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Homemade happiness

Katie and Tim called on all their creative friends and family for a stylishly personalised celebration

Katie & Tim: Instant attraction

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Katie and Tim met at Brighton University where they were both studying design. “We used to call him Tim Nice, Clean and Pristine because he was always so tidy,” laughs Katie, who thought Tim was rather handsome, too. “I noticed his biceps right away and it wasn’t long before he was telling me tales of his karate and endurance training and about long runs through a cold sea. He was a bit of gruff mixed in with deep Surrey tones which appealed to a lass from the Midlands like me!”

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Photography: Anushe Low (anushe.com)

Katie & Tim: Vows of love

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When it came to venue choice, Katie was quickly overwhelmed by the size and price tags of big stately homes. “In the end we went for Batcombe Old School Hall (batcombe.org.uk) for our ceremony, a tiny listed building in the rolling Somerset countryside. For just £120 we were able to hire it the day before, too, and get in to decorate.” Creative touches included floral displays around the door and vases of wild-looking flowers. “We arranged the room so it was short and wide rather than long and thin, so everyone was close to us and it felt very intimate.”

Katie & Tim: Finding the dress

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Katie chose her dress from Teokath in Wimbledon (teokath.co.uk), after trying on nearly 40 styles. Eventually she went for vintage-looking tulle design by David Fielden (davidfielden.co.uk), featuring a bodice of white satin ribbon and hand-stitched flowers with white sequins. “The luminosity of the white suited my skintone, unlike the ivory and lace I tried on which made me look like an old woman in a nightie!”

Katie & Tim: Headdress made in heaven

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To complete her look, Katie chose silver feather earrings from notonthehighstreet.com and a customised headpiece from Emmy (emmyshoes.co.uk). “It was a vintage design, made from tiny pearls and sequins, which I asked them to make bigger – and I absolutely loved it!”

Katie & Tim: Dapper-looking groom

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Tim bought his outfit from Mr Start in Shoreditch (start-london.com). “Keira Knightley had been in moments before us buying the same shirt for her man, so if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for Tim!” laughs Katie.

Katie & Tim: On the button

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Each buttonhole in Tim’s groom’s party was different from the others (Katie describes them as ‘miniature sculptures’) and featured one of the wedding’s signature roses, dahlia, lisianthus, sweet peas or daisies.

Katie & Tim: Pretty maids all in a row

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Katie was keen to co-ordinate her bridesmaids without forcing everyone to wear the same dress. “It was really important that they looked like themselves, not wearing a uniform,” she explains. “So the flower girls wore micro-ditsy prints from ilovegorgeous.co.uk, the bridesmaids wore dresses from the H&M Summer Garden Collection (h&m.com) and my maid of honour found the perfect dress in Debenhams (debenhams.com).”

Katie & Tim: Bouquet of beauty

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Bath-based florists Flowers by Passion (flowersbypassion.com) created all the flowers. Katie’s bouquet featured sweet peas, dahlias, lisianthus and sweet avalanche roses, pink cow parsley, yellow craspedia, flowery mint, white daisies and pink astilbe, which she wrapped in beautiful vintage handkerchiefs.

Katie & Tim: How does your garden grow

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“Beth and Jo from Flowers by Passion came recommended by a friend and they were both amazing!” says Katie. “They managed to make my flowers look vintage yet fresh at the same time. We wanted a natural, country look, as if you picked the flowers walking down a lane. Tim’s mum even brought things she had growing in the garden and it worked beautifully – the more the merrier!”

Katie & Tim: Every corner covered

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The reception was held at a private mansion house in Wiltshire which the couple rented over four days so they had exclusive use for friends and family to stay. Every nook and cranny was decorated with flowers. “We even had wild looking trellis and single stems in tiny old bottles hanging from striped string in the windows,” says Katie.

Katie & Tim: Al fresco seating

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Hay bales were scattered through the grounds and decorated with old lace tablecloths by Katie’s friend Syreeta, a props buyer.

Katie & Tim: The creative touches

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Their shared design background inspired Katie and Tim to create a website with a ‘gift list’ of things they needed help with on the day. “We wanted to make our wedding everyone’s wedding and play to everyone’s strengths,” explains Katie. “Friends and family made everything from cakes to Pimm’s, others created a photobooth or made vintage teacup candles that looked so pretty on the tables and amazing lanterns with jam jars, candles and colourful striped bags.”

Katie & Tim: The stationery

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Naturally, the creative couple made their own stationery too. “The RSVP was a piece of bunting and some people decorated it before they sent it back,” says Katie. “My mom did an amazing job of stitching it all together and we got married beneath the garland with everyone’s names above our heads as we said our vows, even the people who couldn’t make it.”

Katie & Tim: Decoration central

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As another handmade touch, paper pom poms were hung on the windows and used to make a garland for the bridal car. “We’re both designers so we wouldn’t dream of having someone else design things for our wedding,” explains Katie. “Getting guests to help out as their gift to us was a double whammy, because it made people feel more intimately involved and they didn’t have to think about what to get us.”

Katie & Tim: The fun starts here

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The couple even created signposts so that everyone knew the layout of the party.

Katie & Tim: Beautiful bunting

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When it came to a theme Katie and Tim settled on … “lots of colour and lots of stripes, it was a mismatch that worked really well,” she says. “We even had two hundred metres of Liberty print bunting which my amazingly patient mum stitched together.”

Katie & Tim: The mouthwatering menu

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After a Pimm’s reception, guests tucked into a seasonal salad of baby spinach with asparagus and quails eggs, prepared by Jo Pobjoy of caterers A Bit Of A Do (jopobjoy@aol.com). This was followed by a whole rack of lamb with dauphinoise potatoes for the main course all topped off by an amazing dessert buffet created by the guests themselves.

Katie & Tim: Sweet and simple tables

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Deciding against a top table, the couple went for two long tables at the reception, one for friends and one for family. Simple strawberry place names were – of course – also homemade.

Katie & Tim: A slice of something nice

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The chocolate and cherry vodka sponge cake was made by their creative friends Becky, a jewellery designer, and Phoebe, a ceramicist at the V&A. “It was decorated with handmade paper lovebirds they also made and wrapped with offcuts of the Liberty print we used to make the bunting!”

Katie & Tim: Cupcakes with love

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The cake buffet was groaning under the weight of delicious creations made by Katie’s aunties. Temptations included Auntie Kate’s Krispie Cakes, Syreeta’s Lemon Amaretti Cream Pots and Broadhead’s Ricotta Brownie Beauties. “Every guest took their flag from the table plan and planted it in their chosen cake before sitting down for dinner,” says Katie. “It was amazing how the caterers managed to plate them up correctly and serve them to all the right people!”

Katie & Tim: The nibbles

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Apart from creating the three-course wedding breakfast, Caterers A Bit of a Do also sourced a whole Manchego cheese and a Parma ham on a stand. The spread was served straight after the ceremony with chunks of melon on skewers, washed down with prosecco.

Katie & Tim: The finishing touches

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The inexhaustible couple even made fimo clay moustaches and lips that were left on the tables for a bit of fun.

Katie & Tim: Confetti cones to share

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Homemade confetti cones were hung on the pegs at Batcombe Old School Hall and ready for guests to throw right after the ceremony.

Katie & Tim: Do us a fruity favour

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“The banana chutney favours were made in our flat in Hackney to a recipe from the Women’s Institute,” says Katie, “and Tom’s mum kindly made Cornish strawberry jam, too.”

Katie & Tim: Sweets for my sweet

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“Tim proposed to me while we were in Paris to see a Jeff Koons exhibition, so we made a giant piñata to mimic the Jeff Koons heart sculpture we saw at the Chateau de Versailles,” says Katie. “We made it for the kids but ended up smashing it ourselves on the day!”

Katie & Tim: The drive of their lives

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“I’d always dreamed of driving off, just the two of us, through the rolling valleys in a bright red MG soft top,” says Katie. “Our friends dressed ours with a garland of paper pom poms. It was just the most incredible moment – so quiet and different from the hullabaloo we’d left behind. We were absolutely flying, just the raw engine and us. We couldn’t speak. We just waved at everyone we saw.”

Katie & Tim: Magic memories

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Childhood snaps and pictures of friends and family were clipped to fairylights to create a sentimental backdrop.

Katie & Tim: The W-day highlights

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The couple may have made everything they could themselves, but Katie is a big believer in letting the day shape itself. “Emmy, who made my headdress, told me to remember everything is a small piece in a giant puzzle,” says Katie. “And she was right. The whole day was like being in freefall – like herding sheep! With so many people around there’s no chance of everyone doing exactly what you want, so it’s important to step back and let them enjoy themselves too!”

WATCH THIS SPACE! Katie is launching her own range of fun and contemporary stationery, decorations and favours soon.  Email (katie@eagleeyedbride.com).

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Photography: Anushe Low (anushe.com)