A home made candlelight wedding at Woodborough Hall, with Sarah Wayte Photography

Hello lovely! Today’s wedding is full of home made details by the gorgeous bride and her mum. Jamie and Geoff planned a vintage tea party theme for their day and as they were saving up for a house they needed to keep their wedding costs down. So while Geoff played cricket every Saturday during the summer, Jamie and her mum spent countless hours making everything from stationery to bunting.

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The wonderfully couple only spent money on the things which couldn’t be made: the wedding cake, entertainment, venue and of course their lovely photographer! Jamie shares some very wise advice, and I really have to highlight this: “If you want to save money, making your own things is a great idea but it takes hours… we spent every Saturday for a year and only finished a few days before the wedding.

The homespun look is big at the moment, but don’t underestimate the time it takes! Remember there’s a difference between home made and handcrafted, and there are many wonderful independent craft businesses who can save you time instead!

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All images are by Sarah Wayte Photography. Sarah is based in Essex and you can find out more about her here:

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Our wedding report: Jamie and Geoff

Wedding photographer’s website:

Storytelling Photography with Heart + Soul

Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?

We had such an amazing time at our wedding, it was a magical day, and Sarah and Stuart’s photos captured this perfectly.

I am so happy that we had the chance to meet Sarah and Stuart and work with them, as they fit our personalities really well. They were willing to ‘muck in’ when necklaces broke, the bridesmaids forgot their bouquets and mums were stressing out! They were discreet when they needed to be and effortlessly took pictures of our guests enjoying themselves, as well as beautiful shots of myself and Geoff (without being cheesy!)

The photo books and disk we bought were a lovely end, and reminder, of the day. They were very high quality and our family and friends really love them.

Wedding venue:

Woodborough Hall, Nottingham

Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?

A magical day that was bathed in candlelight, memories and fun!

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

Looking through the photos has allowed us to relive the day again and again and will do for years to come. They showed our vintage theme perfectly with a mixture of colour and black and white, and the relaxed feel of our day with a mix of formal and informal photos. We loved having the whole day by candlelight and the pictures showed this atmosphere and made us feel it all over again. Our favourite photos are the intimate ones with me and Geoff, especially the umbrella kiss, and first dance.

Your wedding style and theme:

We wanted a vintage tea party with dark purple as our main colour. We had lace everything, and everyone had a unique vintage tea cup and saucer, cake plate and napkin. Everyone also had a special glass with pink lemonade and purple Kir Royals for the toast. We wanted a romantic winter wedding bathed in candlelight and fairy lights and so we turned all lights off and had hundreds of candles lighting our ceremony, tea party and evening. We are definitely sweet-toothed people and so along with a vintage tea party with as much cake as you could eat, we had a massive sweet cart, homemade cup cakes, a white chocolate encased sponge wedding cake and more pink lemonade. We even gave everyone a teapot shaped biscuit during the ceremony to save any rumbling tummies.

Any happy tears on the day?

It was all going so well until we had to say our promises to each other within our civil ceremony. As soon as I started my sentence I burst into tears and had to say the rest through tears of happiness. This made Geoff and many of the guests start crying too!

How did the two of you meet?

We met in my final week of university at Staffordshire Uni as Geoff is a year younger than me. We went out for a meal and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

How long did you spend planning your wedding?

We got engaged when we got the keys to our new house. It was also the night before my birthday and Geoff had bought a picnic to eat on our floor, as we had yet to buy any furniture. While giving me my birthday presents, Geoff gave me a charm bracelet with charms linked to our memories together. One of the charms was my engagement ring. More happy tears followed and of course I said yes! That was November 2nd 2012 and we began looking at wedding venues straight away. We almost booked another venue, but luckily the wedding planner was away as we then went to see Woodborough Hall, which we fell in love with straight away. After picking 3rd January 2014 as our dream winter wedding date, we started planning straight away, giving us around a year to plan our perfect wedding.

Best bit of budget advice?

Having just used all of our savings for the deposit on our new house we needed a way of being able to afford our wedding to make it the day of which we had always dreamt. Taking full advantage of Geoff playing cricket every Saturday throughout the summer, my mum and I made absolutely everything! Over the entire wedding we bought all materials in bulk off the internet having shopped around and made the invitations, save the dates, decorations, bouquets, cupcakes, garter, table decorations, table names, name labels, menus, napkin rings, bunting, ceremony booklets and confetti. It took hours but we saved thousands! We were lucky that our venue allowed us the day before the wedding to set everything up, as it definitely took the whole day with at least 10 friends and family helping. We only spent money on the things that couldn’t be made – the dress, the grooms outfit, bridesmaids and groomsmen, the band, the cake and the venue. We also hired the sweet cart but bought the sweets ourselves from a wholesaler as this was far cheaper and it meant we could buy as many sweets as we wanted…so we bought loads!

Wedding invitations and on the day stationery:

We bought all materials in bulk having shopped around for the best deals. My mum and I then made lace and purple invitations and matching on the day stationery, including table names, name labels, menus and ceremony booklets. We used Nottingham lace that my mum’s grandma had given her as a child. This took hours but was definitely worth it.

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?

I knew what type of wedding dress I wanted and tried many on that fitted the picture in my head but couldn’t find the perfect dress. I still hadn’t found ‘the one’ when we were on our way to my last appointment. I had everyone in tow – my mum, my nana, my sisters, my flower girls and my bridesmaids. When I tried the dress on, I knew by the look on their faces that I had found it, and when I looked in the mirror I knew that this was the one!

Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:

I bought my dress from Grace Couture in West Bridgford, Nottingham. It was White One by Pronovias. I had it changed into a sweetheart neckline but everything else was perfect.

Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:

My mum made my garter out of vintage Nottingham lace (my something old) with a blue ribbon. I borrowed my Maid of Honours’ pearl earrings, and my nana gave me her pearl necklace that she wore on her wedding day. I bought my shoes, which were white lace wedges and my pearl tiara was on sale at Debenhams. I also wore a pearl bracelet that Geoff had bought me for my birthday. As it was a winter wedding, I had a fur wrap that my mum added Nottingham lace to as well as a fur coat that Geoff’s mum had been given by her mum.

The groom wore:

The groom, groomsmen and best man wore Slaters tail coats in a dark grey with dark purple cravats and handkerchiefs. Our nephew was the Page Boy and he wore matching trousers and waist coat with car buttons and cufflinks. Geoff bought his groomsmen and best man novelty cufflinks that matched their personalities. Geoff had cricket ones.

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

The bridesmaids wore beautiful floor length ball gowns in dark purple to match the groomsmen. I bought them off the internet and they were a bargain! The flower girls, our two nieces, wore white flower girl dresses with lots of netting, purple petals and bows.

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

I went to a nail technician to have a simple manicure with a little silver glitter to make them stand out. I also had my mum’s hairdresser do my hair as well as the bridesmaids and my mum. I had loose curls that were brought slightly off my face and a ton of hairspray!

Wedding flowers:

Once again budget played a part, and I bought dried lavender from the internet and made my bridesmaids’ bouquets, adding Nottingham Lace to tie them all together. Geoff’s mum arranged all of the flowers around the venue for me by using dried lavender along with dried sea lavender, which is white, and other dried flowers, pearls and lace.

I made my own brooch bouquet out of vintage brooches, pearls and lace. It looked stunning and I can keep it forever along with my bridesmaids’ bouquets.

What do you remember most about the wedding ceremony?

We loved the fact that as a civil ceremony we got to choose what we wanted to say. We also asked our niece and maid of honour to play the piano and my mum and Geoff’s mum to say a funny poem about me and Geoff. I love that it was by candle light, and the room that the ceremony was in was stunning.

Wedding readings?

We took two Pam Ayers poems about weddings and changed the words to link to myself and Geoff. We wanted funny poems as we wanted to keep the ceremony light and fun.

General styling – did your venue need much decoration?

The ceremony room didn’t need much doing to it as it was a stunning room. We added candles around the room, as well as a purple and lace cloth on the registrars table. The chairs were covered in white chair covers with a dark purple bow covered with white lace. The aisle had lanterns with candles running down the sides and fairy lights in lace bottles.

During our tea party we used the same chairs as in the ceremony room. Each table had around 10 unique, non-matching tea sets including vintage napkins and special glasses filled with pink lemonade. The lace bottles and lanterns used in the ceremony were also used on the tables, as well as 10 or so more candles. Each table was covered in a lace table cloth and lace doilies. Each favour was wrapped in vintage handkerchiefs. We also decorated the walls, ceilings and shelves with candles, bunting and fairy lights.

The evening room was the one that needed most decoration as it didn’t have any of the charm of the rest of the building. We added bunting, lace, tulle, fairy lights and more candles. We were also lucky to have the vintage looking conservatory type furniture to use for people to sit down instead of the normal wedding tables. We also decorated the sweet cart and cake table to make them stand out and look inviting.

The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?

We don’t like icing or wedding cake so we wanted chocolate. This proved difficult as we needed a chocolatier rather than a cake maker. We eventually found a great chocolatier and she made us a stunning white chocolate encased sponge cake with purple chocolate flower topper. It had 3 layers, 1 layer was Victoria sponge with jam and butter cream, one layer was lemon sponge with lemon curd and the final layer was chocolate sponge with chocolate butter cream. Yum!


We had a band recommended to us called Phil Rostance and the Marshall Band. We got a good discount as they were from the same place we live in Nottingham as well as an extra Rat Pack style session during dinner. They were amazing and really interacted with the audience. Worth every penny.

On the day tips and advice:

Don’t worry about the little things. Let someone else know what’s meant to happen and they can check that it does. If you want to save money, making your own things is a great idea but it takes hours…we spent every Saturday for a year and only finished a few days before the wedding. Make sure you have got the time otherwise you’ll panic when you’re meant to be relaxing. Finally, make sure you eat the food that you paid for. The next morning we realised that we hadn’t even tried our own cake, but luckily there was a little left so we had it for breakfast!

What’s the best thing about being married?

We feel closer and happier. I love the fact that every so often something will happen which will make us say “oh my god, we’re married!” I’m a teacher, so hearing my new last name every day is great, but I still forget sometimes!

Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:

Google is the best – I just shopped around for everything so I don’t know all the exact websites but just keep researching!

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.



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