Tuesday 26 April 2011

Real Traditional English Church Wedding: Jo and Charles

Brides planning a summer wedding, take note! This gorgeous church wedding in the countryside is packed full of shabby chic inspiration and wedding flower ideas. Plus, the gorgeous bride, Jo, has written all her hints and tips in the Brides Questionnaire {under the pictures}, including her signature way of dealing with pushy sales people in wedding dress shops! I'm getting some serious inspiration from the decor in their stunning wedding marquee; the colourful bunting, the enamel jugs, spotty maypoles and the cute photo clothes line. Jo chose a pretty Phillipa Lepley dress with spotted lace overlay, and a vintage feel. I'm loving her stunning hair-style and veil, and her choice of brilliant blue for her bridesmaids dresses. Don't miss the cheeky 'I Do' on the soles of groom, Charles' shoes! Gorgeous pictures published with thanks to the lovely Hester Marriott.

The Before the Big Day Bridal Q&A - Jo was kind enough to fill in our questionnaire, aimed at helping other brides with their planning process. Feast your eyes on her answers for helpful hints and tips from someone on the other side of her big day!

Where and when did you get married?
In a village called Burbage, just south of Marlborough in Wiltshire on Saturday 24 April. The ceremony took place in All Saints church and we then led our guests down the lane to the reception in Charles' parents' garden. We had drinks on the lawn followed by supper and dancing in a marquee, supplied by Covered Occasions. It was, as I said in my speech, 'the best tent my family have ever been associated with'!

Did you have a theme, colour or motif in mind?
The general decor was 'shabby chic meets village fete'. We had enamel jugs for flowers, hand-made bunting made by a family friend and home-made cake and the venue itself was my in-laws' garden. We used local suppliers wherever possible. Sue Brady in Marlborough did an amazing job with the food. We had roast lamb, seasonal vegetables, potatoes and salad followed by a medley of desserts. It was one of the most delicious meals I have ever had at a wedding - the mass catering {170 guests} in no way affected the quality or taste of the meal. Averys of Bristol supplied wine and champagne and delivered as close to the event as we wanted. And the local brewery, Ramsbury Brewery even made us a special brew as they no longer make Charles' favourite! Our barman was also incredible. He seemed to appear with a glass of water or champagne whenever I felt thirsty.

Who made your wedding outfit, and how did you come to that decision?
My dress was by Phillipa Lepley and I got it from her shop on the Fulham Road. I had been shopping for a dress all day with my best friend Mary and I had encountered some very pushy sales assistants along the way, but that absolutely wasn't the case at Phillippa Lepley. The shop has a very peaceful atmosphere and you feel a little like you are having tea with a friend when you’re there. My dress was unlike any I had seen before, a strapless duchess satin base with a dotted cotton tule overlay with straps. Mary and I had a code word for when we saw 'the one' (to help combat those pushy sales assistants!). I put the dress on and we both uttered the code word immediately. It was the only dress I had tried on in which I looked like a bride but also felt like myself.

I wore my grandmother’s earrings and borrowed my older sister’s veil. My middle sister go married just three months before me so we shared a veil and a pair of shoes – I definitely covered the necessary 'borrowed' items. I chose simple accessories in order to emphasise the earrings which I absolutely adore. My grandmother died a few years ago and I wanted to me to wear something that belonged to her on my wedding day. Charles also bought me a single pearl necklace to wear on the day which I love.

I had kitten heel shoes, nicely worn in by my middle sister three months before hand and cleaned up my mother (randomly with white bread which turns out to be a good way to get stains out of white satin!). Our first dance was an important part of the day so little heels were important so that I could dance easily.

I wanted a natural look so used Bobbi Brown make-up which was beautifully applied by one of my bridesmaids, Alex. I had eyelash extensions fitted that week by Gene at Martyn Maxey, a little indulgence but the results made it worth every penny. My hair, and that of the bridesmaids, was by Daryl and his team at Essensuals on Marlborough High Street. I have always loved the pre-Raphaelite painters so I think I sub-consciously, at least, I modelled my look on the women in these paintings.

What about your husband’s outfit? Where was it from?
My husband had his morning coat made by Whistle and Flute Tailoring and the ushers wore their own morning coats. There was no colour scheme - they just came as they were. Charles looked very dashing, a little like the hero in a Jane Austen novel as he waited in the church. I thought he was really nervous when I saw him but he has assured me he wasn't so much nervous as surprised I had arrived on time!
What type of cake did you go for, and how did you come to that decision?

My mother-in-law Mary made a delicious tiered fruit cake which she decorated with flowers from her garden. She also made cup cakes which surrounded the bottom layer of cake. Our wedding was a mixture of the traditional and the laid back which was reflected in our choice of cakes. Mary Ford's cakes are exceptional, which was really the inspiration for our choice.

Who was your florist, what flowers did you choose, and how did you come to that decision?
Our florist was Joanne at Floral Fayre in Pewsey. She was amazing and did exactly what we wanted. We had two bay trees at the entrance to the marquee and tulips in cream enamel jugs on the tables in the marquee, a different coloured bunch on each table. We had simple white rose button holes for the groom, our fathers, best men and ushers. The bridesmaids each held a single peony and my bouquet was a mixture of white flowers, including roses, lisianthus and jasmine and lime green foliage.

Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?
Hester Marriott was our photographer. We chose her as we liked her personal but unobtrusive approach. She visited the church and reception venue before the day, asked us to complete a questionnaire of exactly what we wanted and even learnt the whole family’s names! Her preparation beforehand meant that the photos on the day were very smooth and the formal shots were quick and totally painless. In fact the formal shots were really fun and there was much laughter on both sides of the family.

Did you have any favours? What were they? Was there any particular reason why you picked them?
Instead of favours we set up an old fashioned sweet shop next to the bar which guests could help themselves too all night. The cola bottles went down particularly well.

What advice do you have for brides planning their big day?
My advice to any bride would be to go with your instincts and not worry about what others think of your choices. On the actual day take a moment to take it all in and make sure you steal a few moments for yourselves. Lots of people had said to Charles and I that we wouldn't even see each other on the day. Charles made sure this didn’t happen and kept coming to find me throughout; this made the day very special for me as I felt we’d really shared it and have joint memories of our wedding day.

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