Vicci & James’ Pretty Backyard Wedding
There’s nothing more quintessentially British than a marquee wedding along with an English country garden filled with lovingly cared for flowers, a relaxed and informal atmosphere, and the soft breeze of a warm summer evening. Bride Vicci and her groom James love entertaining in their garden, so it made perfect sense to host their wedding celebrations at home. Picking a contemporary classic palette of pink and grey, with touches of coral and lots of pretty details made by willing family and friends their beautiful day is filled with inspiration. Captured perfectly by Christian & Erica Film Photography and planned by Matthew Oliver Weddings, if you’re planning a backyard or marquee wedding, Vicci’s story is well worth a read.
James and I met at school but didn’t start dating until James was at university and we got in touch with each other through MSN Messenger (how old school).
James and I had already decided where our wedding would be held so I was kind of expecting a proposal but I had no idea he would whisk me away for the weekend! I was working late at an event on the Friday night when James text me telling me to pack a bag when I got home and get up at 4am! We ended up in Vienna at the opening of the Christmas Markets, wandering the streets all day and waiting for dark to see the lights being switched on. It was magical, listening to the carol singers, seeing the lights being switched on, eating Bratwurst and drinking mulled wine. As we decided to leave and wonder back to the hotel we turned to look back at the view of the town hall with the Christmas market in front of it and he asked me to marry him.
My dress was called Epic Kiss by Suzanne Neville. After trying on around 60 dresses I just knew this was the one when my mum started crying. My headpiece was chosen by my best friend and I at Grace of Westcott. I had been searching for a headpiece for weeks and just couldn’t work out what it was I actually wanted. As soon as I tried on the headpiece I knew it was just right! My jewellery was a beautiful light blue stone set of earring and necklace which James had bought me for my 21st birthday and my shoes were simple nude shoes from Kurt Geiger. I added some shoe clips I found on the internet to dress them up a bit. I had the most amazing experiences trying to find my dress and had some memorable days out with my mum, sister and bridesmaids that I will treasure forever.
The relaxed & informal feel of our garden wedding meant tux’s were out of the question, so the boys went for Jeff Banks suits from Debenhams which annoyingly was the first one they tried on – if only the girls were this easy! James’ was grey, with his boys in blue and they all wore matching dark blue patterned ties. My dad’s tie was slightly different to the other men in the groom’s party until after the church and this was because we wanted him to wear the tie he wore, and his father wore on their wedding days, which was really special.
The girls were not so easy. I knew I wanted them in blush pink and all in different style dresses. I ended up ordering around 15-20 dresses online for them to try and we ended up with four of the same dress from Warehouse, which I loved but had a niggling feeling my sister didn’t like. I ended up buying two more dresses and I ended up with my mis-matched maids after all! Choosing high street brands for the bridesmaids and groomsmen outfits and shoes was one of the best things we did, as they could just pick them up from their local store.
I deliberated for months over whether to do my own make up as I had done the wedding make up of a number of my friends for their weddings. However, whenever I practised doing my own for my dress fittings it just didn’t come out as I hoped in any pictures we took, so this did put me off! I came across Mark Cook when running an event at work, who confirmed my fear of doing it myself. It couldn’t have worked out better; I just don’t know how I could have done my own make up in the morning. It meant we had a relaxed and enjoyable morning getting ready instead of feeling stressed and rushed.
the venue & decor
We got married at St Martha’s Church on the Hill. An amazing church that on a clear day has views over 8 counties. Unfortunately on our wedding day it wasn’t that clear, but no matter whether it’s snowing/raining/dark/bright the view from the top of the hill (even after huffing and puffing!) is still amazing.
Our wedding reception was in the garden of our flat. We both absolutely love our garden and love nothing more than inviting friends over for a barbeque, so we knew it would be perfect and meant we could have a really personalised wedding that truly reflected us as a couple. Our lovely neighbours didn’t mind when we asked them and we checked with the council that it was ok and so we went ahead with booking a marquee.
A marquee is a great blank canvas but also quite daunting! We spent months buying decorations, but to be honest until you put everything together you don’t know how it’s going to look! My mum and sister spent hours making pompoms, bunting and sweet trees, which provided lots of colour in the marquee. The photo booth was handmade by my parents. My dad had managed to get hold of some old doors, sanded them down, painted them and attached them together with rope, to make this unique photo booth back drop and we borrowed props left over from a friends wedding! My favourite decorations were the table plan & menu – supplied by a lovely lady on eBay who I’ve stayed in touch with!
There were also lots of logistical considerations with a marquee wedding too. To create a grand entrance and hide the washing line, we lined the entrance with bay trees and fairy lights, and my mum spent months tending the plants around the garden. We brought in luxury loos and made little pampering boxes with perfume samples for the guests to freshen up.
The dessert table was fantastic and turned out far beyond our expectations. We asked family & friends to make something each and they looked absolutely amazing and ironically tied in nicely with each other despite everyone not knowing how each other’s would turn out. The only disappointing part was that I didn’t get to try all of them! Sadly we each lost a grandparent in the months leading up to the wedding but we ensured they were there with us on the day by having a picture of each of them on our dessert table.
Our photographers were the amazing Christian and Erica Ward from Christian and Erica – Film Photography. We were recommended them by our best man who got married just 3 months before us in France. From the first time we Skyped them we knew they would be great and just the sort of people we would want to photograph our wedding. We were nervous about having two photographers particularly as we have been to weddings where the photographer just totally takes over the day and we didn’t want that to happen. Meeting them in France and seeing their work on the day of our friend’s wedding was really lucky because we got to see how fantastic their work is and how little they interfere with the day. I really liked Christian and Erica’s manner when dealing with the many questions I had and they were always prompt to respond which is exactly what you want from your suppliers.
the first dance
Our first dance song was ‘it’s All About You’ by Mcfly. This is a little off the wall for a wedding song but it just reminds us of each other every time we hear it. We have danced and sung this in our kitchen in the car and around the house so many times.
I have many favourite moments of the day so I couldn’t pick just one! I absolutely loved the morning and getting ready with the girls (they even made sure James put a playlist together for me to listen to while I got ready, how amazing are they!) I loved the moment my dad saw me for the first time in my wedding dress and the emotion in his face. I loved being in the car holding my dad’s hand and feeling the excitement building as the car climbed the steep hill to the church. I loved walking through the door of the church and hearing lots of whispers and looking straight at James and seeing the emotion in his face. And the best moment of the day was when we were announced as husband and wife.
If I was to do anything differently I would want a longer engagement. We got engaged in November and got married the next September which really wasn’t much time. It would have been nice to have a little longer to plan and enjoy many more of those amazing times you have throughout your engagement. This would have also cut down on the stress levels I had of starting a new job and planning the wedding at the same time!
Bride Vicci also sent me the loveliest message, it means such a lot to know that b.loved inspired you!
“Thank you so much for offering to feature our wedding on b.loved. We are absolutely thrilled as it is your blog that helped me find our wonderful florist, our bridesmaid’s dresses and make a final decision on the colour scheme! Your blog really is an inspiration to brides. Vicci aka Mrs Massey x”
And if that’s not enough inspiration for you, you can watch their wedding video by Spatz Films too!