Every bride wants her wedding to be unique, she wants her wedding to represent both herself and her Mr Right, and for this to be done in a beautiful, classy way.
This was certainly our aim when it came to planning our wedding, within weeks of knowing each other myself (Lauren) and my husband Jonathan had already started planning it.
Funnily enough our reception venue was the very first thing that was decided and was non-negotiable. Jonathan and I had our first kiss at Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire; on a bench just outside the gate, it was also the setting for Jonathan’s proposal, a year later. This was done Christmas eve 2011, at midnight with a walk round the castle in ankle deep snow with a trail of roses.
So Tutbury Castle has emotional connections for us, as well as being a stunning reception venue, with exquisite countryside views of Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Tutbury Castle also imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots, as I had been obsessed with Tudors from a young age, I was able to have Historian Lesley Smith, who is also the castles curator, rather famously impersonate Elizabeth I, and we were honoured to have her do so for our wedding day. She told the guests about the history of Tutbury Castle adding another unique touch to our reception venue.
So we knew the venue, and with that followed the church, which as My Mum is Vicar of Walton-On-Trent Church, which is nearby and was my home church for many years, it was only fitting to have the ceremony there. I was also a choir girl there so of course we had to have the choir singing during the service.
So venue was decided, we wanted to have a unique theme that could tie with these venues without being over the top, and still putting across my own unique style and our personality as a couple. I always wear peacock feather earrings and the day we met I was wearing them and they were the first thing Jonathan complimented me on. Also our song which is Jimmy Eat World’s, Chase this Light, the album artwork for it is peacock feather, from this we were able to choose a colour scheme, Dark Blue; which is myself and Jonathans favourite colour, Teal, Green and Purple.
These four colours accented everything, but in a vintage, kitsch style. The three bridesmaid dresses which we had custom made, were the same style with the different colours; purple, teal and green, and in their bouquets they had flowers of those colours with matching ribbon and of course peacock feathers. The groomsmen wore navy suits with the different colour ties and all with peacock feathers in their button holes, and Jonathan wore a navy tie with a white rose and peacock feather as his button hole.
This matched my bouquet which had all the colours in it but with white roses to match my dress and of course Jonathan. As matched our colour I had dark blue gem stones put into my head piece and all my jewellery had sapphires and pearls. I love the vintage so I chose a necklace that was vintage inspired; wreath style with drop pearls and sapphires which tied in with the details on my dress.
My dress was by Essence of Australia; their unique fitted dresses are so comfortable but really show off your best assets. My dress was ruched satin with diamanté details, enough to not be over the top but also striking enough to not be over whelmed by the dramatic surrounding of the castle. Another touch was my bolero which had white embroidered peacock feathers on the sleeves and my shoes which were white leather ballet shoes were also embroidered with peacock feathers.
The flatness and fit of these shoes meant that I was comfortable all day not only standing up but comfortable enough to run up the side of the hill for photos at the reception! I was a bundle of nerves and excitement but felt so comfortable yet more beautiful, that day, than I think I ever will for the rest of my life.
Jonathan and I had a lot of friends and family from all over, adding up to 300 plus! However we didn’t have the budget for all of them to have the sort of meal we wanted at Tutbury Castle, so everybody came back from the ceremony to my parents garden for an English tea party inspired mini-reception – later a smaller number would travel to the castle for an intimate reception.
For the mini-reception we had littered the garden with picnic blankets and benches, there was Pimms and cupcakes — with peacock feather and pearl decorations — for everyone and of course we had to have an ice cream van. There were garden games and a message tree so that all our guests were able to write us a message – saving the guest book for Tutbury Castle. The mini-reception gave us chance to get round and see everyone before leaving in our vintage car.
We were concerned at the reception that people would be bored whilst waiting for us to have our photos taken, Jonathan and I have always loved Lego, so we devised a Lego challenge for our guests. The table centres were vintage style wrapped hat boxes with wreaths of lavender and a candle on top, each table in one of the four colours, yet sneakily inside those hat boxes was a lot of Lego so that the table could bond and build together competing against other tables with a large box of chocolates for the winning table.
However we did not expect people to get so competitive or creative, but it gave us chance to go round to every table whilst judging the Lego. Another fun addition was we had a friend create a photo booth with fancy dress items, including fake glasses and moustaches, take pictures of our guests and print the photos then and there for the guests to take home.
Our wedding favours and cake all had the four colours; the favours were tall shot glasses with layered gourmet jelly beans in all the colours with a personalized sticker on the front of the glass. The cake had four layers with ribbons in each of the colours with a large peacock feather sweeping diagonally up the cake, with the added personalisation of Lego cake toppers, which looked just like us!
For our first dance, we wanted to say more about our story, so we made a video which we filmed ourselves to our song, chase this light, which showed us going on night drives and dancing in the street and kissing on our bench outside Tutbury Castle. We had a fantastic photographer, Martin Elliott, who made us feel really comfortable and we got some beautiful natural moments of the day as well as dramatic shots of castle.
We also were really honoured to share the day with my Mum, who to this day is battling cancer. There was a time when we didn’t think she would be able to live to see the wedding but by some miracle she fought through and was there to see me safely married to a man that she knew would really look after me, no matter what happened to her.
Planning and enjoying our wedding day really taught us what and who is important. Your wedding day is meant to be the best day of your life, but it also needs to show things about your life so far and promise for the life yet to come.
Photography by Martin Elliott, www.mepics.zenfolio.com