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I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend and a gentle start to your Monday? Today’s relaxed and stylish wedding in the historic town of Rye in East Sussex is sure to help ease you into the week. Kristen and Mark tied the knot on the 31st of July, 2015, at Rye Town Hall, followed by a reception just down the road at The George in Rye Hotel.
“We wanted our wedding to be relaxed, but still smart. I’m naturally drawn towards blues and purples, which made choosing the flowers and the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses easy. Although we never had a specific ‘theme’, once I had settled on the style of my wedding dress, it was easier to decide on other things like the cake and the stationery, plus The George is so stylish in its own right, it barely needed any dressing.”
Photography by Jacqui McSweeney
“As soon as I tried on the ‘Elsa’ dress, I knew it was ‘The One’ and I couldn’t have been happier to discover that it was £800 (I wasn’t prepared to go over the 1k mark and I was getting a bit fed up with the dress hunt by that point). I had the dress altered by an amazing seamstress called Satish at Elite Alterations.”
“I didn’t want anything too fussy or revealing for my dress, and I wanted to be able to move easily because of the kids. I love art deco style – the twenties and thirties – and I felt my gown touched on that theme without it feeling fancy dress. Mark still talks about it and hopes that Joni might wear it when she marries. I would love for it to be used again one day by someone.”
“A perfume brings back more feeling than pictures for me, so I wanted to find something very special. I wore Diptyque 34 from Liberty London and I also had candles with the same fragrance burning throughout the reception in the ballroom.”
“My son, Joshua, was two at the time and very non – compliant. He refused to try anything on and I was worried he would turn up wearing his Crystal Palace kit! Luckily, seeing Mark in his suit on the day, he agreed to wear his suit, but not the gorgeous little brogues I had hoped for. Instead he wore his battered red trainers and I’m so glad he did – kids stop you taking yourself too seriously!”
“The flowers were a real labour of love. My sister Carly (who trained to be a florist) arranged all of them. Buying the flowers (we went to Covent Garden Flower Market at the crack of dawn) was one of the best parts of the organising for me – spending hundreds of pounds on my favourite blooms felt so extravagant, but it was also really soothing and cathartic to be with my family the night before making bouquets, buttons holes and decoration (even though we were up until midnight!).”
“Mark and I got together during Christmas, 2007. We’d known each other for years through mutual friends when Mark turned up at a bar one day looking beardy and dishevelled. I hadn’t noticed how handsome he was until that day and I can still clearly remember wondering why it had taken me so long to realise. I blurted out ‘have you been working out or something…?’, which delighted him, and I’ve been teased about that line ever since! Two years later we found out we were expecting our first child, Joni-Mae, who was born in October 2010. Mark proposed in February 2012 on a romantic weekend in Whitstable, shortly afterwards we decided to have another baby.”
“Joshua carried Joni’s bouquet so that she could carry her basket of petals down the aisle and I remember seeing Mark’s eyes well up.”
“I was slightly fanatical about Captain Correlli’s Mandolin as a teenager and my mum even printed out that very passage and stuck it on my bedroom wall when I was nineteen, so it means a great deal to me. Mark chose ‘Love’ by Roy Croft and it reflects us completely.”
“I felt pretty euphoric walking down the road from the Town Hall to The George after the ceremony. The weather was absolutely incredible, there were crowds of passers-by taking pictures and shouting congratulations to us.”
“After spotting her work on Love My Dress, I met Jacqui at a wedding fair at The George and we immediately hit it off. Her own wedding was on the horizon and she had loads of advice and contacts and such a reassuring manner. I knew from her pictures that she would just ‘get it’, and take control, which was exactly what I wanted.”
“I think it’s so important to hire a photographer whose work you love, and I would recommend cutting the budget elsewhere to get the best you can afford. Everything happens so fast on the day and you live off the photos forever. Just having so many beautiful shots of our friends and family, and especially the children mean the world to us! At least three of my friends have said they want to hire Jacqui when the time comes – I honestly can’t recommend her enough.”
“I’m so pleased we hired Henley and White to film our day too. They were incredibly discreet – most people didn’t realise we had videographers, and the final film with the music and editing still makes me teary. You just don’t realise until after how much you miss on the day, so having the footage is extra special.”
Our beautiful, flaxen haired bride wore fresh flowers in her hair and a simple chapel length veil, purchased from Amazon for just ten pounds.
“I started the day in a pair of beautiful, sparkly heels from Karen Millen, but they were fatal on the cobbles of Rye, and I ended up in lacy ivory pumps from the first dance onwards.”
Kristen decorated The George with dozens of glass tea lights and filled lots of milk bottle vases with beautiful blooms in shades of blues and pinks.
“The ballroom is such a great space and you really don’t need that much to dress it with. We dotted old black and white photographs of our parents’ and grandparents’ weddings around and decorated the tables with huge lilac delphiniums which looked incredibly dramatic.”
“Walking into the ballroom and hearing the roar of applause was something I will never forget – like the entire room was rooting for us, it made us feel so loved. It actually gave me the courage to make a speech, which I had been deliberating for months but wasn’t sure I would manage on the day. I really felt it was important for my daughter and nieces to see me speak as well as the men.”
“One of the main reasons we chose The George was the food, and it did not disappoint – our guests still talk about it. After a brilliant taster session at the venue we chose Salmon gravlax with beetroot and horse radish to start, Romney Marsh Lamb Wellington with creamed mash and green beans as our main and Summer Fruit Pudding with clotted cream for dessert.”
“Mark’s dad is suffering from Alzheimer’s Dementia, and wasn’t well enough to attend the wedding in the end. We deliberated up until the week before, and briefed all the staff about how to manage him should we manage to convince him to come, but it was too stressful for everybody, especially Ken, and it felt unfair to try to coax him into it for our own benefit. We made a donation to Dementia Friends as our wedding favour and they sent cute little pins which we put on the place cards for guests.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom:
- Organise a ‘de-brief’ the day after. We had a pub lunch in Rye with whoever was still around the next day. You miss so much on the day and it’s so fun to catch up when you’re more relaxed the day after.
- Spend as much as you can afford on the photographer and do get a videographer if you can (and ask for the unedited footage afterwards).
- Google ‘Wedding Day Timeline Template’, and use this template for the days before and after too. Print out at least four copies of your to-do lists so everybody knows the plan and doesn’t have to ask you five hundred questions.
- Don’t be afraid of the post – wedding come-down – everybody feels it. Make sure you arrange little reminders or things to look forward to like the photos arriving and the wedding gifts being delivered.
- Have a mini break immediately after just to catch your breath – we were EXHAUSTED. There was no way we could have gone straight back to work on Monday, even if there was a honeymoon on the horizon.
Brilliant advice from our lovely bride! A huge thank you both to Kristen and Mark for sharing the details of their big day and to Jacqui McSweeney for capturing it so very stylishly. If you’d like to see other art deco inspired gowns, please follow this link.
Wishing you a great rest of your week (don’t forget to fill out the 2016 reader survey for your chance to win £500 – good luck!).
Photographer – Jacqui McSweeney
Film – Henley & White Films
Venue + Catering – Rye Town Hall, followed by a reception at The George, both in Rye, East Sussex
Wedding Dress – ‘Elsa’ by Eliza Jane Howell, purchased from Morgan Davies Bridal, London. Alterations by Satish at Elite Alterations
Veil – Amazon
Shoes – Karen Millen
Bride’s Scent/perfume – Diptyque 34 via Liberty of London
Groom – Ted Baker suit hired from Moss Bros + Oliver Sweeney shoes
Bridesmaids – ASOS and Coast dresses + JulJewelry bracelet purchased via Etsy
Flowergirl – Debenhams dress
Page Boy – Marks & Spencer
Florist – Arranged by the sister of the bride
Cake – Tina Hall at Sprinkles and Swirls
Entertainment – The Best Singing Waiters + Dave of Diamond Disco
Rings – Chisholm Hunter
Stationery – Created by a friend of the bride and groom
Makeup & Hair Stylist – The Rye Retreat