There’s nothing worse than being told what you “should” have for your wedding, is there? Saul and Michelle’s Northamptonshire wedding is creative, simple and looks every bit the occasion to remember forever. With images by Jules Fortune Photography and two fab venues: Boughton House and The Marquess of Exeter.
Savvy brides and grooms are planning ever more personal celebrations with a focus on the special touches they love best. That’s what Michelle and Saul did, choosing to ditch the seating plan for informal dining. They chose two fabulous venues which didn’t need extra decoration, and included family in creating a wonderful day: Michelle’s cousin played guitar, their sisters did wedding readings, and family members contributed gorgeous little treats for an oh-so-yummy-looking dessert table. Overall – an amazing, very personal, family-oriented wedding day. I love it.
With congratulations and thanks to the very lovely Michelle and Saul for sharing their wedding on the English Wedding Blog this morning. Read their wedding report at the end of the blog post for great advice from spreadsheet queen Michelle! Huge thanks also to wedding photographer Jules Fortune for submitting their Northamptonshire wedding to the English Wedding Blog.
Michelle and Saul’s wedding will also appear in my real weddings menu at the top of the English Wedding Blog. See more Northamptonshire weddings on the English Wedding Blog by navigating from the top menu of the English Wedding Blog to real weddings by region! Enjoy today’s wedding everyone!
A relaxed and informal wedding at Boughton House in Northamptonshire: Michelle and Saul
Our wedding report: Michelle & Saul
Wedding photographer’s website:
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?
Jules Fortune is fabulous; she is such a warm and creative person. Everyone (and I mean everyone; our families have shared our pictures far and wide!) keeps commenting how well Jules has captured the day and how happy we, and our guests, look. When we first spoke with Jules, instantly we knew she would fit in so well with our plans and on the day she became a guest more than somebody we hired for the day.
We wanted a relaxed wedding day with everything about it being personal to us but without missing out on formalities of a wedding and a grand backdrop. We didn’t want much ay! But we got it.
We picked Boughton House for our ceremony, a stately home local to us. We buy our Christmas tree there every year and the view as you drive past is exquisite. We didn’t know they held weddings there, as we didn’t see it advertised in any of the usual wedding media. This didn’t stop me calling them and enquiring. Call it good timing, but they had just had it licensed to hold weddings and we were going to be the second couple to be married there. Lisa & Charles, the team at Boughton House were different to most wedding venue organisers, they were passionate about the house and its history and about helping us to create the day we wanted and not the day the venue wanted us to have. I think a lot of brides will appreciate that.
We then chose to hold our reception within a local country pub/restaurant at The Marquess Of Exeter, Lyddington. Now that the formalities of the ceremony were over, we wanted to let our hair down and not have to worry about seating plans and the little details that can seem like the end of the world to a bride on her wedding day. The Marquess offered us a beautiful natural venue that didn’t need dressing up with table cloths or chair covers.
We chose to have a hog roast to keep it informal with no seating plan, just a polite notice about sitting where you like. This meant more time to spend sitting with our guests, drinking and dancing the night away.
Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?
Relaxed, rustic and romantic.
What was your reaction to seeing your wedding photos for the first time?
It was like reliving the day all over again. They weren’t just stills of the day; Jules captured the happiness, fun & atmosphere. Jules was the eyes we all wished we had on the back of our heads, she captured parts of the day we just couldn’t get around to seeing.
Your wedding style and theme:
We didn’t have a specific theme, except for our colours; we choose peach, grey and gold. We aimed for a mix of summer garden party at Boughton House to rustic romance at The Marquess.
Any happy tears on the day?
My dad was the main crier of the day! It started when I put my dress on and finished after his speech, with a break in the middle of the day. It was as if he had built up all the tears from when I was born for this special day.
How did the two of you meet?
We met 12 years ago, working together in one of our first ‘grown up’ jobs. Saul spent the summer wooing me, marrying just before our 10 year anniversary.
How long did you spend planning your wedding?
We got engaged on Christmas day 2012 and both wanted a short engagement with the wedding the following summer. We hadn’t really discussed “our wedding” beforehand so it was all fairly quick (quick for us, 10 years in the making for our family, my friends already had my hen do planned, they had for years). We’d booked the venues and registrar by the end of February, and everything else fell into place in the remaining 6 months!
I’m a bit of an organiser, if I could do it full time, I would. So planning was my favourite part. I built myself a 4 sheet spreadsheet which contained budget, quotes, actual spends, phone numbers, website addresses, guest lists and to do lists. I also colour coded it, for added fun! I was in heaven.
Best bit of budget advice?
Build yourself a spreadsheet, 1 column for budget, 1 for quotes and 1 for actual spends. Seeing your actual expenses beside your budget should keep you on track.
Wedding invitations and on the day stationery:
We designed our wedding stationery ourselves, with a little help from our friends. Our friend Jaime owns positivdesign.com so we utilised his creative design and software skills, and my best friend Lyanne works for ‘Partridges’, the printing firm, who printed high quality invites and two versions of the Order of the Day for us.
I used Pinterest a lot throughout my wedding planning, so a lot of my ideas came from there but with our personal touches. Our family helped make the grey pockets the invites were presented in and tie the tags around the middle.
As it was a civil ceremony, we didn’t need Orders of Service, however we did choose to have an Order of the Day, which we framed in a large, gold, antique frame bought from eBay and an easel which we sprayed gold.
We also had smaller gold frames as part of the décor at the reception.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Of course. I had thought that I would need a few separate days in the diary to go dress shopping, but I found it in the second shop we visited!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Courtyard Brides, Kettering, Northamptonshire www.courtyardbridalwear.com
Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:
A handmade pearl flapper band from Euphoria Couture, which I used as a headband as I felt out of my comfort zone with a flapper band.
Pearl droplets from my new Nanny-in-law
Pearl bracelet which was a gift when I was bridesmaid for one of my bestest friends.
Shoes were amazing gold glitter from Kurt Geiger which I can pull out the wardrobe and wear again for any glitzy party
The groom wore:
A grey, slim-fitted suit, waistcoat and bow tie from a popular high street store.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
There was only one little princess fit for this job, our 6 year old niece Daisy. One of Daisy’s favourite shops is John Lewis, so we took her there and let her pick her own dress.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
I do love to go on YouTube and pick up make up tips and probably could have got away with doing it myself, but this is the only day you can justify being pampered like an A list celeb, so why not!
Small white roses and large peach roses with eucalyptus, green foliage and waxed peach flowers. I used a local lady who is a very creative florist that focuses on weddings only and works from her home.
We asked each of our sisters for a reading. We let them choose what they wanted and other than asking for the names of the pieces (we needed this for the registrar, and also to ensure they didn’t pick the same thing!) we didn’t know what to expect.
Saul’s sister, Emily, opted for “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton, ably assisted by Daisy holding up accompanying paintings that she’d prepared. My sister, Clare, read “He Never Leaves The Seat Up”.
They felt that both stories were very fitting for us and the risk of letting them pick paid off.
General styling – did your venues need much decoration?
As you can see in the photographs, Boughton House is a beautiful, grand venue which needed no decoration at all. Of course we had flowers and the Order of the Day in the hall, but we selected Boughton House for its beauty and didn’t want to impede on this. Similarly for The Marquess Of Exeter, we chose this as we liked the interior style of the pub so much, that we only needed to personalise it with pictures and table displays.
At Boughton after the ceremony our guests went out onto the grounds where friends of ours set up a table of pink lemonade, champagne and canapés with the added touches of old crates, lemons and flowers as décor.
For the Marquess, all it needed was some romance to complete the already rustic look. The venue already used gold framed mirrors on the wall for its menus so I followed this look and used gold frames around the venue. Smaller ones for the centre of the tables, which had pictures of our grandparents’ wedding days in coupled with a few pillar candles and a gold vase full of the same flowers we used for my bouquet. We also used larger gold frames for signage on the bar, dessert table and guest tree.
We didn’t go with a traditional guest book, instead my sister-in-law drew a tree in a frame and provided our guests with different shades of green ink to place a thumb print on our tree
The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?
Our family really wanted to have a part to play in the wedding and they are all dessert fanatics, so instead of creating a cake as focal point, we had a dessert table and a small token cake with Star Wars figurines on top to incorporate a small part of Saul’s favourite thing!
For the ceremony, within the great hall where the magic would happen, my talented cousin, who is like a baby sister to me, entertained our guests as they arrived with her guitar. It was then an absolute pleasure when she sung Snow Patrol, Just Say Yes as I walked down the aisle. She also played a few classics by Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles whilst we signed the register.
We then had a DJ in the evening, Saul was responsible for this and carried out a lot of online research before booking! Eventually Saul registered on Alivenetwork.com and found a DJ called Anthony Parella from Staffordshire. They had one telephone conversation and that was enough to convince Saul that he was the man for the job, and thankfully he was! The dance-floor was utilised all night!
On the day tips and advice:
Although I am extremely organised, Saul is the opposite and is so laid back, he is horizontal. So we wanted to plan our day to suit us and to keep me calm and stress free, with as few complications as possible so there wouldn’t be a chance of anything going wrong. So my tip would be not to over complicate your day. You don’t have to cram all your ideas into one day, just concentrate on making the day about its original purpose, getting married. Less is more!
What’s the best thing about being married?
Saying ‘my Husband’ and seeing that shining ring on his finger. Still makes my heart flutter 6 months later!
Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:
- Courtyard Bridal boutique http://www.courtyardbridalwear.com/
- Jules Fortune Photography http://www.julesfortunephotography.com/
- Boughton House http://www.boughtonhouse.co.uk/
- Marquess Of Exeter http://marquessexeter.co.uk/