We met on the dance floor in Chicago's Nightclub in Chelmsford! We moved in a year later, and were engaged after 4 years of meeting. We were engaged for just over 2 years before our Wedding day.
High House had everything we wanted in a venue. Rustic barn, marquee, beautiful grounds (and resident cats!! - more about this later). We fell in love on our very first visit. It was dark, and pouring with rain - and even then we knew this was the one. We had viewed 3 other local venues which were indeed beautiful. But felt in some cases their layout was somewhat linear. We loved how at High House, the barn, marquee, bridal suit, and grounds all surrounded a large pond with a Monet style bridge, connected by sweeping paths through the beautifully cared for gardens. On the more practical side, we were attracted by the fact that it was exclusive, and all inclusive. The venue would be just ours for the day, and was no more than 20 minutes from where Lizzie grew up. It came with everything, licensed bar and staff, catering, DJ, and personal event manager.
Inspiration for the day
Lizzie: "I love cats" If we could have had our cats at the venue - we would have. We wanted a relaxed day in a beautiful setting, with plenty of good food, and evening partying!
What they wore
I always dreamt of the classic A line dress. I love lace, and the backless look, but never envisioned myself in sleeves. I didn't even like this dress on the hanger - my maid of honour chose it as a wild card for me. But once it was on, I knew this was the one! I felt like a princess. My shoes were diamante style, strapped heels I'm not really a "shoe" girl, so wanted something simple, cheap and comfortable. I wore a charm bracelet included a beautiful pink heart charm with one of our cats ashes that sadly passed away a few months before the wedding. My Nan's ring I had on had been passed down the family - it was lovely to have her memory with us in this way as well. The teardrop earrings from Debenhams completed the look.
The boys wore blue suits with a grey tweed waistcoat, with an ivory tie for the Groom and matching bridesmaid colour tie for the Groom's party all from The Groom Room. We couldn't recommend them enough. We chose the suits together after 1-2 hours trying on suits in a private room. For the fitting, the whole Grooms party (9 of them!) went in, again in a private fitting room with complimentary drinks. This provided a great wedding experience and a chance for some of the party to catch up before the wedding.
“We would definitely recommend Sophie, and are so happy that some of our friends have already chosen her for their future weddings. Sophie, we love your work!”
Dan's Mum had previously arranged the flowers for his sister's wedding (albeit at a much smaller scale). This is not her profession - she's a retired teacher assistant. But she enjoys making flower arrangements and was more than happy to help, and pay for it all as her wedding present! Not only did this help us massively with cost, it was lovely for both us and her that she had this involvement in the wedding. She put a lot of planning into it and did a fantastic job. We weren't too particular for certain flowers. She used a nursery wholesalers, and much of it was which flowers would look best at that time of year (May). There was plenty of gypsophila, roses, peonies and lisianthus.
Jo is a friend of Dan's. We really liked the idea of cupcakes and went for Blueberry & Lemon, and Raspberry and White Chocolate. She also did us a giant cupcake for us to cut on the day.
We made the table plan ourselves using an old wooden pallet. We decorated the bottom with artificial flowers brought from Hobby Craft. Each table with their guest names hung on a piece of string across the pallet with Cat Pegs bought off of Ebay. We used our best calligraphy to write on the top in white paint. My friend Steph made our bunting for the top table and cake (sweet) cart. The table names were inspired by our cat theme, and cat breed table names - Dan's Dad made 9 individual cats out of wood
This was our easiest decision - in fact, I don't think there was any discussion. Sophie was the photographer for our best friends' wedding in 2016. We genuinely believed that Sophie and our friends must have already known each other. She was so friendly and personal. I think this is so important in a wedding photographer. It was only until we got engaged and asked our friends about Sophie that we found out they met at a wedding fair! We would definitely recommend Sophie, and are so happy that some of our friends have already chosen her for their future weddings.
This was probably one of the wedding decisions that we are most thankful for. When speaking to friends before the wedding, they told us that they wished they had had a videographer. Yes it is an expense. But for us, right up there with choosing your venue, outfits, rings and photographer. Fortunately Dan's cousin is a videographer - and we loved his work! We wanted to run it by him first, because we wanted him to enjoy the day as a guest too! He was more than happy, and brought in additional shooters. We love, love, love our wedding video! And have watched it so many times. It's going to be the best day of your life - get it on film!
Favours & decor
Our wedding favours were a donation to Cats Protection. We contacted them asking how we can go about this, and they directed us to our local branch. In return they sent us badges for each guest! We included the badge with a few hard boiled sweets into a small 7/9 cm hessian bag for each guest.
The venue was so pretty and well kept we did not need much. Simply flowers and bunting. We did consider lanterns that could be hung in the marquee but decided this was an expense too far for us. We did include a photo wall, again home made out of a branch from the garden, string, and printed polaroid photos.
My dad walked me down the aisle to Jason Mraz - I won't give up (Tanner Townsend and Brigham Dastrup instrumental version). We picked the shortest & easiest to say lines for the ceremony! My Maid of Honour read the poem 'I'm so Lucky, by Ms Moem' We wanted a pretty, simple reading to add to the ceremony
Favourite part of the day
We couldn't possibly choose - we loved it all. Wish we could do it again.
Words of Wisdom for future couples
Firstly, enjoy it! Give yourself plenty of time. And once things are coming together - outline what jobs/task you are going to do in certain months. I would also say, don't get too worked up on trying to make it unique, or think that you need to do everything yourself. Many people will be willing and enjoy helping out - so don't be afraid to delegate tasks. And your wedding day will be unique and personal to the two of you - so don't feel pressured that you need to do something extraordinary or budget breaking.