An Old English Tea Party and Spring Country Garden Inspired Wedding…

Good morning lovely people, thank you so much for dropping by Love My Dress today – promise you I have a day full of lovely wedding day inspiration just for you.  Just to briefly mention, in case you missed it yesterday, the Oxfam Wedding Auction raised over £38,000 for charity – you can read more about it here.  Also have a read of my weekend personal post if it takes your fancy.  Right, let's get on with good stuff!

Jim and Amy tied the knot on 31 March 2012 with a ceremony at St. Andrew’s Church in Alfriston, East Sussex, followed by a ceremony at Alfriston War Memorial Hall.  Would you believe, Amy designed her own wedding dress?  Jim's Mum Veronica, who has worked in costume (theatre) made the dress based on Amy's design – both took inspiration from Temperley, Grace Kelly and beautiful chantilly lace..

"I loved everything about my dress, as I’d designed it!  The elements of it that really worked for me were the sleeves, scalloped lace edging and the beautiful train.

Most of the fabrics, including the ivory Chantilly lace, were sourced from MacCulloch & Wallis…"

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012, Andrew J R Squires

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"Our entertainment was fabulous! Our focus was on music rather than other entertainers.  It started in the church, with our last hymn, 'This Little Light Of Mine' – I had borrowed a box of musical instruments from the school where I teach and these were given by the ushers to some of the guests as they arrived. As the hymn began we each picked up our instruments and played along as we sang, so we were dancing with the vicar and our tambourines – bringing a little of South London to rural East Sussex.

For the first hour of Reception, we had a string quartet ‘Reflection Strings’, who were brilliant and professional, with a huge repertoire but quickly learnt our personal choice of songs for minimal additional cost…."

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"My veil was also made by Jim’s Mum. It was originally going to be a Juliette-cap style but I later decided for it to sit on an ‘invisible’ hairband. My Mum sewed the veil on to the hairband. The Chantilly lace trimming was from another fabric shop in Soho…."

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"Diane, my Mum, sourced the flowers from Fayes in Brighton. Mum, my Sister and I and other family and friends arranged all the flowers in the hall and church. The theme was a Spring country garden, with a bit of lily of the valley and peonies thrown in. Amy arranged her own bouquet the night before the wedding, and tied it with a 19th-century lace handkerchief from Jim’s family (something borrowed). Diane also constructed the groomsmen’s buttonholes using white roses and lily of the valley…"

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"I wore a pair of ivory lace court shoes with a small heel and called 'Isabella', by Rachel Simpson. I also wore a pair of Ivory ballet shoes for the evening, from a Ballet dance shop. My Mum added ribbons so they would tie and stay on my feet…"

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"My flower-girls wore dresses and cardigans from Monsoon, along with ivory ballet shoes from a ballet dance shop.  Their beautiful floral headpieces were made by me the night before, using gypsophila, lily of the valley and freesias (all white)…"

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"My bridesmaids were my Sister, Emma, who had complete freedom in her choice, and Veronica made her an emerald green Grecian-style dress. It matched Emma’s art-deco emerald engagement ring.  My bridesmaids also wore velvet court shoes from Anthropologie.

On the morning of the wedding, I gave my sister a pair of art deco earrings from Fur Coat No Knickers in Soho. They featured a small pearl, to carry through the pearl theme that I had for myself…"

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"Jim wore a bespoke 3-piece Prince of Wales check with yellow lining suit from Cad & The Dandy.  Jim first visited Cad & The Dandy on Saville Row in January, had a fitting a few weeks later and picked up his impeccable suit a few weeks after that. Everyone he dealt with was a perfect balance of professional and friendly, and he is hugely looking forward to finding a good excuse to get them to make his next suit.

The Liberty print ties and pocket squares for Jim and all groomsmen were from Peak Princess…"

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"My gift to Jim on the day was an antique Omega pocket watch which he received less than an hour before the ceremony. I'd arranged for Jim’s Mum and Dad to source a charm or keepsake to attach to the other end of the chain, and they chose a locket with a picture inside of each of them from their wedding day – cue tears!"

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"We love cream teas and have visited many places to find a good one. We even named our tables after favoured cream tea/afternoon tea venues. This was mixed with our love for village life (choosing Alfriston) and English, nostalgic, country style. We also wanted to feel true to the season in which we were getting married, hence the daffodils and other Spring flowers. We love the colour yellow because of a personal symbolic meaning attached to yellow birds. Also, it has always been Jim’s favourite colour. Therefore, splashes of yellow were on the save the dates, the formal invitations, orders of service, table names, etc.

When it came to decor, we begged and borrowed lots of decorations and vases, plates, cups, etc. The theme was an old English tea party. We had tea sets and teapots, and anything else to decorate tables. Diane also made reams of bunting (approx 300 metres) for inside the venue, and outside on the church wall. The fabrics used were old, spotty, striped or floral in design…"

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"During our afternoon tea, we had the Gramophone DJ Dave Guttridge entertain our guests – he was an absolute gentleman and a talking point for all of the guests. He is totally unique and worked very hard at our wedding…"

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"The flower girls’ grandfather, Roland, drove Amy and Peter to the church in his Morris Minor, ‘Snowdrop’. Beautiful car and beautiful ride. Diane, Emma and the flower girls were driven in a white London cab…"

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"My something new was a pair of pearl stud earrings – a gift from my Mum and Dad on the morning of the wedding. My something blue was a blue-stoned ring, which is a family heirloom. My something old was a  horseshoe charm from my late Great Aunt, sewn into the vintage garter.  And my something borrowed (another borrowed item later in the flower design) was my late Nan’s heart locket, sewn into the neckline of my dress…"

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"The Best Man and groomsmen all wore their own suits. We supplied them with white shirts from Charles Tyrwhitt with monogrammed cuffs (in grey embroidery), ties (as mentioned above) and complementary socks…"


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"We chose the location to get married, as Jim proposed to me on a bench outside Alfriston War Memorial Hall in September 2011 (see later), and Alfriston has always been somewhere we’ve loved together"

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"Jim had planned to propose to me in Alfriston over the summer holiday, but as we were renovating our flat at the time, we very rarely took time to visit my parents in Eastbourne, which would have been Jim’s perfect opportunity.

In the end, the school holidays came and went so Jim picked me up from work one Friday, blindfolded me, and drove me the 2 ½ hours through rush hour traffic to Alfriston. He then led me (still blindfolded, of course) along footpaths, over stiles and across the grass to where he had planned it, and sat me on a bench which we have a photo of us sitting on from when we first started seeing one another. He then asked me to take off the blindfold, and there Jim was, on one knee with the ring in the box.

I realised I was in our beloved Alfriston and cried.  And then I said 'Yes'…"

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"Instead of wedding favours we donated money to the Alzheimer’s Society charity and gave each guest a forget-me-not pin badge (attached to their brown luggage name tags) – the emblem of the Society. This was in memory of my Nan, who sadly passed last year after suffering from Alzheimers…"

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"We had a 3-tier ivory-iced fruit cake from Marks & Spencer – chosen because we’ve had it before at other weddings and enjoyed it, and the price is unbeatable. The service from the Eastbourne Marks & Spencer branch was brilliant.The whole thing was put together by Angie (a close friend of Diane’s), our caterer for the day. The cake boards were trimmed by Diane and Angie in Liberty print fabric…"

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"Our first dance was choreographed by Lisa of The Dance Mavericks in Eastbourne. We chose Sam Cooke, That’s Where It’s At, a song very special in our early days of getting together and one we have listened to many times since. The dance was a slow rumba and was simple to learn. It saved us from the classic ‘wedding shuffle and twirls’…"

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"In the evening, we had Kris Widakay, Soul of the Sixties DJ from London (Phoenix, Cavendish Square) entertain our guests. We met at the Soul of the Sixties night in London about 4 years ago and this is where our friendship began. Kris Widakay is fab to work with and knows of us and our friends through regular nights out at the Soul of the Sixties night. He played our requests very happily. Good times!"

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Words of Wedded Wisdom…

"Relax, it will all come together. If it feels like it isn’t coming together, or if things go wrong, it really doesn’t matter because the family and friends you have chosen to be there are so happy to be with you and share in the special day that they won’t mind. 

It is better to have too much food and drink than not enough. We are now very much enjoying getting through our wines and Champagnes in our own time!  You can never have too many helpers at a homemade wedding. 

Assign jobs to people you know will want to help – make it easier on yourselves. We are aware that we were very lucky to have amazing family and friends who wanted to be a part of the ‘homemade’ team on the day.

Also, in planning our wedding, I visited various websites, and magazines, helped with ideas. We didn’t keep track of these sites as there were so many. However, Love My Dress was a particular site that stood out as being inspiring and helpful with ideas and planning. We were also very lucky in that we had very strong ideas, which is great for a homemade wedding as you can have everything the way you want it – because you have to do it yourself! The tricky part was sourcing everything we wanted, such as festoon lights and a Nebuchadnezzar of Champagne, but where there’s a will there’s a way!"

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Oh how super super lovely! And so wonderful that Amy gained so much inspiration from Love My Dress.

Amy, Jim, HUGE congratulations guys, your both look like you had the time of your lives on your wedding day, and I'm so thrilled for you. Huge thanks also to photographer Andrew J R Squires for so kindly sharing these lovely wedding photographs…

"Our photographer Andrew is amazing. From the moment we first saw his work online we knew that his style would suit our wedding perfectly.

Once we had met Andrew he made us feel completely at ease and confident that everything would go smoothly. Amy was impressed by how natural he was on the morning of the wedding when he visited the family home to take photos as the bridal party prepared. Everything was very calm and relaxed, which Andrew played a part in.

He worked so hard during the day, all the way through to the photo booth in the evening – the results of which are brilliant. We’ve had a lot of compliments of his work since the photos came through – they are beautiful. Emma and Gilles liked him and his work so much that they’ve booked him for their wedding next year."

What do we think everyone? Let's show Amy and Jim some love for this inspirational feaure.

You can see more from Andrew, the photographer, here on Love My Dress.

Have a lovely morning all,



Photographer – Andrew J R Squires
Venue – Alfriston War Memorial Hall
Brides dress + Veil – Designed by the bride and made by the bride's Mother in Law, using lace from MacCulloch & Wallis
Brides shoes – Rachel Simpson
Brides accessories – family heirlooms
Groom – Cad & The Dandy + Liberty print tie & pocket square from Peak Princess
Flowers – The brides Mum, with flowers sourced from Fayes in Brighton
Cake – Marks & Spencer
First Dance Choreography – The Dance Mavericks
Entertainment – Gramophone DJ Dave Guttridge + Reflection Strings + Kris Widakay, Soul of the Sixties DJ from London
Bridesmaids – Bespoke + shoes from Anthropologie + vintage art-deco earrings from Fur Coat No Knickers
Flowergirls dresses – Monsoon


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.