Goooooood morning! I hope you had a lovely sunny weekend, that you are relaxed and ready for the week ahead. Today we have the wedding of Louise and James, they took their little balcony herb garden and turned it in to the theme of their wedding, along with a few bees and butterflies. Louise is also a girl after my own heart with her pinterest addiction. (Second best to wedding blogs. Of course).
photography by John Lloyd
James is very traditional and wanted to wear tails, so we hired the suit from Moss. We were able to match the colours really well with the bridesmaids colour, so it worked perfectly.
My dress was Biscay by Opulence and really felt meant to be. I had seen the shorter version of the dress online and was keen to try on the longer version. When I arrived to try on dresses at Serena Bridal, my bridesmaid, Sarah, had arrived earlier than me and already pointed it out as the dress I would like. When I ran straight up to it, the shop assistant was shocked that Sarah had got it so right and then told me the dress was in the sample sale. I tried on a few other dresses but when I came to try on the Biscay dress, we were all surprised to find it fitted me so perfectly I didn’t need one single alteration. Clearly it was the dress for me. The style was also very similar to the classic 50s dress my mum wore for her wedding nearly 53 years ago, that she hired for £2.50.
My shoes were Rachel Simpson, Mimosa, I fell in love with these shoes from a wedding magazine and the butterfly shape was perfect for our theme.
Pinterest was brilliant for thinking through ideas for the wedding and I found a hairstyle with fresh flowers that I loved, Stock Florist help me decide the best flowers to use. I wore earrings that used to belong to my Grandma, whom I never met, they were gold flowers with a solitary pearl in each, it was really special to have something of hers with me on the day.
Bride’s hair /makeup: My lovely hairdresser Leanne from Alaattin, Billericay did my hair, she used each time that I came into the salon over the 10 months of our engagement to try out different styles, which we both loved. My make up was done by Leah, who was recommended to me by my sister-in-law.
Pomelo by Jo Loves, it’s so fresh and citrusy and people always remark on it when I wear it.
My sister Maria was the Maid of Honour, and the Bridesmaids were my friends Sarah and Alex. They wore Mark Lesley dresses in Clove Green. I was notified three months before the wedding that they had been made in the wrong colour by the manufacturer, so getting them ready in time was a little stressful but Birds Bridal who we bought them from pulled out all the stops to make sure we had them in time, so we were really grateful.
The ladies wore their own shoes, my sister wore Mimi by Rachel Simpson, which was quite apt because I used to call her Mimi when I was little as I couldn’t say her name Maria. James and I also bought them a necklace each as a thank you present that they wore on the day.
Stock Florist: Organising the flowers for the wedding with the lovely Debbie from Stock Florists was one of my favourite things about planning the wedding. Debbie was so enthusiastic about our ideas and made sure they became a reality. To save money we arranged the flowers for the centerpieces of the tables ourselves, but Debbie made up a version for us to copy free of charge, which was so helpful. My bouquet was perfect and exactly what I’d hoped for. We used succulents for buttonholes, which also contained rosemary to go along with our theme.
The Most Holy Redeemer, Roman Catholic church and Emmanuel Church Hall, Billericay. My parents married in the same church and had their reception in the previous hall where the Emmanuel Church hall now stands, almost 53 years ago. The first image is a photo of Louise’s parents on their wedding day.
The service was the most important part of the day for us, we’re both Christians and are actively involved in our church community, so we wanted it to be a celebration of unity with two churches from two different denominations coming together to support our marriage. At the time of the wedding, I also worked for a big church in London so I was lucky enough to ask one of the amazing worship leaders, Daniela to lead the music. Daniela Hogger has an EP out and it’s definitely worth a listen (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/arms-wide-open/id956144452). The music was modern yet traditional and there was a joy about the service that people have continued to remark upon. I walked up the aisle to Oceans (where my feet may fail) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9nwe9_xzw) a song that means so much to both us and being able to walk up the aisle to Daniela singing it so beautifully felt amazing.
My sister is a graphic designer so we were fortunate to have her design all of our wedding stationery. We sat directing her over her shoulder like an episode of the Apprentice while she designed the invitations and she managed to keep calm, especially as James can be a bit OCD. So we were really thankful and so pleased with the results.
James and I both love cooking and we have a small balcony herb garden outside our flat that we use to cook with, so it seemed natural to us that we use rustic herb garden as our theme. Butterflies and bees came into the theme because of their attraction to herbs and we love watching them out of our kitchen window. We added rosemary to our napkins and my bouquet, our favours were ‘grow your own’ herb kits, and each table was a different herb.
For us the most important thing about the day was to have our friends and church community present, so we invited a lot of people from both our churches to the service but obviously couldn’t cater for them all in a sit down meal. We asked the guests who were keen bakers to bake a cake and we served these up to the guests in the hall behind the church straight after the service with some sparkling wine. We had so many cakes made by our generous friends that the church service the next day benefitted from them. Around 4pm the wedding breakfast guests were invited for canapés in the reception venue and we were catered for by a company called Greenfig, who were totally brilliant – setting up the day before with us, serving the food and running the bar. So many people commented on how great the food was (roasted beetroot and goat’s cheese salad with rocket and vintage balsamic dressing, slow roasted pork, trio of desserts). http://www.greenfigcatering.com. Evening guests were treated to a hog roast, which was very popular.
We originally wanted guests to get their own herb in a mini pot but at the last minute our supplier let us down. So James thought of a plan B and created grow your own herb kits. While I was in bed with tonsillitis a week before the wedding, James gathered our close friends together with the promise of a BBQ, to make up the herbs kits. It’s been lovely to see pictures on facebook and instagram of everyone’s herbs growing.
James has a family friend who learnt to bake in the Navy and is now in his 70s, makes the most amazing cakes and always makes cakes for their family occasions. We visited him and gave him a few ideas of what we like and a picture of what I was thinking for my bouquet, but we had no idea what he would do and it was a complete surprise on the day but we absolutely loved the cake, it was perfect. My dad who thinks himself a connoisseur of fruit cake also said it was the best fruit cake he’d ever had, so high praise.
For me it was the the bit that I was probably dreading the most, which was walking down the aisle. It was lovely to have my Dad by my side, and then see all the people I love smiling back at me and then see James’ reaction. I think I smiled and cried at the same time.
My Dad’s speech was also unbelievably brilliant, he had everyone in fits of laughter and then James’ was wonderful, with him bringing my Dad to tears.
After finding out just how expensive bands can be, we decided upon hiring a DJ and straight away i thought of my friend Ali, who is a DJ as well as a wedding photographer (http://alirobertson.co.uk/entertainment/). She kept everyone dancing all night and really listened to our ideas. Our first dance was to Some Kind of Wonderful by The Drifters, we wanted something old school that allowed us to dance rather than just spin in a circle. I then danced with my Dad to ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by the Beatles as my Dad is a big Beatles fan. It was my nephew, Harvey who stole the show though, he danced so much that he had a crowd of onlookers all night and had blisters the next day.
Our honeymoon was our gift list, as I had been living in the flat we would live in for 7 years, we didn’t need much in terms of homeware but we really wanted a lovely honeymoon. We went to Mauritius, which was incredibly beautiful, and relaxing with the right mix of ability to lay on a beach alongside places to visit and explore.
John Lloyd (byjohnlloyd.com). John is a Graphic Designer and photographer that I used to work with, he photographed another colleagues wedding and I loved the results so much I asked him to do ours. We had a great engagement shoot with him too, to help us learn to relax in front of the camera and he has a talent for making me laugh.
If you’re doing everything yourself like we did, then I think it’s not to be afraid of asking people for help. I really struggled with this as I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone but everyone was so happy to help and generous, we literally couldn’t have done it without friends and family stepping in
Make a very good spreadsheet! I won’t lie, in that I never want to see that spreadsheet again, but without it I would have been lost. Things will go wrong, but when they do being organised helps. But keep it all in perspective, the day is about your marriage and what goes wrong, goes wrong
Try and give yourself enough time for photos of just the two of you on the day, ours felt a bit rushed
Use ebay, sell my wedding, pre-loved etc and keep a look out on facebook for people selling stuff. We got all of our flower garlands for the reception venue for free because my friend’s mum was giving them away from her wedding on facebook