Today’s real wedding is stunning… I do love a good tree. Gorgeous bride Claire and her husband Miles were married in Henley, with the River Thames as the backdrop for their day. The ceremony venue is pretty, welcoming and light. And they enjoyed a boat trip with a proper English pub in the background – pretty much everything about the wedding is perfect for a blog feature!
Images are by Kevin Belson, who told me Greenlands, Henley Business School, is a spectacular wedding venue with its picturesque setting on the banks of the River Thames. The staff were amazing and the beautiful sunny day made it even better, with guests enjoying drinks and canapes on the riverbank by the dock while waiting for the bride and groom to arrive back on the boat.
Discover more from Wiltshire-based Kevin Belson Photography here:
“The main theme of our wedding was to make it as personalised as possible to us. We love cycling, especially through mountain ranges and a lot of our friends share this with us too. So we had a tandem there and the theme ran through all the stationery too.
There were lots of crafts & makes and we loved doing them all! Favours were homemade jams from our allotment – Plum Jam and Rhubarb Marmalade, with labels one of my wing women designed.
I made all the flower jars up with lace and pears for the table displays and my Mum and neighbour Jenny, helped bring the ideas together with how to display them.
Miles and I created all the table names after mountains we’ve climbed and Miles researched the facts behind the mountains so we could add them to the display with some humour behind them.
Flowers – My client supplied cut flowers for us and taught me how to display them. My Mum, mother in law and sister in law helped me to put them together the day before.
The English Wedding Blog interview: Claire and Miles
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
We asked around on a local Facebook forum – ‘Wallingford Pipers’ and Kevins name came up a few times. When we looked at his website, the quality of the photos and the story they told, stood out above all others.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
We were more than pleased! We wanted photographers that blended into the day as well as taking amazing photos. Kevin and Carols work tell a story from start to finish and they draw in on all the raw emotions for all to see. They play with light and created some fantastic arty shots – really creative. We will always be grateful for the quality of their work as well as how easy they were to be around throughout the day.
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
We watched them at Kevin and Carols house – in their studio room, so you really get to see the quality of their work whilst reliving our special day. We were wowed by the quality and the very special moments that were captured. Being able to see what happened to each of us whilst we were getting ready was lovely. There were definitely a few snivels from me!
Henley Town Hall and Greenlands (Henley Business School)
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Personal, huge amount of fun, happiest day of our lives.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Mainly word of mouth!
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Buy items from eBay! Make favours from your allotment, if you have one! Look at what your amazing friends can add to the day too, not only will it make it even more special and personalised but they will absolutely love to help you. Our dear friend Andrea Powell sings in an acapella group – Shiraz. They performed 4 songs for us throughout the service, which was just beautiful. And brought tears to many peoples eyes, especially us! We are also lucky enough to have best friends who own a boat and both our venues were on the river Thames (it did have a part to play in our choice of venues!) and so we decided to make use of their boat on our wedding day – Another very personal moment for us.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
The venue, including the food. The location is beautiful, in the area we love to cycle around and we’re big foodies, as are a lot of our friends. It was perfect.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
The husband of one of my clients designs and prints wedding stationary. He created a cycling theme for us, which we carried through for the invites, the order of service and the guest book. Each table was named after a mountain that we have either climbed or mainly cycled up and Miles wrote some words for the table cards sharing a story about our adventure and a few facts about the mountain itself.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Absolutely! I never had a set idea as to what I wanted but with the help of my Mum and best friend Fee, knew this was the dress for me as soon as I put it on – The huge smile on my face said it all and re-appeared every time I put it on for a fitting.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Heather from Bridalicious in Wallingford, Oxon. Heather was amazing in helping me choose the right dress for me. She selected dresses she thought would suit my personality as well as figure and the venue we were getting married in and she was spot on.
The designer is the House of Nicholas I loved my dress, it felt like a very special part of the day and of me.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
My shoes were also from Bridalicious. They were the Dorothy shoes from Perfect Vintage Shoes. I love quirky shoes and these were just perfect as well as superbly comfortable.
I also had a beautiful Tiara, Pearl and diamante earrings and a Diamante bracelet. All of which complimented the dress in a very subtle way. My dress had crystals and pearls within the bodice.
And what did the groom wear?
Miles wanted a traditional suit but in a modern, fitted style and his blue tails suit from ted Baker was perfect. He purchased his own shirt from Reiss which had a little detailing and unique tie from Moss Bros.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
My bridesmaids were my 4 best friends, whom we named ‘my wing women’ rather thank bridesmaids. They wore exactly what they wanted to wear and what they felt beautiful in. They all looked unique, stunning and most importantly, comfortable as they wore clothes that they choose. They walked in, in front of me and really made an impression.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Hair – Kate Hopes- www.wedding-stylist.com. Amazing lady and made my hair look beautiful – we tried a couple of styles and opted for one Kate created for me.
Sue Parsons. www.sueparsonsmakeup.co.uk – Very natural look, I was so pleased.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Gemini Flowers and Green and Gorgeous supplied the bouquet, button holes, corsages and some of the flowers in the town hall and Greenlands. Gemini flowers is owned by one of my clients and she supplied the cut flowers and margarites and lavender in tubs at trade price. My Mum, mum in law and sister in law helped me to display them in jam jars I’d decorated with lace and pearls, ready for the table displays – another personal touch.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Not really – it’s a stunning Georgian building with it’s own charm.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
My friend, Tina Packer-Wise, makes cakes as a hobby and made us a beautiful 3 tier cake with a winding mountain road of red flowers leading to the top of the cake where the ‘topper’ bride and groom on road bikes was placed. The toppers were sourced from the States – Daryls rock – he makes toppers out of bicycle spokes. They looked great and were very appropriate for us.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
For pre ceremony, the bridal march and reception we had a string quartet called Saffron Strings, which was just beautiful.
We also had something very special for the ceremony, our dear friend Andrea Powell sings in an acapella group – Shiraz. They performed 4 songs for us throughout the service, which was just beautiful. And bought tears to many peoples eyes, especially us! They sung 4 songs; ‘Sentimental journey’; ‘To Know him is to love him’ of which they changed the words to some of the verses to include ‘to know her is to love her’ and surprised us all with the last verse ‘ to know them is to love them and just say I do’! Everybody loved this !!; ‘Grow old with me’ by Tom Odell which they specially put together for us and was just gorgeous and ‘Dream and little dream’.
For the evening reception we had an Indie Rock band. We love Indie rock music and supplied inflatable guitars and saxophones . Everybody rocked it on the dance floor, even those who wouldn’t usually dance like Miles’ dad…. The inflatables got great feedback from everyone and the band even did an extra encore because no-one would let them leave!
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Enjoy every minute of planning running up to the day as it’s all part of the journey.
Take your honeymoon or mini moon in the UK and take all your cards and presents and savour it all week long.
Make it as personal as possible to you both, rather than just a process you’re having to follow.
Relax as much as possible, breathe and enjoy! It goes so quickly!
Include your friends and family – they all have skills and hobbies which can add something to your day.
What’s the best thing about being married?
The declaration of unconditional love, fun and security for the rest of our lives.
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Besides us, as we did lots!….
I think it has to be a tie of 3! Bridelicious for a wonderful bridal gown experience www.brideliciousboutique.co.uk
Kevin Belson photography for providing us with beautiful and moving photos that documented our day and will always give us something very special to look back on www.kevinbelson.com
Steve Kitt videography for creating a beautiful account of our day that we’ll always be grateful for.