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Happy Friday everyone! I hope you are all well and are looking forward to the weekend ahead! If you love food like I do then you will LOVE todays wedding from Gabrielle Mcmillan Photography. James and Nola let their guests choose from the menu, instead of serving the same meal to everyone and then put on an amazing evening spread consisting of 5 different food stations! A real home loving wedding that took place in their hometown at their favourite local restaurant. With a bespoke wedding dress, gorgeous flowers, an eclectic style reception, this pub wedding is just gorgeous.
James and Nola were married on 13th June 2015 at the ceremony was held at Henley on Thames Town Hall with the reception being held at the The Crooked Billet Stoke Row near Henley on Thames. ‘We can see the Town Hall from our house. We love Henley it’s our home and we wanted out wedding to be as much about us as we could. The Crooked Billet down the road in Stoke Row is one of our favourite restaurants it has a friendly informal and charming atmosphere and the food is glorious. The owner Paul Clerehugh is lovely man a wonderful chief and a good friend so it was an easy choice. The ceremony was small, closest friends and family. There were 60 of us. The reception was however one hell of a party. We have a lot of friends and we wanted to include every one. I think it ended up being about 300 people. We only really started thinking about it about 6 months before hand. I have a very busy job so wedding planning had to fit around that. It was mostly planned on days when I had been working nights or on occasional weekends off’
How they met
James was at school with my older brother (you can imagine how unimpressed he was when we got together). I had heard many stories of his antics as I was growing up but we officially met at my brothers wedding when I was 21. I hated him and he ignored me.
Many years later we then re met and things went a little different. We where together 7 years before he asked me to marry him.
He took me out on his boat on a beautiful sunny day down the Thames. He kept going on about being late for lunch then took me in completely in the wrong direction up the river. I thought he had lost his marbles. We went to Temple Island in the middle of the river. It was lovely he got down on one knee with his grandmothers ring. For once I was completely speechless. I also later found out that he had already asked my dad for my hand, sweetly old fashioned I thought.
How did you allocate your budget
We paid a third my parents a third and James’ parent’s a third. We simply looked at our priorities and put the money in to that. There seems to be so much silly stuff that you are made to feel is important. I tried not to get sucked in and stressed about it all.
Where did you splurge and where did you save
We didn’t want to spend stupid amounts on things that where really not important to us. Neither of us like cake so no cake. I like beautiful clothes but think that most wedding dresses are ridiculously overpriced (and often ugly!). So my dress was simple made for me and not designer. I was not that bothered about fancy formal flower arrangements so apart from the bouquets and button holes we just had bright random wild flowers chucked in vases by me my mum and some friends.
We love good wine and food so there was plenty of that and we wanted as many people as possible to share in our day hence the volume of guests.
How did you choose your photographer
Gabby was an old friend of my husbands. She was fantastic, neither of us like having our photos taken and have a tendency to pull silly faces. However she was so unobtrusive and took so many fantastic pics I was so glad she was there. Having such a beautiful record of the day, which flew past in such a blur, is such a lovely thing.
A lovely independent dressmaker called Karen Reilly made my dress for me. A friend who had had her dress made by her recommended her to me. I brought her a pic of a dress I liked and she made it for me. Not only did it fit me perfectly but also looked better than the original picture. I love it and as it is so simple I am now dying it dark blue to ware to black tie events.
My mother is a wonderful creative and beautiful milliner so I had to have my divine little bird cage vale made by her. My shoes where Rachel Simpson. My hand bag was a cheepie off the internet.
The Suit and Bridesmaids
James brought his suit from Hackett and his shoes where from his fave Crocket and Jones.
My little bridesmaids all wore bright flowery dresses that they helped pick from M&S and my maid of honour picked her own bright yellow dress from Nicole Miller. She did have a bit of a mission to shoe horn her self into it on the day as she was quiet pregnant by the time the wedding came round.
Theme or Colour Scheme
Bright and cheerful colours my husband like sunflowers so they got incorporated into the bouquets and buttonholes.
Sunflower as James likes then and forget-me-nots as my father in law likes them. The rest was just a wild mountain of colourful in season flowers. A friend Nicki Barley who is returning to being a florist after having a family did my bouquets and buttonholes and went up to London to pick up the rest of the flowers. My friends and mum helped me throw the mish mash bright buds into vases over the tables and around the reception.
Paul at the Crooked Billet organised most of the decorations. The best bit was the old school pick up truck with the back filled with ice and champagne.
The sit down lunch for the 60 person wedding party had an abbreviated standard menu to choose from which was a happy change from the usual wedding set menu. The food at the Billet is just divine. In the evening there was food stations dotted around the garden of the pub. People could eat when they wanted. We had the Wok guys doing Asian style noodles and broths, an oyster and seafood bar and a pulled pork and gourmet burger bar. There was also the most amazing desert bar and a table groaning under the cheese on offer.
Couldn’t be bothered with cake but was had the most amazing cheese table.
The Jamie Bruce Band. Jamie is a lovely larger then life friend of ours. He plays in a couple of bands but we wanted his band specifically. They where fun lively and played a mix of new stuff for the young ones and some golden oldies to keep every one on the dance floor.
We wanted to keep it simple and classic (the husband definitely vetoed anything cute or kitsch). Gee Brothers supplied classic white heavy weight invites.
Personal or Handmade Touches
Involving as many people we knew and loved as possible and doing it right on our doorstep made it all about us and is what we wanted. Doing the flowers our selves was also quiet fun (time consuming but fun!). We go back to the Billet (where we had our reception) on a regular basis for dinner. It makes me smile so much to be there.
All of it was amazing I loved every moment. Saying my little wedding vow speech to James and also the moment we walked out of the town hall to a cheering crowd of our friends where special high lights. Coming home at the end of the evening to see our little puppy and just having a quiet moment together just the three of us was lovely, our little family in our home.
Advice to other couples
Don’t stress it really should be something fun. No one except you is going to notice if the flowers don’t exactly mach the cake frosting or the bridesmaid’s skirts or what ever. Also don’t feel like you have to spend every penny you have and more. Enjoyment is about your attitude to the day, not the price tag. Finally try to take a moment to take it all in together. It goes past too fast no matter what but try to hang on to a few moments.
How quick it went. It’s a huge clique I know but it was over in an instant.
I am a full time professional photographer based in Marlow covering Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire but I work all over the country and sometimes overseas.
My approach is un-obtrusive, relaxed and enjoyable. Style wise I am more of a documentary photographer capturing the in-between moments as well as the epic moments. I love what I do which hopefully reflects in my work.