This morning I am whisking you off to beautiful Sintra in Portugal for this super...
Happy Friday everyone, the weekend is nearly upon us! Yay! It’s not so ‘yay’ for me as it is the last day of our holiday in Cornwall, we will be traveling back tomorrow. We have had a lovely time, it has been so great to take some time out to spend with my family, take stock of everything and really appreciate things. So on that note I have the last wedding of the week for you. It’s the lovely Holly and Tomm who created a heartfelt wedding day, full of the things and the people they loved. With personal vows and handmade rings, this wedding really is full of so many personal touches that really did make the day special. Thanks to Fear Photography for the images.
Holly and Tomm were married on the 24th March 2016 at Matara, Gloucestershire. ‘Matara felt right and is owned and ran by the loveliest of people. It is a hidden world of beautiful wildlife and so calm and relaxed. It offered a space so entwined with nature and the outdoors. Matara offered us the possibility to create a day surrounded by all the things that we loved. We had a small personal ceremony with just over 40 of our closest family and friends. Later in the evening, more of our lovely family and friends, just over a 100 in total joined us to dance the night away! We didn’t want to set a date for our wedding until we both clearly had it in our minds what we wanted the day to be like. So, I suppose you could say we had been planning and making elements of it for years! But we booked it a little over 16 months in advance.’
How they met
We met in Tomm’s final year of uni. I had just come to the end of my first degree and we met at a mutual friend’s party. Tomm had just come back from travelling in Thailand and we chatted while I painted henna on his hands! I always forget how long we have been together 10 years in September? 20 years?
We had planned a trip to Tenby for a few days. We were taking a walk on the beach; having just finished some yummy fish and chips, when Tomm pointed out something in the rocks. Puzzled at how; on a very clean beach, there miraculously was a perfectly placed green bottle I began to wonder what he was up to! Inside the bottle was a note saying ‘ Marry me?’. I think my response was ‘Are you doing it, are you doing it now?’
How did you allocate your budget?
We always knew we were going to make a lot of the elements we wanted at the wedding. Also, knowing that we really wanted our family and friends to be part of the day. Knowing our family had made things for the wedding, meant so much more to us than hiring someone to do it. Anything, we knew we needed help with, we wanted to make sure we asked local family run businesses. We had a small budget but honestly had everything we wanted and more.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
I suppose we saved money by making a lot of things for the wedding. Together we created all the decorations; centerpieces, buttonholes, games including Giant Jenga and Tic Tac Toe, to Tomm even having a go at flower arranging for the table flowers! Along with family and friends we decorated the rooms and set everything up the day before. Our amazing families made the gorgeous cakes and biscuits! We decided to make our own rings, as we wanted to experience new things and create more memories in the lead up to the wedding. But I feel this experience was worth every penny! We did splurge more than we had budgeted for on the evening food, having pizza and hog roast but it was just too yummy! However, we did save money by using our Sainsburys Nectar points to buy all the drinks for the wedding! So that makes up for it right?
Why did you choose your photographer?
James Fear is most certainly the most talented wedding photographer I have met. He has an eye to capture those moments no one else sees. Not to be mention one of the nicest and funniest guys. We chatted via message for a while about our mutual love for Fine Art and forgetting why I had originally messaged, I knew he was the photographer. I made a list of 3 photographers for Tomm to look at, one being James, Tomm instantly picked James. The fact you can tell, when seeing one of James’s shots, that he has taken it before even reading the blurb, speaks volumes.
My dress was made by the lovely and talented Pearl. I found wedding dress shopping very overwhelming and struggled to find a dress I truly felt like mine. So, after leaving a beautiful wedding shop, my Auntie Ann suggested I do what I love draw. So I began to draw some sketches of dresses and realised, right there was the dress I would like to wear. I had seen Pearls website and after meeting her I knew I wanted her to make it. My shoes, I had brown leather country boots to dance the night away and bought silk ballet shoes from a local dance shop with lace ties that I sewed lace into to tie around my ankles. My only other accessories were my pearl earrings which I never take out, a present from my mum and dad years ago and a beautiful twisted white gold bracelet Tomm gave to me before the ceremony.
The Suit and Bridesmaids
Tomm bought his Magee tweed suit from ‘Mens Hire’ and I bought him a pocket watch as he had always wanted one. Tomm wanted a tweed suit, finally opting for a lovely blue 3 piece suit! I believe we found his flat cap in a charity shop in Teignmouth! I bought him some funky Loony Tunes cuff links showing Buggs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.
Theme or colour scheme
just a collection of things we had made or loved. I think the only thing we had said was that we wanted the inside space to feel like the outdoors was coming in, full of green and nature. Matara is just so beautiful and made this so easy.
My bouquet and flower crown were created by ‘The Great British Florist’. They have a lovely ethos ‘grown not flown’ and we loved the fact we knew our flowers had been grown on their farm or cut from their hedgerows! Our flowers were a mixture of greens, creams and dried flowers. We loved that woodland, loose feel. I created button holes for our family and friends with the same dried flowers in my bouquet like poppy heads and barley.
Oh gosh, we had lots! Ivy and paper lanterns hung from the center dome in the room. Old pieces of furniture we decorated with moss, ivy, twinkly lights and birds nests filled with chocolate eggs. Old vintage embroidered table cloths and tree slices my dad had cut for us from an old oak tree and local tree surgeon. Our wedding was just full of things that meant something to us or was just beautiful things from nature, like old keys we hang in our garden and a tiny material bunny my mum made years ago.
Our favourite subject! The lovely Sarah and her team created our scrummy rustic canapes, followed by afternoon tea! Including meringues and the best chocolate brownie my friend has ever tasted. We wanted food to always be available at the wedding, so had a ‘cake table’ full of biscuits and cakes made by our mums, my lovely Auntie Jan and beautiful friend Judy. The table also had a 3 tier cheese cake, jars of mums chutney and crackers for guests to tuck into when they wanted. Tomm has a real sweet tooth, so sweets filled jars, bowls, teapots and teacups at the end of the table. In the evening we had hog roast baps with crackling and stuffing. We also had our favourite food … pizza! ‘Flame Baked Pizza’ created yummy freshly cooked pizzas. They created gluten free and vegetarian which was great as we wanted there to be lots of choice for everyone.
I don’t think we really had a wedding cake, as we had a cake table. Very greedy! But I suppose the largest was our 3 tier cheese cake from Tortworth Court Farm shop. Simon, who helped us choose the cheeses was so lovely and really went out of his way for us. It was so scrummy and stood on one of the wooden slabs dad had cut and Tomm had sanded/waxed. I needle felted two little hares to sit next to it, one with a bow tie and one with a flower crown!
Our lovely friend Chessie, sang me down the aisle. She is the most talented singer we know and has the most beautiful effortless voice. Darren Campbell was there to show his magical talents tricks I still can’t work out how he did ! We had ‘The Apple Tree Theory’ who I honestly can say were fantastic. So much so, we are trying to think of an excuse to have another party so we can have them back!
Tomm created all of the stationary we are very lucky as he is a Graphic Designer and could design everything we needed.
There were so many personal touches, so I think I will just pick my favourite. Tomm’s favourite has to be the Photobooth full of signs he had made and props a friend had lent to us from her attic! I think I have two favourites, one is the hankies I embroidered for our mums and my Auntie Jan and the other being our rings. Knowing we made each others is lovely!
I think the band was a huge highlight for us we just completely lost ourselves in the music! But looking around at everyone at afternoon tea, knowing you are together and surrounded by everyone you love is very special. Another highlight for us was watching the fireworks and looking at each other thinking we wouldn’t of changed anything!
Advice for other couples
I suppose just to fill the day with everything you both love, your favourite things. If you want to make a lot of things for your wedding, allow lots of time and make them into a fun experience like making your own rings. Often some of the best memories are created in the build up to the wedding, as well as the day itself. It was so important we made every decision together and this made everything so easy to do. I am a huge worrier and I know that when I am with Tomm, he just has to look at me and I know, everything is just fine. So not getting ready together and sharing the morning was never an option. We got ready in the same cottage, only keeping my dress a secret until he left. I suppose I’m saying this because ‘going against the grain’ and doing what makes you both the happiest you can be, is the most important thing. Create a day that will become one of your favourite days.
For Tomm it was the fireworks! Tomm being so careful with money, fireworks was a luxury he said a resounding ‘no!’ to. So, also being careful with money, but being in love with the feeling and memories of childhood that fireworks bring, I saved in secret. I searched the internet and managed to find a deal I could afford. So on the night, I stepped on to the microphone and asked all the guests and Tomm to make their way outside. A huge firework display was waiting it was truly and absolutely amazing and the hardest secret I have ever kept! Thankfully, he was pleased too!