Pops of colour, a stunning venue and the best cheese wedding cake EVER; this wedding has it all. Rhiannon and Tom got married in August last year in Finchingfield. I love the relaxed atmosphere of the whole day, definitely channelling garden party vibes with an amazing jazz band and canapés outside. Those balloons are such a great idea! So simple but they really bring the photos to life. This fantastic day was captured expertly by the lovely Laura at Babb Photo www.babbphoto.com.
Names: Rhiannon and Tom Puar
Wedding: Date 31st August 2013
The vision for the day: Tom and I both love bright colours and a pastel/shabby chic wedding was never going to be our style. Very early on I knew I wanted a bright midnight blue accent to things as I love the way that colour pops out and catches people’s eyes but I didn’t want just one main colour scheme so we decided that the colours of the rainbow would be the best way to go. We also wanted the day to be formal enough for people to be able to dress up in lovely clothes but relaxed and summery so that people felt as if they were at a garden party.
The Planning Process: I bought my first wedding magazine about two weeks after the engagement, I felt proud of myself for waiting that long! This is when I began my obsession! I still have a stack of wedding magazines by my bed that I can’t bring myself to give away. They were really useful in the planning process and I got lots of ideas and support along the way from reading them. We decided to have the wedding close to our anniversary and gave ourselves just over eighteen months to plan it, having such a long time was great as there was no stress involved and I loved every part of the process so didn’t want it to be over quickly.
Budget: We had a budget from the beginning which we felt it was important to try to stick to, if not come under but things inevitably cost more than you expect. I started to do a lot of DIY bits and pieces which made a big difference.
The Venue: We chose the beautiful Spains Hall in Finchingfield as it made such a big impression on us, everything there was geared to making the day special and we loved the slightly quirky nature of the ceremony room, the award winning toilets(!) and the quality of everything in the stables where the reception would be held. There were also a number of ducks wandering around which was perfect as they are one of our favourite animals!
The Dress and Accessories: The dress was Jenny Packham and my veil was made by a milliner who lives down the road from Tom’s parents. She used the excess beads after my dress had been altered to create a headpiece which matched the dress! My shoes were a finding of fate: The perfect bright blue colour and the last pair in a Kurt Geiger sale which fit me perfectly! I also wore a pair of blue earrings which had belonged to Tom’s Aunt which meant a lot to him and his family.
I started the dress hunt very early as I was too excited to wait! I had seen Jenny Packham dresses in magazines and on the Internet and knew I loved her style so I thought I had better try some of her dresses before anything else. I found a stockist in Birmingham and took two friends along to help me but when we got there the woman wouldn’t let me try on any Jenny Packham dresses, telling me it would be a shame if I liked one and then couldn’t afford to buy it (I hadn’t told her my budget at this point), so feeling very put out and a bit Pretty Womanesque I halfheartedly tried a couple of other dresses and left.
I then went to a few other dress shops in the area with Tom’s mum but felt like I was playing fancy dress in all these big netted dresses and felt ready to give up when Tom’s mum found a shop in Worcester who were having a Jenny Packham sample sale, they had photos of the dresses and one in particular caught my eye so we travelled down with our fingers crossed it would fit and as soon as I tried it on I had the feeling I’d been missing- this was “the one”!
Grooms Attire: Tom didn’t want tails but otherwise wasn’t sure what he wanted, we went to a couple of suit places and in Moss they gave him a French connection Tux to try on which he loved, that was that! A much easier shopping experience than the dress!
The Readings: I had stumbled across the passage from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin early on and we both loved that so decided that would be our first one to be read by my oldest friend (it turned out to be extra special when I told my brother what we had chosen as I had forgotten that was the reading he and my sister in law had at their wedding). Our second reading was to be done by a close friend of us both from university and we accidentally stumbled across a poem called “The One” which, despite slight cheesiness, was perfect as he and his friends used to claim they had found “the one” every night out so it added a comedic touch!
Beautiful Bridesmaids: My four best friends from university and my best friend from school were the adult bridesmaids who planned an absolutely perfect hen do for me in Bath and helped make the day before and morning of the wedding completely stress free by being simply wonderful! They were all in bright blue dresses from Oasis and matching gold shoes and earrings, my Dad also made them matching poppy hair grips to match the poppy in our bouquets! My littlest bridesmaid was my treasured niece Isla who looked perfect in her cream lace dress and a poppy in her hair! She loved being a bridesmaid and asked me the other day if I was going to get married a second time so she could be a bridesmaid again!
Music and First Dance: The music I walked down the aisle to was the very first decision made. I have always loved Eva Cassidy’s Songbird and I knew this song would fit how I felt about the ceremony and about Tom.
I was very keen to have a live band in the evening whereas Tom really wanted a DJ so we decided to have a jazz band for the afternoon and wedding breakfast and a DJ for the evening, this worked out so well, the jazz band Jazz Company gave the afternoon exactly the garden party vibe I was after and it was great having them play while we ate dinner as well. The DJ Simon played songs we had asked for in a great mix which kept everyone dancing all night, although he was slightly confused when we confirmed it was the Jay Z version of Empire State of Mind we wanted for our first dance, not the Alicia Keys one!
The Food: was a recommended supplier from the venue, Cambridge Dining Company. The food was delicious and we had fun choosing the menu options before the wedding. The canapés in particular went down a storm during the drinks reception.
The flowers: Were designed by a family friend Irene Belton who suffered through my many changes of heart and demands and ended up creating centre pieces and bouquets that were even closer to what I wanted than I had been able to explain! She captured what we wanted exactly and the flowers had such an impact on the bright and fun nature of the day. We had great fun on the Thursday before the wedding helping her to put the centre pieces together and Tom and I both loved that we had been so hands on with something so important. Tom’s mum also helped with the centrepieces and grew some bright and colourful flowers in her garden for us which she then arranged in some wicker baskets to decorate the troughs in the reception hall to help add to the colour!
The cake: Was five layers of delicious cheeses from Gunton’s deli in Colchester, we had brilliant fun trying all the cheeses and choosing our five favourites! My parents couldn’t stand the idea of the day going by without actual cake as well so they asked their friend to make 150 brightly coloured cake pops which went down a storm!
Your Photographer: The brilliant Laura Babb, I came across her photos on a blog and showed Tom who agreed that her style was exactly what we wanted. After meeting her in London and liking her Facebook page where she uploads previews of her photography regularly I was convinced she would be the only person to capture the day right so we booked her up and as you can see from the photos were completely right about that!
The Details and Décor: This was my biggest obsession over the year before the wedding, we had asked Cute Maps to create our stationary and the cute and quirky design the lady behind Cute Maps came up with massively influenced the rest of the style. We wanted lots of colour and I wanted everything to tie together so I used elements of her stationery and my own designs to create menus, a scavenger hunt style game and my biggest obsession; the favours. These were individual boxes with a small pot of homemade chutney, some savoury biscuits, some wax paper and a sticker so people could use them to take some of our cheese cake home with them. They were almost too successful though as Tom and I didn’t get to eat a single piece of the cheese!
I spent a lot of time scouring blogs and wedding magazines to find ideas for the details but the best ones came to me at random times! I made a poster for our guest book and spent an afternoon stamping out mini card balloons for people to sign, I found some mini bunting in rainbow colours to decorate the cake and found 7 giant balloons in rainbow colours which ended up behind us during the meal before being commandeered by my niece and nephew! Laura Babb also used them to take one of our favourite photos from the whole day. I have never been one to follow the crowd and didn’t want the typical Mr and Mrs sign I was seeing everywhere so instead bought and painted the letters of The Puars to sit in front of us during the wedding breakfast.
The Honeymoon: Was a three month trip round the world, we have talked for a long time about going travelling so decided our honeymoon was the perfect time, it was easily the best three months of our lives and we have such fantastic lifelong memories from it. We visited the USA, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and Thailand over twelve weeks. Some of the highlights of the trip were relaxing on the remote islands in Fiji, feeding kangaroos in Australia, travelling the south island of New Zealand and riding an elephant in Thailand.
Memorable Moments: Seeing Tom for the first time in the ceremony was wonderful, my dad getting choked up at the end of his speech and a great surprise from the boys who had been on the stag do who had attempted to put together a brilliant dance routine. To be honest I could write every detail of the day here, we loved every minute of it!
Advice for other couples: Make the day about you and your fiancé, incorporate your own personalities and invite the people you want to be there and you can guarantee it will be a roaring success! Also, don’t stress, things that seem vitally important three months before the wedding or even three hours before are completely forgotten when you see each other for the first time from opposite ends of the aisle!
Definitive Music for both the band and DJ, I couldn’t recommend this company and the two acts we hired more… www.definitivemusic.co.uk
Laura Babb at www.babbphoto.com for our amazing photos.
Cute Maps stationery www.cutemaps.co.uk
Gunton’s Deli www.guntons.co.uk
Perfections dress shop in Worcester, the perfect wedding dress experience, the staff are wonderful here! www.perfections.ltd.uk
Sally Harper Milinery for my handmade veil http://www.sharpermillinery.com