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Happy Friday everyone and welcome to the weekend, OK maybe it’s a tad early to start celebrating the end of the working week just yet but only a few hours to go! What have you got planned this weekend? I am off to join Jon at S6 Photography tomorrow for his photography workshop. Nik and I are playing at modelling for the workshop and I am also giving a talk on blogging, so an exciting weekend! Before that though I have a gorgeous barn wedding from Chris Blackledge Photography. The couple Katherine and Peter went for a laid back day with a loose travel and books theme that works perfectly in this gorgeous barn venue.
Katherine and Peter were married on 8th October 2014 at East Court Mansion, West Sussex and the reception was held at The Red Barn Pub in Surrey. ‘We had seen the Red Barn online when searching for ‘relaxed’ wedding venues and went for lunch there to check it out. As soon as we walked in we knew it was right for us. We loved the relaxed pub atmosphere and the beautiful old barn. We then looked for places to hold the ceremony nearby and found East Court Mansion. The views over the Ashdown forest are stunning and the old Georgian house is beautiful.We had 68 guests in the day, an extra 40 in the evening. The wedding took a total of 1 year to plan.’
How they met
We have been together for 12 years, but have known each other since secondary school – Peter was sent to sit next to me in Maths so I could be a good influence on him! We were friends throughout school and beyond, and finally became a couple when we were 21 after a kiss on Christmas Eve.
A few years ago we went to Vietnam and Cambodia. We ended our trip at Angkor Wat, treating ourselves to a swanky hotel rather than the back packer places we’d been staying in for the rest of the trip. We got up early to watch the sunrise over the Angkor temples then spent the day there exploring. We returned to the hotel where Pete had booked dinner for us in a private garden. We had dinner on a swing bed surrounded by candles and fountains. At the end of the meal Pete got down on one knee and asked if I would be his wife. The perfect end to the perfect day.
How did you allocate your budget
The largest part of our budget went on the wedding breakfast and entertainment. We had a fairly modest budget and did many things ourselves.
How did you choose your photographer
We were lucky enough to find Chris Blackledge by searching online for a photographer. We really liked the style of his shots on his website and when we met him we knew he’d be the right man for the job and understood what we wanted – a relaxed and informal feel to our wedding photos. We love our photos and Chris was brilliant on the day, great at getting the right shots without being intrusive.
I wanted my dress to reflect the whole laidback feel of the wedding and knew a big dress wasn’t for me. I got my dress from Phase Eight’s wedding department, the shoes from Debenhams and jewellery from Not on the high street except my earrings which were pearl and diamond – a wedding gift from Pete. I also had a furry little jacket from Monsoon.
The Suit and Bridesmaids
Peter didn’t want to go for the traditional wedding mourning suit and so put his outfit together from different shops. His jacket was Hugo Boss, waist coat and trousers from John Lewis, and shirt and tie from TM Lewin. His cufflinks were handmade from old watch mechanisms by his colleague. His Dreyfus and company watch was a wedding present from me.
Theme or Colour Scheme
The colours for our wedding were navy and grey. We didn’t really have a strong theme but we both love travel and books so we had little touches to reflect this, like having an old book of love poetry hollowed out to carry our wedding rings, and naming the guests’ tables after cities we’d visited with photos of us in that place on each table.
We wanted our flowers to have a wild flower look about them – to not be too structured. We told our florist, Jackie Brooks, that we wanted sunflowers in the bouquets and centre pieces and wanted them to include blue flowers but left her free to include anything she thought would work. She did not disappoint – I was delighted when Jackie delivered the bouquets in the morning, they were exactly what I had pictured
We kept it fairly simple with the decoration – the venue was so perfect with its wall of books and fairy lights on the wooden beams that we didn’t need to do much. Our centre pieces were flowers in mason jars and there were flowers and stones with hearts on, on the tables. We used an old beer barrel to rest our table plan on, which had cards for each table pinned up in an old suitcase.
We had a few canapés during the drinks reception after the ceremony. For the wedding breakfast we wanted our guests to feel like they’d eaten a decent amount of food (hate feeling hungry at a wedding!!), and for it to fit the style of the day. So there was a choice from the pub classics of steak and ale pie, sausage and mash or fish and chips. Then in the evening we had bacon and sausage sarnies rather than a buffet.
We loved the idea of the guests serving themselves dessert so we had a Victoria sponge cake from our favourite cake shop Konditor and Cook on each table. They worked as decoration for the table and dessert! The cake for the top table that we cut together, was decorated with berries and mini ‘just married’ bunting.
My maid of honour’s brother has a band who are so much fun so there wasn’t a contest when thinking about entertainment. They were brilliant and really got the party started, everyone loved them. After their set we had a playlist that Pete had spent hours compiling which ensured the party continued.
Buy or DIY your Stationery
Peter is a graphic designer so he painstakingly designed and hand made all the stationery for the wedding.
Personal or Handmade Touches
We wanted some personal touches to the wedding (and it helped to keep costs down!) so we used stones as our guests’ place names and painted their names on them. I also made paper flowers from love sonnets and Jane Austen novels – they took many evenings in front of the TV (and few burns from the glue gun!) but they were worth it. I love going to friends’ houses and seeing the little flowers on their bookshelves and mantelpieces. We also had a bunch of flowers in my trusty pair of wellies that have accompanied us to many a festival and camping trip.
There were many special moments of our day, but the most special was being able to surprise our guests by announcing my pregnancy. After the ceremony we stood on the steps of the terrace, gathered our guests around us and told them our happy news. It was a moment we will never forget: to see our family and friends laugh, cry and whoop with joy!
Advice to other couples
The best advice I can give is you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a wonderful day. If you don’t have a huge budget then work out together what the things are that you both really want and don’t feel pressured to do other things ‘because that’s what you’re supposed to do’. Don’t stress about small things, you won’t care on the day.
We had two great surprises on the day, the first one during the ceremony when one of Pete’s groomsmen read an amazing poem about us he had written himself. We had given him free reign to give any type of reading during the ceremony and are so pleased we left it as a surprise – it was brilliant, hilarious and set the scene perfectly for the rest of the day.
Our next surprise was from the best men (there were 3!) At the end of their speeches they had arranged a big sing along, with lead vocals from 2 of the guests to ‘Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong’! It sounds really cheesy but it was brilliant fun and everyone really go into the swing of it. It was a fantastic end to some pretty emotional speeches and got us into party mode.
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This wedding was so cute and heavenly!! Gawd!!!
I do many a wedding through out the year, Grand ones to small interment ones, I love them all in different ways. Now and again you do a wedding that takes your breath away, I go home and tell my family all about it. THIS was one of them. I had the pleasure of designing their wedding flowers. When I’m old and frail with fading memories, this is one of those weddings that will stand out for me.I wish them both a long and enjoyable life together. Jackie x