I shared a comment from today’s bride Sam on facebook a couple of weeks ago – I absolutely couldn’t resist: I love a good love story, don’t you?! Back in 2006 Sam was travelling with a friend in New Zealand, and happened to meet Huw there. When her friend returned home, Sam told me “I decided to stay and spent three of the most amazing months of my life travelling around New Zealand with a man I had just met – I think my friends and family thought I was slightly crazy!” Luckily Huw was from England and lived only half an hour away from Sam… and they stayed together and were married a few years later.
Did I mention their wedding is beeeaautiful?! Sam’s mum made her wedding dress; Sam made all of their gorgeous stationery; and – possibly the best story of all – Sam’s dad went to bead jewellery-making classes, learned how to make a headpiece and made Sam and her bridesmaids beautiful hair accessories for the big day!
All of the images of their day are by the very lovely Sophie Duckworth Photography. Sophie is based in Surrey and I’m delighted to be able to show you her work on the English Wedding Blog this morning. Do visit her blog, website and facebook page for more loveliness!
I know you’ll adore this wedding – there are too many ideas to list up here but Sam has kindly written a wedding report for you at the end of the post. She’s told some fab stories, given great advice (VAT, anyone?) and shares some of her favourite wedding supplier recommendations for Surrey couples too! Enjoy!
Our homespun English country wedding in Surrey: Huw and Sam
Our wedding report: Huw and Sam
Wedding photographer’s website:
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?
Yes – thrilled. Not only were we delighted with the pictures, but Sophie was so helpful and professional throughout the whole process, it was an absolute pleasure to have her as our photographer; I would 100% recommend her!
We knew we wanted to get married at St Michael’s church in Betchworth as this is the village where Huw grew up, so we needed to find a reception venue nearby. Our biggest concern was that we didn’t want our wedding to feel too ‘corporate’ and overly organised as we wanted a really informal, relaxed feel to the day. Some friends in the village agreed to lend us their converted barn which they use as a textile studio (http://www.committedtocloth.com/). We used this as the party venue and then to accommodate all our guests for the wedding breakfast we hired a marquee that sat in the adjacent field. It was the perfect setting for and English country wedding.
Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?
A relaxed, home-made, English country wedding.
What was your reaction to seeing your wedding photos for the first time?
Very emotional! Sophie managed to capture all of our favourite moments from the day, as well as things we weren’t even aware of, and seeing the pictures for the first time was like re-living it all over again – there was a lot of laughter…and tears…as we remembered what a special day it was.
Your wedding style and theme:
Traditional English country wedding.
Any happy tears on the day?
Yes, a fair few, and lots of laughter too.
How did the two of you meet?
We met in 2006, through a mutual friend when travelling in New Zealand. My friend Katie and I just happened to be in Christchurch on the same day as Huw and his friend Marc; Katie and Huw were old family friends and had been emailing while away, so we arranged to meet up for a drink. We were pretty much inseparable from then on, and even after Katie returned home I decided to stay and spent three of the most amazing months of my life travelling around New Zealand with a man I had just met – I think my friends and family thought I was slightly crazy! Fortunately we only lived half an hour from each back home so were able to stay together on our return. Both Katie and Marc were witnesses at our wedding.
How long did you spend planning your wedding?
Best bit of budget advice?
Beware of VAT; always check that suppliers have included VAT in their quotes if applicable – it might not be quite the bargain it first appeared to be! Other than that, always get more than one quote and keep a spreadsheet.
Wedding invitations and on the day stationery:
I decided to make all of these myself; partly to save money but also because I knew what I wanted and I really enjoyed making them.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Yes, my dress was made by my mum (who used to make wedding dresses for a living); not only was I able to have the exact dress I wanted it was also very special for me knowing that my mum had made it. It was lovely to be involved every step of the way from the initial design and choosing the fabric to the finishing touches.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
My lovely mum
Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:
My earrings were cheap and cheerful, from Accessorize, and my bracelet was lent to me by a friend. Huw brought me a necklace as a surprise, which was hand-delivered by his best man on the morning of the wedding, it was a beautiful, simple silver knot, by Tiffany, which was supposed to signify us ‘tying the knot’ that day. My head piece was also very special as it was hand-made by my Dad – not wanting to be left out, dad took himself off to bead-making classes and made the head pieces for me and my three bridesmaids.
The groom wore:
Classic tails, but in navy rather than the traditional grey or black. We hired the suits from Jack Bunneys (http://www.jackbunneys.co.uk/) who have a fantastic range of classic and contemporary suits.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
Dresses made by my mum, in beautiful grey chiffon. Beaded jewellery that I had made.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
My friend did my make-up for me and a hairdresser who is also a family friend did mine and my bridesmaids hair.
The bouquets were done by a local florist http://www.floral-accents.co.uk/ but the rest of the wedding flowers we did ourselves – which involved a very early morning trip to Covent Garden flower market the day before the wedding!
What do you remember most about the wedding ceremony?
Seeing Huw for the first time – he didn’t turn around until I reached him as he thought it was bad luck to turn around sooner! Other than that, signing the register whilst the choir sang, it was the first time we got to relax a little and it was a really lovely moment.
We had two readings, the first was Colossians 3:12-17 and the second was the words to our favourite song called Saving Grace by Pete Murray.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
The location had really lovely views of the North Downs so we kept the decorations fairly simply with white fairy lights and vases of English country flowers spread around the venue. The marquee had bunting in our wedding colours and the tables were decorated with hessian table runners and vases of individual flowers wrapped in lace.
The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?
Simple, traditional 3 tired cake, decorated with ric-rac and spray roses. My mum also organised a surprise cake showing two little figures (me and Huw) in New Zealand which was really sweet.
We had a live band for the evening reception. Three great guys called ‘Rockit’ booked through function central (http://www.functioncentral.co.uk/)
On the day tips and advice:
Talk to as many guests as you can early on so that you can let your hair down with your friends in the evening. Keep a bag of essentials at the venue, make-up perfume etc so you can freshen up throughout the day.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Feeling like a proper team – and being able to use the excuse ‘what’s yours is mine’, particularly when there’s chips involved! 🙂
Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:
Car Hire http://weddingclassiccars.webs.com/
Wedding Flowers http://www.floral-accents.co.uk/
Marquee Hire http://www.jf-marquees.com/
Suit Hire http://www.jackbunneys.co.uk/
Wedding Band http://www.functioncentral.co.uk/
Wedding Rings http://www.weddingrings-direct.com/