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Carly and Harry’s gorgeous sunny sunflower and calligraphy wedding in Devon, with Nova Photography

I’ve been so excited – for weeks – to show you Carly and Harry’s wedding day. Carly is the loveliest bride and our email chats have been an absolute delight. I love her for framing my calligraphy – it looks a hundred times more amazing with her styling touches! – and for sharing one of the best wedding interviews I’ve featured on the English Wedding Blog in the history of all time.

Calligraphy by Claire English Wedding Blog  (9)

I adore the bright, summery, colourful styling which was all based around sunflowers. Carly told me, “The sunflower was the starting point for the whole day, which was the one thing I knew was a must for our wedding… Over a hundred decorated bottles formed the basis of the decorations being used as centrepieces and vases filling each mantelpiece and window at Holne Park House.

Holne Park House sunflower wedding blog by Nova Photography in Devon (30)

Calligraphy by Claire English Wedding Blog  (1)

It’s truly spectacular – another favourite wedding of mine and one I’ll never, ever forget. Huge thanks to lovely wedding photographers Katherine and Steve from Nova Wedding Photography for sharing their images with us today. Do check them out, especially if you’re getting married near Devon:

Holne Park House sunflower wedding blog by Nova Photography in Devon (42)

I want to show you the images straight away – you’re going to love them, I know it! Don’t miss the wedding report at the end of today’s feature: Carly’s advice and supplier reviews are fantastic and I’m sure will help you find some fantastic suppliers for your wedding day too. Enjoy.

claire gould calligrapher signatureHolne Park House sunflower wedding blog by Nova Photography in Devon (1)
Holne Park House sunflower wedding blog by Nova Photography in Devon (2)
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Holne Park House sunflower wedding blog by Nova Photography in Devon (4)
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Holne Park House sunflower wedding blog by Nova Photography in Devon (8)
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Holne Park House sunflower wedding blog by Nova Photography in Devon (36)
Holne Park House sunflower wedding blog by Nova Photography in Devon (37)
Holne Park House sunflower wedding blog by Nova Photography in Devon (38)
Holne Park House sunflower wedding blog by Nova Photography in Devon (39)
Holne Park House sunflower wedding blog by Nova Photography in Devon (40)
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Holne Park House sunflower wedding blog by Nova Photography in Devon (44)
Holne Park House sunflower wedding blog by Nova Photography in Devon (45)
Holne Park House sunflower wedding blog by Nova Photography in Devon (46)

Our wedding story: Carly + Harry

Wedding photographer’s website:

www.novaweddingphotography.co.uk

Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?

Extremely pleased, the photographs were amazing we couldn’t stop looking through them. We’ve only just managed to whittle down 922 photographs to just 150 for our album… okay 158! It was a struggle so we’re leaving it to Katherine and Steve’s creative judgement to work out the rest. Katherine and Steve were so great on the day, they made us feel at ease and they blended in with our guests. Everyone commented on how nice and friendly they were and we’ve had nothing but compliments on the finished photographs. We all had so much fun on the day and the photographs illustrated that perfectly which is just what we wanted. Katherine and Steve were with us for the entire day from initial preparation, the main event, first dance and on to the silly studio, the photographs tell the story of the day perfectly and we couldn’t be happier!

Wedding venue:

Holne Park House, Ashburton, Devon

Wedding date:

Saturday 27th September 2014

Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?

Our best day ever filled to the brim with family, friends, fun and sunflowers with a tandem bicycle and Landrover thrown in for good measure!

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

When I received the email to say that they were available to view Harry was out for the evening so I had to wait in suspense until he finally came home. We then spent a good hour or so looking through all 922 photographs, I couldn’t stop looking through them over and over again, then I couldn’t sleep… which must be a good sign. Now I have looked through them – it must be at least a hundred times – it never gets old: we love them!

Your wedding style or theme:

A sparkly mix of rustic details and vintage daintiness topped with sunflowers… it was an eclectic mix!

How long did you spend planning your wedding?

1 year.

Best bit of budget advice?

Everyone has a budget and unfortunately for me I follow the mantra of ‘if you can’t stop thinking about it then buy it’ and I have been subject to many a sleepless night! This is not to say that we went way over budget it just meant that I spent much longer searching for those ‘must have’ items using websites such as ‘eBay’, ‘Preloved’, ‘Sell my Wedding’ and ‘Gumtree’. I also found that many companies offer ‘Price Promise’ so if you find a cheaper deal with a company that is perhaps further away from your venue or not partnered with your venue, as long as they can provide you with a written quote your preferred company may be able to offer you a lower price… its definitely worth a try!

Wedding invitations and on the day stationery:

I designed and made all of our wedding stationery from the save the dates to the orders of service all with our sunflower and tandem theme in mind. Our save the dates were made up of jute string kraft card tags stamped with a tandem (from Beautiful Day) finished with a resin sunflower and sealed with personalised tandem stickers from Zazzle.com.   The invitations followed a similar theme, a four page a7 kraft invitation featuring a tandem and tied with jute string and a mint green or grey wooden heart button. These were then sealed with kraft heart stickers in yellow and grey stripe sweet bags. The order of the day cards and #carlyandharrymarry2014 instagram/facebook cards were similarly designed with a tandem and mint green hearts.

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?

Yes, absolutely! It was everything I wanted in a dress, I loved it – I knew it was the one as soon as I looked in the mirror. This was soon confirmed further when my mum began making her way through the complimentary tissues!

Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:

Maggie Sottero from Proposals of Witney.   I always knew that I wanted a strapless fishtail style dress preferably in lace. At Proposals of Witney, together with my bridesmaids, I went through the rails and picked out the dresses which matched that description. I must have tried on about 10 dresses, all lovely but I didn’t have the ‘feeling’. Clare, the owner of Proposals suggested I try on a Maggie Sottero fishtail tulle and lace strapless dress called Eden, I’m not sure how we managed to miss it but it was perfect!

Glitz and sparkle – the bride’s accessories:

For accessories I knew that pearls were the way forward, I had already decided that my hair would be up for the wedding day which, of course, meant that I needed a hair accessory to finish off my dress, every bride needs a hair accessory (well that’s what I told myself anyway). So I was back on Pinterest and whilst informative, Pinterest does not allow you to refine your search to accessories within your price range. Typically I discover Jannie Baltzer, a designer who creates couture headpieces… £££.

With a particular headpiece in mind I began scrolling through ‘Sell My Wedding’, ‘Gumtree’ and ‘Preloved’ and not only did I find items by Jannie Baltzer, I found the very headpiece I had been looking for and at half the price! Next stop, earrings… I scrawled through many websites before I found Liberty in Love and designer Stephanie Browne. The earrings featured a simple drop pearl with Swarovski crystal detailing; the earrings together with my soon to be white gold and diamond wedding ring from Smooch were all I needed to finish off my wedding dress. To complete my wedding outfit I chose Rachel Simpson fifties style ivory suede shoes with a satin bow (complete with a silver sixpence from the Royal Mint inside) and a marabou feather and pearl purse by Britten just big enough for all a bride’s essentials… tissues, lip gloss and tic-tacs!

Suited and booted – the groom wore:

The suits were Harry’s domain; he chose a grey silk suit and matching waistcoat from Serenity of Newton Abbot. The Groomsmen’s suits were topped off with a silver grey tie whilst Harry had a mint green tie, both of which reflected the colours of the bridesmaid dresses to tie all the outfits together.   The suits were a modern alternative to the traditional tailcoat or Edwardian suit jacket and suited each of the party perfectly. To complement his suit, Harry wore formal black leather shoes from Next and a silver tie clip from Hersey Silversmiths which was a gift from his Mum, Nicola.

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

As I had 6 bridesmaids I loved the idea of two colours, 3 bridesmaids in each colour and after much exploring I settled on a mint green and light grey colour scheme, both of which complemented the yellow of the sunflowers perfectly. I was very lucky to have six bridesmaids who would look good in anything so this decision was very easy and we chose six Ebony Rose Alison dresses in seafoam and silver grey from Proposals of Witney.

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

For hair and make up on the wedding day there were 9 of us in total that needed the works. My Mum and Dad very generously splashed out on treating us all to hair and makeup at Gershwins Hairdressing of Newton Abbot. As there were so many of us the day started at 7am, we were met with a raft of hairdressers and make up artists together with a breakfast of fruit, croissants and of course the obligatory glass (or two) of fizz – it was the perfect start to the best day ever.

Wedding flowers:

The flowers were provided by Sian and her team at Teasels of Ashburton. The sunflower was the starting point for the whole day, which was the one thing I knew, was a must for our wedding and this informed the rest of our flower related decisions. I had sent Sian so many ideas and photographs of the type of thing I wanted and the outcome on the day was everything I had hoped for. Along with the sunflower, we had a mix of yellow, white, mint green and grey seasonal flowers to reflect the colour scheme of the day and these were presented in the bouquets and buttonholes. For decoration, we had over a 100 decorated bottles filled with single flowers, a gypsophila garland on the stair case, foliage wreaths and drawers of a vintage writing desk filled with flowers. The flowers finished off the venue perfectly, the day before the wedding had been quite stressful but when I saw the flowers in place I instantly felt better, everything was just as I imagined.

General styling – did your venue need much decoration?

Holne Park House is very pretty just as it is, it’s a very grand house with lots of detail to the ceilings and furniture. Without any decoration the house looks lovely but lots of couples get married there and we wanted to make sure that on our wedding day the house reflected our style. We wanted each room to continue the theme of the day so we filled the house inside and out with decorations, props, flowers and entertainment so our guests would have lots to look at and lots to do.

DIY – tell us about any handcrafted elements of your wedding…

Pinterest, wedding blogs, magazines and eBay were my wedding related saviours; I had ideas coming out of my ears! This resulted in lots of items to design and make. One of my first purchases was an authentic 1940s tandem bicycle ‘built for two’. We found this through eBay and it really was ‘vintage’ and needed quite a bit of work. The bicycle was lovingly restored by Harry and provided the basis for our save the dates, invitations and on the day stationery.

Decorations, where do I start?! Being a fan of wedding blogs and social network sites I was constantly finding ideas and consequently I set myself quite a challenge. Holne Park House is a big house with lots of nooks and crannies to fill with beautiful details. To begin I started with the Dawson Room where our ceremony was held, Harry and I had visited the house to see the room laid out for a ceremony and few things caught my eye as being key features, these being the registrar table and the table where we would sign the register.

We wanted the room to reflect our wedding style and not just follow the norm so instead of the trestle table we used our own lovely vintage writing desk that we filled with flowers. We found two chairs in a charity shop which we painted and distressed to match the table and then using upholstery pins pinned personalised cushion covers from Rustic Country Crafts. For the registrar’s table we painted an old coffee table and used a script stencil decorate the surface, this was complemented with heart back chairs painted in mint green and grey.

The table plan was formed with two vintage step ladders and an old school chair which we sanded and painted in mint green, grey and sunflower yellow. This was finished with a ‘find your seat and bon appetit’ calligraphy sign by Claire Gould of Calligraphy for Weddings which we mounted and framed with an ornate rococo style gold frame. This was positioned in the main entrance of the house along with a vintage suitcase filled with handkerchiefs that I folded and tied with kraft tags ‘for happy tears’ and paper wheels for our smaller guests.

Calligraphy by Claire English Wedding Blog  (2)
Calligraphy by Claire English Wedding Blog  (3)
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The ballroom, the scene for the wedding breakfast was decorated with bottles – some tightly wrapped in jute string and others painted in a mixture of mint green, silver grey, sunflower yellow and antique white and then partly covered in gold glitter. Over a hundred decorated bottles with help from family and friends formed the basis of the decorations being used as centrepieces and vases filling each mantelpiece and window in the House. The table cloths were beautifully made by Harry’s Grandad’s wife Annie using hessian and lace and were the perfect setting for the centrepieces and vintage crockery. The room was completed with gold helium balloons spelling ‘LOVE’ in the main bay window.

The Inkwell and the Ashburton Room played host to the bar and sweet cart. The sweet cart was made by Harry’s Grandad and his wife Annie and featured a hessian and lace canopy and a quote ‘how sweet it is to be loved by you’ written in calligraphy and mounted in a gold rococo style frame.

In the evening our wedding photographers provided a Silly Studio Photobooth which went down a treat. For this we wanted to make our own personalised backdrop so we used three old doors to make a screen. We painted and distressed the doors and decorated them with brass door numbers with 27-9-14 (our wedding date), reclaimed cast iron door handles and laser cut bride and groom signs on wreaths from Teasels.

The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?

A bit of both. Charlotte Woodhead, a friend of my sister, created a masterpiece for us which combined both our styles. Harry wanted to incorporate his love of Landrovers whereas I wanted a simple three tier white design. This resulted in a three piece wedding cake which featured a Landrover wheel spinning chocolate mud on to the three tier lace white cake. My mum then made us a single tiered traditional fruit cake which was decorated to match the three tiered white lace cake. To complete the cake table we had four gluten free lace covered cup cakes positioned in tea cups spelling LOVE from ‘welovekaoru’.

Entertainment:

To us the important thing was making sure everyone had a good time and that there was something for everyone to do and see throughout the day. We picked a venue that had enough space to entertain our guests, and we tried to make sure that every room continued the theme and contained an activity or talking point. We filled the 5 reception rooms of Holne Park House with a pick and mix candy cart, giant jenga and connect 4, the ice cream tricycle and soft play area from Mane Events, the Silly Studio Photo booth from Nova Wedding Photography, dinner time activity packs for our smaller guests, a DIY photo guest book and wishing tree and musical entertainment from singer Eve Wojciechowski, acoustic guitarist Hannah Partridge and 5 piece cover band Raspberry Fish. Together with our 150 guests the house was packed full and I think we achieved our aim, the photographs show every one having a great time and that’s all we could have asked for 🙂

On the day tips and advice:

On the day probably the most valuable tip is to enjoy the day and try not to stress about the little mishaps because (so I’m told) nobody notices… except you. Oh and make sure someone has some safety pins or a needle and thread to solve any minor dress related calamities. I was very lucky on the day to have a friend who knew a thing or two about wedding dresses and a mother in law who came prepared. Both were on hand to help me after I stepped on my train one or two times, I was sorted out in minutes and ready to get back on the dance floor!

What’s the best thing about being married?

Weirdly that nothing has really changed, we’re still the same loved up couple that we were before – we had a day to celebrate that with family and friends, we get to share the same name, I’m his wife and he’s my husband and we’re still as committed to each other now as we were before but now we have the memories of that amazing day to remember forever.

Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:

Venue: Holne Park House, Ashburton (www.holneparkhouse.co.uk)

Photographers: Nova Wedding Photography (www.novaweddingphotography.co.uk)

Dresses: Proposals of Witney (www.proposalsbridalstudio.co.uk)

Suits: Serenity of Newton Abbot (www.serenitydreams.co.uk)

Hair and Make up: Gershwins, Newton Abbot (www.gershwins-hairdressing.com)

Rings: Smooch (www.smoochrings.co.uk)

Hair Accessories: Jannie Baltzer (www.janniebaltzer.com)

Handbag: Britten (www.brittenweddings.com)

Shoes: Rachel Simpson (www.rachelsimpsonshoes.co.uk) and Next (www.next.co.uk)

Earrings: Liberty in Love (www.libertyinlove.co.uk)

Tie Clip: Herseys Silversmiths (www.notonthehighstreet.com/partners/herseysilversmiths/products)

Flowers: Teasels of Ashburton (www.ashburtonflorist.co.uk)

LOVE Balloons: Eagle Eyed Bride (www.eagleeyedbride.com)

Sequin Table Wear: The Sweet Hostess (www.thesweethostess.co.uk)

Band: Raspberry Fish (www.facebook.com/raspberryfish)

Acoustic Guitarist: Hannah Partridge (www.soundcloud.com/hannahpartridge)

Singer: Eve Wojciechowski

Ice Cream Tricycle and Soft Play: Mane Events (www.mane-events.co.uk)

Bride and Groom Laser Cut Signs: comeuppance at Etsy (www.etsy.com/shop/comeuppance)

Napkins: Bluebells and Nightingales (www.bluebellsandnightingales.co.uk)

Wedding Cake: Charlotte Woodhead

Wedding Cars: Rover P4 Drivers Guild

Calligraphy Signs: Calligraphy for Weddings at Etsy (www.etsy.com/shop/Calligraphystore)

LOVE tea cups and saucers: welovekaoru (www.welovekaoru.com)

Hessian cushion covers: Rustic Country Crafts (www.notonthehighstreet/partners/rusticcountrycrafts/products)

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 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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