Afternoon Folks and Happy Monday.
After attending The Secret Garden Party for years, Lizzi and Tom wanted to create their very own version of this awesome festival for their wedding and establish an atmosphere where their friends could kick back, relax and enjoy the day. With live music, camping, a hog roast with a the most colourful selection of salads, lots of handmade decor and a theme that was quite simply T&L, Tom and Lizzi’s day was, for them, more than perfect.
Over to Lizzi…..
A Cliff Top, Some Bubbles and One Knee….
Tom popped the question on a cliff top in Cornwall. We were on a family holiday and he wanted to go for a walk between Port Isaac and Port Quin as it was something his parents had done. And so we packed some bubbles and a couple of glasses (not unusual for us!) and set off. We stopped for a break and to take in the view and the next thing I knew he was down on one knee! My folks were in on the secret as he’d asked my dad’s permission whilst at the pub the night before (good boy!)
Charlie Brear To The Rescue….
The thought of finding a wedding dress filled me with both joy and dread. Partly the huge choice out there – the boutiques, the styles, the designers… partly not having Tom there with me to help choose (he is my favourite shopping companion), and partly because I am famous for my indecision, and I’m not a girly girl – I mostly live in jeans and boots. Charlie Brear came to the rescue. One appointment and trunk sale later I was sold on a bespoke one-off dress. An empire line lace and silk beauty with spaghetti straps and sweetheart neckline. It made me feel elegant but relaxed which was important.
A Touch of Greece….
I wanted an elegant; laid back, slightly ethereal look and so a friend lent me a Grecian style gold Jennifer Behr headpiece. For the veil, I wore a simple chapel veil we found on eBay.
A Jewelled Surprise….
Because of the headpiece and the detailed lace of the dress, I kept jewellery simple but Tom surprised me with a pair of beautiful hand made diamond earrings the day before the wedding.
Made Up To Last…..
I never really do much with my hair and make up so whilst wanting to still look like me (eyeliner and lippy), I wanted my hair to be special and I didn’t want to worry about bodging my makeup on the day. This was something that was best left to a professional. Tori Harris does loads of fashion and bridal work so I knew she would be perfect. She was so lovely and helpful – I felt I was in safe hands and both my hair and makeup lasted all day – even through all the dancing in the evening.
A Stunning Cathedral, A Long Walk and Nervous Chatter….
Tom and I got married in Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire. The Cathedral has been a part of my family’s life since I was five when my brother was a chorister so it means a lot to me and it is such a beautiful building. Tom’s not religious but he was really into the idea from the start and we were quite quick to set a date.
To get all the ladies to the Cathedral (and bring back some of the guests), mum and dad hired a vintage bus, whilst Dad and I were driven by Tom’s uncle in his Land Rover (aka ‘Yoda’). We came in from the West Door and walked right through to the Presbytery. It was quite a long walk – I just remember clinging onto dad and we couldn’t stop talking, trying to calm each other’s nerves! We walked in to Handle’s ‘The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’. The ceremony was beautiful from start to finish. We had the Ely Cathedral Octagon Singers in the choir stalls to provide some backup in the hymns and they also sung Parry’s ‘I was glad’ during the signing of the register. My brother and Tom’s uncle Steve did the readings – a passage from Genesis and EE Cummings ‘I Carry Your Heart’. My mum read the prayers. It was great to have our family so involved. We walked out to Widor’s ‘Toccata’ from Symphony No.5, which has been a favourite of mine since I was small.
After the ceremony we had a drinks reception in the Cathedral’s Lady Chapel. We then jumped in the Land Rover with our photographer and Tom’s uncle in search of a field for our couples shots, giving time for our guests to head to the barn. This was the perfect opportunity to take a moment to breath after all the excitement and have a kiss and a high-five.
White and Apricot, Relaxed and Wild….
We were very lucky when it came to sorting out the flowers. Ely Cathedral has a great flower guild and Tom’s aunty is a florist. All we had to do was give them an idea of what we liked and they ran with it. In the Cathedral we had beautiful large arrangements of stock, delphiniums, gypsophila and roses, whilst at the reception the flowers were in all sorts of jars and vases we’d collected and it was more relaxed and wild. My bouquet was made up of different kinds of big white and apricot David Austin roses and white sweet peas (the scent was amazing), and Tom had a big statement David Austin rose for his buttonhole.
A Farmers Field, A Pole Tent and Lots of Fun….
For the reception we wanted something that we could make our own, as well as something that was a very different to the Cathedral. We love music and festivals, and we wanted our friends and family to be able to kick off their shoes and have fun. We put the word out and through a friend of a friend we found a very kind farmer who had a house that they rented out as a holiday house… that just so happened to have acres of land and a barn. It had been used for a few weddings before, including the owner’s children’s. It was pretty much perfect. We hired a pole tent marquee for the wedding breakfast and the barn was dedicated to the bar and for dancing through the night.
Handmade Decor and T&L in Lights….
The little details were one of our favourite parts of the planning and from the start we wanted ‘T&L’ to be a running theme throughout the wedding. The invitation stock, invitation designs, confetti bags of dried petals, pom poms, meters of fairy lights, name boards and candles for the tents, home made candles for the marquee, menu boards and signage around the farm, string table numbers, photos pegged round the barn, the large T&L light bulb marquee letters that my dad made… there was a lot we wanted to do ourselves to help keep costs down, and over the months leading up to the wedding we managed to get everything made.
Bands, DJ’s and Champagne….
When we arrived at the barn we were greeted with Champagne and a procession of confetti – our friends (The Willows) were playing outside the barn and the sun was shining. Tom and I love music so it played an important part throughout the day. We hired a PA system, which meant we could have our play list for when the band finished, and then some of our friends DJ’d during the course of the evening.
One thing we can say about our friends is that, like us, they like a tipple or two! My dad has dabbled in the past with brewing and so instead of favours, we brewed our own ale – T&L Veil Ale – we even had little labels made. Tom is a wine broker and works for a French producer so he had the drinks covered quite early. For the day, we asked a couple of his brother’s friends who make fantastic cocktails to man the bar and serve up Elderflower Tom Collins and Dark and Stormy’s.
One of my favourite memories of the day was walking down the aisle, clinging onto my dad’s arm, my knees feeling a little wobbly, heart pounding, and seeing my man looking the sharpest I’ve ever seen him look. ‘Fresh out of the packet’ as one of our friends would say. I couldn’t let go of his hand during the service. I love that man. After that I’d definitely say the speeches. Tom, Dad and his brother (best man) had everyone in stitches.
Firstly – do what makes you happy. You only have one wedding day.
Secondly – ask a friend or a wedding planner to help coordinate on the day. We had organised everything and set up the venue, so we asked a couple of family friends to help oversee things on the day so that we didn’t have to worry about anything. A few things went wrong like the ice delivery got dropped in the middle of nowhere on the hottest day of the summer, and one of the ushers had to pull up his sleeves and fix the loo – but we had no idea and everyone carried on having a great time.
One Last thing….
I can’t say how grateful we were to my mum and dad for helping us make our ideas a reality. Also to everyone miraculously pulling together in the days leading up to the big day. It certainly helped having a sign writer for a father in-law, bridesmaids who all project manage for a living in one way or another, and a team of strapping and creative ushers. I still don’t know how it quite came together… the day before was a blur. But we have never been prouder of having such amazing family and friends.
The Line UpPhotography: Adam Cherry Photography
Ceremony Venue: Ely Catherdral Reception Venue: Farmer’s Field Bride’s Dress: Charlie Brear Bride’s Shoes: Kurt Geiger Bride’s Hair & Make-Up: Tori Harris Headpiece: Jennifer Behr Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss & Ted Baker Bridesmaid dresses: Dessy via Le Trois Soeurs Invitation screen-printing: The Print Club Wine: La Bergere Coach hire: Greys of Ely Hog Roast: Harnwell and Son Pole Tent Marquee: Highfield Event Group Bell tents: Tipi Hire Company