This is such a beautiful wedding – I love anything with a personal touch as I’m sure you know by now! Today’s stunning bride Katy and gorgeous groom Tom styled their country house wedding with a nod to their local history and delicate touches inspired by Staffordshire pottery.
Their wedding photographers, lovely Rob and Sarah Gillespie, have a wonderful eye for detail and captured the most precious moments and lovingly crafted details so well. Every image I’ve chosen to show you of Katy and Tom’s beautiful Staffordshire country house wedding will delight your pretty eyes, I’m sure!
Congratulations and the very warmest of thank yous to today’s very special bride and groom. This really is a wedding to remember and I’m sure it will inspire so many future couples. Watch out for the Wedgwood inspired wedding cake, the glorious flower displays and the fantastic table plan! Claire xxx
Katy and Tom at Pendrell Hall – a Staffordshire country house wedding blog
The bride and groom: Katy and Tom
Pendrell Hall – we viewed the venue 8 months before the wedding when it was just starting to be restored and we fell in love with it, even though it was still a complete building site! Luckily our faith in the restoration work paid off, as it was all done fantastically and on time and we were even the first couple to have a civil ceremony there so it felt even more special.
Rob and Sarah Gillespie. We have never photographed well, and in our 11 years together we have had only a handful of nice pictures of us, so we were worried about finding the right photographer. I’d seen Rob and Sarah’s website on my multiple Google searches for Midlands photographers and loved their work. As soon as they came round for a cup of tea and to show us their work I decided that I wanted them to photograph our wedding, and when we saw the outcome of our pre-wedding shoot we knew we had made the right decision.
Your wedding style and theme:
Staffordshire Country House. We both grew up in Stafford and my family had ties with the pottery industry so we added a pottery theme to the day (e.g. a table plan made from hanging plates, the centrepieces were flowers in teapots, the tables were named after Staffordshire potters).
How long did you spend planning your wedding?
Less than 8 months – we got engaged just before Christmas and married early August.
Best bit of budget advice?
Prioritise! Save where you can (e.g. DIY where possible) and spend on the things that matter the most to you. Also, don’t assume that it’s always cheaper to rent something for the day than to buy it – we found with a number of things it was actually cheaper to buy!
Invitations and stationery:
We just ordered some pretty (but generic) invites from the internet and then printed the inserts ourselves on thick paper. This is one example of where we wanted to save money – we had heard of people spending hundreds of pounds on invites but thought – ‘as long as it gets people there, then it has done the job!’ We also printed out our own menus for the tables and table names on card which we just designed ourselves. We bought place name cards cheap from eBay.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
YES. I was very lucky, I found it on my second attempt at dress shopping. On the first attempt I went in to 2 shops and tried on what felt like every dress in the shop. In the second shop, Formal Elegance in Cannock, I narrowed it down to seven dresses. Yes seven. All very different from each other, I had no idea which to go for. I went back one week later to ‘narrow it down’. This time there was one small extra rack due to a special event. I pulled out one dress, as did my mum, and as did Jane who owned the shop. I tried my choice first and it was unanimous – this was the dress. I tried the rest on after, but this just reassured me of my choice.
Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:
I had a side tiara with pearl and diamante detail and some small Swarovski earrings and matching necklace.
The groom wore:
A classic black morning suit, an ivory waistcoat with a navy pattern, and navy cravat (to match the bridesmaids). The ushers and fathers wore the same, but with ivory cravats.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
They wore a navy strapless maxi dress from Coast – they both looked very beautiful!
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
We hired a professional. For make-up we hired someone local to come to the venue in the morning and do each of our make-up (my mum, the two bridesmaids, and me). She also came to my mum’s house the night before the wedding to paint our nails for us. This was a nice way to spend the night before the wedding and it meant everyone was much more comfortable on the day. We all went to the hairdressers first thing in the morning on the day to have our hair styled.
As part of our aim to save money, we decided not to go with a florist, and instead to do the flowers ourselves. So on the Wednesday before our wedding (which was on a Saturday), we drove the 120 miles from Birmingham to London in our little car, stayed overnight in a Travelodge, and got up at 3am to go to New Covent Garden Flower Market which opened at 4am. It’s the largest wholesale flower market we could find that is available for anyone to use. We bought as much as we could fit in our car (packed in cardboard boxes) and then drove straight back to Stafford to continue our wedding preparations.
When we first envisaged doing our own flowers, we thought we’d keep it simple and watch YouTube videos to learn the basics. However, my parents’ next door neighbour heard of our plans, and with her love of weddings and experience doing the flower arranging for a local church, she very generously agreed to help with all aspects of the flowers, including single-handedly making 6 large standing displays, all of the bouquets and buttonholes and teaching us how to do the teapot displays.
Without her we wouldn’t have had anywhere near as many flowers, and they wouldn’t have looked half as good! We are eternally grateful for her help.
My bouquet was large pink roses, and the bridesmaids had smaller white roses. All of the flowers were shades of pink and white and all of the teapot displays were individual.
We had an intimate civil ceremony at the venue. We chose our vows from the usual selection offered by the Registry Office, as well as additional promises. My mum did a reading for us at the end of the ceremony: ‘Wedding Day’ by Robert Palmer. It is nice and light-hearted.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
The venue was so lovely we didn’t need much decoration. As well as the standing flower decorations we put a number of vases of flowers and candles around the venue. We also found some small candles in ceramic pots which had pink roses on them at IKEA which fit in perfectly with our pottery theme and our flowers.
The wedding cake:
This was another DIY job. It took 3 of us; ourselves and my mum, an entire day a couple of months before the wedding to make 3 very large fruit cakes. This was hard work! We hired the cake tins and then used both of our mums’ ovens to cook them. And they were so heavy!
However, the hardest part was the decoration. We had decided previously that it would be a Wedgwood style cake, to match the theme. We coloured the icing blue (I was a little hasty with the colouring so it wasn’t quite Wedgwood blue, more of a turquoise blue!) and then carefully moulded the decorations in white using moulds purchased online.
The roses on the top I made by hand. My nan used to make roses out of clay for Wedgwood and I used one of the ones she had made as a guide. The cake may not have looked perfectly neat, but we loved it. We had a real sense of satisfaction that we had made it ourselves, and it was definitely individual!
After the ceremony, we had a classical guitarist, Jessica, playing while the guests mingled. I used to play for many years and she was recommended by the music school. She was wonderful and it was a lovely sound to have in the background. We also had lawn games in the garden to keep everyone entertained (croquet, boules, giant jenga, quoits). In the evening we had a live band, Cerone. They were great and really got people on their feet dancing.
On the day tips and advice:
Everyone says it, but the day goes so fast, so try to stop and take it all in! And don’t worry that you don’t get to speak to everyone for very long, there just isn’t enough time to spend as much as you want to with everyone.
Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:
- THE dress: Formal Elegance in Cannock. Highly recommended, Jane and Pat were so helpful, it was delightful shopping with them. http://www.formalelegance.co.uk/
- Photographers: Rob and Sarah Gillespie. Their work speaks for itself, but what you can’t see is what a pleasure it was to work with them. http://robandsarahgillespie.co.uk/
- Guitarist: Jessica Farnden. She is a music student who performs at weddings and functions and is very talented. https://www.facebook.com/jfarndenguitar
- The band: Cerone – booked through Function Central. The singer had a problem with her voice on the day and couldn’t perform, but the band found a brilliant stand in, and even brought an extra band member at no extra charge. Everyone commented on how great they were. http://www.functioncentral.co.uk/acts/cerone/
- The venue: Pendrell Hall. Stunning venue, it’s very light and has an intimate feel. http://www.pendrellhall-venue.co.uk
- Make-up: Judy Pendrill. She was lovely and made us all feel on ease while she was there. http://www.bridesbypendrill.co.uk
- Hair: Francesco Church lane. Did a great job and it was great all to have our hair done together. Special thanks to Gemma for my bridal hair – it was exactly as I wanted it! http://www.francescogroup.co.uk/salons/churchlane.php