Laura and David’s Oriental vintage tea party wedding in Cambridgeshire, with Hayley Ruth Photography

Laura and David are amazing – a gorgeous couple who poured their hearts and souls into crafting a unique, creative and inspiring wedding. They made paper fans as alternative bunting hung all the way across the roof of their wedding marquee, which was decorated with corn dollies, lavender, vintage china… it looks amazing. The table plan is an ornate vintage frame; the guest book is adorably vintage and surrounded by family wedding photos. Their overall look is beautifully rustic and lovely wedding photographer Hayley Ruth sent me so many detail images I’m coming back tomorrow morning with a second, bonus, Get The Look blog feature!

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Laura has written an outstanding wedding report to share with us all, and it’s full of great advice, tips and stories for other brides and grooms as well as recommended wedding suppliers around Cambridgeshire. Oh and I love the story of how she and David met: on their first date after work they found themselves shaking hands on a spontaneous agreement to travel to Australia. 3 months later they went to Sydney together, and 7 years down the line they were married. And I’ve got all the images of their wedding to show you! Yay! Huge congratulations to a gorgeous couple, and big thanks to Laura and David, and to wedding photographer Hayley Ruth for submitting the images. Everyone – enjoy!
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Our Oriental vintage tea party wedding at Barrington Hall, Cambridgeshire – Laura and David

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Our wedding report: David and Laura

Wedding photographer’s website:

Hayley Ruth

Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?

We searched for a female wedding photographer for the Cambridgeshire area and found Hayley’s website featuring a shoot she had completed at Barrington Hall. We instantly loved her work because of the details she had captured of all the accessories and decorations, but mostly how clever she was at getting natural pictures of everyone enjoying themselves. The whole experience working with Hayley has been really enjoyable- from the pre-wedding shoot at the beautiful Anglesey Abbey to her expertise on the day, to talking through ideas for the album and we would have no doubts in recommending her!

Wedding venue:

Barrington Hall, Cambridgeshire:

Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?

Sunny, relaxing day full of friends, laughter and happiness

What was your reaction to seeing your wedding photos for the first time?

So pleased- every moment was captured! An overwhelming sense of pride looking back and re-living the day through gorgeous photos!

Your wedding style and theme:

Oriental Vintage tea party- inspired by the early autumn/late summer colours and harvest time.

Any happy tears on the day?

A few particularly during the ceremony and speeches- but the tears always followed with laughter!

How did the two of you meet?

Dave and I met working front of house at the Cambridge Arts Theatre.  It was New Year’s Eve 2004 slap bang in the middle of the panto season. We went to the after show party at the local ale house and got talking and somehow that night we managed to shake on it that we would go travelling together to Australia. Three months later we were on our adventures on the long flight to Singapore and then on to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. 7 years later Dave proposed to me on Christmas day morning in our home in Waterbeach, Cambridge. Dave got down on two knees rather than one (bad wicket keeper’s knees from playing far too much cricket over the years!) and I think I sighed with relief first, then said yes!, and then proceeded to skip around the house followed by becoming distracted by the Harry Potter Lego Christmas present Dave had also bought me that year…

How long did you spend planning your wedding?

We dipped in and out of planning our wedding over the next 18 months. I know a wedding can be planned in six months or even a few weeks but I am so glad we had 18 months to organise everything. There was no real pressure and we could really enjoy working out all the details together and made fun day trips out of them.  I would also advise the bride-to-be to communicate their ideas to their loved one.  Dave’s support really encouraged me, and he also helped me to realise when I was giving myself too much to do so I even got him folding fans, tying raffia and sprinkling leaves onto each table. We make a good team!

Best bit of budget advice?

If you overspend on one thing always underspend on another to make up the difference. Get prosecco, its cheaper and more tasty than champagne!

Wedding invitations and on the day stationery:

We made the table plan (a borrowed old vintage frame with each table list threaded and hung with ribbon). Place cards were made from old exhibition catalogues, yellow raffia and tippex. Table names were inspired by places or imagined places do with our likes or memories. They were made with black foam board and vintage ribbon. Dave’s sister created the stories about each place that were displayed on the back of each table name sign.

The only thing we did not make entirely were the invitations. We googled ‘alternative wedding invites’ and found  We were really impressed with these and the service provided by the designers was great. Our RSVP cards in the invitations were art postcards I had collected over 15 years. Each guest got a different design. It was so nice to come home each evening to find postcards at the doormat with personal messages from each invited guest. These were also hung along the entrance to the marquee.

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?

Yes! I saw a dress in a boutique window that I drove past one day in the heart of Cambridge when Dave and I were toying with the idea of marriage. I said to my mum: ‘I’ve seen a lovely dress’ and described it to her. Coincidentally my mum said she had also seen a dress in the same shop window on a separate occasion which she thought would suit me perfectly. We thought nothing more of it as I still hadn’t been proposed to! Once the time had come to begin the wedding dress search both my mum and myself were keen to visit the boutique but saw that it had closed, but luckily relocated to a lovely village just outside of Cambridge called Ellsworth. I quickly booked up my appointment.

At the first appointment both my mum and I described the two dresses we had seen probably over a year ago by now and the shop owner, Julie, gave us the freedom to explore each dress rail. My mum shouted; ‘This is the dress I saw in the window!’ and amazingly it was exactly the same one I saw all those months ago too! It was meant to be!

I tried other styles on just for fun but as soon as put on ‘the dress’ it was perfect in every way except it was now last season’s stock and they only had one left that was two sizes (at least) too big for me! But the lovely Julie said it was not a problem as she had a seamstress who could resize it for me called Sarah. Sarah was brilliant to work with and worked wonders at making the dress fit. The visits out to the boutique were really fun and my mum and I would make an afternoon of it- visiting the local village pub and of course that also meant I got to try on the dress again and again after each alteration!

The dress fitted the vintage theme and was covered in gorgeous lace. I also liked the fact it had buttons at the back rather than the tie-up corset style which gave me more room to enjoy the wedding dinner! (I have heard that so many brides do not eat a thing on their wedding day due to their dress being so tight!) I also liked the very long train and the traditional feel of it.

Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:

San Patrick Caspio dress (known for their thick layers of gorgeous lace!)

Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:

The only jewellery I wore were my grey waterpearl earrings. I wore these as bridesmaid for my sister’s wedding (this was my something old).  Again the dress did not need anything more.

My hairdresser Eve simply purchased some individual diamantes on wire from a haberdashery in my home town of Ely and created a feature with them and wound them within my curls. Nice and simple and did not distract from the dress.

The groom wore: Moss Bespoke service based in Cambridge with the 3 piece suit then being handmade by the Savoy Tailors Guild. The suit was just as much of a surprise for me as the wedding dress was for Dave. I was not involved in any of the choice of fabric, colour or fittings. Dave has never had a bespoke suit made so had real fun in choosing the colour (burnt spice) the colour of the lining, pocket and button style; he even decided to get his name hand stitched into the lining. He looked stunning in his suit and I can’t wait for another special occasion to see him wearing it again.

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

We bought four maxi dresses from River Island at £35 each (I fell in love with the  oriental/ vintage print fabric.) My mother who is wardrobe manager for Classworks Costumes  in Cambridge, skilfully made two re-styled dresses fitted to each bridesmaid. These were a work of art! Thank you mum!

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

Hair was created by Eve Youngman from David Green Hairdressing in Ely.

Eve met us in the morning at the venue and created beautiful up-dos for the bridesmaids (over 100 hair grips used per bridesmaid!). She was really friendly, relaxed and professional.  Everyone remarked on my hair and my curls stayed in the whole day, night and the morning after and I have the straightest hair in the world so that is an amazing achievement! Thank you Eve!

I made the bridesmaids hair accessories. I used hessian reinforced with shellac, beads, pheasant feathers, vintage buttons and the mustard yellow fabric leaves came from an old Christmas decoration I bought last year.

Wedding flowers:

We did not have a florist. I made my bouquet and all the button holes. My bouquet was made from a kitchen whisk. I bent the wires and stuffed bubble wrap in the centre to make a base. I covered the whisk’s handle with raffia and then created individual leaves and flowers with buttons, hessian, beads and the mustard yellow fabric leaves attached by wire and then held in place by piercing the bubble wrap. However I did source our table centrepieces from the Hop Shop in Kent which were beautifully made wheat stocks with dried lavender.

The ceremony:

We had our ceremony at Barrington Hall.

I walked around the outside of Barrington Hall with my bridesmaids walking in front, to a track from the film Amelie, one of my favourite films! “Comptine d’un autre été : L’Après-midi” by composer Yann Tiersen. It is a beautiful piano solo.

The ceremony was so enjoyable because Dave was so incredibly relaxed he made me feel relaxed which made us both really enjoy it and take it all in. I cried, laughed, rolled my eyes at him and I couldn’t say the word ‘solemnly’ in our vows which made us and our guests all laugh!

Wedding readings?

“A lovely Story” by Edward Monkton read out by Naomi Clark (Dave’s sister)

‘The secrets of a good marriage’ Ellie Kelsch read out by our good friends Chris and Caroline

We didn’t choose the readings we allowed the readers to research and choose their own readings. Each reading slightly adapted to make them more personal.

General styling – did your venue need much decoration?

The marquee was a blank canvas and revived my creative streak. We had three full days before the wedding to set everything up and enjoyed every minute of it. Dave and I along with the help of friends and family created over 200 individual fans to use as alternative bunting. Each one was made out of pages of old art exhibition catalogues and magazines I had been collecting. They were then tied onto old rope with yellow raffia and hung within the marquee. I also created a chandelier around one of the marquee poles with giant dried leaves, bunched together and decorated with lavender, peacock and pheasant feathers found on the grounds of Barrington Hall and star-shaped fairy lights. The cards table had framed family wedding photographs and I also created a tea emporium with 10 different types of tea to try.

The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?


Our cake was inspired by the wonky wedding cake company and made by Rebecca Whitehead (a friend) who had been on the wonky wedding cake course. Each tier was a different flavour including, chocolate, lemon and carrot cake with icing and chocolate ganache for the chocolate drips around the edges. I then had the idea to create ‘a sea of galaxy minstrels’ around the cake that trailed off to the ‘Minstrel challenge’ (I am addicted to galaxy chocolate and the minstrel challenge was set for our guests to see if they could pick up a minstrel by using chopsticks- this was how Dave taught me to use chopsticks when we first went travelling together in Chinatown in Singapore- he was slightly embarrassed as I was useless at using them, so much so, the restaurant owner in China Town brought me over a fork!) I can honestly say the minstrel chopstick challenge does work and I am now a proficient chopstick user!

Alongside our cake we had vegan friendly cupcakes made by a family friend Jane Hallows. They were decorated with orange peel, white chococlate and edible paper flowers.


Disco. We gave the DJ a list of songs not to play rather than a comprehensive list. The banned song list included anything by Status Quo and the Grease Megamix! We also had outdoor games on the lawn such as Giant Jenga, football, cricket and croquet.

On the day tips and advice:

Take in every single moment! Give yourself plenty of time in the morning!, even more than you think you’ll need. If you can get ready at the venue, I would opt for this, it was so relaxing and stress free!

What’s the best thing about being married?

We were together for 9 years before we got married and we thought we wouldn’t feel a dramatic change being married. But there is an overwhelming sense of feeling at peace. It also helps you to both look forward and think long-term with conviction.

Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms: for the bridesmaids yellow paper parasols for bespoke made wedding rings in Cambridge for the strawberry sparkling wine   for private ballroom lessons for the first dance

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 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.



  • Ivy Ellen
    7 years ago

    I love the bridal bouquet with all the buttons and the wedding dress is so beautiful! Congratulations to you both – Jennie

    • Claire Gould
      7 years ago

      Thanks for your comment Jennie 🙂 xxx

    • Hayley Ruth
      7 years ago

      Thank you Jennie, I know Laura loved making all the details for her wedding and has loved all the feedback from everyone on her efforts 🙂 HayleyRuth x

  • Ross Alexander
    2 weeks ago

    I hope the chocolate cake and the minstrels survived the sun. Once at a wedding I was at, the chocolate cake was starting to fall to pieces in the heat before the wedding had even started! I couldn’t be a cake maker; too stressful!

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