WHERE WAS IT - CEREMONY & RECEPTION VENUES - We were married at St Andrew’s church in Blickling, Norfolk and the reception was in a marquee at the Brides parents’ house and gardens, in the North Norfolk Countryside. The bride got ready at The Gunton Arms, Thorpe Market and we also spent our first night here.
THE THEME/STYLE - Our wedding didn’t have a definite theme or style as such. We started with a colour scheme of pale blue and this was shown across the whole day in the invites and order of service, the groom’s suit and the bridesmaids’ dresses, the flowers and the cake. The inspiration for this colour came from my engagement ring – I think I have adored the colour ever since Ash proposed! Other than this we just chose what we liked. With Ash being a mixologist, cocktails played a big part in the wedding – our tables were named after different alcohols. We were blessed with a beautiful reception venue, which didn’t need too much decorating, and nice weather so we were able to make the most of it.
WEDDING PLANNER/EVENT MANAGER - Given the answer to my Bride's Choice picture; maybe this is something we should have considered?!
BRIDE’S DRESS - This posed quite the challenge given that we had 4 months to plan and the recommended lead-time for most bridal retailers in the UK is between 6-12 months. I was left with a “select choice” of dresses at shops in the special collection of gowns that they could turn around in a few months. I went and tried a few on but they were all very traditional and just didn’t suit me. I decided to have a look at the second hand dresses that were on offer and was pleasantly surprised by the huge variety of amazing designer dresses available, however my height posed the next challenge. I do not consider myself to be especially tall at 5’8” but I really wanted to wear heels and this meant that very few of the dresses were suitable. I was becoming pretty desperate when I came across a beautiful lace dress I had seen on my “Pinterest” feed again and again, by some kind of a miracle it was within budget and the previous owner was exactly the same height and size as me. One problem - it was in Australia. But after a long and complicated process of Fedex, commodity taxes and VAT it finally arrived and it was everything I could have ever wanted in a dress.
The girl who sent it was lovely wrote me the most charming letter wishing me well on my wedding day. She had ordered the dress from the Maison Kas Atelier in Brazil, flying over there to be measured and then had it delivered to Australia for her. There are only 3 of these dresses in the world and even now I really can’t believe my luck in finding it!
I then changed into the Patsy lace dress by Catherine Deane for the evening.
HAIR - My hair was by the amazing Gemma Holiday. She really was just amazing, colouring and cutting my hair, my Mum’s hair and my sister’s a few days before the wedding (she arrived at 9.30am in the morning and left at 11pm!) and then doing the hair of 3 bridesmaids (who all had beautiful braided up-dos), the mother of the bride and the Bride's hair on the day. She didn’t even blink an eyelid, when in a moment of madness my Mum decided she wanted her hair cut into a bob during the morning’s preparations. Deciding on my hair was really tricky. I always wear my hair down, Ash said he really wanted me to wear it down - but when I tried on my dress it looked a bit too much. Thankfully Gemma was on hand, and she created a very elegant chignon, which complemented the dress perfectly. I was then able to let my hair down into loose waves when I changed after my first dance. I cannot thank Gemma enough for all of her help and support before, during and after the wedding day. I hope she’ll be cutting and colouring my hair for years to come!
MAKE-UP - The other half of my dream team for the preparations on my wedding morning was Melissa Abel. Her and Gemma were such fun. She worked so hard doing the makeup for all of the bridal party. The bridesmaids had a gorgeous purple/grey eye makeup – they all looked amazing! My makeup was a brown Smokey eye and a nude lip. I adored my make up and it lasted perfectly all day. I then added a bright red lip when I changed in the evening. Again Melissa was such a great support before and during the wedding day.
GROOM/GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE/COLOURS - Getting all of Ashley’s groomsmen together (some living or working abroad etc) to buy suits just wasn’t feasible, so we asked that they all wear their own navy suits and brown shoes with a pale blue shirt. We then bought them all the same tie, pocket squares and socks from ASOS to bring all of their outfits together.
Ash wore a bespoke navy suit and white shirt from Trotter and Deane and a pale blue waistcoat from Ted Baker. His amazing shoes were from Barker. His tie, Pocket Square and cufflinks were also from Trotter and Deane. Ash has always been very stylish and his outfit just kind of fell into place! I have to say he looked very dapper on the day.
FLOWERS - An amazingly talented family friend called Clare did the flowers. I absolutely adore fresh flowers and my Mum and I used to have a little floristry business, so the flowers were always going to be an important part of the day. The original plan was for my Mum and I to help with the flowers, but in the end there just wasn’t enough time. Clare, without saying anything just stepped up and did all of the floristry herself. She was an absolute superstar and produced the most stunning flowers. I had joked about having an arch at the church made of hydrangeas (my favourite flower) that I had seen on a luxury wedding blog but at about £2.50 per flower head this was completely out of budget. To my complete delight, when I arrived at the church on the day Claire had made me my own mini arch from hydrangeas from offcuts. I could have cried at that very moment. It was so nice of her to have done that and without saying anything either, it was such a lovely surprise. My bouquet was made of mainly pale blue hydrangeas, scabious, peach avalanche and spray roses, wax flower and eucalyptus. The bridesmaid’s bouquets were very similar but they had white hydrangeas instead. The buttonholes were spray roses and wax flowers for everyone apart from Ash, who had an avalanche rose. Clare then decorated the church and marquee with the same. We wanted the flowers to have a relaxed, ‘just picked’ feel and Clare completely surpassed my expectations on the day.
CAKE - We had a 2-tier wedding cake from Megan at the Rose and Glory Cake Company. The bottom tier was lemon and the top was fruitcake, which was saved by my mum to have at our first child’s christening. The cake was pale blue and was decorated with hundreds of tiny white flowers. Megan also made us a tower of 100 cupcakes in various cocktail flavours. It was all bloody delicious! I know Megan has only just started out with this business, but I’m sure she will be a complete success.
A special mention has also got to go to Poppy at Poppy’s Cake Toppers. We have to two cats that are very special us (ridiculous I know) and we wanted to include them in the wedding day in some way. Save from walking them down the aisle on leads we were at a loss at what to do until we met Poppy at a local wedding fair. She created the most amazing bespoke cake toppers, so we had one made of our two cats and us. It matched us down to the flowers in my bouquet and the cats eye colours! This was so nice as we were then able to save it and it now takes pride of place in our kitchen.
CATERING - The Running Duck Food Company, who I used to work for, did the catering. I knew they were good, but again, they surpassed my expectations on the day. They were utterly professional, the food was delicious and the service on the day completely seamless. They also coped with a complete ‘bridezilla’ moment I had (which I’m not proud of) the day before the wedding about pudding without hesitation!
We were spoilt with canapés, followed by lobster or chicken (and heirloom tomato tart for any vegetarians) and an absolutely beautiful dessert of mini puddings and berries decorated with edible flowers. Everyone loved it all and people were talking about the food for weeks afterwards.
ENTERTAINMENT & FIRST DANCE SONG - We had Jonny Walker, a busker who I had seen in Norwich as our entertainment during our reception. And wow, how lucky we were to have him! He was simply fantastic and he just fitted in perfectly outside entertaining everyone in the sunshine.
We had a slightly strange song for our first dance it was a cover of a very heavy metal song by the band Bring me the horizon. It was called ‘Sleepwalking’ by This Wild Life. Neither of us are big dancers (unless incredibly drunk), so this was a perfect low-key, not too cheesy song for us to sway to on the dance floor.
HONEYMOON - Ah, the Honeymoon. We decided to have a few days in London and then to have a proper honeymoon a few years down the line when we had had time to save and I had finished my studies. Alas, after one blissful day, our honeymoon turned into a tour of the hospitals in the East midland’s after I developed a kidney problem from which I am still recovering. We will have our honeymoon though when things have settled down, somewhere very hot and very beautiful.
ANY SOURCES OF INSPIRATION? inc. links:
Pinterest was the main thing I used in the lead up to the day.
We would also occasionally peruse Mark Niemierko’s site for some uber-luxurious inspiration.