Marriage at the seaside for a couple so obviously head over heels for each other makes this a truly heartwarming and adorable wedding. Muted sea tones, tumbling petticoats, simple spring flowers and an intimate beach hut setting for Rachael and Dan Fitzgerald, captured beautifully by Tino & Pip Photography. There are some lovely personal touches in this wedding that will remind us all of the fundamental reason for getting married – LOVE!
“We were married on 5th April 2014 at The Beacon House in Whitstable, Kent. We wanted a day that reflected us both very clearly – if it felt ‘weddingy’ then it probably wasn’t going to be for us! It had to be a very personal, unique day. We could be described as a bit ‘off beat’ and we wanted our wedding day to be chilled out, quirky and meaningful.”
Photography Copyright (c) 2014, Tino & Pip
“I had always imagined that I would get married outside, on a beach or a cliff – definitely by the sea. We toyed with the idea of getting married in Australia (Dan is Australian) where you can literally get married anywhere! Since we got engaged in Whitstable, when my Google search came back with The Beacon House, it was like a jigsaw puzzle slotting into place. We went to view it and that was that. It was the first and only venue we saw!”
Rachael chose a simple 50’s style lace dress from Candy Anthony, which perfectly suited the relaxed and beachy feel of the day. “When Hannah, one of my bridesmaids, asked how I wanted to feel in my ideal dress, I said I want to feel like myself. Hazel at the Southbank boutique did an amazing job of helping me to choose. The short skirt with fantastic petticoats had a fun yet classic feel to it. I loved the idea of having sleeves and the lace was just amazing! I truly love my dress! I plan to wear it around the house on a regular basis!”
“The Beacon House is beautiful but has a relaxed feel to it. The veranda is licensed for weddings so we could have our ceremony outside- hurrah! We spent the whole of our wedding day there, using the stunning garden, the lovely inside rooms, the verandas and importantly, the beach and beach huts!
We hired it for the whole weekend so that we could decorate it on the friday and sleep over (and put up some Australian family) the night before the wedding. It was the perfect venue for us, it felt like we were hosting a lovely party for our most favourite people, in a place where we felt relaxed and excited.”
This couple really paid attention to the emotional details of their wedding, something that can be quite difficult to do when working within the constraints of a legal ceremony.
“I have really never understood many wedding traditions, and a woman being ‘given away’ by one man to another man is definitely one of them – so both of my parents and my three bridesmaids, along with my nephews holding a ‘here comes the bride’ banner that Dan painted, accompanied me instead to represent that we were two families coming together.”
Photographers Martin and Penny of Tino & Pip have done a fabulous job of capturing the intimacy and happiness of this day.
“We chose them because their style was our style too. We were very excited to have them as our photographers – they are a newly wed couple themselves, and this shows in the romance of their photos. They also managed to capture small details that could have been forgotten – this resulted in the feel of the day being caught on camera, so we can never forget how delightful it really was. In the pictures our guests all have real facial expressions rather than pouts!
Our wedding photos feel like a behind the scenes peek into our wedding day, when we first viewed them online they made us both cry and laugh. They also took us back to the moments they were taken and all the emotions came flooding back! These are two very skilled photographers, I urge you to take a look at their website if you’re trying to decide on a wedding photographer.”
Rachael and Dan created many of the decorations for the venue themselves, utilising Dan’s skills as a designer and animator for the invites, which featured a snail and a whale. “On our first date (after meeting initially online) we ended up discussing which animal we would be…he was a whale and I was a snail!”
“I made 35 metres of doily bunting and 350 tiny washi-tape flags. Spoons were decorated, fairy lights were hung, bunting was stuck onto backs of chairs, heart shaped cocktail sticks and homemade flags were scattered amongst the flowers and trees in the garden. Our friends and family worked hard the day (and weeks) before to help us get set up!”
“Jane at Graham Greener in Whitstable did a great job of our simple bouquets and Dan’s daffodil and wax flower boutonniere. We went with spring flowers – daffodils, wax flowers and muscari are some of my favourites. My mum and nephew Thomas helped us plant up a load of bulbs in the autumn and they managed to bloom at exactly the right time! Phew! These pots and tins were dotted about the Beacon House and the smell was delightful.”
“Dan proposed on our two year anniversary of meeting (22nd December). We made our own advent calendar and we took turns in making little gifts for the other to open. Dan had been making various origami animals for me, which I had been adding to our Nativity scene. We took number 22 advent stocking away with us for the weekend for a short break in the cute fisherman’s huts in Whitstable.
Dan being the lovely man that he is, made a ring box out of origami paper, and had hidden my engagement ring inside the number 22 on our advent calendar! He proposed by the window of the fisherman’s hut, looking out at the sea, down on one knee and of course I said yes (I had known that Dan was ‘the one’ for quite a while!) We then spent ages kneeling down by the window just being a bit stunned!”
Rachael’s only specification for her bridesmaids was that they wore blue or green dresses that were roughly knee-length. The tones that the ladies chose worked beautifully together and suited the feel of the day perfectly. The gents were asked simply to wear blue or green ties and Dan insisted on a bespoke handmade suit.
“I think he felt (and looked) pretty special on the day!” Dan sported origami aeroplane cufflinks, a lovely little touch as instead of confetti the bride and groom were showered with paper planes!
Rachael walked down the aisle to ‘Sea of Love’ by Kat Power. “When I heard it playing on our wedding morning, it got me a little chocked – it’s so beautiful and it made me realise that I was going to be married to my lovely Dan very, very soon!”
“When we found a little children’s book called ‘I like you’ by Sandol Stoddard Warburg, we knew we had found the perfect reading. It is touching but also very silly, and summed up our relationship very well! We split the book up into sections, which my four friends read out perfectly! My sister Lucy then read a poem called “Love” by Roy Croft. As we didn’t have a church wedding we made sure to have a Bible reading and prayer later on in the day, after the legal bit was over. Dan’s mum read Psalm 100 (very joyful) and my friend Clare said an Irish blessing for us, as well as adding her own thoughtful prayer too.”
Although the bride and groom were unable to amend their vows for the ceremony, they made sure they were able to express their heartfelt sentiments during the speeches. “During our bit, we included a little speech to each other, which we kept secret until the moment arrived. Dan memorised his speech to me and it was so amazing that it had the room in tears. I’m a very lucky wife!”
Rachael’s engagement ring is absolutely exquisite and Dan had it specially commissioned. “I had admired Richard Chown’s work on his stall in Greenwich Market for quite a while, and it was he who made the ring for us – English roses and Australian eucalyptus to symbolise us both, made with platinum and red rubies. We went back to Richard for our wedding bands too, into which he engraved tiny rose leaves on Dan’s and tiny eucalyptus leaves into mine.”
“My favourite parts of the day were any and all of the moments that I got to spend alone with Dan, realising what a wonderful thing we had done that day! I honestly don’t think that I would change a single thing.”
Rachael and Dan didn’t book any official entertainment for the reception, instead putting a lot of time and effort into creating the perfect playlist to accompany the celebrations. “My dad managed to surprise us though by inviting some morris men he spotted in town earlier that day on the spur of the moment! They greeted us after our photographs on the beach and even got Dan up and dancing with stick and all!”
Goody bags were created for all the guests containing sweeties, Whitstable rock, jingle sticks, games and bubbles. “I remember bubbles floating past us as we signed the register- yippee! We gave people individual presents to say ‘thank you’ too. Wedding blogs were really useful in deciding on the feel of the day and also helped me find loads of ideas for decorating our venue. As ever, Pinterest was an unrivalled source of inspiration.”
Nourishment for the day was provided by Herb Garden Catering.
“They were absolutely fantastic from start to finish – they literally catered for our every need! Broad bean burgers are one of my favourites and they agreed to try a new recipe and added it to our menu – they also made nut-free pesto and macaroons for us, so that one of guests with a nut-allergy could relax. The food was delicious and many of our guests have said it was the best food they’ve ever had at a wedding!
We had a barbecue (Dan being Australian, this seemed apt) for lunch and a relaxed picnic tea for the evening. People just helped themselves and sat in the garden, on the beach or on the sofas in the lounge – it was very chilled out! Herb Garden really went the extra mile, as we wanted to have hot cross buns during the evening and they added those to their menu too. It was a completely bespoke wedding menu and we cannot recommend them highly enough.”
Rachael and Dan enlisted the help of family and asked Maria Nash to make a delicious tower of chocolate brownies instead of a more traditional wedding cake.
“I bought curly silver candles and made lots of tiny washi tape flags to decorate the tower. Dan sculpted our cake topper (he’s the fox, I’m the squirrel!) and made the ‘yeah!’ banners to finish it off. We loved blowing out the candles – who wants to cut a cake when you can blow candles out instead! We bought lots of yummy toppings for people to create their own dessert, so killed two birds with one stone!”
Words of wedded wisdom
“Be happy being yourselves and don’t worry about what other people think of your plans. If they love you, they will be happy for you even if they don’t quite understand what place wellies, whales, snails and brownie towers have at a wedding!”
I think that this couple expressed their own quirkiness and love for each other in such a sweet way. This a wedding that I will remember for a very long time because you can practically feel the love rolling out of the pictures. Thank you to Rachael and Dan for sharing this lovely day and to Tino & Pip Photography for the stunning images.
Have you got anything extra-specially quirky and personal planned for your big day? Do tell us about it.
Love Susie x
Photographer – Tino & Pip
Venue – The Beacon House, Whitstable
Wedding Dress – Candy Anthony
Shoes – Dune
Accessories – Accessorize
Groom – King and Allen
Florist – Graham Greener
Entertainment – Morris Dancers
Rings – Richard Chown
Catering – Herb Garden
Follow Love My Dress® on Google+