Lesley & Andrew’s wedding: crafted with love
Happy Wednesday brides-to-be! I love today’s real wedding for so many reasons, not only because bride Lesley is a self-confessed blog-aholic, but along with her groom Andrew, they created a day that gets to the heart of what a wedding should be about. Family. From the New Zealand-inspired touches as a nod to Andrew’s family, to hand crafted details (from stationery to cake stand!) by just about every family member, their day not only reflected their personalities but the people most important to them. The colour palette of sage green and soft pastels, adds a timeless quality to their celebration, with gorgeous flowers (umm, hello beautiful bouquet!) and vintage-inspired touches including Lesley’s Grandma’s orginal 1940’s suitcase used as a card box. Their day was captured perfectly by photography duo Ben & Tim of Milkbottle Photography.
Here’s Lesley with all the details ~
Andrew and I met at the gym where Andrew was employed as manager. We spent our first date in Henley on Thames, a place where Andrew would ultimately propose. Attempting to recreate our first date, Andrew took me on a romantic walk. Oblivious to the momentous occasion, I kept pointing out peculiar coloured painted houses and that I think palm trees look out of place in England! We were stood on a bridge over the river Thames when we got down on bended knee… when I realised what was happening I panicked and blurted “don’t drop the ring!” this was quickly followed by a “yes” to his marriage proposal. Andrew had secretly had my engagement ring made by a local craftsman. It is a trilogy meaning ‘yesterday, today, forever’ and I simply love it.
We were married in my home county of North Yorkshire. I have lived in Hertfordshire for over a decade, but I had always dreamt of marrying back home. The venue, The Pheasant Hotel, is a beautiful country hotel set in the chocolate box village of Harome. For us as a couple, it was important for our wedding guests to feel comfortable on the day. We wanted our wedding to be relaxed, without all the normal formalities that are often associated with the big day. The Pheasant is classically designed with a homely feel. Their staff were extremely flexible and went to great lengths to accommodate our ideas, enabling us to create the wedding reception we wanted.
When dress shopping, I thought I had found the ‘one’ in the very first appointment but something held me back, perhaps that it wasn’t quite what I’d imagined getting married in. At the next appointment, at Brides of York, I chose eight dresses to try on, whittling my original choice down to just two dresses, I was surprised when they wouldn’t tell me the prices (unbeknown to me I had chosen from both ends of the price spectrum!). I loved both dresses but had always imagined something simple and elegant…. I decided to choose the dress I had imagined getting married in but I feared I would not be able to afford it. I cried when she told me the price & it was actually under my budget! It was called Della by Romantica of Devon. As Andrew and I are the same height, I plumped for flats as I didn’t want to appear taller than my Groom on the wedding photos. I eventually found a pair of simple pumps in Primark (of all places) and added some sparkly brooches to pretty them up. I wore a necklace that I made from vintage crystals, along with beautiful diamond earrings that Andrew gave me as a wedding gift. The bridesmaid dresses were in sage green and the groomsmen had co-ordinating cravats and hankies.
My groom bucked the trend when it came to helping with inspiration. He bought me lots of wedding magazines (my favourite mag being You & Your Wedding). He also arranged for us to visit several wedding fair together, including the National Wedding show in London where we attended a seminar by Rock My Wedding blog, I was hooked! I wanted a neutral and stylish colour palette, so after lots of deliberation I chose sage green. Our whole family helped make our day special! My sister, Tracy designed and created the bouquets and decorated the church with ivy and foliage and two silver birch trees (which are now planted in my Mum’s garden). She also helped me design the stationery. Andrew is from New Zealand, so I took inspiration from the New Zealand koru, which is an unfurled fern, and made little wire curls for the groom and groomsman’s buttonholes. The koru represents ‘a new phase of life or new beginnings’. My mum made the cake, and my stepdad hand- turned the cake stand out of solid oak!
My sister & I visited New Covent Garden Flower market for inspiration and I found a rose I loved named ‘Quicksand’. I had a very firm idea of what I wanted in relation to style choosing a loosely handpicked hand-tied bouquet. I very much wanted a natural looking scented bouquet so in addition to the vintage rose I chose cream waxflower, vibernum berries, astrantia, pink snowberry, rosemary and pink veronica. Eucalyptus and some poppy heads from Mum & George’s garden. The stems were tied with some vintage lace that my Mum gave me, and a silver locket with a photo of my Dad inside so he would be part of the day.
We met Milk Bottle Photography at one of the wedding fayres we attended. We loved their reportage style. One of the reasons we decided to book them for our big day was that we got on well with Ben & Tim, we felt this was really important as they would be highly involved throughout the wedding day. We were also impressed that they did a pre-wedding shoot, so we would be at ease with the cameras and feel more relaxed on the big day. They were brilliant and we are couldn’t be more delighted with our photographs. We would highly recommend them to anyone!
What was your favourite moment?
It’s really difficult to choose… the whole wedding day and weekend was magical, filled with special moments. One of the most memorable was seeing the look on Andrew’s face when I stood next to him in Church… one of the photographers captured it perfectly!
What was your first dance?
‘No One’ by Alicia Keys. This song is very special to both of us reminding us of when we first got together. The band, Sax and Honey, had learnt it especially for us and did a lovely version of it, it made me cry!
Is there anything you’d do differently now, or do you have any advice for other couples?
There is a lot of wedding advice out there and pressure to conform to traditions and formalities. Don’t be afraid to be different and mix things up a little. For example we wanted an intimate wedding breakfast with just close family & friends, so we invited everyone to the church ceremony, a limited few to join us for the wedding breakfast and then arranged the evening reception to start at 5.30pm to allow guests to rejoin the celebrations. We also decided to have the formal photos taken later in the day instead of taking them as soon as we arrived at the venue when everyone is hungry & the sun was high in the sky. Taking them later in the day meant everyone was more relaxed and the light was better for the photographers, allowing them to be more creative. We also extended the wedding celebrations further by arranging a BBQ the following day. This was lovely as we had a chance reflect on the wedding day and spend more time with our guests.