I can’t let go of summer… would you care to join me for another sunny day? We’re talking daisies and buttercups, country flowers and exquisite sunshine for one of the loveliest weddings of the year on the English Wedding Blog today. Thom and Alicia are a star couple, whose personalities made their wedding simply perfect.
The gorgeous bride and groom were married in South Gloucestershire, with a church ceremony and marquee reception in the countryside – and they styled their day to fit the reception with tons of colourful flowers looking as though they’d come straight from an English country garden…
Images are by Joanna Bongard Photography, who Thom and Alicia recommend with some really wonderful words: “The photos were just as we’d imagined but better… So fresh and fun; they reflect every emotion shared, depicting our perfect day that we can look back on in years to come and remember it just like yesterday. She is a great talent.”
Do find out more about Jo here:
Finally, before I leave you with these exquisite images of one of my favourite weddings of the year, I have to share these amazing words from Alicia about married life: “We feel complete like a force no one can reckon with, like, it’s now us taking on the world as oppose to each other individually. We have always shared everything and our surname was the last thing on that list!” Don’t miss the interview with today’s happy couple at the end of today’s blog post. It’s a good one!
The English Wedding Blog Interview: Thomas and Alicia
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
Thom knew Jo through mutual friends but we weren’t aware of just how good she was until we attended a wedding she shot last year. When we saw the results, we were blown away. The composition of each photo was so fresh and quite beautiful.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
We’re not just saying it; Jo was immaculate in every way that day. She somehow managed to capture every crucial moment of the day without us even knowing she was there! She’s got some stealth. She didn’t just make the bride and groom feel special but the whole congregation loved her too! It was an absolute pleasure having her with us on the most important day of our lives.
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
Firstly, we were pleasantly surprised by the packaging alone – we won’t say anymore because it’s a nice little treat and wouldn’t want to ruin it for anyone.
The photos were just as we’d imagined but better. We have never laughed and cried so much at a photo album before. So fresh and fun; they reflect every emotion shared, depicting our perfect day that we can look back on in years to come and remember it just like yesterday. She is a great talent.
Oh and the photo booth pictures were a delight to go through!
Ceremony: Mary the Virgin Chruch, Hawkesbury Upton, South Gloucestershire.
Reception: Grandma Peckett’s field, Hawkesbury, South Gloucestershire.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Fun, dreamy, colourful, relaxed, friendly, the time of our lives!
Your wedding style or theme:
We had a few themes; one being Daisies and Country Garden. We wanted to enhance the setting and thought keeping the whole thing natural and relaxed would make the whole day less stressful and enjoyable for everyone. We’re a pretty laid-back couple so wanted to keep everything easy going and cheerful.
We also have a huge passion for Cornwall, so, we set up a second smaller tent for people to venture into that was full of Cornish delicacies such as; pasties, cheeses, fudge, ice cream, fish and chip crackers…etc. This is where we kept the photo booth which supplied hours of entertainment for the guests.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
The majority of the suppliers we used were locally sourced but found on the internet. We live in Birmingham so weren’t overly familiar with what Hawkesbury and the surrounding areas had to offer so we did our research looking into customer reviews online (as well as recommendations from Grandma) and were very lucky with our choices.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
We were majorly thrifty with our spending. We made all the decorations and stationary and used flowers from Grandma’s garden which definitely helped save money. The best tip we could give would be to make sure you use good, decent, local companies who aren’t out there to exploit you just because you’re having a ‘wedding’. We used the most wonderful marquee company who went through everything with us, taking out things we didn’t need and kept everything open and honest to meet our budget.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
We were happy to spend on things that would make the day more comfortable for our guests such as the marquee and tasty food to keep their energy up for the party. The real expense was the wedding dress and cape. I wasn’t sure what I wanted but when I found it I knew it was the one… it was just a touch out of our price range!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
Making our stationery was definitely a labour of love. I love to make things and had so much fun with it all. We designed the invites ourselves and had them printed at the local printers but everything else was hand made. I have very good bridesmaids who also helped out too ? I think making everything ourselves made the wedding feel a lot more personal and that’s what we loved about it.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
So much! I had tried a few on which were all very beautiful but they weren’t exactly me. The dress I chose was ideal. I knew I wanted lace but I love whimsical Tulle as well and this had both which merged into one another. I could wear it every day if it was socially acceptable.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
The dress was from the Opulence range by Nathalie M. The Bridal Boutique was called, Red Rose Bridal in Boldmere, Sutton Coldfield. I cannot commend them enough! After asking a few questions about my personality, Sandra picked out a dress she thought I might like and it was the one. It was incredible!
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I’ll start with my Vivienne Westwood necklace; my older brother bought me it for my 30th birthday the month before because he knew I would love it but couldn’t afford it. It was also given to me as the first gift from my Nephew who was born just a few days before – it means a lot to me.
My mum gave me her silver bracelet which was gifted to her by my father on their 25th wedding Anniversary so again, it meant a lot and was very sentimental. Mum also gave me the garter that she wore on mum and dad’s wedding day.
The shoes were ‘Flo’ by Rachel Simpson and they were the comfiest shoe I have ever worn – kept me going throughout the entire day!
And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?
Thom was left to his own devices; he wanted to surprise me as much as I wanted to surprise him with the dress so he and the boys took a trip up town and purchased their lovely grey suits from Slater Menswear, Birmingham. Apparently, they were very helpful and sorted each boy out no problem. The skinny fit suits had a fine pale blue over-check pattern to them so Thom chose to buy the skinny ties to match. All the boys looked very dapper.
I wanted something to differentiate Thom from the others so I purchased the groomsmen some stag pins (keeping with the meadow, country garden theme). I wanted them to associate each groomsman with their role as you would rank a stag in the wild so gave the wiser looking stags to the father’s, the slightly younger looking stags to the ushers, the stags facing side-on to the best men (as if they were overlooking the chief) and the more fuller antlered, face-on, dominant stag to Thom (maybe I put too much thought into it?).
My favourite part of his attire were the grey braces he bought – he looked so handsome in them.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
They were all beautiful! I felt so privileged to have them all as my bridesmaids; they all mean so much to us. We asked a friend of the family to make the bridesmaid dresses and she did at a very low cost but with very high standards.
Mel works at the local stage school and makes a lot of the outfits for the performances there so we knew she would be good. I chose a colour and a style which thought would suit the girls and Mel got on with making them no problem! Again, we were very lucky to have Mel, she did an amazing job.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
My hair was done by a friend of ours, Lucy Hughes of Lucy Pineapple Hair. I didn’t choose her through biased, I chose her through style. She has a wonderful contemporary feel to her designs and has the ability to apply it to any face shape/hair length. I knew she would understand exactly what I meant when I gave her my brief. She was faultless and made every second with her as relaxed and calming as possible – just what you need on the morning of the biggest day of your life.
Me and the bridesmaids did the make-up ourselves. I know what make-up suits me and with the exception of a little spending splurge at MAC and Bare Minerals, I saved a lot of money with DIY and had the bonus of keeping the remaining make-up to use in the future.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Courtesy of Grandma Peckett, she had recommended a lovely florist over in the next town so we decided to have a consultation with Lucy Butler Flowers. They were very helpful and were very enthusiastic once we started discussing my ideas of daisies, lots of colour, relaxed meadow flowers, wheat ears…etc. It was a great service and so friendly too. They arranged my bouquet and the recognition bouquets that we gave out during the speeches.
Keeping with the relaxed theme, I wanted to make my own simplistic, rustic bouquets for the bridesmaids so I kept some long stemmed daisies in water overnight and made them on the morning of the wedding, binding them in string and adding wheat ears with the bridesmaids. It was a lot of fun!
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
The church we were married in was a beauty in itself, it barely needed anything adding to it to make it look any more stunning but I did make tea light hangers to suspend from the pews to light up our pathway.
We also made our own confetti cones by printing score sheet music from our favourite songs onto thin card and fastening them together with double sided tape.
The local vicar (a friend of Thom’s Grandma) arranged the church flowers along with other members of the church group. The flowers were colourful without being too overpowering, minimal without being too little and all picked from Grandma Peckett’s garden which again, added to our most perfect of sentimental days.
As for the marquee, me and the bridesmaids had a day of making tissue paper pom poms in all sorts of pastel colours (including ivory neutralise the tone) which we had planned to hang from the ceiling. Once we stood inside and witnessed just how elegantly beautiful an ivory lined marquee with brass chandeliers could be in its own right, (much to the bridesmaid’s dismay), we didn’t think twice about leaving them out. We did, however, decorate the driveway leading to the marquee with them instead.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
We went on a jar saving rampage and had everyone from our mums to the boss’s wife bringing collecting them for us. For the church décor, I wrapped garden wire and green leaf ribbon around the rims, threw in daisy heads and battery tea lights and hung them from the pew ends.
We turned jars into lanterns which lit up the driveway hanging them from branches and grouping them together to line the path.
My favourite were the jars we utilised and turned into vases as the centre piece for each table. Each jar had a wide strip of hessian wrapped round it with our initials painted on in white. The rim was lined with a pearl detailed ivory lace and we sprinkled sea shells in to the bottom which we had picked from our favourite beaches in Cornwall.
The centre-pieces needed a bit more depth so we added raffia ribboned bottles to the arrangement giving it a more staggered effect using heights.
To keep the guests entertained, we placed a mini jar on each table with jelly beans in. These weren’t just your average tasty jelly beans, they were ‘Beanboozled’ jelly beans meaning half were tasty and half were vile disguised to look like a normal jelly bean. It was great watching people’s faces when they decided to roulette and got the smelly sock flavour!
All the flowers were hand-picked from Grandma P’s garden and arranged by me and my maid of honour the day before. We chose simple daisies, buttercups, marigolds, forget-me-nots…etc., all wild and natural pickings but with every colour under the rainbow.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
As you’re probably aware, we like colour, so we opted for a floral decoration with lots of colour which my Auntie Tracey very very VERY kindly offered to bake and decorate for us. The outcome was overwhelming; Tracey took our brief and went to town! She is an amazing baker but to have produced the cake that we had PLUS a cake topper of us on a bench with our cat and Thom’s favourite guitar absolutely blew us away! There were four tiers, one fruit, two vanilla sponge and one strawberries and champagne flavour. She had incorporated daisies and butterflies and scattered the flowers like a waterfall affect descending down the tiers merging into a base full of floral magic. It was immaculate.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
Fortunately for us thrifty pair, Thom is in a band and knows other people in bands so the live music was sorted. I didn’t want Thom playing for too long on our wedding day so we asked the guys from Tangled Hair, if they wouldn’t mind sharing the duty. It was amazing! Both bands kept the guests entertained and the atmosphere was stupendous. Thom even dedicated a song to me which is one of mine and both my brothers’ favourites (My Hero – Foo Fighters) – needless to say, we were singing it at the top of our lungs. Towards the end of &U&I’s set, the crowd grabbed Thom, whilst still playing, and lifted him up in the air for a mini crowd surf. It was a moment to behold.
On the day tips and advice:
The wedding day is the ultimate climax to weeks/months/years of organisation, so, there is guaranteed to be tension on the build-up to the big day. What you have to tell yourself is, prepare in good time and have everything ready and set before you go to sleep the night before. That way, you can really take in what the day is about. Don’t be overcome by worry or stress because all that work will mean nothing if you don’t enjoy it on the day. Even if there are a few things out of place or missing, as long as you’re both there with your friends and family, that’s what really counts. You make your own memories so don’t let them be tainted by worries that you can’t do much about, enjoy yourself.
What’s the best thing about being married?
We feel complete like a force no one can reckon with, like, it’s now us taking on the world as oppose to each other individually. We have always shared everything and our surname was the last thing on that list!
Favourite supplier list for other brides and grooms:
Richardson Marquees – http://www.richardsonmarquees.co.uk
Dolman’s Catering – http://dolmanscatering.co.uk
Joanna Bongard Photography – http://www.joannabongard.com
Lucy Pineapple, Hair – http://www.lucypineapplehair.co.uk
Red Rose Bridal, Boldmere – http://www.redrosebridal.com
Rachel Simpson, Shoes – http://www.rachelsimpsonshoes.co.uk
Gibson Bespoke (Cape) – http://www.gibsonbespoke.co.uk/?product_cat=coverups
Slater’s Menswear – http://www.slaters.co.uk
Lucy Butler Flowers – http://www.lucybutlerflowers.co.uk
Melanie Clovissa Iddon – Bridesmaids Dresses.
Blast Event Hire, Glassware – http://www.blasteventhire.co.uk
Tracey Bradley – Wedding Cake