Hello again lovely blog readers! Did you have a weddingy weekend or stay in and snuggle away from the cold? I’ve been out exploring the Lake District and buying little goodies to use for my calligraphy and then for Christmas… I’ll show you very soon! In the meantime I have an incredibly beautiful Iscoyd Park wedding blog to share with you all today.
Katie and Craig were married in June and told me their wedding was “The most joy-filled, whirlwind of a day surrounded by the people we love.” It sounds perfect, doesn’t it… and it looks even better. You’re going to love this!
Huge thanks to beautiful bride Katie and gorgeous groom Craig for sharing. Thanks also to the very lovely Kristian Leven Photography for sharing his fabulous images with us today. Read all about the wedding day in Katie and Craig’s wedding report towards the end of the feature, and don’t miss the tips and advice they share about wedding suppliers, planning your day and more! Enjoy. And have a lovely day! Claire xxx
Katie and Craig’s beautiful Iscoyd Park wedding blog
The bride and groom:
Katie Driver and Craig Swatman
Iscoyd Park, Whitchurch – a beautiful family home and award-winning country house owned and run by the lovely Phil and Sue Godsal. We chose it because every room is stunning, but the Garden Room in particular is a really special place to get married. By night, it transforms into a hot pink disco room which sealed the deal.
What was your reaction to seeing your wedding photos for the first time? Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?
Pleased would be an understatement! I got a link via email when I was at work to a short video Kristian had put together online. It’s no exaggeration to say I watched it eight times (whilst still hard at work of course, ahem!) before I got home and then another five or six times that evening with Craig. We loved them and laughed and shed a tear every time.
Kristian managed to capture all of the fun, the joy, the anticipation and the emotion from the day, and crafted it into the most wonderful story for us. I also love the humour he gets across in his photos – he wasn’t scared to photograph moments such as my Dad attempting to rescue me from my veil which was trying to strangle me in the wind – which actually make for really touching spontaneous photos that I don’t think everyone would be brave enough to capture.
Your wedding style and theme:
We didn’t have a specific theme apart from “things that make us smile”. The Beatles popped up quite frequently, and we tried to work with the “Englishness” of the venue by using seasonal garden flowers. The colours we used were quite bright pinks and purples, as I love them! Oh, and gin. A girl’s got to have a bit of gin!
How long did you spend planning your wedding?
We got engaged in December 2011, and after a few months of searching, booked our venue in May 2012. We then took 13 months to organise the day.
Best bit of budget advice?
Unless your budget is endless (lucky you!), allocate more money to the things that matter to you. Our priorities were venue, food and photographs and they really made the day. To accommodate that, we spent less on other things.
Invitations and stationery:
We sent out Save the Date postcards using a photo a good friend of ours took for us. Craig’s very talented brother designed our invites, which we then punched a lace-effect into and backed onto card. He also designed an order of the day, and a “wedding ad-libs” card which was used instead of a guest book. Guests had to fill in the blanks which made for some very entertaining reading the day after!
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
This might be controversial, but my wedding dress wasn’t a particular priority of mine. I knew we’d have an amazing day whether I was wearing couture or high street and so I didn’t want to blow the budget, especially given it was highly likely to get trodden on or have something spilled on it knowing me! I had tried on a few styles at wedding fairs and knew what I wanted (some form of sleeves, back detail and a small train), and when I saw the “Elizabeth” dress by Phase Eight I knew it would fit the bill, so it was more of a “head” than “heart” purchase. That said, as I gradually built my outfit with my accessories I grew more excited and knew I’d made the right choice, and I felt fabulous on the day!
Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:
For the day I wore a veil (reasoning that it’s the only time you will, so I made the most of the opportunity!) by Linzi Jay and for the evening I wore a custom-made head band from LiveAdorned on Etsy. Being really tall, I wanted flat wedding shoes and managed to find some pretty ones by Paradox London but it was a rather stressful search!
My parents very sweetly gave me a beautiful sapphire necklace as on the day as my surprise “something blue” and I wore my late granny’s wedding ring on my right hand; my grandparents were married for over 60 years so it was our lucky charm! She passed away a few months before the wedding, which was devastating, so it was nice to have a part of her with me there on the day. I also had a small charm made using a photo of her on Etsy, which was tied discretely into my bouquet.
The groom wore:
Craig wanted to feel properly “suited and booted” for the day, and so the ushers and my Dad wore matching grey morning suits and cravats hired from Neale & Palmer in Piccadilly. Craig wore his late Grandad’s cufflinks to finish his outfit.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
My girls wore matching purple dresses from Debenhams. I had a personalised pearl bracelet made for each of them by Faybee Jewellery as a thank you gift. They wore their own shoes.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Nicky from Paint Me Beautiful came to the venue to do our makeup, and she made sure it lasted all day! Our hairdresser Emily (who has done my Mum’s, mine and my sister’s hair for ages), came out to Iscoyd on the day so we had a great time getting ready at the venue and peeking out of the window as we watched people arrive which really helped to build the anticipation! It was a breezy day so thankfully my up-do stopped me from looking too windswept!
The lovely Jo at Nettle Flowers did the bouquets, buttonholes, centrepieces and ceremony room. The flowers were one of my favourite parts of the process (apart from marrying Craig, of course!) – Jo totally “got” what I had in mind and was such a joy to work with. She was enthusiastic, really clever about ensuring we made the most of our budget and, as she likes to work with herbs as well as flowers, made the bouquets smell amazing. One of the most exciting moments in few days before was popping into the shop and seeing all of our flowers lined up and ready to go!
All other flowers in the venue were provided by Selina Godsal, who is based at Iscoyd Park.
We had a civil ceremony at Iscoyd. One of the reasons we chose Iscoyd was the Garden Room where the civil ceremony would take place. Iscoyd sympathetically renovated the room to give it a peaceful and simple yet beautiful, church-like atmosphere with lots of natural light. As soon as we stepped into the room we both knew that was where we wanted to get married. The girls and I walked in to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles (a favourite of ours and not too long!) and we walked out to “All You Need Is Love” by, once again, The Beatles! The ceremony was short but really moving, and probably our favourite part of the day.
We chose 2 readings; an extract from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – a book we both love, and a reading called “Union” by Robert Fugler, a moving account of the process of creating a marriage and a wedding, without being cheesy. Our friends Kim and Will did a fantastic job of the readings.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Iscoyd is a stunning venue anyway, but we added our own small touches. Craig’s stepdad David made us the most beautiful art-deco sign which directed people to the wedding, but also showed places we had lived in the run up to the wedding, and the destinations people had come from to attend the day (including the distance!). It was a real labour of love by David and we plan to have it in our garden when we buy a house!
We used simple heart decorations to the chair backs in the ceremony, and then let the flowers do the talking. Iscoyd thoughtfully added candles to the room for us.
In the marquee we made a feature of the table plan (our tables were named after different gins) by using gin bottles arranged on the table in a bar style and we also used a suitcase which belonged to my great-uncle for cards and messages. Craig’s mum also made us some heart decorations which hung on the back of chairs in the marquee and added a pop of colour.
The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?
Both! We had a cheese wedding cake which became part of the evening food, and then our friend Anna of All Things Nice Cakes made us an amazing three tier cake of lemon sponge, carrot and chocolate with salted caramel ganache. We finished it with a Beatles lyric cake topper we bought from Etsy. Both cakes went down a storm but thankfully we managed to rescue a couple of slices to enjoy on our honeymoon!
We booked a guitar and vocal duo who sang during our drinks reception and made for a lovely atmosphere. Iscoyd also provided croquet to play on the lawn. For the evening we had Dave Dee DJs, who kept everyone on the dance floor all night!
Our friends Chris and Hannah set up a photo booth which provided some brilliant photos! The best man, Adam, very “kindly” set up a projector of black and white films of videos he had taken of Craig on various nights out over the years which were suitably embarrassing!
On the day tips and advice:
- Allow PLENTY of time to get ready and get to the ceremony. We worked to being ready half an hour early and were still a bit late. Whatever time you’re aiming to be ready to leave, allow a good ten minutes extra of “faffing time” (as my Dad would call it!) for photos and loo breaks. Honestly.
- Give your ushers (or whoever else has been roped in to help on the day!) a list of things they need to do before the ceremony and throughout the day – with timings if need be (laminating the list is optional). I worried about seeming like a bossy bridezilla, but they said afterwards that they were far happier knowing exactly what needed to be done when, and it meant Craig and I both relaxed completely safe in the knowledge everything was in capable hands.
- Enjoy the build up as much as possible – even though it can be a bit stressful at times! Try and make it part of the wedding, make it fun and take lots of photos to remember that time by. I love the candid snaps I have of Craig practising his speech at the end of the garden a few days before the wedding, and me and the bridesmaids preparing all the favours the night before.
- Say something! I joined the boys and made a short speech on the day, and I’m so glad I did. It’s a lovely chance to say thank you to everyone and to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.
- We wrote in the order of service that we’d like a big cheer when we said our “I do”s. I’d highly recommend it –everyone really went for it and nearly lifted the roof! It was a lovely way to get the whole room involved in the ceremony and made a special moment even more so.
Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:
- Kristian Leven http://kristianlevenphotography.co.uk/
- Iscoyd Park – http://iscoydpark.com/
- Speech Mentor – Robert was a huge help to Craig (he was dreading speaking in front of everyone and Robert helped to coach him in public speaking, as well as helping to refine the actual speech) – http://www.speechmentor.co.uk/
- Fine Dining Company http://www.rupertfrazerworden.com/
- Nettle Flowers http://www.nettle.uk.com/
- Replay Acoustic https://www.facebook.com/ReplayAcoustic?fref=ts
- Dave Dee DJ http://www.davedeediscos.co.uk/
- Paint Me Beautiful http://www.paintmebeautiful.co.uk/
- All Things Nice Cakes https://www.facebook.com/pages/All-Things-Nice-Cakes/436129253092784
- Neale and Palmer http://nealandpalmer.com/
- Bride’s dress – “Elizabeth” by Phase Eight
- Faybee jewellery – https://www.facebook.com/fayebee.jewellery