Nicola and Jon’s real wedding story

We first met Nicola and Jon when we featured their Easter engagement story on the blog, last month. Their wedding is a true blogger’s delight; from the pretty country venue and attention to the beautiful little details, to the stunning dress and accessorizing and original touches to the day. We love that Nicola knew what she wanted and how she stylishly brought that out in her wedding decor and her own look. However, what we love the most is how a happy they look and how much fun everyone seems to be having; you don’t have to know them to tell that this wedding is brimming with unique personality…

A country chic theme

We went for a country-inspired, pretty theme of birds and butterflies, with handmade touches such as our invitations, orders of service and our strawberry jam favours. Colours were loosely based on ivory, blues, purples and peach, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen were in mid-grey.

The country/ romantic style fit perfectly with our venue. Butley Priory was an Augustinian Priory. The Great Hall, where we had our ceremony, has the most wonderful high vaulted ceilings, large stone fireplace and magnificent patio doors, which lead out onto the circular country garden. The Priory has a faded grandeur and vintage-chic feel which I loved, and was perfect for the romantic, fairytale wedding that we wanted to create.

Get the look!

Floral Bunting by Wee Folk Rock, Paper Tissue Bell Decorations by Pearl and Earl, Three Mini Jars Of Jam And Honey by The Wedding of my Dreams, Vintage Inspired Regency Tea Cup And Saucer by Kiki’s Gifts and Homeware, Flutter – Stitched Paper Garland by meninafeliz, Rose Garland Fairy Lights by Simply Roses

Fun food and entertainment

We wanted a relaxed, informal, fun feel for our wedding. We had a BBQ for our wedding breakfast and a huge sweet shop (“Jon’s Tuck Shop”) for later in the afternoon and evening. Our tables were named after Jon’s favourite retro sweets – The Flying Saucers, The Flumps and so on, and we had a jar of each on the tables.

Pizza is Jon’s ultimate favourite ever food. Sometime in his distant student past he has been known to eat one every day of the week, so we absolutely had to have a wood-fired pizza oven. The pizzas were delicious and we had so many comments from guests, and the team at The Proper Pizza Company were really friendly and professional.

Crepes are my guilty pleasure as I lived in France for a while and consumed an awful lot of them, so we hired a Creperie stall too. We found Ali on a search of local creperie vans in Suffolk/Norfolk, and she did a fantastic job, making delicious crepes all night and making them to individual requests. We lined the lawn outside the marquee with lots of hay bales for people to sit on whilst they munched on crepes and pizza.

We also had a bit of an 80’s theme going on as we love 80’ music! We had an 80s band and a big dressing up box with plenty of 80s paraphernalia. Lost in Music (who also do other decades but had an impressive list of 80’s tunes). They really made the night, pulling out all the tunes!

The birds and the butterflies 

The theme started with the invitations which I made with paper flowers, silver skeleton leaves and pastel-coloured ribbon and bird and nest rubber stamps.

We bought metres of pastel-coloured floral and bird-print bunting, and adorned the marquee and garden with bursts of our colourful bunting and fairylights. We lit dinner and church candles for the ceremony and pretty votives on the tables during our wedding breakfast. We also decorated the garden with white metal hearts and white, pink and purple paper bells, lanterns and pom poms which looked fantastic blowing in the autumn breeze.

I wanted to keep the cake simple and romantic and to pick out details from my dress, so opted for ivory coloured icing, with white pearl detailing, with a lace and satin ribbon on each layer.

As birds and butterflies were woven throughout all the details of the day, I asked if the cake could include some small white-icing butterflies. I’d seen a cake that had roses pinned on asymmetrically, so I asked our florist, Rachel, if she could help me achieve the look, and she wired the roses onto the cake on the morning of the wedding, whilst I glued the butterflies on with royal icing! We’d picked up the cake ourselves to keep costs down.

I found a gorgeous cut glass stand which we used to display it, and I sourced two ceramic white birds that we placed on top. It looked stunning and tasted delicious. We chose to have buttercream, raspberry jam and sponge as we were serving the cake as our desert, but we also had a fruit layer as the top tier to take home and share with our families. Kate Poulter our cake maker-extraordinaire, was incredible.

 A flurry of flowers

I found our florist, Rachel, via a Google search. I was actually meant to have another florist but they let me down with a double booking, and I’m so glad they did! Rachel was such a pleasure to have as our florist; creative, professional, talented, and we worked out the scheme together at her house, both chipping in ideas for flowers and colours. I knew that I wanted an ivory and peach colour scheme with hints of blue and purple. I’d seen ivory and peach together in my magazines and thought blues/purples would go really nicely too as 10 to 20% of the palette. I knew that I wanted agapanthus, freesias, gladioli, avalanche and garden roses, and hydranger.

Rachel had pictures of some arrangements in teapots that used lisanthius, veronica and asters which looked stunning, so we added those into the mix too. My bouquet was a posy of freesias, roses, lisanthius, mint, veronica and scabious, with interwoven pearls, and my bridesmaids had smaller versions. My husband’s and groomsmen’s buttonholes were simple ivory roses with ivy, and we added white freesia to Jon’s as it is one of his favourite flowers.

I’d taken inspiration from magazines and decided to have cream jugs as the centre arrangements, loosely arranged, surrounded by china teacups filled with roses and little vintage bottles that I’d collected over the months which served as bud vases. I found some pretty pastel-coloured French labels stuck them all onto the bottles. I added some votive holders in between the bottles to finish off the look. With mine and Mum’s strawberry jams which we’d covered in blue gingham, and the handmade menus created from cotton rag paper with cornflower-blue flowers. The tables looked pretty and romantic.

Get the look!

Mini Birdcage Cloche Glass Cake Stand by Kiki’s Gifts and Homeware, Vintage Style Six Glass Bottles And Flowers by The Flower Studio, Personalised Pair Of Porcelain Lovebirds by badgers badgers, Vintage Glass Storage Bottle by Velvet Ribbon, Camellia Flower Brooch Or Hair Clip by Lily Bella, Filigree Birdcage by Out of Love

Crystals and pearls

My dress was called “Dayton”, from Enzoani’s Blue collection. The detailing and material were beautiful – embroidered lace underneath with a soft layer of tulle over the top, the tulle sweeping across the front of the dress in a wide criss-cross fashion. The sweetheart neckline and modified mermaid shape were ultra flattering and complimented my curvy figure.

My dress also had a beautiful Swarovski crystal and pearl halter-neck piece that trailed down the middle of my back and which I wore for the evening; a real statement piece. The colour of the dress really struck me too – it’s not the usual ivory that you see on most dresses, but more of a cream/peachy tone that was perfect against my pale skin.

I saw some of Tigerlily’s jewellery in one of my bridal magazines and fell in love with several pairs of earrings on their website, it was really difficult to choose! They are based in the US, and design their own pieces as well as designing bespoke jewellery too. In the end, I asked my jeweller to convert the chandelier earrings I’d bought into two sets and I wore the smaller pair for the daytime, and the larger pair for the evening.

I also wore pretty pearl hair pins and I absolutely loved my flower corsage by Charlotte Balbier. Her hair accessories are as beautiful as her dresses. I also wore a delicate crystal bracelet. My Freya Rose shoes were lust at first sight! I went for classic, ivory satin ‘Margaret’ shoe with its round court shape, and knew they would be the perfect match for my romantic, vintage-inspired dress.

The shoe clips that she creates are divine, and I found it so hard to choose that I ended up buying two pairs! I bought the Beatrice clips for the evening, matching the more “glamorous” look I was going for – they were made of inter-woven freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystal and matched in with the crystals and pearls in my hair, my bridal posy, and the halter-neck piece. The other clips for my daytime look were similar to the Blossom clips on her website, with a chiffon flower, pearl detailing in the centre, and feathers sweeping out to the side. Freya was so lovely, and is clearly extremely talented with an eye for beautiful materials and designs.

Bridal beauty

I found Emma, my make-up artist, on a recommended list of suppliers for Suffolk, and went to her house for a trial with my Mum and Grandmother. I instantly warmed to Emma. She is such a friendly, fun and open person, and it was amazing to have her there on the day – she really put me at ease and I felt so calm getting ready! She is a fantastic make-up artist and made me look beautiful. She really listened to what I liked, as well as making her own recommendations, and I was really pleased with the colour palette we went for – greys for my eyes, peachy/ pink on the lips and cheeks and a natural coverage for my foundation. She doesn’t stick to one brand but uses a mix of Mac, Virgin Vie, Estee Lauder, Clinique and others.

For my hair, I had a trial with Anne at her salon in Long Melford and knew I would be in great hands; she was calm, professional and such a lovely person. I hadn’t actually had the whole style done until the morning, because the plait was on order! I wanted a look that was romantic and feminine to go with my dress, so I had a plait that wrapped around the front, with the back pinned up loosely and with whispy pieces of hair around my face to add softness. The end result was exactly what I’d pictured. 

Happy snaps

I’d seen some of Dasha’s photos before I met her and loved how they captured the emotion between couples, and how natural and effortless they appeared. We were looking for a reportage-style photographer who wouldn’t be intrusive on the day, and who would have a great eye for natural, unposed, beautiful shots. We instantly got on well with Dasha, she is fun, easygoing and relaxed with a great sense of humour and is a true professional. We loved our engagement photography shoot in Rye that came with our package (Dasha is very flexible and will go anywhere as long as you cover travel expenses); the images that came back were so fresh and beautiful. All of our wedding photos are amazing – we’re so happy that she captured all the emotions and details of the day in such a beautiful way.

The final wedding word

It was the most fantastic day and I wouldn’t change a thing! We wish we could do it all over again in slow motion!

I think the personal ingredients of our day were what made it special for us and I would recommend couples organising their wedding to take time to think about what reflects them individually, and as a couple, and to integrate those into the day. It sounds so simple, but it really made our day. For us this was getting creative by making our invitations/orders of service and favours, choosing our readings, choosing all our favourite music, having fun things for our guests – the photobooth, dress-up box, sweet shop, and having all of our favourite foods! 

Thank you so much to Nicola and Jon for sharing all the pretty details of their special day with us. We hope you’ve enjoyed this extra special real wedding treat as much as we have this afternoon! Join us later in the week for more real wedding stories…

Photography: Dasha at Exhibite Motions and some notonthehighstreet.com ‘get the look’ imagery.

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