Letterpress, Weddings and Pretty Paper | Strawberry Sorbet
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Wedding Day Mood board – Neutrals

Nailing our big day palette is becoming pretty important. It’s now number one on the to-do list. I wish I had done so earlier on in the planning of the day – now I feel abit ‘rabbit-in-the-headlights’ trying to make a decision. Bridesmaids dresses and the boys ties need to be brought, the flowers need picking, and the general ‘look’ of the day needs nailing. Not to mention the invitations need designing and printing. (This is a close number 2 on the to-do list!) I’ve made so many mood boards and Pinterest boards, that my head is now in a bit of a spin.

Our venue is the gorgeous Jam Factory, and as well as being a restaurant and bar, it’s also an art gallery. This is one of the reasons we loved the place. But, we won’t know what they will be exhibiting until nearer the day, and even then, as amazing as Claire (the event co-coordinator) is, she isn’t going to be able to give me the Pantone references of every colour that will be used in every piece of artwork for me to match bouquets to. (I obviously haven’t asked for this, I haven’t yet gone quite that far down the bridezilla road to think this is a reasonable request!)

So, I’m thinking we need to keep things neutral to ensure everything works well together, and nothing clashes.

Neautrals-Moodboard

Maids | Tassels | Waistcoats | Flowers

My lovely bridesmaids can wear a combination of creams, golds and greys, and the flowers can be gorgeous bunches of mixed white blooms.

I think I’m settled on this, but I’m not 100% certain yet. I’m giving myself a week, and if I haven’t wobbled from this look, it’s a winner!

Wedding Day Mood board – Pinks & Peaches

Here’s a peek inside my brain at the moment. Trying to finalise a wedding palette is so tricky when you don’t have a set theme in mind. While I’m more than happy for everything to be casual and a little bit thrown together looking, I’d like it to be in an organised manner, if that makes sense?

Pinks-and-Peaches-Moodboard

Circles | Balloons | Bar Cart | Boxes

At the moment I’m swaying towards pinks and peaches, having been influenced by these lovely images. But the weekend is in sight, so who knows what new plan I will have come up with by Monday!

FINDING A PHOTOGRAPHER

With the venue finally picked, we thought we could put our feet up and rest easy for a while. Oh, how wrong we were!

Everyone we knew then started with the horror stories of how photographers get booked up at least 18 months before the day, and ‘what do you mean you haven’t booked yours yet, you’re leaving it very late’ etc etc.

So, another list was made. (Yep, I like lists, okay?) This time, what did we want from our photographer?

Firstly, I’m not really the worlds most photogenic lass. I have a tendency to gurn abit when someone gets a camera out. (I get it from my dad!) So we figured informal, capturing the moments shots (which we later learned is called ‘reportage’ photography) was the way forwards. Bar a couple for grandmas mantle, we wanted to keep the obligatory formal group shots to a minimum.

In helping me (us) to relax and forget to gurn, the photographer needed to be someone we could feel comfortable with and who we could have a giggle with. A wedding day is likely to be stressful enough – no need to throw someone you don’t like into the mix. We’d been to one particular wedding with a super militant photographer, who wasn’t au fait with creating a relaxing atmosphere for the couple and their guests. I think she may have learnt her people skills from a military training camp. So, someone who knew how to smile was a must.

We’re really drawn to photo booth images. It’s great to see people captured after they’ve let their hair down and generally being silly. If we could squeeze this in within our budget, then that would be a bonus.

Ultimately, we want damn amazing photos that make us smile until we are old and grey.

2_The_Photographer

Images via Rock My Wedding. By Lee Allen Photography

Just before we had nailed a venue, I was scouring the wedding blogs (which was on my daily to-do list) and had loved a dress I had spotted on Rock My Wedding. I favourite-ed the post so I could come back to it when it was time to think about dresses, but of course had to keep looking at it daily, just to check I liked it still. I loved everything about the whole wedding, and kept re-reading Kate and Andy’s story (which is a total tear-jerker, I warn you). After looking at it for the 43rd time, I realised it wasn’t just the couple, wedding, dress and décor I loved, but actually the images too.

So I emailed Lee. And pretty much knew instantly he was the man for us. Apart from anything else, a man who uses tens of exclamation marks in an email is always going to be a winner with me! And his beard? Legendary. Plus, he has a Curious Portmanteau. What more could a girl (and her fiancé) want?

We met up with him a couple of weeks later and were completely put at ease. I had felt pretty nervous about picking a photographer. After all, they’re responsible for capturing all of your memories of the one day that you won’t ever be able to repeat. No pressure huh? But from the word go, I had complete faith in Lee. He’s friendly, funny, and a total sweetheart. And his photos are amazing. I know he’ll make an amazing addition to our wedding crew. I’m so excited…it’s all starting to come together!

AND WE HAVE A WINNER!

Well, we thought it was the perfect idea. But once we got into the nitty gritty of it all, there were a few flaws in our plan.

Firstly, would we be able to squeeze our 100 guests in with room for eating, dancing and general milling around? (It’s a generous garden, but not humungous!) What would we do about food? Finding a caterer would be relatively easy, but how much room would they need for prep and serving? What about loos? We couldn’t have a hundred odd guests traipsing in and out of the house all day, which meant hiring some porta-loos. Again, that’s a relatively easy job, but would there be room in the garden for them? (Hmm, the space issue seems to be repeatedly cropping up).

And so we looked to plan B.

We struggled to find a suitable local reception venue, and accepted that holding the ceremony in the village church may not be the most practical option for us. We began to broaden our search. I Googled like it was going out of fashion, and got through more blogs and magazines than I thought possible. I made a spreadsheet with a list of (many) potential venues. There were columns for hire charges, average cost per guest for food and drink, distance from home, and an extensive pros and cons list for each one. If the venue wasn’t a hotel, there was a column for where guests could stay and the associated costs.

Now, I love me a spreadsheet. I often make excuses to whip one up (I know, I need to find some hobbies!) but I’ll be honest. This got boring and I started to lose enthusiasm. Nothing was blowing me away.

And then I spotted this beautiful wedding on Rock My Wedding.

1b.-The-Jam-Factory-inspiration

Rock My Wedding

I got goose bumps and a light bulb flickered.

Oxford is one of our favourite cities – not too far from home, and where we’ve spent many a day together, particularly in the dating days of our relationship. And on visiting The Jam Factory, I was sold. It had the perfect relaxed feel we had hoped for, the food was amazing (whoop!) and Claire (the event co-ordinator) was a sweetheart. We loved that it wasn’t a traditional wedding venue, and that we could pretty much do as we wished with the place.

1b.-The-Jam-Factory-Outside

Lee Allen Photography

The Town Hall too is just gorgeous. The Assembly Room where our ceremony will take place has beautiful panelled walls, and doesn’t feel like a bog standard, one in, one out civil ceremony room.

A day after visiting, we sealed the deal, put down a deposit, and had a ceremony, venue and date. Our wedding day is Saturday the 5th July 2014. Holy moley, it now all seems very real. In 15 months, we are getting married.

HOLY MOLEY, WE’RE ENGAGED. WE’D BETTER FIND A VENUE.

I wasn’t one of those little girls at school who had a scrap book full of pretty pictures of wedding dresses, flowers and wedding cakes. So, despite having known from the moment we met that Andrew would end up being my Mr, when he popped the question, we had no idea of how we wanted our wedding day to look.

So, of course, being me, we made a list, (how un-romantic!) of all the things we knew we wanted from our wedding;

  • Everyone we loved attending (including all the little people, which meant an over-formal setting wouldn’t really suit)
  • Good food and drink (goes without saying!)

Yep. We had a list. A really small, pretty unhelpful list.

I panicked for a little while. You’d think being a designer working in the wedding industry, that I’d at least have some idea of how things should be. But in fact, it had totally the opposite effect. My job means I have a legitimate reason to scour wedding blogs and magazines everyday. I see pretty images. All. Day. Long. I get to see how all of our customers weddings will take shape. To be honest, it all got a little bit overwhelming. There were just too many images and ideas in my head.

I thought taking to Pinterest would help, but actually I had (have) so many boards full of general wedding pretty (for work purposes, obviously!) that my poor little designer-bride-to-be brain almost exploded. There wasn’t one particular look, colour or theme that stuck out to us.

My ideas and pins were all over the place. One minute I loved the thought of a sophisticated, black tie, cocktail and canapé do. (Yes, yes, I know, wouldn’t suit the small people, but I wasn’t thinking about the list at that point). But then got swept up in the idea of taking over a field and having a relaxed, bohemian, flowers-in-my-hair-and-wearing-wellies shin-dig. (I don’t know why I would be wearing wellies. It would of course be a beautiful sunny summer’s day, so this vision made no sense at all). More panic ensued.

1.-The-Venue

Flowers in her hair | Table Decoration | Hay Bales | Watering Cans | Casual Dining

We then had a moment of clarity, and decided we would like the ceremony to take place in the church opposite his folks. And so followed us trying to find a local venue to hold the reception in. This isn’t the easiest task in a little Bucks village.

We looked at the local hotel, but it wasn’t quite right, a barn we could DIY (nice, but how would guests feel about a 45 minute drive between the two venues) and then, we had a brainwave. We could hold the reception in the in-laws’s back garden. Perfect.