If She Is Beside Me – Rock My Wedding Tipi Blog
Happy Friday everyone!!! If you’re not already smiling because the weekend is here, then Hannah’s bubbly write up of her fun-filled day will definitely put a smile on your face.
The grin inducing photography comes courtesy of Chris Barber.
Look out for the scooter riding baby, the very enthusiastic confetti-throwing Grandma and a to-die-for daisy and plait hair combination that manages to be chic rather than hippy (not always easy when using daisies!)
It’s A Knockout
Hannah The Bride: Hello future brides and grooms, lovers of all things pretty and wedding-tastic, and those obsessives (like me) that still lurk these beautiful polka dot pages despite already being on the ‘old married’ bench. I’m Hannah, and I married my best friend Rob on the 27th July 2013.
Rob and I met back in 2005, in a muddy field in Harrogate playing It’s A Knockout all in the name of team building. Well clearly large inflatables and sumo suits worked for us… from that day onwards we have been our own awesome little team, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We got engaged way back in November 2011 in New York City, our favourite place in the world, and started making plans straight away. We both had a fairly clear vision of the sort of wedding day we wanted – relaxed/rural/colourful and ultimately FUN! Basically we figured if we were enjoying ourselves, everyone else would as well. I like to think we pulled it off.
Scooter Ride Friendly Gown
My dress shopping checklist – lace, not strapless, absolutely no bling, and will allow me to ride on the back of a scooter. That’s normal, right?! As it turns out, I tracked down the perfect candidate on RMW. Once I saw Sienna by Sassi Holford I was smitten, and the search stopped there.
I teamed it with a bespoke lace trimmed veil from Jennifer Bone, and some ivory lace shoes (from BHS of all places!) that I funked up a bit with some yellow ribbon. I wore white gold, diamond and pearl drop earrings and a string of pearls which Rob bought for me in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter.
Crazy For Daisies
I decided to keep my hair fairly simple, and my lovely hairdresser Emma did a side chignon with little braids and tiny silk daisies to make it feel a little less ‘done’. My bridesmaids had waterfall braids and more daisies (you can never have too many daisies…). Make up was by the very talented Chloe McCall (another RMW find!).
My two best friends and my two new sisters in law were Team Bridesmaid. They wore beautiful grey chiffon dresses with bright yellow braided belts that were custom made for us by Jennifer Bone.
Rob looked absolutely smokin’ in a three piece suit from Reiss and a Junghans Max Bill Chronograph watch which I surprised him with on the day. His two best men, the ushers and the Dads wore navy lounge suits with grey striped ties and yellow pocket squares that my mum made in the same fabric as the girl’s belts.
Focusing On Marriage
Getting married in a church was something that was really important to us, so we made it official at Holy Trinity, just down the road from my parent’s house in Shropshire. Phil the vicar was great, and helped us to spend time focusing on our marriage rather than just our wedding. He also let us have free reign on choosing the music for the ceremony, which helped to make it feel really personal and special to us.
Rob chose the song I walked down the aisle to which was ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ by the Beatles. The chorus goes “I want her everywhere, and if she’s beside me I know I need never care. But to love her is to need her everywhere. Knowing that love is to share. Each one believing that love never dies. Watching her eyes and hoping I’m always there”. I still cry every time I hear it!
Flexible And Unique
Finding a venue for the reception proved to be a bit more difficult. We looked at a LOT of places, from barns to schools, but couldn’t seem to nail the one that was really ‘us’. Eventually we stumbled across the beautiful tipis from Elite Tents, and realised that we could have the flexible, unique venue we wanted, and have it at Rob’s family home as well.
It was one of those light bulb ‘why didn’t we think of that sooner’ moments. Rob’s Dad surprised us by planting a tree in the field to mark the day. If he keeps that tradition up by the time all of my brothers and sisters in law get married there’ll be a forest there…
Pretty early on we realised that the ‘DIY’ nature of our wedding meant that we needed to hire someone to co-ordinate on the day. Sian from Top Banana Weddings held everything together expertly and kept us on schedule with military precision.
We decided to forgo the traditional wedding cars and make our big entrance on Rob’s battered old Honda C90, with bridesmaids and ushers in convoy. It was a surprise to the majority of our guests and I’ll never forget the looks on their faces as we bounced across the muddy field in our finery.
No Fluff Needed
The tipis don’t require a lot of additional ‘fluff’, so we kept the look pretty simple with some grey and yellow bunting made my mum and myself, and beautiful wild flowers arranged in old glass bottles that my uncle dug up in the fields at my grandparent’s farm back in the 1960s, which we sat on slices of English Oak.
Signs were hand painted by me on bits of an old pallet that was destined for the fire, and we made loads of tin can lanterns to hang in the trees for the cost of only some car spray paint.
Flowers With Meaning
Our good friends Sarah and Fran are behind the company Big Little Things and they took care of all the floristry and the cakes as well. Oh, and Fran had a baby seven days before the wedding, no big deal! The overall look was ‘wild, textural and colourful.’
We tried to embrace a little meaning behind our flower choices so we included corn and wheat to reflect my family’s farming background, cornflowers because Rob’s mum had them in her bouquet and Craspedia (native to NZ where I studied for a while) to add little pops of colour. The thistles and daisies were just because we love them!
As Rob’s family own the local butchers the food was unsurprisingly a bit of a meat feast. Rob’s cousin supplied our caterers with cold cuts for the daytime buffet and an amazing hog roast for the evening.
We had a ‘naked cake’ (top tip – don’t Google that at work unless you want to have to explain yourself to the IT department) served with fresh berries and cream for dessert. I made some simple wooden cake toppers of us and our cat Kiwi for decoration.
Luke Brown entertained our guests and also played our first dance song (Al Green – Let’s Stay Together). He’s a local singer/songwriter, and it’s been really great hearing him play some of the songs from our wedding around town over the past few months.
Being an architect (and a big typography geek) I’m not too bad with various graphic design programmes so I did all the stationery myself, which was a bit of a labour of love. Rob reckons I find the most complicated way to do everything, and then make it a bit more complicated again just for fun!
I decided to approach the overall stationery ‘look’ as a bit of a branding exercise, so I created a logo and a custom silhouette design, chose a colour palette, 2-3 complimentary fonts and a couple of card types to print it on. Everything was then just a different combination generated from that list, which tied it all together without being too matchy-matchy. We saved quite a bit of money doing it all ourselves, but it took a LOT of time, so be warned!
Don’t be scared to break with tradition if something doesn’t feel right for you. I was really keen to make a speech because the idea of sitting sweetly and letting the men do all the talking felt a bit outdated, and I wanted to tell everyone how amazing my new husband is!
Try to enjoy the planning process, it’s part of the wedding too. Other than my dress, Rob and I planned the whole wedding as a team. We have amazing memories of our day, but also a lot of happy memories of the time spent together coming up with ideas and laughing at the ridiculous amount of crafts we had embarked on.
Marriage Kicks A Weddings Butt
Spend your money wisely. Whether you have a £500 or £50,000 budget, prioritise what is important to you, and allocate your budget accordingly. For us, the most important things were having a kick-ass photographer (take a bow Mr Barber), and an awesome venue. Other stuff we did as cheaply as possible.
Remember why you’re doing it! Weddings are amazing, but marriage kicks a weddings butt any day.
Dress – Sassi Holford
Veil & Bridesmaid’s Dresses – Bespoke by Jennifer Bone at My Little Wedding Shop
Groom’s Suit – Reiss
Hair – The White Room
Make Up – Chloe McCall
Tipis – Elite Tents
Bell Tent – Country Bell
Planner – Top Banana Weddings
Food – Roslin Catering
Drink – Tipples
Flowers – Big Little Things
Cakes – Big Little Things
Music – Luke Brown
Meat and Hog Roast – Beamans Butchers Bridgnorth – email@example.com
Stationery, Signage, Cake Toppers, Venue decoration – DIY
Photography – Chris Barber Photography
The branding looks great – it just shows what you can achieve if you put your mind to it!
And a great mantra for all of those lovely people who sneak back here once they’ve hung up their bridal gowns – marriage kicks a weddings butt. Wise words Hannah.
Have a nice weekend!
Lots of love,