Happy Saturday everyone! If you happen to have a fondness for all things eclectic and nostalgic, then I’m pretty sure you’re going to adore this utterly delightful wedding. The whole celebration has been lovingly crafted and created down to the very teeny tiny last details by the bride, who is a self confessed vintage collector and hoarder (a girl clearly after my own heart). Taking influences from her favourite poem, this pussycat wore a pea-green, Watters wedding dress to marry her owl.
The lovely Tom Barnes wed the gorgeous Cat Woods on the 23rd of August 2014 at St Peter’s Church on the coast in Heysham, followed by a reception filled with the most charming and colourful, inspirational decor, at Cat’s family home. Cat is a fashion designer and Tom a Director at an energy supplier (but really is a musician at heart and plays in a band). I can’t get enough of this most beautiful day, that pretty pale green wedding dress and how heartfelt and homespun the whole celebration was. These beautiful images were crafted by the talented Mr Sleeve Photography.
“There were quite a few inspirations going on. The main theme was ‘The Owl And The Pussycat’ poem, as it happens to be one of my very favourite poems – I am called Cat and Tom absolutely loves owls, so it just seemed perfect. As the owl and the pussycat has a bit of nautical theme and the church was by the seaside, I added a little nod to the seaside throughout the day too. Tom collects owl ornaments so we used a lot of them for decoration where we could. The colour was mint green and coral with some extra bright colours to make the surrounding area feel happy and bright.”
Photography Copyright (c) 2015, Mr Sleeve Photography
“I also have a collection of ‘Alice In Wonderland’ books, so I tried to tie in a ‘Mad Hatters Tea Party’ theme for the wedding breakfast, using village hall style trestle tables in long rows, and with no strict seating plan. We served cocktails from teapots with cups and saucers. I guess in terms of era inspiration, we drew from the 1930s and ’40’s and put our own modern twist on things.”
“Tom and I met in a gay club that we were both working at. He had a crush on me but we didn’t get together for a long while. He said he knew when he first met me that I was the one – whereas, I had no clue whatsoever at the time. I was concentrating on my fashion degree and being a student. We were together for 13 years before we tied the knot.
Tom ended up proposing to me while I was sewing (while a student) – I had fabric all around me, busy sewing away he then literally dived into the fabric pushing it aside and got down on one knee! Hehe! He had a temporary ring for me as we were only young – I wore that ring until I got the proper thing a month before the wedding – eleven whole years later!”
Cat wore a Watters Kerry dress with pretty sweetheart neckline, delicate chantilly and corded lace with a beautiful fishtail shape, which she fell in love with after having discovered it at Agape Bridal Boutique in Altrincham.
“Tom and I love the colour green, so when I choose my dress, it was because I could have a mint green slip underneath it. The ladies at Agape customised the dress for me by making the under garment silk slip in mint green satin. I had actually originally bought a 1940s wedding dress, and had intended on dying it mint green, but then I went to try some dresses on to see what suited me and I fell in love with this dress. I bought the sample in the shop to keep the budget down. Agape customised it for me, cleaned it and fitted in within the price.”
Cat complemented her beautiful dress with a simple silk long veil also from Agape Bridal Boutique.
“I bought the bridal shoes from Seychelles Footwear in America as the dress was American it seemed fitting and I wanted bright coral pop and in a vintage inspired style.”
“I had the floral crowns specially made by Rebecca at Gypsy Rose Vintage, I found her on Etsy and as they were handmade in Manchester, which was perfect as that’s where we live and where I met Tom. I had my bridal floral crown and the bridesmaids crowns specially made by Rebecca. We discussed which flowers and I sent her inspiration of what I wanted, she did a fantastic job. I also had my florist add some real flowers to the bridal crown on the day (gypsophila and roses).”
“Our florist was Philosophy Flowers – I used to work with owner Rebecca at my previous job. I knew she would get the theme and look right instantly as she really knows her stuff. I wanted the bouquet to feel almost like I had made it myself – I also wanted it to be made into three parts, so I could give two parts away, one to the mother of the bride and the other to the mother of the groom for a present and thank you. I kept the other part for myself and to throw later, as per tradition. I wanted the bridesmaids to have hand tied gypsophila so they looked ‘home-grown’.”
What a beautiful thought! I love the idea of splitting the bouquet to gift to special people at the end of the wedding day.
“As we were on a budget and because we had six bridesmaids and one ‘page-man’, I was about to get my sewing machine out and make everything myself, but then I found some beautiful flowing green dresses in Zara! I couldn’t believe it, they had just the relaxed, bohemian, vintage look I wanted. I’d struggled to please all the bridesmaids up to this point, but as soon as they tried their dresses on, they all looked fantastic.
One of my bridesmaid got a slightly different dress but in the identical colour and similar fabric – it was an amazing find from Coast as Zara didn’t cater for her ample bosom!
I also wanted to find some lace white capes or boleros for the bridesmaids to wear with their dresses. After scouring the internet, I ended up finding some pretty lace boleros in Primark. They were a bargain at just £10 each!”
“I had a week off before the wedding to dress the house, I built the marquee with help from my dad and cleared the garage and built the bar area, right up to the night before where I cut the top of my finger off making cocktails at 12am the day of the wedding! That’s why I’m holding my finger funny in the photos as I am trying to hide the plaster!
The garage was the area I spent the most time working on as I had to clean it several times over the months, we also built the bar area out of old 1920/30s kitchen cabinets and used checked vinyl (picnic table) cloth to cover the top of the bar with a staple gun. We added optics to the wall and bought old shop fridges from ebay, we had Manchester brewed ale plumbed in on tap for the day.
For decor we did everything ourselves and collected everything over the six months that we had to plan the wedding. I used my favourite hobby to rummage and sieve through charity shops and antique, vintage shops to get inspirations and collect decorations.”
“Matt and Annabel, the brilliant Vintage 78 DJ’s supplied us with vintage fairground games for the day as a wedding present. They looked fantastic and were great for the kiddies too. The tin bath for hook a duck ended up housing some of the beers to keep them cold.”
“The guests were also given flower seeds with the save the date invites to encourage they to grow flowers through the summer and bring them to the wedding in August to help decorate the area. This was fantastic, it really helped the homemade feel and the guests were encouraged to be as creative as possible one even brought a plant growing from a handbag it was great! Some guests sent me photos of the seeds hatching and growing through the months, which was lovely.”
Tom and Cat chose Steve at Mr Sleeve Photography to capture their day…
“Steve was recommended through a make up artist that I met through work on a fashion shoot. I visited his website and his style of photography was perfect for the theme and style of the wedding. I soon learnt he had lived in Lancaster too, so he knew the area well. It seemed a perfect match, I felt a little uptight having my photo taken as I can get uncomfortable behind the lens but Steve really made me feel at ease. He had the right feeling and a relaxed approach. He put me at ease on the day of the wedding and I knew I was in great hands. I couldn’t believe the photographs when I got them back, we were both delighted.”
“I did my own make up as I am a qualified make up artist. My hairdresser is a funny story. I was in a charity shop in Morecambe and got talking to a lovely lady in there and the assistant as they wondered what on earth I was doing buying all the vintage crockery. The lady, Jasmine offered to lend her vintage tea set to me as she also collects all sorts (an act of complete charity and goodwill to a total stranger what a rare treat).
We clicked instantly and then I found out she was a hairdresser, we exchanged numbers and became friends from there. I had a trial with her (when I arrived at her house she was having tea and reading tarot cards and I instantly knew we would be friends). She then became the hairdresser for my mum, bridesmaids and me for the big day and also a guest to the wedding.”
“I kept the accessories simple and didn’t wear any jewellery except a vintage beaded bag which had belonged to my Nana’s in the 1960s (something old and with a blue ribbon tied around the handle (something blue).
I wore my perfume Pleasures by Estee Lauder. It’s something I have always worn and Tom loves. I wore it when we first met.”
“St.Peters Church in Heysham was built on a pagan worshiping site, set by the seaside. I spent time going for walks there when I was younger and it feels very spiritual to us as and I used to take Tom when we visited Lancaster. It is over a 1000 years old and steeped in history, it was wonderful that just for a small time in that church we were a part of its history.”
“The bridesmaids bought their own shoes with a direction to be in a burnt orange or coral. Some bought from Office, some from Clarks some Topshop, they were all different but suited them all individually and the colour looked great popping from underneath the mint green dresses.”
“My Dad walked me a little down the aisle and then handed me to my mum when I got to the top of the aisle. They have been divorced for many years so this was perfect for me, but a little emotional.
Walking down the aisle I chose Nina Simone ‘feeling good’ as its one of my favourite sounds and I have beautiful memories of Tom dancing my round the kitchen to it. Then when we signed the register we had Nat King Cole, ‘LOVE’ and as we walked out of the church we had Etta James ‘AT LAST”.
“Our two hymns weren’t hymns but songs which a close friend Isobel Heyworth sang for us. Father Tom was fantastic, he thought what we were doing was perfect and let us have a non-Bible reading and the songs above and also two songs as hymns. As its about love and love is all you need.”
“The Hymns were, Dolly Parton,’To know him is to love him’ and the second hymn The Beatles, ’All you need is love’. The atmosphere was amazing. The Der DER der der der trumpet bit in all you need is love was performed on kazoos.
“My wedding ring belonged to my great grandmothers, whom I am named after. The ring was then was my mothers wedding ring to my dad. It was given to Tom and I by my mother, so its had three generations of family members wearing it. Lets hope it brings me luck. It is an Edwardian 24 carat gold band. My engagement ring is also a family ring from the 1930s.
Toms ring was to be his late Granddads but he decided to go with a classic wedding band. We looked for a vintage one everywhere but couldn’t find one above 9 carat and in his size so we opted for one from H.Samuel five days before the wedding day!”
“The page (man) wore his own suit but I bought a polka dot dickie bow tie for him from Speak Louder on Etsy in the same colour as the dresses.”
“After much deliberation Tom went for a vintage influenced suit in a tweedy print from Ted Baker. He asked me to help him pick it out I secretly knew it would look great against my dress. Tom also had a tie from Speak Louder on Etsy and Pringle socks in green with a coral rose pattern. He got these not knowing what shoes I went for, they looked great together.
The best man wore his own suit but I bought a polka dot dickie bow tie for him in the same colour as the dress (The best man, fathers and brothers got the same pattern in a tie) I had these made again by Speak Louder.”
“Tom had a clear idea of what he wanted for a buttonhole, so I sent Rebecca photos and she did a brilliant job. Her attention to detail was amazing even using the left over flowers she had from the bouquet and buttonholes to add to the wild flowers we had around the marquee (the night before the wedding). All the flowers we used around the marquee and house, we grew ourselves and my mum decorated all the vintage jars, vases and jugs with the arrangements.”
“We had a vintage bus from Cumbria Classic Coaches to take the guests to the church from the hotel and also a return journey to the house reception. On the return this included Tom and I, with the bridesmaids. It was perfect because it was 1940s and also green touches to the paintwork. They decorated in flowers as part of the service and had a conductor in a suit and hat.”
“One of my fondest memories was having the euphoric feeling of what had just happened (getting married) and sitting on the bus with all the friends and family. when we arrived to the road on which my family house was on where the wedding reception was being held, we had to walk down the private tree lined road while everyone followed carrying their drinks and flowers towards the house as we lead the way. We opened the gates to let everyone in it was an amazing feeling. We had arrived as Husband and wife.”
“We held the reception and after party at my family home in Lancaster. We wanted to make it as personal as possible and also on a budget. The Victorian house seemed perfect as it has a 1930s double garage we wanted to convert into a bar, we wanted to keep it rustic so we kept the paint coming off the walls and the cement floor exposed.”
“My beautiful cousin Josie made the cake as a wedding present. She did a simple three tier wedding cake, it was laced with Sailor Jerry’s Rum, it was wonderful. I used a vintage style cream cake stand my mum bought me and the cake knife we used was the knife my mum used to cut her cake with on her wedding day. My cake toppers were an origami owl for Tom and a cat for me.”
“I did all the stationery myself which included the save the date, invites, order of service for the church, table settings, cocktail menu, events and music menu. I used cream Moleskin paper for the order of service with green studs to hold them together. I took influences for ‘the owl and the pussycat’ and made some branding inspired by the poem. I also designed a mad hatter tea party place mats for the wedding breakfast.”
“For favours all the guests got strawberry and cream sticks of rock, a nod to the seaside from the owl and pussycat and the seaside church.”
“Everything had to be odd and mix match. I started collecting odd vintage plates, cups, saucers, teapots, vases, candleholders, sweet jars and all sorts of odd bits. I also wanted each of the chairs to be odd and vintage from all different eras. It didn’t matter if they were scratched or scuffed it added to the look. I needed 90 chairs! So some were borrowed, although I still have around 70 chairs! I bought 9 hay bails from a local farm for seating around the bar and yard area to help create the barn/festival/homemade look.
I collected so much stuff I need to sell it! I am going to set up an Etsy shop to sell all the vintage wares and wedding materials – we had so much, that much of it didn’t get used at all.”
“My best friend, bridesmaid and I handmade circle bunting using card and sewing them on the machine, easy to do but a nightmare not to tangle them. I used upholstery fringing in green and coral for bunting too (instead of traditional triangles) and sequins on a string, I bought around 25 meters of each! I used outdoor festoon style lights to light up the marquee to help create the vintage festival look.”
“For the wedding breakfast we bought food from Costco and Marks & Spencer and had a cold buffet and self service. Family members helped bring it all out and we prepped the food the night before.For the evening food we had a vintage ice cream van and a Hog roast from Mansergh Hall a local farm. It was perfect.”
“We had a pudding room in the main house devoted to puds and cakes to help yourself too, that’s where we had the wedding cake and also a tuck shop of sweetie jars and sweet bags to stock up on.I had sticks of rock and popcorn and a photo booth shaped like a caravan/ice-cream van.”
“I hired a psychic/medium called Marylyn (I met at a burlesque show) to come and do individual readings for guests for a charity donation. That worked amazingly! Some guests were in tears (I thought, ”what have I done?!’, but soon realised it was tears of joy – as he was an absolute sensation). She owns a psychic café called Mystique Café in Lancaster.”
“I made an origami tree by spraying a large tree branch white, then getting my colleagues to make a few paper crane birds each on their lunch breaks! I hung them on weighted fishing wire from the branch and used colourful washing line to tie it up to the roof of the garage. It looked super.
We had Fancy dress box set up in the house, this was a great hit with the kiddies earlier on and a smash with the guests on the dance floor later. The bar was a ‘bring your own’ no money was exchanged for the alcohol provided. We stocked the bar with wines, beer and spirits but encouraged guests to bring their own. The bar staff served out drinks to each guest and even made cocktails. I hired two bar staff on the day and evening to help serve drinks and clear away, they were a godsend but that’s all the hired help we had, everyone pitched in it was fantastic.”
“For entertainment my best friend and her girlfriend sang two songs with a guitar as a surprise. For music we made Spotify playlists through the ages starting in 1920-30s to 40s, 50s rock n roll, 60s, 70s rock and the 70s-80s disco to 80s guilty favs then later on had modern day mixed in, we didn’t hire a DJ so we made separate playlists for each section and clicked through them on the hour.”
Tom and Cat chose Harvest Moon by Neil Young as for their first dance;
“It’s one of Tom favourite artists and something we used to listen to in the early years of getting together.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“Something many people told me, which was to remember to stand back and take it all in..Enjoy it! And then the glow and happiness will shine from within outwards. It sounds cheesy but it’s really true! Try not to get overwhelmed and stressed on the day as so much builds up to it, if things go wrong no one will notice except you. Above all enjoy being with your favourite people and your new spouse and above all let your hair down.
On reflection, I forgot loads of things on the day! The 150 macaroons we had custom made in our wedding colours didn’t go out, the sparklers for each guest at 9pm didn’t get handed out, I barely ate a thing, as I was so busy and I wish I had bought more outdoor heaters as it got so cold in the evening! But what I will say, is even when things went wrong on the day, it didn’t matter. It happens! No one else really knew but me. I would say Tom and I had the most wonderful day celebrating with everyone who is special to us and everyone had a fantastic time. That’s really all that matters.
Huge thanks to Cat and Tom for sharing your fabulous wedding with us, we wish you every happiness in the future. Thanks too go to Steve at Mr Sleeve Photography for the amazing images too.
Cat used Pinterest to plan her day and to help her decide which elements to use, are you doing the same for your own eclectic or vintage inspired day? Or maybe you are thinking about have a coloured wedding dress? We’d love to hear all about it.
Love Rebecca x
Photographer – Mr Sleeve Photography
Wedding Dress – Watters Kerry from Agape Bridal Boutique
Veil – Agape Bridal Boutique
Shoes – Seychelles Footwear
Bride’s Scent/Perfume – Pleasures by Estee Lauder
Floral Crowns – Gypsy Rose Vintage
Grooms Suit – Ted Baker + Tie – Speak Louder, Etsy + Socks – Pringle
Bridesmaid’s Dresses – Zara + Coast
Bridesmaid’s Lace Bolero – Primark
Bridesmaid’s Shoes – Office + Clarks + Topshop
Groomsmen’s Ties – Speak Louder, Etsy
Vintage Games Hire – Vintage78 DJ’s
Florist – Philosophy Flowers
Wedding Ring – H.Samuel
Hair Stylist – Jasmine
Catering – Costco + Marks & Spencer
Hog roast – Mansergh Hall Farm
Vintage Bus – Cumbria Classic Coaches