From the glorious venue to the comfy, cool footwear and dress-changing bridesmaids, this is a wedding whose quirks are subtle and fun. Ally and Sarah had a relaxed day at Menzies Welcombe Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon and I know you’ll love hearing about their wedding.
There wasn’t a theme for the day, but what stands out to me is that this is a no-fuss, no-fluff sort of wedding. It’s elegant and personal with a focus on just a few pretty key details: the flowers, the location, and our gorgeous bride and groom.
Images are by the wonderful Rob and Sarah Gillespie – do check out their website and previous features on the English Wedding Blog:
Our wedding story: Sarah and Ally
Wedding photographer’s website:
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?
Very much so! We met Rob and Sarah just 6 weeks before the wedding and I was really concerned that we wouldn’t be able to find anyone at such short notice, but they more than exceeded expectations. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough.
The Menzies Welcombe Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon
Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?
Laid back, very warm, and great fun.
What was your reaction to seeing your wedding photos for the first time?
Surprise, relief, and happiness. I already knew we were in good hands, and the style of the photos would be exactly what we wanted. What stuck out for me was just how many details I missed on the day. I was so nervous and focused going into the ceremony room that I really didn’t take in anything else! I’m so glad that the photographs captured all that for us to be able to appreciate the little details later on.
Your wedding style or theme:
There wasn’t really a theme, we just went with quite a laid back feel and wanted everyone to be comfortable.
Where did you find your suppliers?
Almost all of my suppliers were recommended by other brides, and I found a lot through wedding blogs.
Best bit of budget advice?
Instead of trying to find cheaper versions of various things, I was happy to miss some things out entirely to free up the budget to get the quality we wanted in everything else. Decorations were kept to just the flowers, we had no favours, and accessories and add-ons were a minimum.
Wedding invitations and on the day stationery:
EYI Love created our invitations, order of service, and thank you cards. They were minimal and stylish and exactly conveyed the feel of the wedding so guests knew what they were in for on the day.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
I think I knew it was for me as soon as I tried it on, no matter how many others I tried on afterwards!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Alan Hannah, bought with the help of Charlotte at Quello Bride in Warwickshire.
Glitz and sparkle – the bride’s accessories:
I wore matching silver lily earrings and necklace by Muriel and Lily which tied in well with the men’s buttonholes. Shoes for the whole bridal party were custom made Converse. I can’t wear shoes with heels, and Ally and I both play basketball, so the Converse were a nod to that. Getting married in trainers was probably the most quirky part of the day, but people seemed to love them.
Suited and booted – the groom wore:
The groom and his ushers wore trousers and waistcoats from Next. Without jackets it was somewhat easier and not any more expensive than hiring suits. All the men more high top versions of the Converse.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
My two fantastic bridesmaids wore Two Birds dresses in Regal Purple. It’s great looking back at the photographs and seeing the girls wearing their dresses in different ways during the course of the day, I think it threw a few of the guests! I thought the dresses could be dressed up or down and easily worn again, and just loved the colour.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Definitely a professional! Sally Thomas managed to understand my badly described ideas and turn them into exactly what I wanted for my hair. I was so impressed I hired her again for a friend’s wedding a few weeks later. Rebecca Francis did the same with my makeup. A true testament to them both is that it was one of the hottest and most humid days of the year and my hair and makeup stayed in place all day!
Flowers were all arranged by The Broadway Florist. We went for quite a traditional starting point but then made them quite loose to fit in with the laid back theme.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Our venue was beautiful and I didn’t want to make it too ‘busy’ by adding decorations. The ceremony room had stunning brick arches, and the reception room upstairs had huge windows looking out onto the gardens. It really didn’t need anything adding to it.
DIY – tell us about any handcrafted elements of your wedding…
I was so busy leading up to the wedding that I really didn’t have time to DIY any of it!
The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?
We went with a slightly different wedding cake in that it was sponge (vanilla, lemon, and coconut and lime layers) and was covered in chocolate. We did, however, make the chocolate white so it looked a little more traditional. It looked and tasted great, and was a real bargain!
We hired the Mercian String Quartet for the ceremony and drinks reception. They are quite a young group but really exceeded expectation. They were very flexible and even learnt a couple of new songs just for us! I’ve already recommended them to a friend for her wedding later this year. In the evening we had three piece band The Hijackers who were just great and really enthusiastic.
On the day tips and advice:
Just relax and enjoy it. Don’t sweat the little stuff, even though you know the ribbon is the wrong shade or the flowers haven’t been moved, no one else has noticed!
What’s the best thing about being married?
For us, getting married was just taking that final step in cementing our relationship, and having a day of celebrating that fact with our family and friends.
Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:
Rob and Sarah Gillespie photographers – http://robandsarahgillespie.co.uk/
EYI Love Stationery – http://www.eyilove.com/
Quello Bridal – http://www.quellobride.co.uk/
Muriel and Lily Jewellery – http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/murielandlily
Men’s suits at Next – http://www.next.co.uk/
Sally Thomas Hair – http://sallythomashair.com/
Rebecca Francis Makeup – http://www.rebeccafrances.com/
The Broadway Florist – http://www.broadway-florist.com/index.html
Confetti cakes – http://www.confetticakes.co.uk/
Mercian String Quartet – http://www.mercianstringquartet.co.uk/
The Hijackers – http://www.thehijackersband.co.uk/
Broadway FloristConfetti CakesEYI LoveMenzies Welcombe HotelMercian String QuartetMuriel and LilyQuello BrideRebecca FrancesRob and Sarah GillespieSally Thomas HairStratford-upon-Avon weddingThe Hijackers