Rebecca and Laurence’s pretty English country garden wedding in Gloucestershire, with Unwerth Photography
Hey lovely! I hope you have some lovely bank holiday plans, and you’re making the most of the last day of the weekend!! We’re on our way back from a little Welsh adventure this afternoon, and I’m excited to get back to blogging this week (I have some gorgeous features lined up!) but first – an absolutely beautiful wedding from Gloucestershire which I know you will LOVE!!
Rebecca and Laurence’s wedding took place at St Peter & St Paul Church of Northleach followed by a marquee reception. This was a very relaxed wedding with a Pimms garden party, band, gorgeous venue decor and a cake made by the couple’s friends.
The flowers were a huge joy. My best friend Kate loves flowers and had helped out with another wedding, so she reassured me we could do it ourselves. The ladies who arranged our church flowers were incredibly helpful and kindly agreed to pick up some extra bunches and offered to condition them (very important and we couldn’t have done it otherwise). We ordered blue hydrangea, cornflowers, irises, pink roses and delphiniums and used a lot of greenery from our mums’ gardens. The Friday before it was all hands on deck, me, Kate and helpers making large arrangements and jam jar centrepieces while two more friends laid the tables. We used lavender and rosemary sprigs, freshly picked, on the napkins which gave a lovely scent.
Wedding photographer’s website:
Forums and blogs would have you believe six months ahead is too late to find your dream photographer, but they are clearly wrong! Our date fixed for 1st July – a Saturday – I used suppliers directories to narrow down availability. Laurence picked out Masha Unwerth as one with real artistic talent. It was important to us that we met in person, and luckily we were on time as she was unbelievably professional. I think we both knew from her handshake she was the right choice.
We hoped the photos would be good, but they were stupendous. Masha arrived early to photograph the village, and worked so hard all day. She was serenely calm throughout it all, even having lunch with Laurence’s whole family. Most of the time I hardly knew she was there, but the photos make it look like she was everywhere at once! Every moment was beautifully captured. Masha was honest about the fact she is relatively new to the industry, but at no point did we feel like we were taking a risk. We were so lucky to find her and we can’t thank her enough.
Masha was so quick editing that we were still on honeymoon in Hawaii, and agreed we would look at them together once we got back. But we both ended up sneaking a peak on our phones, then couldn’t keep quiet…we both loved them.
Laurence’s godmother lives near the church of St Peter & St Paul in Northleach where our ceremony took place, and she and her husband kindly threw open their doors to us. Their garden is wonderful and was full of flowers, making a lovely fragrant backdrop to the drinks reception. We hired trestle tables for a banquet style feast of locally smoked Bibury trout and roast Cotswold lamb. Then we stuck a marquee with a dancefloor onto the barn looking out over sheep fields – very Cotswolds – and I put up my red-and-white striped bell tent with lots of fairy lights for a festival touch. My dad Martin did the bar, which had Purity ales and Salcombe Gin and tonics along with wine and bottled beers.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Magical, dreamy, unique, and a classic summer Cotswolds country wedding
Your wedding style or theme:
Going full-on ‘classic wedding’ was the only theme, with a colour scheme of ‘blues’ which evolved over time. Lots of traditional things about the day – the village church, the white dress with a veil, a fish starter – were balanced out by so many friends and family pitching in with personal touches which made it unique to us. The ‘blank canvas’ venue was a lot of organisation, down to hiring in the cake forks, whereas with an established venue the logistics are sorted for you. But once everything was in place it was like the fairies had been, a real midsummer night’s dream. It was a magical day.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Some tips came from other suppliers – they are all in the same wedding field, so ask for recommendations from ones you trust. I found addtoevent.co.uk great for getting quotes for hire based on your date – a real time-saver. The best tip off was a word of mouth recommendation for our marquee company – those are worth listening to!
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Laurence says, ‘Don’t get married!’ After a while you start to see everything in terms of a wedding budget – e.g. a coffee is two wedding favours, a tank of petrol is half a saxophonist – and it does add up stupidly fast. Be honest about what will make a real difference to your day. We both wanted a proper celebratory Champagne, so we chose a good one for the toasts, and had Pimms as a welcome drink instead. Hiring a vintage car seemed silly for a 5-minute trip, so we put a ribbon on my mum’s hatchback. Accept offers of help – one lovely friend made our cake, another did the flowers with me, and all our music came from family and friends. It made the day really personal to have so many people involved.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
With hindsight we’re happy with every penny we spent. It was all wonderful and totally worth it. A last-minute impulse: coffee cups from TheVintageHire jazzed up our table settings. We served our cake for pudding with strawberries and cream, and cafetieres of coffee. It all looked great together.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
We chose our invitations from Papier online, a blue floral design by Matthew Williamson called Pineapple Paisley. Friends with experience had tearfully warned me against making our own, and with work and a part time MSc I just couldn’t face it. I got place cards in the same design and in the end the colours of the invitation became the theme as we matched things to it.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
I didn’t expect to, but I actually did! After a whole day of increasingly frazzled trying-on, Lorna at Luna Daisy in Totnes brought out an unusual dress and it was just right. I wanted something for a more petite frame that I could dance in, and the gown she picked just held me beautifully. I loved the stunning detail on the back, with a more draped, classic front and a puddle train. I’d never heard of the designer but found out they’re a UK bridal company who make bespoke dresses.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Boutique: Luna Daisy, Totnes, Devon
Dress by Estilo Moda
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I wanted shoes I could dance in, and my mum found the perfect silvery leather heels from Spanish brand KMB. They’re so comfortable, I will definitely wear them again.
The morning of the wedding, the best man turned up with a beautiful pair of pearl earrings from Laurence which were the perfect finishing touch.
And what did the groom wear?
Laurence chose a blue Ted Baker morning suit with a peacock lining and a pink silk tie. He looked really smart.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
My cousin was my only bridesmaid, in a blush satin GHOST dress (the cut of their occasion dresses is fabulous), and our niece and nephew were flower girl and ring bearer in outfits from Monsoon and M&S. All three of them did a great job.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
After a trial where I thought ‘makeup is not for me,’ I booked one with Lisa Ellis and it could not have been more different. It was great having someone who could do both hair and makeup and she did both amazingly. On the day, she was a total antidote to all the rushing about, so calm and lovely, and stayed until the moment I left in case of any last minute crying (which didn’t happen – I was worried I’d be emotional but on the day the sun came out and I was just so happy, my face hurt from smiling by the end!).
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Lucky for us the barn had a fresh coat of paint so with the flowers and some fairy lights it sparkled on its own.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
I picked one or two simple things to do myself so I could enjoy them and not get overwhelmed. I made a huge floral chandelier for the marquee (just gyp, wire and an oasis ball) which was beautiful. I also framed some printed table plans with tissue paper and dried petal confetti. My mum and brother’s girlfriend Joann made a set of gorgeous confetti cones on the morning of the wedding with just paper doilies and tape. And of course the flowers were really fun to do.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
A friend volunteered to make it, and we gave her complete freedom on the style! When I saw it I suspected she’d had a crisis and bought one in. It was so gorgeous. We wanted a fresh Victoria sponge we could serve for pudding so it would actually be eaten and appreciated, and it was delicious.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
Our friend Susan, an opera singer, sang in the church while we signed the registers and we had a magnificent organist who played us out to Widow’s ‘Toccata’ – magical. At the drinks my cousin Amy Kakoura, a singer, did a great summer jazz set and after dinner my uncle Toby and his band ‘Bacchus’ gave us some vintage 60s and 70s rock. All ages were up and dancing. My favourite was our first dance, ‘Solid as a Rock’ sung by Ella Fitzgerald. We didn’t do a routine as we wanted it to feel natural and to enjoy it, but a couple of dance lessons helped our confidence enormously and were a really lovely and romantic experience amid the craziness of preparation the month before.
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
We used Paperless Post to send email Save the Dates – free, and guests submit postal addresses online, which you can download as a spreadsheet (and use to track RSVPs, presents etc…essential!)
The Wedding Shop offers free mix n match online gift lists with honeymoon contributions and charity donations in a stylish format.
And finally create a shared Google Photos folder the day after and email your guests the link. No offence to Masha, but one of our favourite photos was taken by a 5-yr-old!
What’s the best thing about being married?
It may sound cheesy but the feeling that when it’s all over, it’s only just beginning.
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Malmesbury Marquees: www.malmesburymarquees.co.uk
Luxury loos – surprisingly fancy, and they deserve a mention! : http://www.jbeventfacilities.co.uk/
Lisa Ellis Hair & Makeup: https://www.lisaellishair.co.uk/
Luna Daisy Bridal: http://www.lunadaisybridal.co.uk/
Papier invitations: www.papier.com
And Masha Unwerth photography www.unwerth.co.uk/weddings