Neil And Fiona
On 24th January 2015, Neil and Fiona got married at Abingdon Registry Office, celebrating their marriage on 13th September 2015 at The Rectory Hotel, Crudwell, Wiltshire.
On the day of the wedding it was a beautiful sunny, cold, blue sky January day. Both of us got ready at home with both Mum’s around. My hair and make up artists were amazing making me feel like a princess. I'd treated myself to a vintage mink fur jacket as it was a very chilly day and I'd anticipated I would need something to keep me warm. I had inherited my grandmothers 1920’s engagement ring which was now to be my engagement ring and Neil had bought me an antique 1920’s eternity ring. My father had sadly died back in 2001 and so my brother Mark gave me away, wearing a pair of my fathers shoes so that Mark could literally walk in his Father’s footsteps. Luckily I didn’t know this till Mark mentioned it in his speech at lunch otherwise if he’d told me before the service it would have ruined my make up before walking down the aisle.
Our 4 year old nephew Alexander was responsible for giving Neil the wedding band. After a few photos we had a lovely intimate lunch in the private dining room at The White Hart before returning home for wedding cake. It was a very intimate day with just 8 people.
For the September party our inspiration was very much Elegance, Antique chic, homely, touch of vintage. We decided that we didn’t want the party to be all day so we decided on an elegant afternoon tea party that would be set in a character homely property, in the Cotswolds. The Rectory Hotel fitted the bill with it’s wood-panelled dining room, open log fires and comfy armchairs. It felt just like being in someone’s very large family home. With the inspiration of their elegant stationery of grey and off white they continued this on the decorations with grey and white linens, hints of blush pink in the flowers and cotswolds green for Neil’s tie.
We had arranged to stay over at The Rectory Hotel on the Saturday, the night before the party, with some family and friends and had afternoon drinks in the garden at The Rectory followed by a lovely relaxed meal that evening at The Potting Shed Pub in Crudwell. Sunday morning, before getting ready I met with the florist and the hotel team who were all busy preparing the rooms. I had my hair and make up done so Neil went off to play table tennis with some friends who were staying in the hotel. Luckily Neil won a couple of games so he was happy, or maybe they let him win, who knows!! Once we were dressed and ready we walked down the grand staircase of the hotel to be greeted by the photographer and so the smiles started. The hotel team and the florist had worked their magic and added their designs to the decorations, it looked beautiful and just as we imagined. As we welcomed our guests at the front door of the hotel we felt like we were welcoming them into our own home, which was exactly how we wanted it to feel. The party started off with drinks and a selection of canapés in the summer room of the hotel. A glass of bubbles in the vintage champagne saucers was definitely now in order before more photos. Photos were an important part of the day as we wanted to extend our collection from the wedding and have some photo opportunities that we didn’t have back then.
Before we knew it, it was time for afternoon tea. We waited in the summer room whilst everyone took their seats in the dining room and once announced in to the room as Mr and Mrs Dawson, the emotions got the better of me and I couldn’t stop the tears from the happy smiles and applauding as we walked into the room. The afternoon tea party was a selection of sandwiches and miniature cakes. We had speeches first from my brother Mark, then Neil and then myself. More photo opportunities followed including the traditional confetti shot, family and friends photos, a few staged photos but mainly relaxed photos were taken from the day. The finale of the day was our first dance which was to the ballroom version of John Paul Young’s “Love is in the air”. No complicated choreography dance moves but a bit of jig on the dance floor rather than a slow soppy number. We said our goodbyes to friends and family and retired to our honeymoon suite having dinner in our bedroom and falling asleep with the lights still on, we were both so tired.
The design of our monogram became a focal point for various design elements of the day. I knew I wanted an elegant classic design for the stationery, no strong colours just dark grey font on thick quality white card. Kelly my favourite and talented graphic designer, who I work with, helped in her spare time to come up with a stunning design. I found I was drawn to ideas on Pinterest of a monogram with foliage of sorts. I love the eucalyptus plant and new I wanted this in our flower decorations so I asked Kelly to design something from the ideas I’d seen. Once finalised we then used the monogram on various pieces of the stationery and other elements such as the embroidered napkins and the gift tags for the take home cake boxes. A belly band was created to wrap all the invitation/rsvp cards together, again using the monogram on the band. The same concept was used to create a paper napkin ring that housed both the napkin and the name place setting card.
I didn’t want the expensive cost of a full blown wedding cake and so chose an option from M&S where you could buy various sized and different flavoured cakes that could be tiered on top of each other and it meant I could decorate it myself with the cake topper and ribbon I’d sourced online.
We really wanted a photo opportunity with everyone throwing confetti. So came across confetti cones during a google search and on reviewing the website could see they would be able to help, they could supply a mix of their colour theme and a mix of flower types, cones and cone holders. Really easy, cost effective and great customer service
Using Pinterest I was inspired with hundreds of ideas but narrowed it down to a colour theme of vintage style, blush pinks with creams and soft green/grey foliage. I found some inspiring photos showing flowers in vintage glass vases that attracted my attention so much so that I clicked through to the florists website and to my delight they were local to the party venue. I could tell instantly from their website that their style matched what we were looking for and set about requesting a quote and going from there. The florists advised on flower availability and I then carefully selected flowers available for the season. The bouquet was to be elegant, not perfect, not too structured and definitely with eucalyptus foliage. Buttonholes to match with clusters of small blush roses. Vintage glass vases, all different designs and sizes throughout the venue with small arrangements of flowers to match the bouquet. On the day the glass vases were showcased on the fireplaces and each table setting in the dining room and on the window ledges of the summer room. Then with the added extras of eucalyptus and the odd flower decorating the beams in the summer room and a eucalyptus heart. Flowers were even used for the table plan idea of buckets hanging on a rustic wooden frame propped up on an easel.
Our advice would be plan your budget before anything else and stick to it. Yes it is your wedding day and needs to be special but it is only one day and it’s over in a flash, it’s not a competition to see who can have the best wedding ever. Don’t let cost take over, it’s not essential you have everything that the wedding planners say you have to have, as long as you have your close family and friends with you to celebrate that’s all that matters. Don’t pressurise yourself to do all traditions, again you don’t have to follow the recommended things, it’s just a guide. I do admit to letting the detail take over but I did so many things myself to save on costs I couldn’t have been happier and personally I got the look I was after without it costing the earth. It could have been so much more, but we kept in control of the budget throughout the whole process. Pinterest boards were essential for my inspiration, I had secret boards so that my friends couldn’t see my ideas. I took these ideas and found ways of recreating them without a major cost. Its such a great inspirational site. Make sure you plan your special day with the essential ingredients of love and happiness.
It’s amazing what you can plan and put into action in a very short space of time, it made me realise what was important and that I was marrying the man of my dreams and that’s all that mattered at the end of the day. We are one very happy husband and wife team and can’t believe we have just celebrated our first wedding anniversary with a celebratory meal back at The White Hart in Fyfield. We are so looking forward to a very long and happy marriage together.
With special thanks to:
Photographer: Tom Weller
Confetti: Rebecca D’Arcy at Confetti Cones
Laura at The Bloom Room
Hair: Katie Jane Whitlock
Make Up: Katie Burt
Vintage Champagne saucers and vintage cake stands Cotswolds Vintage Party Hire
Embroidered napkins: Heidi Lawton at Extra Special Touch