Today’s beautiful bride is Jessica, world traveller and blogger, and now wife of the very handsome Johannes! Their Kent wedding is full of vintage travel ideas – with a world map table plan, paper flowers made out of map pages and more. Johannes even wears a bow tie made from map printed fabric!
I love how this wedding is so personal to the couple. They’re really styled the day around their lives and loves – and have also embraced Englishness by marrying in a historic brewery. I will be raising a glass or two to you both this weekend! Congratulations, and thank you for sharing your wedding and story on the English Wedding Blog today. Thank you also to photographer Chris Orange for sharing the images of the wedding day. Everyone – enjoy!
Jessica and Johannes – a very personal vintage travel themed wedding
Jessica and Johannes
Your wedding photographer’s website:
The Shepherd Neame Brewery in Faversham, Kent
Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?
An intimate, international, beer flowing extravaganza.
What was your reaction to seeing your wedding photos for the first time? Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?
I thought all of my guests were so beautiful, I didn’t get to appreciate that so much on the actual day. I was very pleased with Chris, he was documenting the day, but wasn’t intrusive- so it didn’t make me nervous getting my picture taken all day. I’m not a huge fan of posed shots, so other than a few family group shots, everything was very natural.
Your wedding style and theme:
Any happy tears on the day?
I kept it in check much better than I expected. Our really good friend, and daughter’s Godfather, was translating the ceremony into Dutch for our guests who didn’t understand English. At one point he got totally choked up and had to stop translating. It was really unexpected, but extremely touching- he almost got me.
How long did you spend planning your wedding?
Ha. This is an interesting question. We were engaged for two months shy of five years. In that time I lived in America, moved to The Netherlands, and then finally to England. There were many different plans. We had a hard time deciding how we would have a wedding that the people we most cared about would be able to attend. In the end, we decided enough was enough, and hoped everyone would be able to fly in for our day. Our English wedding was in the plans more or less for the last year and a half.
Best bit of budget advice?
We did almost all of the decorations ourselves. The flowers, ring box, flower girl basket, and even bathroom boxes were all fully or partially made with vintage maps I bought at a charity shop for 50p. We also skipped cocktails at the reception, serving beer instead.
Wedding invitations and on the day stationery:
Our wedding invitations and save-the-dates were from Wedding Paper Divas. Our ceremony programs were little passports, I bought an image file from Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/130788149/passport-book-world-travel-blank-cards) of both American and UK Passports and then inserted my own pages thanking our guests and outlining the ceremony. All of the stationery on the tables I did myself.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
I had been in love with my dress for about as long as I was engaged. It was the only constant. I never tried it on, I found an amazing seamstress in China who made my dress for me, and it only cost about £250 including altering.
Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:
I went very simple with my accessories. I wore the Orchid Headband from Rainbow Club (http://www.rainbowclub.co.uk/headdresses/orchid) and small sapphire and diamond studs from Etsy shop Pompeii3.(https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/154426658/diamond-blue-sapphire-70ct-halo-studs-14)
The groom wore:
He bought his navy blue suit, braces and shirt from Top Man. He also wore an amazing world map bow tie that we found on Etsy from a UK seller. (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TheConnectedWorld) She even cut the fabric so Australia would be highlighted, which is where we want to head next. It was my favourite part of his look.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
All my ladies wore LBD’s. Since they were coming in from different countries, it didn’t make much sense to have matching outfits. Everyone picked out their own, and they all rocked them.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
My hair and make-up was one of the largest investments of the entire wedding. We skimped and saved almost everywhere, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to DIY hair and make-up and feel amazing on the day. Instead, I turned to London and Brighton based Pretty Me Vintage (http://www.prettymevintage.co.uk/) who did an incredible job recreating the retro look I wanted.
My bouquet was bought from Tesco the day before the wedding. My mom arranged it in the hotel. Our reception flowers were DIY from vintage world maps.
Our daughter was the flower girl, and our niece and nephew took care of the rings. I walked myself down the aisle, partly because I hate the pomp and circumstance of it all, and partly because I didn’t feel like I needed to be given away as an independent lady. We had a beautiful ceremony conducted by an officiant from the British Humanist Association (http://humanist.org.uk) . Johannes isn’t religious and we had guests from every background you could imagine, the BHA is all about including everyone regardless of belief. It was very positive, and very inclusive, it was perfect for us. We also had a hand-fasting, my favorite part of the ceremony. Did you know that hand-fasting is where we get the phrase ‘Tie the knot!’, I loved the history and symbolism behind it. We did DIY wedding wands, and all of the guests waved them once it was official, it was very cool.
We had two readings. The first was read by Johannes’s sister in Dutch, which she wrote herself. The second reading was by one of my best friends who came in from New York, it was based on a poem by Shel Silverstein.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Our venue was incredibly beautiful, and I didn’t want to detract from that too much so we kept things simple. The brewery has the very English wood beam ceilings, and they hang fresh hops from them every harvest season. It was very rustically dramatic. We did hang some pictures of us through the seven years we were together. We found an actual post box and instead of a guest book we had our guests write us a note on a vintage postcard and ‘send’ them. Our table plan was made from a map, and each table represented a different country where we have lived or studied.
The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?
Quirky. It was cheese, very delicious cheese. We served it later on as an evening meal with fruits, crackers, and chutneys. The wedding coordinator at the brewery put it together from locally sourced cheeses, I was very impressed with it.
We were going to play music from an iPod, but a good friend (who happens to be a DJ) volunteered to handle the evening a week before the wedding. It was his wedding gift to us, and definitely made a huge difference in the atmosphere. There was even some dancing, which we weren’t going to have at all. It really worked out wonderfully.
On the day tips and advice:
I regret not getting any pictures with my niece and nephew, and not enough with my daughter. The day was so busy and even with a very laid-back wedding it felt like we were being rushed from one thing to the next. I wish I had written down a list of things that were important to me, and delegate it to someone to make sure they all happened.
What’s the best thing about being married?
That I no longer need to correct people when they call him my husband 🙂
Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:
- Hair and Make-up: Pretty Me Vintage
- Groom’s Suit: Top Man
- Map Bow-Tie: Etsy Shop The Connected World
- Headdress: Rainbow Bridal
- Photographer: Chris Orange
- Venue: Shepherd Neame Brewery
- Shoes: Badgley Mischka
- Jewelry: Etsy shop Pompeii3
- Officiant: Sue Baumbach of the British Humanist Association