Tuesday 28 April 2015

A 'Blooming' New Forest Autumn Wedding with DIY Details

I absolutely L-O-V-E it when a Before the Big Day bride gets in touch with me and asks if I'd like to feature her wedding. It's like being included on the guest list! Lovely Jennifer read this blog in the build up to her wedding day, and sent over the beautiful pictures by Ben Goode. I'm in love with every one, and completely obsessed with all the perfectly DIY'd details. Jen is a florist, so obviously the flowers were sorted, her husband Lee is a graphic designer and hand-made all of the fabulous stationery, a friend made the wedding cake, another friend DJ'd, and Jen's mum is a writer, and crafted a very funny reading for the ceremony out of all their guests' tips. Put together this saved them some pennies, but also made the day so much more personal. There's so much stealworthy wedding inspiration, I'm finding it hard to know where to start.....maybe with Jen's stunning high-street wedding dress, but don't miss the fun vintage VW camper-van, the locally-bought bridesmaid gowns, the flowery cocktails, and most of all the incredible wedding flowers - all designed by Jen herself. Such a dreamy wedding - more to come in Part 2 later today!

We got married on the 6th October 2012, at East Close Hotel, near Christchurch in the New Forest. The ceremony and reception both took place here. I booked a pristine VW camper van from Dorset Dub Hire to take Lee and his boys to the venue as a surprise. He only found out on the morning of the wedding when he opened his card from me. It was a good job too as it happened, as our car broke down early in the morning and couldn't be relied upon to get them there!

There wasn't a particular theme as such {I don’t really like 'themey' things}, but I suppose the day was just full of things we love. The colours we chose were really influenced by what we thought would look great in the venue. 

I had always thought I would never go for pink, but there ended up being quite a bit of it! Burgundy, magenta, pale blush pink and grey was the palette that tied all the elements together. 

I went to a couple of bridal boutiques very early on in our preparations and loved trying on the dresses, but I couldn't really find the sort of thing I wanted. I really didn't want a dress with a train, I didn't want to wear a veil and I didn't want to wear heels. In one shop, the assistant didn't understand why I wouldn't want to look like a princess for the day, and I came to the conclusion that I might do better in high street shops. This also had the advantage of being far cheaper and leaving me with more budget for what I really cared about {FLOWERS!}.

Unfortunately, after falling for and buying a gorgeous dress from Debenhams, I later fell even more in love with one in Monsoon and bought that too, cancelling out the initial bargain! I only wore one of them on the day - the vintage-y lace number from Monsoon, with cowl back and floaty asymmetrical sleevey-bits.

My shoes were flat, dirty-pink, velvet, peep-toe pumps, with big pearly bows on the front, from Carvela. I wore my own sapphire engagement ring {something blue}, my late great-grandmother's diamond engagement ring on the other hand {something borrowed}, a pair of sapphire stud earrings which Lee bought as a present for me to open on the wedding morning {something new}, and a simple silver necklace that Lee bought for me years ago {something old}.

I was my own florist {Jennifer Poynter Flowers}, helped by the girls that I used to work with {from Arcade Flowers in Ringwood}. Flowers are obviously my thing, and I loved having the chance to create exactly what I wanted, with all my favourite autumn flowers and foliage. 

I included lots of roses, spray roses, gorgeous ‘Mambo’ lilies, velvety burgundy gladioli, astrantia, astilbe, poppy seed heads, several varieties of eucalyptus and beautiful pink snowberries. There was also lots of amazing trailing amaranthus which was grown for me by a local lady. She wrapped it all up in fleece every night through September in case of an early frost!

When it came to choosing bridesmaid dresses, I totally love the bridesmaid gowns that can be tied lots of different ways and thought they’d be perfect since my two girls were very different shapes, not least because one of them was pregnant and gave birth 11 days before the wedding!

I then actually discovered that a local bridal dressmaker, Frances from her shop, Calm Amongst the Chaos, did her own version of this type of dress, and that she could do the perfect charcoal grey colour, and different lengths for each of them. I was glad that we got them from a local business instead of having them shipped from somewhere. The girls wore their own shoes and an ivory shrug from Monsoon.

We walked in to The 59th Street Bridge Song by Simon and Garfunkel, which was really for me and my Dad, as we always used to listen to it in the car together. He was a bit emotional about it as he didn't know what it would be until it started.

Lee hired a suit from Moss Bros as he never needs to wear one for work, and couldn't justify buying one. We asked the other guys to wear a suit they already owned, which worked well as they all felt comfortable and didn't look too match-y.

We bought a tie for each of them which they could keep afterwards. We’re not keen on cravats or anything too wedding-y and Lee really wanted a striped tie, so we hunted high and low for one and found it in Marks and Spencer {of course!}. 

Funnily, we couldn't find enough of the same one ,and discovered that a candidate on The Apprentice had worn the tie on the show, so they had sold out almost everywhere. We ended up ordering them from 4 different shops to get seven matching ones! The things you do for love and a perfect wedding eh?

We walked out to a brilliant and crazy brass band version of Africa by Toto, covered by Hackney Colliery Band. It's just bonkers and makes us smile.

We wanted a venue where we could have the whole day, so our guests didn’t have to travel after the ceremony and the party could start straight away. East Close Hotel was the perfect choice! In reality, the party started before the ceremony! 

We had the whole place for the day, which felt exclusive and luxurious, but the hotel is small enough that we didn't feel we were rattling around. I loved that each room had a different feel, but all in line with our taste.

Since the flowers were fast becoming a bit of a thing, we thought it would be cool to have flowers in the drinks. We got these edible hibiscus flowers that you pour fizzy wine over and they open up and flavour the drink, like a flowery cocktail. Delicious and pretty.

Me and my bridesmaids all did our own make-up and a friend did our hair. The clip I wore was another last minute something borrowed from the hairdresser friend.

Our photographer was Ben Goode - he did the pictures for a colleagues wedding and we loved them. As soon as we met him, and saw more of his work we were sold. His style was the perfect mix of discreet reportage and creative stuff. 

He was SUCH a nice guy to have around on the day of the wedding too; lots of guests commented that they liked his relaxed attitude. Needless to say, we were blown away by the resulting photographs. He caught little moments of emotion that really made us laugh and cry.

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