Phil proposed during November 2020. We had been intending to travel to Cornwall where he had been planning to propose, unfortunately lockdown rules meant we had to cancel our trip the week before. So we went for a walk in Wootton Wawen and he got down on one knee on the Edstone Aqueduct. My response was “Are you serious” before saying yes – I was definitely taken by surprise but very pleased.
Phil and I had always agreed we wanted a short engagement before getting married so despite being in the middle of a global pandemic, we pushed on and booked a tipi for the following September – the 9 month countdown began! In one way, we were lucky organising during Covid as all suppliers were very reasonable with covid policies and ability to change dates if restrictions weren’t lifted in time, although no chance of wedding insurance.
We were also lucky to be able to get married on my parents’ farm. We wanted a relaxed day and decided to forego formal three course meal for grazing platters of breads, cheese, charcuterie, scotch eggs, pork pies with fruits and chutneys. We also had a help yourself Eton Mess and a cistern of teas and coffee all borrowed from the local village hall. The evening food was BBQ food of burgers, sausages, marinated chicken and halloumi. (Yummy)
What did you love/hate about dress shopping?
I drive past Bridal Boutique on my way to work, have always admired the shop window and it was the first shop I visited. I had done very little research beforehand as I wanted to go with an open mind. I also visited on my own (highly recommend) and loved the Jesus Perio dresses and particularly their skirt/top combinations. As it was the first shop I visited, I decided to shop around and try a few more places but I kept comparing other dresses to the Jesus Perio dresses. ” We love a girl who is brave enough to comes on her own, you can fully just listen to you then and be your biggest support.“
Frustratingly, within a few weeks, national lockdown started and carried on to April 12th. I found this very stressful and wanted to get the dress sorted so Madi was very kind and arranged for me to try on at home my “top three” with a zoom call and I reserved one following this. “this takes me back, what crazy times that was. “
I really enjoyed my bridal experience with Madi who was very relaxed and patient. She had lots of ideas how to customise dresses and was flexible on how things could be done. I loved her range and if I could, I would have those appointments all over again.
My hate though was lockdown…obvs! But also, I had one other appointment elsewhere where I missed lunch – hungry people make bad decisions. I would also caution against trying too many things on – narrow down a style that suits and then forget others. For me, it was quickly apparent I liked the A-line skirts therefore no point trying mermaid styles for instance. “100! this, when you know you don’t want a style anymore scrape it, don’t waste your time.”
I loved the skirt/top combinations and did not suit the plunge neckline which is evidently the fashion as I found high necklines surprisgly hard to find in other shops. Jesus Perio has several styles like this though so lots of choice.
I was torn between two Jesus Perio outfits which were remarkably similar – one was a skirt and top but the other (chosen) style I would describe as a traditional dress with a modern twist – the neckline was femine and flattering, I loved the open back, the skirt was dramatic enough to make it special without drowning my 5ft3″ frame and despite being initially cautious about the split – I ended up loving this twist! Plus the lace was very unusual and modern.
I wouldn’t say we had a strong style idea apart from I wanted lots of bright colour, no jam jars and I was adamant that I was not crafting anything. We were very clear on the atmosphere we wanted for the day to be relaxed and to feel like a village fete with hay bales, games on the lawn, campfires with marshmallows and sparklers in the evening.
The grazing boards we had went with this vibe. Even canapes, we went with a “tuck shop” idea of old school crisps, chocolates and sweets – which had the added bonus of being cost effective! Welcome drinks of Pimms and buckets of beer on a tractor completed the day.
I borrowed my mum’s headdress from her wedding day (all Madi’s idea) and had a very long, floaty veil courtesy of Madi. Sally at Soap Opera did my hair and even allowed us to order bacon baps into the hairdressers. I had bright pink nails and my shoes were Rachel Simpson and completely different from what I thought I would buy – they were very glittery but I wore them all day and evening, super comfy and I wore them on our mini-moon! My cousin did my make up on the day and even coped with my obscure “not too much makeup but enough to stand out” instructions.
A few things:
- Feel free to go to bridal appointments on your own. Madi was really welcoming (I was a bit nervous) and there were lots of opportunities for me to take my mum later.
- I appreciate it was lockdown for me but don’t feel rushed or pressured to make a decision.
- Don’t feel like you have to get emotional or get “this is the one” feeling.
- Its good to try “different” things on but equally, I found a dress that wasn’t too far away from what I envisaged – sometimes we know what suits and know our style – own it and again, don’t feel pressured.
- Avoid taking photos – I have a photo of me trying the chosen dress on and its looks very different to the finished article (in a good way)
Because we were booking the wedding at the height of the crisis, we were conscious of the possibility of needing to cancel/reduce numbers/move dates therefore keeping costs reasonable was at the forefront of our minds. We decided we were getting married regardless but the “party” was the movable element. We invited 85 guests but parents were not allowed to have their own friends, partly on account of the possibility of reducing numbers. We were more relaxed as the date got nearer and in the evening, anyone was welcome.
We made sure we agreed small deposits with suppliers and all required payment 2 weeks before the wedding, which meant we could monitor restrictions nearer the time.
We had no hot food in the day and instead did grazing boards for each table although seriously considered afternoon tea. I would wholeheartedly recommend this approach regardless of Covid as it was so much more cost effective than the normal three courses and no meal choices to chase! We also decided to forego allocated seats, just allocated people to tables. This all added to the relaxed vibe we wanted to achieve. We also didn’t do wedding favours as I don’t approve of them (I am paying for the day, guests don’t need a gift too!)
There is a lot of wedding stuff out there (blogs, Pinterest, social media) but I would also say that you don’t “need” to spend a fortune and it’s your day, make it what you want and forget about the so called “rules”. Also, keep in mind what’s important, getting married with your friends and family. Everything else is nice to have but not essential so try not to get worried about that small stuff (easier said than done, I know!) but the truth is, nobody will notice but you.
- Dress – Bridal Boutique Warwickshire (Jesus Peiro)
- Alterations – Make It Sew (Abi Harness)
- Shoes – Rachel Simpson
- Photographer – Amy Taylor https://www.amytaylorimagingphotography.com/
- Men Suits – Thorntons, Leamington Spa
- Hair – Soap opera, Tenbury Wells
- Make UP – Jo the Ludlow Lady
- Tipis – Java Tipis https://www.javatipis.co.uk/