Today we are back with our regular feature ‘Advice from the Married Side,‘ real life wedding planning...
Well hello Monday and how are you? I hope you all had a wonderful weekend? What did you get up to? I don’t know about you but I feel recharged and ready for what this week has to throw at me! I am starting the week with this gorgeous back garden wedding from Mel Cowell Photography. It is a beautiful wedding held at the bride’s parents’ garden, outside with a humanist ceremony. They kept the wedding in the family by then holding the reception at their aunt and uncle’s farm, complete with chickens, dogs, horses and Alpacas. They kept the decoration eclectic with a mixture of vintage finds and a colour scheme of peach. The whole day is just perfect and I’m sure you will agree both Natalia and Jon look stunning.
Natalia and Jon were married on the 17th of August at the bride’s family home in Newark; ‘We married in the gazebo in the garden and had lots of wooden chairs placed around the Gazebo so that all of our guests surrounded us for it. My parents worked extremely hard all summer to ensure the garden looked beautiful which it did. The reception was held at my aunt & uncles’ farm in Hawksworth, Notts. They very kindly agreed to let us host the reception there, which was fantastic! Again, they worked very hard to ensure the grounds looked amazing. We had a Tipi in one of their fields, which had a beautiful pond next to it, lots of little lights in trees and on the water and open fields behind it. I had always wanted to marry at our family home, ever since I was a little girl. So much so that I told my parents they couldn’t move until I did! It’s a beautiful secluded location and obviously has lots of fond and happy memories for me. Jon didn’t mind at all as he was never christened and neither of us really attends church other than for weddings and sadly funerals. We had 140 daytime guests and about 60 more in the evening’
How they met
We met in Brixton – believe it or not in a grotty nightclub where you would least expect to meet the man of your dreams and future husband! We have been together just over 8 years now as it was the 2nd Sept 2005. I saw him across the room and climbed over a number of tables and chairs to get to him. I sat down beside him and announced myself as Angelina Jolie’s stunt double of course… he obviously didn’t believe me but we soon discovered we had a lot in common and had been in the same place at the same time on many occasions – and the rest is history.
Jon surprised me with a proposal at the top of Mount Snowdon, Wales on the 10th Aug 2012 I had no idea he was going to propose but thought he was acting very strange as he couldn’t stop fidgeting. We climbed down to a little ledge off the top of the mountain as he said the view was better from there and once we made it there he got down on one knee. He even carried a bottle of bubbles in his backpack as a surprise. It was a beautiful day – clear blue skies and bright sunshine, we had that ledge all to ourselves and the view was absolutely incredible!
How did you spend your budget?
We had a budget and tried to incorporate all our needs within the budget although we did end up going a little over, we are quite good with money so tried not to go too crazy. My parents were very generous too and helped to pay for the wedding – without them it certainly would not have been the wedding it was!
Why did you choose your photographer?
We met with a small handful of photographers but Mel seemed the most easy going and passionate of all the photographers. Also we bonded with her straight away and she seemed very excited by our plans and had lots of great ideas.
Natalia’s dress was called ‘Chloe’ by Naomi Neoh and my shoes were Carvella from Kurt Geiger. My earrings were from a vintage jeweller in Camden locks in London and my necklace was borrowed from my nana. I also wore a diamante and pear twisted hair piece from the same place I bought my dress – Boa in Richmond and I wore one of my Grandma’s brooches in my hair as she sadly passed away a couple of months before the wedding and I wanted her to be a part of it and to feel she was there with me. I was fortunate enough to meet Naomi on the day I bought my dress – she was so helpful and full of ideas and between the two of us we made a number of subtle changes to the dress so in the end I had a bespoke dress.
The suit and the bridesmaids
The groom’s suit was bought from Reiss in London. It was beautiful baby blue colour and we matched it with a peach tie. The bridesmaid’s dresses were bought from a website called Misguided although we made quite a few changes and added a number of accessories to make them more unique. My favourite accessories were the pastel bamboo parasols, which looked amazing and so classy! The bestmen and groomsmen wore brown leather braces, pale grey chinos and a peach tie. They looked fab and very in tune with the relaxed style of it all.
Theme or colour scheme
Yes there was a colour scheme that we tried to stick to as much as possible which was pastel peach. My bouquet had ivory, green, peach and lemon so we added splashes of these colours elsewhere also. All colours were very earthy, organic and pastel which we wanted to keep in tune with the organic, English countryside, summer theme. It looked amazing in my aunt and uncles open field with rolling fields behind it and, the farmyard etc. They also have various animals, which were roaming around close by including chickens, dogs, horses and two Alpacas called Alan and Alwyn. Everyone loved them, as they are really characters!
Lots of vintage mismatch stuff and lots of items relating to country life and the farm i.e. wellies with flowers in them, old vintage bicycle and most importantly my Uncle’s original vintage bow top wagon which is about 200 years old. My family have Gypsy heritage and so I really wanted to acknowledge this and having the wagon was a fun way to do it, as it was certainly a talking point. Lots of people were in and out of it all day/night – my uncle even brought the stove with it so people could have a cup of tea whilst sat inside, it also made a great companion to the tipi for the photos!
Jon’s mum, Janet Hart, paid for the flowers as a wedding gift to us which was extremely kind of her. Michele Gledhill was our florist. Our flowers were absolutely stunning and really completed the look we wanted. We had lots of Gypsophilia in hanging hearts and balls and a mix of flowers (taken from my bouquet) in jumbled jars on the tables. The bridesmaids wore pearl wrist corsages with flowers from my bouquet and the groomsmen and groom wore traditional corsages again with flowers from my bouquet. We also had lanterns in the colours from my bouquet hanging inside the tipi. I wore some smaller versions of the roses in my bouquet in my hair also which looked so pretty and elegant.
We used an amazing catering company called Black Peppermint and had a summer BBQ picnic where there were lots of dishes and accompanying sauced, salads, breads etc. for people to choose from. The starter was served as hot and cold canapés over both locations, and then we were seated for the mains and desert, which was a selection of mini deserts
My mum surprised us with a fab wedding cake, as we had not planned to have one. She got it from a shop called Bonbonbouche in Lincoln and it was made by Cake artist Debrah Green. It was 3 teacups stacked on top of one another with pearls hanging off it and biscuits around the side. Very unique and cute!
The bridal party arrived to an piano instrumental version of Michael Jackson’s “I just can’t stop loving you’ as I have always been a huge MJ fan. Many of the guests who knew this found this very amusing of course. During the drinks reception at the ceremony we had a DJ and Saxophonist playing chilled dance music for people arriving at the ceremony. During the ceremony itself we had a female soloist singer who sand Eva Cassidy’s ‘Songbird’. As they announced us husband and wife Rod Stewarts version of “Your love keeps lifting me higher’ kicked in as we both love Rodders! At the reception we had a male soloist singer called Tom Dibb who sang a range of his own songs. After dinner we had a Leicester band called Revolver who played a range of cover songs from the 50’s to present day for 2 & ½ hours. Everyone was up and dancing and have since said how amazing they thought the band were! They have a very cool look, fab singing voices and really know how to work a crowd!
Buy or DIY your Stationery?
Jon is a designer so designed, created/printed all the invites, table names, plans, and thank you cards. The table names were of places we have been together which we love the most and were placed inside loose apples. The ‘thank you’ cards were a picture of Jon and I on the day outside the bow top wagon with the words ‘Thank’ ‘you’ in our hands. The invitations featured our journey so far from when we met to the present day – all of the highlights.
Personal or handmade touches
• Jon designed our own ‘Wonka bars’, which we gave to every guest as their favour. Everyone was asked to open their chocolate bar at the end of the speeches as we hid a few golden tickets in them, which meant they won a gift. We designed, printed and trimmed the 140 ‘Wonky bars’.
• Also to create a bit of a talking point and to try and encourage some conversation between guests who did not know one another we wrote “Ask Me About X……” on the back of everyone’s name card. The ‘”Ask Me About” was a story that Natalia and I knew about our guests that we believed was a good talking point and should be shared.
• We also had a huge blank canvas and coloured marker pens with a signing asking people to leave us a well wishing – this is now on our bedroom wall at home.
• An old school friend of mine helped us to realise all of our ideas by acting as a coordinator for us on the day – she was an immense help and it was hugely reassuring to know she was onboard!
Special moments or highlights
Everything was special as the whole thing was completely tailored made to suit our own style and characters. The ceremony was very special as we had a humanist ceremony and scripted the entire thing ourselves. There were some very touching moments in it as parts had been written in secret as a surprise for one another.
Jon bought me a huge star with light bulbs in it which I have been wanting for ages – it appeared in the tipi just as we had our first dance and looked amazing when they switched it on! I am sure Jon will say his was the Dukes of hazard car called the ‘General Lee’ that Natalia surprised him with to collect him and his two best men to bring him to the ceremony – it’s one of his favourite cars and he has always said he would love to arrive to his wedding one day in one of those – and that he did! Apart from that I think we were both overwhelmed by the love of our friends and family – everyone made such an amazing effort with friends and family flying in from Australia, Dubai, Hong Kong, South Africa and France. It was heart warming to see just how many of the people we hold nearest and dearest were able to support us and be there to celebrate our special day!
Advice for other couples
Try not to get too stressed as it will all come together in the end and if there are things that are not quite exactly as you had wanted them to be, don’t let it get to you, as you will be the only person to notice! Make sure you take a moment to stop and inhale the atmosphere – have a moment for yourself, or if you can, for you and your husband as the day goes by in a blink of an eye. But most importantly try and get everything done the week before so that you can really enjoy the final week’s run up to the big day otherwise you miss out on the fun and find you are still stressed on the day itself.