Emily and Mark's classic celebration of vintage lace and hedgerow flowers won photographer Sarah Vivienne the Y&YW Bride's Choice Award from the Master Photographers Association
“We met at university and after a couple of failed attempts at wooing me, Mark struck lucky one night in a nightclub, where we connected over a ‘dance off’!” laughs Emily. “After that we were inseparable and when it was time to leave uni, the thought of going our separate ways was too much to bear. A couple of weeks staying with Mark turned into a job, a house, a dog and I still haven’t left!”Photography: Sarah Vivienne (sarahvivienne.co.uk)
“Originally, we wanted the entire wedding in one place, however our chosen venue failed to get a civil licence in time, so seven months before the big day – feeling really dejected – we took a stroll along Rutland Water to talk over our options, and suddenly saw Normanton Church Museum (anglianwater.co.uk). There was a sign on the door saying ‘We have just been granted our civil wedding licence’. It was fate! We rang and booked it the next day!”
“As neither of us is particularly religious, we chose to have a civil ceremony but it was still important to us that it felt intimate,” says Emily. “So we had three readings, selected by family and friends, and wrote our own personal vows.”
“My dress was by Jesús Peiró (jesuspeiro.com) from Grace Couture in Nottingham (gracecouture.co.uk) which I saw at The National Wedding Show (nationalweddingshow.co.uk)," says Emily. "I’d already bought one a couple of months earlier, which was very floaty and simple (exactly what I thought I would wear), however I was so drawn to this one with its unusual neckline and the stunning embellishment under the bust, that the minute I tried it on, I didn’t want to take it off!”
To complement her dress, Emily chose a floor-length vintage off-white tulle veil with leaf embroidered design bought from the Vintage Wedding Fair Harrogate (vintageweddingfair.co.uk). “In my hair I wore an original 1930s iridescent pearl, daisy headdress (worn backwards) which I found in its original box and wrappings in an antique shop – one of my favourite things ever!”
Emily's look was finished with a pair of Rachel Simpson Mimi shoes in Emerald (rachelsimpsonshoes.co.uk).
“We’re both ‘photo-phobes’ and were very specific about the style of images we wanted, i.e. not too many staged/posed photos, a very relaxed feel and capturing the spirit of the day, our guests and the details,” says Emily. “Sarah Vivienne (sarahvivienne.co.uk) was so receptive to our style and seemed genuinely excited to be part of our day. As part of the package, she did a pre-wedding shoot with us in a beautiful abbey, which was fantastic, and really put us at ease.”
Mark chose a fitted grey three-piece suit from Bhanu Fashions (01536 267 433) with an ascot cravat in green with cream spots.
The bridesmaids' dresses of dusk pink chiffon with bronze beading under the bust came from a small boutique in Beverley, East Yorkshire called Sugarbird (sugarbirdboutique.co.uk).
For their reception Emily and Mark wanted a country garden theme, with beautiful grounds and accommodation for guests on site. “Pipewell (pipewellhall.com) offered us all of this, with a beautiful house to boot,” says Emily. “The bridal gate lodge really swung it for us. I was able to get ready in this stunning cottage and then we stayed there the evening of our wedding, after a lovely hot tub in the courtyard!“
The couple’s flowers by The Traditional Flower Company (traditionalflower.co.uk) were arranged loosely in jars, jugs and teacups on the reception tables. “We wanted an undone feel to the flowers,” says Emily. “Nothing too staged - as if you had walked through an amazing flower paddock and swept them up on your way to the wedding.”
“The Traditional Flower Company grow the flowers on their own farm, so everything is seasonal,” explains Emily. “You get to visit the farm and select sample flowers but what I loved most is that, until they arrive, you still don’t know exactly what you’re getting, as it is simply what’s in peak condition the morning of the big day!”
Simple sprigs of fragrant lavender decorated the chairs.
“Instead of table menus, I repainted an old picture frame pink and covered the back with blackboard paint so the menu could be written on it in chalk,” says Emily. “I also created the table plan by lining a vintage suitcase with lace and fabric and writing the table and guest names on old luggage tags and hanging them on lengths of twine.”
Although the couple didn’t have a strict colour scheme, they wanted to avoid anything that looked too contrived. “We chose things on the basis of liking them, not whether they fitted in,” explains Emily, “although we did lean towards more washed out/vintage colours as opposed to bright and vibrant tones.”
Each table was named after a place important to the couple, with a picture of them in that location.
Favours were hand-sewn vintage fabric hearts filled with lavender featuring the date of the wedding. These were attached to individual, hand-decorated luggage tags as place settings.
“My sister made the cake,” explains Emily. “It was a homemade vanilla sponge with strawberry curd, fresh strawberries and vanilla cream.”
Emily and her mum designed all the stationery. Each invite and the order of service was finished with a blue stamp which was custom-made to a logo incorporating the couple’s initials.
“We chose Eva Cassidy’s Songbird for our first dance as the words are so meaningful and poignant,” says Emily, who also provided flip flops for guests with weary feet. “The dancefloor was packed all night to the fab sounds of Maslow Music (maslowmusic.co.uk) and the whole evening was so relaxed and informal, with great music until midnight, I couldn’t drag myself off the dancefloor!"
Photography: Sarah Vivienne (sarahvivienne.co.uk)