beads, charms – anything. The wooden bases were cut from a log we found in the woods by Rich’s parents’ house and my dad dutifully sanded them down to make them fit for tableware. We picked classic 80s films as our table name theme and every table setting had a bottle of homemade sweetie vodka to share (there were Werthers, Skittles and various chocolate bars).
I used old bed sheets and bits of material to make the bunting and went to my local market to try and pick up fabric bargains where I didn’t quite have the right colours. At each end of the marquee were different sized tissue paper pom poms and paper lanterns. The pom poms were really easy to make from scratch. The lanterns could have been just as easy but I’m a sucker for punishment and decorated each one differently using patterned tissue paper, old wrapping paper and emulsion paint (I just used the tester pots from Wilko’s). Although time consuming, they really added such a nice backdrop for the top table. We bought masses of hessian which got used everywhere, from jam jar tops, to plant pots to the table squares. Rich’s mum and nana had been dead-heading and drying rose petals for months to be used as confetti and they also lined the aisle which looked so beautiful in the pictures.
Two of my favourite details were the guestbook and the photo booth. We asked guests to take an instax of themselves and stick it in the guestbook with their message; the instax camera was amazing and there were such wonderful little pictures strewn everywhere the day after. The photobooth was a triumph – I left Rich to sort out the technology. The photobooth itself was a mini garden marquee with a stripy homemade curtain as a backdrop. We also made a huge polaroid frame which people could hold up for the photos which mirrored our save the dates. Our photobooth props were borrowed from lots of different people with a few leftovers from the hen and stag dos. There were loads of cheap silly glasses and wigs, and a few hand held masks which we made from free internet designs, some card and a few dowels. Rich had bought a remote clicker and linked it to the camera and then also somehow linked it to a small TV screen so everyone could preview their pictures as they were being taken. It was all pretty clever.
After being so frugal, I convinced Rich that we needed to get Rye, our VW campervan (from camperbug.co.uk). It was the only real extravagance we had, but it was so worth it – the pictures were amazing and it was just such a great final touch to the day, especially as it was in our colours and it also added to the festival theme.
Perfect Partners Cheese & Wine, Cranbrook. Richard’s little shop is wonderful with so many amazing sights and smells. His expertise was invaluable, matching different types of cheeses with looks and sizes, and most importantly they were all delicious. Richard can decorate the cake but we opted to do it ourselves. Rich’s mum visited a few artisan delis to gather the different nuts and fruits for the decoration and it just looked perfect, although the camembert on top did have a pretty distinctive hum by the end of the night.
We rented a sound system for the day and then just plugged my iPod in. Rich and I painstakingly went through and created playlists for various parts of the day and had the best men make sure the right music was on at the right time. It was a long and painful process putting together the different playlists, trying to cater for everybody, but it was well worth it – the dance floor was never empty the whole evening!
As a non-girly girl, I learned quite late on that the dress is a big deal; even if at the beginning you think there are more important things, don’t underestimate the fact that you will want to look amazing on your big day and make sure you pick a dress that makes you feel like a goddess. Same goes for hair and make up.
If you’re going to go handmade, take all the help you can get and don’t be shy to ask – when it comes to weddings, people’s generosity is overwhelming and you will always be pleasantly surprised. Handmade is hard work but very rewarding, but you will constantly feel like you have no time.
The table plan will be the most stressful part of your planning and will be sabotaged by sporadic RSVPs and unwanted guests (thank your parents), but once you’ve got it down, everything else seems easy.
A joint shared list (online or an app – we used Trello) that you and your other half can use to split out tasks is invaluable; it means you can keep adding and reorganising and you both know what’s going on. Keep sharing the tasks, it’s too much for one person.
Make sure you are fully prepared and organised for when you get access to your venue so you know exactly where your decorations are going and how they are going to look – it’s a big time saver.
Don’t ever forget why you’re planning the wedding in the first place – it’s easy to fall out about stupid things (like the alignment of the text on your stationery) but ultimately you just need to remember that you’re not throwing a party for other people’s benefit, it’s all about you.