Hello you lovely lot and do I have a smashing wedding to share with you...
Yay! It’s Friday and only a week now before a lot of you break up for the Christmas break! I am SO excited for Christmas, I have 3 Christmas do’s this week which has really put me in the Christmas spirit. I have had the last couple of days off as I am currently in London meeting up with my family and Nik’s family. I have a big family meal tonight and I am so excited because I am going to see my mum tonight, it’s been 6 months since I have seen her, so it’s a pretty big deal! Lots more things to look forward to this weekend, so it’s been a good one all round!
To end the week I have this gorgeous summer wedding from Tux and Tales. A beautiful pastel wedding set in a barn in Surrey. Full of homemade and personal touches Gina and Chris really worked together as a team to pull their wedding together, more proof that men are getting more and more involved with the wedding plans!
Gina and Chris were married on the 3rd of August at St Martin’s Church, followed by a reception at The Old Green Barn, Newdigate, Surrey. ‘When we first saw the barn at Green’s Farm we both knew it was the perfect venue for us. A complete blank canvas for us to really make our own and to reflect us and the things we love, rather than simply choosing a package. The barn has been wonderfully restored and is set on a working farm complete with fishing lakes and a dilapidated shepherds hut. We knew that if we were going to do it in Surrey we’d want to get married at St Martin’s Church, where both Chris’ parents and grandparents had also got married – on the 3rd August. This really did make the decision even more exciting, as well as emotional! Due to the rural location of the farm we decided not to have separate evening guests, so we had 100 of our closest family and friends attend the whole day. We were engaged at the end of May 2012 and stated planning the wedding straight away, so we had 14 months altogether.’
How they met
We met at Uni in Sheffield at the end of our first year, where we both studied Politics. We became great friends and went to many drum and bass nights together at the student’s union (although I’m sure Chris only started going with me to use my free entry as I was Vice Chair of the Ents Society at the time!), however it took us a year and a half and lots of pestering from our friends before we finally got together.
It was the jubilee bank holiday weekend, so we decided to take a few extra days to make it a really long one! On the Thursday morning we packed our bags to head to Chris’ parents where we were going to stay a few days, or so I thought. When we got there we brought the bag in (little did I know it went straight back in the boot when I wasn’t looking) and decided that as the weather was nice we’d go for a walk. As we were going through the woods and one of our favourite spots, Friday Street near Dorking, it was there that Chris stopped and turned to me and asked me to marry him. I didn’t quite believe him at first, laughed and asked him 3 times whether he was being serious! I then demanded he got down on one knee in the mud just to make sure. It was only then that I really knew he was being serious! Chris then whisked me to the jewellers in Guildford where we chose the ring and spent a lovely night at a hotel!
How did you allocate your budget?
One of our first conversations about the wedding before we started looking at anything else was the budget. We knew we didn’t want to spend a fortune but were realistic about how much things would cost, especially feeding 100 people!
Why did you choose your photographer?
We knew we wanted our photos to capture the reality of the day, rather than to dress things up for the photos. Friends of ours had used Tux and Tales for their wedding and we loved their photos, beautiful colours and natural poses. Once we had our first skype chat we knew they’d both be great. We both immediately felt relaxed around them and they were a great laugh. The engagement shoot in Sheffield meant we were both at ease on the day of our wedding and we’re delighted with the photos of our big day. Chris was even able to show them some of his very ‘innovative’ poses he used to use at Uni!
The dress was Benjamin Roberts from Fleur de Lys in my home town of Saffron Walden. I originally tried on a much more simple sleeveless version of the dress as I didn’t want anything too ‘bling’ however the shop had just had this version in to trial and I loved it. My mum and my sister helped me go dress shopping and I knew from their faces that it was the one. It was actually the first shop I looked in and after only going to one other shop all I wanted to do was go back to the other shop and try it on again! I then got the shoes from Next and my hair piece from Jon Richard at Debenhams for a bargain at £20. My ‘something old’ was a pearl drop necklace that was my nan’s, my ‘new’ was some pearl earrings from my sister, ‘borrowed’ was one of my bridesmaid’s veil and ‘blue’ was my sapphire engagement ring!
The suit and bridesmaids
I loved the bridesmaid dresses, which were from Warehouse. I think they all looked absolutely amazing and the colour was perfect! The shoes were a bargain from Asda and went with the dresses beautifully. At the Hen do I gave them all ‘Bridesmaid’ canvas shopper bags as a thank you for organising a fantastic weekend, which were from Notonthehighstreet.com and also came in handy on the day. I also got them all pink freshwater pearl earrings and some fab heart shaped sunglasses which I gave them on the morning of the wedding and appeared in MANY photos on the day.
Chris wanted to go with a classic lounge suit for himself and the ushers. These were from a small company based in Bookham, Surrey. Getting the suits from a local place meant Chris could get a tie, handkerchief and so on from elsewhere rather than be tied to the typical hire stuff.
Theme or colour scheme
We didn’t have a strict colour scheme and instead kept to natural tones and pastels, which fitted well with our outdoorsy relaxed theme. The bunting material was all brought from our local haberdashery in Balham, and surprisingly Chris seemed to have quite strong opinions of what he liked and what he didn’t like. Who knew?! Everything else just slotted into place around that, with the country garden flowers in pastel green and blue jugs on the tables and lots of hessian!
Neither of us know much about flowers, however in my head I knew exactly how I wanted them to look, English country garden/wild flowers in our rustic pastel colour theme. The florist, who was a family friend, was absolutely fantastic and the flowers looked amazing. She even sat through a 20 page PowerPoint presentation of pictures I’d taken off the internet! Chris was horrified, but I think we were on the same wave length and she thought it was really helpful! We also decided to have wrist corsages on pearl bracelets for the bridesmaids as they seemed so much more practical!
One of the reasons we loved the barn was that it was so stunning you really didn’t have to do much in the way of decoration! One of the bridesmaids made absolutely masses of bunting, which went up pretty much everywhere and was the main decoration.
We decided to go for a hog roast but wanted to avoid long queues at a buffet, so everything was served in big bowls on the table so everyone could help themselves without the wait. The food went down really well and I even heard of some guests (who shall remain nameless) went round finishing the leftovers from other tables! Our dessert was a Gin and tonic pannacotta with lime foam, reflecting our love for gin – and contained lots of it! We also had a cheese board in the evening for those who were still peckish.
The wedding cake
We weren’t sure if we were going to have a cake, as we didn’t want to have the obligatory ‘cutting the cake’ moment after the meal and our budget was disappearing quickly. In the end we decided we’d have some fun with it and would make one ourselves. Chris is a vinyl addict and his 2 turntables take pride of place in our bedroom, so this was our inspiration for our cake! With a little bit of internet research and a lot of packets of dolly mixture and liquorice allsorts later we had our turntable wedding cake!
We wanted to keep it simple, but hoped for (and were blessed) with some great weather. Garden games and the like were outside and kept everyone entertained before the meal (along with the home brew). In the evening we enlisted a good friends’ Dad who DJs professionally (he also runs swing and jive dances as JagJive). Chris also got behind the decks for a 30 minute D’n’B session later in the evening which really got people dancing! I was even throwing myself around the dance floor with my dress hoisted up over my arm!
Did you buy or DIY your Stationery?
For the stationery I found a great website that allowed you to personalise your own image, which we then used on all of our stationery. To keep it simple we used a typewriter style font on everything. I loved the little save the date cards, which were done in the style of postcards.
Handmade or personal touches
After we got engaged I knew that I would really enjoy all the personal touches and excuses for a bit of arts and crafts on the living room floor. Almost all our decoration and stationary was handmade and put together by us. We even had homebrew drinks! A few of our favourite things are:
• The bunting: we chose 4 different fabrics and my amazing bridesmaid Gill made it all happen. I’m still apologising now for ‘bunting-gate’, which was a triangle cutting evening where the stress of it all (and a few too many glasses of wine) got to me a bit!
• Home brew; Chris made some home brew beer which went down a real treat. Dedicated to his granddad, the ‘Old Chas’ beer seemed the perfect nod to the man who introduced him to ale but was no longer with us. I also made a sloe gin cocktail and an Elderflower cordial with some foraging in south west London!
• Table numbers: we decided to use different years for our table numbers, with photos to capture each. These went from the year I was born, when Chris was still baking in the oven to 2012 when we got engaged.
• Name cards: we used brown luggage tags with typewriter style stamps for the names, which were tied to the base of glasses. A great way to keep hold of your drink too!
• Confetti: I wanted to have lots of confetti after the ceremony so filled loads of small organza bags of dried flowers and lavender for confetti
• The table plan: was a cork board covered in hessian with strings of miniature bunting
• Card box: we used an old singer sewing box lid turned on its side with a ‘cards’ banner made with more miniature bunting. A bit random but did the job!
• One of my favourite things at the wedding was our card/guest book table, which had photos of our family on their wedding days and lots of sweets to lure people over to sign the guest book! We even had a John Cooper Clark poem framed, which Chris had wanted as a reading in the church, but we weren’t sure was particularly appropriate!
Special moments or highlights
Gina – For me the whole day was amazing, and having so many family and friends there to share the special day with was quite overwhelming. There are a few moments though that I think will always stay very vivid in my mind. My dad’s face when saw me in my dress for the first time just as we were getting ready to leave for the church, seeing Chris stood at the end of the aisle as I walked towards him and him not turning to look at me until I was by his side, and my nanna, who had about 3 bags of confetti and decided to throw it all down the front of my dress in her excitement!
Chris – The whole day was perfect and went by too fast. Seeing Gina in her dress for the first time is something I will never forget. Similarly, struggling to hold it together throughout the ceremony comes to mind every time I think back to the wedding. Being surrounded by so many people that were wishing us well, laughing at my bad jokes during the speech and enjoying the personal bits and bobs at the reception was brilliant and everything you’d hope it would be.
What was your biggest surprise of the day?
We spend our first night as a married couple in a small gypsy caravan in a quiet field miles away from civilisation. Chris’ parents organised it as a surprise for us on the night and it was fantastic. The taxi driver had even done a dry run of the route so that the sat-nav wouldn’t give it away! Waking up to the sun coming up and remembering all from the day before miles away from anywhere was marvellous!
Advice for other couples
Enjoy the whole process, as the day itself goes so fast! I loved all the DIY and planning and sharing all our ideas with friends and family. I was even showing everyone pictures of my dress after I bought it as I was so excited about it! We also really enjoyed doing everything together as a couple. I think sometimes brides have a tendency to think they know best and want to do it all, but we really enjoyed some of the arts and craft with a bottle of wine on a Friday night. Boys are better at these things than we give them credit for sometimes!