Wednesday 8 May 2013

Real Lavender Barn Wedding: Alex & Paul - Reception Pictures

Before the Big Day brides are always super-creative and imaginative, when it comes to planning their weddings, so I'm thrilled to be featuring Alex and Paul's detail-filled wedding day! Alex read Before the Big Day while planning her wedding, so you'll spot lots of ideas from the blog - hello tissue pom-poms! I love how Alex planned her wedding around a central theme of lace and lavender, and a colour palette of soft grey. All the wedding details reflected the theme, creating a very put-together effect that you normally only get with a professional wedding planner. With DIY'd favours, wedding flowers, guest book thumb-print tree, candle votives wrapped with lace, confetti cones, and a blackboard table plan, Alex saved a fortune and added her own personalised touch to her big day - seriously inspirational stuff! Huge thanks to Dean Govier for his stunning wedding pictures of the day, and don't miss the video highlights from the day, in the wedding video by Family Creative. And thanks to Alex for getting in touch, and telling the story of her big day!

Paul and I actually went to university in Liverpool together, but got to know each other until we met at a party of a mutual friend in Putney nearly 7 years ago. We got engaged in Berlin in 2011, a week before my birthday; Paul had spent ages trying to find a place to propose and I thwarted every attempt,  so it was a hasty 'down-on-one-knee' on the train ride back to the airport! He'd already asked my Dad’s permission, so he didn’t want me going home 'empty-handed' so-to-speak!

Paul first gave me an Argos ring for me to wear until the real deal came along. He knew I’d want to pick my own ring as I’m very fussy! My actual engagement ring was bought a few weeks later from the oldest jeweller in Hatton Garden in London and is antique. I love that it has a story before it got to me - long may it continue!

Our photographer was Dean Govier and was beyond amazing. He was recommended to us through one of my bridesmaids who had been at a wedding he had photographed in the same area. When I saw his photos I knew he was our guy. We loved his natural style and he was such a pleasure to have around on the day and just seamlessly blended into the background. I cannot recommend him enough.

We got married on Saturday 28th July 2012 in St Mary’s Church in Whitchurch-on-Thames, which is the village I grew up in in South Oxfordshire. Our reception was nearby at Ufton Court in Berkshire. 

We looked at a few places, but it was Ufton Court which stood out. Paul was sold on Ufton straight away, but I took a little longer to come round, and to this day I’m still not sure why! The staff there were incredibly supportive and helpful. We had our reception drinks on the back terrace over-looking the walled garden and then had food, drinking and dancing in the Tithe Barn. The back terrace is my favourite part of the venue as it felt so private, and that was something we were insistent upon; we didn't want to be at a venue where other people could be wandering around having a nosey! 

The barn itself is beautiful and there are fairy lights already in situ around the beams, so all it took were some tissue pom-poms, and other bits to put our stamp on it! The giant light up letters were one of my favourite things – I loved them so much! We also added a canopy marquee onto the courtyard of the barn so that we had extra space even if it rained. Our marquee company, Magnifitents, decorated it with fairy lights and tissue pom-poms for us, and we loved it!

The general theme was centred on lavender and lace, with accents of grey. The smell of lavender reminds me of my grandmother, plus I love the colour. I also had lace on my dress and wanted to reflect that in our wedding decorations. Paul also wanted to make sure he had a 'stamp' on the day and so we incorporated his love of Tottenham FC wherever we could without it being too tacky!

For our wedding favours, we had lavender tea for the ladies, to tie in with our wedding theme, and pin badges for the boys. Paul is a HUGE Tottenham fan and wanted his personality to show throughout the day and the badges were one of them! I had the badges printed by Awesome Merchandise with the Tottenham cockerel and the words 'today I support Spurs'. Paul was amazed by how many of the guys wore them considering the rivalry between teams!

All the favours were put in pillow boxes, tied with ribbon with a tag saying either ‘brew me’ for the ladies or ‘wear me’ for the boys. All these were put together with the help of my very patient mother and my eldest niece!

We had loads of DIY projects! Tissue pom-poms {lovingly crafted by my mum!}, the favours, stationery, table plan {I painted the blackboards on our kitchen table – not advised!}, guest book thumbprint tree, candle votives wrapped with lace, confetti cones… the list is quite long! These were the parts of the planning that I equally loved, and that stressed me out! I couldn’t bear the thought of spending three times the amount on paying for someone else to do things I could do, and actually take enjoyment from doing. 

I didn't want to spend much on a wedding cake, as for me it wasn't a huge part of the day that I had imagined. So I decided to order it from M&S. However, I left it too late and had my mum frantically ringing round cake makers in the local area about two weeks before the wedding! And it actually worked out for the best as we ended up with the most amazing cake we have ever tasted! It was a rustic Victoria sponge and was just superb. Rebecca at Streatley Village Cakes did a beautiful job and set it up on the day in the barn, with fresh fruit and flowers. There were many compliments on it! One of my bridesmaids and I were shoving it in our faces at about 11pm to refuel for the dance floor!

On the whole, I loved planning my wedding, however there were elements that stressed me out! I enjoyed ensuring all the details tied together, although probably no one noticed them apart from me! All the time I spent planning, and feeling daunted, came good in the end. 

My advice for brides? The old 'take a moment to take it all in on the day' cannot be stressed enough and also to remember why you’re doing it. My favourite moment of the whole day, amongst all the little touches we had made, was actually saying my vows and meeting Paul at the altar. I would also advise brides to delegate! My sister was A-mazing throughout the whole process and on the day her and my brother-in-law were up at the venue at 7.30am making sure everything was sorted for me, and I cannot thank her enough. Also, it’s easy to say in hindsight, but try to relax in the final few weeks; I didn’t and my back went two weeks before the wedding, and I was laid up in bed for the whole week. It was my body's way of telling me enough was enough and actually helped me to let go!

We also chose to have a videographer and found a company, Family Creative, who were just starting out in the business. We were delighted with the final version, and I think I must have watched the DVD about a million times! Getting a wedding video definitely brings your day to life, and having the footage to look back on adds another dimension.

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