Today’s real wedding is divine: a sophisticated celebration with such amazing attention to detail and almost too pretty for words. Doug and Kath were married in May, at Herefordshire venue How Caple Court. Their theme was vintage lace: the colours were soft and delicate lavenders – “dried lavender was scattered over the church porch floor, which when guests walked over, emitted a wonderful fragrance”.
Kath told me, “I say to all my friends and family that the photographer is the most important thing to splurge on. It’s the only thing you can look at after the day, and will be proof of all the memories. We are so glad we invested in Gemma.”
Image credits – the fabulous West Midlands wedding photographer Gemma Williams
There is so much to share with you, I barely know where to start. Grab a cuppa and settle down to absorb all the pretty in today’s real wedding – and then read Kath’s fabulous advice at the end of the feature. This is an amazing wedding whose story begins the day before, setting up the venue with family and friends… and ends with sewing up an enthusiastic dancing rugby player’s trousers at 3am in the pub afterwards – it’s brilliant!
The English Wedding Blog Interview: Doug and Kath
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
When we met Gemma at the Hereford Vintage Wedding Fayre we were instantly wowed by her style, so different to many others, much less formal and her prints use lovely vintage tones. We did look at a couple of other photographers, who friends had used, but we were put off by some of the bright colours used, we knew we wanted more muted tones. Gemma’s portfolio on her website and Facebook page gave us no reason to doubt she wouldn’t capture it beautifully, in her romantic style.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
Gemma sent us our photos within 12 days of getting married, which is phenomenal service. She captured every moment with such beautiful photos. Gemma was amazing in the lead up to our day, inviting us round to her studio to look at her albums, discuss the day & get to know us over cake! We also had a pre wedding shoot, which Gemma kindly did at a location of our choice- and living in London, we chose somewhere just 5 minutes from our house- Hampton Court Palace, where we had had a picnic on the riverbank on our first date. This was fun, casual and allowed us to get to know Gemma more. She put us at completely at ease. The photos were lovely, she took so many, in wonderful locations, and it gave us a good idea about positioning on the day. Gemma operates a great online gallery, and makes a short video of the main photos too, which us a great extra feature to her package!
On the day, Gemma fitted in really well & you wouldn’t have known she was there. She did the formal shots quickly and without stress. Gemma knew our venue, How Caple Court, really well, so she knew all the great places to venture to for couple shots! She took us to an old roman amphitheater, we didn’t even know existed! Gemma also used features like big oak doors and the features in the grounds to create beautiful backdrops. We love our couple photos, and feel those are the most important snaps. Gemma also captured some amazing photos during speeches, guests having fun at tables, and the venue whilst it was empty. Gemma stayed late, capturing the dancing and evening guests too. We couldn’t have wished for better pictures or a better photographer, she was perfect.
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
We were still on honeymoon in the Maldives when Gemma sent us our photos. With an awful wifi connection on this remote island, we couldn’t hide our excitement as the pictures loaded. We had to go for dinner, but straight after, we went to the main reception and got on a better connection so we could look through more. Again, Gemma had made a lovely video capturing the day, which was beautiful! We were completely stunned by what she had captured, and couldn’t wait to share them with friends and family. We have since made an album, featuring over 300 of the photos she took, and its amazing to look at.
St Mary’s Church, Marden followed by How Caple Court, both in Herefordshire
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Beautiful vintage lace wedding with some rugby thrown in!
Your wedding style or theme:
Our style was vintage lace. I had this idea to use vintage lace tablecloths, cut glass tumblers, wine glasses and champagne saucers, and also vintage lace chair backs. The room was stunning! These were hired from Let them drink tea and Wedding creations UK.
Lavender was another theme – dried lavender was scattered over the church porch floor, which when guests walked over, emitted a wonderful fragrance. Lavender also hung in bunches down the aisle, and features in the button holes and bouquets. Our 7 bridesmaids wore grey and the flowergirl lace.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
The Hereford Vintage Wedding Fayre was great for local suppliers, and also meeting people in the industry. We asked various people for recommendations, and our photographer Gemma gave me a list of venues she thought we might like (we contacted Gemma before we even had a wedding date!) Some suppliers were also great at referring us to their contacts for suitable products.
I also have 2 older sisters who had been married in the 3 years previously, so we actually used the same band as they both used, Colloosion. We brought in our own caterer, who was a family friend who I had waitressed for when about 14 years old, Izzie’s Catering – she made each table a fillet of beef wellington that the ‘captain’ of each table, carved. My grandma’s friend also plays piano for the Hereford Railway Male Voice Choir, so we got in touch with her to ask if they would sing. An aunt also had a friend who had a vintage car, and he offered to drive the bridesmaids. Hereford is a small place, so finding contacts is easy!
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Borrow as much as you can. Friends who have got married may have loads of things you can use or decorate to make suitable for your style.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
Photographer – I say to all my friends and family that the photographer is the most important thing to splurge on. It’s the only thing you can look at after the day, and will be proof of all the memories. We are so glad we invested in Gemma.
We were really pleased we invested in great food and lots of wine, as that always ensures everyone has a good time and we had so many great comments on the quality of the food.
We were also glad we spent money hiring the lace décor and vintage glasses, these made the wedding breakfast so unique.
Finally, the male voice choir – didn’t cost much but added such ambience to the church.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
I sourced the stationery from Bernie at Lily Lou and You. We wanted great quality and someone once said to me “the invite sets the tone for the wedding” therefore I knew I couldn’t produce the standard I wanted myself! I found Bernie on facebook, went to the studio and she mocked up some ideas based on what we liked. Bernie produced invites with jewels on the front that she especially brought in for us. She also produced seating plans, table names (rugby teams Doug played for), table seat names and the orders of service – it all looked great.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Yes. It wasn’t what I originally thought I wanted. It was a combination. Phillipa from Boa asked me to try a strapless dress (which I didn’t want) but she understood how to accessorize – and added a beautiful lace bolero over the top that tied at the back. This made the dress for me, I loved it and on the day, felt it was perfect for me.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Boa Boutique in Richmond
Ivory and Co dress
Bolero made by a seamstress in Boa Boutique from French lace.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I added a Mori Lee pearl and crystal belt to cover where the bolero met the dress, ordered from Love me do brides in Kingston upon Thames. I wore the same veil, earrings and hair clip as my sisters had both worn – lovely things to have as my ‘something borrowed’. The pearl bracelet I wore was a Christmas present from Doug.
And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?
Doug wore a Ted Baker suit he bought from Moss Bros. It was ideal as he wanted to buy a suit to wear again, and at Moss Bros we could hire the exact same suit for ushers and the rest of the bridal party. Doug also wore gold vintage cufflinks and a tie pin, a gift from me on our wedding day.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
In the morning getting ready, the girls all wore gorgeous pink robes – a gift from me for being great bridesmaids. They looked fab in the photos and the girls have all said since, what great presents they were!
For the wedding my 7 bridesmaids wore floor length dove grey dresses from Coast, with lace and gem encrusted belts. They needed some minor alterations to suit all heights and sizes, but considering they were high street, they looked amazing. Their grey court shoes were from River Island, which they all loved as they could wear them again!
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Family friend, Carola Wilson Kean, arranged the flowers. She is a national flower demonstrator and has real creativity. She lent us two massive urns for the church which were filled with flowers behind where we stood – to create a beautiful backdrop. She arranged 13 church windows on top of tall glasses with candles in the centre, and created beautiful table centerpieces on candelabras – which were hired from Margaret Fox Floral Crafts. She also filled a bird cage with flowers behind where we would sit and made a stand for it (even spray-painting it to match the cage!) and the table plan had a small bird cage at the top, which she again filled. Carola also arranged 9 bouquets and 7 button holes!
Carola doesn’t have a website but if you google her you find lots of things on her demonstrations.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Our venue was beautiful, but we felt the barn and adjoining marquee where guests may gather for drinks, needed some décor. We added 6ft letter lights spelling out D heart K on the dancefloor, which we hired from Penny Lane Vintage Hire. We added lots of décor with the cut glasses and lace in the main room, but apart from that, we let the wood panelled room speak for itself. In the bar area, we added comfy seating, a vintage bureau I bought from a carboot and had painted by The Moore Collection to act as a sweets table, and a statement table plan. The urns were also brought from the church, to add more décor to the room.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
Our family collected around 50 jam jars which we then decorated to create some cheap outdoor tea lights, to line walk ways and paths. We also spray painted the table plan bird cage, which we bought from Palace Road Antiques in Hampton Court. We spent the whole day before the wedding at our venue, getting things ready, laying tables with a piece of dried lavender in each napkin, framing table names and hanging lavender hearts up! We also made decorations for the pew ends, dried lavender tied with grey ribbon and my mum grew plants to use outside the church.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We met Victoria from the Couture Cake Company at the Hereford Vintage Wedding Fayre, who was offering out cake samples to try. They were delicious! We chose to use the Couture Cake Company as they offered great flavours and their attention to detail on icing was incredible. We chose a grey, 4 tiered cake, which had white lace detail on each layer. The flavours were red velvet, carrot cake and sticky toffee pudding. The cake looked amazing, many guests commented on the different flavours and it was delicious!
On the day tips and advice:
Get the stress out the way early so you don’t get stressed. I had no worries and everyone kept saying how relaxed I was, but it really meant I could just enjoy the day. The main thing we realized in the run up to the day, was that when we looked back on the pictures and our memories, we wanted to be having fun.
As they are traditionally the ones that run the order of the day, make sure you write a list for the ushers so they have all the timings of a loose plan. We wrote down timings up until we sat down to eat (as timing for beef wellington was imperative) but after that everything was free flow so we could relax. We didn’t plan taxis or a time to leave and ended up being the last guests to leave with the best man, back to the Green Man Pub where we found over 20 of our guests in the bar at 3am, singing and drinking!
Oh and carry a sewing kit – Doug, rugby player at large, did a few too many enthusiastic dance moves and ended up splitting his trousers down the bottom! Luckily someone had a needle and cotton, so Doug sat in his pants in the bridal suite, whilst he was sewn back together!
What’s the best thing about being married?
The happiness and elation you feel immediately afterwards (which made me burst in to tears in random places like the service station the next day!). The memories it creates that will last a lifetime. And all the bits in between.
Favourite supplier list for other brides and grooms:
Boa BoutiqueGemma Williams PhotographyHow Caple CourtIzzies CateringLet Them Drink TeaLily Lou and YouPenny Lane Vintage HireThe Couture Cake CompanyThe Moore CollectionThe Vintage Wedding Fayrevintage lace themeWedding Creations UK