Beth and Jez’s insanely beautiful, creative & DIY wedding, with Damien Vickers Photography
Happy Sunday everyone! So today… a relaxed and fun wedding from last summer, with a joyful vibe and a brilliant interview from our lovely bride and groom. Beth and Jez are GORGEOUS and then some – and I adore Beth’s skirt and top, she looks amazing! The story of their day makes a fantastic read (thanks Beth!) and I only wish I knew more about the He-Man and Monty Python references in their ceremony… which gives you a flavour of how entertaining and awesome this day really was!
I’ll leave you to scroll happily through the images by Damien Vickers Photography, with words by beautiful bride Beth.
Wedding photographer’s website
How did you choose your photographer?
We had a definite style of photographer in mind, we didn’t want the photos to seem staged or forced as we had seen in a lot of other wedding photography in the past. It was clear from Damien’s photography that he really captured the personality of people and his images and the people being photographed looked relaxed.
We had a small wedding so someone with a personality that blended with ours and our friends was a big factor too – we met 3 photographers in total and Damien’s easy to get on with personality really shone through, we felt like we had known him for years within a few minutes of meeting him.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
You won’t hear a more shining review of a photographer. He was just brilliant.
Our wedding party was small, but consisted of some big personalities so we needed someone who could take charge without being a burden, but also who would get along with our friends and family and ‘blend in’. Damien was the perfect guy. He is chatty and easy to get along with and everyone at the wedding loved him. He became part of the wedding posse without losing his professionalism or focus.
He planned with us ahead of the big day the key shots we wanted to capture and made sure to tick them off, but made it fun and didn’t spend ages faffing as I have experienced with other photographers. He also got us used to being in front of the camera by doing a practice shoot before hand, which really helped to relax us on the day. He also travelled the 3 hour round trip out to our wedding venue the day before to capture the setup and explore the grounds for the best lights/shots for the following day, which also helped him get to know half of the wedding guests.
He blended into the background when he needed to to get some perfect personality reflective portraits, but also helped to organise the day and the people and was actually a huge help on the day! The pics of just the two of us were a lot of fun to do and Damien was there to throw ideas at us which were definitely reflective of capturing Jez and my silly sides – our favourites being the jumping and ‘streetfighter’ pics against the wall, and the trampoline was hilarious! But he also captured some of the more romantic pics without it feeling staged or uncomfortable..
It was so exciting when we got the pics through and we were able to relive the day (and the lead up to it) through them – they were just so perfect and full of personality and vibrancy. Our friends and family have got numerous ones printed and our house is now riddled with them, I always said I wouldn’t be ‘one of those people’ but they didn’t feel like typical wedding pics as they were just moments shared with our nearest and dearest and captured so perfectly.
If ever we’re in need of a photographer for any future events it’ll be Damien we call.
Videographer details if applicable – and any thoughts for other couples about having a wedding video?
We didn’t have a videographer – and I think that was more to do with the size of our wedding and feeling as though a ‘video crew’ would have been a bit much…if I could do it all again? I’d probably do it – thankfully we had our friends record the speeches which we cherish 2 years on, but we never captured our rather quirky vows or our first dance, and that is a bit of a regret. My advice? If you’re not open to a videographer then maybe ask individual friends to record some of the key moments of the day.
I am just so grateful that Damien captured so many awesome pics throughout the day!
Tell us about your venue – what made this place special for you?
Ahh the venue – and how the other half live. We hired a grand old hall in a pretty little village called Mears Ashby – it wasn’t marketed as a wedding venue (I actually found it on a large house lets site) but because our wedding party was so small (32 guests) we needed a venue that didn’t swamp us and our friends. We fell in love with its eccentric interior, but also the addition of an old stone garage, vintage recently renovated greenhouse – perfect for the sit down meal (although you needed the vision for that!).
We also wanted a house that we could sleep us and a reasonable bulk of our friends in. This was a DIY wedding, with a bunch of our friends having their own responsibilities for the days leading up to the wedding – so we needed time to set up and pack up…but also allow some of our guests to get to know each other ahead of the ‘big day’ and to reduce the rush and stress of a typical wedding day. We had experienced weddings that took a similar approach, and found that by the wedding day guests were far more relaxed around each other.
The venue was not without its dramas, which added a level of complexity to the planning – but it all came together in the end…thanks to our friends! The house was by far the biggest expense for the weekend, but definitely worth it.
Did you love wearing your outfits? How was the dress / suit shopping experience?
I really struggled to find a dress actually – I wasn’t looking for the traditional white dress…I had witnessed too many of my friends crowbar themselves into something that they looked utterly gorgeous in – but that ultimately they would never wear again and that was off at the earliest opportunity for, something they could ‘breathe in’.
I trawled Pinterest for a classic dress that looked comfy but elegant, and ideally something I could wear again…I was continually drawn towards a full length skirt by a designer called Carol Hannah, an American designer, but it was nearly £3,000! I had more like £1000 in mind as a budget. I started to feel disheartened and couldn’t find anything from designer stores that felt like they were me. Then my sister discovered that Carol Hannah has a more consumer based store and I found a 3/4 length version of the skirt I had fallen in love with – the Kensington Shortie (https://shopcarolhannah.com/collections/skirts-and-tops/products/kensington-shorty) and the complimentary t-shirt. I wavered on getting it as I had to order from the US and had no way of knowing if I’d actually like it – I was also caught out by customs tax (be warned!) which bumped up the price significantly. It was way too big when it turned up so my heart sank, but I took it to my local seamstress and for a mere £20 it was the perfect fit – I was finally smitten!
My husband had a far simpler experience – we live in Cambridge and so visited a local classic tailer (https://trotteranddeane.co.uk/) where he had picked a classic cut blazer and waistcoat. He paired this with one of his favourite white shirts, his favourite pair of jeans (yes jeans!) and an old favourite tie. Simples – he looked amazing.
The key thing was that we were both comfortable and felt ourselves throughout the day as a result…although my Kurt Geigers were exchanged for a pair of orange vans at the nearest opportunity!
Did you hire a florist? Tell us about any floral amazingness
I actually (cheekily) got all my flowers for £50 in the end! Let me explain…I didn’t think I could afford a florist after looking at the cost of hiring one. And so I had it planned that I would do it all myself…but the nearer the day got the more I started to panic. I took to Facebook marketplace and stumbled across a listing for a woman who offered floristry near where our wedding venue was (https://www.facebook.com/The-Flower-Company-Of-Irthlingborough-1793393070967300) – she was beyond brilliant and went above and beyond with the trial runs and catering for what I had in mind. The reason I got such a steal was that I made a deal to create her a website in exchange for the flowers – I’m still waiting to get the content for that site – I’ll still do it Jenny if you’re reading this, I owe you!
Did you hire a wedding planner?
I was the wedding planner, and my friends were the helpers! I am an organised person and had spreadsheets and planners coming out my ears. I am just so grateful to all our friends that were roped in to helping out – we couldn’t have done it without you. My now husband had the power of veto…would I recommend that approach to other brides…only if you have control freak tendencies! It wasn’t without its stresses, even with such a small party.
As cake lovers here at English Wedding we’d LOVE to know who made your cake, and how delicious it was?
Again, this being a DIY wedding I roped in the help of a friend who was an incredible baker – god love her I lost count of how many trial runs she did for me. But the end product was both delicious and beautiful. And all the more special for the fact that my friend had made it for us – thank you Jennie, you were amazing!
Tell us about any special personal touches, or creative projects you made yourselves
Most of the day was personal touches or reflected our personalities. I am a designer by trade so I was keen to put our stamp on it and try to tell a bit of a story with what we did. From the ‘find your face’ placenames, to the ‘The Bezjeth love story didn’t start with a salad sign’. The day before we turned up to the venue in a thunder storm and a garage in disarray – our friends pulled together and we made it our own. Damien capturing moments of the setup (he had travelled out for the evening just to capture these moments and get a sense of the venue – again capturing some really special moments) and the stages of everything coming together, laying our the furniture, folding the napkins, setting up the ‘booze stations’, etc. With the finishing touch being Jenny delivering our beautiful flowers and table decorations. I was super happy with the end result. Our ‘wedding favour’ was basically free booze for the whole day for all our guests – something we knew our friends would enjoy. By the end of the night people were drinking Bollinger from old tin mugs – we’re just that kind of classy.
And finally our ‘wedding DJ’ for the day was our 6 month pregnant gorgeous friend Kristina (aka Toddy) who had taken on the persona of ‘Todigy’ for the evenings events, her partner had designed flyers and posters that he handed out to guests and the tunes were rocking and exactly suited to our tastes – it was perfect! We concocted a DJ booth out of an old wooden bar at the venue and all of my husbands KRK speakers – we played until the speaker blew (literally!).
Did you personalise your vows or have any wedding readings? What were they?
Indeed we did! We had actually done the ‘legal bit’ a week before so that on the day we shared with friends and family we weren’t constrained by the usual legal requirements. We had our friend Shahid conduct the ceremony and worked with him in the weeks leading up to it to take the traditional vows and sculpt them to be our own…I won’t share all of them as I feel the humour may be lost on some people …but we managed to work Monty Python and He-Man references in there…as well as a look back over some of our experiences together over the last 11 years…but I’ll leave those out as I feel them only understood by the people who know us best!
I will say that it was a lot of fun to be given complete creative freedom on them though – and it kept our guests entertained throughout!
What was your first dance song? Why did you choose it?
Haha, well we chose a song by ‘Flight of the Conchords’ called ‘Most Beautiful Girl’…sounds romantic enough but those of you who are familiar with this song will realise it’s probably anything but. But it played to mine and Jez’s personality, and as you’ll see from the pic Damien captured Jez got to ‘do his moves’ in front of all our friends. A very special moment for all involved! The last thing we wanted was a song we simply swayed back and forth on – we would have felt very uncomfortable.
Favourite wedding suppliers
Photographer – top of our list! He did such an amazing job of capturing our special day (and more!) and made us feel completely at ease throughout the day – http://damienvickersphotography.co.uk/
Florist – such a wonderful and talented woman whose photos on her facebook page don’t do her justice – https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Florist/The-Flower-Company-Of-Irthlingborough-17933930709673
Food – we actually went for the informal Texan BBQ approach, but the quality of the food on the day was comparable to (and better than) a lot of weddings I’ve attended, and the service provided in the lead up was simply amazing https://www.smokeyardkitchen.com/
Dining furniture and equipment – great for that vintage look and feel https://www.classiccrockery.co.uk/
Venue – Mears Ashby Hall which appears to have changed its name…perhaps because this is not a venue without its complications – not for the faint hearted – https://ladyhamhall.co.uk/