Katie & Simon
METALLICS | DIY SMORES FAVOURS + A CAMP FIRE | BEAUTIFUL BARN BEAMS | VINTAGE HOLLYWOOD | LIGHT UP LETTERS| BBQ STYLE MENU | LIME + BASIL PANNA COTTA | FISH-BOWL CENTREPIECE | NAVY GROOMSMEN
How did the proposal happen?
Every year we go to our favourite place in the world – Alvor in the Algarve, Portugal. There is a beautiful restaurant built into the caves on a beach. We’d had an amazing evening there and then as we walked back along the beach Simon got down on one knee and proposed. I had been waiting 10 years by this point so couldn’t have said yes any faster!
I found my ‘Ella’ dress from The Mae Collection by Johanna Hehir in the Mathilda Rose Boutique, Lindfield, Sussex. I tried on about 60 dresses before I found this one and I knew as soon as I tried it that it was perfect.
The back of the dress was really special so I wanted a veil that wouldn’t detract from it. I found my sheer silk veil in Pantiles Bride, Tunbridge Wells. I’m so glad I wore one – it does make you feel like a real bride! I added a hair comb, also from Mathilda Rose Boutique, that was perfect for the ‘old Hollywood’ look I wanted.
Simon had his suit made for him in Thailand while he was there one year before our wedding. He wanted to keep it simple and appropriate for our barn venue – so no tails! His two best men wore navy suits from River Island. He was crying and looking very handsome when I saw him!
My sisters were my bridesmaids and they wore stunning dresses from Debenhams. I wanted them to feel amazing on the day so I wasn’t going to force any colour or style on them. My mini-bridesmaid (who didn’t want to be called my flower girl!) looked so beautiful in a dress from Monsoon.
Hair and makeup
My hair and makeup was done by The ID Hair and Make Up in Chichester. I’d had a bad trial somewhere else beforehand, but I knew as soon as I met Lucy that she totally understood the look I wanted. They are incredibly talented and professional – I can’t recommend them highly enough.
What was your favourite part of the ceremony?
We had two beautiful readings, one read by Simon’s father and the other was written and read by my godmother. It was so personal and amazing. My dad walking me down the aisle was a lovely moment and one of my favourite memories from the day.
What music did you have at your ceremony?
We walked back up the aisle to Aretha Franklin’s ‘Say a Little Prayer’. It was amazing to see everyone and have confetti thrown over us.
What did you have for your wedding breakfast?
We wanted to eat the kind of food we love eating so we chose a BBQ menu with a Mediterranean influence – grilled mackerel, butterfly chicken, lamb kebabs and chutneys, breads and gorgeous salads. We also had a trio of desserts that included an incredible lime and basil panna cotta – the food was fantastic! In the evening we had pulled pork baps.
These were one of the best bits of the day for me! My dad’s speech was funny, warm and touching and included a story about each of my best friends. I was worried about Simon’s because he is absolutely terrified of public speaking and it caused him a lot of sleepless nights. He totally blew me away though! His speech was the best groom’s speech I’ve ever heard – it was funny, genuine and so romantic. I loved it.
I didn’t want one theme for the day, but I did choose a lot of metallics with mercury decorations, gold on the cake and silver and gold bridesmaid dresses. The Wedding Ideas metallic Pinterest board helped me a lot!
I filled the venue with lots of twinkling candles in mercury tea light holders and hurricane vases. I wanted warm twinkling lights everywhere so I also spent a small fortune on battery powered fairy lights to wrap around all the beautiful beams. We also hung glass baubles with battery powered candles inside from the beam in front of the band and added gold DANCE balloons – I’ve wanted them ever since I saw the ‘Blurred Lines’ music video! We made the LOVE letters ourselves and they provided a beautiful backdrop to the dance floor. It was a lot of work but the lights made the barn so atmospheric.
Kelly, Simon’s sister is an incredible florist so she did all our flowers. I chose my three favourite blooms, peonies, hydrangeas and roses with a creamy white colour palette. We had simple bouquets and hand-ties in fishbowls for the centrepieces. Simon wanted goldfish instead of flowers for the centrepieces – I said no!
Simon’s grandmother made our cake. It had three tiers of chocolate, lemon and carrot cake. The middle tier was gold and we bought a gold cake topper from Etsy.
We also had a sweetie table – selfishly filled with all our favourite treats! We had Mr & Mrs fudge, Minstrels and Krispy Kremes and displayed them in glass apothecary jars which looked great.
I did all the stationery myself – I wanted to keep them simple and unfussy. I also designed the table plan, place cards and confetti cards. The confetti cards were our order of the day, with basic timings, our hashtag and a little bag of confetti inside. Our place cards were photos of us with each guest and some were from the depths of family photo albums so hadn’t been seen by our guests before. Virtually everyone took theirs home with them which was really nice.
We made s’mores kits for favours as Southend Barns have massive fire pits outside. I wanted something that could be used on the day – I hate it when you see favours left behind on the table!
We hired Chip through Warble Entertainment who played during the drinks and canapés and was fantastic. We also booked Anthem Party Band through them and they were genuinely the best band we’ve ever seen. They had the dance floor full from the moment they came on until the very end.
The first dance
John Legend’s ‘Stay With You’ was our first dance because the lyrics are very relatable for us.
So far we’ve only had our minimoon where we went to Kolympia, Rhodes. It was absolutely beautiful and meant we could be back in time for our friend’s wedding 10 days later!
Don’t skimp on hair and makeup – the way you feel can affect your whole day. Having mine done professionally meant I felt my absolute best and didn’t need to reapply makeup even once!
Something will go wrong but you just have to roll with it. Somebody told me that if at the end of the day you are married to the person you love, then the day went perfectly.
Grooms, start writing your speech as soon as possible but when it comes to the part that you talk about how beautiful your bride looks, don’t write it in advance! Say exactly what you think in that moment – my best friend told me to do this and it was so genuine and lovely.
No one comes away from a wedding raving about the centrepieces so spend your budget on making sure you all have a great time!
S U P P L I E R S
VENUE | Southend Barns, Sussex DRESS | Mathilda Rose Boutique, Lindfield, Sussex
GROOMSMEN | River Island BRIDEMAIDS | Debenhams and Monsoon CAKE | For similar, try Poppy Pickering RECEPTION DECOR | Love Letters Sussex ENTERTAINMENT | Warble Entertainment PHOTOGRAPHER | Vicky Lamburn VIDEOGRAPHER | Nick at London Village Studios