Tuesday 15 April 2014

A Pretty Vintage-Inspired Garden Wedding - The Reception

After a little bit of a delay {building up the anticipation}, I'm thrilled to bring you the amazing detail-filled reception photographs of Lucy and Jim's fantastic wedding. With tonnes of DIY extras, including a veritable fairground of activities for their guests, it looks a complete treat. There's so many stealworthy ideas, but my favourite picks have to be the watercolour-style wedding cake {created by Lucy's sister!}, the lovely teepee venues, Jim's enormous rose buttonhole, and Lucy's pretty-as-a-picture Ellis Bridals short wedding dress. I love how Jim and Lucy wrote their own wedding ceremony, personalising it with sing-alongs and their own special vows. The reception decorations are gorgeous as well, with prettified jam-jars and tin cans, plus fantastic tea-bag and shortcake DIY'd wedding favours. You can't fail to love it! Big love to Lily Sawyer for capturing every perfect detail, and to Lucy for filling in the Before the Big Day Bride's Questionnaire.

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. 

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!

We had a vintage ice cream after the ceremony and fish and chips in the evening, as well as a dessert table and a cake of cheese. 

Overall, we just wanted the day to be like one big, informal, relaxed party! From our guests' feedback afterwards, I think we managed to achieve that so we're really, really happy with how it all went.

Most of what we did was DIY which was just the way we wanted it :) The favours, jars, coconut shy, photo booth, bunting, bar, dessert table and lots of the stationery were all DIY. We had so many other ideas that we wanted to include but we ran out of time! 

This last year, as well as planning the wedding, I have also been completing my first year as a teacher, so the DIY elements became a bit of a challenge towards the end as school, understandably, had to come first. But the main elements, which we really wanted to be there, were there so that's all that matters!

In terms of decorating the tipis, we didn't want to go too overboard as the tents are such a statement themselves! We chose to have bunting (my fave, I LOVE it!), flowers in jars/cans, glitter/wool covered initials, vintage-looking posters, vintage china and cutlery (collected over 2 years by both mothers and I) and fairy lights inside the tents. 

Outside we had a DIY coconut shy, badminton, giant 'Pass the Pigs', space hoppers and a brilliant photo booth made by my step dad.

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. 

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! 

I LOVED planning the wedding, absolutely loved it. It was just all so exciting. There were some stressful moments towards the end, of course, but everything turned out the way we wanted in the end!

We wanted favours that people would actually use so we thought we had better go down the edible route! We had tea and biscuits!

My bridesmaids Kathryn and Emma were a huge help here - they handmade all the tea bags and baked 100 shortbreads in one day. Lovely ladies! They were packaged in a grey and white striped paper bag with my own sticker design to seal them. The favours went down a storm on the day, with people using them to make tea later in the evening.

My advice to brides planning their big day is enjoy it! And DELEGATE! I didn't really do this until right at the very end, and wish I'd done it sooner. People are more than willing to help, some are even desperate to! 

I like to be in control (ahem) so I think that's the reason I didn't ask people to help sooner, but it makes things much easier if you do, especially if you've got a lot of DIY elements. Shop around (conduct lots of 'lengthy google searches'!), take some risks and most of all, have fun - you'll only do this once! 

On the day, just chill out. Other people will sort any little issues! Dance lots with your guests (one of my fave bits of the day) and just soak it all up. It's an amazing feeling and atmosphere that can't really be replicated :) I truly wish we could do it all over again!

We went for a 3-tier cake, hand painted with flowers by my sister who had just had her first baby 10 days previously - er, superwoman?! She's a phenomenal cake maker, her name is Charmaine Clarke.

We chose this cake as the flowers fitted in well with our colour scheme and theme. The cake toppers were mini Jim and Lucy Lego figurines. I had a lot of fun on eBay buying interchangeable heads, hair and hands!!

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