Monday 14 April 2014

A Pretty Vintage-Inspired Garden Wedding with a Short Wedding Dress

Straw bales, a short wedding dress and tonnes of handmade bunting - this wedding is my type of big day! I'm completely in love with the venue, the details, and the gorgeous couple! It's all so English and eccentric and brilliant, with a massive dollop of pretty thrown in for luck! Lucy and Jim celebrated their big day twice {like me!}. Once for the legal ceremony at The Old Marylebone Town Hall in London, and then the second time in serious countryside style, in a field overlooking the Chiltern Hills at North Hill Farm in Chorleywood. I love how they made their wedding day their own - with plenty of activities for their guests, including a balloon race, DIY coconut shy, badminton, giant 'Pass the Pigs', space hoppers and a photo booth. Food came in the very trendy form of two vintage food trucks - one 'selling' vintage ice cream, the other fish and chips. Lucy and Jim wanted their wedding to be a big, informal party, exactly the type of wedding everyone wants to attend! Huge thanks to Lily Sawyer for her heavenly pictures - I've got tonnes more detail shots to come in Part 2 - The Reception.

We got married twice, the first time on Thursday 25th July 2013 at The Old Marylebone Town Hall in London. This was our legal registry office ceremony, and only our immediate family members were present. Our second wedding was on Saturday 27th July 2013 at North Hill Farm, Chorleywood. 

Our second wedding was a celebration for all our other guests, although we did have an informal ceremony led by our friend. This involved sitting on straw bales, sing-a-longs ('Eight Days a Week' by the Beatles and 'You Give A Little Love' from Bugsy Malone), readings and 'vows' from Jim and I.

We always knew we wanted to have our wedding outside, we just weren't sure where. I finally found North Hill Farm during one of my lengthy Google searches! It was perfect - a blank canvas for us with exactly what we wanted! It was held in a large field with beautiful views over the Chiltern Hills. 

Our underlying wedding theme was 'pretty and vintage-inspired', and the colour scheme was grey with pastels and florals. This came out in the bunting {beautifully made by my mum!}, favours, flowers, crockery, stationery, etc. 

Ever since we got engaged in 2010 I had my heart set on a short, 50s-style dress and veil. I looked everywhere for something that matched the image I had in my mind, but nothing stood out from the very limited selection of short dresses available. I carried on conducting lengthy Google searches, which included looking at vintage dresses on eBay, and at US companies, hoping I'd find the dress of my dreams.

Finally I saw a photo of my dress in a bridal magazine - it was perfect. Then came the not-so-easy task of tracking it down! Not many shops carried the style at the time, so I was a bit miserable - thinking I'd found my dream dress but couldn't buy it anywhere! That was until I contacted the lovely Nicola at Windsor Bride, who told me she had it - yay! It's the Ellis Bridals style 11317, and Windsor Bride were fantastic - I can't recommend them highly enough!!

My shoes were a bit of a last minute purchase but I loved them - I originally had a pair of Ted Baker grey glittery shoes, but I was worried that the heel was just too high. I bought the Red or Dead pair as a back up and ended up wearing them on the day - they were so comfy and they received many compliments - people said they could see the sunlight bouncing off them from afar as I entered the field to walk down the aisle hahaha!  

My bridesmaids' dresses were from Warehouse and were a total, total bargain! They were £24 each in the sale! I had my eye on them when they were full price but it just so happened that when we were ready to buy them they had gone into the sale!

Then when I got to the checkout they took a further 20% off, making them £24 each! Amazing luck. I didn't really want the girls to all look the same - I wanted their personalities to shine through, so I asked them to choose their own shoes, accessories and hairstyles. They looked so beautiful! 

My florist was my cousin, Sue Edmunds. The bouquets and buttonholes were incredible - so, so stunning! She used roses, lavender, freesias, gypsophila and various leaves. She tied them with grey ribbon to match the colour scheme. We chose the flowers as they fitted in perfectly with the vintage theme and our colour scheme. 

We decided to hold the reception in three giant connected tipis which, despite the company who we hired them from being a bit of a nightmare, were absolutely amazing and really took our breath away when we first saw them. 

We tried not to think about the possibility that it might rain, but we did have a plan B up our sleeves if that were to be the case. In the end, we were incredibly lucky with the weather - for the ceremony, the sun shone brightly, and for the ice cream van's visit too! 

It did rain later {in fact, there were thunder storms} but it really didn't matter as we were all inside! And rain is apparently lucky on your wedding day!

The stationery was designed by both myself and my friend, Emily Bartlett. Emily's an illustrator and designed the invitations, and I designed the save the dates, stickers, notecards and programmes {I studied journalism at uni so I can just about find my way round Photoshop and Quarkxpress, etc, haha!}.

This is actually one the DIY elements I enjoyed most and I'm looking into ways to further my knowledge in this area!

My veil was from an Etsy seller, Powder Blue Bijoux. I only wore earrings as my dress was so 'busy' - they were by Fossil

Jim's outfit was a three-piece suit from ASOS! He also wore a patterned Ted Baker shirt, a grey bow tie from Etsy and black brogues from Office

Our wedding photographer was the brilliant Lily Sawyer. We had been looking for a photographer for a while, when my friend showed me some pictures from a wedding. They had been taken by Lily, and I thought they were just beautiful, so I contacted her to see if she was available to shoot our wedding - she was! 

From start to finish, Lily was so accommodating and lovely and made us feel at ease straight away. The photos have turned out brilliantly and we are so happy with them! 

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