Lauren & Tom In Wonderland
On the blog today is Lauren and Tom’s wedding, which was a little bit of whimsy, a little bit of wonderland, and a lot of happiness. The gorgeous couple tied the knot in June this year (which is already 2 months ago…time is flying, is it not?!) at Penton Park in Andover. The day was full of lovely handmade and DIY elements, including towering table centrepieces made from vintage crockery and hand-arranged flowers, and also full of touching gestures, such as the bride organising for a surprise bouncy castle for her husband, and a mass picnic on the grounds. Lauren and Tom’s décor was very loosely based on Alice in Wonderland and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, though it quickly evolved into just the general theme of their relationship and what they love the most. This definitely comes through in the photos: I’ve never seen such a giggly couple and going through the full set was a heart-warming joy. Thank you to the amazing Joanna Cleeve Photography for these images!
“The day started when we arrived at the venue, me with my bridal party. We had a bridal prep room where we had hair and make up on the go from around 8:30. Tom and his groomsmen arrived at 11:30 along with the dogs and whilst we were getting ready upstairs I could see the groomsmen taking it in turns to run around the grounds with the dogs trying to wear them out a bit before the guests arrived!
One of my favourite parts of the day was when my mum and mother-in-law came to see me as I was getting ready. Then, once they left, my dad came up and we had a few minutes to chat before we needed to get going to the ceremony – it’s these moments that are so truly special.
Even though we used standard vows, the ceremony was really personal to us ass our registrar got to know our personalities in a very short space of time and really helped us make the most of it – it was fab! Another memory that will forever remain special to me is walking down the aisle – accompanied by my dad and, of course, Denzyl, my Hungarian Puli.
After the ceremony, of course, came the food. As a great lover of all things cake and being a non-drinker, we decided to have afternoon tea as our wedding breakfast with little sandwiches, scones with fresh cream and jam and mountains of cake all served with an assortment of teas and wine! This worked beautifully as everyone could eat as much or as little as they wanted to and there was little risk of spillage over an ivory dress.
Each of the tables were decorated with crockery towers which were made by myself and a friend. These were really special – not only were they heartfelt because we’d handmade them, but the crockery had been collected by family and friends from all over the country, and so it was a real labour of love and a coming together of everyone who was important to us. We then filled all of these with flowers, which had a really beautiful country garden, whimsical vibe to them. Everywhere you looked, we had slate hearts dotted with little sayings such as, “Life is too short so smile while you still have teeth” and “Some people are worth melting for”. It was really important to us that wherever our guests looked, they spotted something that spoke of us as a couple. As neither of us longer have grandparents, we had each of our grandparents on their wedding day, framed above the fireplace along with a photo of my auntie on her wedding day so they were with us in spirit.
With the exception of my bouquet, we did all the flowers ourselves: the bridesmaid bouquets, the flowers for the venue and the tables, the buttonholes…all of them! Covent Garden Flower Market was where we sourced all the flowers and made the arrangements even more special.
Our table plan was so much fun, too. It was a really big plan with everything written in miniature and a magnifying glass attached.
The speeches came next which were all incredible. I am eternally grateful to all of the speeches: my dad’s, for being very touching (And for keeping the embarrassment to a minimum), Tom’s for being so funny but also so heartfelt, the best man’s, for making me cry with laughter, and my maid of honour’s, who couldn’t have given my guests a better insight into our friendship. After the emotion of the speeches, we needed to lighten things up - so out came the Cookie Dough Cheesecake. This was followed by my piece de resistance: a bouncy castle I’d ordered as a surprise for Tom. We asked our guests to bring along picnic blankets and given it was the hottest day of the year it’s a good job we did as it meant people could just relax in the gorgeous grounds with a drink and have a bounce on the castle as and when.
Our evening guests arrived around 7pm and then came the cake cutting: a crazy 5-tier cheese tower decorated with handmade mice made by us! As we’d opted for afternoon tea during the day, we assumed guests wouldn’t want more cake for the evening – so, naturally, we went with cheese. Our first dance was to Ed Sheerans’ “I see Fire” as we both love The Hobbit and didn’t want anything too traditional. I surprised Tom by pre arranging with the DJ for Tom and his best man and best friend Tim to have their own first dance together which was absolutely hilarious and went down a treat! A hog roast, vegetarian Paella and about a tonne of cheese was the food of choice for the evening, everyone was very well fed and the dance floor wasn’t empty for the entire evening!
If I had to give any couple planning their wedding currently some advice, it would be this: though the little details are important and are what make it extra memorable, it’s important to not lose sight of what your day is actually about. It should be celebrating you as a couple and making your commitment to each other – as long as the two of you are there, no one else will know if something isn’t quite right, so don’t panic! Also, take some time to be together as the volume of people who want to be with you can be overwhelming, just take a walk together for 10 minutes to be alone. Tom and I disappeared off for more photos for a while whilst guests lounged, which involved skipping in the woods and just having quiet time and a laugh together in the meadow. Our favourite photographs of the day are these ones, where we’re just being completely ourselves together. It was also so nice to spend the time together just the two of us before we got back into the madness of the wedding!
It was always our aim to be selective about what we decided to splash out on and what we wanted to save. For us, the things we didn’t want to skimp on were my dress, the food and our photographer. The dress is the most important garment you will wear and although its only once, it’ll be more photographed than anything else you will ever wear and it’ll be that dress that you see in every single one of your photographs forever more - so you have to feel incredible. No pressure! If people are well fed, they are happy…on top of it being a long day with a lot of drinking! As for your photographer, they are capturing the most special day of your life. These are the photos which will be on your wall and in your families’ homes for the rest of your lives. Your photographer will be with you for the whole day too so you need to make sure that you get along and they understand your personality and personal style as you need to work together.