It may be this gorgeous bride’s gown, or her bridesmaids’ twirling petticoats or the simple fact that this English wedding is jam packed with beautiful images and details from end to end, shot by Joanna Brown Photography. Something tells me there will be a pinning frenzy this morning — be sure to follow us on Pinterest if you don’t already. Oodles more in the photo gallery.
From Megan, the bride: We wanted something vintage, country and relaxed. We imagined floral patterns and pastel blues, 50s dresses and ivory lace, country barns and rolling hills. We wanted social food and lots if wine! We wanted a big, gorgeous party.
I wanted a vintage style dress and had appointments booked at various cool vintage shops in London…however, as I was waiting for these appointments I thought I’d pop into a bridal shop in the city I work, Chichester. I saw on their website that they had a dress I had seen, cut out and loved in a bridal magazine. I tried on a few other options while I was there but there was nothing to compare to ‘the one’. I wanted lace and a ballerina length tulle skirt – I didn’t think it actually existed. This dress was exactly what I wanted. It was really different, still had a vintage vibe and was brand shiny new.
We designed and made all our own stationery. Mike created the beautiful vintage rose pattern we used on his computer – I had seen a lot of rose patterns I liked so we designed something that reflected those. We then used recycled manila card to give that rustic, country feel. I order all my card from Eco-Craft. I used pinking shears to cut everything out before I stuck it onto the manila card. For the save the date cards and place names we used parcel tags with twine tied in a bow. We even designed a cool little old fashioned ticket stub as a free drinks token for the evening guests. We carried our rose pattern across everything – the save the date cards, the invites, the table names, the place names, the table plan, the drinks tokens, the reserved signs on the seats and the thank you cards.
Vintage, English country wedding, relaxed describes our wedding perfectly. We themed the wedding around a gorgeous vintage rose pattern that Mike created based on rose patterns I’d seen on various fabrics. He spent a lot of time on his graphic design computer software trying to recreate what I had in my mind. In the end it was perfect – a vintage rose on a pale blue background with white polka dots. We used this pattern across everything and handmade it all – the save the date cards, the invites, the table names, the table plan, the place names, the labels for the favours, drinks tokens and the thank you cards. This pattern became the basis for everything – our theme was based entirely around it. The pale blue background we used influenced the groomsmen’s ties, the flowers (blue hydrangeas), the neck ties the caterers wore etc. We then took the rose theme through to the bridesmaid dresses, my accessories, the table plan board and more. I spent a good few months hitting the flea markets and started collecting vintage tea cups and saucers, as well as vintage vases and jugs – our florist put flowers in these and they formed our table centrepieces. We also collected a load of glass jars, put candles in them and tied twine and floral ribbons around them to decorate the venue.
We’re not religious so churches were out and we wanted to have one venue for the whole day – have the ceremony and the reception all in one place. We were also really keen to have exclusive use. I wanted to have as raucous as party as possible and not annoy anyone. We didn’t want a hotel wedding – you tend to just pick a package and I wanted much more flexibility to do exactly what we wanted to do. Food was also massively important to us – we wanted to have tapas for the wedding breakfast and a huge paella outside in the evening. Most hotels only give you a couple of meat and veg options – we wanted to pick our own caterer and have them produce a Spanish feast. This led us to explore converted barns. We live in Sussex in the UK which has the most gorgeous countryside. There are a few barn venues in the area – some were too rustic (hay still in the back) and some were too slick (more hotel in feel than country barn). Then we found Upwaltham Barns which must be the most beautiful wedding venue in the UK (but I would say that).
Any advice for brides planning their weddings now? If you’re going to make the stationery yourself for that lovely homemade touch, start early – it takes ages! In fact…maybe don’t bother at all. It wipes out your evenings for months. And never, ever scrim on the photographer – all you’ll have left after the event is the photos, they need to be perfect. We found Joanna Brown, a photographer we loved – we became massive fans of her work and would admire her photos on a daily basis. She’s an artist and the best money we spent. Everyone is talking about how gorgeous our photos are.
We chose Celtic harp music for the ceremony – Aran Boat Song and music by Turlough O’Carolan. I really wanted something upbeat and happy for the first dance so we went for Jennifer Hudson’s Dressed Up in Love. It’s such a happy song and makes me grin every time I hear it. It’s also impossible not to dance to.
Wedding Vendors (West Sussex, England):
Ceremony and reception locations: Upwaltham Barns / Florist: Barbara Mole of Miss Mole’s Flower Emporium / Photographer: Joanna Brown of Joanna Brown Photography / Wedding Dress, Veil, Shoes and other accessories: Novia D’Art and I bought it from Proposals in Chichester, UK / Birdcage veil: Lilly Lewis / Wedding Shoes: Rachel Simpson/ Earrings: Eclectic Eccentric / Hair: Jean-Yves Aubin / Bridesmaid Dresses: 1950s style circle dresses from Vivien of Holloway / Groom’s suit: three piece suit from Marks and Spencers / Groom’s tie: Topman Band/Musician: During the ceremony and drinks reception we had Lieshja play the harp. My parents are Welsh and Irish so I really wanted some Celtic music at the wedding. Liehsja played the most beautiful Celtic harp music. / Caterer: Buns to Banquets / Wedding cake and dessert: four tiered luxury champagne and strawberry cheesecake from The English Cheesecake Company / Wedding invitations: DIY / Videographer: Jonathan Nicol of Other Finger Films