"My dream had always been to get married outside, which isn’t legal
in England, but luckily both the registrars and venue were happy to
accommodate our idea of standing in the beautiful wisteria-covered
doorway at the back of the ballroom, facing out onto the garden where
our guests were seated.
Because we were technically within the perimeter
of a licensed room we could have a legal marriage ceremony while
feeling like we were outside, and it also meant that our aisle would be a
gorgeous garden path all surrounded by bushes and foliage."
Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012, Phoebe Landa
"My veil was made by the lady who did my alterations (Wedding Dress Alterations).
I had initially wanted a lace veil but once I had chosen my dress I
felt it only needed something simple to set it off. It seemed like
everything out there was either really expensive or cheap made-in-China
type things from Ebay, but luckily Yvonne was able to make me one from
lovely soft tulle dyed with tea to the exact colour of my dress."
"I loved my Marta Jonsson shoes from Debenhams!
I say that as a confirmed non-shoe person who normally has to be
carried home from any occasion at which I have foolishly attempted to
wear heels. Being leather, my wedding shoes were genuinely comfortable,
and I loved the bows on the front. I also got some great sparkly gold
pumps from Debenham which were intended for the dance floor but proved
very useful for tramping all around the grounds during our portrait
"The venue didn't need much decoration, but we bought some lovely papel picado
(Mexican handcut tissue paper banners) for the bar/lounge and my
bridesmaid Zoe brought along some multicoloured bunting she already had
as well as some very bright paper bunting which amazingly cost £1 and
looked awesome! We also continued our travel motif by borrowing some
fabulous vintage suitcases belonging to the venue owners – their home is
seriously a treasure trove! – and making loads of pretty paper flowers
out of old maps using a technique that Lucy from The Story House very kindly taught me at a wedding fair./"
"Out of everything in the wedding it was actually the bridesmaids’
dresses that were the biggest headache. I decided I didn't want matching
dresses, partly as I thought it would be a nightmare to find one dress
the girls all liked, but actually it ended up being far more complicated
trying to get four different dresses that really worked together and
for some reason after months and months of looking we just didn’t seem
to be getting anywhere with it at all.
I was beginning to despair when I
spotted this pretty pale peach dress online at Warehouse and
wondered whether I had accidentally stumbled upon a dress that might
suit everyone, and after panic-buying it in every size we found that
thankfully it really did, and it went beautifully with my dress too."
"My Mum taught herself floristry skills in order to do all the table
arrangements using flowers from her own garden (all the more impressive
considering her garden is nearly 200 miles from the venue!). She also
spent months collecting a fantastic assortment of retro jugs and vases
from charity shops, and we bought some antique bottles to add to the
mix. The end result looked absolutely amazing and it meant a lot to us
that it was all done by my mum, who also happens to be the most reliable
and capable person I know so we were never in any doubt that they'd be
Doing the bouquets as well seemed like it
would be unnecessarily stressful, so I chose a florist recommended by
the venue. I wanted quite a loose, thrown-together feel with different
colours and textures and Caroline did a great job of achieving this. Dan
particularly loved his buttonhole and the way the colours were tied
into my bouquet. My Nan also prettified the chairs for
the ceremony with little posies of gypsophilia tied on with ribbon – it
was a lovely touch and cost next to nothing.
"We got married at Walcot Hall in the little village of Lydbury
North in Shropshire. We had a pretty open mind about venues but we knew
that we wanted somewhere with accommodation for our closest friends and
family and somewhere with a relaxed and flexible attitude, where we’d
feel able to make our own choices rather than be forced to select a
particular package or use designated suppliers.
Walcot Hall was better
than anything we could have dreamed up (in fact we frequently had to
pinch ourselves to believe it was actually a real place) and is owned
and run by the most lovely people you could ever wish to have involved
in your wedding day."
"I can’t even put into words how much we loved being
there, and it makes us so happy to think we can return for a holiday
whenever we want. For our wedding night and the rest of our stay we
hired the unbelievably incredible converted chapel in the arboretum
which is like something straight out of a fairytale. We had use of the
bridal suite too but decided to give it to Dan’s grandparents in honour
of the fact they would be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary
just a couple of days after our wedding."
"Dan wore a Hugo Boss suit.
We wanted our wedding to feel informal so never considered tails, and
this seemed like the perfect opportunity to invest in a great suit that
could be worn again after the wedding. When Dan tried on a dark navy
three-piece in Hugo Boss we both felt the difference in quality,
tailoring and detail more than justified splashing out."
"My dress was Rosalba by Stephanie Allin, which I bought from High Society in Cowbridge.I
tried on about 50 dresses altogether and this was the only one that I
couldn’t bear to take off again – as soon as I put it on I started
twirling around and couldn’t stop smiling.
I hadn’t expected to wear a
shorter dress but I just loved its movement and the way it looked lovely
and demure for the day but was still perfect for dancing the night
away, plus I fell completely in love with all the lace and the subtle
50s silhouette. I also have a slight belt addiction so the fact it came
with a belt really appealed to me!"
"Oh and we had animals at our wedding! My mother-in-law’s dog
Tilly is very much part of the family (I’m only half joking if I call
her my sister-in-law) so it was great that Walcot Hall were so relaxed
and welcoming that they had no problem at all with her and another dog
joining the celebrations. The resident cat also dropped in on our
ceremony, and ate the cake my Nan had made for the dessert table – which
everyone apart from her found hilarious!"
"Our photographer was the amazing Phoebe Landa.
I really can’t recommend Phoebe and her team highly enough – our
wedding photography was quite simply the best money we’ve ever spent.
Both Phoebe and Bartek worked incredibly hard yet were so enthusiastic
and positive, and were altogether the loveliest and most encouraging
people to have around us during such important moments.
capture precisely how the day felt and we have already got so much
enjoyment from reliving every detail through them; it really is the most
amazing gift to think we’ll be able to do so for the rest of our
"The lovely Kia from The Vintage Salon did a brilliant job of styling our hair. The whole experience was wonderful, I wish I could have my hair pin curled every day!
did my own makeup, which I actually found relaxing as it helped me to
feel more in control. I had a bridal makeover at Bobbi Brown to prepare
and I’m sure I spent easily as much on products as I would have done on a
makeup artist, but it was a great excuse to buy some amazing make-up
which I’ve been using ever since."
"I did all the stationery myself and designed my own graphics for
the save the dates, invites, ceremony programmes and thank you cards –
it was a real labour of love. We used vintage travel posters to indicate
the table names (which were all countries we had visited together) so
for the table plan I made postcards using each travel poster image as
the postage stamp and then mounted them on an old map.
Each table also
had a little Polaroid of us on our travels which I made by cutting
photos down into squares and mounting them on white card. For place
cards we used pink luggage labels, and our ‘guest book’ was a collection
of old postcards for guests to post into a little metal mailbox."
"My dad gave me away, which was a very meaningful moment for both of
us. I can definitely understand why some people don't like the
symbolism of it (and I didn't change my name so I’m not a big
traditionalist) but it felt completely appropriate to us as a way to
honour my relationship with my dad. We had our mums as witnesses to make
sure that they had a place in the wedding too."
walked 'down the aisle' to 'Tunnels' by Arcade Fire. It's not romantic
as such but it means a lot to us both as a couple and individually.
Walking down the aisle was one of the most emotional moments of my life,
and Dan even got teary too which neither of us was expecting. Emerging
from the greenery into a garden full of all our nearest and dearest was
absolutely magical – if we'd had to do it inside it just wouldn't have
been the same as we really had our hearts set on the garden, so we were
so lucky that we *just* about managed to get away with an outdoor
wedding in what turned out to be the rainiest June in British history!"
"My cousin Monica read an extract from Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman:
'Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.
Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love, more precious than money,
I give you myself, before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
loved the simplicity and youthful optimism of the verse and felt it
summed up the feeling of starting out on our journey together and
choosing each other as lifelong companions.
Did you choose a
‘first dance’ track? Please share what it was, and why, only if you are
happy to do so… Although we do love dancing together the
thought of shuffling around to a love song while everyone watched just
seemed a bit embarrassing, so we didn’t have a first dance. However, we
did have some excellent dance-offs throughout the night! And we also had
a ‘last dance’ to That’s How Strong My Love Is by Otis Redding.
What was your very favourite part of the day and why.'"
"We both went to uni in Manchester and met at a mutual friend’s
birthday party. Oddly enough, Dan asked me to marry him (jokingly) on
our first night out together – I said yes and a random stranger
performed the ‘ceremony’ at a bus stop! It was all very silly and we
hadn’t even kissed by that point, but I do remember going home and
telling my housemate, ‘I bet we do actually get married you know’
(…obviously she thought I had lost my mind). Proposals aside, we
finally got together at a house party and from there things went really
fast, and my strangely accurate gut instinct soon didn’t seem so crazy
after all as we realised from early on that we wanted to spend our lives
felt the ceremony itself was the real heart of the wedding and the
intense emotion of taking our vows in front of all our loved ones just
seemed to radiate throughout the rest of the day. So that was definitely
the most important part, but there were so many perfect moments it’s
impossible to pick one favourite. In particular the time we spent doing
portraits around the grounds was an unexpected highlight.
It was great
to have a reason to step away from the chaos for a short time and absorb
the joy and excitement of being a newly married couple. And the whole
disco (such a rubbish word but I don’t know what else to call it!) was
"Dan proposed for real at Iguaçu Falls
in Brazil at sunset. Looking back I seemed to make it really difficult
for him to propose, from continually rummaging through the bag he had
the ring hidden in to running off looking for the perfect vantage point
for a photo just when he was trying to manoeuvre me to his chosen spot.
Luckily my accidental efforts to thwart him didn’t stop him from going
down on one knee and we got married a little over a year later."
soon as we got engaged my brain was whirring with ideas and I had real
trouble sticking to one theme or inspiration – to be honest our wedding
was a bit of a mish-mash of different things we loved, including travel,
vintage paraphernalia, bright colours and woodland creatures! I’d say
in the end we were mostly inspired by our venue, which itself was very
eclectic. From the outside it looks rather traditional and grand, but
then it has this almost outrageously bright turquoise ballroom and the
most amazing grounds, with all sorts of quirky treasures hidden away in
an enchanted forest. I am convinced there is some kind of magic afoot
"It was important to us that drinks were affordable for
everyone, so we ran our own bar at cost prices, then gave everything
away free after 1am when the license ran out (the party ended up going
on till about half 3 in the morning!).
We’d heard that completely free
bars tend to get a bit abused so we think we found a good balance, plus
once the staff left loads of our guests had fun pretending to be
bartenders! We purchased a copious amount of champagne and table wine from Theatre of Wine, who were excellent."
"We didn't have a band or DJ, instead we spent many very happy hours
putting together our ultimate iPod playlist. I love that we'll always
have it to listen to whenever we want. We stuck mainly to songs we
thought would be crowd-pleasers but after some debate we also snuck in a
few personal favourites and were surprised at how they ended up
creating some of the most memorable moments – from us both being lifted
up and carried during Paranoid Android to everyone crowding around to
watch us dance like loons to Janelle Monáe.
The ballroom opened out onto
the garden and there were also some amazing moments where we ran out
and danced in the rain without a care in the world: skipping around to
Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush and sharing a dance with my dad to Island
in the Sun by Weezer as the raindrops fell all around us are easily two
of my favourite memories of the wedding."
Words of Wedded Wisdom…
"Choose suppliers who you really like as people. We were so lucky to
get to have such nice people involved in every part of our wedding and
it’s a great feeling when you have genuine respect and affection for the
businesses you’re supporting. Stick to your guns on the
things that really feel important to you, but also keep your guests’
enjoyment of the day at the centre of your decision-making process and
you can’t go wrong. We were surprised how much people noticed and
appreciated the things we had put effort into, like the champagne and
wines we had chosen, the playlist and the delicious food. It really made
everything so worth it to see everyone having a great time. (This
is one I didn’t manage to stick to AT ALL, but…) Try not to
second-guess your decisions – if you love something and it fits your
budget, go for it and move on rather than wondering if there could be
something even better out there.
In the final stages set
down a thorough written plan of the day and communicate it to everyone
who will be helping, then let go. Make sure that on the day itself there
will be someone you trust in charge of sorting out any problems that
may come up so that the two of you don't have to. On your wedding day
you deserve to be fully enjoying the moment rather than trying to keep
everything in check, and I found that these two things were what allowed
me to step back and go with the flow."
"Dan also wanted
to share some advice: Remember that if and when something goes wrong, no
one will mind. If you find yourself lying awake at night worrying about
something, ask yourself: If I was a guest at my friend’s wedding and
this happened, would I care? Would it ruin the day for me in any way?
The answer is almost certainly going to be no. Some of the best memories
from weddings are often the unique impromptu moments when something
doesn’t quite go according to plan, so if you can relax and be open to
them you are only going to enjoy your wedding all the more.
We didn’t hire a wedding planner but Walcot Hall
provided an event coordinator, Julia Pugh, who was a real lifesaver –
particularly when it started raining just before our outdoor ceremony
and she miraculously produced 100 lovely mismatched umbrellas for our
and we had animals at our wedding! My mother-in-law’s dog Tilly is very
much part of the family (I’m only half joking if I call her my
sister-in-law) so it was great that Walcot Hall were so relaxed and
welcoming that they had no problem at all with her and another dog
joining the celebrations. The resident cat also dropped in on our
ceremony, and ate the cake my Nan had made for the dessert table – which
everyone apart from her found hilarious!"
"I don’t think I’d change anything at all about the actual day
(apart from not forgetting to eat any cake or cheese!) – I can quite
honestly say it was just perfect for us. Plenty of things went wrong,
but as everyone says you just don’t care. Even the rain, which had been
my worst case scenario, gave it all quite a magical quality particularly
as it stopped just in the nick of time (which in itself was due to
another hiccup as the registrars arrived half an hour late – if they had
been on time we would have got married in the middle of a rain shower).
I do wish I hadn’t put so much pressure on myself before the wedding as
with the benefit of hindsight there was really no need to worry so
What a lovely wedding to end with on a Friday
Congratulations Julia and Dan on your lovely, quirky, sweet, sweet wedding day – Julia, you look sensational and I was so touched by your kind comments about Love My Dress in your questionnaire. Huge thanks too, to photographer Phoebe Landa for sharing these lovely photographs.
Come on folks, its Friday, let's show some love and adoration for this lovely wedding, what do you love about it the most?
Huuuuge Friday afternoon love all,
Photographer – Phoebe Landa
Venue – Walcot Hall in Lydbury, North Shropshire
Brides dress – Rosalba by Stephanie Allin, via High Society in Cowbridge
Brides Veil – Made by Wedding Dress Alterations
Brides shoes – Marta Jonsson via Debenhams
Bride's accessories –
Grooms Suit – Hugo Boss + Shoes from Aldo
Bridesmaids Dresses – Warehouse
Florist – Bride's mum
Catering Company – A2 Zest
Hair Stylist – The Vintage Salon, based in the Custard Factory, Birmingham