Although the wedding as a whole was a massive planning task, it was planning the reception that almost killed Team Wedding (my nickname for our hardworking team of family and friends, who planned this thing from the very beginning).
In a good way, of course.
The reception was held at the cricket club that Rob’s childhood home backs on to. His dad is the groundsman and Rob played in the local team until he was 18. In summer, there’s a game every week and we often pop over to watch. The cricket grounds and surrounding community have played a huge part in our 11-year relationship… yet I still have no idea what happens in a game!
We used the cricket pavilion as a bar, chill-out area and for the toilets. It was brilliant to have that base, which was lovingly decorated by my Sister-in-Law Jen, and allowed people to step away from the main event and have a quiet moment.
The main event being the marquee…
Finding a wedding marquee wasn’t hard. But finding the ‘right’ wedding marquee was so hard. I didn’t want PVC windows or laminate flooring. But I also didn’t want to pay £7,000 for a tipi. There aren’t a great deal of options in between and I was starting to despair… until I found Will’s Marquees.
Based in York, Will’s Marquees hire vintage-inspired, natural-style marquees for all sorts of events. As soon as I saw the photos on their website, I was sold – I love the Big Top shape, the exposed wooden poles and the parquet dance floor. Will’s Marquees are also the most lovely, lovely people. Ever. They drew up floor plans and did site visits and were generally fantastic to work with. And they’re brilliantly priced to boot.
Styling the marquee was my own personal Waterloo. It was an absolutely mammoth job that took about 10 hours on the day before the wedding – no spa or relaxation for this bride!
With the couldn’t-have-done-it-without-you help of Team Wedding, I created a vintage tea party. I used lots of the things I’ve collected from car boots over the years – old books, antique cameras and framed prints – combined with crafty bits bought from Etsy and props hired from the fantastic Add Vintage.
My Sister-in-Law and I made the table plan a week before the wedding. After seeing a photo of something similar on Pinterest, we found an MDF board in the garage and covered it with vintage sheet music I bought from eBay. Details of the tables were hung in mismatched frames I sourced from Wilko’s, Dunelm Mill and the Pound Shop. The R & J letters were one of the first things I bought for the wedding about a year ago, from Joy.
I tried to keep collecting props as the wedding drew closer, but it was impossible to find time to go hunting for vintage goodies. At a chance visit to a wedding fair in Leeds just a couple of months before the big day I met Emily from Add Vintage and immediately hired almost everything she owns. Add Vintage is a truly brilliant business offering vintage props, crockery and glassware along with outdoor games and deck chairs. The prices are beyond reasonable and Emily was a joy to work with, delivering everything the day before the wedding and collecting it afterwards.
When it came to table decoration, I wanted something that looked quite ‘undone’. I sat vintage books and flowers in milk bottles and old tins on top of a few pages of sheet music and declared it done. Later we added candles, table names and a pot of stick-on moustaches which went down an absolute treat (and were one of the best buys of the wedding at £1 for 6 from the Pound Shop).
My mum made the favours – jars of honey and heart-shaped beeswax candles, all from the bees she keeps in the garden. In her speech she told us the favours represented ‘sweetness and light’ for a happy marriage, at which point I lost it completely and had a little cry!
One last photo – you’ve already met Fanny, the vintage VW and our transport for the day. But when a family friend spotted her on the morning of the wedding, she called her son and asked him to bring Bertie along – a vintage VW Bug. It was that kind of generous community spirit that truly made our wedding special.
Wedding Week continues tomorrow when I’ll tell you all about the food and flowers.
All photography by Phil Drinkwater.