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Victoria & Stephen’s beautiful English summer wedding in Northamptonshire, with Ben Davis Photography

Warm out there, isn’t it?!! I’m loving how summery I’m feeling this week – and just before I take my little packed lunch to the beach (because I’m the luckiest wedding blogger and it’s like 2 minutes’ walk!) I have this stunning summer wedding to share with you. Beautiful bride Victoria got in touch with me a few weeks ago. She married Stephen last July and chose a quintessentially English theme for their wedding day.

I loved hearing about Victoria’s dress: it was handmade for her by a family friend, along with her mum’s dress and the four bridesmaids’ dresses. Victoria was really involved in the process, and able to choose the fabric (Thai Silk), shape (A-Line) and detailing on her dress. Silk covered buttons ran all the way down the back of the gown, with the top button covered in lace from Victoria’s grandmother’s wedding dress. Oh, and pockets! Her dream dress looks fabulous – as if it were made especially for her – and it was!

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (7)

The ceremony was at the Church of St Kyneburgha, Castor, Peterborough and the reception was in a marquee at The Prebendal Manor House in Northamptonshire. All of the venue decorations were made by hand, the hanging ceiling trellis and the table centre pieces. There are so many wonderful personal touches, I just fell in love with this wedding as soon as I saw the images, by lovely Ben Davis Photography. Ben shoots contemporary documentary wedding photography, and gets a glowing review from our happy couple in the interview below the images. I hope you love all of this as much as I do!

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (9)

 

Wedding photographer’s website:

https://www.cambridgeshireweddingphotography.com/

How did you choose your photographer?

We met and interviewed quite a few photographers before we chose Ben. We wanted to be sure we got on with them, as the photographer is a huge part of your day and you want them to blend in but still be able to capture everything. We looked at his website and when we met in person we went through his portfolio of other weddings he’s taken.

Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!

Yes he was brilliant. He’s approachable, easy to get on with and made us feel at ease on the day. We had to change the order of the day to accommodate a torrential downpour. This meant having the group/family photos after dinner instead when there were blue skies and bright sunshine. I think this actually worked out better and made the formal photos less formal! Ben was great with the change in weather and we still got all the photos we wanted – even two huge group photos!

Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?

They were fantastic. It was lovely to look through and re-live the day again and see it from different angles and different people’s perspectives.

Wedding venue:

Our ceremony took place at The Church of St Kyneburgha in the village of Castor where I grew up and where my mum still lives.
The reception was in a marquee at The Prebendal Manor House, Nassington, Northamptonshire.
Looking for a wedding venue was the trickiest part, we knew we wanted to have a marquee with everything under one roof and no guests being separated by different rooms. If my Mum’s garden had been a tiny bit bigger I think we would have had it there.
After getting quotes from a variety of marquee companies I found Prebendal Manor a Grade 1 listed building in the village of Nassington. Our hired marquee was put up in the grounds. It was a very relaxed, English country garden setting.

Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?

Traditional, English, Countryside, Church, Elegant, Summer, Rain, Rainbows, Wind, Sunshine

Your wedding style or theme:

Our theme was a traditional, elegant English country wedding with a few modern twists.

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (1)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (2)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (3)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (4)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (5)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (6)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (8)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (10)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (11)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (12)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (13)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (14)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (15)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (16)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (17)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (18)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (19)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (20)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (21)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (22)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (23)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (24)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (25)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (26)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (27)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (28)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (29)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (30)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (31)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (32)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (33)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (34)

A quintessentially English marquee wedding with a handmade dress! Photo credit Ben Davis Photography (35)

Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)

Most of our suppliers were found through friends and recommendations. We also went to some local wedding fairs and I went to the National Wedding Show in London (that’s where I found our band). I also researched and googled quite a bit online, that’s how I found our videographer and our reception venue.

What’s your top tip for saving money?

Go through each detail and ask yourself if it’s really necessary. We opted to not have wedding favours and put that money towards a free bar. I’ve been to so many weddings and either forget to take the wedding favours home or can’t even remember what they were. Think of other weddings you’ve been to and think of things that perhaps they did that you didn’t use or notice, could you do the same? We saved money and didn’t have a photo booth or an ice cream van or extras like that but our dance floor was packed all night so I don’t think expensive extras like that were missed.

… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?

I’m so glad we spent money on our wedding band. The dance floor was packed all night.

Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?

The drawings on our wedding invitations, table plan and order of service were all hand drawn by my Mum. It was so personal having something hand drawn and especially by my Mum.
The invitations and order of service were printed in Stamford by Spiegl Press.

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?

My wedding dress was handmade, bespoke to me, by a family friend, Angela Gladwin, who has known me all my life, she went to University with my Mum.
It was the dress of my dreams. Before meeting with her I went to a lot of bridal boutiques and tried on a lot of dresses, I needed to get an idea of what would suit me and what wouldn’t. I went to Angela with some initial sketches and my Pinterest board, a month later she had knocked up a mock of my absolute dream dress. It was exactly what I had imagined. I didn’t want a dress too tight and fitted, that just isn’t me. I didn’t want a huge ballgown but I did want an A-line skirt, nothing too straight and slinky. You only get once chance of wearing a wedding dress and I wanted it to make an impact.
Having a dress made for you means you have to make all of the intricate decisions, choosing the fabric was one of the hardest parts for me. In the end I chose Thai Silk, it was a light fabric, not shiny and still held the pleats of my dress. I had silk covered buttons all the way down the back of my dress, the top button was a lace covered button from my Grandmother’s wedding dress. I had pockets at the front of my dress! They were brilliant, I kept one of my Grandmother’s handkerchiefs in there. The lace on my veil was the same lace that my Grandmother wore on her wedding day 60 years ago and my mum also wore it on her wedding day. It was hand sewn on to a new veil for me. My grandmother passed away 2 years ago and I was very close to her. Having these elements built into my dress I felt she was with me.

Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:

Angela Gladwin, a family friend who has known me all my life, she went to University with my Mum. She also made my bridesmaid dresses and my Mum’s Mother of the Bride dress.

Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!

My shoes were from Emmy, although they were quite expensive they were so comfortable, I didn’t even wear them in before the wedding. I’m tall and so didn’t want heels and for comfort I wanted shoes that I could wear all day and my feet wouldn’t hurt, my Emmy shoes were exactly that.
My diamond earrings were a wedding present from my husband from the same store in London that he bought my engagement ring from.
My necklace was given to me by my grandparents when I was christened, my Grandfather bought it for my Grandmother on her 21st birthday.

And what did the groom wear?

Stephen and his groomsmen wore traditional morning suits. We hired them from Vow Bridal, a local independent shop in the village of Wansford. Stephen wanted a suit different from one he would wear every day and morning suits were the perfect fit with our traditional theme. He wanted to stand out, especially in the photographs, and he couldn’t find a hire waistcoat that he liked. He ended up buying his own waistcoat from Dobell and his own tie and pocket square from Charles Tyrwhitt. His accessorise were some personalised cufflinks and an Omega watch, wedding presents from me. The ushers and best men’s pocket squares and ties were gifts from the groom.

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

My bridesmaids were my sister Alice Lang, Amy Priestley (sister of the Groom) and my university friends Elizabeth Hallett, Ruth Gordon
My bridesmaids’ dresses were also made by Angela Gladwin. I knew I wanted a clean bright colour and I wanted their dresses to be comfortable, but still flattering, nothing they would have to slim down into or find it difficult to move in. I also wanted the style to suit all shapes, the cowl neck back was a lovely detail and with their hair up it looked gorgeous. I also wanted the dresses to be long so they didn’t need to worry about their legs and they could wear flat shoes.

Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?

My make-up was by Rebecca Chantrall. I absolutely loved it stayed on all day and I didn’t need to re-apply. I’ve never had my make-up done that well before in my whole life.
My hair was curled and prepped by my sister and then styled by Rebecca’s friend Jen. I rarely wear my hair up (unless I’m at home) and I feel more comfortable with it down, feel more me. So I went for a half up half down with some flowers in the back. My hair doesn’t really hold curls very well and it was very windy on the morning of the wedding so my curls had fallen out by the evening but I didn’t even notice.

Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)

All of our flowers (my bouquet, bridesmaids’ bouquets, arch above the church, table centre pieces and church flowers) were done by a wonderful local lady called Eileen Lads, who lives in the village where I grew up. She’s in her 70’s now but she’s being doing church flowers for years. I wanted bright Summer colours that would stand out in photos. I’m not a fan of hand tied heavy bridal bouquets, and I wanted something more traditional. I opted for a waterfall bouquet and it was stunning. The mixture of foliage and colours and textures. Using a local florist meant that my mum and I had A LOT of involvement in the flowers, we went to the wholesalers several times to pick and choose and then had to go and collect them. It was completely worth it though and I would do exactly the same if I could do it over again.

General styling – did your venue need much decoration?

Our reception venue was a marquee so it was literally a blank canvas.
We needed to fill the space up high so we hung garden trellis with fresh foliage attached to the ceiling, it was my sister’s idea.
We opted for long tables, every wedding we have been to had circular tables and they all felt the same. We wanted to be different. Our centre pieces were rectangle boxes filled with fresh flowers.
We had a table in the marquee with family wedding photos displayed, dating back to the 1800’s, both my side and Stephen’s.

Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?

Our marquee hanging ceiling decorations were handmade by us. We painted them at home and then onsite at the venue we covered each one with fresh foliage.
The drawings on our wedding invitations, table plan and order of service were all hand drawn by my Mum. It was so personal having something hand drawn and especially by my Mum.
Our table names were handmade by my mum. They were years and photos of Stephen and I at each of those years. We’re the same age and it was a nice personal touch to show us growing up through the years.
We bought two olive trees which were placed at either side of the marquee entrance.
We used ribbon and pegs to create an area where people could hang their hats.
My mum gathered family wedding photos dating back to the 1800’s and we displayed them on a table.
We set up and organised every part of the wedding ourselves, my mum was my wedding planner and she was absolutely amazing. Doing a wedding yourself without a wedding planner is hard work, but it’s also extremely rewarding. The best moments of my wedding as I look back on it now is the few days running up to it. Setting up with my family, putting the trellis together, setting up the bar. At a permanent venue that’s all done for you, and that’s great but it can feel the same as another person’s wedding. Doing it yourself makes your wedding unbelievably unique. There were 3 weddings at our venue this year and all 3 were completely different.

The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?

Our cake was made by a friend of our caterer.
Our cake was 3 tiers, Victoria sponge at the bottom, lemon in the middle and coffee on the top. It was half iced and covered in fresh flowers. The mice that feature in the photos were a cake topper on my Mum & Dads wedding cake. We cut the cake with my Great-Grandfather’s Navy sword.

Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?

We had a live band in the evening, the Blue Lion Band. They were incredible. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough. They played classics, everything from the 1960’s – 1980’s. They tailor the playlist based on the music you like. I found them at the National Wedding Fair in London, they are a national band with members serving different areas of the country. We had the Cambridge group. Our dance floor was packed all night, it’s one of the things I’ll remember most about our wedding.

Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:

On the day you really don’t care what happens, you’re getting married and nothing else matters. What happens will happen and you can’t do anything about it. In the run up to the wedding you’re so caught up with wanting the day to be ‘perfect’ and the crazy thing is that on the day you don’t care if it isn’t. If you’re married at the end of the day then the day went perfectly. And remember perfection might not look like what you originally expected.

What’s the best thing about being married?

Nothing physically changes when you get married but it does feel different. When people ask me what it’s like to be married my answer is that I’m even more in love with Stephen than I was before.

Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:

Photography: https://www.cambridgeshireweddingphotography.com/
Ceremony Venue: http://www.castorchurch.co.uk/st-kyneburgha-castor/

Reception Venue: http://www.prebendal-manor.co.uk/weddings.html
Marquee Hire: http://www.mudfordmarquees.co.uk/
Dress: Hand made by a family friend – Angela Gladwin – http://www.greethamrutland.com/directory/show/angela-gladwin-/
Accessories: Bridal shoes – https://www.emmylondon.com/
Wedding rings: https://www.asquithsoflondon.co.uk/
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Hand made by a family friend – Angela Gladwin
Hair: My sister did half my hair with a lady called Jen who was a contact through Rebecca who did my make-up). Jen did all of the bridesmaid’s hair.
Make-up: https://www.makeupbybecca.co.uk/ (my make-up, all bridesmaids and my mum)
Groom’s outfit: http://vowbridal.co.uk/mens-wedding-suit-hire/
Groom’s Waistcoat: https://www.dobell.co.uk/mens/formalwear/waistcoats/
Groom & Usher Accessories: https://www.ctshirts.com/uk/home
Stationery: Hand drawn and designed by the mother of the Bride | printed by http://www.spieglpress.com/
Flowers: Eileen Ladds (a local lady who lives in my home village of Castor)
Cake: We had our cake made for us by Wendy Lambert (a contact through our catering)
Catering: http://www.beckygcatering.co.uk/
Transport: https://www.peterboroughweddingcars.co.uk/
Videography: http://www.camweddingvideos.com/
Entertainment: https://www.bluelionband.co.uk/

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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