Gemma and Joe had one of those country weddings which look effortlessly beautiful… the flowers and venue styling work seamlessly together, and the atmosphere is of celebration in a relaxed setting surrounded by a wonderful family. I adore their day, from the most heart-melting moments to the finer details. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do!
Special touches include some fabulous ideas: “We hired a vintage sports car for the weekend, which Joe and his brother enjoyed the morning of the wedding. We then drove ourselves to the reception venue and enjoyed some time-out together and we also put it to good use the day after the wedding, driving to the coast, where we sat on the beach and reminisced about the amazing day we had
Images are by Norfolk wedding photographer Benjamin Mathers. It’s the first time Ben has featured on the English Wedding Blog, and I have to say I feel a fool for never sharing his superb photography with you before! His images are amazing: do, please visit his website and find out more:
The English Wedding Blog Interview: Gemma and Joe
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
It was an easy decision, Ben was an old school friend of Joe’s and as soon as we saw the natural, documentary style of his photography we knew he would capture our day just as we imagined.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
We are thrilled with the photographs of our wedding day. Ben and his assistant Jess did the most amazing job. They made us feel totally at ease, keeping the relaxed atmosphere throughout the day. The way Ben uses the light in his photography is amazing and we have some wonderful shots in the fields as the sun was setting. He captured every aspect of our day perfectly. The fabulous vintage photobooth that Ben has made (www.thetravellingbooth.co.uk) was a real hit in the evening too! We can’t thank Ben enough for doing such an amazing job, so many people have said they are the best wedding photos they have ever seen.
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
We were blown away by the photos when we first saw them, they brought back lots of amazing memories of the day and we really enjoyed sharing them with our families, re-living the best day of our lives.
A private farm & barn owned by family friends in Suffolk
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Best day of our lives, surrounded by everyone we love!
Your wedding style or theme:
A relaxed, rural, rustic, country wedding
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Most suppliers were family friends, such as our caterers and florist. Other suppliers we found online. The caterers recommended local pub to come and do the bar.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Enjoy doing what you can yourself and call on the skills of friends and family.
We bought all our wine, Prosecco, pimms and still water from Majestic on sale or return.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
Definitely worth splashing out on the band, they made the evening and got everyone on the dance floor. We also hired a vintage sports car for the weekend, which Joe and his brother enjoyed the morning of the wedding. We then drove ourselves to the Reception venue and enjoyed some time-out together and we also put it to good use the day after the wedding, driving to the coast, where we sat on the beach and reminisced about the amazing day we had. Also, our wedding rings as they are going to be with us for the rest of our lives.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
It was a labour of love! We called on the skills of a friend who had experience of making wedding stationery and after gathering some ideas we spent a couple of evenings putting them together with help from family and friends. We also took a little of the stress out of the process by using a local printers so we just had to do the assembly!
I was lucky enough to win a competition at Newmarket Wedding Fayre and the prize was a table plan by Hayley from ‘The Pretty Little Design Company’. She made a fantastic table plan which matched the rest of our stationery.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Yes! It was the first dress I picked off the rail and even after trawling through many others to make sure it was ‘the one’, nothing compared.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
My dress was by Ella Rosa, from Bury Bridal Rooms, Bury St. Edmunds.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
We are very fortunate that my family’s business is G. Tydeman Jewellers of Stowmarket so we had an amazing choice of beautiful wedding rings and bridal jewellery. I chose a platinum, diamond set wedding ring and Joe chose a traditional court shaped, platinum wedding ring. I chose delicate, vintage style white gold, diamond and pearl earrings and necklace. I also had some customised bridal jewellery made using some of my Grandma’s pearls to make a bracelet with a white gold locket containing a photo of my Grandad. The groom, father of the bride and brides brother all wore gold pocket watches which had belonged to my Grandad.
And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?
Joe wore a 3-piece, navy blue Ted Baker, Lounge Lizard suit hired from Moss Bros.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
A dress maker that myself and my Mum have used for years for alterations made three beautiful full length bridesmaid dresses. We chose a gorgeous duck egg blue fabric and she made them from just a sketch and a few pictures we had found online.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
We had a family friend do our make-up, who was a newly qualified beautician and knew the natural look we all wanted.
The Salon, Stowmarket, my usual hairdressers, came to my parents house the morning of the wedding and did our hair. Lucy was very patient with me as it took me quite a few trials to work out what I wanted! The final style even survived a drive in the sports car with the top down!
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Again, we called on a family friend to do the flowers, Jackie is the mother of the groom’s oldest friend and has experience of doing wedding flowers along with a natural flair for creating the natural, country look we were after. She created the most beautiful hand-tied wild-flower bouquet for me and the bridesmaids had simple gypsophila bouquets. Jackie went out and picked a lot of the flowers and grasses and we asked a local farmer if we could raid his wheat field, which he kindly agreed to! Jackie produced beautiful wild flower arrangements for the large windows in the church. She filled milk churns and watering can we had hired with wild flowers, grasses and corn. We bought galvanized jugs for the table decorations, which were again wildflowers. All of the flowers were blues, purples, pinks, greens and whites. All around the barn were jam jars, jugs and any other vintage containers we could find.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
The 16th Century barn was very rustic and had so much character, we just tried to compliment it with flowers and lighting, continuing the rustic theme. We put coconut matting down on most of the barn floor, apart from the cobbles and dance floor, to give it a warmer feel. We had to hire tables and chairs and luxury toilets. Joe and his bestman/brother hung some festoon lighting between the beams inside the barn, along with a few fairy lights. We found a beautiful vintage candelabra in a bric-a-brac shop which made a fantastic centre piece in the barn. Outside we used our own and our parents garden furniture for seating and hired a small marquee, in case it rained! But luckily the weather was amazing. We hung yet more lights outside along with hundreds of tealights in jam jars and when night fell it looked magical both inside and outside the barn.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
Along with the stationery, we made all the wedding favours which were ours and our families favourite childhood sweets in brown paper bags, printed with our names and wedding day, tied with ribbon.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
The mother of one of my bridesmaids made our cake, we chose a traditional, rich fruit cake, decorated simply with ivory icing, duck egg blue ribbon and a posy of wild flowers. We wanted to keep the cake simple and traditional, we stood it on an old oak barrel and a rustic wooden stand.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We were both keen to have a live band from the off. We searched the internet and found a rock and pop cover band who are also up and coming with their own music, we went to see them live, playing their own music and our decision was made. They were so professional and kept the dance floor full, playing something to suit everyone. One of the band members also played an acoustic set as guests were enjoying arrival drinks at the venue, he was sat playing his guitar on a hay bale outside the barn as we all enjoyed our Pimms and it created a lovely relaxed atmosphere.
On the day tips and advice:
Enjoy every moment, everything will fall into place and even if it doesn’t, you won’t even notice! Take time to sit back, look around and take it all in, before you walk down the aisle, on the way to the reception, during your wedding breakfast and take time out together while your guest are all enjoying themselves.
What’s the best thing about being married?
The start of the next chapter of our lives, looking forward to many more experiences together.
Favourite supplier list for other brides and grooms:
Benjamin Mathers Photography’ – www.benjaminmathers.co.uk
‘The Travelling Booth’ – www.thetravellingbooth.co.uk
‘Smugglers Catering’ – www.smugglerscatering.com
‘The Little Lending Company’- www.thelittlelendingcompany.com
‘Bespokes’ – sports car hire – www.bespokes.co.uk
‘The Morris Agency’ – live band – www.themorrisagency.co.uk
‘Bury Bridal Rooms’ – www.bridalrooms.co.uk