It’s the first time I’ve blogged a wedding with a pet hedgehog called Derek – who inspired much of the theme for Liz and Paul’s countryside wedding at Surrey’s Coltsford Mill. They had little hedgehog stamps on their stationery, and even adorable little hedgehog cake toppers… who I’m calling Derek and Mrs Derek!
Bride Liz looks amazing in a Lusan Mandongus designer wedding dress, with exquisite lace detailing and the most beautiful back and train – she’s simply stunning isn’t she? Paul is her perfect match, and I’m so proud to feature such a lovely couple on the English Wedding Blog today.
Huge thanks also to Murray Clarke Photography for sharing the fabulous images of the day. There are too many for me to choose favourites, I just love them all. Do check out Murray’s wedding photography at:
Our wedding report: Liz & Paul
Wedding photographer’s website:
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?
We were delighted with our photographer, Murray, who captured our wedding day perfectly. He really understood what style we were going for and made us feel at ease throughout the day. He was unobtrusive and captured the day in the natural style we were after.
Coltsford Mill, Oxted, Surrey
Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?
It was our perfect day, full of love and laughter and shared with all the most important people in our lives. A truly happy day.
What was your reaction to seeing your wedding photos for the first time?
We were in Las Vegas on our honeymoon at the time and so we sat down with some bubbly to take a look together. I remember being really nervous as your wedding day photos are the most important photos you’ll probably ever have. But we were absolutely delighted with the photos. Murray captured our day perfectly. They were so natural and really portrayed all the laughter and love from the day and we really couldn’t ask for anything more from our photos.
Your wedding style and theme:
A rustic and countryside theme but the key was having a relaxed day with our friends and family.
Any happy tears on the day?
The whole day was perfect and also overwhelming – it was a very emotional day with our friends and family. There were definitely a few happy tears during the ceremony and speeches, especially during the father of the bride and the groom speeches.
How did the two of you meet?
We met 11 years ago briefly at university – Paul was in his final year and I was in my first year. Our paths crossed again the following summer whilst we both had jobs working in the same office for the local council! We became good friends before getting together a year later….almost 10 years ago now!
How long did you spend planning your wedding?
We spent a year planning the wedding after getting engaged in April 2013. We booked the venue and band first, just a month after our engagement and I found my dress a month after that and then we didn’t do an awful lot for a few months! It all felt pretty relaxed and we both enjoyed the planning although I (Liz) led on most of it!! The last 3 months were when things really picked up! But we enjoyed it all and were pretty laid back which I was surprised about!
Best bit of budget advice?
Think about what are the most important elements of your wedding – what is most important to the both of you and make sure you don’t cut corners on these but there are areas you can really save on if you want to. A live band was a key things for us and the perfect venue! We also wanted our guests to have a great day too. I am a keen baker so was happy to make my own cake and I was also confident doing my own hair and makeup which really helped save some pennies! A lot of the decorations we made with the help of our mums too!
Wedding invitations and on the day stationery:
We designed our own wedding invitations as we wanted to make them really personal to us. We have a pet hedgehog, Derek, who we wanted to bring into the theme as he is an important part of our family! So we used a small hedgehog ink stamp which carried on throughout all our stationery from save the date, invitations and also to the wedding stationery on the day. Because the theme was quite rustic and countryside it worked really well.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
My dress was the second dress I tried on and I fell completely and utterly in love with it. It is such a romantic and feminine design and the lace is so light and detailed which made it so elegant. I made the decision there and then and put the deposit down for my dress. However, I wanted to continue trying on dresses and visiting the other boutiques I had booked appointments with as I felt like I should have some fun and make the most of the day knowing I wouldn’t be trying on dresses again! I had a lot of fun trying on other dresses but it just confirmed how much I loved my dress and I never once had second thoughts. Isabella Grace also made the experience truly magical, offering a stunning room, bubbly and shortbread biscuits – making both my mum and I feel truly special.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Dress designer: LM Collection which is a diffusion range by world-famous dress designer Lusan Mandongus.
Bridal boutique: Isabella Grace Bridal, Tunbridge Wells (Kent)
Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:
My hair comb was my ‘something borrowed’ from my cousin who actually couldn’t be at the wedding as she in labour! My veil was also from Isabella Grace. I wore pearl drop earrings and pearl bracelet and my ‘something old and blue’ was a small antique broach which was attached to my bouquet. My shoes were from Next and added a bit of sparkle!
The groom wore:
Navy Ted Baker suit, with matching waistcoat and a traditional pin collar shirt alongside navy & grey brogue shoes.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
Navy blue dress from Ted Baker and silver shoes
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
DIY – using Bare Minerals makeup following a lesson at their Covent Garden shop. I also did my own hair as I wanted it to be quite natural (I never wear my hair up so it wouldn’t look like me if I did!!)
By Hazel Brickles from Headcorn in Kent. A lady my mum knows but she only does a few weddings per year. She provided stunning bouquets, button holes, jars of flowers for tables and also our table plan. The flowers were, Lisianthus (purple/double), Lilac freesia, white tulips, white narcissus (paper whites), bluebells and white Gypsophila.
What do you remember most about the wedding ceremony?
Liz: I remember waiting for the signal to walk in with my dad and feeling very overwhelmed, as I was walking down the aisle I just looked straight at Paul and I couldn’t stop grinning! The ceremony was very special but it did seem like it went really quickly and I did have a few nervous giggles throughout the vowels.
Paul: Just being really happy – as soon as I saw Liz I realised how lucky I am. She looked beautiful and the ceremony went so well…I couldn’t stop smiling!
We just had one reading which two of my best friends jointly read: ‘On your wedding day’ – by anonymous
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Luckily the venue didn’t need a huge amount of decorating as it is already a really stunning venue. We did add candles, rustic wooden hearts and had flowers in jars and milk bottles scattered around. We had some additional decorations including ‘just married’ bunting which we borrowed from a family friend who made it, some paper lanterns and standing lanterns outside in the evening and a few extra personal things such as a chalk board with photos of family members who have passed away. For the place names we had a silly photo of each guest which got everyone talking!
The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?
Fairly traditional in the sense it was a three tier chocolate sponge cake. The quirky part was our cake toppers which were bride and groom hedgehog figurines which my friends mum made us out of sugar paste. This was another way of bringing out pet hedgehog Derek into the day and fitted nicely with the rustic/countryside theme! We also had lots of cakes and loaves for cutting which our mums and I made which fitted in with the rustic theme!
We found our band, The Supertones who play classic rock, pop and indie covers, through the site Alive Network which was recommended to us by friends of ours. They were absolutely incredible and we didn’t need any other entertainment – they got everyone on their feet! We received so many comments from our friends and family who though they were fantastic.
We did have a polaroid camera area where we asked guests to take photos of themselves and stick them into our guest book along with a message for us.
On the day tips and advice:
Enjoy every moment, it will go so quickly and you will want to do it all again! Take it all in and have a moment with your new husband/wife. You will feel so overwhelmed the entire day with the fact everyone is there for the both of you. It truly is the best day of your lives!
What’s the best thing about being married?
There is a huge amount of comfort knowing you have committed to be with your best friend for the rest of your lives. Personally I like us having the same surname and calling each other husband and wife! I will never tire of introducing people to ‘my husband’!
Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:
Band through this website: http://www.alivenetwork.com/
Hair accessories: http://www.glitzysecrets.com/wedding-hair-combs.html
Bridal party: http://www.tedbaker.com/uk
Groom Shirt: http://www.pincollarshirts.co.uk
Groom Suit: http://www.tedbaker.com/uk
Flowers: Hazel Brickles, Headcorn, Kent (no website)