It might be hard to believe but I was never the girl that dreamt of her wedding day…. until about 4 years ago!
I won’t bore you with the details but Shaun and I have been together for almost 8 years, however the first few years were a little all over the place! I went off travelling for what was meant to be a year, came back in 2 months and that was it… We made another go of it! Probably a year on that was the moment I started thinking about weddings and how much I wanted my own!
We had a few years when loads of our friends got married and this fuelled my desire for my very own wedding… So I started pinning….. This was seriously dangerous, as I got sucked into the world of wedding planning but with no wedding to actually plan!!! Anyone else do the same or in the same situation now? Rest assured if you are, it actually really helps when it comes to ‘actually’ planning because you already know what you do and don’t like.
After our rather romantic autumnal dog walk proposal (more on that here) it was time to actually start and this was so much fun! After discussions of when we wanted to get married we decided to go for early July, so had 18 months to plan!! Being the impatient soul that I am, I set straight to work… First thing first I wanted to work out our numbers… We wrote a provisional list of day & evening guests and it quickly became apparent that we weren’t having a small wedding, due to Shaun knowing the majority of Somerset’s population!!
I loved looking at ‘real weddings’ on blogs and found it gave me little extras that Pinterest didn’t! I wasn’t one for wedding mags as I could find everything I needed on Pinterest and blogs, and to be honest I didn’t find my ‘style’ in the mags I came across! The 2 blogs I looked at daily were Rock My Wedding & So You’re Getting Married.
We knew we wanted a wedding in our local church and then a marquee in my parent’s garden. I’ve grown up in the village and we now live here so it was really nice to be able to have it so close to home! I wanted to have full control (control freak) of every aspect of the wedding and found venues can have quite a hold over you to use their suppliers which is exactly what we didn’t want – I must admit, if you’re not up for the full control and don’t want to keep and eye on everything but still want a marquee I would advise getting a wedding planner, or stylist. The one thing I struggled with was not having someone to ensure everything got done on the day of the wedding – I didn’t want to have to think about it – but ended up having to get our parents to just keep a check on things. It did work well and after a few glasses of wine I didn’t really care!!!
I am not very good at dressing up; I much prefer to be underdressed than overdressed, so I knew for my wedding style it had to be simple and effortless. They say you often change your mind on THE dress once you’ve tried different styles on. I always said I wanted fitted and after trying on every style you can imagine, fitted is what I felt most comfortable in! I hoped to source as much as I could for the wedding locally and luckily found my dress in the lovely town of Clevedon. A short walk from the pier is The White Collection: a gorgeous bridal boutique with the perfect selection of dresses. I can say that because I have advised 3 friends to go there (all very different) and they have all come away with THE DRESS! I would even claim that it was the best ‘experience’ too… Lea and the girls are so warm and welcoming and really do make you feel comfortable & special from the start. I wanted my hair and makeup to be natural too. I would have loved for my hair to be down, however my hair just doesn’t like to stay and I know I would have played with it constantly, so chose to have a simple up do, which I loved more as the day went on and bits fell out. I don’t tend to wear big makeup so a little tip ladies “don’t go big on your wedding day if you don’t usually”! I asked Jordan to just emphasise my makeup naturally and I was so happy with the result. I had individual lash extensions for the day so that they would stay for our honeymoon, although I probably wouldn’t have them again! They get so itchy! Hair and Makeup were both big things for me and I had lots of trials for both just so I knew in my head that it was right! I didn’t want to start the BIG day with the stress of not liking my hair and makeup. I wanted to feel amazing and I certainly did! Both the girls came to the house and did the hair and makeup for my mum, my 2 bridesmaids and myself, all of us having trials before the day.
Shaun and I both liked Navy 3 piece suits for the men. We chose to buy the suits instead of hire as in the end the price wasn’t much different! Worn with white shirts, Brown shoes and Blush pink ties, it looked smart and summery. Their button holes were loose and varied like the rest of the flowers. We bought the suits from M&S and ended up buying the ties from Tie Planet, ok these ties weren’t the best quality ties you’ve ever had but they had an amazing variety of colours and were the only place I could find with the subtle blush pink colour!
We didn’t want your usual Wedding breakfast, we’re both foodies and wanted something that represented us as a couple. We’re always hungry after wedding ceremonies, so knew we wanted canapés served with the drinks on arrival so went for 2 Veggie and 2 meat. We went straight in for a funky main of Gourmet Burgers, Triple cooked chips and fruity slaw. Ever since Shaun and I have been together we’ve always made homemade burgers and thought who doesn’t like a burger on a lovely summers day! For dessert we went for Chocolate brownie served with Cheddar strawberries and cream. We had all the food served on Slate. Brownies are something I make a lot and get asked to make all the time. You can get my recipe here. On arrival we had Pimms being served alongside the canapés and had bottles of cider and lager in the back of the tractor for the men!
We wanted something a bit different for our wedding cake so chose to have a tiered pork pie!! Yes you read it correctly pork pie!! It was super fun, stacked on mustard and pickle jars and topped off with a clay figure of Shaun, Ted and I! We had the cake cut and served on the cheese table! It was commented by many that it was the best pork pie they have ever eaten I would have to agree! Super super tasty!! We didn’t officially cut the cake, as we were having too much fun with our guests, oops!!
We hoped our wedding would be one big party so entertainment was a big thing for us! Luckily my cousin runs Tailored Entertainment THE GO TO place if you’re looking for a band/musician for an event! After browsing the site and listening to their repertoire we fell in love with Pop London – they had everything we were looking for and we knew they were the band for us! The band lead is also a pianist so we jumped at the opportunity to have him play for a couple of hours as people arrived and before we sat for food. They kindly set up a speaker and mic for the speeches and I played background music through it during the food – I really wanted to create a fun but chilled atmosphere so played a playlist I found on Spotify called Ambient Lounge and it worked perfectly. It got people ready for the next chapter of the day! If you’re looking for a band that will have your guests up dancing and talking for months then you need Pop London, they were just incredible and if I’m totally honest I didn’t leave the dance floor from the first dance at 8 until 1 am when they finished!! They also did their take on our first dance song as we had a song that we both love but wanted a twist on it!!! We chose Fast Cars by Tracey Chapman which isn’t really a first dance kind of song – but it worked for us.
We had a magician arrive as the speeches finished to transfer everyone from the day event into the evening.. He stayed for about 4 hours so covered the day guests and also as the evening guests arrived. There is nothing worse than hanging around at a wedding so having a magician floating around worked perfectly and the guests loved him. I had hoped to have a characture artist, however with our numbers it was just not going to work but definitely a fun idea if you have a smaller wedding!
Having the wedding at home in my parents garden and the ceremony in the village church we didn’t really have a need for cars as the church is only a mile from the house. However Shaun had renovated his dad’s vintage John Deere tractor for the wedding and used that to get to the church with the best men and ushers. It worked well as we then used the tractor back in the garden to store the cider and lager! A friend of Shaun’s has an old Daimler with a history of the royal family which we have always loved ,he kindly offered it for our wedding. My dad and I travelled to the church in this gorgeous car and the bridesmaids travelled back from the church in it. I liked the idea of Shaun driving us away from the church “JUST MARRIED” so we used his dad’s vintage MG – luckily it didn’t rain otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to use it! But it worked perfectly and in the end we had a lovely selection of old vehicles all looking their very best for our big day!
Flowers were really important to me as I just love them! I wanted something quite loose & natural but elegant and our fabulous florists did just that! We used Trug who have 2 shops, 1 in Wrington and 1 in Wedmore. Tara put up with all my meetings and created our beautiful flowers. I love the feel of Italian weddings and wanted lots of foliage and white flowers with a hint of blush. To be honest I do love all flowers and could of had lots of different styles and colours but neutral is really me and I wanted the wedding to really portray us as a couple and I think we managed to do just that!
I am not a poser, nor do I like my picture being taken therefore having a natural photographer was vital for me! We wanted the day to be captured as if you were there and not in a series of posed pictures!!! I did a little research and came across Joseph Hall, he is based in Bristol and somehow manages to capture the whole feel of the day in his shots and we couldn’t be happier with them! We did chose to have a few ‘posed’ ones but as expected I’m pulling silly faces and much prefer myself in those that are captured naturally. We’re thrilled with our photographs and would highly recommend Joseph to anyone. We chose a digital package as we didn’t really want an album of our pics, and thought if we wanted to create an album for our parents, we could do it at a later date!
Shaun wasn’t too bothered by this so I took full control! I looked at loads of stationary on Pinterest and decided I wanted simple… I had hoped to include blush into the invites, but it didn’t seem to work as I just couldn’t find the right pink… In the end we went for a simple white card with grey writing and sealed the envelopes with a personalised rubber stamp from The English Stamp Company in pink. I also had the Order of Service bound with a blush ribbon, so did still manage to incorporate it into the stationary! All our stationary matched and by the time we made the table plan and table names I had actually found a gorgeous pink card from Paperchase which I used! Kathie our stationary lady designed everything, but we printed the OoS inserts (took a while to get my head round, printing on both sides!) the table plan, & table names. She had the invites and OoS outer professionally printed!
Shaun and I really struggled with table names… Having something that related to us both, which others hadn’t done before was proving difficult… Until I had a light bulb moment!!! Shaun and I are also known as Prawn & Halibut so then I thought why don’t we call our tables fish??? It took a while to get Shaun on board but after a while of him not being able to come up with anything better we went with it! Head table was Halibut & Prawn and the other tables went from Tuna to Crab! Completely mental but it worked and was actually quite fun!
Personally I think you can waste loads of money on favours so tried to do something that wouldn’t cost the earth and would get used… We had Slate luggage tags, which was also the name place. I managed to buy them for 70p each, and used a chalk pen to do the writing! I actually think that’s quite good value for money..
I enjoy making things, especially cushions and bunting, so most people thought I’d have a real homemade wedding! That would have been lovely but I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself… I left all the big things to the professionals but did make a few bits for our day! I started with making direction signs… Oli my brother cut me arrows out of MDF and I painted and stencilled them! They actually turned out better than expected and I got a bit addicted so ended up with all sorts of signs!! I found some really fun quotes on Pinterest which I used. Shaun and Oli also made the bar! We quite fancied a statement bar and with Shaun and Oli being rather handy they set to work and made a true work of art! We had Viking Bars in to run the bar and they attached their equipment to our masterpiece! I didn’t fancy having a guestbook as I felt it would be a dust collector that we would rarely look at instead we had a piece of oak lying around which we had previously used as a shelf and thought what a great idea to get everyone to sign that and then put it somewhere in the house! I stencilled ‘Mr & Mrs Pearce’ onto it and placed it on our card table with a couple of sharpie pens… by the end of the evening the wood was covered in little messages from our guests and we plan to put it up in our downstairs loo… (once built!) It worked really well and would advise it to anyone. I still sit down and read the messages!
Don’t leave anything last minute. I had everything that could be done well in advanced of the week running up to the wedding. We both had the week off and managed to gracefully get the final touches together in that week run up! I had made all my signs, table plan, table names & put the order of services together without getting ridiculously stressed! Don’t get me wrong, that week is stressful regardless and there are always hiccups – we had the wrong colour carpet delivered for the marquee so had to have the right colour delivered the next day which set the marquee installation back a little but it was ok! There are some things you just can’t do until the day or 2 before so leave that time free to do just that! I would also say try not to be influenced by others other than your husband to be.. Everyone has their own opinion on how a wedding should be and actually no one is right – if you both want something have it, you’re not going to please everyone and it’s your day! You don’t want to look back thinking I wish I had done that!!! One thing we did do which worked really well was having selfie sticks on all the tables… I had put those funky stick props on the tables, and from the pictures we got back everyone had loads of fun with them!
Someone said to me: “work out what aspects are most important to you and then budget accordingly” Well that might work for you but the whole thing was important to me so I found that didn’t really work for us so we just got a few quotes and went from there!
Your wedding day is such a special time, and if you’re in the process of planning yours I really hope you’re enjoying it and have the best day ever. Our day went so fast and was super fun, but if you see something in a picture that you want to know more about please let me know! I’m sure I’ve forgotten loads of things, but hope I’ve covered most of it!
P.S. I literally have a board for every aspect of a wedding on Pinterest so feel free to get pinning if you’re a bride to be, you’ll find my account here! Happy Pinning…
Our Wedding Suppliers
Photography – Joseph Hall Photography
Catering – Confetti Catering
Cake – Wilsons Butchers
Hair – G&T Hair, Clifton
Makeup – Jordan Smith Make Up
Flowers – Trug
Stationary – Kathie Wilson Design
Mens suits – Marks and Spencer