Mr & Mrs Clarke, October 2013

Autumn wedding

It has been a horrible Winter day outside, and whilst Spring is (hopefully) just around the corner, I hope you all love this gorgeous Autumn wedding as much as we do.

Following a romantic proposal in Val Thorens on their fifth anniversary, Marie and Dave planned their gorgeous English Country House wedding in just eight short months! “I always knew I didn’t want a long engagement, so as soon as we got back from holiday we started looking at venues”.

IMG_6554“We had visited several local venues, and finally went to look at Swinfen Hall, even though we were convinced that this wasn’t going to be for us. Contrary to our expectations, as soon as we stepped through the door, we fell in love! We soon had our date and venue set and the planning was well underway!” Swinfen Hall is a gorgeous country house hotel set in stunning park land. The Georgian house has many beautiful rooms perfect for a wedding, and makes for a spectacular backdrop for photographs.

Wedding dress

The next most important decision for any bride has to be The Dress! Marie found her stunning dress in only the second shop she went in, The Bridal Rooms, and fell in love with the exact style she wanted. The dress was the beautiful Annalisa, by Amanda Wyatt, We love the lace top and the gorgeous style to the back of the dress and it looked beautiful on the day!

The theme for the wedding was Autumn colours, and Wedding flowersnowhere was this reflected more than with the wedding flowers! Marie chose a florist recommended by the venue, Secret Garden, and was happy for them to use their creative flair. The end result being an amazing display of rich autumn colours, and even incorporated pumpkins as flower bowls for the table centrepieces. Perfect as the wedding was close to Halloween and the overall effect was stunning!

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Marie told us that one of her biggest decisions was choosing bridesmaids! With a group of four very close friends, her oldest friend from school and two sisters, Marie knew it wasn’t practical to have seven bridesmaids! She decided on her oldest friend and two sisters, but incorporated her close group of friends by giving them wedding party corsages – a brilliant idea to make them still feel part of the day! Bridesmaids dresses were by Dessy, in Cappucino, and Marie also had two gorgeous flower girls wearing beautiful dresses from Tesco, and carrying artificial flowers for durability. Very cute!

cake blog

Whilst the wedding cake was not top of the priority list for Marie or Dave, they loved being able to use this to bring some more personalisation into their day with a specially made wedding cake topper featuring their golden labrador, Yorkie! Marie and Dave chose a simple, elegant chocolate cake made by Sugar Surgeons, which tasted amazing, with Marie’s mum making an additional fruit cake to add some variety!

A huge decision for any couple getting married is choosing the wedding photographer. After an initial meeting with a recommended photographer, Marie and Dave soon realised how important it is to have a rapport with your wedding photographer, as they will be spending the whole day with you! Following this, the couple met Mark Zaccaria at a local wedding fair, and the decision was made easily. Marie commented that Mark was “happy with everything that we wanted, and made everybody feel completely at ease, joining in with all of the family fun on the day”. The photos are fantastic and I would definitely recommend Mark as a wedding photographer without hesitation.

wedding post boxMarie and Dave decided to hire one of our own champagne coloured wedding post boxes. The colour matched both the venue and the colour scheme perfectly. Marie commented: “The post box was a brilliant way of collecting the cards which looked stunning in the traditional venue”. The couple also booked their wedding photo booth from The Little English Wedding Company.

photobooth blog

Marie told us “We had looked at photo booths after being to two weddings that had one, and knowing the fun people had we really wanted one! However, we really struggled to find one that fitted into the theme of the venue until we saw The Little English Wedding Company’s, which was perfect. The pictures seemed better quality than any others I had seen, and with the vintage design fitting the venue too I was sold!” Instead of a photograph guest book, Marie opted for guests to write their message on the reverse of their photos, and peg them on a board – the board looked brilliant on the night and it was great reading through them and looking at the photos following the wedding! The photo booth was very popular with all of the guests, and one couple even booked it on the night for their wedding six weeks later!

“Our wedding totally was the perfect day – looking back yes a few things went wrong but it really didn’t matter as on the day I didn’t care at all! My husband even forgot his speech but everyone said it added to the day and some even thought it was staged!”

I’ll just leave you with my favourite photo from the day…

Wedding photograph

 

Location, Location, Location!

champagneIf you are sporting a beautiful new rock on your left hand following a Christmas or New Year proposal, then first of all CONGRATULATIONS!! No doubt you already bought your first wedding magazine, and are eagerly throwing yourself into the world of wedding planning!

Before searching for “The One” (the dress, that is, hopefully you’ve already found your Mr Right!) and deciding on the finer points of your Big Day, the first thing on most bride-to-be’s ever increasing lists is the location of their wedding.

You may need to decide with your hubby-to-be whether you will be marrying in your home town or another location, and this could depend on practicalities or where your family and friends are based. Once this initial decision has been made, you are free to launch yourself into the first and possibly most important wedding planning task!

And it’s one of the most exciting! When you start to visit wedding venues with your other half it really starts to feel real! Stepping into a venue together, you picture how your big day will look and feel, and picture yourself walking down the aisle with your friends and family around you.

As weddings become more and more personalised, you may find your options becoming endless for the backdrop to your big day. But this is your first chance to pick somewhere that will really be personal to you. More and more venues are licensed to hold weddings and civil ceremonies, making it much easier to make your mark on your day. From converted barns, to stately homes, to art galleries, the choice is yours!

Here are some of our favourites:

12_12_15_rowenna_james_1704Rustic barn wedding: Packington Moor, Staffordshire. http://www.packingtonmoor-events.co.uk/. With a beautiful courtyard and grounds, the stunning exposed interior of the barn makes this the perfect rustic venue for your wedding!

Country Manor House: Swinfen Hall, Staffordshire. http://www.swinfenhallhotel.co.uk/. The long driveway up to Swinfen Hall accentuates the beautiful Georgian exterior, and the stunning views across the grounds are a perfect backdrop for wedding photos!

Back to nature: Birmingham Botanical Gardens: http://birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk/ . If you love the outdoors and natural beauty, why not hold your wedding at the stunning Birmingham Botanical Gardens? With beautiful terraces overlooking the stunning gardens, what more could you want!

Art Gallery: Compton Verney, Warwickshire: http://www.hitched.co.uk/compton-verney. A brilliantly unique way to hold your wedding, in an acclaimed art gallery situated in a gorgeous Grade 1 Mansion House. Your guests will love the individuality of your day.

Under the sea: National Marine Aquarium: http://www.national-aquarium.co.uk/. If you love all things marine life, we’ll forgive them for not performing your ceremony here…just look at the backdrop for your reception! A truly unique way to celebrate your wedding day!

There are literally hundreds of ideas for your perfect venue, and we haven’t even mentioned libraries, vineyards and football stadiums! Picture your perfect day and look for a venue that will reflect both you and your husband-to-be. You are free to use your imagination…… GO! xx

Winter Wedding Flower Inspiration!

In the throes of winter, we have so far managed to escape flurries of snow that could either make or break your day!

We’ve scoured the internet to look for some wintry flower arrangements that will give your day a beautiful crisp winter feel whatever the weather….

http://www.pinterest.com/littleengwedco/winter-wedding-flowers/

Why not send through your winter flower ideas for us to add to our board?

xx

Amy and Tom: The Wedding Planning Begins!

Amy Wedding Planning

Having just arrived back in the UK after travelling for a year our priority was working on our savings!

This gave me time to start getting an idea of what we wanted from our day and look for inspiration. I found most of the information I needed on the internet and in magazines, but also attended a local wedding show and the National Wedding Show at the NEC. It was great to see some of the suppliers and their goods in the flesh!

I kept all of my wedding bits in a nice box, so whenever I had a spare five minutes for wedding planning it was easy to get to. I kept things such as torn out magazine pages – there are loads of good ideas but it is much easier just to keep things that you are really interested in. A popular idea in wedding planning is the ‘moodboard’ – magazine pages are really useful for this! I personally found this really helpful, and really made the most of online sites like Pinterest to gather ideas and styles.

Before making any big decisions, we decided to make a priority list of what was most Photobooth at Packington 2important to us, and discussed things like flowers, the photographer, wedding venues and our honeymoon. This was really important to show what we valued individually, but also really helped us to put our budget together. The list and budget made sure we focused our attention and allocated our budget to the areas that we both found important, such as a good quality photographer. After all, there’s no need to spend too much money on something like flowers if neither of us have too much of a preference!

One of the biggest decisions we had to make early on was where to have our wedding. We currently live in Tom’s home town, but I still have a really strong connection to my home town, where a lot of my family and friends live. We kept our options open to start with, to see if we could find a gorgeous venue that made our decision for us. Alongside this, we also needed to decide between a civil ceremony and a church wedding. This was a really big decision for us, but when we came to agree on a church wedding, this also helped us to pick a location. Tom was christened and his parents were married at a beautiful church in their home town, so it will have a lovely family connection for us to marry there. A few days later Tom called me at work to say that he had been to the church and the wedding date was booked!

Now with the key booking finalised, our wedding plans were heating up!

Next on our list was the task of finding a reception venue that would suit our style. We had already been to visit a few venues but just couldn’t find one right for us. Finally we found a venue close to the church that we thought would be just right for the reception we wanted! Unfortunately, after preliminarily booking this venue, they informed us that they couldn’t accommodate as many guests as we wanted without us hiring a marquee. This put the cost of hire over our budget and it was back to the scrap book for us. We felt pretty deflated having to go back to the beginning, but in a stroke of luck or fate one of the venues we had been to see at the start of our search e-mailed to offer us a great deal ! They could also be flexible about our reception start time and the structure of our day. We re-visited the venue and both agreed that it would be perfect for what we needed. The venue was officially booked and it was time to start getting excited!

It’s OK to be a Bridezilla……

….to some extent! We’ve all heard the term ‘Bridezilla’ thrown around – the truth is we all want to have an amazing day to remember forever, whether planning a small intimate affair or a lavish wedding with all the trimmings. Some of us will charge in with an exact plan of how we want the day to pan out, knowing the precise colours, flowers, styles and decoration that will make our day, some of us will be more laid back, open to ideas and go with the flow.

Wedding Flowers

I don’t think that either way is right or wrong. What I do know is that planning a wedding can take a lot of time and management however large or small, and that even the most horizontal bride is likely to experience some issues that cause stress throughout the planning.

So how can you avoid this? The simple answer is that you can’t guarantee that planning your wedding will be stress free. Therefore I think it’s OK to have a Bridezilla moment, just as long as you make sure that wedding planning isn’t taking over your life!

Involving friends and family in your wedding planning can really help in taking some of the stress away. If you know someone who is arty, why not ask them for ideas on venue decoration, or ask them to design and write the table plan and name settings? If one of your friends loves music, you could ask their help in suggesting songs for the drinks reception or evening, or recommending a band. It can be difficult to release control over your big day to someone else, but ultimately any final decisions are yours, and it can give you more time to keep on top of the overall planning. It can’t hurt for other people to help you with research to help you make your decision, and pretty soon wedding planning will be a breeze!

Don’t feel guilty for having your own opinions – it is your special day! If you like a certain style, colour or want to incorporate something different, go for it! The day is meant to reflect you and your other half, and is more likely to stand out from the crowd if you are confident enough to go with your instinct.

If you are unlucky enough to come up against opposition when planning your day (unwanted family input on your food choice, bridesmaids not wanting to wear the dress you have picked out….), try to sit down and talk it through with them and come to a compromise. You want everyone to be as happy and excited as you are, so try to stay calm and explain to them that you are really looking forward to the day and you appreciate their input and support but that this is what you really want at your wedding.

Wedding fun

The main thing to remember is to RELAX! Enjoy planning your day and have fun with your friends and family while you are doing it. You only get one opportunity, and you don’t want it to be fixed in your memory for the wrong reasons! At the end of the day, all that matters is that you will marry the person you want to spend your life with, and as long as that happens, everything has gone to plan.

Autumn: ’tis the season to be married!

An Autumn Wedding…

So…. today I had a rather large to-do list (I love lists!) However, rather than dutifully checking things off this list, I have found my thoughts wondering to a wedding we will be attending this weekend…and in turn, all things autumn weddings.

With all the rain that has been piling down over the past few weeks, it definitely feels like we have moved right out of the summer wedding season (boo, hiss!) However…. brides everywhere seem to be jilting summer as the traditional wedding season, and opting for the most beautiful autumn inspired wedding days and it is easy to see why!

Turning leaves, moody skies and vintage country inspired decorations are all perfect ingredients for a stunning fall wedding. Autumn brides can forget traditional white and ivory, and go wild with gorgeous colours including burnt orange, rustic reds, deep chocolates and vivid purples.

I couldn’t resist seeing what Pinterest had to say about the idea of an autumn wedding…. check out my Autumn Wedding board here: http://www.pinterest.com/littleengwedco/autumn-wedding/

 

Wedding Planning!

Meet Amy, our stunning bride to be who will be taking you through the ins and outs of planning a wedding ahead of her nuptials on 24 May 2014. First of all, let’s get to know Amy and her fiancé Tom, as a couple…..

Amy Wedding Planning

So how did it all start?! Amy met Tom, whilst on a night out in Saffron Walden with mutual friends and the spark between them was clear from the start! Ten months later, the pair announced that they planned to leave the grey sights of England to live and work in Sydney, Australia for six months before spending the rest of the year touring New Zealand and the East Coast of Australia.

“Tom and I had only been together for 16 months when we travelled to Sydney. It was certainly a lot to take on in one go with new jobs to find, a place to stay and new friends to make, but we got through it together and had a lot of fun along the way! When all the hard work was done in Sydney the true fun could start. With 5 months off and our back packs at the ready we headed to Christchurch, New Zealand as our first port of call.  We experienced some amazing things including Black Water Rafting and Glacier Hiking. Back in Australia our travels included snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef and camping on Fraser Island. Experiencing all these things with my best friend and (little did I know at this point!) my future husband, is something that I will always treasure and the memories from our trip together will last long into our married life.”

Amy and Tom Wedding Planning

It was clear that Tom had no intention of returning home at the end of the year without securing Amy firmly in his future, and on their last excursion in Australia before flying home, Tom popped the all important question! “Tom and I had been walking round central Sydney and decided to stop off in the Botanic Gardens. Tom was acting a little funny but I didn’t think much of it especially seeing as we were flying home in 2 days. We were sat on a bench within the gardens, the Sydney skyline to one side, the Opera House to the other, when Tom started to edge towards the edge of the bench and said “I’m just going to do it”. I think there was an effort to get to one knee, but a group of tourists walked round to where we were sitting to start taking snaps of the view! Tom had got the box with the ring in his hand and I think I had taken the ring out of the box and put it onto my finger before he’d even asked the question! Needless to say I said yes and I was the proud new owner of a gorgeous princess cut solitaire diamond ring that he’d picked out himself”!

One year later and the couple are living together in Saffron Walden and in the midst of planning their special day for May 2014. We’ll be following them every step of the way to hear about their ideas and plans, with one final blog post to tell you all about the wedding. Well… we can’t be giving too many secrets away before the big day now can we?

Mr and Mrs Orgill, 8 June 2013

proposal

On Saturday 8 June, The Little English Wedding Company attended a gorgeous wedding in the Cotswolds on one of the most beautiful days so far this year. Ian had proposed to Ellie on 11 December 2011 on their fifth anniversary. Ellie had always wanted to spend a romantic weekend at le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin star restaurant and hotel in Oxfordshire, and so when Ian proposed on a surprise anniversary trip away, Ellie was over the moon!

outdoor ceremonyThe wedding took place at Caswell House in Oxfordshire, which is an exclusive barn venue set in the beautiful backdrop of the Cotswold countryside. The venue staff were friendly and helpful, and the interior of the barns were perfect for a summer wedding with huge windows letting in all of the gorgeous sunshine!Everything about the venue was stunning: the outdoor ceremony under Caswell House’s archway, the beautiful grounds and the amazing food served during the wedding breakfast.

cake

The caterers that prepared this fantastic wedding breakfast were William’s Kitchen, and the cake was from Patisserie Valerie in Oxford. “Neither of us like fruit cake so decided chocolate was the way to go! We loved the idea of having the cake as the dessert so we knew it would be eaten and the Patisserie Valerie gateaux’s are amazing!” And having tasted the cake ourselves, we can’t emphasise this enough – we’ll definitely be paying a visit next time we are in Oxford!

So…. the dress! Ellie’s dress was beautiful,  by a designer called Lusan Mandongus. Ellie told us that it was pretty much the first dress that she tried on: “I went to a brilliant shop in Hertfordshire, Morgan Davies, where the advisor picked five dresses in different shapes so I could get an idea of what styles I liked. I never thought I would go for lace but when I tried on my dress I had that “it’s the one” moment. I felt amazing in the dress and only tried five others after that”.

The bridesmaid dresses were from Mango – both Ellie and her bridesmaids were keen to find a dress that they would wear again. They all fell in love with a navy floor length dress and added an ivory sash themselves as to add more shape. This matched the theme perfectly! I personally loved the page boy outfits, and the three page boys (Ellie’s nephews) looked so great in them! They were from Marks and Spencer and were perfect for three active boys who spent most of the time chasing a rugby ball. Teaming the outfit with Converse trainers and having a waistcoat rather than suit jacket meant they felt really comfortable all day.

bridesmaid & page boy

Ian and Ellie chose Lucy Davenport as their wedding photographer, opting for primarily natural photos. “We loved her natural style and felt that she would blend in brilliantly with the guests allowing her to capture the day without people feeling self conscious. We met with her in March 2012 and booked her straight away!” This was great as, after a few family shots, they were both able to relax and enjoy their own wedding reception and chat to all of their guests! As the wedding was outside, the guests (and not just the children) made the most of the giant outdoor games in the sun during the wedding reception.

postbox

Ellie told The Little English Wedding Company that the main inspiration for the wedding came from Pinterest: “A website I spent many hours trawling in the build up to the wedding. The idea to have a photo booth, a sweetie table, the love quotes and much more all came from here! We both felt that the ivory post box would fit perfectly with the theme of the day and the beautiful stone of Caswell House”

 “The idea to write our own vows also came from Pinterest and I loved the thought of having a very personal ceremony. Ian and I wrote the vows together and they really represent how we feel about each other.”

“I had been thinking about weddings way before Ian and I even met! My sister got married nine years ago and since then the details of my wedding day have been thought through and refined, so when Ian proposed I already knew I wanted navy and ivory as the colour scheme! Luckily for me the colours suited Ian’s ginger hair and he was happy to go with it!”

bandAs the wedding day turned into the evening reception, there wasn’t a single person sitting down as a live band, The Kicks, provided the evening entertainment (and with some of the dancing that was happening, I don’t think they were the only entertainment provided!) Ellie commented: “We both loved the band and are so pleased we chose them! I used Alive Network which is an online agent where you can find all sorts of live music bands. They were so friendly and helpful and up for anything we asked of them! They really got the crowd going and played a great mix of music that appealed to everyone and it looked like they had a great time too!”

 

It’s definitely Wedding Season!

All’s been a bit quiet on our blog front recently – I can promise it is all due to wedding related reasons though… That is, since the start of May, I have been on two hen weekends and to one wedding! I’ve had a fantastic time and it is amazing seeing some of my closest friends planning their wedding, getting excited, and finally tying the knot with the man (and woman) of their dreams!

I love it, I love seeing all of their different ideas, all of the different colours and styles and outfits! And it is only three weeks until two more of our best friends say ‘I do!’
So yes… it truly is wedding season at the moment. This, for us girls, does bring some perils in the usual form…

What to wear to each wedding?!

Over the past few weeks, my friends and I seem to have been fighting with this much more than on a usual Saturday night out. There are definitely unwritten guidelines regarding outfits at a wedding, take the following for example;

• White and ivory dresses: to be avoided at all costs. Do not mess with the Bride!
• Can you get away with resembling a bridesmaid? Your favourite dress might be perfect for the wedding, but if it is the same colour and style you might need to think again, or at least ensure you accessorise it to make a clear difference!
• Is your dress a bit too risqué? Is it a church wedding? Should you show off your décolletage, or reveal a bit of leg? It is, after all, a wedding, not a night out on the town….

Then enter The English Weather. This year specifically deciding on outfits has been nothing short of a nightmare! Our own wedding in December had considerably better weather than most weddings in March or April, and from one day to the next I don’t know whether to dress in a t-shirt or my ski jacket! How on earth are we meant to choose outfits for a wedding weeks or months away!

The final and possibly most common hazard is buying a current season dress. I have just purchased a beautiful new dress for our next wedding on the 8th June, and I am just waiting for someone else to turn up in said new dress.

But what does it matter? If it rains, go inside; if it’s cold, take a coat; and if someone else wears your dress, laugh and get your picture taken! Just relax and enjoy the day!

Bridal Fashion Week – Spring 2014

Ok, so who is getting married in Spring 2014?! Found your dress yet, or still looking for inspiration? As New York’s bridal fashion week draws to a close, I’ve taken the liberty of perusing the many collections and picked out a few of my personal favourites. What a hardship! (OK, perhaps it’s just because I have a seriously weak spot for stunning dresses!)

Everyone has different ideas when it comes to finding that perfect dress. Whether you’ve started looking or not, it’s likely that you have some sort of picture of how you want to look on your big day. Before I actually put any dresses on, I tried to keep an open mind about the style I wanted. However, I secretly loved lace dresses and was slightly gutted to discover that lace did not look so great on me. Idea number one out of the window!

I did still have some clear ideas for the dress though: old fashioned I might be but to me a wedding dress should, if not white or ivory, be very pale. It should also look like a wedding dress! As much as I love looking at evening gowns, I think a wedding dress is something VERY different!

So – I have put together a Pinterest board with a selection of my favourite dresses (thanks to brides.com) for you to browse through. Here is a rundown of my favourite parts!

LOVE: lace, big skirts, tea length dresses (to be worn strictly with stunning massive heels) and fabulously fitted gowns. I also wore my veil over my face when walking down the aisle and I love how Carolina Herrera has used this in her catwalk You might notice I’ve not selected any from Vera Wang (gasp!). I’m open to new ideas and designs but I’m still not sold on using quite so much black in a wedding dress….. but hey – it would be pretty boring if we all wore the same dress!

Check out my board here: https://pinterest.com/littleengwedco/2014-bride-styles/