Friends and family helped with all aspects of the wedding – Kate says “friends and contacts can be incredibly generous with their time and talents, you just have to ask!”
“We had quite a lot of fun trying different cocktail recipes out for the alcoholic, non-fizzy reception drink option. Making 1.5 litres each of fresh lime, lemon and orange juice the day before was a little less fun…”
… and in case you wonder about the Greek statues, Kate explains, “the entertainment was all arranged for me. Two dancers dressed as a Greek God and Goddess greeted me to beckon me into church. The aim was to help me relax and laugh, and it certainly worked!”
Images are all by lovely Neil Walker Photography, who you can see more from here:
The English Wedding Blog Interview: Kate & Russell
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
We were sent a card for our photographer by our reception venue when we booked that. I looked at Neil’s website and the information suggested his style was relaxed and focussed on capturing natural moments, rather than trying for model beautiful shots. Like so many people, I’m not the most camera-loving person, but I wanted to have photos of my day as a princess! We met with Neil and felt very comfortable that he understood what we wanted, and his portfolio showed he could definitely deliver it. I’d already done some homework on costs, and felt Neil’s were in line with what I’d found so we stopped looking there!
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
We are absolutely delighted with Neil’s work! We knew we had a few ‘tough nuts’ in our close circle, and he managed them really well and got fabulous pictures of everyone. His attitude on the day was perfect – sufficiently directing that timing didn’t go haywire, but flexible enough to be happy to go with last minute wishes. He also inspired my 8 year old nephew to want to take up photography having been really patient with all his questions!
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
Unfortunately I work away quite a lot, so my first view of the photos was on my own in a hotel room in the US! There were tears! We decided to take the full digital collection with us on our honeymoon and used some of our 3 day train ride across Australia to look through them all together. That was very special.
Service – St George’s Church Donnington, Chichester, West Sussex
Reception – Farbridge, West Dean, Chichester, West Sussex
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
The most incredible day we could imagine. We nailed it!
Your wedding style or theme:
Classic, elegant but understated
I opted for duck egg blue and orange as colours, though I wasn’t bothered about specific shades, more just the general idea. VW Camper Vans were a nod to my husband, and flowers/lights were my accents.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Through internet searches and personal connections
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Decide what is important to you, and work out what you want to spend on those parts. Then think about whether you actually want the other things – it’s amazing what you don’t actually need to have an awesome wedding. Friends and contacts can also be incredibly generous with their time and talents, you just have to ask.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
The food. We went for a less traditional meal and had loads of lovely comments about it. We also had hotdogs in the evening along with cheese and cake and everything went!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
Our wedding stationery was our one panic. I found a company on-line with designs that I loved. Having printed our invites and agreed to print all the matching ‘on the day’ stationery, they then failed to respond to e-mails. As we were pulling our wedding together in a short period of time, we were quite close to the day by this time. In the end friends came to the rescue using their contacts to deliver two sets of stationery based on the invites the day before the ceremony! We used a combination of the two and no one would ever have known it hadn’t been the plan all along.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Oh yes! I was a proper princess!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Maggie Sottero bought from Proposals, Chichester
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I bought a pair of shoes from Monsoon Bridal online, and a pair of flats from Debenhams. I ordered all sorts of pairs and sent them back, but didn’t spend a lot on them – they needed to be comfortable not branded!
My husband bought me a pair of white gold earrings (with a little bit of help from my friend!)
My dress had quite a high neckline so the only other accessories I wore were a jewelled band in my hair and small ‘crystals’ dotted through my plait. They were a bit more of a struggle to find and I spent many hours trawling the web for small flowers. In the end they weren’t flowers and I found them in my local haberdashery!
And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?
We decided both my husband and his best man would have matching suits, but they didn’t want tails. As he wears a suit to work, we wanted one in a colour that wouldn’t make him think of work, so opted for blue, and he wanted it to be three piece. Again, a bit of internet research and we decided to look in Moss Bros. We found just the job there.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
I didn’t have any bridesmaids. Everyone attending was encouraged to wear what made them feel comfortable. My best friend had a 6 week old baby at the time of our wedding so I wasn’t going to put any more stress on her!
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
One of the hairdressers at the salon I’ve been going to for years came to our venue and did my hair, my best friend, my mum and my aunty. A good friend of mine does make-up for weddings as a side-line to her midwifery training so she did all our makeup.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
The sister of another good friend (and my business partner) did our flowers. Sam of Hot Pink Peony did a fabulous job of all the flowers, including pulling off 80 additional button holes requested a week before the day (satisfying other people’s requests does become a feature of weddings we learnt!).
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
We were incredibly lucky. The reception venue is a delightful flint stone structure so needs little dressing, but equally can be a blank canvas. Another good friend is Head of Entertainment at work (I work for a Cruise Line) and he organised all the sound, lighting and design features. It was all very subtle, but there was real attention to detail with lights in the trees, and colour washes on the walls.
I added a group of comfy chairs near the bar, which I bought from a charity shop and covered in throws and cushions (again, bought from low-cost websites!). I wanted an area where people could sit comfortably and chat if they didn’t want to dance. They were well used, and went straight back to the charity shop the next day for them to sell again!
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
My mum made some lovely bunting to hang at our house and in the garden. The seating plan was a pin board of scratch off cards for everyone. As the bits didn’t arrive until the day before the wedding, I had a production line involved in putting them all together for me. We also had quite a lot of fun trying different cocktail recipes out for the alcoholic, non-fizzy reception drink option. Making 1.5 litres each of fresh lime, lemon and orange juice the day before was a little less fun. My dad had to buy almost all the limes in Chichester!
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We had a top-tier fruitcake with a VW Camper Van topper and further tiers of cupcakes with flowers made from butter icing. I wanted the cupcakes, but knew some people would prefer fruitcake. As it all went, I think we got it right!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
Music was really important to us, and the entertainment was all arranged for me. Two dancers dressed as a Greek God and Goddess greeted me to beckon me into church. The aims was to help me relax and laugh, and it certainly worked. My cousin played the church organ, and an arrangement of the Triumphal March from Aida was written for two trumpets and organ to accompany me down the aisle (the only part of my wedding I’ve known I wanted from childhood). 2 singers sang beautiful arrangements a cappella for us while we signed the register, and our three hymns all had special meaning for us.
At the reception we had gentle musical arrangements of a variety of genres playing in the background through dinner, and a 5 piece live band in the evening. They are all session musicians bought together as a favour! They played our first song (Ellie Goulding’s How Long Will I Love You) and a fantastic mix of tunes from every era, keeping the dance floor buzzing all night. We had given them a list of songs that friends and family had as their first songs, so everyone got a chance to re-live their wedding memories too.
On the day tips and advice:
Get everything organised and sorted by the evening of the night before, so you can stop, and simply enjoy everything the day has to offer without being sucked into further organising.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Knowing we will be side by side everyday in all we do from here on in. It really is hugely liberating to know you’re formally in it together come what may.
Favourite supplier list for other brides and grooms:
All the people I’ve mentioned were fabulous.
Of course Neil our photographer www.neilwalkerphotography.co.uk !
www.hotpinkpeony.com – Flowers
www.proposals.co.uk – Dress
www.roscoehair.co.uk – Hair
www.valeriejanecakes.co.uk – Cake
www.farbridge.org.uk – Reception Venue
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