Good morning my beautiful blog readers! It’s been a heady whirl of technical wizardry here at English Wedding Blog HQ this morning… and I’m thrilled I can finally bring you today’s real Welsh wedding! James and Sarah’s day is more than beautiful. It’s full of ideas for the most amazing summer wedding flowers, and delicate DIY touches which bring the theme together with such amazing character and style.
I adore the flowers. Sarah told me “I put complete faith in Laura and her team to deliver on the day and the end result was so beautiful! I still can’t believe how amazing they were when they only had my description to go on. I am so grateful to everyone there… I knew I wanted sunflowers and daisies and a lot of different, warm colours. I didn’t want a colour theme for the wedding to help it look more rustic and ‘oldy-worldy’. I also explained to Laura that I wanted the flowers to look like they had been ‘handpicked from an Autumn country garden’ and I think she really delivered on this.”
Rather than spending on chair covers Sarah decided on tying pashmina shawls to the back of all the guests’ chairs. “I found some really nice, affordable ones on amazon (cheaper than traditional chair covers which I think look very modern) and then the guests also got to use them at night when it got cold and take them home with them at the end of the night!” – I love this idea for a September wedding!
The fabulous images are by Cheshire wedding photographer Paul Kyte Photography. Paul will be joining me at my calligraphy workshop in Manchester on the 15th of January (and there are still places left, so do come along if you can! Details here) To find out more about Paul’s photography visit his website and social pages here:
The English Wedding Blog Interview: James and Sarah
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
We were struggling to find a photographer that was within our budget but then I saw an advert through my work’s intranet from the partner of Paul, detailing his services and as soon as I took a look at his website, I knew we’d found the one we were after. Paul’s classic and vintage style of photography was just what we were looking for and we were so thrilled when he responded saying he was available to photograph our wedding, plus his prices were very good value for the excellent service and end product we received.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
From the very first time I contacted Paul, we received excellent service. Paul responded to any emails very quickly, was more than happy to discuss our requirements as many times as we wanted and was so flexible on the day as well. He really made sure that we had the photos we wanted and we had every confidence in him at each step of the way.
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
We were so excited to look through all of our photos. Paul sent us a photo-film of the day very soon after the wedding and we were so happy when we realized there was also audio with it as we didn’t have any videos of the day. The music that accompanied it was also well chosen.
The photos too were absolutely perfect and very well presented! We knew they would be good quality from the work Paul had shown us before the wedding but there were so many of them and we didn’t have to select our favourites out of them to as we got to keep them all! Paul had captured so many precious moments from the day and everyone we have shown them to has been so complimentary.
The Boat Inn at Erbistock. We had been to The Boat Inn many times during our early dating years (and I had secretly wanted to marry there even before I was proposed to!). We both wanted a relaxed and pretty wedding and that’s exactly what The Boat Inn delivered. The food was incredible and the staff were amazing on the day and so accommodating. I couldn’t have imagined having it anywhere else.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Relaxed, pretty, great speeches, rustic, amazing food and everything we imagined!
Your wedding style or theme:
We wanted a relaxed, informal wedding with plenty of colour and a vintage feel to it. In my mind, I originally envisaged a ‘Thomas Hardy’-style celebration but with our own personal take on the day. We both wanted a summer wedding with outdoor games (and bunting, for me) and good music. I had watched so many episodes of Don’t Tell the Bride before James proposed that I had a good idea of what James and I didn’t want! I poured over many magazines and wedding blogs but really, they all just confirmed what I already knew I wanted so most suppliers were booked after a couple of months in to the engagement!
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
I already knew exactly the sort of wedding that would suit us both before we even got engaged so it was just a matter of finding local suppliers who could accommodate us and our vision. I enjoyed pouring over websites (www.whimsicalwonderfulweddings.com, www.rockmywedding.co.uk, www.etsy.com) magazines and Pinterest but in the end, the supplier’s websites were the most useful.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
If you can’t find what you’re after for a price that’s within your budget, try making things yourself. Not just items such as decorations or favours but even things like your tiara. I made mine myself when I couldn’t find one that fitted my criteria and I was so pleased with the outcome and it is now even more special because I made it myself.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
I’m glad we spent more on our wedding rings. After all, we will be wearing them for the rest our lives! Also, the photographs were worth every penny. We may have been able to find a cheaper deal elsewhere if we’d carried on looking but the end result would have been nowhere near as precious to us.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
There were a number of elements of the wedding where I couldn’t find exactly what I really wanted so decided to make it myself. The stationery was one of those elements; I designed the invitations, menus and thank you cards myself. We have an in-house printers at my place of work and they were able to give me a very good deal.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
As with the stationery, I couldn’t find a dress that incorporated all the elements I was looking for. I knew I wanted a cream, fitted, mermaid shape dress and I wanted it to be simple with a large bow at the back. My mum recommended a local dressmaker and after an initial meeting, I knew she would be able to make my dream dress a reality. It was a little scary not being able to picture the end product after the first few consultations but when it started to resemble a wedding gown, I was so impressed and I was so pleased that I had not ‘settled’ for one I’d seen elsewhere that I would have ultimately been unhappy with.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I didn’t wear much jewellery on the day as I was worried it might catch on my dress but my necklace was a birthday present from James a few years ago. My shoes were Jenny Packham. I knew I wanted gold ones so I could wear them again and were easier to keep clean.
And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?
James and the grooms party wore suits from Debenhams. We agreed that blue fitted our ‘relaxed’ style of wedding and the colour really suits James too. If we had a bigger budget, James would have liked to have had a suit made but Debenhams provided very good value.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
The bridesmaids wore dresses from House of Fraser. I knew I wanted a more vintage and again, relaxed look for them which I knew they would both approve of.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
The bridal party had their hair done at my hairdressers, The Salon in Marchweil. They were so accommodating and did an amazing job with us all. They really made us feel special. Make-up was also done professionally by a friend of one of the hairdressers, Helen Louise Jones.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Our wedding flowers were the biggest surprise of the day and one of my favourite elements of the wedding. They were provided by Wedding Flowers by Laura in Wrexham. I saw examples of the sort of look I wanted on their website but as I’ve mentioned before, this was another time when I was having to describe the look I wanted and I had to put complete faith in Laura and her team to deliver on the day and the end result was so beautiful! I still can’t believe how amazing they were when they only had my description to go on. I am so grateful to everyone there. The whole wedding would have not looked anywhere near as good if I had gone elsewhere for them.
I knew I wanted sunflowers and daisies and a lot of different, warm colours. I didn’t want a colour theme for the wedding to help it look more rustic and ‘oldy-worldy’. I also explained to Laura that I wanted the flowers to look like they had been ‘handpicked from an Autumn country garden’ and I think she really delivered on this.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
The venue didn’t need a huge amount of decorating because it was already so rustic and pretty. My bridesmaid, Helen, made all of the amazing bunting and the team at The Boat Inn did such a good job displaying all the decorations we gave them. I did want to cover the chairs though because they looked a little too modern for the setting but chair covers were so expensive so after some more online research, I finally decided on tying pashmina shawls to the back of them all. I found some really nice, affordable ones on amazon (cheaper than traditional chair covers which I think look very modern) and then the guests also got to use them at night when it got cold and take them home with them at the end of the night!
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
As mentioned before, I made my own tiara which I was so pleased with. It took me 2 days to make but was well worth the effort and I made a huge saving on it. I also decorated the candle jars and vases myself using stickers and glass-etching or gold spray. The wedding favours were party crackers because I love crackers! I put them together myself using some ready-made template card and some patterned paper that I had used for the invitations. I filled them with a pack of playing cards and a lottery ticket. I also drew a personalised ‘Farmer’ sign on an old crate to give it a vintage and personalised look and the main flower display was placed in this.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
I made my own cake. I am experienced in making cakes and I thought this was a good area to save money in. I confess that I did regret that decision on a number of occasions during the run-up to the wedding but in the end, I was pleased with my decision. It took me a long time to decide on what I wanted in regards to the decoration and it took me even longer to make the decorations for it but it turned out very well and I had many compliments on it. I went for chocolate Guinness and salted caramel buttercream for the bottom layer, white chocolate and berry for the middle layer and lemon for the top layer – something for everyone.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
The musician we hired, Michael Mulholland, was brilliant. He travelled quite a distance to the venue but we knew he was the one we wanted as soon as we saw his playlist! James and I love guitar music and Michael had so many songs in his repertoire and we were able to choose not only some of our favourites but some favourite songs for both our families and many of our friends. His style of playing and singing also suited the style of wedding and he performed so well. Michael also acted as DJ in between his live sets and again, was so flexible and accommodating in what he played for us. We couldn’t have hoped for better entertainment.
One of the main aspects for our dream wedding that we envisaged was that we wanted to have country-fete type games there for our guests to enjoy. We found a company from Shropshire called Little Gem FX who provided some amazing vintage games including a coconut shy (my all-time favourite) and they were so pleasant to work with and again, very accommodating. The guests absolutely loved them and were playing them until well into the evening.
On the day tips and advice:
Don’t worry about whether or not your guests are enjoying themselves. I think I wasted a lot of time on the day worrying about everyone else rather than relaxing and enjoying myself. When I spoke about this to a few of my friends afterwards, it appeared to be quite a common issue for brides but unfortunately, I had no warning this would be an issue on the day. I think if I could go back in time and do it all again, this would be the only thing I would do differently – just relax and enjoy every minute. You can supply good food, drink and music but it is ultimately up to the guests to have a good time.
What’s the best thing about being married?
I think for both of us, it is that we now have the start of our own family. I think we both felt this way before getting married but now everyone around us knows ?
Favourite supplier list for other brides and grooms:
Photography: Paul Kyte (www.paulkytephotography.com)
Venue: The Boat Inn, Erbistock (www.boatondee.com)
Flowers: Wedding Flowers by Laura (www.weddingflowersbylaura.com)
Musician/Dj – Michael Mulholland (www.michaelmulhollandacoustic.com)
Vintage Games – Little Gem FX (www.littlegemfx.co.uk)
Hair – The Salon, Marchweil (www.thesalonforhairandbeauty.com)