Rebecca and Paul said I do on the 28th June 2014 at their friends idyllic holiday let near Rye in East Sussex. They wanted their wedding to be relaxed, natural and colourful with a nod to their playful personalities through the addition of a bit of quirky style. Their seven and half year relationship has been built on love rather than money and they wanted to reflect that simplicity into their wedding day. Through subtle homemade touches and interesting ‘clutter’ collected from boot fairs they cleverly transformed the barn and gardens into the perfect wedding venue. In their words it was a ‘celebration of us and the people we love.’
Rebecca tells us all about it……
A Mint Leaf and One Knee……
We were living in Canada at the time Paul proposed and were on a trip to see Paul’s family in America. Paul insisted we take a walk in the garden on the most beautiful of sunny days. As we stood by the herb garden Paul picked a mint leaf and told me it was the best ever as he placed it in my hand. It took about 5 minutes before I saw a hint of bright blue folded in the palm of my hand. He had wrapped the most delicate turquoise and white gold ring in a mint leaf and was on one knee waiting for me to stop rambling so that he could propose!
A Community of Flowers…..
My flowers were a real community effort. The day before the wedding a lovely lady at our allotments gave us armfuls of beautiful sweetpeas and other flowers and foliage. Paul’s Aunt brought us many more flowers from her garden too. Friends and family creatively displayed them in old bottles and buckets collected from bootfairs.
My Bouquet was put together by Paul’s Step-Mum and was a gorgeous selection of herbs and wild flowers which we were given to make a beautifully scented bouquet. It was rustic, simple and stunning. Tied with ribbon and lace.
A Bespoke dress, simple hair and natural make-up…..
My dress was from White Leaf Boutique in Brighton. It was a bespoke design based on a drawing I brought to them.
As there were to be lots of cuddles all round on that day I wanted to keep my hair simple. Keeping my hair simple meant I didn’t have to worry about it getting squished. I had some help from a friend with curling it and then added my home made flower clip.
My Make-Up was done by Ellie who runs The Beauty Aisle and she did a great job of keeping my makeup natural and tasteful as she knew I’d never worn much before. She also helped me put the finishing touches to my hair – an all round star!
I was gifted such beautiful and unique jewellery by the ‘Mums’. It was so special to wear items which were given with so much thought behind them.
My Mum had a necklace designed for me with moonstones in it by Ottewill in Ashford, Kent, and Paul’s Mum gave me a treasured turquoise and silver bracelet which belonged to Paul’s late grandmother. It is from the early 1900’s but really bohemian in design. My jewellery ended up being my something old, something new, and my something blue.
Pink Shirt, Red Tie……..
Paul Says: The Jack Wills jacket and shirt were my favourite part of the outfit. Although I would never normally wear pink, on this occasion I really loved the combined look of the pink shirt and the Moss Bros red tie with Thomas Nash trousers and Jeff Banks waist coat. The shoes were ‘Airsoft’ made by Henley.
A Festival Atmosphere….
After the episode with the mint leaf we were going to theme the wedding on herbs, but decided that was an acquired taste (geddit?!)
The ideas were definitely evolving. We really wanted to get married in woodland, which is hard to do in the UK and a lot of the unusual venues were either too far away or too expensive. Once Sue offered us her space, the day developed into more of a festival atmosphere. We didn’t quite know how it was all going to happen, we just knew if we brought all the stuff to it, it would.
It was not a registered wedding venue so we got legally married in Eastbourne the day before. This meant we had complete freedom to create our own ‘ceremony’ for our friends the next day. We asked our friend Naomi to act as speaker because she has such warmth and charisma we knew she would set up the atmosphere for the day – and she certainly did. Our Mums each read a special poem and Paul and I read our own very personal promises to one another.
A Sincere Photographer with Awesome Skills……
Our wedding photographer was the very talented Dale Weeks did our photography. We met him at a friend’s wedding and before we’d even seen his awesome skills, we warmed to him because he was so sincere. After talking to him we knew he was doing photography because it was a part of him not just because it was a job. As creative people we totally connected with that.
We were also really lucky because a friend knew an up and coming wedding videographer Chris Jolly, who was building his portfolio. He did a beautiful job of capturing the unique spirit of our day.
Homemade decor and little curiosities….
Most of the décor was homemade or bought at boot fairs. We used our own illustrations and a few beautiful poems to line the tables, alongside feathers and flowers and bottles and branches and shells and lace. The kinds of little curiosities you find along the way. We tried to use the kinds of frippery which we collect around the house.
We made all the paper goods ourselves. We are illustrators and we were always excited to make the invites and signage ourselves. All of our imagery was nature themed and rustic looking. We used handmade kahdi paper for the invites and a lot of the signage.
Mint Choc Chip Cupcakes…..
A school friend of mine has set up a business called Bluebirds Bakehouse. I knew she would be awesome because she had made me a cake with THE BEST butter icing on it when we were at Uni. We went to her with an idea about mint choc chip cupcakes (in keeping with the mint leaf engagement theme!) and she whipped up probably the most amazing cakes we have ever tasted. They went down a storm and people could not get enough of them despite being full of hogroast.
They tasted like mint choc chip ice-cream but in a cake!
We had a hog roast as our main course, provided by the lovely Kathy and family from Oakfield Farm. They provided a gorgeous range of breads and some great salads to go with the hog. They were amazing, reasonably priced and got on with everything so discreetly and efficiently.
Paul’s Mum and Aunts created the most wonderful display of canapés and evening nibbles. We had no idea they were going to create such culinary masterpieces!
A Gift of Music……
Music was gifted to us by talented friends and family. Paul’s sister and her husband played the most beautiful rendition of Ben Howard’s Old Pine as I walked up the ‘aisle’ and as our first dance. Paul’s friend Anton Browne is a gifted singer/musician and he played some lovely jazz numbers. For the evening my friend gifted us her DJ cousin for the evening.
Favourite moment of the day…..
So many favourite moments for so many different reasons! We loved seeing our old friends from different walks of life making new friends with one another. Spending time with our parents and friends to set up the venue (perpetually feeling moved by their efforts towards making it all happen). The moment Paul and I stepped into a patch of light in the woods and a butterfly landed on his shoulder (cue Disney soundtrack!?!) Paul and his friend having a dance off to Soul Bossa Nova with the kind of dancing to rival Austin Powers himself.
Magical, natural, unplanned moments……
We tried to do many things ourselves but when we started to accept help from people, practical help, we realised, people want to support you. The people who love you want to be a part of your day and contribute to your day in any way they can.
As it turned out, it was so much more fun involving other people, it became a three day community event – from the boys bonding over beer and how to put up a gazebo to friends team working to figure out where to put garlands and pom poms. All of it only made possible by my Mum’s constant supply of pizza and nibbles for the hungry masses.
On the day, it was supposed to storm but instead we were treated to the brightest sunshine! The rains eventually came the next evening- after we had packed up all our things and were quietly reflecting on the whole experience. As we looked into the evening sky, there were not one, but four rainbows arching over our ceremony space.
This is what our wedding was made up of. Magical, natural, unplanned moments.
Any advice for couples planning their wedding day?
On the day, let go. Don’t worry about what isn’t done, or hasn’t happened. Shake off your wedding preconceptions- just bring your true selves and your laughter and your love.