‘Back to school’ took on a whole new meaning for this loved-up pair, who chose an unusual venue for their DIY wedding day…
How they met
Natalie and Guy met on their first day at university in Southampton. “I was instantly drawn to him – he made me laugh so much, and to me, that’s the most attractive quality in a person,” says Natalie. “One of my favourite memories is of buying our first home, and welcoming our new cat, Murray – the first big milestone in our lives together.”
Peas in a pod Natalie and Guy always knew that they wanted to get married, it was just a matter of when. “We’d been together over eight years, and the relatives had started nagging about when it might happen,” laughs Natalie. “It was a mutual decision that the time was right for us to take the next step.”
Nevertheless, Guy still managed to surprise his bride-to-be with his proposal. “It was a gloomy February day and I was working from home,” Natalie remembers. “I assumed Guy had gone to work as usual, but at midday, I heard someone unlock the front door, and there he was, with a picnic basket in one hand and an engagement ring in the other.”
The bride’s outfit
Natalie’s sister unintentionally helped her to find the dress of her dreams – Amanda Wyatt’s stunning, Spanish-inspired Madrid gown. “She actually picked it out as a joke!” Natalie explains. “I had my heart set on something very simple, so she thought it would be funny to see me in something with a big frilly skirt. But as soon as I tried it on, I knew I’d found ‘the one’. It looked like it was made for me, and I felt like a proper bride.”
The beautiful dress featured a full, layered organza skirt with a small train and a hand-embroidered bodice.
Instead of a traditional veil, Natalie chose a birdcage fascinator made by Lilly Lewis. “I explained what I wanted, and she found some vintage lace in a market and made it from that,” says Natalie. “I couldn’t believe how perfect it was.” A simple pearl necklace and bracelet – presents from Natalie’s family – were the finishing touches.
“My shoes were a very plain white pair. I didn’t want to spend a lot on them, and I’m glad I didn’t because they got absolutely wrecked!” Natalie adds.
The groom’s outfit
Natalie and Guy spent hours searching for vintage suits, to no avail. “Guy wanted a three-piece suit, and something that was a bit un-traditional, and we couldn’t find anything that fit the bill,” Natalie explains. “Then he saw a charcoal grey 1940s style French Connection suit in an advert, and we both knew it was perfect.” A black felt fedora added the perfect retro edge.
“My three sisters and best friend were the most brilliant bridesmaids in the world,” says Natalie. “From the minute we got engaged, they were on hand to help me with everything, even though two of them live in Australia and one in Canada.” The four bridesmaids each chose their own dress and shoes in co-ordinating shades of pink, from Coast, Collectif, Urban Outfitters and Debenhams.
Natalie had dreamed of getting married at Worth Abbey since she was a little girl. “My dad has taught at the Abbey School for years, and my sisters and I were lucky enough to live within the school grounds,” she explains. “It was an amazing place to grow up, so I always knew I would get married there.”
Local florist Florabundance fulfilled Natalie’s brief perfectly, creating beautiful bouquets with a vintage, country garden charm. “I wanted wild-looking bouquets with lots of greens and whites,” Natalie explains. “We chose Amnesia roses as the main flower – the colour was exactly the right shade of pink.”
Natalie and Guy erected tipis in the grounds of Worth Abbey for their laidback reception. Soft background music played during the wedding breakfast, before a DJ took over. “The dancefloor was heaving all night long,” says Natalie. The couple also provided a DIY photo booth with a camera on a tripod, a fabric backdrop and handmade props. “Our guests printed out their pictures on a portable printer, and stuck them in our guest book with their messages – a brilliant souvenir of our big day,” Natalie adds.
Natalie and Guy invested hours in making all of their wedding decorations from scratch. “We had a craft party at Super+Super in Brighton, where all our friends helped us decorate jars for tealights and made props for the photo booth,” says Natalie. “Guy loves origami so he made lots of paper birds to hang inside birdcages, and I made metres of fabric and photo bunting. We wrapped fairy lights around the tipi poles and had an open fire in the chill-out area.”
The spectacular cake was created by Guy’s step mum, who handmade a wooden birdcage topped with the cake and with feather birds inside. The cake itself featured a top tier of vanilla sponge, and two layers of fruit cake.
The couple went on a great trip to Thailand.
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