Tim and I first met when we were 12 years old – we used to write letters to each other at school! We then lost touch until our mid twenties, when our lovely friend, Hen decided we should ‘meet up again’ in the summer of 2006. Five years later, Tim proposed. We got married in a village called Gt. Horkesley, near Colchester on 3rd September 2011… the hottest day of the year! My family have always lived in the same house, it’s where I grew up, so is a very special place to all of us. It really was the perfect setting for our big day. We both love wine, especially Tim. So we decided to name the tables after our favourite types – from Malbec, to Rioja to Savignon Blanc.
It took me a while to make a final decision on my Wedding dress. Eventually I found Louise Selbywho combined many parts of different style dresses that I had liked, and designed something bespoke for me. She really understood what suited me. Her specialty is using lace within her designs and as I have always loved lace I wanted it to be the main feature of the dress.
Tim was keen to wear a traditional morning suit – especially as he already owned one. He had a large team of ushers and best men and as a gift to them he bought them waistcoats, blue socks and blue ties to fit in with the colour theme.
Tim and I both loved organising our wedding, as all we really wanted was to put on a great party for us to enjoy with our family and friends. We had about 9 months to plan, which we felt was plenty. One of best parts was doing the table plan, working out which of our friends would enjoy sitting next to each other. I remember looking across the marquee during dinner and looking at everyone having so much fun chatting away.
Our photographer Jojo was recommended to me by a friend. She was fantastic. Not only did she meet up with Tim and I a few months before to take a few practice shots (which were lovely), she also acted as an invaluable extra advisory / pair of hands / timekeeper on the day. A few weeks after our wedding, she popped round with five of the most beautiful albums, all full of the photos from the day. This is such a nice touch, as not every bride gets round to doing these herself – I know I wouldn’t!
My Mum has always been into gardening, so is totally in the know about flowers –this was a fun part for us to do together, as she knew just what I would like! I had quite a few freesias in my bouquet, as they smell amazing.
As I had a younger bridesmaids, I didn’t want to dress them in something they felt self conscious in. I wanted them to feel relaxed on the day, so a cute summer dress and wedges seemed to be the answer.
My piece of advice for future brides planning their big day is to book in the big things when you can (venue, photographer, caterer etc)… then you have time to relax and enjoy the creative side of the day. My Mum and I had lots of fun collecting bits to decorate the marquee – from wine corks (used to hold place names!) to ribbon and fairy lights. Don’t get too caught up on the smaller details – they begin to add up, and can often go unnoticed.
We used the idea of a ‘favour’ to act as the mechanic for the table plan. Going along our theme of wine for the table names, each guest received a mini bottle of Champagne (although not technically a wine, the name for the top table had to be Champagne!), and on it had a label that directed them to their tables.
We wanted a simple and delicious Wedding Cake so we decided on three stacked layers of carrot, chocolate and Victoria sponge cake.
For the drinks reception, we had a steel band. As we got engaged in St. Lucia the sound has very special memories for us! For after dinner we had a brilliant band who really did keep everyone dancing until the end of the night.
I have so many amazing memories of the day. I am just so glad we had our fab photographer to capture them all. Driving away from the church in a gorgeous old style VW camper van and to actually really enjoying our first dance, when we had spent months dreading it, really stand out.
Laura’s Three Top Tips:
1. If you have a friend who is a good photographer, ask them if they wouldn’t mind taking a few extra snaps – we had one friend who took some great black and white shots of lots of our guests… something a wedding photographer may not always have time to do.
2. Always hire in a small amount of umbrellas, the irony is that if you do the sun will more than likely shine!
3. And finally, on the day, find a time to step aside with your husband and take it all in – the day has a tendency to fly by and you’ll be glad to have had that moment together, as it really can be surreal knowing everyone is there for you!
Suppliers: Dress – Louise Selby, Veil – Borrowed from my best friend, Shoes – Miu Miu, Flowers – Anne Goldshcmdit, Make-up – Sophia Spalding, Bridesmaid Dresses – Monsoon, Cake – Melanie Webb, Sugar Bees, Suffolk (01787 311425), Photographer – Jojo Snelling, Marquee – Chelmer Marquees