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A classic humanist wedding at Orchardleigh House, with Frank Wood Photography

I love a wedding which surprises me… and today’s was pretty amazing in that respect! The look of the day is classic and elegant, but there’s an occasional treat which will make you smile – like the way Dave made his entrance on a segway. One of my favourite images from Jo and Dave’s wedding is the groom’s expression as he realises he’ll be 1) learning to ride one and 2) rocking up on it to the wedding at Orchardleigh House. No pressure then!

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Jo and Dave are gorgeous, generous and devoted to their friends and family. The beautiful bride told me, “It is the personal touches which make a wedding… We wanted to make our guests feel that they were there because they were such an important part of our lives… An example is that we wrote individual messages on each of our guests’ placemats thanking them for the support they had given us over the years and quoting memories or funny stories about them.” Isn’t that just wonderful?

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All images are by Birmingham based wedding photographer Frank Wood. You can find out more about him here:

www.frankwoodphotography.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/frankwoodphotography

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Huge thanks to Jo and Dave, and to wedding photographer Frank, for sharing all the details of their English – Scottish wedding day. You’ll love it. Enjoy!
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Our wedding report: Jo and Dave

Wedding photographer’s website:

www.frankwoodphotography.co.uk

Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?

Frank was absolutely amazing. He became a member of the family for the day and captured expressions and moments which will remain with us for a lifetime. We could not have asked for more in a photographer. He brought with him a second photographer, Paul, and the two of them worked together really well.

Wedding venue:

Orchardleigh House, Frome. Orchardleigh House is a Victorian stately home set in a beautiful country estate. We had exclusive use of the whole house and our guests all stayed in the upper floors which was perfect as the night could continue for as long as our guests wanted to party. And they didn’t let us down – we have a 4am ‘survivors’ photo’ to prove it!

Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?

One amazing house party with everyone we loved.

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

We couldn’t stop smiling and laughing at all the amazing memories – it was like re-living the day again.

Your wedding style and theme:

Dave is Scottish and I am English so we tried to reflect our two heritages throughout the wedding. We designed our own ‘rose and thistle’ crest which we included on all our stationery and in our flowers. Guests arrived to a piper playing the bagpipes who also piped me down the aisle. The ceilidh band, The Timorous Beasties, were amazingly talented and played a mixture of popular music and ceilidh dances which got everyone up on the dance floor. We could not recommend this band enough.

Any happy tears on the day?

My Dad and my brother played Ryan Adams’ “When the starts go blue” during our wedding ceremony. They had practised hard and it was absolutely beautiful.  My Dad also wrote a song for me which he played during his speech – I will never forget that and pretty much the whole room was in tears afterwards, men included!

How did the two of you meet?

We met at law college when we were randomly put together as partners to compete in a debating competition – sounds pretty geeky but the rest is history!

How long did you spend planning your wedding?

Six months. We were too excited to spend years planning it!

Best bit of budget advice?

It is the personal touches which make a wedding rather than the amount you spend on it. We wanted to make our guests feel that they were there because they were such an important part of our lives and we concentrated on this when deciding where our money would be spent. An example is that we wrote individual messages on each of our guests’ placemats thanking them for the support they had given us over the years and quoting memories or funny stories about them. This was completely free but not only acted as a good talking point when our guests arrived at their tables but our guests were really touched by the words and several have since framed them.

Wedding invitations and on the day stationery:

We made our wedding invitations and stationery, helped by our friends Rachel and Joel and both our parents (thank you if you’re reading!).   We printed the wording with our rose and thistle design and the information required and then tied the pages together with a tartan ribbon. They looked pretty good we think!

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?

I went dress shopping with my Mum and we were actually very surprised by the rudeness of some of the assistants in the wedding shops we went to first (and after asking around, it seems this isn’t a particularly unusual experience). However, the ladies in Clifton Brides in Bristol could not have been more lovely and made the experience really special. As soon as I put on my dress, my Mum and I looked at each other and knew we had found the one.

Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:

I chose a dress by Ellis which had buttons all the way down the back with beautiful lace detailing.

Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:

My friend Kyle leant me her stunning Jenny Packham headpiece as my ‘something borrowed’. I wore drop Swarovski crystal earrings received from my parents and I attached a brooch to my dress which belonged to my great-grandmother as my ‘something blue’.

The groom wore:

Traditional highland dress with a kilt in the Forbes tartan and a Prince Charlie jacket.

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

They wore ivory dresses from Whistles with a Forbes tartan sash pinned to their shoulder and falling down their back. They all looked stunning.

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

We hired our local beautician, Courtney from The Beauty Spot in Bradford-on-Avon, and her Mum did our hair. They came for the whole morning and did as many of the wedding party’s hair and make-up as we could fit in. It was great fun and very girly!

Wedding flowers:

We did not want too many flowers as I have bad hayfever! I had a gorgeous teardrop bouquet made up of roses and thistles and my bridesmaids had round bouquets. We then had one large floral arrangement at the front of the venue. Instead of aisle flowers, we had photographs of Dave and I growing up and tealight lantern candles lining the aisle.

What do you remember most about the wedding ceremony?

We had a humanist wedding so Dave and I chose to write our own vows. I remember saying them to him and feeling like the whole world had just stopped for that moment. If you can, I would recommend writing your own vows as the process becomes so personal as a result. We loved writing them before the wedding and perfecting them together.

Wedding readings?

My Aunty and Dave’s Mum chose our readings with us. There were so many beautiful ones but we decided on A Love Knot by Frances Nagle and Epithalamium by Aonghas Macneacail. They were absolutely perfect.

General styling – did your venue need much decoration?

The venue was very grand with beautiful dark wood and gold panelling so we did not need very much decoration. We chose tall candelabras for the table centrepieces which looked very majestic in the room. We also included a ‘time capsule’ jar on each table for guests to post their messages, memories or predictions for us to open on the anniversary year of their table number (we numbered tables 1, 5, 10 etc). We had sent out funny RSVP cards with blanks for our guests to complete certain words and we strung these around the venue for everyone to read. The responses were really funny and creative!

The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?

Our cake was a three tiered traditional wedding cake made by our incredibly talented friend, Rebecca Chitty, who runs a cake decorating business called Chitty’s Cake Company. She specialises in making cakes which not only look good but taste delicious and this was a real talking point amongst our guests – the cake was mouth wateringly good. She made figurines of us on the top of the cake which looked incredibly life like. The cake was a true centrepiece of our wedding and we could not have asked for it to be more beautiful or personal to us.

Entertainment:

My side of the family are all musicians so any band had quite a bit of pressure on their shoulders performing in front of that crowd! My Dad spent a long time finding the right Ceilidh band and we eventually chose The Timorous Beasties, who headline at the Ceilidh Club in London. What can we say – they had everyone on the dance floor from start to finish. They are incredibly talented musicians and put so much energy and enthusiasm into their playing. They interspersed Ceilidh dances with popular music which was perfect as we didn’t get too tired and the party kept going until the early hours. We cannot thank them enough.

On the day tips and advice:

Enjoy every single minute of your wedding. Take it all in and don’t worry about anything. This is your one day when everyone is there for you and you will absolutely love it.

What’s the best thing about being married?

I just asked Dave this question and he replied “Having confidence that you will still tolerate my weirdness in 20 years’ time”! I told him he is pretty weird but that he is perfect for me.

Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:

Orchardleigh House, Frome http://www.orchardleigh.net/

Chittys Cake Company http://www.chittyscakecompany.co.uk/

The Beauty Spot, Bradford on Avon http://www.thebeautyspotwiltshire.com/

Neston Flowers, Bradford on Avon http://www.nestonflowers.co.uk/

Clifton Brides http://www.cliftonbrides.co.uk/

South West Segway (I bought Dave a Segway entrance to the wedding ceremony as a surprise!) http://www.segwaysouthwest.com/

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 www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in 2011 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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