Sometimes the images of a day just speak for themselves… “We raced to the computer, watched the beautiful slideshow and spent the rest of the afternoon sobbing! Needless to say we were quite emotional about the whole thing. The next day we went through a vast quantity of tea whilst going back through them, and we’re still just as blown away.”
Contact and bookings: Rob & Sarah Gillespie Photographers
Today’s is a wonderfully personal wedding, and I love it all the more for being so special to everyone there. “We wanted to enhance the homely feel with personal items and everyday objects from our home. Both our families are hugely important to us, which is something we really wanted to celebrate through our wedding day, so we surrounded ourselves with tons of family photos in every room.”
I especially love the homemade place settings. “Each guest had their own personal place card/menu card which was bespoke to them, and to the table they were sat on. We had two different designs for each table, which ended up being a lot of work but it was so worth it when we started to see it all come together. For example guests sat on the Lake District table had either a personalised Beatrix Potter book or an Ordnance Survey map!”
The English Wedding Blog Interview: Lyndsey & Dan
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
We loved the photos on our venue’s website, which once we started looking properly we noticed at all of our favourite ones were taken by Rob & Sarah. After that we looked at the suppliers list that Pendrell Hall had pulled together, and spent a good week or so looking at all of the websites alongside a few others we had scribbled down from wedding magazines. We had a pretty clear idea of what kind of photos we were looking for (and even clearer of what we didn’t want), Rob and Sarah ticked every box for us. We then popped round to their house for a lovely cup of tea and a natter, and realised that we had found our photographers!
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
Definitely! All the way through the lead up to our wedding Rob and Sarah were lovely, and full of fantastic advice which really made a difference to our day. We felt totally confident to go with whatever they suggested, and felt that we could totally trust that they would make great calls on the photos for us. We love the relaxed approach that runs through both Rob & Sarah’s way of working and you can really see that in their photographs too. Our engagement shoot took place in the pouring rain and yet we still had such a laugh doing it; the photos came back beautifully so we were confident if they could pull off a shoot in the pouring rain, they could do anything. They didn’t even bat an eye when Dan had a nasty accident 1 week before the engagement shoot and turned up with 27 stitches in his face!
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
If we’re honest we weren’t expecting an email from Rob quite so soon, so it caught us by surprise one weekend. We raced to the computer, watched the beautiful slideshow and spent the rest of the afternoon sobbing! Needless to say we were quite emotional about the whole thing. The next day we went through a vast quantity of tea whilst going back through them, and we’re still just as blown away.
Pendrell Hall, Codsall Wood, Staffordshire
Wedding month: September
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Emotional! Elegant, relaxed, family orientated, full of love
Your wedding style or theme:
We fell in love with Pendrell Hall the moment we walked through the door and felt very much at home – whilst it’s a stunning venue that needs little to no decoration we wanted to enhance the homely feel with personal items and everyday objects from our home. Both out families are hugely important to us, which is something we really wanted to celebrate through our wedding day, so we surrounded ourselves with tons of family photos in every room. We had a relaxed, homely feeling where everything meant something very special to us and provided guests with lots of talking points and happy memories to share.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Mostly via the great recommendations area of our venue’s website. Pendrell Hall have setup a great wedding planning area of their website which becomes available to you once you book with them, and their suppliers pages are really useful. To know that a venue we love feels that they can trust suppliers enough to recommend them was a great sign for us. However, that doesn’t mean we just booked from that without any more research – we also cut our huge numbers of adverts from wedding magazines to come back to, and spent a good amount of time on the sofa with the iPad checking through supplier websites to shortlist our favourites.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Don’t spend huge amounts on things that you don’t feel are important to you! We really didn’t feel inspired by wedding cakes at all, and ended up going with one from M&S which was delicious and fitted in really well with the dressing of our venue – at about a third the price of a number of other cakes we had looked at.
We’d also say don’t be afraid to do things yourself. We made all of our own stationery which meant we could personalise it down to the smallest details, which really showed on the day. It also saved us a huge amount of money; we dread to think what it would have cost us to buy everything we managed to achieve ‘professionally’!
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
The photographs! The day itself is wonderful and so happy, but you can’t put a price on being able to look back over the photographs of you and your guests, all the little touches you put so much time into but never got much change to appreciate for yourself. And the videographer; hearing the speeches again and remembering all the jokes and tears. Whatever means the most to you, try and have the best you can for it – you won’t regret it.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
We made our stationery ourselves, with help from family. The save the date card was a simple flow chart drawing then photocopied onto card, but it was so effective. Our invitations were mini photo albums, with William Morris lining paper (inspired by a room at Pendrell) and pages of pictures of us complete with photo corners, setting out the invitation to the wedding. We made a little card with a map and address details, taxi numbers and accommodation details which we clipped to the inside cover as a handy pull out to bring on the day. It was hard work and time consuming but we knew exactly what we wanted and being quite creative, we thought it easier to make ourselves – and we were very proud of the results.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Yes absolutely – it took 4 boutiques and around 30 dresses to find the one. I’d spent ages trying to whittle down dresses until I found what I was after and at one point it seemed I couldn’t find the style I wanted, but then the final store had a Maggie Sottero range that was perfect. As soon as I slipped it on, I knew it was right even thought I could only see my head and shoulders in the dressing room mirror and I thought I’m going to marry Dan in this dress. I stepped out and my family all just nodded and welled up which confirmed for me what I could feel, and then seeing it full length in the mirror was such a wonderful moment – it looked just as I’d wanted it to.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
My dress was Francine by Sottero & Midgely, and from Wedding Belles of Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield. I went for the light gold slip and low back version to highlight the lace pattern on the back. It felt so comfy; light and easy to move, sit and dance in – and the compliments from our guests on how different and elegant it was were lovely to hear. Mel and Claire at Wedding Belles were fantastic, so lovely to work with – calm and professional and took care of everything ensuring plenty of time to get alterations done and looked after the dress until the day before the wedding for me to ensure it was perfectly pressed.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I’m not big on accessories or anything too shiny and blingy, so kept it simple with a hair vine clip from Debenhams just for some added sparkle in my hair. I adore shoes but given we’d booked an incredible jazz band for the evening and planned on dancing all night, I went for some low heeled lace courts from Pink by Paradox through Debenhams and in honesty, you barely see them anyway under the dress so I’m pleased I wore something comfy in the end! The only other jewellery aside from my engagement ring was a pair of drop pearl earrings which Dan gave me as a wedding gift, they matched my dress perfectly. I cried when he gave them me!
And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?
Dan decided that he wanted to treat himself to a tailored suit – if you can’t spoil yourself for your own wedding then when can you? After a lot of research he decided to go with King & Allen, a tailors based in London, who were absolutely fantastic. After spending hours making sure that the cloth and silk for the suit were just perfect and getting the most detailed measurements they made a suit which was nothing short of perfect. Going bespoke also meant that the suit could be completely personalised, including the decision to have the wedding date stitched into the jacket. Lorna at the Liverpool Street office was a dream to work with, and really understood what Dan was looking for from the suit and made us both feel really comfortable and welcome whenever we popped in.
The rest of the boys wore the Genoa chocolate suit from Formal Affair in Tamworth, which toned in perfectly between Dan’s suit, Lyndsey’s dress and the Bridesmaids.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
Our four lovely bridesmaids wore dresses by Dessy, in Moss. We planned to have four different shades of green for the girls, but it was hard finding the right shades to then match myself and the boys. We’d fallen in love with the autumnal Moss colour anyway, so then let the ladies pick their favourite dresses from the collection – ensuring they were comfortable and happy with the dresses was a top priory.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
We went with a mixture overall – my hairdresser (Shelly Vollrath, owner of Reflections, Tamworth) did my hair at the salon first thing and then we all piled over to Pendrell to get ready upstairs together. It was important to me that the ladies were to feel as much like themselves as possible so gave them free reign really with their hair and makeup, and they looked beautiful. They did their own make up and some of the bridesmaids did their own hair and a couple had a assistance with their hair from my ‘wedding day fairy godmother’, Charlotte Trevis. Whist I was happy to do my own make up, I worried I would get jittery on the day and make a mess of it, so I was so grateful to have Charlotte to do my makeup and then assist me with getting ready, ensuring everything was perfect before I walked down the aisle.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Fran and Sarah at Big Little Things looked after our flowers, and were a delight to work with. When we first met them they seemed to totally understand the aesthetic and atmosphere that we were looking for the flowers to achieve – quite relaxed but fantastically elegant. They hit the nail so firmly on the head, mixing up some of our own glassware along with theirs to achieve beautiful clusters of flowers throughout the venue, based around our key picks of orchids, lilies, cala lilies, hydrangeas and ornamental cabbages.
Lyndsey’s bouquet was a stunning waterfall of orchids, which Dan matched with an orchid buttonhole. The bridesmaids and flower girl carried hydrangeas, which then became integral to the flowers on their table for the wedding breakfast.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Pendrell Hall is such a beautiful venue that we really didn’t want to overcomplicate it with decoration and dressing. Our aim had always been to accentuate the richness of the wooden features of the venue, which we did with the flowers, picture frames and trinkets from home like Dan’s old film cameras and piles of books. After that we wanted the venue to sing for itself; after all we fell in love with the place when we saw it empty!
That said, we threw everything we had into dressing the tables for the Wedding Breakfast…
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
We made all of the wedding stationery ourselves, including everything which we used on the day. We made individual ‘Order of the Day’ booklets for the guests so that they knew timings, some of the things to be looking out for over the day, and who the key people in our wedding party were.
We really wanted to personalise our guests’ experience, so really went for it for the wedding breakfast. Each guest had their own personal place card/menu card which was bespoke to them, and to the table they were sat on. We had two different designs for each table, which ended up being a lot of work but it was so worth it when we started to see it all come together. For example guests sat on the Lake District table had either a personalised Beatrix Potter book or an Ordnance Survey map, Shakespeare’s Globe had sun hats and theatre tickets and the National Portrait Gallery table all had portraits of themselves in different artistic styles.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
If we’re honest the cake was the part of the wedding we were least inspired by for some reason, which is really strange as we both love a piece of cake! We plumped for Marks & Spencer ‘traditional wedding cake’ which we customised with fake flowers which matched Lyndsey’s bouquet. The cake went down a treat and there wasn’t any left by the end of the night – so we’ll take that as a sign that everyone enjoyed it.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
Dan’s sister is a professional musician, and helped out hugely with arranging music for the day. We booked her string quarter, the Méliès Quartet from London, to play pre-ceremony, during the ceremony and for the drink reception. Laura did an amazing job of creating bespoke arrangements for quartet of music ranging from Vivaldi to Sigur Ros.
We did have a surprise as we came into the room for the Breakfast as Laura had grabbed her instrument and swelled the numbers to a quintet to play Friday I’m In Love by The Cure as we were announced into the room – a real unexpected treat!
In the evening things got a lot more jazzy, as we threw the dancefloor open to the sounds of the Hot Jazz Biscuits. We spent quite a while researching bands to find the perfect blend of jazz and pop sensibilities, and were delighted when we found the Hot Jazz Biscuits – who obviously had their standout name working in their favour too as we could always remember which ones they were! The dancefloor didn’t stop moving from the first dance right through to the last song and we had so many guests telling us how good the band were at breakfast the next morning.
On the day tips and advice:
Keep calm about things and trust the team of people who you’ve got around you to help make things happen; make sure your Best Man and Bridesmaids get to know your venue staff and photographers so that they can do the running round to make things happen whilst you enjoy yourselves!
What’s the best thing about being married?
It is mainly when talking to other people, referring to each other as ‘my husband’ or ‘my wife.’ Life continues on happily, but now we get post for Mr and Mrs Feeney, which is still really exciting!