Finally, I have got around to sharing part three of our wedding with you! If you missed the previous parts you can click here to see Part One and here for Part Two. This last post covers all the pretty details and decor from our reception at the beautiful Sheldon Manor. There’s a lot of laughter, some tears, cocktails and cheers, lockets to open and some donkeys’ big ears! All photos are taken by our lovely photographer Chloe Browné @ Caught the Light.
I am slightly donkey obsessed and spent every waking hour as a child begging my Mum and Dad to buy me one. Needless to say, I was never allowed but I did manage to have two as guests at our wedding! We hired Tilly & Keisha (slightly street donkey!) for our reception. They posed for photos with our guests and the small people loved them too. They were totally charming and very well behaved, except for trying to eat my bouquet!
Confetti was thankfully allowed at the little church so we threw it after the ceremony but I love it so much and the ancient porch at the venue was so pretty that we decided to throw it again at our reception!
For our table plan I collected old vintage silver and gold heart shaped lockets for all our guests. We personalised each one by putting old black and white photos of our guests on their wedding day, of their children or happy memories with our friends inside each locket. The table number was then printed and placed inside, opposite each photograph. Each was then threaded with antique silk ribbon with the guests’ names hand stamped on a tag and attached to each. (I dread to think how long it took to stamp all the names!!) We then hung all of the lockets on an old tree branch held in a rusted iron base. During the drinks reception our guests were invited to find their locket and their own happy memory inside, along with their table number of course! It was so lovely to see our guests wearing the lockets as bracelets throughout the day!
My Dad and I braved the torrential rain the day before the wedding and bought lots of beautiful seasonal plants from a local garden centre. We filled the huge old stone bird bath inside the tent with them and the plants are now growing in our garden (hopefully!).
We chose a large antique oak table that we draped my Mum’s old lace tablecloths over to display our wedding cake. It was important for us to have personal decorations that meant something to us. I arranged my parents antique candelabras and our own candles and frames together with brass C&R letters that I found. We set an old wire cage on the table for guests to put cards inside. Above the table, we strung beautiful paper fan decorations (borrowed from a friend) together with cut-out heart paper garlands that my sister made.
Our guests wrote messages for us on vintage wedding cards and postcards that I had collected from antique markets and ebay, these were then pegged onto the tree that had held the lockets earlier.
Our pavilion tent was printed with a beautiful rose print lining so we decided to keep decorations inside fairly subtle so not to fight with the lining pattern. We hung six rewired, antique glass chandeliers across the ceiling, which twinkled beautifully in the evening. Along with the lockets our guests got to keep, we bought a selection of Rococo chocolate bars that we popped into pretty printed paper bags. We tied old silk, antique lace and printed ribbons around each bar so each one looked slightly different.
For our place names we hand stamped each persons name onto tiny tags that were threaded through old wax flowers. The small people had sugar mice instead of flowers! I made paper party bags for the kids with wedding colouring books, finger puppets, stickers and jewellery making kits inside to keep them busy!
I ordered lots of beautiful edible flowers from First Leaf which we used to decorate the desserts.
For the bar we decanted all our spirits into our parents old crystal decanters and strung little zinc heart labels around each one. Wine and beers were displayed in zinc buckets found at antique markets.
CLARE & RICH
DATE: 23rd June 2012
THE PROPOSAL: Rich and I first met at high school when we were 14! We had just bought our first flat together in London and had moved in the day before. On the first morning we woke up in our new flat, Rich surprised me with an amazing champagne breakfast. He looked a bit on edge as I dived in with my knife and fork, as unbeknown to me, he’d nestled the ring between my two rounds of poached eggs on toast! Knowing how much I love my food, he quickly retrieved the ring and got down on one knee amongst all the cardboard boxes! He topped it off with a surprise engagement meal with our families that afternoon. We got through huge quantities of champagne that weekend!
THE VENUE: We got married in a beautiful little Victorian church on top of a hill overlooking the picturesque Wiltshire countryside. We held our reception at Sheldon Manor. Set at the top of tiered gardens and lawns, with it’s 13th century stone porch and tiny, 15th century chapel it was incredibly unique. Beautiful, old fashioned rose gardens, mulberry trees and countless antiques make it very special. It had all of the rustic charm we were looking for and we were able to hire the entire venue for the weekend and our wedding party could all stay together in the cottages within the grounds. Most importantly I was allowed free rein on the decorating!!
STYLE/ THEME: We both love the English countryside and decided very early on that this was the kind of wedding we wanted. We simply aimed to create a happy, relaxed atmosphere with lots of pretty, personal touches in an English country garden. Our wedding was basically an accumulation of all the things we love and have collected over the years from antiques, postcards and lockets to my love of peas, donkeys and 90′s music!! The day felt so personal to us as a couple as it involved everything and everyone we love and we had created all of the details and styled everything ourselves.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Choosing the right photographer was incredibly important to us. The day will come and go but you get to keep your photos forever right?! As we are both quite camera shy we needed someone that we felt comfortable around. When we met Chloe Browne @ Caught the Light we knew instantly that she was the one. We snapped her up very early on in our planning and it was one of the best decisions we made. She was amazing, incredibly professional yet so warm and friendly and the way she interacted with all our guests was really touching.
THE DRESS: Lets just say, I tried on a lot of dresses!! I initially thought it would be really easy finding ‘the one’ but it turned out to be quite a mission as I found a couple I liked. In the end the Honeysuckle dress by Temperley was all I had searched for. It was made from beautiful cream embroidered Chantilly lace with scalloped edges and a gorgeous small puddle train. I loved the ethereal, vintage look and the little diamonds that twinkled in the candlelight.
ACCESSORIES: I decided to keep my accessories quite simple. My Dad bought me a tiny, delicate white diamond necklace from Rust, which I wore with little white gold and quartz studs from Couverture & The Garbstore.
THE SHOES: I wore patent nude heels by Miu Miu with chunky diamond studs on the heels. I absolutely loved them and they were so comfortable!
BEAUTY: I hired the amazing lady that is Sarah Brock to do our make-up on the day. She really is just the loveliest person and did a super job, so professional and she made my Mum look about 30! She was a pleasure to work with from start to finish and I cannot recommend her highly enough.
HAIR: I wanted quite an undone, natural look for my hair and Gemma Sutton got it spot on. I had loose waves with some fresh flowers pinned in and my bridesmaids had beautiful messy braided and plaited buns with lots of white antique flowers pinned in theirs.
BRIDESMAIDS: My two bridesmaids wore simple cream silk and lace dresses from Tara Jarmon. I chose two different dresses for our four little flower girls from I love gorgeous.
THE GROOM: Rich wore a petrol blue suit from Paul smith, in fact his entire outfit (yes, even his pants!) were from there as I work for the company. I designed a floral print lining for his suit and we had all of the boys Paul Smith suits customized with the same lining. The ties were all different shades of blue and purple with little spots on.
THE FLOWERS: I absolutely love flowers so it was really important that they played a big part in the day. I found Charlie from The Real Cut Flower Garden and loved her wild, whimsical, unstructured approach to flowers. She grows the flowers herself so they are all natural, organic and very unique. We simply gave her our colour scheme and lots of images and left it to her to pick what was blooming on the day. We were over the moon with the overall effect!
THE STATIONERY: We designed and screen printed all the stationery ourselves. It had a 1930’s feel and combined lots of different hand-drawn type and illustrations. I drew an engraved heart locket for our Save the Date and lockets then became a bit of a theme throughout the wedding! You can read more about our stationery here.
CATERING: We chose Williams Kitchen at Calcot, Susan Manning the director there is wonderful. The food was perfect in every way and we had so many comments from the guests about how good it was.
THE CAKE: My Mum’s lemon drizzle cake is legendary so she kindly made a huge three-tiered version with royal icing and lavender and olive branches as decoration. It looked and tasted incredible!
THE MUSIC: To be honest, we were both dreading the first dance and were not even going to have one at one point. Last minute, we chose ‘Baby I Love your Way’ by Big Mountain, partly because it’s silly and made us smile and partly because it reminded us of the 90’s when we met! We ended up loving the dance and will never forget the amazing atmosphere with all our guests singing along!
THE ENTERTAINMENT: Following dinner, acoustic gypsy/folk/jazz band, ‘The Mighty Peas’ played covers of tunes from our childhood such as the Grange Hill theme tune and The Littlest Hobo. They were absolutely brilliant and so much fun! The Wedding Smashers then took over and were totally amazing, Pete & Jonny were just pure genius, they played some serious tunes and the dance floor was rammed from start to finish. Plus they proved quite popular with the ladies! Seriously, just book these guys – now!
WEDDING WHEELS: We both love vintage cars and in-keeping with the day and venue we hired a white Citroen DS to take my Dad and I to the church. The boy then drove us to the reception in a beautiful Austin Healey 3000 Mk iii.
THE HONEYMOON: We spent 12 amazing days and nights in Tuscany. It is the most beautiful place, we walked through olive groves, ate under the stars and drank way too much wine – it was perfect!
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT: The day was such a happy whirlwind of emotions but walking into the candlelit church and seeing all of our families and very best friends together in one place was just incredible. I remember feeling an overwhelming rush of happiness and contentment as I stood at the alter with my Dad on one side and husband to be on the other. My Dad surprised us and wrote his entire speech in poetry which was hilarious and so touching at the same time! By the end of the day my face actually ached from smiling so much.
OUR TOP TIPS: We really enjoyed planning all of the little details and styling the day, but its hard work! Have a very strict contingency plan if your planning most of your wedding outside. Although we did this to some degree we weren’t quite expecting the wettest June since records began in 1910! I can actually laugh about this now but I have never experienced stress like it! Most of the wedding was planned for outside and some serious planning had taken place but quite last minute the weather was still causing problems. Just days before, the field was flooded so even getting the tent up in the first place was difficult. We couldn’t find a walkway to the tent, needed to hire 90 umbrellas, get extra heating and buy matting for the sodden grass! Our families and Rich were amazing and so supportive but taking everything on ourselves was very intense and the last few days were not quite as relaxing we’d have liked! I loved making the day so personal but in hindsight I would have hired a planner/stylist for at least the final week to help put it all in place.
Its easy to get side tracked with all the details and forget what the day is actually all about. My sister put me in my place when I was having a meltdown about something so trivial that I cant even remember what it was. She simply told me that in a weeks time I’d be standing there marrying my soul mate, my best friend and that was the only thing that mattered (cheesy but true!). All our guests would be there to celebrate just that. They would have no idea about all the things I’d planned to make but didn’t quite have enough time to finish. I don’t really have any regrets but things that I wish I’d have done differently -generally not worrying about everything so much, making sure I didn’t loose my lipstick on the day and realising that if little things go wrong it actually doesn’t matter one bit, because trust me, on the day you just wont care – you’ll be too happy!
Photography: Chloe Browné @Caught the Light | Venue: Sheldon Manor | Florist: Charlie Ryrie @ The Real Cut Flower Garden | Dress: Temperley | Shoes: Miu Miu | Bridesmaids: Tara Jarmon | Flowergirls: I Love Gorgeous | Groom + Groomsmen: Paul Smith | Make-up: Sarah Brock | Hair: Gemma Sutton | Rings: Rust | Stationery: Designed by Clare & Rich | Catering: Williams Kitchen @Calcot | Cake: Brides Mum | Entertainment: The Wedding Smashers + The Mighty Peas | Prop Hire: Zita Elze Transport: Great Escape Cars + Citroen DS Hire
Thanks again to all our amazing suppliers and especially to our parents for all your generosity and support throughout, we couldn’t have done it without you! Hope you have enjoyed…
Mrs White x