Today I have an absolute delight of a wedding, as we head over to Essex...
A few months ago I set up a Facebook group for the readers for the blog. In it, lots of lovely brides and grooms share with each other their wedding planning adventures, homemade projects, swap advice and general wedding chit chat. It is also a place where couples can share their wedding photos once they are married. This is where I spotted Joanna and Charlie’s gorgeous wedding. Joanna was sharing a few of her wedding photos from Jonny MP Photography and I knew I just had to feature her fabulous wedding on the blog. Luckily Joanna agreed, so today I am delighted to be sharing her wonderful day with you all.
Joanna and Charlie were married on 23rd August 2018 at The Old Lodge, Minchinhampton in the Cotswolds. ‘I did a really serious search of the whole of the UK as we were on quite a tight budget but also wanted something quite particular and perfect for us, more rustic and relaxed than a typical wedding venue. When I stumbled across The Old Lodge, its prices seemed too good to be true. So, we quickly arranged a weekend trip to The Cotswolds. As we drove across the huge common with nothing in sight but trees, fields and cows and then spotted The Old Lodge, slap bang plonked in the middle I realised this was somewhere to be excited about. Then the accommodating nature of the wedding planner who met with us telling us if the menus weren’t what we fancied, chef would be happy to plan a menu to whatever ideas we had and as far as décor we had pretty much free rein. The icing on the cake for me was being able to get married outside in the garden for a real ‘Boho’ feel. We had approximately 60 guests, and it took 2 years to plan merely for saving purposes.’
How they met
We met online in July 2014!! We talked for 2 weeks every minute possible, day and night before we were able to meet up as I lived in Essex and Charlie in Cambridge. So for a while we had the difficult challenge of a long distance relationship, desperately wishing for Friday nights to arrive so we could be together. We have been together just over 4 years.
We had been together for 2 years and to be honest since a few weeks of knowing each other we knew we wanted to be together forever and get married. So, we had always discussed getting engaged once Charlie had moved to Essex and settled in with me and the kids. So, by August 2016 I was ready and waiting!! We had a holiday to Tuscany booked which in my ridiculous romantic fantasy brain was of course the place for him to propose so I was hopeful but didn’t know. So we got to the last evening of our holiday and after a wonderful dinner, Charlie suggested a walk on the beach out came his selfie stick to take a last night photo but in it was a box with a stunning ring he had had made and then he finally asked!!
How did you allocate your budget?
Well we worked out what we could possibly save in 2 years and agreed on approximately 10K which is tight for a wedding! Once we knew the cost of the venue and our photographer we just worked from there.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
Our splurge was our photographer Jonny MP – Working in weddings doing hair and make-up I talk to so many brides after their wedding day who regret not putting more importance into their photos. Although I call him a splurge he really isn’t as we feel every penny was well worth it with our beautiful photos we now have to look back on. Our saves were definitely Hair and Make-up! I run a Wedding hair and make-up business – The Perfect Marriage with my best friend Jo Edwards who was one of my bridesmaids – My other best friend Steph Power often assists me in hair styling on large weddings and was my other bridesmaid so we can definitely say we were definitely sorted in this category!!
How did you choose your photographer?
I met Jonny MP working on a wedding in July 2016 just before I got engaged and knew he was high on my shortlist of fab photographers I had met and seen the work of at weddings. His friendly, comfortable manner with everyone and then his stunning photos meant that he was a fab choice. I think what completely sold him for me was when I rang him to enquire and he was so genuinely interested in how Charlie and I had met, how Charlie was coping on becoming a stepdad and our little love story that I knew when someone cares that much about what they do and the people they are working for the emotions and love will be caught on camera.
My dress was ‘Deirde’ by Maggie Sottero – I found it after much searching and finding dresses that I ‘liked a lot’ but wasn’t convinced by. It was at a gorgeous little boutique called Bellissima Weddings in Essex where the fantastic manager Kaye made our whole experience so much fun. The second I put on that dress I knew it was ‘The one’ and nothing else would match up.
I hate heels so, I found a perfect pair of gold and sparkly sandals from Dune which were immensely comfortable all day. My Mum tried to convince me I really must have at least a small heel but I’m so glad I stuck with my guns! My accessories were dainty, gold leaf stud earrings by Lisa Angel and a gold hand chain bracelet that I found on Etsy.
The suit and bridesmaids
We found a fab bright blue suit for Charlie in the Moss Bros sale which he teamed with a navy tie and brown shoes. The Best men had navy suits from Next which were great as they do the same suits in different fits. My son Jacob had a bright blue suit from M&S.
My bridesmaids loved the multiway wrap dresses and I found a seller of these online called Victoria Lou Bridal, hers are very reasonable but great quality. My daughter Sophie is 12 and at an in between stage of not quite adult and not child so was a bit of a search but luckily, we agreed on a nude blush adults knee length dress from ASOS. My Flower girl wore a beautiful Flowers and Confetti full length dove grey tutu teamed with a simple white short sleeved leotard.
Theme or colour scheme
Our Theme was to be rustic and Boho and avoid all things too traditional and formal. The colour scheme started with the Dove Grey and Nude Blush bridesmaid combo and the men in Blue. I then decided I wanted a flower combo of Burgundy and peachy blush. I was worried that I had chosen too many colours but then again, I am so not a matchy matchy person and it actually all looked perfect together on the day!
I loved my flowers…Burgundy Dahlias, Blousy peach roses called ‘Juliette’, chocolate cosmos, peach stocks, silvery thistles, Astibe and lots of hanging Amaranthus surrounded by feather ferns all bundled together and tied with long tails of burgundy ribbons. Not very summery colours but I didn’t want to just do the expected!
I had gone Pinterest mad on wooden pallets, we sanded, waxed and decorated for ‘Order of the Day, Menus, table plans etc. One of the things I loved was we nailed to a tree, photos in old frames of our parents and grandparents getting married. Also, on the tables I framed photos of some fabulously funny and romantic quotes about marriage. We had fluffy grey and blush pom poms and tealights in vases hanging from the trees outside the pub. I had baskets of grey blankets to keep warm and one of flip flops for dancing I was lucky enough to have a great friend offer to come and do all ‘decorations’ in the morning as I had really underestimated that this takes a fair bit of time!
What did you eat? BBQ! Homemade beef burgers, Salmon, spicy chicken skewers and halloumi and pepper kebabs. Served with Baps, wedges, slaw and salads. It meant there was something for everyone although many people had it all!! Desserts we did a combo of Gooey chocolate brownie and Lemon cheesecake which we served alternately so people could either share or fight it out for their favourites! The evening was simple – Bacon Baps and wedding cake served.
I used a lady local to me who does beautiful afternoon teas – ‘Little Pinkie Vintage Afternoon Tea’ We had a semi naked wedding cake – 3 tiers, Victoria sponge, chocolate and lemon. We had to transport it from Essex and put it together at the venue, but it made it there perfectly and looked and tasted amazing. We were eating it for days after and still have some in the freezer! My florist set it up and decorated it with flowers for me on the morning.
When we visited the Cotswolds to decide on the venue we stumbled across a little local pub after our dinner where we found this amazing country style folk band playing – ‘Shooting The Crow’! We decided then and there that we would have them at our wedding playing outside straight after the ceremony whilst people enjoyed the beers, Pimm’s and canapes – Everyone loved how different and unexpected they were. We went for a DJ in the evening as I think that’s what fills the dancefloor best – Julian from Oxygen Discos was great I can safely say the dancefloor was full and lively all night long!
Who supplied the stationery?
Stationary was an area we decided to save on. I just think no matter how lovely your invite is, it will end up in the bin and I would rather more money was spent on the day! I was so lucky to find some rustic Kraft wedding invitations in a NEXT sale. Luckily my cousin Debbie has super neat handwriting so I had to call in the favours! Some of my other stationary was from Ginger Ray.
We both wrote personal vows to each other which I’m so happy we did as it made a civil ceremony so much more personal and meaningful. My one of ‘I promise I will frustrate you and annoy you but will never every intentionally hurt you’ gave a few giggles!
When asked who would give this woman away – My two children, sophie and Jacob stepped up and although the children wouldn’t agree to give me away they offered to ‘share me’ with Charlie.
Having made the pallets, table plans etc ourselves made everything feel much more personalised to us.
The total and utter love I felt for Charlie and could see he felt for me in that moment of our vows and knowing how much we really meant each and every one. I really wanted to feel ‘in the moment’ and I did. It felt like we were the only ones there. Also sharing the day with my children and being so proud of them in their roles. My daughter Sophie read a wonderful reading about her Mum and Stepdads wedding day which really made all the tears roll. My son Jacob was our ring bearer and looked after and produced us with our rings, he also decided he wouldn’t leave our side and exited the wedding with us and enjoyed the confetti shower which was lovely.
Advice for other couples?
Do as much as you can and as early as you can especially before the last week before the wedding! I was so super organised and packed that that last week was quite relaxing and I could enjoy being pampered and beautifying. It also meant that we weren’t stressed out and taking it out on each other! Take everyone’s offer of help – I found people really wanted to help and play a part in the wedding so if someone offers take them up on it!
Lastly our wedding was relaxed and informal, we didn’t want classical music and champagne, so we had modern wedding songs, folk music and Coronas and Pimm’s. So many people have since commented on what an enjoyable wedding it was and how personal it seemed to Charlie and me.
Mine was on the morning not only did I receive a wonderful huge box of presents from Charlie, he had spent months making a montage video of photos from before we even met, to our first date, holiday, xmas etc alongside music and captions ending in a personal wedding morning message from him. This was put on a memory stick and played through the laptop to the telly! I was also surprised how untearful I was and just seriously happy, calm and excited to marry the love of my life!
Charlies biggest surprise was my vow that I will probably annoy and frustrate him!! Also he loved that pure golden moment of looking round at your two families and friends all joining together, here for your special day and mingling with each other and enjoying themselves.