We’ve got an extra little treat for you today with this charming little early evening real wedding post. The bride, Sara, a Digital Account Manager, married Creative Director Ian in November at Dewsall Court, a delightful country house wedding venue in Hereford. This wedding was a lovely family affair, with special attention paid towards catering for the children – the couple hired in wedding creche specialists Ciccionas and dressed their little ones in peach colour Converse to match the pretty floral colour scheme.
“I can be a bit of a coordination freak, so when we started talking about the wedding, in my mind it was going to be a hand-crafted wonderland of paper, with carefully planned lighting and hints of mad-hatters tea-party-style eccentricity. However as the things evolved (ok so normal life got in the way and time just ran out) it became a case of what we could actually fit in making. There was already so much that was unique about the style and decor in Dewsall Court that actually it didn’t matter in the end.
Neither of us are big fans of being the centre of attention but as we kept it to close friends and family only, it just felt more like a weekend party with the very best people in our lives.”
Photography Copyright (c) 2015, Lucy Little
“We met through work, although we were two hundred miles apart at the time. Ian wowed me with his instant messenger chat about flash creative and eventually we met up. We’d been together for about five years before Ian proposed practically in the dark at about 6am on Valentine’s Day. We’d already brought our gorgeous girly into the world just over a year before and we were both so pleased she was there on our wedding day.”
“Our flowers were from Love Lily, who created some autumnal gorgeousness with very little guidance from me. When I met with Amanda at Dewsall Court, I mentioned I had seen people using these ‘big fat plant type flowers’ in their table decorations and bouquets, and in her green-fingered wisdom (well far more than me obviously) she told me they were called succulents. So they formed the base with some prettier yellow and white flowers to soften them up. One of the boxes we had planted and on the table is still going strong in our kitchen a year later!”
“My dress-buying experience wasn’t quite as I imagined it would be – it was only a month or two after we got engaged, so I hadn’t been dress shopping at all yet. Then I spotted there was a Jenny Packham sample sale up in Manchester in the April and I thought I’d head for a nosey on my own as it was near my work, so I popped in at 8.30am. While I knew I wanted a glamorous dress, I didn’t feel bold enough to wear too much glitz so I picked out a couple of fairly simple dresses and tried them both on hurriedly in the communal changing room. I wouldn’t say I got the lightning bolts and streaming tears moment that some people describe but I felt elegant in one of them and the girl next to me said it really suited to me. So that was it, sold, and off I went to work with a Jenny Packham dress over my arm!
I’m not going to lie, in the months after that I spent many hours unhealthily obsessing over whether it was the right dress. Should I have been that quick to choose? Had I had just fallen for the sample sale price? Was I even brave enough to carry it off? In the end when my 1920s look all came together, I wouldn’t have changed my dress for the world.”
Readers, we shared a really interesting feature last week that addresses the subject matter of ‘finding the one’ – if you’ve not read it yet, I’d strongly encourage you to do so – we’ve had a number of brides say it’s completely changed their perspective of the whole ‘shopping for your wedding dress’ experience.
“We got married at Dewsall Court in Hereford – they have a lovely team who help you out as much or as little as you want. We had lots of friends coming with young children, so we wanted a place where we could stay for the weekend and have the ceremony, reception and also rooms to put the kids to bed in the evening so the adults could still enjoy themselves. We tried to find something closer to Manchester but nothing stood out.
When I found Dewsall Court online I was in love, but it was so perfect that I thought there would be no way we could afford it. Ian was also initially sceptical due to the fact we had no ties to the area, but we went to see it on a gloriously clear April morning, and both came away saying ‘I don’t want to look at anything else’.”
“The flower girls were wearing dresses from a shop on ebay. I searched high and low as I wanted dresses with a vintage feel and also something they could wear again. Their felt flower headbands were from Etsy, handmade by a lady in the US, and they had the cutest peach converse to finish off the outfit. I hadn’t actually seen their outfits together until the day, so when they were there waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs my heart exploded.”
“Our photographer was Lucy Little. A big part of Ian’s job is photographic art direction. So we potentially could have been the fussiest, most awkward clients around but Lucy was utterly brilliant. Various people asked me afterwards if she was a friend as she fitted in so well and I think that’s a rare talent in a room of 50 people you don’t know. The images she produced speak for themselves really.”
“My bridesmaids surprised me with a little gift while I was getting ready and that was Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia perfume. I’d mentioned liking it in passing when we were bridesmaid dress shopping and I was so touched they remembered. It was the larger bottle and is still going strong nearly a year on and it reminds of that day every time I put it on.
My shoes were Zara but I actually bought them new from ebay and added some deco style shoe clips. I hunted and hunted but in the end I just couldn’t justify spending so much on shoes that I knew wouldn’t wear again. The only pair of shoes I was tempted by were a stunning pair of embroidered Emmy Francesca shoes but they were too beautiful to be worn by a tomboy like me.”
“As my dress was from a sample sale, it needed a bit of a clean before the wedding, so I took it to the local dry-cleaners. It was also a little bit long, so I took it to a seamstress. It was such a simple dress and also bias cut so there was nowhere to hide with the alterations and despite asking numerous times if she felt completely confident with it, I left the dress with the seamstress still feeling a bit apprehensive. When I picked it up (a week before the wedding!) my worst fears were confirmed. It was a mess! The hem was heavy and awful, and there was an open seam in the side where it had been taken in and it had bunched up so had been unpicked. So I left with the dress unfinished – and my blood boiling.
Luckily after managing to decipher my very tearful spluttery phone call and calm me down, a local bridal wear designer Jean Jackson came to my rescue and offered to do the rush alterations as a one-off. If she ever reads this, then thank you again Jean! Moral of the story? Don’t ever cut corners on wedding dress alterations. I should have got recommendations from respected local wedding boutiques really.”
“My hair and make-up was done by Jennifer Gilling. She was lovely to have around in the morning, a very calming influence.
“My dad, despite having a poorly ankle, managed to walk me down the aisle without hobbling like a peg-leg. Unknown to Ian, David had kindly agreed to learn a tune that Ian loved which was Pullman ‘Two Parts Water’ to play as I walked down the aisle. I’ll be honest once I walked into the ceremony barn, I can’t remember hearing or really seeing anything and i’m not sure Ian noticed it either.
I don’t know if it was nerves but I felt a bit like a walking zombie-bride, hopefully it didn’t look that way!”
“The readings we had were ‘I wanna be yours’ by John Cooper Clark. The other was an extract from Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, my favourite line being, ‘If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you’. I think we just felt they reflected us as a couple. Neither of us are very traditional or religious, and we just didn’t want anything too stifling or serious.”
“For the bridesmaids I just picked a colour and each bridesmaid chose their own dresses. Being lovely friends, I am sure they would have worn whatever I would have chosen if I had wanted to be a bridezilla, but I wanted them to feel as special on the day as I did. They all have such different style that it was the easiest way.”
“My beaded shawl was from BHDLN. I couldn’t find what I wanted in the UK so I ended paying a bit more in customs and duties fees to get it from the US, but it was worth it.”
“The cake was made by the caterers at Dewsall Court and decorated by my mum. I actually forgot to tell her she was in charge of that, so she had to go out to the supermarket on the morning of the wedding and buy some berries. I had already asked the florist to bring some extra cut flowers for the cake to match those we had in the bouquets. So my poor mum was decorating the cake mid-way through the wedding meal I think but it looked perfect in the end.”
“Having sat through many meals out trying to persuade our own toddler just to stay in her seat, not to draw on the table-cloth, to pleeease eat some of her food, stop playing with the pepper pots etc – we decided to hire a wedding crèche for a couple of hours during the meal. It was incredible. The adults got to eat (and drink) in peace and the kids had their own party next door with the lovely girls from Ciccionas. Everyone was a winner.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom…
“I got so hung up on the details and wanting to make sure everyone else was going to be happy by trying to cover every possible eventuality. Ian felt they were perhaps the details that weren’t as important and, though I probably never admitted it to him, in some cases he was right. It’s such a cliché but it is your day, don’t stress yourself out at the expense of trying to please other people. In fairness there weren’t even any guests in our wedding party who would have been awkward or disapproving like some horror stories I’ve heard, it was just me placing that pressure on myself!
Also, I visited a few wedding blogs while we were planning the wedding, but I made nearly a daily visit to Love My Dress as I liked the diversity of the weddings on there. I still look sometimes now when I am mourning my wedding planning days!”
Oh how lovely – I’m always drawn to weddings that embrace the whole entire family – children too. Perhaps those of you who have a lot of children to cater for on your own wedding day could look up the wedding creche services of Ciccionas?
I also love how honest Sara was about her dress experience, because for many people, finding the dress simply isn’t the dreamy, champagne filled, life changing experience we’re all led to believe it is – and if that resonates with you, then read this!
My love and thanks to photographer Lucy Little for sharing this lovely wedding today. and all our love and congratulations to Sara and Ian too.
Love Annabel xxx
Photographer – Lucy Little
Venue, Catering + Cake – Dewsall Court, Hereford
Dress – Jenny Packham (Sample sale)
Bride’s Veil – Preloved
Headpiece – Heart Deco Headband by Faulkner and Carter via Liberty in Love
Shoes – Zara
Bride’s Scent/perfume – Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia
Grooms Suit – Kin at John Lewis
Bridesmaids – own choice
Flowergirls – ebay dresses + felt flower headbands via Etsy + peach converse
Florist – Love Lily
Hair + Makeup – Jennifer Gilling
Wedding Creche – Ciccionas