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Sarah and Mickey’s fun, relaxed, rainbow bright Henley wedding

Morning! Have we all had enough of sunshine yet? Oh, you’d like some more? Me too 🙂 What a lovely week it’s been. And I’m feeling sunny inside because I get to share Sarah and Mickey’s Henley wedding with you today – it’s pretty much my idea of perfect.
Henley wedding Rob Sarah Gillespie (1)
Sarah’s advice for other couples rings very true with me:

Enjoy it. Today is the day you get to promise to spend the rest of your life with the person you want to spend your life with. It’s going to be a good day and literally no one is going to care if there’s a typo in the order of service or the ushers don’t have matching socks!

How true!

Henley wedding Rob Sarah Gillespie (2)

Other highlights of today’s wedding blog include Sarah’s gorgeous Justin Alexander dress, the beautiful images from the country fields, all of the lovely details – watch out for the impressive cake! Oh, and all the personal touches from the handmade wedding sign to fairy cakes and bunting. I especially love Sarah’s recommendation for ceilidh bands… the ideal solution for shufflers and lurkers – and tons of fun too!

With thanks to Rob and Sarah Gillespie for sharing the beautiful images of this awesome Henley wedding. Everyone – enjoy! Claire xxx
Henley wedding Rob Sarah Gillespie (3)

Sarah and Mickey – a fun, relaxed Henley wedding blog!

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The bride and groom:

Sarah and Mickey. After a hilarious / awkward typo in a text message led to Mickey’s romantic feelings for Sarah being unwittingly revealed, we started dating in 2005 while we were still at school. Now 7 years and several different geographical setups later our situations have finally allowed us to start married life together.

Wedding venue:

Service- Shirley Baptist Church, Reception – Henley Golf and Country Club

Wedding photographer:

Rob and Sarah Gillespie. We asked Rob and Sarah to do our photography after they did a fantastic job at Mickey’s sister’s wedding a few years ago. We really like how they manage to capture so many natural moments throughout the day as well as orchestrating stunning portraits that are totally unique. From photographing us getting ready in the morning all the way to the dancing in the evening they managed to be at the centre of the action without ever being in the way. Mickey is not the most at ease in front of the camera but Rob and Sarah’s friendly disposition made it easy to be ourselves. A highlight of the day was Sarah Gillespie hoisting me over a fence in order to get the shots in the yellow field that I’d had my eye on!

Your wedding style and theme:

FUN! At the risk of stating the obvious, weddings are the start of marriages and so we wanted the day to feel like a real celebration. We tried to plan it so there would be lots of time for friends and family to enjoy themselves and each other’s company. We are both fairly relaxed people and so we didn’t want it to be overly formal or fancy, just a nice summers afternoon where we could celebrate with the people we love. We got really lucky with the weather and so guests were able to enjoy the sunshine in the garden, in fact as temperatures soared over 30 we had to put out sun cream! We used bright rainbow colours and video game-esque graphics to decorate the venue. The tables were named after some of our favourite video games and we tied the favours in with the theming, for instance, chocolate coins on the ‘Super Mario Kart’ table. We also put out lots of outdoor toys like hula hoops and boules for people to play with and hired a bouncy castle for the evening.

How long did you spend planning your wedding?

We got engaged in August 2011 and slowly planned our wedding over two years. However, we have both just finished studying in Scotland and so planning mainly occurred in intense bursts when we were back in the Midlands for university vacations. As we both spent the six months before the wedding finishing degrees and applying for jobs, a lot of things got left fairly last minute and the four weeks prior to the big day were really wedding mania.

Best bit of budget advice?

We ummed and arghed about this, apparently we’re not that clear on budgets. But I think we decided “Know what you care about”. Neither of us cares about cars so we didn’t really go in for wedding cars as such. Friends drove us to church and we got a slightly upmarket taxi to the reception. Ultimately, getting married is about committing to spend your life with the person you love and a lot of things that might seem really important or necessary just aren’t.

Invitations and stationery:

Our save the dates and invitations were done by my cousin Gillian Hibbs who is a professional illustrator. We designed the rest of our stationery mainly using a simple pixelated heart as the focus.

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?

I loved my dress and felt really comfortable in it. I think it suited me and it was sparkly and princessy which in my eyes was a definite plus! However, when we were shopping for a dress there were at least three I really like (and lots that looked terrible!!) so I’m not really sold on the “the one” dress theory. Also, I bought a second white dress from a high street shop, that I changed into in the evening as it was knee length so great for dancing in and much cooler.

Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:

I bought a sparkly hair band from Glitz Accezzoriez in Solihull and a smaller one for the evening from New Look.

The groom wore:

A grey suit from Debenhams’ Occasions range. Mickey looked around rental places and found that they often didn’t have ones available to try on. He also found that a lot of rental places only did tails and he wanted a more modern suit. It worked out about the same price to just buy the ones he liked from Debenhams.

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

Midnight blue dresses from Coast. It took us ages to decide whether to get floor length or short ones but we went for short in the end. They also wore cream shoes from Next and floral wreaths in their hair.

Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?

I had my hair done at The Hair Company as it is very resistant to taming! My sister, Emily, did my make up as I wanted it to look very natural and I knew she would do a good job!

Wedding flowers:

Red dahlias with yellow roses and purple lisianthus from In Bloom Ltd.

The ceremony:

The ceremony took place at Shirley Baptist Church, the church where both my dad and I were dedicated (a bit like christened), my parents were married and my family worship on Sundays. It was lovely to see lots of people from church there and also lots of people from Mickey’s church a few miles away in Dorridge. Paul the minister at Shirley took the service and married us, our friends played in the band and did the readings and prayers and Mickey’s brother in law Ben gave a short talk. It was important to us to make our vows in church in front of our friends and family and God and it was really nice that so many people we knew were able to participate in the service.

Wedding readings?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 1 John 4:7-19

General styling – did your venue need much decoration?

The church was left largely undecorated with just a few stands of flowers. My mum put together a rather impressive cake table at one end and lots of our friends contributed delicious cakes! My dad and sister converted her falling apart desk into a sandwich board sign to go outside and apart from that we left things as they were.

At the golf club we had lots of small bottles and jars of flowers on the tables. We made the favours ourselves by filling confectioners’ bags with sweets and tying them with bright ribbons. We also had a sweetie table in the bar and lots of candles in bright holders dotted around outside, some hanging from trees in bottles. Our parents dug out some old photos of us and made three photo boards, one of each of us growing up and then one of the two of us together, which contained some pretty hideous photos of sixteen year old Mickey and Sarah and their disastrous fashion choices.

The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?

We had two wedding cakes! One was a chocolate cake covered in chocolate curls and fruit which was beautifully made by our friend Miranda. The second was a rich fruit cake, decorated with rainbow hearts which also looked gorgeous and was made by Mickey’s step mum Helen.

Entertainment:

In the evening we had a bouncy castle outside and a ceilidh inside. For those who don’t know, a ceilidh (pronounced Kay-Lee) is a sort of Scottish barn dance, but more aggressive than a barn dance, if you’re not bruised at the end you weren’t trying hard enough. We are both extremely ungainly and somewhat awkward creatures and so at “discos” and the like we alternate between flailing, shuffling and awkward lurking. A ceilidh was the perfect choice for us as there is literally someone telling you what to do next. I personally would like to recommend this as a possible idea for any venue with a dance floor, clubbing would be greatly improved by the introduction of instructions.

On the day tips and advice:

Enjoy it. Today is the day you get to promise to spend the rest of your life with the person you want to spend your life with. It’s going to be a good day and literally no one is going to care if there’s a typo in the order of service or the ushers don’t have matching socks.

Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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