Hello everyone and welcome back for another edition of our Ask the Experts! This afternoon...
Happy Friday everyone, I hope you have all had a good week so far? Have you got anything good planned for the weekend? It’s a quiet one for me, finishing off lots of jobs, shopping and a play date for Dexter. To finish off the week we have this charming destination wedding from Alternative wedding photographer Paul Underhill. It’s a destination wedding but of a different type as the couple are actually from the Netherlands and held their wedding in the UK, due to a mutual love of our green and pleasant land. They held an outdoor ceremony and filled their lovely venue with beautiful blooms that added a beautiful and colourful touch to their English Country garden theme.
Willemijn and Clint were married on the 19th June 2016 at the Walled Gardens, Moreton, Dorset. ‘We’re from The Netherlands, and we’d spoken about being married before but never really about what our wedding would look like. Both of us immediately thought of a small wedding in the U.K. We met while studying English, and we’re both absolutely in love with the English countryside. Planning a wedding from abroad is slightly more challenging, but in order to find the perfect venue we planned a two week holiday in the U.K. and visited all the locations that we shortlisted. The Walled Gardens & Manor House weren’t on our initial list, but during our trip we loved Dorset so much that we searched specifically for venues in Dorset and that’s when Willemijn stumbled on the Manor House via tripadvisor. We visited the house and right away we knew that this was the place. The Manor House is absolutely gorgeous: for us, it’s the perfect combination of countryside chic and it was large enough to sleep our family. In addition to that, the Walled Gardens (right next to the Manor House) are run by the same couple so they showed us the gardens as well. We decided to have the ceremony & reception in the Walled Gardens and all the evening festivities took place in a marquee in front of the Manor House. All our family stayed in the Manor House during the weekend, and our friends camped in the fields by the Manor House. We had 50 guests and the wedding took 9 months to plan.’
How they met
When we got married, we’d been together almost 11 years. We met while studying English Literature in The Netherlands. Clint was in his second year, and we met on Willemijn’s first day of studying. It took only a few weeks until we were a couple and we’ve been together ever since.
Clint proposed in May of 2015 in our own apartment with our closest family present. The day started with Willemijn thinking she was going out for a full day of shopping with her mum and Clint’s mum. What happened is that Clint surprised her with a surprise party with our closest family, and somewhere during the day he popped the question when we were back in our own apartment.
How did you allocate your budget?
First, we decided what was really important for us: the location, food & photography/videography. Also, we discussed what we thought wasn’t really that important (such as a traditional wedding cake or formal wedding invitations).
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
We definitely splurged in terms of organizing a whole weekend instead of just one day. For us, this was the key to our wedding: we wanted to make sure all the guests at our wedding had a chance to get to know each other before the actual wedding ceremony to make that day feel very intimate. Also, most of them travelled all the way from The Netherlands so we wanted to take this opportunity to show them why we’re so in love with the U.K. Also, we splurged on photography and videography: both very worthwhile. We also spent more on flowers than we initially planned: when we started planning our wedding we didn’t anticipate flowers being this important.
We saved by not sending our formal wedding invitations (we did everything via email), and by not having a traditional wedding cake. We also saved by making almost all the stationary ourselves and by not having a fully staffed bar in the evening, during the party it was self-service.
Why did you choose your photographer?
Paul was actually one of the first suppliers that we booked. For us, our whole wedding was about authenticity so photos that feel posed aren’t really for us. We decided to go for a photographer whose style is ‘documentary’. Again, planning the wedding from abroad means having to google all your suppliers and so we found Paul online. We looked at his portfolio and then planned a Skype call to get to know him, as his photos looked perfect.
I bought my dress in The Netherlands at a Bridal Salon. I think I must have tried on 50 dresses until I finally found this one that I really liked: simple, elegant with a ‘40s/’50s Hollywood-feel. The dress is an Enzoani. I bought my earrings in a small store in The Netherlands. The flower in my hair I borrowed from my sister in law, it matched perfectly with my style, so last-minute I decided to go for that and that was actually really special.
The Suit and Bridesmaids
Clint bought his suit in The Netherlands. Willemijn’s bridesmaid chose her own dress because we wanted to make sure everyone would be wearing something they were comfortable with. We also wanted to make sure everyone felt beautiful and pampered on the day, so we arranged hair & make-up for all of them.
Theme or Colour Scheme
Getting married in the UK might have been the theme!
Our flowers gave an English country garden feel in tones of corals, fresh garden greens, peachy. Willemijn’s bouquet was a round hand tied bouquet using a beautiful selection of English country garden flowers in subtle tones of coral, peachy pinks, creamy whites and a pop of yellow. Lots of textured flowers and foliage were combined together creating a rustic looking bouquet. Stems bound in Neutral ribbon to complement the flowers.
Flowers, candles, smaller decorations such as hearts in the trees by the park. Also, we put up photos of past family weddings which was really lovely.
Willemijn’s a vegetarian and for Clint it was really important that we’d only serve food that Willemijn could eat, so we went all vegetarian. Luckily there’s a great caterer in the village of Moreton (Gordie Sutherland) and he served an absolutely fabulous 4 course vegetarian dinner. Gordie, the chef was amazing. Gordie is simply passionate about food and knows his stuff, so that it was very difficult to make a selection from the options that he gave us. All of his dishes included local ingredients that matched the season. We also ended up asking him to arrange picnic hampers for the day before the wedding (the day we took everyone to see some of the local sights) and that was a big success also.
We didn’t order a traditional wedding cake. Instead, we bought a number of smaller cakes, syrup waffles (traditional Dutch cookies, which we cut in the shape of hearts) and chocolate snacks.
Before, during and after the ceremony an acoustic duo (the Coasters) played music: because they were so much fun, our reception even turned into an outdoor dance party. Their music really fited our ceremony well, and created the perfect mood. In the evening, a 1920s New Orleans style band played; not the traditional wedding band, and not necessarily something most of our family/friends listen/dance to on a daily basis, but we both love this type of music so much that we decided to go for them anyway. A great success and fit very well with the feeling of the day. They gave us a great celebration to end the day, with everybody having a blast and dancing.
DIY, and bought a Save the Date template from Etsy. As we did everything ourselves we could also link all of the items through common motifs.
Lots of them! We wrote our own ceremony and the ceremony was conducted by Clint’s sister, so the people present during our ceremony were all family & friends. We included room for small speeches in the ceremony, so Willemijn’s bridesmaid gave a very personal speech, and also Clint’s best man spoke. All in all the ceremony was very personal and we highly recommend this to couples looking for an intimate wedding.
Special Moments or Highlights
There’s probably too many highlights to mention here, but the speech of Clint’s best man during the wedding ceremony was definitely a highlight. Thom is disabled and publicly delivering a speech wasn’t something he’d done before. He wrote and practiced the speech together with Willemijn’s mum, and in the end he delivered one of the best speeches we’d ever experienced. His delivery was impeccable, his jokes were spot on, and quite a numbers of guests had tears in their eyes from laughing so hard. Thom was really proud, and we still think back fondly to the speech.
Another highlight was the fact that everyone was so helpful in making this a wonderful day, and our suppliers also went out of their way to make the day a success even when the weather wasn’t really helping.
Advice for Other Couples
Really go with your own ideas for your wedding, even if they might seem quirky to your parents/friends/etc: they don’t have the full picture of your wedding so they might not be able to see everything fitting together, and if you feel that this is the right choice for you, then it probably is. Oh, and don’t fret the small stuff or things you can’t control like the weather: it was raining on our wedding day. It stopped raining right before the ceremony and also the fact that it rained had some enjoyable side-effects.
All in all, just how fantastic the day was: if we’d known this we would’ve gotten married years before!