Here's a blog with lots of content direct from one of our couples, Emily and Matt. We'll let them tell the story of their day - and what a day!
Tell us a little about yourselves (what you do, etc)...
Em is a Financial Services Regulation lawyer in London (not a great conversation starter) and Matt works for Apple in the much cooler sphere of speech recognition, helping to make Siri a better person... We both work long hours and both wish we didn't, but will travel the world one day! But that’s enough of what pays the bills... Generally - when we are allowed some free time, we like the outdoors, running and other sports, and spending time with family and friends. Em also likes giraffes (we have 1000+ of them scattered around the house!), trainers and sequins, and Matt likes gadgets, biltong and craft beer... hopefully that's a reasonable, if slightly random, summary!
What was your vision for your wedding day?
The vision was an informal, laid back, fun day - we wanted our friends and family to feel relaxed, happy and part of the day. We tried to get as many people involved as possible (we were surprised how many people actually want to help on such occasions!), and we just wanted smiles all round where possible... It grew a bit as we went along from what we had in mind originally (we had people coming from Dubai, Sydney and South Africa - you’ve got to give them a good event right?!), but was a perfect and very memorable day.
Tell us a little bit about the planning process for your wedding
We knew we wanted to do it ourselves - Em is a bit of a control freak in that sense, and loves lists. Lots of lists. So many lists. So we did it together rather than hiring a planner. And Matt is a comparatively “involved” groom - so the planning process was very much a joint one, and we had fun doing it - cake tasting, cocktail tasting (glug!), visits to suppliers and meeting new people, venue visits in the sunshine, and lots more besides - it is a very exciting time in a couple's lives, and we were no exception! At points it was stressful, and we never wished more than then that we had 9-5 jobs (which we don't), but at least now it feels like we have tonnes of free time at weekends by comparison!!
Finding the dress...
Em took her mum, and her granny, got out of London (where Saturday appointments are charged for, and the prices are higher) and went for it.. I took my scrapbook (yes, a hard copy one - seems to be an "antique" approach in these Pinterest-filled days), but was promptly told by one wedding dress shop it was unhelpful as there were "so many different styles" - I think I just liked quite a few different things! But we got there eventually, in Hungerford, near Oxford. The "dream dress" wasn't anything I imagined it would be - I thought I would have sparkles (lots of them), lace, and chiffon.. I came away with a "simple", but beautiful, Caroline Castigliano gown which I just absolutely love - thank you to my wonderful Mum who treated me on this front.
Didn't he look handsome?! Matt chose, and sorted, it all himself. We went together, but (for once?!) I was very much a silent spectator as Matt "did his thing" at Hugo Boss. Em chose his boxers and socks (lucky Matt!), but otherwise all the credit was Matt's. He was also particularly pleased with his funky Barker shoes - lots of admiring glances from top to toe!
Tell us about how you styled your wedding (decor, etc) :)
We started a trend (? at least we think so), bringing Em's 'enchanted woodland' vision to fruition. Having moss running all the way down our tables (it looked A-MOSS-ING - ha ha), with log slices (with gold trees on top!) and flower jars placed intermittently all the way along the table, and then gold charger plates, and gold cutlery. For the ceremony area we had tall logs with flower jars on top, and bunting - lots of bunting. Otherwise, the venue pretty much decorated itself and was beautiful in its barn-like simplicity - fairy lights, lantern lighting hanging at different heights, flower troughs and "twig trees" prepared by the amazing Jocelyn at the venue!
What was your most memorable moment of the wedding?
For both of us, it was the moment after the ceremony, when it was just the two of us, with our champagne; we had just seen all our favourite people in one place, and had just legally got married - it was maybe the 5 minutes of "breathing space" in amongst all the fun that made it memorable, because we didn't stop otherwise! But it was also just a moment to really savour the day, all it had brought, and all it was yet to bring...
What made you laugh on the day?
Neil made us laugh during the "informal formals", particularly the photos he took of us with our bridesmaid and groomsmen, the mysterious iPhone that appeared at one of the windows to our ceremony room and appeared to photo the whole thing made us all laugh (and to this day we still don't know who it was!), the confetti throw made us laugh (I think we bought too much!), the speeches made us laugh, some laughed when Em fell over (twice) during the ceilidh (although she didn't!), and getting ready was a good laugh - there were so many moments!
What made you cry?
Neither of us are very "cry prone" people in our every day lives. Or not emotional criers is perhaps more accurate. But Em was surprised to find herself cracking a little during the ceremony when saying her vows (which we had written ourselves), when it all became very "real" and the seriousness, but also happiness, of the whole occasion got the better of her. As for Matt - there is photographic evidence (thanks Lisa!) of him having a little moment during Em's speech (although he will definitely try and argue to the contrary).. We also had some nice photos of the people who sadly were no longer with us, and that was tear-jerking, but I think we can be let off on that front :)
What’s your favourite photo from your wedding day and why?
Eek where do we start with this one?! Em: I love the one of me with my mum and dad just before we enter the ceremony area for them to walk me down the aisle, I love the ones of me and my granny whilst we are getting ready, I love the photos of us with our sparklers, I love the one of Matt and I starting off our "first dance" in the ceilidh with my dress flowing out behind me, I love the one of Matt and my brother turning round to see me as I enter the ceremony room bit, and I love the ones of me with my special bridesmaids in the "informal formals"! Matt: I still find the one of Em trying to say "prune" in our formal photos hilarious each time I look at it, I love the one of my groomsmen running away from my "bouquet" toss, I like the cheeky ones of my niece and nephews, and I love our confetti shots!!
Advice for other couples
It is all a bit overwhelming at the start. But with time, your family & friends (who want to help, honestly), patience, and lots of research on excellent suppliers (e.g. photographers - thanks Lisa & Neil!), you will find lots of people to make your day exactly what you want it to be. And it's your day - to share with special people - but it's about you, and it's likely the only day in your lives where it will be - so make sure it reflects you, and it's owned by you, and it's everything you want it to be. And... don't write your speech the night before! (Matt) and try not to let let your groom get stuck in Budapest 3 days before your wedding! (Em)
Was a surprise. Planned meticulously, and perfectly, by Matt and kept secret until we were at the airport. It was incredible - we went from Singapore, to Borneo, before "island hopping" around Indonesia, taking in Bali, Lombok and the Gili Islands - quite literally, paradise! We saw orangutans in the wild, snorkelling with turtles, and much more - Matt had his first ever yoga lesson, and we both ate lots and had lots of massages - perfect! Thank you to our wonderful friends and family who all chipped in to make it possible. And to our friends Laura and Will for giving us a GoPro to capture it all on!!
Neil&Lisa Say; Thank you Em and Matt, we had a blast! Here are a few of our favourite pics from your day xx
Credit where credit is due:
We are so grateful to so many people...Flowers: Flowers by Suzanne (Suzy is just the best, enough said), Food: The Movable Feast (again - simply the best wedding caterers around - great tasting fresh produce, seriously professional, but also super friendly and we couldn't have asked for better), Venue: the fabulous Childerley Hall, Cambridgeshire (although we almost don't want to say too much about that hidden gem, again with its super, accommodating, and friendly team), Wine: Cambridge Wine Merchants (who'd have known you could get so much South African wine so easily?!), Band: the incredible Licence to Ceilidh (their videos say it all!), Festoon lighting: ProEvents (thanks Charlie!), Buses: Greys of Ely (so accommodating and friendly), Bar: Muddle and Mint (thanks Sean!), Hair & Make Up: Finn Jordan (don't we all look fab?!), Charger plates: Wedding Day Hire, Gold Cutlery: Duchess and Butler, Signage: Written and Rose (from the fabulous Poppy), Invitations: To and From (custom designed, and so amazing, thanks Sami!), Honeymoon: Trailfinders, and Cake: Matt's brother Jason, Matt's mum Shirley, and Mike!