Happy Friday everyone, I hope you have had a good week and that you are...
I have a gorgeous beach wedding for you today from beautiful Dorset, it was sent into me by Anna Morgan and it is just the thing to fill this Tuesday morning! The wedding is totally relaxed and full of some gorgeous details, from the outfits to the transport, the DIY details, to the gorgeous colours, I just love everything about this wedding and the photography is superb. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Rachel and Michael were married on the 14th September, at Highcliffe Castle and the Beach House Mudeford, Dorset. ‘I (Rachel) grew up in Mudeford which is a really beautiful village by the sea and where my family still live. We originally wanted to get married outdoors, but we were worried about the weather. So after a lot of researching we decided on Highcliffe Castle. We originally thought it was too grand for us but the room itself was so simple and bright with its stone floors and big windows we loved the feel of it. It was a lovely contrast having more of a formal ceremony here followed by a very relaxed reception at the Beach House restaurant. Mudeford sandspit is one of our favourite places so it made it extra special having it somewhere so familiar and with so many memories. We had around 80 guests and we had 1 year and 9 months to plan it gradually (some of it planned in a bit of a hurry!).’
How they met
We met at University – we lived on the same floor in halls of residence nearly 11 years ago.
On New Years day 2012 we decided to go for a blustery walk up Cleeve Hill in Cheltenham, near where we live… to help us get over the night before. After walking for quite a while we stopped at a tree that we had not come across before with a bench around it. Mike had one of his Polaroid cameras with him and asked if he could take a photo. I didn’t really feel like having my photo taken so said no, little did I know it was all part of the plan. He insisted and waited for a few dog walkers to pass by. When he pressed the button a Polaroid came out… not with a photo of me, but the writing ‘will you marry me?’ In shock I could hardly speak! He didn’t choose a ring but instead gave me a little box with a silver bracelet cast from a branch. We then ran back to the car to excitedly phone our families.
How did you spend your budget?
We spent more on the venue and hiring a really great photographer, and saved on our stationary, decorations and outfits. We have some talented creative friends so asking people to help saved us some money.
How did you choose your photographer?
We did some research into local photographers online and came across Anna Morgan’s website. Her photographs really stood out as being full of atmosphere and character, as well as being really professional. She also came across as being really friendly and we knew that she would fit in with our day. I was quite nervous about being photographed but knew that I would get on with Anna and feel relaxed.
The dress and accessories
My dress was by Gino Cerruti, I found it on Preloved.com new with tags. It was similar to a dress I had tried on in a shop, but at half the price. My shoes were by Rachel Simpson from eBay and I had some sparkly flip-flops from Accessorise for the evening. My vintage 1950’s cardigan was also from eBay. I bought a vintage beaded clutch from Etsy. My hair slides were vintage gold leaf shaped brooches, which I wired onto hair combs. My green earrings were by Azuni and cuff bracelet was from Accessorize to match my flip-flops. I also wore my silver engagement bracelet and a beaded Azuni bracelet given to me by one of my bridesmaids the night before the wedding.
The suit and bridesmaids
Mikes suit was one that he already owned and he bought a waistcoat to match. He chose some brown shoes and blue socks. The groomsmen wore their own suits in different shades of grey. The ties were all made by myself… we couldn’t find any ties with the perfect shade of blue, so we sourced fabric locally. The bridesmaids chose their own dresses in greens and blues so they all tied in, and they got to wear something that they liked and felt comfortable. My Sister wore one of my dresses and lent one of hers to another bridesmaid. I love that one of the dresses came from a charity shop and another a car boot sale! I gave my bridesmaids beaded bracelets made by a friend and a coral coloured pashmina to wear on the day. Although none of the dresses were seen together until the day of the wedding, I think that all of the colours worked well.
Theme or colour scheme
We wanted to base our colour scheme around the sea and the faded coral buoys from the boats.
We had coral roses mixed with lots of leaves, berries and sea thistle.
We made hundreds of origami birds from different papers hanging in strings from the ceiling of the restaurant. Some of them were plain blues, greens, white and coral and some from an old atlas. One of my bridesmaids Angela made some fabric bunting which zig-zagged through the room between fairy lights. On the tables we had mixed flowers in vintage glass bottles collected at car boot sales and candles.
The food and wedding cake
We had canapés and Pimms as we arrived at the reception. Before the speeches we had a buffet with lots of fish, seafood and salads, it suited the setting really well and felt very laid back. After the cake everyone queued up outside for ice creams. It was a great way of getting everyone out of their seats and onto the beach to start the evening celebrations.
We had three cakes made by our friend Anneliesa. One lemon, one Victoria sponge and one chocolate, all finished with a white butter cream icing and decorated with paper toppers that we made.
When we arrived at the reception we had our friend Kyle Bones playing acoustic guitar and singing. In the evening we had a playlist of songs chosen by us, as well as requests made by our guests before the day. We had a photobooth set up in the corner with silly props and an instant camera. We set up a washing line along the window for guests to peg up their photos. Everyone also had a lot of fun with some hoola hoops!
Buy or DIY your Stationery?
We are both designers so wanted to make our stationery together. For our save the date cards we designed a stamp and printed with white ink onto kraft card. The actual invite became more of a booklet, as we needed to provide so much information! These were all stitched together, and the inside back cover formed a pocket to hold an RSVP postcard, and handmade ferry tickets.
Personal or handmade touches?
We put a lot of time into designing and making for our wedding, which we really enjoyed. Our favours were mini sparklers tied to match boxes that we customised with our own designs. We made origami boats for place cards and paper cranes that both tied in with the nautical theme. As we were making most decorations from scratch, we were able to match the colours.
The ferry over to the reception was really fun. Seeing the excitement of our friends and families, most of whom didn’t know where they were going, was brilliant. We weren’t allowed confetti after our ceremony so when we got off the boat everyone lined up for ‘confetti on the jetty’ and sang the Wedding March as we walked through to the beach. When we arrived at the restaurant, they had made a path to the entrance and built sandcastles to walk between which was lovely. At the end of the day and as our evening guests arrived, we had the most amazing sunset!
We were surprised that neither of us was actually that nervous. Nerves turned into excitement as soon as the day began!
Advice for other couples
Don’t be afraid to do something different, and choose things that are personal to you and that you’re excited by. It can be daunting when you start adding up costs, but it’s easy to save pennies by choosing an alternative… Like choosing sparkling wine instead of Champagne.