‘Tropical Paradise At Home’ Bright And Colourful Party and Wedding Inspiration for Smaller Gatherings
With weddings, parties and social gatherings getting smaller and smaller as the weeks go on...
Today I am delighted to welcome back a Boho regular to the Blog Mark Tattersall. Mark is a wonderful photographer and someone I had the pleasure of working with a few years back when I was planning weddings. Today it’s the turn of Rick and Sarah who held their wedding on a glorious summers day back in May when it was warm and sunny. They chose a glamorous English country garden wedding theme and mixed it with blush pinks and peaches and accents of gold. A super sweet day, with lots of personal touches.
Rick and Sarah were married on Friday 26th May 2017 at Abbeywood Estate near Delamere. ‘Abbeywood was the last venue we went to see. We’d provisionally booked another place but fell in love with Abbeywood’s gorgeous grounds at first sight. We loved the setting which includes a mixture of beautiful gardens, wide, open spaces and forest. We had about 100 guests and the wedding took just under 18 months to plan.’
How they met
We met at college when we were 17 and were friends for years before getting together at a house party.
It was a complete surprise. After spending Christmas Day in Chesterfield, we headed off through the Peak District on Boxing Day en route to Sarah’s family home near Bolton. Rick suggested an impromptu stop off in Bakewell en route, somewhere we’d been before and has grown to love. We decided to return to the spot where we’d done some geocaching (a kind of treasure hunt – Google it!) previously and Rick encouraged Sarah to re-find the treasure – which was hidden in an old camera-film cylinder stuck to the bottom of a bench with a magnet. Sarah found the treasure and was surprised to find a slip of paper with ‘Will you marry me’ inside it – accompanied by Rick down on bended knee (despite the mud and rain)! Sarah said yes and the rest is history.
How did you allocate your budget?
The majority of the budget went on the venue and food.
Where did you splurge and how did you save?
We had some help from family financially but paid for the bulk of the wedding ourselves. We tried to save money where we could. Sarah and the bridesmaids painstakingly hand-made all of the wedding favours – fans in floral/gold patterns. These went down a storm as it ended up being one of the hottest days of the year! We made all of the signage and table plan ourselves using frames from charity shops. The table numbers were made from Ikea Tolsby frames all spray-painted gold. These contained a portrait of either a scientist (Rick) or artist (Sarah) including everyone from Picasso to Charles Darwin. We also saved by ordering a wedding cake from Waitrose which we found really good value for money plus tasted incredible.
Why did you choose your photographer?
We met with two photographers but chose Mark for his artistic, reportage style of photography. His photos are incredible plus he’s a really sound guy!
The dress and long, ‘skinny’ veil came from the Bridal Path in Altrincham. The A-line dress ‘Tamsin’ was the first Sarah tried on and was by Pronovias. The shoes were gold heeled sandals with floral-embellishment on the heel by Dune. Sarah switched to white Converse in the evening once her feet began to burn!
The Suit and Bridesmaids
The three-piece suits were navy and came from Slaters. The groom’s party wore gold/yellow ties and pocket squares and were given pocket watches and fun, patterned socks as gifts. Rick made sure he stood out by wearing a special, hired waistcoat in grey checked tweed.
The three bridesmaids wore matching pale pink chiffon dresses featuring a delicate lace back – a much-loved bargain from ASOS. The Maid of Honour, the bride’s sister, Charlotte, wore a mauve tulle dress with sequin embellishment, also from ASOS. The bridesman, Chris, also wore a suit from Slaters but with a nude/pink tie and pocket square and a bespoke buttonhole.
Theme or Colour Scheme
Soft, blush pink, peach and gold.
Big fluffy peonies, café au lait dahlias, roses, eucalyptus and jasmine (because of its beautiful smell). The flowers were all in shades of pale pink, nude, white and peach.
Our florist made a flower arch for our ceremony covered in eucalyptus and white and pale pink roses. In the glasshouse – the location for the reception, we strung white festoon lighting from the ceilings. The table centre pieces were circular logs filled with jars and vintage cut-crystal vases, all collected by friends and family which were filled with beautiful flowers in shades of white, pale pink and peach with lots of green. Gold tea lights and hand-made fan favours completed the table set-up.
After the ceremony, the guests spilled out on the lawn for a prosecco reception followed by picnic themed canapes including scotch eggs and halloumi skewers. We then had an ice cream cart offering tubs of either strawberry, honeycomb or vanilla ice cream. We wanted a relaxed, informal wedding breakfast so chose pie and mash with served with spring vegetables grown at Abbeywood itself. We served a mixture of steak and chicken and tarragon pies along with potato or sweet potato mash and lashings of gravy – it’s Sarah’s favourite. This was followed by a dessert table filled with chocolate brownies, lemon meringue tarts (Sarah’s favourite) and a scone station (Rick’s favourite). Later in the evening, guests were treated to a tasty hog roast. We knew we wouldn’t end of eating a lot throughout the day so also pre-ordered a cheese plate to our room for when the party was over!
We decided to save some money here and ordered a naked sponge cake from Waitrose, which was absolutely delicious. We decorated the cake with berries and rose petals along with figurines of our pets – our two cats Rupert and Pixie and tortoise, Darwin.
We had a string quartet for the ceremony made up of students from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. The group played a mixture of classical music along with some of our favourite songs by Oasis, Queen and Pulp. Sarah walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon and then once the ceremony was finished, we walked back up the aisle to ‘Friday I’m in love’ by the Cure. We bought a variety of garden games for guests to enjoy throughout the day including croquet, badminton and limbo. There’s also a tennis court at Abbeywood which was popular even in the baking heat!
Later in the evening we were joined by Manchester-based band, Drum ‘n’ Brass who were amazing and really helped create a party atmosphere. Our first dance was ‘Let’s Dance’ by David Bowie – Sarah’s favourite song ever and one of Rick’s. The dance floor was never empty and the band really got everyone up on their feet. The band played a wide variety of songs by Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, Outkast, Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder and the set list also included a brilliant Backstreets Back/Toxic/Survivor/Spice Up Your Life mix!
Who supplied the stationery?
Rick designed the invitations and menus which had a vintage, floral theme. We didn’t bother with save the dates and just let people know by phone/text/email/.
Rick wore a pin (a wedding present from Sarah) which contained a photo of him and his Grandad who passed away years ago. Sarah’s ‘something old and borrowed’ was a locket pinned inside her bag containing pictures of family and her Grandad who passed away over Christmas.
Special Moments or Highlights
Walking down the aisle and seeing the faces of all our friends and family all together in one place. We loved our first dance – especially when everyone came and joined us on the dance floor. Another memorable point was when everyone danced in a circle to ‘Don’t look back in anger’ by Oasis.
Advice for Other Couples
Book the venue and photographer as soon as you can. Ask friends and family for help as people genuinely want to get involved. We had an amazing support group around us which really helped. Delegate where you can and use Trello as a project management tool – it helped us get organised and break down our planning into management tasks. Learn to make decisions quickly and be happy with the choice you made! Sarah once spent a full 24 hours contemplating which colour confetti to buy!
I know it’s a cliché but just how quickly time went by. We made sure we took some time throughout the day to try and take it all in but it absolutely flew by. Plus we ate very little of the delicious food on offer. We’re still sad we didn’t get to have a hog sandwich!