Nicola and Robin had one of those rare special days when the sun appears when its not expected. On their wedding day in March (yes, March), it was such a lovely day that they married outside. Someone was obviously looking down on them to make sure it was as perfect as could be.
The Love Story…
We met at University of Westminister where we were doing an illustration course. Despite being in the same class together for a year, we only became good friends during our second year and later started dating due to a very persistent Robin! We were together as a couple for almost eight years when we got married.
One weekend Robin booked a lovely birthday getaway in a wonderful log cabin in Sussex. Unfortunately for him I had a rather horrible cold, with a persistent cough and the night he was planning to propose I had passed out from all the cough medicine I had taken! The night after, he proposed with a hasty introduction of “before you fall asleep…”, and presented me with a beautiful sapphire ring he had custom designed with a jeweller on the brilliant arts and handmade crafts website Etsy. I of course said yes. In fact I think my reply was “of course”!
The Planning Begins…
We didn’t choose a theme at the beginning, despite considering a number of ideas, but decided right from the start we would want something warm, classy and above all we wanted our guests to have fun at the reception! I did trawl through a lot of blogs and websites for inspiration and found so many wonderful people who shared all their lovely ideas. We did try to save money when we could and ended up doing various aspects ourselves – making use of our artistic education – such as the wedding invitations, place cards, extra decorations. I made my own fascinator/hair veil, centre pieces for the table and the cake stand to name just a few!
We chose most of our suppliers by looking online, by chance, or based on good impressions upon meeting them in person. We found our DJ at a pub in London which we happened to be visiting for the first time. Our photographer Karen (Parkwin Photography) we met at a wedding fair at the Watford Hilton hotel (after meeting so many photographers in various fairs who were pushy and not our cup of tea, she was such a breath of fresh air, both her personality and work!). Our photo booth vendors we saw online and got in contact with after seeing some similar booths at the Earls Court Wedding Fair, and Thomas and Lee were both really nice and gave us a great package. Our florist Aimee we first saw less than a month before the wedding (due to unfortunately being messed around) and it was so wonderful to meet someone who was honest, practical, happy to offer ideas and was not dismissive when we had unusual requests – actually looking for ways to save us money, whilst still delivering the look that we wanted.
What was your favourite thing about the planning?
Being able to put our creative juices to work – trying to think of all of the little touches that we could add to the day in order to make it our own!
I first tried on my wedding dress in a bridal boutique and was initially so worried about the price and also the pressure of buying something as soon as possible. I was told by the sales person I should have brought my dress months before (as it was 5 months till the wedding). I’m sure many brides think the same, spending so much money on something you will only wear once, but is so important at the same time. Somehow I managed to find the exact style and designer I wanted on ebay! The ebay seller was a lady who had worn it previously and wanted to pass it on at a very affordable price. She shipped the dress out the same day and I received it the next. When I opened the carefully packaged box not only did I find a beautiful dress but the seller had written me a wonderful card wishing well on my big day. The dress itself turned out to be a size smaller than I thought I needed – which actually fit perfectly in every way, without the need for any alterations! Dealing with the seller and everything falling into place with the dress really made the whole experience so magical which I would never have expected when buying from Ebay!
The night before the wedding, Robin went round to his parents house, so that he wouldn’t see me before the ceremony, and my three bridesmaids came round to spend the night. Instead of the laid back evening I had planned we ended up sorting out a few finishing touches for the wedding so it was more like a factory assembly line instead of a slumber party, working into the early hours!
The Big Day…
Despite our fears and concerns that we had forgotten something, or the fact that with the Wedding being in March we had thoroughly prepared ourselves for miserable weather, the day went incredibly smoothly! After having my hair done at a local salon, I arrived at the venue with my Bridesmaids. We had the bridal suite to prepare in, which was lovely, but we had so much to get ready that the time seemed to fly by. One of my Bridesmaids who is a bit of a cosmetics expert did my make-up for me – which was fantastic – and the girls arranged a champagne toast just for us before the ceremony.
Somehow we were very lucky that the day of the Wedding was clear with bright sunshine, being by far the hottest weekend of the spring – this meant that instead of having our ceremony indoors in a barn, we were able to make use of the lovely gardens.
When we first saw the venue we fell in love with the outdoor space, from the way you could step out of the door to the bridal suite in the farmhouse, which lead straight down the aisle, through the ivy-covered archways and finally arriving at the wooden gazebo. On the day itself, this journey was extremely emotional for me, whilst I battled against the blubbing and both my trailing dress and high heels.
We wrote some vows of our own, keeping it short – but meaningful to us both. It was so nice to be able to share the day with a group of around fifty close family and friends – many of whom had been pitching in all morning to help Robin to prepare the venue just how we wanted it. The drinks reception followed with photographs outside, and everyone made the most of the sunshine before we headed in for the Wedding Breakfast.
Robin and I were invited to have a look at the wedding barn before our guests entered the room and I have to say when I first saw it fully decorated and ready I was completely breathless. When you’re organising everything it’s all separated with just a rough image of what you think it may look like, for example we had ordered Calamondin trees for the centrepieces (as oranges are a symbol of good luck and wealth in Chinese culture) but as we could not find any pictures of anything similar as centre pieces, we had no idea of what it would actually look like on the table! But seeing them, with the fairy lights entwined around the branches and the wedding place names with the origami cranes that we prepared was really magical. That certainly was one of my favourite moments – to be able to look around this room, take a moment and see all the hard work and worry for the past months had really paid off. Seeing all the different elements coming together was amazing!
Click on the images below to see them nice and large
The evening, with the excellent meal, speeches, entertainment (the photo booth was a particular crowd-pleaser – which we would recommend to other Bride and Grooms-to-be), and dancing all seemed to go so quickly. Luckily we have our wonderful photographs from Parkwin Photography from the day to look back on and remind us of everything from the big events down to the small details.
We took quite some time to enjoy the post-wedding relaxation – although the feeling of not having anything that we needed to plan was certainly a bit strange! Married life has been wonderful so far and although there may be plans for a family somewhere in the future, we certainly have some more travelling and enjoying time as just the two of us for a bit longer first. In fact, we finally plan to take our honeymoon soon by going to Japan.
Thank you to all the wonderful suppliers for making Nicola & Robin’s day so special.
Venue: Tewin Bury Farm (fantastic food and Wedding night accommodation also handled by Tewin)
Photography: Karen Parker @ Parkwin Photography
Flowers: Amie Bone
Dress: Maggie Sottero
Photo Booth: The Mighty Booth
DJ: Keir @ Bloody Awful Poetry
Suits: Calvin Klein @ Moss Bros
Cake: Patisserie Valerie
Calamondin plants for centre pieces
Bridesmaids Dresses: Lipsy @ Asos