(The miniature gin bottles were gifted so if that kind of thing grinds your gears, probs don’t read the rest as this is quite a gushing post and you might get more annoyed)
Before we get married, I was dead set on doing a whole wedding series on the blog here. What we ate, what we wore, what happened – the whole shebang.
Over a month later and I’m just getting round to writing it for the first time and I realise that there’s so much to go into.
For now, I’ll just share the details of the day!
This post is suuuuper photo heavy and I’ve linked all of our amazing suppliers and bits and pieces as I go. So I suppose there’s only one place to start.
It was the morning of the 7th September 2019…
My sister, her partner Damien and I drove from the bnb we were staying in to Ben’s family home, aka the wedding venue, to get ready.
When looking for wedding venues, we couldn’t find anywhere local, or within budget, that would capture the intimate, friendly and laid-back vibe we wanted our wedding to have. When Ben’s parents suggested we could use their garden and have a marquee scenario that we could totally make our own, we were so excited.
My sister, Ben’s sisters, Damien, Taylor and I, camped in the outhouse where Ben’s mum had adorably made ‘getting ready stations’ equipped with light up mirrors, breakfast and a fridge full of drinks.
Taylor was a last minute, ‘I should probs have my make up done for the wedding’, find and did all of our faces in record time. She was also wonderful to chat to and her calming presence really eased my nerves.
I first met Taylor at a Blogosphere event aaaaages ago so when I was at a loose end for an MUA, she was the person I ran to.
In tandem with Taylor doing our makeup, my sister’s partner Damien did our hair.
Damien has been a top stylist for John Frieda for over a decade before he moved to a local salon where they live. He still works on private clients and does other weddings too (not just his partner’s twin, because he has to!) and we all couldn’t recommend him more.
Later that evening, when I was jumping around like a maniac to the band’s epic 90s medley, my hair stayed exactly where he put it – and it was the same for the other girls!
We had a few hiccups whilst getting ready, including Lily, the family dog, being taken for a walk by Ben’s uncle Adrian without everyone’s knowledge. Cue all of the groomsmen spreading out through the garden (instead of getting ready) to find her. She was safely returned and looked absolutely gorge throughout the day…
So…the dress. It was made by a family friend who is a dressmaker. I made many trips to fabric stores (which included one trip where I’d ordered the original material I’d wanted to be picked up, but they accidentally sold it to someone else) to choose the materials.
I never wanted a traditionally ‘white’ dress but actually, by the end of the process – it probably does look more white in pictures than pink.
Getting a dress made this way worked out slightly cheaper than ordering off the shelf, and at the eleventh hour when I was telling the dressmaker that the waist needed to be more SNATCHED, she was on hand to help.
I might write about this process in more depth, if it will help – let me know!
Whilst us gals were getting ready in the outhouse, Ben and his groomsmen got ready in the main house.
Ben has such brilliant friends that he’s known for years so rather than try and pick a favourite to be his best man, we kept our entire wedding party in the family and Ben asked his Dad, Graham and Grandad, Michael to be his joint best men.
I asked Ben’s sisters, Rosie and Jasmine to be my bridesmaids and my twin sister, Charlotte to be my maid of honour.
Charlotte walked me down the aisle. We’d had a few discussions over the best way to approach this tradition, seeing as I had lost both of my parents in the last few years. Ben’s Dad, bless him, offered to walk me down. Ben offered to meet me half way or for us just to walk together. But in the end, it felt right that my twin and I would make the few short steps.
I remember, right before walking out, when the girls and I were hid behind the marquee curtain, that I could hear Ben, his Dad and Grandad chatting away on the other side of the curtain – I burst into tears, I was so nervous!
My sister bollocked me for rushing down the aisle at a quick pace but I just thought, as soon as I get to Ben, I’ll be fine.
We had the amazing Superspokes – the band we saw on our second date, play for us all day.
They played, ‘She’s Electric’ by Oasis, for me to walk down to aisle to. As you can tell, nothing about the day was to be that traditional!
We were SO fortunate that Ben’s Mum Alison is an amazing florist. But I genuinely had no idea as to the extent of her talent until all of the arrangements were revealed on the big day. From the top table, to our bouquets, to the centre pieces and adorning the arbor we put up – her flowers were OUTRAGEOUS.
(Alison, you may copy and paste this as a testimonial for your website)
Once I reached Ben at the top of the aisle, we were greeted by Holly, our celebrant. I found Holly in a female entrepreneurs network we’re a part of, called The Coven.
In the lead up to the day, we spent many hours on Skype with Holly discussing every detail of how we wanted our ceremony to play out.
We had readings performed by our nearest and dearest, she told our ‘love story’ in a hilariously, warm manner that had all of the guests in stitches and she also performed a hand-tying ceremony where Ben’s Mum and my sis laid ribbons over our hands to form an everlasting knot – cuuuuute.
To commemorate my parents not being there, we had an empty chair at the front, where they would’ve sat, with their picture on and Holly kindly mentioned them during her preamble.
We wrote vows to each other – I think probably about 12 hours before to be honest and we both went for a mixture of soppy and humorous.
During the ceremony, the band sang two songs for everyone to sing along to and I remember cracking up because the first one, ‘You Make My Dreams Come True’ by Hall & Oates, was sung in such a low key that no one could really sing it properly. Apart from the, ‘yoooo-oo, you, you wooo’ bits!
At the end, we walked back down to everyone singing ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’, and a quick confetti toss.
An honourable mention to Ben’s aunt Heather who collected the confetti for us and his great aunt Bridget who put the cones together and filled them – the whole day was such a team effort.
Ben and I then grabbed a quick glass of champagne and went and gave everyone hugs before going off with our incredible photographer Sam (more on him in a bit) and the Papertwin team (more on them in a bit too).
Whilst we were off doing that, our guests were drinking the champagne that Ben’s Mum and Dad went on on a booze cruise to France for (see, team effort) and snacked on cheese straws, provided by our brilliant caterers, Home Gurrown.
After a few glasses, it was time to sit down for the speeches. Again, tradition was bucked once more as there couldn’t be a father of the bride speech. So Ben’s Dad Graham kicked us off with his ‘best man’s speech’, which included some hilarious anecdotes about Ben and some lovely sentiments to me, my sis and our family.
Next up was Charlotte who did a, ‘sister of the bride/maid of honour’ speech and oh my GOD, she floored everyone.
When we got our gallery back, there’s at least 5 photos of everyone crying and I can’t make it through our highlights video from Papertwin without going.
She absolutely hates public speaking and was SO nervous, but she did brilliantly and I was so proud of her.
I suppose I should talk a bit about how we decorated the marquees!
Earlier this year I popped into the Oliver Bonas showroom for a meeting. Upon entering their showroom, I spotted hundreds of colourful origami cranes hanging from the ceiling. I said to Colette, the gal I was meeting, ‘oh my gosh these would be amazing for a wedding’, and she asked if I wanted them! They were a day or two away from being sent for recycling and she said the team would much rather they go to a happy home, so I jumped at the chance!
Getting them up on the marquee roof was another team effort and took about 4 brains and 4 days to work it out and get them hung (huge shout out to Rosie’s boyfriend, Alex who was our all round wedding saviour), but we love the added extra they gave to the marquee.
Of course, Ben’s Mum outdid herself with the centre pieces and she put our table name cards in the centre – more about those in a bit.
We also decided to go for a ‘grass floor’ after seeing it done on Pinterest. The whole feel of the day, was ‘bringing the meadow in’ and we loved the relaxed vibe it gave.
(That whole sentence is not me AT ALL but it is wedding-y so let’s allow it)
For favours, we donated money to Princess Alice Hospice – the place my Mum was taken care of near the end of her life and the charity who supported my sister and I after losing both parents. In return they gave us cute little swan pins and it was so lovely to see how many of the guests wore them on their outfits for the rest of the day.
We were also kindly gifted Slingsby gin miniatures. I’d met a member of the Slingsby team at the Blogosphere Awards and she asked me then if they could send us something for the wedding so this was a fun little addition.
The Home Gurrown team even made a little, ‘Pimp Your Gin’ bar for guests to make drinks out of their miniatures.
I realise I’ve totally transgressed from speeches! After my Sister’s, Ben gave one which was funny and sweet and then we both did joint thank yous to everyone who made our day special.
After the speeches it was time to eat. We created the menu with Home Gurrown based on, ‘family sharing’ style.
For starters we had anti pasti boards filled with olives, meats, artichokes, and mozzarella balls two ways – plain and balsamic soaked. To go with this was huuuuge chunks of fresh bread and homemade salty butter.
Genuine life saver because I was about 4 glasses of champagne down by this point and needed a soak-me-up.
For mains we had roast lamb to share with 3 different sauces and tons of sides including; roast potatoes (obvs), panzanella, pea and broad bean salad and roasted veg.
We didn’t have a wedding cake but we DID have 3 tiered rose water and berry pavlovas for dessert and a massive cheeseboard later on…
Home Gurrown were EXCELLENT. From Nicci, the head chef who helped us create the perfect menu including all of the things we love most, to Sophie, the co-ordinator who ensured everything went off without a hitch and also the rest of the team who made sure no one was ever under-fed or de-hydrated!
After the food, Ben and I went for another wander with Sam and the Papertwin guys to get a few more photos – and then it was time to pile on in to the marquee to see Ben’s special guest.
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen who our special guests were…
We have no idea how we ended up with special guests.
Especially Barry from Eastenders and Keith from The Office.
But I do remember Ben joking that he was going to get a special guest and keep it as a surprise – so I thought of doing the same. A shot-in-the-dark Facebook message later and I’d booked Ewen McKintosh (Keith) to DJ for us in character.
Barry on the other hand was kept as a complete surprise by Ben until the day itself where he strolled into the marquee singing the opening bars to Mustang Sally.
This brings me onto our, ‘theme’. On our first date we bonded over our mutual love of British comedy. So when it came to deciding on table names for the guests, I said, ‘what about comedy duos’? We then had an evening of compiling our favourites before whittling them down.
Our incredible stationery was designed by the brilliant Emma Douglas – another Coven find.
I emailed her months back asking if she’d be up for doing watercolour illustrations of our favourite comedy duos and when she sent back her first drafts, we were amazed.
She was absolutely brilliant at last minute name adding/deleting and we loved the illustrations so much that we ended up asking her to make place name cards, orders of service and menus too!
After Barry sang, it was time for our first dance and Superspokes learned our favourite song, ‘Only You’ by Yazoo, and played for us.
We made sure to get through to the first chorus before grabbing everyone else to come onto the dancefloor and as soon as that was over, the band went into full swing for their first set.
After their first set, Ewen rocked up and DJed as Keith for a solid two hours before finishing on another Superspokes set that included a 90s medley. I was LIVING.
Towards the end, Home Gurrown whipped round baskets of stone-baked oven pizzas they’d been cooking out side to soak up the copious Aperol Spritzes that were consumed.
Before it was time to say goodbye, we gave everyone a sparkler so they could make an arch as we dove back into the house to pick up our stuff, find my phone and await our taxi back to our hotel to arrive.
It didn’t. So hero of the day, Alex, asked his parents to take us back to our room.
Once back, Ben had to almost rip me out of my dress, and not in a sexy way, I was just too drunk/tired to fiddle about with the 664574 layers of tulle and as soon as our heads hit the pillows, we were out like a light!
Our photographer Sam Taylor was absolutely incredible. He sent us a few edited snaps the very next day for us to share with our friends and family and we couldn’t have been more pleased with him on the day.
He kept our energies up, never felt intrusive and actually felt like an extended family member hanging out with us all. All of our guests commented on what a nice guy he seemed, and they were right! All images in this post are credited to him.
And of course, as soon as a wedding was confirmed, I asked Ben if we could pleeeeease have a videographer and could they pleeeeease be Papertwin. Once I showed him their Instagram and style of video, he was convinced.
Again, the Papertwin team fitted seamlessly into our day and I’m almost certain they were more excited about our special guests than we were. So far we’ve had a minute long teaser video, a 5 minute long highlights video (that I can’t watch without crying) and we have a loooong video of the whole day still to come.
Watching back the videos and looking back at the photos has been such a lovely thing to do with our families and each time we do, we reminisce about a funny moment or get all soppy.
I think I’ve covered everything about your day, but if you’d like to know anything else – please ask!
Are you planning a big day, how’s it going?