Nicola & George’s creative DIY wedding at home, with Damien Vickers Photography
A lovely, creative and relaxed wedding day with beautiful photos – the flowers are amazing, the dress stunning and the moments captured might just bring a tear to your eye (they did mine!)
Nicola & George thought they’d never have their wedding after the uncertainty of 2020 and having to reschedule, as so many couples did. But they pulled through and this amazing day just shows how important it is to celebrate love, with your most special people, in the most wonderful way you can imagine. I love everything about this creative garden wedding, and I hope you will too!
Wedding photographer’s website
How did you choose your photographer?
We were some of the first amongst our friends to get married, so we relied on our own research as opposed to recommendation. After contacting a few photographers, we came across Damien and were sold from the first phone call. It was really important to us to hire a photographer who would capture the narrative of our wedding day, and that’s one of the reasons we loved Damien’s work.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
We couldn’t have asked for more – Damien was brilliant from start to finish, having been due to photograph our July 2020 wedding that got postponed (Covid!) to July 2021. Damien was professional and thoughtful throughout, from initial conversations, to our engagement shoot, to scheduling and rescheduling plans as the pandemic changed everything. On our wedding day itself Damien arrived promptly, and seamlessly integrated himself with us and our guests- it was like having another friend there who happened to be taking photos! His organisation and communication was spot on and the final photos are fantastic too. We would not hesitate to recommend Damien to anyone getting married – he was a faultless photographer!
Tell us about your venue – what made this place special for you?
Our venue was unique as it was in the garden of Nicola’s family home. The garden holds many special memories as it has been in the family for multiple generations, making it an even more sentimental setting for our wedding day. Located in a small Suffolk town, the house is so close to where we held our ceremony (at the town hall) that we all walked up the road together. All of the locals, both friends and people we have never met, lined the street and cheered as we went past. It was an incredibly special day and the setting made it even more perfect.
Did you love wearing your outfits? How was the dress / suit shopping experience?
We loved it! George had his suit made bespoke by Moss Bros, ensuring that it looked exactly as he had wanted it to. This was particularly important as, at 6ft5, he struggles to find suits off the shelf as they’re never long enough!
Nicola ended up wearing a dress that was the opposite of what she had in mind for her wedding day. After going to traditional bridal boutiques, she went to a small boutique in Canterbury (http://www.weddingdresskent.co.uk/) to have a browse. Not expecting to find anything, she went on her own and fell in love with a dress by Wendy Makin that had not been on her radar. It was particularly special that Nicola’s Dad kindly paid for her dress, as he sadly passed away just months later after a short illness. When the wedding day came around her dress was a beautiful reminder of her Dad.
Did you hire a florist? Tell us about any floral amazingness
We did, Barnhouse Flowers and the wonderfully talented Juliet Bamber. Juliet grows all of her own flowers in her wonderful garden and spent so much time and care curating the bouquets and floral displays to our exact taste. As our reception was outside in a garden full of wild flowers, Juliet considered how her flowers would compliment the garden and even integrated some of the garden into her designs. We were so in love with the flowers that we have had some preserved in resin so that we can remember their beauty forever.
Did you hire a wedding planner?
No! Nicola took on the task herself and organised it all independently. Fortunately all of the suppliers were fantastic (particularly with COVID) and this made organising the day much easier. George was in charge of food (Antonino’s Pizza) and Music (The Confidentials) and his taste in suppliers was impeccable, with all of the guests raving about the delicious vegan food and the dance floor full until the final minutes of the day.
As cake lovers here at English Wedding we’d LOVE to know who made your cake, and how delicious it was?
As we are both vegan it was important to us to have a completely vegan wedding cake. Nicola’s generous godmother’s gifted the wedding cake and organised for it to be made by local company The Hazlebury Kitchen. We had three tiers all of different flavours and it was absolutely delicious.
Tell us about any special personal touches, or creative projects you made yourselves
Special personal touches were a huge part of the wedding planning, and an aspect that Nicola put a huge amount of effort into.
Starting with the invites, Nicola asked a local man to draw a map of the town, including the house and the town hall to accompany the official wedding invites. This bespoke drawing fitted the feel of our day perfectly.
On the morning of the wedding, Nicola made each bridesmaid, page boy, and flower girl personalised gowns and gift bags with little presents inside. All of the closest family members also received gift boxes to show our appreciation and thanks for their support in organising the wedding.
At the ceremony, each seat had a candle by The Home County Candle Co., either with their ‘Kent’ or ‘Suffolk’ scent, as this is where George and Nicola grew up. There was also a laser cut wooden name of each guest and a handmade bag of confetti. There were polaroids of Nicola and George everywhere and Nicola made a welcome banner that framed the entrance of the ceremony.
One weekend when we were at a vegan food festival, we coincidentally came across an alcohol company with the same name as ours – O’Donnell. We just knew we had to incorporate this into our day and we used O’Donnell moonshine jars as our table vases and O’Donnell mini shots as wedding favours. We also gave everyone a favour of sunflower seeds hand-stamped by Nicola. Each child at the wedding had a personalised gift bag full of activities to keep them amused.
To remember two important family members who we have lost, we made a wooden heart sign lined with fairy lights. Here we placed photos of our loved ones and lit a candle throughout the day to remember and include them.
Did you personalise your vows or have any wedding readings? What were they?
Nicola’s maid of honour read the poem ‘Invisible Kisses’ by Lemn Sissay. This isn’t necessarily a ‘traditional’ wedding poem but it is so beautiful. We chose not to personalise our vows but wrote each other cards separately to express how much we love each other.
Invisible Kisses by Lemn Sissay (via One Fab Day)
If there was ever one
Whom when you were sleeping
Would wipe your tears
When in dreams you were weeping;
Who would offer you time
When others demand;
Whose love lay more infinite
Than grains of sand.
If there was ever one
To whom you could cry;
Who would gather each tear
And blow it dry;
Who would offer help
On the mountains of time;
Who would stop to let each sunset
Soothe the jaded mind.
If there was ever one
To whom when you run
Will push back the clouds
So you are bathed in sun;
Who would open arms
If you would fall;
Who would show you everything
If you lost it all.
If there was ever one
Who when you achieve
Was there before the dream
And even then believed;
Who would clear the air
When it’s full of loss;
Who would count love
Before the cost.
If there was ever one
Who when you are cold
Will summon warm air
For your hands to hold;
Who would make peace
In pouring pain,
Make laughter fall
In falling rain.
If there was ever one
Who can offer you this and more;
Who in keyless rooms
Can open doors;
Who in open doors
Can see open fields
And in open fields
See harvests yield.
Then see only my face
In reflection of these tides
Through the clear water
Beyond the river side.
All I can send is love
In all that this is
A poem and a necklace
Of invisible kisses.
What was your first dance song? Why did you choose it?
Baby, I love your way – Big Mountain was our chosen first dance song, although George actually ended up missing this and Nicola danced with her friend Hannah instead!!! (George made up for the dancing later). We chose this song as it’s fun and romantic, and the sentiment is reflective of our relationship:
“baby, I love your way, everyday
I wanna tell you I love your way, everyday
I wanna be with you night and day”
How did the pandemic affect your wedding plans? Do you have any advice to share with couples planning their weddings right now?
The pandemic affected our wedding plans massively – originally scheduled for July 2020, we decided to reschedule our outdoor wedding by a whole year to July 2021. As well as the pandemic, a couple we had a really difficult time, with Nicola’s Dad David dying in June 2020 and George’s cousin and best man Elliot dying in May 2021, both unexpectedly. These experiences really highlighted the importance of family and reminded us that life is short, meaning that we were even more eager to get married as soon as we could. The constant uncertainty of COVID and the ever changing rules was incredibly stressful, even down to the week before the wedding…we just thought we would never have our wedding day.
It’s easy to tell couples planning their wedding not to worry, but we know that isn’t possible! But, what we will say is that hindsight is a wonderful thing, and you will have your day one way or another. Avoid the news, keep up to date with wedding rules, and don’t compromise on something that’s important to you – your wedding is a lifetime event and you deserve to have the wedding that you want.
Favourite wedding suppliers
Photographer – Cambridge wedding photographer Damien Vickers – https://www.damienvickersphotography.co.uk/
Dress – Wendy Makin – https://www.wendymakin.com
Cake – Hazlebury Kitchen – http://www.thehazleburykitchen.com/
Flowers – Juliet Bamber at Barnhouse Flowers – https://www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk/members/juliet-bamber/
Hair – Bridal Hair by Jennie – https://www.bridalhairbyjennie.co.uk/
Make-up – Emma B Beauty – https://www.emmabbeauty.com/
Stationery – White Cottage Weddings – https://www.whitecottageweddings.com/
Tipi – The Cambridge Tent Company – https://cambridgetentcompany.com/
Bar – The Beaufort Box – https://beaufortbox.co.uk/