Hi again! Are you having a lovely day? I must say it’s nice to see sunshine on English Wedding Blog today! AJ and Ed’s Warwickshire wedding is warm and beautiful in every way: full of loving looks and radiant sunshine, and with a fabulous style to inspire your wedding day too!
My thanks to lovely (and clearly highly sought after!) Jamie from Vickerstaff Photography for the submission, and congratulations to the gorgeous bride and groom. AJ and Ed created a fabulous wedding at Stoneleigh Abbey and they’ve been kind enough to share their wedding story with us all today. Enjoy the wedding blog – the images are fantastic and the wedding report is about halfway down the page.
A little about the wedding ceremony:
It had rained and rained for months, so the most I was hoping for was for it to be dry, at least for part of the day. Well not only was it dry it was hot! Which, when getting married in the Orangery (think greenhouse) meant the ceremony was very hot!! But I’ll never complain about the weather we got that day.
We put our own stamp on the ceremony by having two readings, choosing our own vows and picking 3 songs for different stages of the service. We had two readings:
On your wedding day – Anon
If you can always be as close – Anon
Tell us a little about your wedding venue styling and details:
Even if I do say so myself our venue was gorgeous. It had a summer garden party feel to the ceremony room and the space outside by the river Avon where we served drinks and canapés and played games such as giant jenga and connect 4.
The wedding breakfast was in the Salon, a very sophisticated room, with lots of ornate details but without too much formality. And in the evening we went downstairs into the vaulted room, which when lit up had a party atmosphere.
For the table decorations we had sweetie trees. This was one of the only details I had managed to keep a secret from all our guests. Everyone loved the uniqueness of them and enjoyed bartering with the other tables to ensure they filled their bags with all of their favourites!
Wedding invitations and reception stationery:
I always knew I would make my own stationery. Not only is it a good way to save money, it is also a way to put your own personal mark on the day. The save the dates were made from luggage tags. Drawing inspiration from my daisy necklace, I included a daisy chain in the design and to add a bit of fun I wrote ‘he proposed and she said yes’ on the front of them all.
For the finishing detail I used garden string to reflect Ed’s passion for his vegetable patch!
For the invites we used a pocketfold design with a number of different inserts. My favourite element of them was the map I designed to go in them. I’d seen various fun maps online which include little pictures where important landmarks are (hotels, venue etc) but they cost a fortune so I decided to have a go myself. Many attempts later I had put together a map with lots of fun elements which everyone has loved.
To help tie all of the stationery together I kept the daisy detail from the save the dates on the invites too. And I added “live, laugh, love” to the front of the design to keep the light hearted feel we were going for.
As one final detail I used Olympic stamps to post the invites out to friends and family as a small recognition of the date on which we were getting married.
I did all the stationery for the day as well – from the order of service to the menus. I really wanted our day to be unique and personal and everyone said how the attention to detail made it just that.
Wedding music and entertainment:
We had Alex Chapman do all of our music on the day. Alex sings and plays the guitar. He provided some background music whilst guests arrived, and again after the ceremony, then he did a live set to start the evening reception and finished with a DJ set. Having one person for the whole day was perfect. He sang and played a range of music and everyone said how good he was.
After the ceremony we had garden games for everyone to play whilst we went off and had some photos. These seemed to keep all our guests entertained throughout the day. We also had a sweetie table filled with all our favourite sweets.
As a surprise my sisters organised for us to have an ice cream trike. They served the guests with limitless ice creams and we could add the toppings of our choice. For me this was the icing on the cake!
What did you wear?
We got engaged in April, but with sisters (aka bridesmaids) both doing university exams, followed by what seemed endless summer holidays it took until the middle of September to go dress shopping (obviously I wasn’t allowed to start without them!).
As I hadn’t been allowed to shop I had done plenty of research, looking at hundreds of dresses in magazines. I had found one which I really liked so I found a shop which stocked it and that is where we started. It was the first dress I tried on and it was gorgeous. However, having never tried any other wedding dresses on in my life how could I really know it was the one for me?! So throughout the day we visited a number of other boutiques, trying on lots of other dresses.
By the end of the day I was thoroughly confused as to what I wanted as dresses I thought I would like didn’t look right once they were on, and ones which I wouldn’t have ordinarily looked twice at quite suited me. Needless to say day 1 of dress shopping wasn’t the last. This is where my bridezilla moment (ok so more like phase) started. I had been patient in waiting to dress shop but now I had started I needed to find my dress! So for the next few weeks I dragged my mum around different cities in search of ‘the one’.
I have to say trying on wedding dresses is exhausting – both physically and emotionally. We started by analysing every dress I tried on, which bits we liked and which we didn’t but given time we got better and rejecting them a lot quicker. Don’t get me wrong, they were all gorgeous, but they are wedding dresses so they are bound to be, but I wasn’t getting that ‘feeling’. I was starting to wonder whether the ‘feeling’ brides talk about ‘knowing when it is the one for you’ was all a myth and whether I should just pick one. However, as I am stubborn enough and my mum is patient enough, the search continued.
We found a lady called Joyce in Bridal Secrets who understood that whilst every dress was pretty that they wouldn’t all be for me. Each dress I tried on she listened to what I liked and didn’t like and she would go off and find dresses which tried to emulate the good bits. The last dress Joyce picked for me in that store was ‘the one’. I loved it when I tried it on, but the telling sign was that I couldn’t stop thinking about the dress the next day and couldn’t wait for my sisters to see me in it. Then I knew I had to have it.
Shoes have always been my thing so the pressure was on to find the perfect pair for my wedding day. Without shoes on Ed and I are about the same height and I didn’t want to tower over him on our wedding day. Because of that, and the expectation of being on my feet most of the day and still wanting to be able to feel them to dance at the end of the night, I didn’t want too high heels.
It might just be me, but I felt that a lot of the traditional wedding shoes were a bit middle aged, so although the heel height was probably suitable, they weren’t for me. I also wanted some shoes that I could keep and wear again. After all I was only going to wear my dress once so it’s nice having something I can use after the big day. I added some ‘I do’ blue diamantes to the bottom of the shoes as my something blue.
I think we always knew we wanted the boys to wear tails and from looking around we thought we would go with a dark grey suit. Ed wanted to wear a waistcoat but didn’t really have an opinion about the design so I did some research and found some I liked.
On the theme of being a bit different we went to a shop which only has 3 stores around Birmingham, and isn’t nationwide. This way I knew that Ed’s suit would be just a little bit different to other grooms.
The shop had a new dark grey suit on show that was being launched before our wedding but wasn’t yet available. They did however have a lighter grey one in the same range so Ed tried that one on to see if he liked the style. As it happens Ed liked the style and we both liked the light grey. It just went to show that it’s always worth trying on something that you wouldn’t normally consider and you never know! Ed looked gorgeous all dressed up!
Memorable wedding day moments:
My most memorable moment was getting to the end of the aisle, the music starting and knowing it was all about to begin. Every time I hear the music it takes me back to that feeling of excitement and anticipation.
It was also incredible seeing all of our hard work come together and our guests enjoying everything we had spent so long organising. Everything was perfect – we got the sunshine, everyone we loved, and all the plans to come together all at the same time.
Wedding day advice:
No regrets – you only get to do it once so make sure you do it the way you (both) want to, don’t worry too much about keeping everyone else happy (they will be on the day as long as you are!), and come the day what will be will be, just enjoy it, together.
Recommended wedding suppliers:
Since before Ed and I had got engaged we had followed Jamie’s (Jamie Vickerstaff of Vickerstaff Photography) blog online. I was always excited when a new blog was released and I loved all the photos. Jamie is based up north and our wedding was in the Midlands so we tried our best to find someone more local. No-one else’s photos we saw came close to Jamie’s so we decided the only option was to contact Vickerstaff Photography and keep our fingers crossed. To my great relief they said yes!
We both love our album – everyone we have shown has said how fantastic it is. In every supplier we chose I would say that the people were just as important as the service they are providing. This was definitely the case with Vickerstaff Photography. Despite having lots of weddings to shoot they made our day feel like it was the most important and let us guide what we wanted but at the same time were happy to share experiences and opinions to help make it amazing.
Wedding photography – Vickerstaff Photography
Wedding dress – Bridal Secrets dress – design Yvonne Joyce
Cake – Hall of Cakes by Nicola Hall
Heart shaped umbrellas – Love Umbrellas
Bridal shrug by Wrapor