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Yay for Friday! I am so happy it’s the weekend! It may have been sunny all this week but I have been in my office all week, so today I’m off to enjoy this lovely weather with my boy, I may even sneak in an ice cream! I hope you have managed to enjoy some of the amazing sunshine we have been having, and if not then I hope it lasts long enough for us all to enjoy it this weekend! Speaking of sunshine, on Wednesday I shared with you Sarah and Lawrence’s amazing sun filled wedding, that took place on the hottest day of the year last year. Well, today I have another wedding from the very same date! and yes, this wedding is also filled with sunshine! Victoria and Mark knew they wanted an outdoor ceremony and when they found Ness Botanical Gardens, they knew they had found the perfect place to have it. Adding in a loose lego theme, mixed with vintage touches and rustic details, their wedding is jam packed with fun, laughter and so much love. Thanks goes to Willo Photography for the images.
Victoria and Mark were married on 17th June 2017 at Ness Botanical Gardens, Wirral. ‘We live in Liverpool and wanted to be married somewhere quite local. As a couple, we felt we didn’t want anything formal like a hotel or church and decided to look for a perfect outdoor venue. Outdoors for us meant stripped back and natural. We found Ness Gardens to be absolutely perfect for our summer garden vibe. We had around 65 guests, we wanted it to be as intimate as possible. It took over 18 months between proposal to wedding day it was only a matter of gradually decreasing a to-do list but on the whole it was less than 9 months.’
How they met
We met at work and have been together for five years!
Mark: Well, I had planned it meticulously for a whole year. We flew to New York City at Christmas, visited the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island, then made our way on the Subway to Brooklyn. I decided months before that the proposal had to be in Brooklyn near the harbour which has an amazing view of the Manhattan skyline. We were in a bistro around the corner from the bridge, but as I tried to coax her away from the bar to finally show her the ring, she had got talking to two Scottish ladies.
When I told her we have to go and see the bridge her reply was “I’m alright here for now, the bridge isn’t going anywhere.” After an hour or so and around three Jack n’ Cokes, my soon-to-be fiancé finally agreed to “come and see this bloody bridge then”. We headed to the bridge and as we took in the view, I fumbled for the ring in my coat pocket. Amazed by the view, she jokingly asked “You’re not gonna ask me to marry me are ya?!” All I could say was, “well…” and then I gave her the ring. She dropped it and almost ended up in the river, but once she’d stopped crying Jack Daniel flavoured tears she said yes.
How did you allocate your budget?
We knew what we could and could not afford and set strict budgets. We also cut out a lot of expensive unnecessary add-ons, and kept a practical approach. We came in at just under £10,000 (including the Honeymoon!)
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
We saved on the food by only serving it once through the day (Hog Roast) as opposed to a 3-course meal and buffet later, which reduced the cost per head dramatically. We splurged on the honeymoon! We spared no expense on our Mediterranean cruise including nights in Paris and London.
How did you choose your photographer?
Willo Photography’s work speaks for itself, but Lee also came highly recommended from a number of friends. Once we’d had the initial meeting it was clear that we’d found our guy. Not only does he get to know you as a couple therefore being able to personalise every aspect of the day, he also knows weddings inside out and basically acted as a second wedding planner. I kept asking him “What happens next then?” He was incredible throughout.
The most awesome seamstress, Maxine, at Copplestone’s Bridal in Liverpool, completely redesigned the dress I originally chose. She turned it into a 1950s wonder that was just perfect for me. My shoes were Irregular Choice and I found my gold birdcage veil and pearl hair comb online!
The suit and bridesmaids
I chose a navy tartan suit from Slaters Menswear – it was very Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory) and Victoria loved it! Although there was a bit of a panic the day before the wedding, when I realised that none of the alterations I requested had been done! Thankfully it was sorted out and it looked great on the day. Victoria’s 11-year-old daughter was her bridesmaid and looked beautiful in an ivory Monsoon dress.
Theme or colour
When we started planning, we were looking at a woodland/Midsummer Nights Dream/Wonderland fusion but eventually it was refined down to a broader “outdoors indoors / rustic / vintage” theme – we just tried to keep it quite natural and whimsical. We also wanted to throw a lot of our personalities into it, so we included some much loved items into our portraits, along with Lego, which featured quite a lot! The yellow that we used in our flowers and décor echoed the lego too, and went perfectly with the outdoors summer garden vibe.
Our flowers were gorgeous roses and peonies.
We chose decorations to reflect the theme, they bunting themed around music and nature, and LOTS of lights; festoons, lanterns, tree lights which all gave the outdoors a romantic, twinkly glow. We also had wall hangings
We served a Hog Roast on the lawn with all the trimmings. We also had a vintage sweetshop goodies table which people seemed to enjoy just as much as the main food and drink!
We had a LEGO themed wedding cake complete with a LEGO bride and groom.
We found a great way to save some of our budget was the music. Mark made his own playlist which played through a portable Amp Speaker. We also brought our own disco ball! In all, it cost us £60, which was a huge saving and meant we danced to the music we love!
Who supplied the stationery?
The stationery was from Not on the high street. Mark made our hand-drawn woodland themed invitations himself.
Mark: It was important to us to have lots of personal touches throughout our day. I made hand-painted wall hangings, which depicted Vic’s favourite romantic novels (Pride and Prejudice, Twilight & Affair To Remember), they looked great with the woodland table decorations.
Victoria arrived in a VW Beetle (her favourite car), which again, tied into the vintage theme and I arranged for guests to be transported to the venue in a vintage London Bus.
A few other touches include a Han Solo LEGO figure that I wore on my lapel and my wedding ring which depicts the Battle of Hoth scene from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
Victoria: My tears were set off as my Mother, daughter and I entered the gardens to walk up the aisle and a string quartet played Everlong by the Foo Fighters. It was an emotional moment as it’s our favourite song. Another highlight was our first dance, outdoors at sunset. We danced to Beyond The Sea; it was a really special moment.
Advice for other couples
We’d say make it about you. Don’t listen to other people when they tell you what you should and shouldn’t have at your wedding. If you don’t want the formalities’, then just don’t have them. You don’t need to start the day with prosecco and end it with Tina Turner. Do what you want!
It was quite a surprise that the Bride actually arrived before the guests, the vintage bus, which carried guests from Liverpool to Wirral got lost on the way!
We are Lee & Karen, a loved up wedding photography dream duo from Liverpool. We describe our style as natural, documentary. Capturing our couples love story as their day unfolds. The love, the laughs, the tears and all the dancing. Our couples tell us how we end up feeling like a part of the family and we love that! It’s what makes us love what we do even more.