To compliment the glorious sunshine that’s currently beaming through my office window, we have an equally glorious wedding to share with you lovely people today.
Helen and Darren hoped for a wedding day that was informal, fun and most of all relaxing for their guests. They didn’t want their friends and family to have to worry about the protocols or traditions associated with weddings which can, at times, make people feel out of place. Instead they wanted to focus on creating that chilled happy vibe that is unique to all great music festivals and to encourage their guests to get stuck in and enjoy themselves.
With inspiration drawn from their travels around the world, beautiful fabrics they love and vintage style, Helen and Darren’s wedding is a real mixture of eclectic decor made up from charity shop finds, boot fairs and homemade elements.
Look out for Helen’s beautiful bespoke wedding dress designed and made by her friend and Darren’s quirky groom style.
Please also put your hands together for the lovely Juliet Lemon as she is the talented photographer behind these awesome images. She has captured the soul of Hannah and Darren’s wedding perfectly. Clap Clap Miss Lemon!
Juliet also names her two camera’s Gin and Tonic – this a girl after my own heart!
Over to Helen and Darren….
Love Is A Temporary Madness….
Our Ceremony venue was Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing. A beautiful building close to where we live, we loved the idea of getting married somewhere we could easily go back to visit. Plus the manor backs on to a beautiful park and incredible vegetable garden, great for photos!
As our reception was in a separate venue to the ceremony it seemed a bit of a shame to have flowers which would only be seen for a short time during the nuptials so we draped the front desk in my late Gran’s vintage lace table cloth and I put my bouquet on the table for decoration. The ceremony room is stunningly beautiful anyway so we felt not having flowers really didn’t detract at all!
During the ceremony we had a very special Dutch friend who we met on our travels do reading ‘Love is a temporary madness’ from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Despite English being her second language she read it perfectly!
After the ceremony the pianist entertained while our guests mingled and enjoyed drinks & canapés. We went off to have some fun with photos in the veg garden.
A Grand Piano and Thunder Road….
We had a pianist, Martyn Croston, play during our ceremony and welcome drinks on a grand Piano (the very piano that Chariots of Fire was composed on!) who played some of our favourite modern and golden oldie songs. We decided not to go down the classical music route (as beautiful as it is) as neither of us would normally listen to classical and we wanted something that would better represent us. I walked down the aisle to the piano intro of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Thunder Road’, a song special to us both. We also had beautiful versions of the Killers ‘Mr Brightside’ and Vampire Weekends ‘The Kids don’t Stand a Chance’ during the ceremony & drinks reception amongst others.
The amazing Juliet Lemon!
I’m actually not a fan of having my photo taken, I always seem to pull the weirdest poses! But we couldn’t have picked a better photographer, we absolutely love the photos. In the morning Juliet gave us girls some handy tips on how to pose nicely and throughout the day she came up with lots of fun ideas for photos and captured special moments of people chatting and laughing… just the kind of style that we were after.
Make Do and Mend….
We didn;t really have a wedding a theme but if we had to pick one I’d say ‘make do and mend’. I hate how so much is wasted by modern society and things are discarded because they don’t fit an idealised mold of perfection. So we tried to be resourceful where we could and find the beauty in simple things. This also helped out greatly with our budget!
A Private Field, Handmade Bunting and A BBQ….
The reception was held in a private field in New Denham. We hired two large tipis, erected a bar tent, put out some hay bales (sourced from a local farm) for seating, and decorated the place with tiki torches, paper bag lanterns, and colourful pom poms. My mum spent a few months making bunting from silks, lace and other fabrics sourced to fit in with the colour scheme.
We hired a refrigerated trailer to store all the alcohol (best invention ever!), and had the most amazing caterers who put on a fantastic bbq spread, and a hog roast for later on in the evening.
Charity Shop Finds and Handmade Decor….
Bottles, jars, cans, anything we could find! We used ornaments picked up along our travels, local charity shop finds and family items to add a touch of fun and personality to the tables. No two tables were the same. We had handmade bunting in the tipis, and fairly lights wrapping around the structure. The bar tent was simply decorated with handmade pom poms
A Random Mix of White, Peach and Dusky Pinks….
Our Flowers were by Shelleys, based in Northolt, North West London. We had Buttonholes & Bridesmaids bouquets made up of gypsophila and wrapped in twine. For my Bouquet and table flowers, we asked for a random mix of flowers in white, peach & dusky pink hues. I asked specifically for Dahlias but after that I was happy to let Shelley use whatever she thought would work in the scheme. The table flowers were placed in a mix of vases, golden syrup tins, bottles & glass jars, basically anything we could get our hands on! We mixed these with candles and a quirky/sentimental object on each table. Our tables were named after some of our favourite places we’ve travelled to so where we could we tried to incorporate a memento from that trip. We finished the tables with handmade flags of the destination names.
A Lemon Flavoured Cake and Handmade Toppers….
We had a lemon flavoured sponge for our wedding cake made by a friend of Darren’s, decorated with lemon flavoured yellow ombre icing. I made the elephant cake toppers myself out of Fimo and spray painted them gold.
Spotify and Leech….
During the afternoon & dinner we played playlists using Spotify. We used the invites to ask guests for songs which were guaranteed to get them moving and tried to include as many of these as possible to cater for all tastes. As we’re both big fans of live music we absolutely had to have a band (Leech) which really got everyone up and dancing!
So many to choose from! But I think for me it has to be having a good old dance to the band, we have some friends with some incredible moves so it’s always a good laugh watching them and getting involved!
Darren says seeing me walk down the aisle (soppy tart).
It’s never too early to start crafting!!! I had a load of things I wanted to say to people and people I wanted to introduce but on the day it was so manic I completely forgot everything, so maybe hide a list somewhere if these things are important to you. Also, if you do a day in a private location like us consider hiring an on the day organiser, there is a ridiculous amount to remember and to be done and we really could have done with someone emotionally detached from the situation to make sure we were doing everything we had planned and kept us on time!
The Line UpPhotography: Juliet Lemon
Ceremony Venue: Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing Reception Venue: Private Venue
Brides Dress: Aimee Collins Brides Shoes: Dune Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Packham No. 1 Make-Up: Sophie Brown Hair: Leopard Lounge Groom: Shirt – Banana Republic; Suit and Shoes – River Island Flowers: Shelley’s Flowers
Cake: Handmade Pianist: Martyn Croston
Catering: Nyama Catering Tipi: Tipis 4 Hire
Red Bus: Metroline