Hi there gorgeous ones, I hope your day has started with a steaming cup of Yorkshire Gold or as my husband would have me believe, a ‘life-giving’ coffee?
I have a beautiful union to share with you today, the wedding of one of our beloved Love My Dress readers, Helen, an NHS nurse (aka HERO), to her beau David, an IT manager. They said I do on 27th August last year at Ufton Court in Berkshire and their love-filled and relaxed celebration all began with the bride tracking down her soft lavender and blush TFNC via ASOS bridesmaids dresses.
“My main inspiration for the day was a relaxed rustic wedding. I found the bridesmaids dresses very early on, and they were probably one of the first things I bought. The colours of them then led on to everything else as they were the exact soft colours that I wanted throughout the day. When people asked us what sort of day we wanted our first answer was always relaxed. We were adamant we didn’t want people to feel uncomfortable and on ceremony for the wedding, we just wanted them to have fun.”
Images by Benjamin Stuart Photography
Bridesmaids Megan and Claire added Accessorize pearl hair slides to their dusky, complementary gowns, accessorised with a silver and rose gold bracelet, lovingly gifted to them by the bride after she found the delicate pieces from Peony Love. Helen looked stunning in a dress and belt from Amanda Wyatt, with a dainty lace jacket from Ellis Bridals and a cathedral length veil, scattered with tiny sparkles, layered over the top. We’re delighted to report that the boutique Helen turned to for her big day ensemble is one of our very own Little Book for Brides suppliers, the lovely Sass & Grace Bridal Boutique.“I initially didn’t want to try the dress on as although the skirt and bodice were exactly what I wanted, with the tulle and lace detail and beautiful buttoning up the back, it was a halter neck dress, which I didn’t want. Sam, the owner of the boutique, persuaded me to try it on and then tucked the halter neck away and put the lace jacket on – I was sold immediately.
“I felt like a princess and so comfortable. Both my mum and sister were with me and both said how ‘me’ it was. I absolutely LOVED swishing around in the huge tulle skirt in the shop, so knew it would be amazing for dancing. Sam and the seamstress, Darla, asked if I would like a bustle and I immediately said no, I knew I just wanted to swish all night. I also fell in love the neckline – it’s so flattering and showed just the right amount of skin while still being so lady like and elegant.”
“David and I decided we would buy each other a new scent for the day so the smell would always remind us of it. We went shopping together and then gifted them to each other on the morning of the wedding. I hadn’t smelled Love Story by Chloé before and as soon as I did I knew it was perfect. David had Hugo Boss, which smells yummy.”
“As soon as we met Karen Harrison, I knew that she was perfect. I knew flowers were going to be important for the décor and she understood my rather awful explanation of what I wanted (I had no idea what flowers were called) and turned it in to something beautiful. Karen went above and beyond with our flowers and so many people commented on them.”
“My only brief was wild, free and not too perfect. I showed her the bridesmaid’s dresses for a colour reference and she went from there. What she created was mind blowing and we think really brought alive the feeling we wanted for the day. I fell in love with my bouquet and have dried it out and kept it.”
Helen accessorised with handmade pearl earrings from another of our Little Book for Brides listings, the wonderful Britten, and a Tiffany & Co. bracelet – a gift from her soon to be husband which also acted as her something blue. A pair of comfortable, embellished Jenny Packham heels peeped out from under Helen’s skirts, swapped only when it came to dancing for satin ASOS flats.
A pearly hair vine from Little Willow & Co was the finishing touch, woven into our bride’s up do by Zoe from Spirals Hair Salon. Fellow stylist Charlotte took care of the bridesmaids locks while Helen’s bridal make-up was applied by Helen of The Beauty Rooms in Basingstoke.
David chose a sleek suit from Slaters, which he paired with a Thomas Pink shirt, brogues from Oliver Sweeney and a tie and pocket square from Next. His sixpence tie pin from The Little Boys Room was a gift from his bride on the morning of their wedding, personalised with their wedding date.
“David and I met through online dating. I messaged him about his rather striking green trousers in his profile picture, and the rest, as they say, is history! We moved in together after six months and got engaged about 18 months later in April 2016. David proposed at sunrise in Dorset at the campsite where we had our first weekend away together when we first met – it really was perfect.”
“We decided summer 2017 would be a good time as it would give us a good amount of time to plan, and we wanted it in the summer holidays as my sister is a teacher and would be my maid of honour.”
“We chose to firstly go and look at Ufton Court as it had a barn which was top of the list for us as we wanted a very relaxed feel. Secondly it was slap bang in the middle of both our family homes, which seemed to be perfect for various people getting there.”
“As soon as we saw it we knew we wanted to book it – not only did it have the barn, it had beautiful grounds and a gorgeous manor house and as we could have exclusivity, we could really make use of all the space.”
“We also found out that it was an educational trust firstly, and that all the wedding profits were fed back into this; this was the icing on the cake for us. Ufton Court also have 4 wooden cabins that we and a few friends stayed in after the wedding. There was a camp fire, so we were able to continue the party and then have breakfast all together the next morning.”
“David is quite handy on the computer and I like to think I am not too bad at design – we wanted very simple stationery so literally picked a font and then printed them all on kraft kard to fit in with the rustic feel. We made personalised menus for everyone so this meant that we didn’t need name cards, which worked well as the table wasn’t too cluttered.”
“In the run up to the wedding we did alphabet dating as a way of having a break from planning and trying something new. Our guests followed this on Instagram so I thought it was only right this was included and I made a big frame of all the photos, which I was so pleased with.”
David was transported to the ceremony in his friend’s dad’s BMW M3, and organised a surprise car for his very nearly wife – a chauffeur driven vintage cream limousine provided by Christophers Wedding Cars, so she could truly arrive in style.
“My dad walked my down the aisle. I was a bit untraditional and travelled in the car with him, the bridesmaids and my mum, I didn’t want my mum to miss out on that excitement. I stuck with tradition and was walked down by my dad though – he practically held me up I was so nervous before we went in. We walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon, a stunning and emotional piece which sounded amazing played by a string quartet.”
A celebrant from West Berkshire Registry Office officiated the ceremony, with Helen and David simply following the vows provided in an effort to keep their nerves at bay. They sealed their vows with a platinum diamond band from Goldsmiths for Helen, and a chunky palladium ring from Wedding Rings Direct for David.
“We had two friends give readings during the ceremony – a very close friend of mine, Jessica and a close friend of David’s, Michelle. It was so nice to be able to include them in the day and they did such an amazing job. Jessica did the first reading, before the vows – Union by Robert Fulgham, which set the scene and really explained what marriage was to us.”
“Michelle read after the vows and again depicted in a different way what our view of marriage was. This one was quite emotional as she had recently lost her father and the words can take on many different meanings:”
If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you – Winnie the Pooh by A.A Milne
Akins Strings played both during the ceremony and the following drinks reception, creating a lovely ambience through a mixture of classical and current music, the former style a nod to Helen’s dad’s love of classical music. Ufton Court provided a co-ordinator, Emma, to keep the reception running smoothly and gently marshall the couple’s chosen suppliers, including florist, Harrison & Green.
Benjamin Stuart was on hand to capture every moment, documenting those all important details in a way which sensitively tells the story of the day. The couple loved that Ben stayed late into the evening, capturing candid party shots (plenty of the groom’s dance moves I’m pleased to see!), supported by his wife, Zoe.
“We met Ben at Ufton’s wedding fayre and I knew that we had to book him. He was young, fun, and passionate about his work and we loved his relaxed style of photography. He captures the details that you might miss but are actually so important, as they tell the whole story.”
“We really couldn’t have asked for anything more from our photographs. His wife Zoe was like my third bridesmaid on the day, she was always making sure my dress was okay and that I had a drink. The pair of them really are the nicest people and produce the most amazing work – it felt like they were just part of the wedding party.”
A festoon light canopy was hired from Oakwood Events to illuminate the barn reception, personalised with a plethora of DIY projects crafted by the bride and groom, from pallets and mugs to all manner of stationery.
Total Hospitality, one of Ufton Court’s recommended caterers, provided a delicious wedding breakfast of wholesome, hearty dishes, including David’s favourite, lamb. Catering manager, Alex, oversaw a hard-working team who delivered wonderful service and all-importantly mixed up the couple’s favourite cocktail for the evening.
“I think one bit that stands out for me was at the wedding breakfast. I was sat with my new husband to my left and my dad and mum to my right just watching all our friends and family eating, drinking and having fun and it was just lovely. It’s very special and very humbling having all the people you love in one room for you both, and it was lovely to just take a minute and let it all soak in.”
In a nod to their neighbourhood, the newlyweds gifted their guests with recipe cards and miniature bottles of Bombay Sapphire, which is distilled just down the road from their home, so their guests could attempt to create their favourite ‘Laverstoke’ cocktail at home. In the end a great deal of the gin was consumed before the end of the reception, so clearly appreciated by all!
A Fiona Cairns chocolate and salted caramel naked cake from Waitrose was perfect for the Helen and David, who (like most of the world it seems) are a little in love with salted caramel. Helen ordered cake toppers from My Peg Weddings – sweet depictions of her, David and their two cats, Belle and Beau.
As well as booking Tom from Cosmic DJ to play the soundtrack to their evening, Helen and David also hired a variety garden games from their venue, which were used late into the warm summer’s evening. DJ Tom played both during the wedding breakfast and the party in the evening, lining up the perfect mix of music for the newlyweds.
“Our first dance was to Mumford & Sons’ There Will Be Time. When I first heard this song I was nearly brought to tears by the lyrics, they are so heartfelt and lovely. The song also gets quite fast towards the end so you can properly dance. We danced just the two of us and then everyone joined us for the end – it was such a lovely moment. At the crescendo we had a confetti canon and it felt amazing dancing with my new husband, swishing in my dress with our loved ones around us, loving life!”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“My two bits of wedding wisdom would be firstly to do what you want to do, stay true to you both as a couple and don’t just do things because you feel you should – and secondly, and this is a biggy, pick your suppliers carefully.”
“Our suppliers literally made our day, they made sure it went smoothly and made sure we had our dream wedding. I cannot fault any of them and I think us being very selective about who was involved in our wedding made us very trusting and relaxed with them all.”
“Our original budget was about £20,000, thanks to gifts from parents who really made our day possible, we are so grateful to them. We managed to pretty much stick to our budget, I think we may have gone over by a couple of thousand.”
Credits & Thanks
- Photographer - Benjamin Stuart Photography
- Videographer - Video4aDay
- Venue - Ufton Court
- Wedding Dress - Amanda Wyatt + Ellis Bridals lace jacket via Sass & Grace Bridal Boutique
- Veil - Sass & Grace Bridal Boutique
- Shoes - Jenny Packham + ASOS flats
- Accessories - Britten earrings + Tiffany & Co. bracelet + Little Willow & Co hair vine
- Perfume - Love Story by Chloé
- Bridesmaids - TFNC via ASOS + Accessorize pearl hair slides + Peony Love bracelets
- Groom - Slaters suit + Thomas Pink shirt + Oliver Sweeney brogues + Next tie and pocket square + The Little Boys Room tie pin
- Transport - Christophers Wedding Cars
- Florist - Harrison & Green
- Rings - Goldsmiths + Wedding Rings Direct
- Catering - Total Hospitality
- Cake - Waitrose
- Hair Stylist - Zoe and Charlotte of Spirals Hair Salon
- Make-up Artist - Helen of The Beauty Rooms
- Entertainment - Akina Strings + Cosmic DJ