James’ and Charlotte’s Boho Prize Winning Wedding

Today’s wedding is a rather special one as it the result of one of the winners from last years Readers Survey!  I split the prize from the readers survey into 3 sections so more people got to win a selection of prizes. Today’s bride Charlotte was the winner of  the prizes listed at the bottom of the post, so I thought what better than to share her wedding with you all and the lovely prizes she won in this ‘Boho Prize Winning Wedding’. Don’t forget, you have a chance to enter this years readers survey! To be in with a chance to win enter here ……… But hurry up, entry closes on October 1st 2012!!

Boho Prize Winning Wedding Boho Prize Winning Wedding

Charlotte and James were married on 14th July. The ceremony was at St Thomas Church, Crookes with the Reception was at the Lomas Hall, Stannington. ‘We had around 165 guests. Everyone who was invited was invited to the whole day so we had no extra evening guests.’
‘We were engaged for 14 months although I think we could have planned it in less. The date just had to fit around previous commitments of my PGCE course and James’ work.’

‘A personal, informal day of marriage celebration honouring our families and making the most of our friend’s talents.’

Boho Prize Winning Wedding

Boho Prize Winning Wedding

How they met
We both go to the same church in Sheffield so we knew of each other for quite a long time. We properly got to know each other during a holiday kids week where we were both on the team. The end of the week resulted in James taking me to Morrisons. James likes to joke that this was our first date, although in my student mind I thought “free lift to a supermarket, no carrying the bags home!” So things grew from that!
We have been together nearly 3 years now, 6 months of which I was away for at the beginning of our relationship with the Christian charity YWAM.

The proposal
It was Saturday 21st May 2011. I had been working all day on my feet so was tired and not in the greatest of moods. The plan for the evening was watching Britains Got Talent and eating Fajitas – romantic! When I went to James’ house after work he wanted to go for a walk. I was like “No, I am tired, I don’t want to walk anywhere” James was persistent so I gave in. We went for a nice walk, sat down for a while, and then James read a poem he wrote. Alarm bells were ringing at this moment. The poem was funny and not to mushy and ended with “Charlotte Ashdown will you marry me?” I replied “You’re CRAZY….. yes”. James recalls the pause between the words “you’re crazy” and “yes” being quite a while.

Boho Prize Winning Wedding wedding dress bridesmaids dresses wedding shoes

The venue
It was important for both of us to get married at St Thomas Church. That is the church we are part of, met at and will be at as a married couple and James’ place of work so it seemed silly to get married anywhere else. The tradition is to get married at the Bride’s home church, but traditional parts of the wedding day were not important to us.
We chose Lomas Hall for many reasons. It was very flexible, large and we could set up the venue ourselves the day before (which was very important to me). It was very reasonably priced and had no corkage which was a big bonus. It was not overly formal but still had a bit of character. We don’t quite understand why some couples opt for places like grand stately homes when that doesn’t reflect who they are. We wanted something simple, not too grand and big enough to fit all our guests in.

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How did you choose your photographer
We had two photographers during the day, both of whom are good friends of ours. Having photographers that we knew meant that we were more relaxed during the photos and we could bounce ideas of different photos off each other. We had seen previous photos they had taken of  a friend’s wedding which we liked. Bryony Wells took my getting ready photos and Duncan Payne took everything else, including the photobooth photos.

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The Dress
The dress “English Rose” was bought from Choola in Sheffield and was designed by Sharon Bowen. The dress originally was full length and with train but this was a bit too formal for me so I had the train chopped off and skirt shortened to ankle length. This made me feel a lot more comfortable.
I wore purple shoes from Clark’s SALE which had built in padding for comfort.
The pearls were a gift from my Nana for my 18th and the earrings were a prize from a previous Boho Competition where I got a voucher to have custom made jewellery from Gioia Mia. The hair slide was from Choola and Charlotte added the bird cage veil with some material from John Lewis.

The suit and bridesmaids
The suit was from Burton’s SALE (why not) and James, the fathers and the groomsmen all had purple stripy shirts. James is well known for wearing stripy clothing so we thought this would be a nice little personal touch. The bridesmaids dresses were made and designed by James’ very talented younger sister who is hoping to get more involved in the bridal industry. All the purple flowers on the dresses were on pins so each bridesmaid could choose where and how many flowers their dress had.

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All shades of purple and red, patterned, spotty and stripy. Basically we didn’t want anything to match. Charlotte’s mum made loads of amazing bunting which helped with this, added with a mix match of patterned napkins. All the stationary was in the style of an artist called Rob Ryan, who we both love.

Hog Roast with loads of lovely salads made by a friend of mine from when I worked in wedding catering. Then we had a cream tea for dessert served on homemade cake stands (made of mix and match charity shop plates) which then doubled up as thank you presents to friends.

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We had a big band ensemble, photobooth, and then playlist.

They were vintage style with lots of different textured flowers and dusky colours. It also had some proteas in them which has the extra meaning of being a South African flower which is where I was when I was away for 6 months with YWAM.
The table flowers were done by my mum and aunty, each arrangement in a Golden Syrup tin.

Lots and lots of bunting, My parents’ house is now known as the bunting factory to some of our friends. We had fairy lights, home-made love hearts and the lovely table flowers. We had a mix of table cloths on some tables and a mix of napkins.

Boho Prize Winning Wedding Boho Prize Winning Wedding Boho Prize Winning Wedding

Personal touches
• Bunting
• Cake stands made by a collection of charity shop plates we found.
• Maths problem table plan – we are both maths graduates and love maths. So the table plan had a variety of levels of logic and maths problems to solve to find the number of the tables. This meant we had negative number tables, a table called “e”, fractions etc.
• Card board love hearts collaged with wrapping paper samples.
• The table flowers in the golden syrup tins from a coffee shop I used to work in.
• The photobooth we put on with different props we had found.
• Scrabble signs
• Mr and Mrs decorated in decopatch
• Dingbat quiz on each table to keep people entertained whilst we were having our photos.
• Intro video for the wedding made in the style of 500 days of summer.
• My mum made Cath Kidston-style aprons for the waitresses which were then gifts for the bridesmaids.
• We had guest book cards instead of a normal guest book, these were on the tables and gave everyone the opportunity to write us a note if they wanted to.
• There was a cracker joke on the back of every name place.

Boho Prize Winning Wedding Boho Prize Winning Wedding flowers bunting hog roast cream tea

Special moments
Other than the ceremony itself, our favourite part of the day was definitely when we went and had our little photo shoot on the way to the reception venue. It was the calm in such a busy day when we could take time out and spend it with each other. It amazed me how little time we spent with each other during the day. We also loved the evening part when loads of people were dancing and others were enjoying the photobooth. It was great looking around seeing our friends have a good time.

Boho Prize Winning Wedding Boho Prize Winning Wedding Boho Prize Winning Wedding

When we started planning it helped us to speak to our parents about their expectations of our wedding day. The wedding day is a family celebration and the marriage is ours. We’re not saying you have to do everything your parents want, it is just good to know everyone’s expectations and then no hurt or misunderstanding happens. For example my parents wanted us to have a wedding cake, we were not bothered, but we chose to honour my parents by having one as we didn’t have any strong opinions on it.
Also don’t be restricted by traditions and what you think is normal for a wedding. Make it as personal as you can. Neither of us wanted a posh car, especially at the prices you can pay, so we had my god-father drive us which was really lovely.
Finally on the actual day be intentional with your time. You will find it hard seeing everyone on your day let alone having a small conversation with them. Focus on seeing the people who have travelled and you see less often. I hardly spoke to a lot of our friends from Sheffield as I knew I would see them the week after we got back from honeymoon.

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Supplier Shout Outs


The Suppliers from the Boho prize

  • Engagement Photography from Matt Tordoff http://matthewtordoff.com/    Matt offered us a free engagement shoot with the Boho prize, we used one of the photos from our engagement shoot as a welcome slide for the wedding. (Photos from the shoot)
  • Bride and Groom peg doll made by Katy H, http://what-katy-did-next.co.uk  She completely got the style of our outfits and we love the individual nature of them
  • Earings from Sonia www.gioiamia.net  which were the perfect “something different” I wanted.
  • Poem written by Helen Burns www.bespokendreams.co.uk  which got loads of laughs during the speeches.


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    What a fantastic wedding! Charlotte looks amazing.

    It’s so lovely to see everything coming together. I was really touched to be part of Charlotte’s big day, thank you Kelly.

    Sonia @ Gioia Mia xx


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