I hope you’ve had an excellent week so far lovelies and are beginning to look forward to a glorious weekend – I’m in desperate need of a wedmin-induced lie down. Wedding season is well and truly in swing and our Love My Dress Facebook group for brides and newlyweds has totally exploded with requests for last minute advice, proud fiancées showing off their top secret DIY projects and generally being more than a little excited about the coming summer of wedding wonderfulness. Almost every day I’m scrolling through the group cooing over yet more sweet snaps of just married joy, fabulous wedding dresses, wanderlust-worthy honeymoon photos and So. Much. Cake. Come to think of it, I’ve just sorted my weekend plans – cake and sleep, and then obviously loads more cake.
Another incredible aspect of our Facebook forum is the hugely varied array of wedding suppliers who are recommended by very real brides in response to pleas for advice and candid reviews by our lovely brides to be. It’s amazing to see that so many of these suppliers have been found through, or are part of our fabulous directory, Little Book for Brides.
On that note, I’m delighted to introduce you to Charlotte, a secondary school teacher, and her husband Matt, a doctor, who were married on 18th July last year against the stunning backdrop of the rolling Cotswolds Hills. Our bride wed her beau in a truly beautiful tea-length, lace-topped frock by our much-loved Little Book for Brides supplier, Joanne Fleming Design.
“We wanted a fun day that celebrated our love, but reflected us too – our love of good music, good food, games, travel and fancy dress. We wanted a relaxed feel to our day. As both of us have a love of vintage and upcycled items, we wanted to incorporate this feel into our countryside wedding day as well.”
To tie in the natural beauty of their surroundings and the relaxed countryside vibe, Charlotte and Matt liberally highlighted their day with pretty green accents; from the green vintage bus they hired for their guests, to the pale sage Ivy & Aster bridesmaids dresses, to the herb-scented bouquets.
“My dress was from Joanne Fleming Design, a UK dress designer. I bought it from Primrose & Finch in Auckland as we were living in New Zealand. I loved that it was a 1950s inspired dress – one of my favourite eras for clothing design. I couldn’t have found a dress that was more my style. I loved having a tea-length dress so I could enjoy the food and dancing on the wedding day!”
Such a beautiful dress needs a blooming gorgeous venue as I’m sure you’ll agree. The couple chose Kingscote Barn in Tetbury as the venue for their vintage celebrations; a lovingly restored 17th century stone construction set in its very own secluded valley. So dreamy.
“We chose this location due to the venue itself. We fell in love with the barn even though we booked it without seeing it at first, as we organised our wedding from New Zealand! We wanted a day that had a relaxed, countryside feel to it.”
Charlotte completed her bridal ensemble with green Rainbow Club ‘Hassall’ shoes dyed to match her bridesmaid’s dresses, a Helen Martin veil bought at Primrose & Finch worn with an Etsy clip and a pearl necklace from Bouton. Lucky Charlotte had her softly curling hairstyle created by her cousin, Emma, and borrowed her mum’s earrings. The finishing touch was a spritz of Ralph Lauren Romance, which she was wearing when she and Matt first met.
I don’t know about you but if I remember to wear perfume I’m having a good day, so I’m particularly in awe of Charlotte who remembered to wear her scent when running around a midnight maze – this just sounds like so much fun!
“Our florist was Bijoux Floral Design. We wanted a ‘just picked look for the flowers. My bouquet was a mixture of English cottage garden flowers, including peonies and herbs. The groomsmen all had different variations of this in their button holes and the bridesmaids had simple gypsophila to complement their dresses. The style was of a relaxed, countryside vintage wedding.”
“Matt and I met running around a maze in Bedford during a midnight maze chase. He proposed in Bali in October 2013 and we were engaged for a year and a half before our wedding. Matt proposed with the most beautiful 1920s engagement ring and I wanted a wedding band that suited the style, so Charmaine at Jewellery by Grae in New Zealand designed and made both our wedding rings.”
Charlotte walked down her outdoor aisle on the arm of her dad to the Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ played by The Riviera Band. They tailored their vows from choices the council gave them, which were fairly flexible, and allowed them to say just what they wanted.
“We chose ‘Sonnet 116’ by William Shakespeare due to my love of Shakespeare and ‘Let me put it this way’ by Simon Armitage because it was fun and reflective of Matt. We also chose an extract from ‘The Amber Spyglass’ by Philip Pullman – both of us love fantasy novels, especially this series, so it was a perfect choice:”
I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we’ll be joined so tight…
Our beautiful bride also exchanged her veil for a pretty flower crown after the ceremony (I can’t ever get enough of these gorgeous bloom-filled circlets). Her handsome groom looked picture-perfect in his suit, made by a local tailor in New Zealand. His pale green cravat and pocket handkerchief were from Mrs Bow Tie, as were the groomsmen’s, which looked lovely with their Suitopia suits, and his cravat pin was a gift from his thoughtful bride on the day.
“The bridesmaids’ dresses were Ivy and Aster, bought from Bella Bridesmaids in NYC (2/3 of the bridesmaids lived there) and their shoes were from Marks & Spencer. My sister and sister-in-law to be wore ‘pearl peas in a pod’ necklaces I gifted them on the day, bought from Life Charms. All three bridesmaids wore earrings or bracelets with pearl details to suit their personalities, which I bought from Etsy. Their flower headbands were made by Becci Hobbs Bijoux Floral Design.”
There’s a beautifully soft quality to Charlotte and Matt’s gorgeous wedding photos, which works so well with their vintage inspired feel. A bit of digging (followed by a loooonnggg time spent the browsing Love My Dress archives – I swear I feel like I’ve seen all the weddings but there are always more waiting to steal a little piece of my heart) revealed that Melbourne-based Nabeel has documented a fabulous flurry Love My Dress real weddings.
“Nabeel was so easy to speak to – so much so that many of our guests presumed he was a friend of ours taking the photos! He had the same attitude towards photography as us – less of the posing and more of the natural look. We couldn’t have been happier with the photographs from our day, and particularly loved the lighting that he utilised in his photos.”
The couple’s invitations and programmes were designed by a friend, Simon Harper, who by day is a graphic designer, but they were delighted with his first foray into wedding paraphernalia. Charlotte and Matt created the table plans and place cards themselves.
“The table plan was a map of the world with places we have visited together marked with flags and some of these were the names of the tables. The place cards were luggage tags that we had made with names and ‘destinations’ (table name) stamped onto them.”
“We hired decorations such as bunting, tealight holders, suitcases and ladders from The Vintage Hire. Lesley did the most beautiful job of decorating. Unfortunately, my Nannie was the only grandparent of ours able to be at the wedding, but the others were remembered through photographs of their weddings displayed in the foyer of the barn. Vintage maps and a suitcase for wedding cards complemented the travel motif of our wedding, and bunches of gyposphila were dotted around the displays.”
I am a complete sucker for a sweet bar and Charlotte and Matt’s is a pretty epic one – they even provided their guests with personalised sweet bags and decorated with ‘Love is Sweet’ bunting and different sized vintage tinted glass jars and bowls to hold their sugary favours. I also love the vintage touch of serving their three different cocktails in china teacups, decanted from glass punchbowls and teapots – it conjures so many fun images of Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
“Our mums made our cakes. My mum made the cupcakes – half in teacup style holders – to match our colour scheme and vintage look. Matt’s mum made a tiered sponge cake. Together they looked amazing and tasted even better! Our decorator sourced all the different sized cake stands for us, which really set off how beautiful the cakes were. And our caterers were Berry Blue. I’m vegetarian, so our wedding breakfast was entirely vegetarian and delicious! We each chose a dessert; I chose an Eton mess style dessert and Matt had his favourite, treacle sponge pudding.”
“We had a photo booth area that we set up with our own fancy dress in suitcases and a vintage style polaroid camera, so that guests could take photos and stick them in the guest book with a message. Everyone had so much fun – especially with the giant version of our save the date card, which had been made up like a 1950s film poster. Our faces had been cut out so our guests could pose in it like they would at a fairground.”
“All of it was so perfect for us but the ceremony itself was definitely a highlight. The sun was shining for the outdoor ceremony, with birds and butterflies fluttering around. A group of sheep even gathered on the hillock in a neighbouring field, interrupting the registrar with their bleats at one point! One friend said afterwards “if Disney did weddings…” Having our family and friends gathered altogether for the first time since we had moved to New Zealand was an incredible feeling, as was the exchange of our vows.
The evening party was also so much fun; dancing to the incredible band with friends throwing down fancy dress from the balcony above and everyone enjoying themselves. Whilst the band had a break, we enjoyed sparklers under the stars. The Anthemics performed the song for our first dance – ‘English Rose’ by Paul Weller. It was the first song we ever danced to, and appropriate as we now live in New Zealand: ‘no matter where I roam, I will return to my English rose’.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“Everyone will tell you how quickly the day will fly by, and it’s really true. One thing I really appreciated was how relaxed our photographer was – I would recommend finding one with a similar approach to you. We wanted to enjoy the drinks reception with our guests, so we only spent a short time having our photographs taken. We still got plenty of photos; we didn’t want lots of posed ones so it suited us perfectly, and soon after we were back with our guests.
The other piece of advice I would give is to try to avoid organising a wedding from abroad! However, if you (like us) have no choice, make sure you have a very well-organised email folder. Nearly everything can be done online, but it’ll need careful tracking.”
Take note fellow brides to be – I’m already starting the process of colour coding my emails thanks to Charlotte’s advice. That just leaves me to thank the lovely bride and groom for sharing their gorgeous vintage celebrations – if you’re feeling inspired, click here for more 50’s brides – and the very talented Nabeel for the beautiful images.
If you can’t get enough of this fun-filled day, search for #charlotteandmattgetwed on Instagram and continue to imagine being a lucky wedding guest to your heart’s content.
Cheers to the weekend ladies,
Photographer – Nabeel’s Camera
Venue – Kingscote Barn
Wedding Dress – Joanne Fleming Design via Primrose & Finch
Accessories – Helen Martin veil via Primrose & Finch + Bouton necklace + Etsy hairpiece
Shoes – Rainbow Club
Perfume – Ralph Lauren Romance
Groom – Mrs Bow Tie cravat + Jewellery by Grae cravat pin
Bridesmaids – Ivy & Aster via Bella Bridesmaids + M&S shoes
Florist – Bijoux Floral Design
Transport – Crosville Motor Services
Entertainment – The Riviera Band during the day + The Anthemics in the evening
Rings – Jewellery by Grae
Catering – Berry Blue
Make-up Artist – Lucy via Boulou Makeup
Décor – The Vintage Hire