Morning all! What happens when the couple love tea and vegetables…this wedding! I absolutely love that Claire and Steve put so much of their life and personalities in to their day. The story behind their tea theme is so lovely, and with Claire being a nutritionist, vegetables were a natural choice as her flowers.
photography | Jamie Dunn Photography
Pronovias dress and Carvela shoes. I never intended to have a wedding dress. I’m not at all traditional and was considering a black gown or even a red evening dress. However, I did concede in trying on some dresses at Oak Tree Brides, who sell sample dresses. I’m petite but have curves and thought that a ballgown style would best suit me. They had a blush pink, very offbeat style in stock that I thought would look fabulous. Let’s just say, I looked more like someone should smash a champagne bottle against me and watch me set sail across the ocean! I felt like a house with stone cladding! In the end, I decided I’d be eternally disappointed if I didn’t wear a wedding dress and with Angela’s guidance at Oak Tree Brides, I chose a beautiful mermaid strapless gown with sweetheart neckline in a stunning off white lace. It was really comfortable and light and given how long you spend in a wedding dress, this was a huge relief. I felt really happy with my choice on the day and don’t regret wearing a more traditional dress as the rest of the day wasn’t at all traditional.
Bride’s hair accessories/veil: I had a veil and also some sparkly hair clips but in the end, everything looked too fussy so I went with a really natural look with just tousled waves.
We definitely had a theme! Steve and I have a tradition of leaving a teacup and tea bag by the kettle for the other in the morning, depending upon who gets up first. He used to work in the city so was getting up and leaving the house before I was even awake, so I would often come downstairs to the mug and teabag combo with an arrangement of various kitchen items in smiley faces, hearts etc. One morning however, I went straight into the office upstairs as I was working from home and got straight down to work. I was texting Steve about exciting topics such as the boiler service that was due and was baffled by his question about whether I wanted tea. I went downstairs to find he’d spelt out “Marry me” in teabags by the kettle and had been waiting for nearly 3 hours for a response! As I said in my wedding speech, that’s what happens if you’re not present at the proposal! Anyway, the tea theme was born.
Also, I’m a freelance nutritionist and eating plenty of vegetables is very important to me. So I thought, instead of flowers, why not have vegetables?
So the bouquets were a mixture of artichokes, succulents, brassica, allium flowers and herbs (mint, rosemary, dill and olive leaves). The same vegetables went into mismatched, vintage teacups for the table centerpieces. The cups sat on lace-bound piles of leather bound books and these sat on a log slice with a hurricane vase and a Taylors of Harrogate tea caddy, with a different caddy designating the different tables – the seating plan featured a polaroid of each caddy with a list of guests beneath it.
As described, the cake table was similarly rustic and tea-party themed.
We really didn’t want a cake. Partly, we wanted to keep costs down and partly, we just really didn’t want a picture of us with some cake! It just felt so cheesy and unnecessary when there was so much other nice food around. So going with a teatime theme (see later) we had a 7 tiered cake stand stocked with Tunnocks marshmallow teacakes and caramel wafers. The cake table also featured jars of classic teatime biscuits on doilies, decorated with vintage teapots and jugs, bunting and a washing line of polaroids of our engagement shoot.
Hair by Annie at Natasha Wiggens. I did my own make-up because having had a number of trials, only I could get the look I wanted – I wanted to look like me and not like someone else! Annie did my bridesmaid’s hair and make up.
The perfume: Florabotanica by Balenciaga (this was the perfume I wore when Steve and I were first dating and so the one he said most reminded him of me and us)
Groomsmen’s outfits/accessories – As for groom except cufflinks from John Lewis.
So so many – the day goes by in such a blur! Walking in with my dad and seeing Steve and all our friends there nearly floored me and I wasn’t expecting that at all as I didn’t think I’d get emotional! Looking at the pictures, it’s so fantastic to see so many people (mainly me and my hens) laughing. The first dance was a lovely moment. We were really dreading it as there is so much attention on you as a couple but it was great and it’s one of the few times that you’re actually alone together.
Ufton Court, Ufton Nervet, Reading. A stunning barn in beautiful grounds. It’s an educational trust and the profits from weddings go back into funding school trips, which we loved and we felt like we were able to give something back
Dress from convertiblewrapdress.com – very similar to the Two Birds dresses at a fraction of the price. It still had a really good quality drape and was available in many colours which was vital because originally, we’d planned an olive green colour which would be lovely with a barn wedding and Steve was going to wear a grey suit. However, after 4 hours marooned in House of Fraser changing room, we came to the conclusion that grey is not Steve’s colour and so we opted for an indigo colour for him instead. Blue and green should not be seen, so we went for an aubergine wrap dress for Angie, my bridesmaid.
Jamie Dunn Photography – We met Jamie at the one and only wedding fair we went to. It was the end of the day and he’d already shot a wedding there the day before and was packing up to leave when we found him tucked away in another room. Even so, he took the time to chat to us at length about his style – we were looking for someone who could give us great photographs without them looking staged and who could achieve a natural photojournalistic style. Jamie really goes the extra mile and we spent a lot of time with him on our engagement shoot and before, discussing the wedding and our style. On the day, he stayed until late in the evening to ensure we got a fantastic range of photos, from the getting ready shots, through the ceremony and reception, first dance and right to almost the end where it was dark and everyone was hitting the dance floor hard!
The Great Food Company were one of Ufton Court’s preferred suppliers. We chose them because they had spent many years running a catering business in France and no one knows food like the French so if you can successfully run a business there, you must serve great food! The two most important things for us to have were a beautiful venue and plenty of delicious food and drink. I’ve been to weddings where the bride and groom have splashed out on a band and wedding favours/stationary and compromised on food and drink. You end up with those 2 hours between the ceremony and wedding breakfast starving and spinning out one drink and, as a guest, that’s awful! We were really clear that this wedding was to be a fabulous, fun party at which we happened to also get married. And that’s really what it was. The catering team were impeccable. Fantastic service. No one ever had an empty glass or belly. The canapes were outstanding, the drink flowed and the guests all commented on how fantastic the food was. We opted for a Greek meze for the starter at the wedding breakfast, follwed by sharing platters of garlic and lemon chicken, flat iron steak with nasturtium butter and herb rubbed salmon, with lots of salads and potatoes. The sharing nature generated lots of chat and ensured that people who were sitting next to others that they didn’t know had an immediate talking point. We finished with chocolate fudge cake, which again was delicious!
The venue didn’t charge corkage so we bought our own wine, fizz, beers and soft drinks which saved us a lot of money. Although we kept the wine in our loft conversion and over the hot summer, the white went off! So make sure you have a cool place to store wine if you buy your own as ours was an expensive mistake!
(They were vegetables!) Herbert and Isles – these two girls are hugely creative and had so much fun sourcing the most beautiful vegetables for our ‘flowers’.
Instead of favours, we bought everyone ‘face mats’ which we placed in envelopes on each table setting so that again, there was an immediate talking point and ice breaker. For the un-initiated, face mats are beer mats with a notch cut in so they hang off your nose. They’re printed with the mouth and chin of people pulling faces, with beards, crazy teeth etc. They made for some hilarious photos and created a sense of fun from the start.
more-than-just-words.co.uk. We went with a really simple postcard style invitation as quite honestly, people just need to know when, where and who. They were lovely and very reasonably priced though! I also included an insert not just with hotel and taxi details but also an FAQ of when we’d be eating (so guests could plan their day) and also other key questions that people often ask.
Thames Valley DJs. We debated whether to have a band or DJ but because music and dancing has played such a big role in both our lives, we decided on a DJ and set the playlist towards a mix of hip hop and R&B with some current party tunes – which ended up with Dr Dre and Biggie being broken up with a bit of Taylor Swift! Perfect! Requests abounded and the mix became more eclectic with Vanilla Ice being followed by the Smiths!
We went to Kefalonia for a week but are planning a longer trip to Mexico next year when I’ve got over the huge amount of planning I had to do while trying to run a business!
Don’t sweat the small stuff. No one cares how much your invitations cost or how fancy they are. No one really cares about the cake either! Everyone is there for you because they love you both, so don’t feel nervous. Do a speech if you’re the bride – it’s liberating and again, everyone is rooting for you so there’s no need to feel anxious. Stay true to yourselves. Don’t do something because Aunty Nora wants you to. Relax – you look beautiful! Let people help you. You’re not alone. Be firm – it’s your wedding – if you don’t want something the traditional way then say so! Most suppliers love to do things a little differently. Don’t scrimp on your photographer – get someone good because those photos are to be cherished for the rest of your married life. Finally, hold onto every moment. The day goes so fast and it’s over before you know it.
Where did you find your inspiration? I used Pinterest but am proud to say I only went to one wedding fair (at our venue) and I bought NO wedding magazines. The idea of chair covers and bows literally makes me gag. I wanted this wedding to be original and to represent us as a couple – relaxed, informal and never knowingly serious.