Our wedding, part 2

We knew our wedding reception was never going to be easy, or simple. Both Jim and I have very specific tastes over various things, and it became clear early on this was going to be a full-on DIY job which would require a lot of organisation and manpower. Cue a small group of amazing friends and family, who stepped in and set to work with no grumbling whatsoever and the sweetest will in the world. You guys, we did everything ourselves. When I say ourselves, I mean either me, Jim or one of our small group of workers. It was a mammoth task, and you know what? We did a pretty good job.

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Our reception was held in Trelawnyd memorial hall, a ten minute drive from the ceremony venue. We knew we needed a big space as there were to be 110 guests during the day, with more in the evening. But a space doesn’t half fill up quickly when you introduce six foot tables, all the accompanying chairs, a bar and buffet tables. Phew. We made it work, though. We hired all the tables, chairs, bar and glassware from a local company, and our mismatched vintage crockery came from Wedding Bunting Hire. I spent a year collecting embroidered tablecloths and various bottles and jars for flowers. We did the whole handmade napkins thing, and had giant balloons for the table centrepieces. Our favours were screenprinted tote bags, featuring a design we made up of our names and the date of our wedding. We’ve seen a few friends since using them, which warms my heart!

The hall was a such a big space to fill that bunting was a given. To be honest, though, I wanted something a bit different to your normal triangular bunting, so we went for scallops. Jim’s mum made 100 metres of gold bunting for us, and I loved it. I also have thing for festoon lighting, so we bought our own LED bulb lighting off ebay. This is a great idea if, like us, your hall doesn’t have strong beams to support the usual heavy festoon lighting. Our strings of LEDs were light enough to be hung off the curtain rails. Finally, I bought tissue poms off ebay, in pink, white, yellow, mustard, coral and peach. I’m not going to lie, they took a lot longer to hang than first anticipated. Huge respect to my brother, the best man and the father of the groom for slaving away and making it look like they took ten minutes to throw together.

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The amazing best man, Ian, and his equally amazing girlfriend made us a piƱata. They were so patient and lovely, listening to what I wanted and duly shuffling through Pinterest boards and finally creating a huge pink and gold heart. IT WAS IMMENSE! I was sad that we would eventually destroy it, it was so lovely. We filled it with finger frights and lollipops and badges of ourselves (bleurgh), and almost injured various people while whacking it. I made 19 huge flowers out of card in our wedding colours, which I’ve written about before, and we stuck them on the stage and around the room.

We own a Polaroid Miniportrait camera, and Penny’s brother generously agreed to man it for us so we could have a photobooth. This went down a treat, and I shed many a tear the day after the wedding looking at our friends and family being daft for the camera. You can see the full set of photographs here.

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Jim’s mum made our wedding cake, and a friend’s mum stepped in to be our chef, making vegetarian chilli to Jim’s recipe. We bought a potato oven and had a huge buffet with rice and salads. It went down a storm. I roped my brother, Jim’s mum and my bridesmaid Katherine into baking cakes with me for the dessert table, which were scoffed within half an hour. We hired wedding coordinator extraordinaire Laura Tickle to help with the running of the day, and she was fantastic.

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Just after the evening guests arrived, our friends Katy, Laura and Stan surprised us by performing acoustic versions of ‘Afternoon Delight’ (from Anchorman) and ‘Easy Lover’ (one of my all-time favourite songs) for us. They were fantastic, and delighted everyone. What a beautiful wedding gift! We had a fantastic ceilidh during the evening, then our own four-hour disco playlist. My favourite part of a wedding is the dancing, so I knew that I wanted our disco to be pretty spectacular. We spent months making a list of songs, arranging them into the right order and then listening to the playlist. Our guests danced all night to everything from Prince to David Bowie to Beck to Kanye West to Devo. A free bar helps, of course.

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Our wedding was full of love and happy tears. We had hiccups (my mum was ill, it rained) but the generosity, support, goodwill and patience of our family and friends made our wedding day one I will never forget. We will never be able to tell those people how much they did for us. But when you look at all the pictures of the day, you can see the joy, and perhaps that is thanks enough.

Our wedding, part 1

Well, the honeymoon dust has settled and things are a little more normal around here – although, admittedly, we are still housing a lot of leftover wedding paraphernalia (does anyone want 50 squashed pom poms and 20 giant paper flowers!?). Anyway, the official photos have arrived so it’s time to share them. Huge thanks to brilliant photographer, and our lovely friend, Llinos Griffiths, for snapping away like a mad woman.

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We got married at Bodrhyddan Hall in Rhuddlan, surrounded by grey clouds and beautiful lush gardens and greenery. We had a fairly short ceremony, which felt completely “us”, including having a piano solo version of the Jurassic Park theme as our wedding march! I really wanted a reading to be included in the ceremony, but everything I found felt old or obvious or just not right. Eventually I stumbled across a children’s book called I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg, which I fell in love with straight away: sweet and funny and just the right amount of cute. My lovely friend and bridesmaid Penny did a beautiful job of reading it, and as she pointed out, the poem also applied to our silly friendship. My beautiful bridesmaids wore coral dresses from Warehouse, found two months before our wedding day!

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We had vintage Morris Minor 1000 cars from Regent Classics, which were impeccable. And then there were the flowers. Oh, the flowers! Our brilliant pals Helen and Laura did the most amazing job. They are true friends and I can never thank them enough for listening to me and completely hitting it out of the park. I wanted peonies, ranunculus, yellows, pinks and corals, and they added new colours and shapes, and flowers I’d never heard of. So many people commented on how beautiful the flowers were, and at the end of the night we sent guests home with bunches to enjoy while we went off on honeymoon. I loved thinking about everyone enjoying the flowers as a memento of our day. Helen also created my flower crown, which, well. There are no words really. I showed her lots of photos and rambled on about peonies, and she went for it. This baby was big, and it was heavy, and I absolutely loved it. It completed my outfit perfectly. I have had so many people say how much they loved my crown that I may need to request one from Helen for every wedding anniversary. Helen, I can’t thank you enough. I still have the crown, dried and hanging on our airing rack.

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It took me a good while to find my wedding dress, trekking to Manchester and London. Eventually I discovered Glory Days Vintage through a friend and hot-footed it up to York with my mum and future mother-in-law. Hayley at Glory Days has a huge selection of stunning gowns from the 1920s right up to the 80s, as well as vintage floral hats, gloves and veils. It is a true treasure trove, perfect for the vintage-loving bride. Trying on a 1970s sheer polka dot number, I never thought it would be the one, but it was such a perfect fit that I was convinced straight away. I stepped out of the changing rooms and the mums just nodded at me. My dress was really comfortable, and light enough to dance to our ceilidh in. I loved it.

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After the ceremony we fed our guests delicious pizza courtesy of Matilda’s Bakehouse, which everyone raved about. We sent our guests off to the reception in a vintage coach from Llandudno, which proved a big hit, not least because of the entertaining driver. I’ll leave our reception photos for next time, because this post is long enough already, and there are a lot more details I want to share…See you soon!

A wedding

So, we did it! We got hitched. We’ve since been on honeymoon around the American deep south, which was so much fun, and deserves its own blog post.

Our wedding day was chilly and grey, but full of smiles, happy tears, hugs and laughter from loving family and friends. The weather simply didn’t matter. I loved my dress, my flowers, the ceremony, the reception, the food, the dancing, oh all of it! I also loved my dapper groom. I’ll share more on all these details soon, but in the meantime, while we relax back into normal life at home, here are a few of my favourite photos from the day, taken by our friends.

It feels good to be married, friends!

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Our wedding paper goods: part 2

Following my blog post about our wedding Save the Date postcards, today I’ll be sharing the story behind our wedding invitations. With our wedding being a DIY-fest, we knew straight away that we had to design the invitations ourselves. But where to start? Dreaming up a design was a pretty overwhelming thought, until I spotted this book in the library where I work, and brought it home to show Jim.

It’s a delightful children’s book, with flaps that open out to reveal information on how a seed grows into a sunflower. With our wedding theme being, well, flowers, I was smitten with this book, and thought it would be a brilliant (if time-consuming) format for our invites. Without me saying anything Jim knew straight away what I was thinking, and his initial reaction was, “No! No way. You cray cray!” (or something along those lines)

But Jim likes a challenge, and sure enough the next day he showed me a sketch for how he thought we could make it work. The other big decision we made very quickly was that we would print the invitations ourselves, at home, rather than going to a printing company. This was mainly because we were so particular about how we wanted the invitations to look that we needed complete control over them. That, and they were going to be pretty fiddly to make. Sure, there was a lot of Photoshopping involved, a lot of writing and a hell of a lot of printing, cutting and sticking…but we did it!

And we are mega pleased with how they turned out. I love that our invites don’t represent either one of us too much – they’re just very, well, us. It was Jim’s idea to include a soppy picture of us in the middle, and that just put the cherry on top. They’ve gone down really well with our friends and family, too: we had a fair few excited messages and emails as people received their invites. The thought of all our flowers stuck on people’s fridges around the country still makes me giddy.

Below are a few photos of the invitations in production, including our all-important envelope liners (yes, I went there) and heart-shaped stickers in the floral Liberty print that I love so much. Enjoy!

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Our wedding paper goods: part 1

Ok, ok. I’ve been a bit neglectful on the blog of late. Well, make that a lot neglectful. I had plans to talk about how catastrophically I’ve failed to achieve the goals I set for myself last year. I had ideas of blogs posts for recipes, book reviews, and more resolutions for 2014. But alas, weddings kinda tend to get in the way, don’t they? I feel super lame for blaming our upcoming wedding on my lack of blogging, but SERIOUSLY! Someone please tell me where the time is going. With just over two months to go until our wedding day, things have been slowly building and now we’re approaching Crunch Time. So I’m sorry little blog, but regular weekly blog posts will most definitely be a thing of the past until probably something like June, once we’ve honeymooned and all the wedding madness is over.

In the meantime, I’ll try to post some fun wedding stuff on here. A lot of craft has been going down around these parts lately, and I’ll share some of that soon. First up, though, now most of our invites have been sent out I thought I’d share our stationery with you. We are super pleased with how our save the dates and invites turned out – and let me tell you, they were very much a labour of love.

First off, we decided that we needed to do them ourselves. Jim and I had a very particular vision about how we wanted our paper goods to look so we knew the only way we would be completely happy was if we had absolute control over making them. This, of course, meant many hours for me sitting and writing out the same words again and again, many hours for him in front of the computer, fiddling around with colours and layout. Then we printed out again and again, adjusting colours and sizing…we bought a new printer, and a lot of card. But we’re so happy with the end results.

Our idea for the save the dates began with an old-style photograph we took at Bodelwyddan Castle. That photo is framed and hanging on our bathroom wall. We love it, and Jim came up with a brilliant way of turning it into our save the date postcard. I added some watercolour flowers and cute touches to our faces, and hand-wrote the lettering for the back. We then printed them out double-sided onto card. The floral pattern is a Liberty fabric which I am thoroughly obsessed with, and which very quickly became the theme for our wedding colours.

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Later this week I’ll be sharing part 2 of our wedding stationery: invites! Stay tuned…

An engagement shoot

A few weeks ago, me and Jim spent a morning in Erddig, Wrexham’s beautiful National Trust property, with our wedding photographer – and lovely friend – Llinos. And we shot an engagement photo session! We didn’t originally intend to do one of these, as I’m aware that sometimes they can be a bit, erm, cheesy, but we thought it was a good chance to get used to being photographed ahead of our wedding day.

As photoshoots go, we wanted something informal and outdoorsy. We’re extremely lucky to live so close to the beautiful house and grounds at Erddig, and knew it would be the perfect place for a pretty outdoor shoot, with all the lovely Autumnal colours. We had a great morning wandering through the woods, climbing across tree trunks and strolling through the crunchy leaves. Llinos is a lovely pal, but also a really fun, relaxed photographer, and she put us at ease all the way through.

I love Llinos’ photos and am now all the more excited for that bit of our wedding day (five months and counting!). Here are some shots from the shoot. Enjoy!

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In bloom

Continuing with my flower obsession, I thought I would share another craft project from back in the Spring, when I was on the hunt for inspiration for our floral wedding theme. After seeing the wonderful Thumbelina-themed wedding of Brittany Watson Jepsen, wonderful artist and fellow flower lover, I really began to get excited about paper flowers. I had never thought about making GIANT ONES!

I decided to have a go at making my own huge poppy, and happily I discovered that Brittany had shared her tutorial over on the wedding blog 100 Layer Cake. So I bought the card and set to work, not quite realising just how much manpower was needed to cut out all those big petals and leaves. It was a bit of a slog, but I loved the end result, and then took my new flower friend for a walk around the garden…

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There are soooooo many paper flower tutorials and ideas of how to use them around the internet, but here are just a few of my favourites:

– Brittany’s round-up of her own paper flower inspiration

– Oh Happy Day is one of my favourite websites ever. They always have a wealth of fun flower-based DIYs

– I love the colour and look of these gorgeous anemones by Lia Griffith, especially lined up in a row

Paper flower rings (!) by Brittany

– These delicate crepe paper flowers look delightful in a vase

A different spin on the tissue paper pom pom craze from Elsie of A Beautiful Mess. I love how these look all hanging down together!

Freaking flower party blowers! Another Oh Happy Day triumph

I have a few other ideas up my sleeve for wedding decor, including many a project from this beautiful book, which arrived a couple of weeks ago. I’ve only dipped in and out of it so far, but just give me a free afternoon, a cup of tea and some post-its and a book review will be on its way. Believe me when I say that this book is something really special in the world of paper flowers…