Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Our Wedding - the music and giant garden games

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Wedding photography by Katherine Ashdown

Once we had finalised our church and wedding venue and our English country garden theme continued to take shape, it was really important for us to focus on the entertainment for our day and ensure our wedding was accompanied by the joy and happiness that great music can bring. Also, as we knew we had quite a few children coming to our wedding, we wanted to create a really fun area in our field for the young'uns (and some adults too!) to run wild in and play to their heart's content.

For the garden games we hired giant jenga and croquet from The Giant Garden Games Hire Company who efficiently delivered and picked up the games the same day so we didn't need to worry about collecting or dropping them off after the wedding. It was such a joy seeing all the guests having so much fun, stacking and watching the wooden tower tumble and trying to master the art of croquet whilst Katherine snapped away and caught some lovely natural photos and moments.

For the music I had my heart set on a string quartet to play in the church and during our Pimms reception. I just love the elegant atmosphere and serenity that a string quartet can bring and once I had listened to Aaron String Quartet play I knew they were going to suit our wedding perfectly. They played as the guests arrived at the church, which created a really calming air before the ceremony, as well as playing my entrance music (Pachelbel's Canon in D which will forever give me goosebumps), the music during the signing of the register as well as our recessional music - Handel's Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. They then joined us in the field afterwards to serenade our wedding with a beautiful mixture of classical and light music which was such a lovely addition to our day and gave our wedding an unforgettable happy, graceful style.

For the evening there was no question that we wanted a live band to play all night long as everyone loves a good dance at a wedding and nothing beats the sound of live music. We hired The Gifted through Monitor Music who were exceptional and kept the dance floor full from the first dance to the last boogie. What I loved most about our band was that you could customise the line up to suit your budget and venue. Whether you want a modest three piece or a full-blown eight piece ensemble, you can choose the acoustics and vocals you want and their repertoire is huge to suit all personal musical tastes. Everyone said how cool the band were and it was definitely a worthy investment from our wedding budget to see all our friends and family having a complete ball on the dancefloor and seeing those bridesmaids' dresses twirling in all their glory!
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Our Wedding - the photographer, the videographer & the fun photo booth

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photo emporium photo booth
Apologies for the very photo-heavy blog post but choosing a mere selection from the abundance of wedding photographs my photographer recently sent me over was proving a bit trickier than I first imagined! So this post is all about those amazing talents that went about capturing all the love and happiness from our lovely day. I am someone who loves the value of a good photograph. I love the memories it can provoke, the smiles that it can produce and the fact that they are a timeless reminder of a certain period or time in your life. I love the idea that many images will live on longer than you and future generations will pour over the scenes, reminisces and imagining what was going on in front of the lens. Pretty much as soon as our wedding date was set I took on the task of tracking down the perfect photographer for our day. I am quite particular of what I like and what I don't like when it comes to wedding imagery and I knew the moment I saw some of Katherine Ashdown's work that she was the perfect match for us. Soft, light, airy and whimsical. Her photos are natural yet completely charming and I knew her clever eye and creative flair would completely capture our day how we wanted it to be seen with the upmost attention and appreciation to all the tiny details with some fun, not too posey couple shots thrown into the mix. Meeting Katherine in person late last year only cemented our initial feelings that she was the lady for the job and after experiencing our engagement shoot with her a few months before the day, we were brimming with excitement to have her with us on our wedding. I think it is so important to have a great rapport with your wedding photographer and I feel lucky to say that we now regard Katherine as a good friend and felt she was more of a guest on our day than someone there to do a job. She has this indescribable ability to blend in and be completely inconspicuous yet capture those dear moments that you would miss in a blink yet will now cherish for a lifetime. Everything you need to know about Katherine can be found on her website and she also runs a Facebook page which is a must if you love pouring over wedding day sneak peeks like I do...even if it does make me wish we could do it all over again!

Next up is our wedding videographers. Having a wedding video from our day was an idea I toyed with for quite a while before deciding that it was something we definitely both wanted. I was a little indifferent at first and had always been put off by a few cheesy, somewhat shaky films I had seen before but once I found A Hint of Mint and watched a few of their recent pieces of work, I was convinced! These guys are an extension to Minty Slippers who are equally fabulous yet were not able to accommodate their growing client list hence their sister company was born. The guys on the day were amazing - very subtle and lovely to work with and again captured all the little details and moments from our day in such a fresh, endearing way. Our little highlights video is so wonderful and literally brings back all the happy memories from our day and is keeping us going until the full length, big video is ready to view in a few weeks. If you are in two minds about a wedding video then I would definitely recommend having one and think the Minty team is a great place to start your search.

And finally, the most fun factor from our wedding for sure, the amazing photo booth which was provided to us by The Photo Emporium. I first saw this idea at the Brides Show last year and loved the concept and different set ups you could have so headed home and booked them up. We went for the vintage photo booth which came complete with a picket fence, retro camera and a suitcase of vintage props and paraphernalia. It was a huge hit with our guests! At weddings some people like to dance in the evening, some people are happy to drink and people-watch and others love to take photos and play with novelty props all night long! And judging by the constant mingle of guests around the photo booth from early evening until late into the night, our guests definitely loved the latter. Each guest gets to take a print out of their photo there and then and they can go back (and back!) as much as they like. It was a great addition to our wedding and we love looking back at all the hundreds of funny photos, giggling at the random mix of people, props and silly faces in many of the images. Brilliant!

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Monday, 25 August 2014

Our wedding - special gifts, fun favours and wedding stationery

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wedding order of service
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jam wedding favours
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Wedding photography by Katherine Ashdown

My next post in my wedding series focuses on all those little gifts we gave and very gratefully received during our wedding day, from the favours for the guests to the bridesmaids gifts, as well as the stationery we used to help style our day. For my lovely bridesmaids I wanted to treat them to a few little treats during the wedding morning so firstly presented them with these floral B by Ted Baker kimonos to match my own chemise. I knew it would be nice for them to wear them in the morning as we all excitedly got ready and would make for some super lovely photos right before we got changed into our wedding outfits. I also bought them each a cream dressing table mirror from Laura Ashley to use on the morning but then take home with them as a little reminder of our day. Finally I presented them with their own Jo Malone Orange Blossom cologne to compliment my own bespoke scent and again to give them something personal to always provoke a happy memory of our day together. They are all such amazing friends and beautiful bridesmaids, I really wanted to give them something special to cherish always.

Just before I began to get ready into my wedding dress a special delivery arrived from Rob for me to open which I did with utmost excitement. He sent over such a lovely card that I will read and re-read for a long time to come and then I had much fun and wonderment unveiling my wedding gift, my dream bag, the Mulberry Willow Tote in Ballet Pink. It is beautiful and was such an expected, thoughtful gift from my husband-to-be. Ironically I had also bought him a Mulberry bag, the Oak Clipper Holdall, which was being delivered by one of our ushers at the same time. Great minds, eh?!

For all our wedding stationery and bespoke jam jar labels I used the wonderful Wedding in a Teacup who were amazing at helping me create my individual invitations and order of services, giving me the freedom to reword the templates and play about with the layout to ensure they were delivered just how I wanted them. They have so many lovely designs and little ideas for favours, gifts and handmade items for your wedding, I would definitely recommend them to help add some rustic charm to your day. We of course went for the Love is Sweet stationery - the cupcakes and pastel hues went perfectly with our theme. For our favours we made homemade strawberry & rose jam for the girls and spicy plum chutney for the boys and spooned them into jam jars with our bespoke Spread the Love labels placed on the front from Wedding in a Teacup also. We made the tops for the jams and chutney from the leftover bunting fabric and tied them in place with some fine ribbon.

We loved the idea of having some personalised apple crates and boxes dotted around our venue to  house various things like some warm blankets for the evening and the wedding cards and gifts from our lovely friends and family. We ordered a whole host of different crates and boxes from Plant a Box online which is a great site. You can choose the size, colour and text of each box so was perfect for personalising the items for our wedding day but equally they would make a lovely gift for someone and will remain a keepsake for us for many years to come.  

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