Hayley & Paul’s church green, handmade wedding

Welcome to Wedding Wednesday! Today, we have something to warm those winter blues away – a beautiful village fete themed, handmade wedding in my home county, Essex, featuring our very own Traditional Vintage Flower Company. Hayley  & Paul’s laid-back and beautiful day was truly personal; a wedding with handmade touches in a short walk from their front door. What could be more perfect? Over to the lovely lady herself to share their beautiful day with you lovely readers….

{Hayley & Paul}

{13th September 2012}

{Terling Church Green, Essex}

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It sounds silly now, when we look back at how well the day worked, but we were planning to fly to Thailand for the ceremony and reception. We spent months plotting and planning a perfect wedding day in paradise and fretting over how to get everyone there. And while we were fretting a friend pointed out something we had overlooked – that we open our curtains every day onto the most beautiful wedding location in the world! We discussed all the reasons it would never work and then realised it absolutely would.

We were married in our lovely little village church less than 100 metres from our own front door. We had our reception in a marquee on the green and spent the day surrounded by everyone we love.
How did you meet?
He stalked me! I had taken my Mum out for a night out while she was visiting from Spain and Paul just…appeared. I had no intention of doing anything but catching upwith Mum, no interest in meeting anyone and certainly no plans to spend the night playing pool with a stranger. Three hours later he had been thoroughly beaten me at pool and I had been hoodwinked into thinking he was brand new to the area and in need of a tour guide. I didn’t mean to give him my number – he charmed it from me with sad puppy eyes – but by the time I got home he had called three times. And he kept calling until I agreed to see him again. It took me a week to agree to meet himand another week to notice I was hopelessly in love. I fell in love by accident and I have loved him ever since.
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How did Paul propose?
It was ridiculously idyllic: we rode quad bikes across theSinai desert to dinner at a Bedouin camp. Paul had carried the ring with him all day and waited until nightfall to propose. I was curled up on an embroidered cushion, looking out at a sky scattered with stars and waiting for a lunar event the tour guide had described. I never discovered what happened to the moon – I got engaged instead!
Where did you find your dream dress?
I had begun to think ‘my’ dress only existed in my head. I searched magazines, websites, shops and blogs but never found its equal. And then, on a day off from wedding shopping, I drove past a tiny wedding boutique sandwiched between houses with a single dress in the window – my dress! I took a picture because the shop was closed and I was so sure I had imagined it. But it was real: an ivory satin gown that faded into champagne with a sweetheart neckline, the perfect length train for church and the most gorgeous lace detailing. A brand new dress that looked as though it was from another time!
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Tell us about your florist
Our florist, Clare, played an integral role in realising our vision for the day. If the flowers were too formal or ‘arranged’ it would have really changed the tone. We wanted friends and family to feel as comfortable as we did and it was important to us that everything have the same shabby chic feel. Clare came up with a scheme that twinned wild flowers with really quirky accessories. We had flowers in milk churns,bird cages and jam jars and even a shabby chic wand for the flower girl! The overall effect was pretty, whimsical and very, very ‘us’.
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Describe your cake…
 The lace on my dress was echoed by a lot of the other details in the wedding. We had vintage lace on the tea-light holders hanging from the trees, wrapped around the milk churns and encircling the order of services. When it came to the cake we didn’t want to be too literal but to evoke the look of the lace. It was a beautiful ivory with subtle details that came to life as you stepped closer. We kept up the same spirit of whimsy with a birdie bride and groom. The hunt for the toppers was almost as exhaustive a journey as I had to find my dress but I think they were worth it.
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Who designed your stationery?
I was the stationery designer! I handmade the orders of service, invitations and the table plans. I made little brown paper scrolls to contain the scratch card wedding favours and personalised each with a name, a personal quote for good fortune and a flower illustration. I also tucked a fresh flower into each favour and they doubled as pretty little place cards.
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In addition to Clare’s amazing flowers we added dozens of personal touches of our own. Rather than a conventional guest book we had a wishing tree for guests to leave us notes on. I couldn’t find a tree big enough for the look I wanted so we went bananas and used a real tree on the green! I patchworked dozens of old lampshades and we suspended them from the branches along with plaited rope cord for people to peg their labels to. We used simple brown luggage labels and old fashioned dollypegs then decorated the area with oversized lanterns and tea lights in jars. It was a fun daytime activity and a striking focal point on the green. Beside the wishing tree we had our take on a photo booth – a patchwork quilt draped haystack seat with ahat-stand full of goodies to model and a jar of moustaches on sticks! Guests posed behind a big gold picture frame to capture unique keepsakes of our day.
Our village-fete-cake-stall dream became a reality thanks to three hectic days of home-baking and some fabulous patterned signs on sticks. The birdcage flower arrangements from the entryway were echoed by the giant cage we used on our gift table for cards and by the birdcage date tags on the orders of service.
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What was the favourite part of your day and why?
We were on the church green with all our guests about twenty minutes after the (handmade!) confetti had been thrown. Paulhad built picnic benches for seating on the green and I sat down on one to exchange my (fabulous but painful) satin shoes for my trusty DM boots. I looked up to smile for a picture and realised that everyone there had a smile on their face. Our guitarist was singing Beautiful Day, the sun was out, there were kids chasing bubbles across the green and Paul and I were married. That moment is a memory I will keep forever.
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Would you do anything differently if you were to do it all again?
I would probably take more time away to take everything in –just the two of us. You get so swept up with people and activity that time alone for the two of you quickly runs away.
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And any words of wisdom for future brides?
The most important lesson we learned was to do your day your way. If we hadn’t had a day that was authentically ‘us’ then I don’t think we would have enjoyed it in the same way. There are a million opinions on the perfect wedding day but the only one you can really trust is your own. At some point along the way you develop an internal voice that tells you what will work and what won’t – trust it! It is difficult not to bow to pressure about who to invite or to be influenced by other people’s taste. It is really nice to have help but it feels far nicer to know your day is uniquely your own.
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Credit where credit’s due….
Dress & veil: D1301 Essense of Australia
Seta veil with bernese trim from Blushing Brides in Witham
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Flowers: Traditional Vintage Flower Company
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Photography: Carolyn Clarke  for our morning photos behind the scenes
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Chris Sargent for the daytime
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Hair: Debbie Davidson
 Makeup: Karen Pyman from Bride Beautiful
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Groom’s suit: Coe’s in Maldon
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