Lifestyle Magazine

Tradition with a Twist — a Warwickshire Wedding Blog

By Claire

My thanks to lovely (and clearly highly sought after!) Jamie from Vick­er­staff Pho­tog­ra­phy for the sub­mis­sion, and con­grat­u­la­tions to the gor­geous bride and groom. AJ and Ed cre­ated a fab­u­lous wed­ding at Stoneleigh Abbey and they’ve been kind enough to share their wed­ding story with us all today. Enjoy the wed­ding blog — the images are fan­tas­tic and the wed­ding report is about halfway down the page.

Claire xxx

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Wed­ding venue: Stoneleigh Abbey
Wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher: Vick­er­staff Photography

A lit­tle about the wed­ding ceremony:

It had rained and rained for months, so the most I was hop­ing for was for it to be dry, at least for part of the day. Well not only was it dry it was hot! Which, when get­ting mar­ried in the Orangery (think green­house) meant the cer­e­mony was very hot!! But I’ll never com­plain about the weather we got that day.

We put our own stamp on the cer­e­mony by hav­ing two read­ings, choos­ing our own vows and pick­ing 3 songs for dif­fer­ent stages of the ser­vice. We had two read­ings:
On your wed­ding day – Anon
If you can always be as close – Anon

Tell us a lit­tle about your wed­ding venue styling and details:

Even if I do say so myself our venue was gor­geous. It had a sum­mer gar­den party feel to the cer­e­mony room and the space out­side by the river Avon where we served drinks and canapés and played games such as giant jenga and con­nect 4.

The wed­ding break­fast was in the Salon, a very sophis­ti­cated room, with lots of ornate details but with­out too much for­mal­ity. And in the evening we went down­stairs into the vaulted room, which when lit up had a party atmosphere.

For the table dec­o­ra­tions we had sweetie trees. This was one of the only details I had man­aged to keep a secret from all our guests. Every­one loved the unique­ness of them and enjoyed bar­ter­ing with the other tables to ensure they filled their bags with all of their favourites!

Wed­ding invi­ta­tions and recep­tion stationery:

I always knew I would make my own sta­tionery. Not only is it a good way to save money, it is also a way to put your own per­sonal mark on the day. The save the dates were made from lug­gage tags. Draw­ing inspi­ra­tion from my daisy neck­lace, I included a daisy chain in the design and to add a bit of fun I wrote ‘he pro­posed and she said yes’ on the front of them all.

For the fin­ish­ing detail I used gar­den string to reflect Ed’s pas­sion for his veg­etable patch!
For the invites we used a pock­et­fold design with a num­ber of dif­fer­ent inserts. My favorite ele­ment of them was the map I designed to go in them. I’d seen var­i­ous fun maps online which include lit­tle pic­tures where impor­tant land­marks are (hotels, venue etc) but they cost a for­tune so I decided to have a go myself. Many attempts later I had put together a map with lots of fun ele­ments which every­one has loved.

To help tie all of the sta­tionery together I kept the daisy detail from the save the dates on the invites too. And I added “live, laugh, love” to the front of the design to keep the light hearted feel we were going for.

As one final detail I used Olympic stamps to post the invites out to friends and fam­ily as a small recog­ni­tion of the date on which we were get­ting married.

I did all the sta­tionery for the day as well – from the order of ser­vice to the menus. I really wanted our day to be unique and per­sonal and every­one said how the atten­tion to detail made it just that.

Wed­ding music and entertainment:

We had Alex Chap­man do all of our music on the day. Alex sings and plays the gui­tar. He pro­vided some back­ground music whilst guests arrived, and again after the cer­e­mony, then he did a live set to start the evening recep­tion and fin­ished with a DJ set. Hav­ing one per­son for the whole day was per­fect. He sang and played a range of music and every­one said how good he was.

After the cer­e­mony we had gar­den games for every­one to play whilst we went off and had some pho­tos. These seemed to keep all our guests enter­tained through­out the day. We also had a sweetie table filled with all our favorite sweets.

As a sur­prise my sis­ters organ­ised for us to have an ice cream trike. They served the guests with lim­it­less ice creams and we could add the top­pings of our choice. For me this was the icing on the cake!

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What did you wear?

We got engaged in April, but with sis­ters (aka brides­maids) both doing uni­ver­sity exams, fol­lowed by what seemed end­less sum­mer hol­i­days it took until the mid­dle of Sep­tem­ber to go dress shop­ping (obvi­ously I wasn’t allowed to start with­out them!).

As I hadn’t been allowed to shop I had done plenty of research, look­ing at hun­dreds of dresses in mag­a­zines. I had found one which I really liked so I found a shop which stocked it and that is where we started. It was the first dress I tried on and it was gor­geous. How­ever, hav­ing never tried any other wed­ding dresses on in my life how could I really know it was the one for me?! So through­out the day we vis­ited a num­ber of other bou­tiques, try­ing on lots of other dresses.

By the end of the day I was thor­oughly con­fused as to what I wanted as dresses I thought I would like didn’t look right once they were on, and ones which I wouldn’t have ordi­nar­ily looked twice at quite suited me. Need­less to say day 1 of dress shop­ping wasn’t the last. This is where my bridezilla moment (ok so more like phase) started. I had been patient in wait­ing to dress shop but now I had started I needed to find my dress! So for the next few weeks I dragged my mom around dif­fer­ent cities in search of ‘the one’.

I have to say try­ing on wed­ding dresses is exhaust­ing — both phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally. We started by analysing every dress I tried on, which bits we liked and which we didn’t but given time we got bet­ter and reject­ing them a lot quicker. Don’t get me wrong, they were all gor­geous, but they are wed­ding dresses so they are bound to be, but I wasn’t get­ting that ‘feel­ing’. I was start­ing to won­der whether the ‘feel­ing’ brides talk about ‘know­ing when it is the one for you’ was all a myth and whether I should just pick one. How­ever, as I am stub­born enough and my mom is patient enough, the search continued.

We found a lady in a store who under­stood that whilst every dress was pretty that they wouldn’t all be for me. Each dress I tried on she lis­tened to what I liked and didn’t like and she would go off and find dresses which tried to emu­late the good bits. The last dress she picked for me in that store was ‘the one’. I loved it when I tried it on, but the telling sign was that I couldn’t stop think­ing about the dress the next day and couldn’t wait for my sis­ters to see me in it. Then I knew I had to have it.

Acces­sories

Shoes have always been my thing so the pres­sure was on to find the per­fect pair for my wed­ding day. With­out shoes on Ed and I are about the same height and I didn’t want to tower over him on our wed­ding day. Because of that, and the expec­ta­tion of being on my feet most of the day and still want­ing to be able to feel them to dance at the end of the night, I didn’t want too high heels.

It might just be me, but I felt that a lot of the tra­di­tional wed­ding shoes were a bit mid­dle aged, so although the heel height was prob­a­bly suit­able, they weren’t for me. I also wanted some shoes that I could keep and wear again. After all I was only going to wear my dress once so it’s nice hav­ing some­thing I can use after the big day. I added some ‘I do’ blue dia­mantes to the bot­tom of the shoes as my some­thing blue.

I think we always knew we wanted the boys to wear tails and from look­ing around we thought we would go with a dark gray suit. Ed wanted to wear a waist­coat but didn’t really have an opin­ion about the design so I did some research and found some I liked.
On the theme of being a bit dif­fer­ent we went to a shop which only has 3 stores around Birm­ing­ham, and isn’t nation­wide. This way I knew that Ed’s suit would be just a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent to other grooms.

The shop had a new dark gray suit on show that was being launched before our wed­ding but wasn’t yet avail­able. They did how­ever have a lighter gray one in the same range so Ed tried that one on to see if he liked the style. As it hap­pens Ed liked the style and we both liked the light gray. It just went to show that it’s always worth try­ing on some­thing that you wouldn’t nor­mally con­sider and you never know! Ed looked gor­geous all dressed up!

Mem­o­rable wed­ding day moments:

My most mem­o­rable moment was get­ting to the end of the aisle, the music start­ing and know­ing it was all about to begin. Every time I hear the music it takes me back to that feel­ing of excite­ment and anticipation.

It was also incred­i­ble see­ing all of our hard work come together and our guests enjoy­ing every­thing we had spent so long organ­is­ing. Every­thing was per­fect – we got the sun­shine, every­one we loved, and all the plans to come together all at the same time.

Wed­ding day advice:

No regrets – you only get to do it once so make sure you do it the way you (both) want to, don’t worry too much about keep­ing every­one else happy (they will be on the day as long as you are!), and come the day what will be will be, just enjoy it, together.

Rec­om­mended wed­ding suppliers:

Since before Ed and I had got engaged we had fol­lowed Jamie’s (Jamie Vick­er­staff of Vick­er­staff Pho­tog­ra­phy) blog online. I was always excited when a new blog was released and I loved all the pho­tos. Jamie is based up north and our wed­ding was in the Mid­lands so we tried our best to find some­one more local. No-one else’s pho­tos we saw came close to Jamie’s so we decided the only option was to con­tact Vick­er­staff Pho­tog­ra­phy and keep our fin­gers crossed. To my great relief they said yes!

We both love our album – every­one we have shown has said how fan­tas­tic it is. In every sup­plier we chose I would say that the peo­ple were just as impor­tant as the ser­vice they are pro­vid­ing. This was def­i­nitely the case with Tory and Jamie of Vick­er­staff Pho­tog­ra­phy. Despite hav­ing lots of wed­dings to shoot they made our day feel like it was the most impor­tant and let us guide them on what we wanted but at the same time were happy to share their expe­ri­ences and opin­ions to help make it amaz­ing. It was like hav­ing friends shoot the wed­ding, just incred­i­bly tal­ented ones!

Wed­ding pho­tog­ra­phy — Vick­er­staff Pho­tog­ra­phy
Wed­ding dress — Bridal Secrets dress — design Yvonne Joyce
Cake — Hall of Cakes by Nicola Hall
Heart shaped umbrel­las — Love Umbrel­las
Bridal shrug by Wrapor

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