Today’s fabulously beautiful wedding is going to be a favourite for 2016 – I can see it now. The handcrafted touches are wonderful, and I am SO impressed with gorgeous bride Laura’s lettering and wedding signs! (I’m teaching a calligraphy workshop today and seeing people learn to write like this is one of my favourite things!)
Chris and Laura planned their wedding over 2 years: “Having such a long time to plan the wedding had its pros and cons. We had time to source amazing suppliers and spend hours swooning over gorgeous weddings. However, I did get slightly overwhelmed with the sheer volume of wonderful ideas out there.”
The flowers are another huge highlight of the day: “I spent a long time searching the internet for a local florist that created wedding flowers that had a bohemian, unstructured feel to them. Helen from The Flower Mill completely saw my vision for the flowers. They just pulled everything together and were definitely the focal point we were looking for!”
Images are by lovely Derby wedding photographer Jon Cripwell. Discover more of his images here:
The English Wedding Blog Interview: Laura and Chris
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
Funnily enough, me and Jon completed our teacher training at the same time and both work in local primary schools in Derby. By coincidence, we bumped into Jon at a wedding fair and we were so impressed with his portfolio. The rest is history!
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
We were blown away by the quality of Jon’s work and have received so many compliments about them. People have been amazed by the way the pictures bring the day back to life. Jon was extremely helpful in the run up to the wedding which really helped put us at ease!
On the day itself, Jon and Ben were amazing. They went above and beyond to ensure that the day went without a hitch, Jon even texting Ben to make sure that the rest of our wedding flowers had made their way to the venue, and Ben coming to the rescue and ferrying the flowers to the venue in his car! Jon and Ben continued to surpass our expectations and blended in with our wedding guests seamlessly, it really was a pleasure to have them there.
We were a little apprehensive about not having a videographer however we needn’t have worried as the pictures capture our day perfectly and tell such a beautiful story. The photos are breathtaking and we will always treasure the meaningful moments that Jon and Ben managed to capture. We cannot thank them enough and we look forward to looking back at our gorgeous pictures for many years to come!
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
When we received our photos we both sat in silence for about an hour (no mean feat for us)! We laughed, cried and reminisced about our perfect day whilst sifting through the incredible images.
Shottle Hall, Belper
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
A true reflection of the love we share
Your wedding style or theme:
I didn’t have a set theme in mind although I gravitated towards gold and blush tones but with lots of greenery! A family member summed it up as ‘rustic elegance which I think fits quite well!
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
I spent the two years in the run up to the wedding scouring wedding blogs and Pinterest for ideas. Having such a long time to plan the wedding had its pros and cons. On one hand it meant having time to source amazing suppliers and spend hours swooning over gorgeous weddings. On the other hand however, I did get slightly overwhelmed with the sheer volume of wonderful ideas out there. It can make you start to question some of the decisions you have made (cue major dress regret!)
What’s your top tip for saving money?
We were very lucky as our venue was extremely helpful and did not insist on supplying everything. We were able to provide our guests with mini cupcakes rather than canapés, which we supplied ourselves. We were also gifted a cheese wedding cake from my extremely generous previous employers which we were able to serve alongside the entries to our ‘Great Wedding Bake Off’. We asked guests to contribute a dessert to be entered into the bake off. The entries created, what was in effect, a dessert table to have alongside our evening snack of bacon rolls and wedges. These went down a storm (particularly after a drink or two!). We also made all of our own signage and mojito wedding favours.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
We spent a little more of our budget on the flowers. To me, the flowers were such an important stylistic aspect of the day and I wanted them to be a focal point of the décor. I spent a long time searching the internet for a local florist that created wedding flowers that had a bohemian, unstructured feel to them. Helen from The Flower Mill seemed to fit the bill perfectly and during our consultation it was apparent that she completely saw my vision for the flowers. On the day We were blown away by our bouquets and centerpieces. The flowers just pulled everything together and were definitely the focal point we were looking for!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
We were extremely lucky that a family friend had recently started up her own business making cards and stationery. Sarah very generously offered to put a few ideas together and worked closely with us to create exactly what we wanted. Sarah created all of our invitations as well as the menus for the dinner tables. Nothing was too much trouble for her and I am sure that her business will continue to go from strength to strength
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
As mentioned previously, we had 2 years to plan our wedding and I immediately started browsing the internet for my wedding dress. Although I had no intention of actually going wedding dress shopping until around a year before the wedding, I came across a dress on the internet that I fell in love with. I spent several days calling around local wedding boutiques, trying to source the dress.
As luck would have it, one of my favourite local wedding boutiques, Mimi Toko, had it in stock. I immediately set up an appointment to try it on and set off with my mum the following week. When we arrived, the wonderful assistants at Mimi Toko advised me to choose a selection of dresses to try on alongside the dress I had seen on the internet. I chose around 6 dresses to try on. I tried on the dress I liked the least, first. However this turned out to be my favorite! The dress I had seen on the internet didn’t flatter me at all.
As the wedding was so far away I didn’t want to buy the dress there and then. Over the next few weeks, I visited several bridal shops and tried on an array of dresses but nothing compared to the first dress I tried on. I subsequently returned to Mimi Toko with both of my sisters and my mum. As soon as I tried it on everyone burst into tears and I knew that it was the one. I do have to admit that in the run up to the wedding I had major doubts about the dress, especially as more boho style dresses began to pop up on Pinterest and in numerous wedding blogs. I did stick to my original dress as although many a dress caught my eye, I knew that this was the one I felt suited me best.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Essence of Australia, Mimi Toko
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
As my dress was quite plain, I accessorized it with a thin beaded belt also from Mimi Toko . I don’t often wear jewellery and so I only wore a delicate bracelet and my engagement ring. Our wonderful florist provided us with a combination of tiny roses and gypsophila for our hair which was expertly placed by my extremely talented hairdresser and friend, Vicki Spencer,
And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?
Being in the building trade, Chris doesn’t often have to wear a suit and so we were reluctant to spend a fortune on it! We knew that we wanted our wedding to be really relaxed and informal and so a top hat and tails were out of the question. As most people who know us know, Chris is the king of last minute hence the slightly manic rush to source 6 navy blue suits, 3 weeks before the big day! Luckily, Next came to the rescue and managed to find all 6 suits in the sizes we required. They went above and beyond to help us out, even sourcing a suit from their Oxford Street store and having it mailed first class to us. Chris owes them his life (literally! It was his one job!)
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
Being the middle daughter of three girls, there was never any question that I would have both of my sisters as bridesmaids. Although there is about a four year age gap in-between all of us and we can drive each other mad, we are all incredibly close and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend the wedding preparations with anyone else.
Both my sisters wore a blush Coast dress, and both of them looked incredible! The dress was very flattering and the shade of blush was exactly what I was looking for. Our beautiful daughter, Millie, was our flower girl and she wore a custom made dress. Kay, the seamstress from Mimi Toko, was an absolute godsend and offered to make Millie’s dress for me. I had searched for a traditional flower girl dress that had a slightly more contemporary feel but nothing caught my eye. Kay was a pleasure to work with and she made Millie the most beautiful dress. Millie herself declared that she looked like ‘a beautiful princess!’. My two handsome nephews wore navy suits that I found on the internet. The suits were an absolute bargain and the boys looked so gorgeous in them!
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
There was never any doubt in my mind as to who was going to do our hair. My amazingly talented friend, Vicki Spencer, has been doing my hair for a few years now and I trust her style and judgment implicitly. I knew she would create beautiful up-dos and she did just that. I couldn’t have wished for anything better. I absolutely adored my hair and the flowers that Vicki placed in it. It was the perfect balance of being done, without being too done! A professional makeup artist did all of our makeup and after a few tweaks, we were all really happy.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Helen of The Flower Mill created all of our beautiful blooms. During our initial consultation it became apparent that Helen loves weddings and wedding floristry. Her passion and enthusiasm are clearly reflected in her work. Helen really understood our vision for the flowers and when we received our mood board of ideas, we were blown away. On the day itself, we were not disappointed. The flowers were exquisite and we had so many compliments about them.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Initially we decided to do most of the styling ourselves and planned to DIY many elements however due to a slight mix up we had to have our ceremony moved to 12:30. This meant that we would have no time on the morning of the wedding to set everything up exactly as we wanted it and we were reluctant to spend the morning of the wedding in a frantic rush!
After searching for someone to set up the venue, we were pointed in the direction of Charlotte Bennett at Pretty Little Things. Charlotte not only provides on the day set up but also hires out a variety of items. After meeting with Charlotte to discuss our ideas and look at potential props, we were assured that our wedding would be in safe hands. Charlotte was an absolute pleasure to work with and we were so impressed with all of the little touches Charlotte added, some of which she added at the last minute and at no extra cost.
Everybody commented on the styling of the day and how lovely Charlotte was. We cannot thank her enough and a price cannot be put on having peace of mind the morning of your wedding! We also hired giant light up letters of our initials from Mad Philomena which added some glam to the evening shenanigans- They were also gold and so fit in with our colour scheme perfectly.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
Even though we had 2 years to plan the wedding and complete DIY elements it soon became apparent that taking on too many projects whilst holding two full time jobs down as well as running round after a 2 year old, would not be possible. We did end up hiring a few items such as the window table plan, dessert table props, US style post box and large chalk board easel however I was determined to undertake some DIY projects.
We had seen quite a few examples of wedding signs on wooden posts and chalkboards and were keen to have some at our wedding. After a little help from Chris preparing the wood, I tackled the lettering. Armed with a thin paintbrush, acrylic paint and the lettering I wanted on my phone, I shut myself in the shed and set about creating the signs. I was so pleased with the overall result and above all I absolutely loved doing them. I have to admit that I got a little carried away and even did all the table numbers on small blocks of wood.
We also created our wedding favours. We struggled to come across a wedding favour that A. We liked the idea of and B. That wouldn’t break the bank. After sampling a Mojito made by a friend, we were sold. What better than a free drink at a wedding! They were so easy to make (We had lots of fun making them…and taste testing them!) and cost effective.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We both love cake and have a giant sweet tooth. One of my earliest childhood memories is of baking cakes with my Nan, who had it down to a fine art! Luckily for us, my Nan’s baking skills were most certainly passed on to my Lovely Aunty Janet who very kindly agreed to make our wedding cake. We always knew that the cake would be delicious and that my Aunty Janet would pour her heart and soul into making it perfect for us and we were certainly not disappointed! We had a tall, three layer, Victoria sponge cake with an assortment of fillings, including chocolate ganache, raspberry jam and lemon curd (Millie’s favorite!). The cake went down a storm and looked pretty awesome too!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We debated over having a band at our evening reception for a long time but in the end decided that we really wanted some live entertainment alongside a DJ set. We hired The Four Muppeteers as Chris knew the lead singer and had been to a couple of gigs. Although I was a little apprehensive as I had not had the change to go and see them before the wedding, I absolutely loved them! They really got the party started and the dance floor was packed by 8:30pm! I can honestly say that the dance floor remained heaving all night. Our DJ played in-between sets and coincidently was our photographers brother! He played some amazing tunes and we have been inundated with requests from our guests for the bands and the DJ’s number.
On the day tips and advice:
Although this may sound slightly bridezilla-ish, make an itinerary for the day and make sure all key people have a copy. I read about doing this on a wedding blog and it really helped me organize my thoughts and made sure that people did not ask me a million questions on the morning of the wedding. Also, don’t sweat the small stuff! There will be something that you forget but it doesn’t matter- If at the end of the day you are married to the person you love and if everybody that you love has had an amazing time, then you will have achieved your goal! It sounds cheesy but it honestly will be the best day of your life so just enjoy it and take 10 minutes together to soak it all in!
What’s the best thing about being married?
Me and Chris have been together for 10 years, after owning a home together and having our first child, you would think that a piece of paper wouldn’t make much of a difference, but to us it has. Finally, we all have the same last name and there is no doubt that we belong with each other. It has completed our family.
Favourite supplier list for other brides and grooms:
Prop Hire and Styling- http://www.prettylittlethingseventhire.co.uk/