Sunflowers are my favourite… nothing packs a punch quite like a wedding full of glorious sunflowers. Marianne and Sam’s wedding is like summer itself: warming and friendly, bright and cheerful, beautifully floral (of course!) and glorious with colour and sunshine. You’re going to LOVE today’s real wedding feature!
Sam and Marianne married at Pendrell Hall in Staffordshire, a superb venue which needs very little additional decor. Pendrell is one of England’s finest country house wedding venues, and I adore the atmosphere and charm of the house and gardens. Our bride and groom are both stunning: Marianne’s designer dress was made especially for her by the supremely talented Zeynep Kartal, while Sam wore Ted Baker.
Images are by my lovely friends Rob and Sarah Gillespie Photography, based in the Midlands. They get a glowing review from Marianne and Sam:
Rob and Sarah were a pleasure to work with from start to finish. They completely captured the relaxed, fun feel of the day which was so important to us. Formal photographs are nice in their own way but our focus was really on the candid shots – Rob and Sarah captured those brilliantly. They really took the time to understand our ideas and thoughts about how we’d like the wedding to be…We felt totally involved and well supported throughout. Oh, and they are really funny!
Do check out Rob & Sarah Gillespie’s website and previous features on the English Wedding Blog:
The English Wedding Blog interview: Marianne and Sam
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
We looked at some recommended suppliers from the venue (Pendrell Hall). Rob and Sarah were on there – we gave them a call, met up shortly afterwards and knew we wanted to book them. They said during the initial meeting ‘don’t decide now, have a think about it and we’ll be in touch in a couple of days’. I really liked that – both the introduction meeting, where we looked at lots of their work and talked with them about our ideas for the wedding, and I really liked the complete lack of hard sell.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
Delighted! Rob and Sarah were a pleasure to work with from start to finish. They really took the time to understand our ideas and thoughts about how we’d like the wedding to be – which included how we wanted the photographs to look. They were always open when they thought an idea wasn’t necessarily a great one, and they used their experience to suggest other ideas. We felt totally involved and well supported throughout. Oh, and they are really funny!
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
We were sat in Sarah and Rob’s cinema room at their place. They’d made a slideshow presentation of some of the photos to give us a flavour for how the photos had come out. As soon as the presentation started we both knew we would love the photos. They had completely captured the relaxed, fun feel of the day which was so important to us. Formal photographs are nice in their own way but our focus was really on the candid shots – Rob and Sarah captured those brilliantly.
Pendrell Hall, Staffordshire
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Fun, laughter, love, friends, family, food and drink-filled!
Your wedding style or theme:
Classic but informal summer theme – the Hall is beautiful
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Venue recommendations largely. We are not local to the venue and don’t know the area at all. The venue’s guide was really helpful.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Have a bit of perspective about the whole thing – yes, it’s important, but throwing more and more money at something doesn’t necessarily lead to a more fabulous day. Know when to stop.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
Photography, venue, food and the honeymoon!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
One of Sam’s fabulous sisters, Lucy, designed and created all of our wedding stationery – from the save the date to the thank you cards. We are so lucky that she was happy to do this for us. I went to Lucy with a brief of ‘I’d like stationery that is not too formal, but classic, not gaudy but nice and bright… oh, and polkas dots are a winner’. For each piece of stationery, Lucy came up with a few ideas then sent them on to us to decide on which we liked. She kept the same polka dot print, colours and font throughout. So many guests commented on how fab it all looked – and it was great to say it was all bespoke.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
My dress was made for me based on just a drawing (from the designer). Aside from the sketches Zeynep did for me and choosing the lace, I didn’t see it at all until my first fitting. That was a bit daunting but I needn’t have worried. I loved it! I was surprised how great I felt wearing such a beautiful, glamorous dress. I thought I’d feel really out of my comfort zone but I actually felt really comfortable.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
Jewellery – pearl earrings from Tiffany that Sam bought me as a birthday gift, headdress from Halo – my sister, Pixie, lent this to me – she had bought it for and worn it on her wedding day. Shoes by Gina – I wore these with my bridesmaid dress at my sister’s wedding and couldn’t wait to put them on again – so pretty and actually really comfortable. Make up – all from Bobbi Brown. Smile on my face – my own!
And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?
Sam hired his suit from Moss Bros. He, and the rest of the groom’s party, wore Lounge Lizard by Ted Baker. It was a blue 3 piece suit with peacock lining, accessorised with a yellow cravat and handkerchief. The groom’s party wore brown show and boots with Sam wearing a pair of Ted Baker brogues.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
I had one bridesmaid – my sister, Pixie. She wore a beautiful yellow dress from Ted Baker, nude LK Bennett peep-toe shoes and some pretty diamante clips in her hair.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Hair – the lovely Christie Williams at Urban Hair and Beauty in Codsall. Make up was a masterclass at Bobbi Brown in House of Fraser Leeds then a DIY job on the day.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Rose and Faye at The Topiary Tree Florist in Stoke on Trent supplied and arranged my bouquet, my sister’s and the vases of sunflowers on display in various rooms. They were a pleasure to work with and really took the time to understand what we were looking for and give us options from there. Also, which was a nice surprise, they don’t add on a huge price tag because the word ‘wedding’ is involved. Couldn’t recommend The Topiary Tree highly enough!
Rita, Sam’s mum, kindly organised all the lavender for the day – from the dried flowers that we used for confetti to the button holes and chair end decorations that she painstakingly handmade to the living flowering plants in the galvanised pots that we used as the centre piece for the tables.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Pendrell Hall is absolutely beautiful and we decided very early on that we wanted that to be the main look of the day with us just adding a few items to personalise it a little on our day. Anything more than that, for us, was unnecessary.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
Sarah at Codsall Cupcakes supplied our top tier cutting cake and a selection of cupcakes. We met Sarah beforehand to talk about what we were looking for and described the ideas for the day. We didn’t really have a clear idea on what we wanted, only that bringing in some yellow and lavender would be nice. Sarah suggested some ideas and we decided on – a carrot cutting cake decorated with sunflowers and lavender on ivory icing and lemon meringue, sticky toffee in lace wrappers and Victoria sponge with an ivory disc and lavender sprig cupcakes. It all tasted as good as it looked!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We had a wonderful string quartet, Elegant Strings, playing during the day and the brilliant Retrospect band played in the evening. We received so many compliments about both, particularly the band, who managed to fill the dance floor throughout the night. Both were booked through Alive Network.
We also hired a rodeo bull and inflatable bungee run for guests to have fun with after the wedding meal and before the evening music. Both were so much fun and people were splitting their sides laughing (and, I fear, their trousers in some instances!).
On the day tips and advice:
Relax and enjoy. You’ve done everything within your gift up to that point – now it’s time to enjoy your start to married life!
What’s the best thing about being married?
Not having to prepare for our wedding anymore! Joking aside, although it is a lot of (fun-filled) effort planning these things, for me,
Favourite supplier list for other brides and grooms:
Pendrell Hall: http://pendrellhall-venue.co.uk
Rob and Sarah Gillespie photographers: http://robandsarahgillespie.co.uk
The Topiary Tree Florist: http://thetopiarytreeflorist.co.uk
Codsall Cupcakes: http://www.codsallcupcakes.co.uk
Urban Hair & Beauty: http://www.urbanhairandbeauty.com
Alive Network: http://www.alivenetwork.com
Moss Bros: http://www.mossbroshire.co.uk