Our very talented wedding photographers – Joe Galvin and Liv Purvis – not only managed to get some fabulous photos from our wedding ceremony and wedding reception but also managed to create a wedding video for us too!

As it’s quite a large file, it won’t upload here so I have made a YouTube account where you can watch it if you wish:

Wedding video Northbrook Park

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgnJ2stgQzg

If you are interested in hearing more about any other parts of the wedding, I have popped a link to all of the wedding posts below. Enjoy!

Our Wedding Day! The Ceremony

Our Wedding Day! The Reception

Love

My Honest Wedding Dress Story

My Wedding Hair and Makeup

Lillian West 6422

Our Country Wedding Invitations

How We Created 100 Rustic Save the Dates for £7

Steph Marston wedding

Pictures from Our Pre-Wedding Photoshoot

A Peek Inside Our Wedding Venue

Best Country House Wedding Venues in the UK

English wedding

Favourite Country Wedding Inspiration

My 5 Favourite Rustic Prop Hire Companies

My Wedding Dress Inspiration

 

Steph Style wedding invitationsSteph Marston weddingGrey envelope wedding invitations

It feels like a very long time ago that I was talking about how we created our rustic Save the Dates (what a long engagement we had!) but as they went down so well and were very cost effective, we decided to do the same thing again and create our own country wedding invitations.

As there was going to be lots of eucalyptus and elegant greenery at our wedding, we had wanted to incorporate that into the invitations. We went on a website called freepik.com where you can find free vector images (a vector image means you can edit parts of it in programs like Photoshop and InDesign, unlike a traditional JPEG image which sits on a white square background that can’t be removed) and saved down all of the watercolour style leaf images that we liked.

Country wedding invitationsFree fonts for wedding invitations

We then went onto the free font website DaFont and downloaded the calligraphy style Velessa Script font for the headings and Aracne Regular font for the main body of text (I found this font pairing guide on Pinterest quite helpful when deciding which fonts to choose).

How to make your own free wedding invitationsEucalyptus greenery wedding invitations

A former colleague in the Visual Merchandising team at work kindly helped me to get started by creating an A5 template on InDesign, getting the text aligned and layering a selection of the leaves around the border. I then went home to tweak it by downloading a free trial of Adobe InDesign. It was at this point where I was getting cocky with the program that I decided to mix things up for the evening invitations by swapping the greenery for a gold dot design that I had found in one of our design folders at work!

Gold wedding invitation DIYGold bokeh wedding invitations

There had been so many wedding invitation designs that I had liked on Pinterest (which you can find on my Wedding Invitation Ideas board) that I was really happy that we got to have two different styles. I was also very lucky that the boys at Page – the printing company we used regularly at work – offered to print the invitations for us complimentary as a wedding gift, saving us lots of time and money. Thank you Page!

Whilst I was working on these designs, Marc was busy printing pages of the leaves and gold dots on translucent paper, which we wanted to overlay on top of the invitations to give some texture (thanks again to my VM colleague Emmanuelle for that idea)!

Gold dot wedding invitation

To bind all of the pages together, we ordered ‘belly bands’ from Printed.com which we personalised with our name. We expected these to arrive as pre-made sleeves but they ended up just being strips of paper, so we dashed to Ryman’s to pick up some clear sticky dots and stuck them together ourselves.

After assembling all the pages, we put them into dove grey envelopes that we ordered online and used a gold pen to address them. I had wanted to write each address in a calligraphy style but after my disaster calligraphy class last year, I knew that wasn’t going to happen!

Then it was a case of posting them all out which ended up being the most costly part. Where possible we tried to give them by hand, either by leaving them with family to hand out amongst themselves or arranging catch ups with friends, which is something that worked well for us with the save the dates. A good excuse to continue the celebrations!

DIY wedding invitations

If you liked this, you might also like:

Our Wedding Day! The Ceremony

Our Wedding Day! The Reception

How We Created 100 Rustic Save the Dates for £7

Modern Calligraphy Class with Quill London

Pictures from Our Pre-Wedding Photoshoot

A Peek Inside Our Wedding Venue

Best Country House Wedding Venues in the UK

Favourite Country Wedding Inspiration

My 5 Favourite Rustic Prop Hire Companies

My Wedding Dress Inspiration

The drinks reception was one of my favourite parts of our wedding day.

The nerves from the ceremony had gone, we had taken all of the family pictures and I was excited to properly chat to our friends and family (and drink a glass of fizz)!

I remember being filled with so much happiness when I walked through to the little walled garden and could see everyone playing the lawn games, drinking Pimms and laughing in the sun. The String Duo were playing Oasis’ ‘Whatever’  and suddenly our friends were rushing over for hugs and pictures.

Grey bridesmaid dress ASOSSteph Style wedding receptionWedding day reception Northbrook ParkLawn games weddingConnect 4 lawn game SurreyKilner jars crate barrel barPopcorn tubsChalkboard order of the day weddingManor House String Duo Northbrook Park weddingSeptember wedding Northbrook ParkCroquet lawn game hire SurreyAlex and LauraBridesmaids and partners

THE RECEPTION ROOM

After what felt like no time at all, we were being ushered into the Orangery for our wedding breakfast. It was lucky that Marc and I chose to do a receiving line, where you welcome guests into the next room as a couple, as we hadn’t had much chance to be together at this point. (I’m going to echo the advice of many married couples who advise you to take 10 minutes to yourselves on your wedding day, as it goes so quickly and there are so many guests to speak to!)

Marc, his father and the groomsmen had been busy decorating the room that morning with plenty of bunting, lights, tassel balloons and a polaroid guestbook station. We also had a ‘message in a bottle’ where we asked guests to write down their suggestions for how we should celebrate each anniversary, which we will open on the 2nd September each year. Judging by what was written in the guestbook, I am a little worried as to what the answers will be..!

Wedding guestbook polaroid tableWedding sign light boxTassle balloons Surrey HampshireBunting Northbrook ParkPub light up letters

THE TABLES

For the tables, we had centrepieces full of greenery surrounded by mercury candlesticks (that we hired from the fab Nerissa Eve) with grey table runners and napkins. We had also created menus to tuck into each person’s napkin, that we laid sprigs of rosemary and thistle on, before tying their luggage label name tags around with twine. (I had attempted to write in a calligraphy style after my modern calligraphy class at Quill London but some names were definitely easier than others…)

We displayed the table names on pieces of brown card slotted into corks, in wine bottles that we had spray painted gold. As we have moved around the country together and as Marc is often travelling with work, we decided to choose meaningful locations for our table names, with a funny/memorable polaroid picture from each place.

Green wreath centrepieceGold wine bottles wedding table namesGold wine bottles table numbersLuggage tag table namesNorthbrook Park OrangeryCountry garden wedding englandfestoon lights Northbrook Park

THE SPEECHES

We chose to do speeches first, so that the gents could relax and enjoy the meal. They all did so well and there wasn’t anything too embarassing that cropped up, although my Dad got close!

Father of the bride speechSurrey Hampshire country wedding venueFather of the groom and best man pictureGroom speechToasting Northbrook Park

THE FOOD

We had chosen the caterers at White Truffle to do our food as they are one of the main partners of Northbrook Park and were one of the few Surrey caterers that were flexible in price.

We had chosen to have family style sharing boards of chicken salad, with chunky roasted sweet potatoes, lemon and herb chicken and bowls of salads, coleslaw, olives and breads, with veggie skewers for the vegetarian option. Dessert was a deconstructed Eton Mess (or ‘Easton Mess’ as a clever guest suggested. We are not so clever).

Sharing boards wedding foodSharing board chicken wedding food

The sweet potatoes and boards were great but we were a little disappointed with some of the food  – e.g a bowl that was meant to come with roasted Mediterranean veg, like peppers and aubergines, actually came with chunks of carrot and brocolli. Having had this experience, I would definitely recommend any future brides and grooms to have a tasting with your caterers beforehand and to be super specific on the details.

After food, it was time to mingle and welcome the evening guests. Even though our wedding was fairly small, with about 90 guests, it was still difficult to get quality time with everyone and I felt like I had just 10 mins with each person. So for future couples getting married, try and mingle as much as possible!

Marc EastonNan and Grandad

Steph and Rosie

THE CAKE

After the evening guests had arrived around 7pm, it was time to cut the cake.

On the advice of one of my friends Lucy who got married herself this year, we actually got our wedding cake from Waitrose. It was the 5 tier naked wedding cake that we decorated ourselves with berries, icing sugar, a gold wedding cake topper and sprigs of gypsophelia. We presented it on a log slice (also hired from Nerissa Eve) and all of this ended up being much cheaper than ordering from an independent bakery (who were usually charging upwards of £400!) and looked just as good. As Lucy mentioned, the cake is only on show for about 10 minutes and when people come to eating it later that evening, they are normally too drunk to care what it is!

Naked wedding cake Just Married gold topperCutting cakeNaked wedding cake Waitrose

FIRST DANCE

After the cake, it was time for the first dance. We don’t really have ‘a song’ but we chose Ellie Goulding’s ‘How Long Will I Love You’ as this was what was playing when Marc proposed. We also love Oasis so made sure Wonderwall was the last song played of the night.

We booked our DJ through local company Farnham Light and Sound as they do weddings at Northbrook Park almost weekly. I’m not sure if I would fully recommend them though as the DJ tripped the sound limiter fuse box three times (which turned off the lights as well as the music) and at one point, didn’t take a request from me!

All in all though, we had such a fun night and carried on with an after-party in one of the on-site cottages until 1am, before a driver came to transport our weary bodies to the bridal lodge on the nearby lake.

First dance Northbrook ParkNorthbrook Park DJModern first dance songReal weddings Northbrook ParkNorthbrook Park eveningDancefloor Northbrook Park

I will be doing some more wedding-related posts, so do let me know if there is anything in particular you would be interested in hearing more about!

My wedding hair and makeup was provided by Blowout Ibiza, a mobile hair and beauty service in London and Ibiza. I had worked with them a lot in my previous job at bareMinerals and so it felt only right to have them on my wedding day!

I had the gorgeous makeup artist Lois and talented hair stylist Jazmin making me bridal beautiful that morning and they were both so friendly, calm and professional that even though I hadn’t had a trial, I felt in safe hands.

Wedding getting ready shotBlowout Ibiza weddingWedding day makeup

Wedding Makeup

My makeup lasted so well all day that I thought I would share the products, in case it helps any other brides-to-be.

Wedding makeup Steph Style

I started off by applying my La Roche-Posay Toleriane Moisturiser which is designed for super sensitive skin so is a great, simple go-to moisturiser that sinks in quickly and won’t cause any reaction to sensitive skin. (The Toleriane Night moisturiser is my all time favourite!)

For the eyes, we primed them with my favourite bareMinerals BB 5-in-1 Eyeshadow in Soft Linen before using a combination of the Charlotte Tilbury Golden Goddess eyeshadow palette and the Too Faced ‘Natural Eyes’ eyeshadow palette to get a smokey gold/bronzed look. The eyes were finished with a feline flick using the Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel liner and a lick of my By Terry waterproof mascara.

For the base, we used the Marc Jacobs Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer with the Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able Full Coverage Foundation in shade Bisque Neutral

We highlighted with the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow duo (this was amazing), blushed with the MAC Mineralise blush and bronzed with the Buxom Cosmetics Hot Escapes Bronzer in shade Maldives. We added some contour with the Too Faced Cocoa Contour palette.

For lips, Lois lined my lips (although I can’t remember with what pencil!) and used one of my favourite nude lipsticks, the Trish McEvoy Veil Lip Color in Tea Rose. We then finished by applying a little of the Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able Creamy Concealer under the eyes, a touch of the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer on any blemishes (the best concealer I have tried) and a dusting of the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder to lightly set everything, without the risk of flashback.

Et voila!

Eucalytpus rose bouquet

Wedding Hair

Lauren Conrad was the inspiration behind my hair and it was this picture that I showed to the team on the day:

Lauren Conrad wedding hair

I showered that morning as I find that my hair always looks more vibrant when it is fresh. I shampooed with the Redken All Soft Shampoo, conditioned with the Redken All Soft Heavy Treatment (my all-time favourite conditioner, I have raved about it more here) and then ran through the Redken Diamond Oil which is an amazing lightweight oil that adds serious gloss and shine to the hair without weighing it down. (I have written more about the Redken Diamond Oil here). This combination usually leaves my dry, fine, knotty hair soft, shiny and manageable without it looking greasy or heavy as the day goes on.

Jazmin used some of her own volumising sprays when blow-drying my hair, before setting in rollers to leave in while I had my makeup done. Then it was back to the chair to take the rollers out and clip in some of my Beauty Works hair extensions for extra thickness. The rollers had worked so well at creating big, natural, loose waves that we didn’t need to tong the hair, so then it was just about creating the height on the crown and keeping it in place with kirby grips as well as the pretty pearl hair comb I had found in Debenhams.

I find it SO hard to keep volume and thickness in my fine hair so I was so impressed and happy with what Jazmin managed to do! It also lasted the whole day and I didn’t need to brush it once!

Wedding hair combHair combVeil

Thanks again to the Blowout Ibiza team and if you want to see more about the wedding, you can check out:

Our Wedding! The Ceremony…

Lillian West wedding dress

In the end I was pleased that Marc and I had a long engagement as it took me longer than I expected to find my wedding dress.

My main considerations when dress hunting were comfort and affordability, as I wanted to be able to dance and didn’t want to spend too much on a dress that would only be worn once (makes me sound so sentimental, I know…).

However it soon became apparent that the high street didn’t really offer many options for the wedding dress style I had in mind. I wanted something fitted to the waist, ideally with some lace and vintage style buttons, which then flowed gently out. I liked the idea of off-the-shoulder as well as v-neck and my main inspiration came from (pricey) designers like Milla Nova, Dalaarna, Limor Rosen and Berta Bridal. However, most dresses on the high street seemed to be either short, beachy, slinky or princess style, none of which I was after.

So over our 2.5 year engagement I went to quite a few bridal boutiques, both in the UK and in New York, and ended up trying on so many lovely affordable dresses that I found it really hard to choose just one!

I was expecting to burst into tears and know when I found ‘the one’ but to be perfectly honest a) I was always too excited to feel teary and b) there were about 4 that I would have happily worn. (Have any other brides felt like this?)

So to help any other brides-to-be, or for anyone who is just interested, I thought I would share more about my experience of finding my wedding dress. Starting at…

David’s Bridal, Westfield, London

Cost of dresses: £200-£2,000 (Including Vera Wang diffusion line)

Do they let you take photos? Yes

Sole appointment? No

Recommend for: Brides on a budget, relaxed brides, bridesmaid dresses too and brides not knowing what they want

It was about a year into our engagement that I booked myself in for my first appointment at David’s Bridal in Westfield, London. It was recommended to me by a bridal journalist friend who said that it was a good place to start to try on lots of different styles, especially as they stock a large variety of dresses ranging from as little as £200 to no more than £2,000. It is an American brand that now has stores in London, Glasgow and Birmingham and I think the size of it is the reason that it can keep costs lower.

I enjoyed having this as my first bridal gown experience as it was easy to get to from my London flat (accessible by both the DLR and tube), had plenty of gowns that you were allowed to browse through yourself (whilst knowing most of them were affordable) and was very relaxed, with another bride-to-be having her appointment at the same time. I know not everyone likes sharing their bridal appointment with another person but as I was a bit nervous for my first time and not sure what to expect, I found that I was more relaxed by not being the sole centre of attention.

It started with a brief chat with my helper where I explained what kind of dress I was looking for. I realised at this point I should have taken some pictures as inspiration or shown her my Wedding Dress Pinterest Board, as she kept showing me options which weren’t really what I was after.

Me, my mum and the helper pulled out about 6 dresses from the floor to try on and the helper encouraged me to try on a variety of styles so that I could really narrow down what I liked. This was helpful as it confirmed to me that I didn’t want a fishtail/mermaid or ballgown style dress (even though they were all pretty in their own right), however it also meant that it ate into the 1.5 hour appointment time and I wasn’t left with much time afterwards to try on many more a-line/sheath/column dresses. In fact I remember there were 15 minutes of the appointment left and I asked the helper if she could recommend any more options that better fit my description and she just said no and to book in again another time.

Davids Bridal Stratford WestfieldDavids Bridal London review

Overall, it was a great way to try on different styles and also start to see the differences in quality for the different price brackets but there was nothing that quite fit what I was after.

Bea’s Bridal, Warwickshire

Cost of dresses: £600-£1,500 (as well as sales) 

Do they let you take photos? Yes

Sole appointment? Yes

Recommend for: Brides on modest budgets and brides who like ballgowns and a-line dresses 

The next appointment was one closer to my family home at Bea’s Bridal in a pretty village nearby. It was about a month after my first appointment at David’s Bridal and I booked myself in because I was due a visit home anyway and Bea’s had come recommended.

The boutique is on an unassuming street, squeezed between a chippy and a Chinese if I remember correctly, but inside was really pretty and feminine. The showroom was downstairs and had two lines including one ‘sale rail’ and one ‘new in’ rail which we were allowed to browse through before our helper took our choices to the dressing room upstairs. The dressing room was more of a floor actually, with a cute chaise-lounge for guests to sit on.

What I remember most from this visit was Sheeny, the lady working with us in the boutique, and just how helpful, sweet and upbeat she was. She definitely deserves a shout out for being so hardworking, attentive and positive! Nothing was too much trouble and she would let me try on as many dresses as I wanted.

However, I should have done more research on the boutique’s designers first as most of the dresses were the ballgown or dramatic a-line style, which are all very beautiful but didn’t fit my brief. There was this one Amanda Wyatt dress which was relaxed and more of what I was after and though I did feel good in it (and my mum cried when she saw me in it), I wasn’t sure about having a high neck and then having to make alterations to the neck. Shame, as I really wanted to buy off such a lovely boutique.

Silver Sixpence, Weedon, Northamptonshire

Cost of dresses: £900-£1,800 (as well as sales) 

Do they let you take photos? Yes

Sole appointment? Yes

Recommend for: Brides on modest budgets, bridal separates 

My experience at Bea’s taught me that I really needed to do more research on what designers offered the sort of dress I was after. Many of the styles and designers I liked were far too expensive (such as Berta Bridal, Milla Nova, Limor Rosen and my favourite Dalaarna) and it took me a long time researching to find affordable designers that were also available to buy in the UK.

I then discovered this dress by Lillian West, which had the lovely relaxed skirt at the bottom and some lace detailing that still showed some skin at the top. I got really excited as I thought it would fit our Country Garden Party theme perfectly and after looking online, I found out that the weekend I was due another visit home it would be available in the Silver Sixpence bridal boutique not far away. I reached out to them on Instagram as time was of the essence and even though they had lots of bookings that particular weekend, they were really helpful and made it work so that I could pop in.

The boutique was part of a small parade of independent shops nestled in the countryside and my mum and I enjoyed having a little mooch around them before heading to our appointment. The lady who owned the boutique was very sweet and her mother-in-law owned a shop next door selling mother of the bride dresses, which my mum enjoyed looking around.

The collection in this boutique wasn’t the biggest I had seen, although they are one of the few places that stock bridal separates! It didn’t matter to me though as I was only really there to try on the one Lillian West wedding dress and luckily, was really happy with it. She let us take lots of pictures which we took away with us to think long and hard about…

Silver Sixpence Bridal Lillian WestLillian West 6422

RK Bridal, NYC

Cost of dresses: $500+

Do they let you take photos? Yes

Sole appointment? No

Recommend for: All budgets, loads of choice, no appointments needed, relaxed try on and bridal separates 

In January I moved to New York for a couple of months to stay with my fiance who had a contract out there (you can read more on my move to NYC here). My work were kind enough to let me take 2 months unpaid leave from work so it meant that I had plenty of opportunity in the daytime to continue trying on more dress options!

I decided to visit RK Bridal due to the amount of designers they stock and the amount of choice for all budgets, plus no appointment was necessary, meaning that I could rock up whenever I felt in the mood! I went on a weekday afternoon and was greeted by a tough little Italian American lady who asked to see my dress inspiration, my budget and if I had any favourite designers, before she took me around the sections pulling suggestions out for me. Kudos to this lady, she really knew the store back to front and pulled out some great options for me!

Now don’t get me wrong, this was a seriously relaxed appointment. Firstly, the store is like a big warehouse and there can be quite a few people looking around thanks to their no-appointment system. In fact when I went, there were a couple of other girls in the changing rooms trying on dresses at the same time as me. Also my lady was very no-nonsense about the whole thing and didn’t do any small talk. I personally didn’t mind this as I had already had some lovely boutique experiences in the UK and now just needed a chance to try on more dresses but you might want to bear this in mind if it is your first bridal appointment or if you want a memorable experience with your bridesmaids!

While I was there I tried on the same Lillian West dress again and it was still my favourite dress of the bunch. I was starting to make up my mind…

BHLDN, Anthropologie, NYC

Cost of dresses: $200+

Do they let you take photos? Yes

Sole appointment? No

Recommend for: Affordability, vintage inspired, relaxed appointments, bridal separates, rehearsal dinner dresses

Throughout my bridal gown search I had often come across the brand BHLDN (pronounced ‘Beholden’) which is exclusively found in Anthropologie in America. BHLDN had stood out to me not only for the affordability but also because many of the dresses were relaxed and/or vintage inspired – no princess meringues to be found here. As it was only available in the States, I thought it would be silly not to pay a visit while I was out here, so I made an appointment for a weekday afternoon.

BHLDNBHLDN Anthropologie

The BHLDN bridal area was found at the back of the store and I spent a few minutes browsing the rail until the lady working with me came down to meet me. What was great is that she came prepared with my name and wedding details (that they ask you to fill in on an online form) which made it feel more personalised.

We pulled out a few options, including some bridal separates, and headed down to the changing rooms. Again, this was a more relaxed fitting experience as there were a couple of other women trying on their dresses at the same time (including one very sweet lady who kept complimenting me on my choices)! Also to note, the bridal changing rooms are just across from the main changing rooms, so a few confused shoppers ended up coming to the bridal section by mistake!

Catherine Deane separatesBHLDN New York

Again, I really didn’t mind this relaxed approach as it made me feel relaxed myself. Also, they are happy to let you dress yourself if you are the sort of person that doesn’t like other people helping them in the changing rooms (even though I asked for help). I liked 90% of the choices I tried on in here, they were so beautiful and I loved that toppers could be added for a small cost.

This appointment really confused me as I ended up really liking some of the separates and the fact that I could change my look during the day by adding/removing a topper. It was time to go home and do some more thinking…

My Wedding Dress

When I got back home, I went with my mum to Serendipity Brides in Weedon, Northamptonshire to try on some final separates before then driving back to nearby Silver Sixpence Brides. I tried on the Lillian West 6422 dress once again and we both knew that it was the one. I had always felt relaxed in it, it flattered my shape, I could move and the material was so soft. I had tried on so many other dresses and kept coming back to this one, so I knew that I wouldn’t regret my decision.

We also ordered a long veil from a local designer Natalya James, who creates her own wedding dresses and affordable bridal accessories as well as offering wedding dress alterations. As much as I loved the Lillian West dress, I had always preferred 3/4 length sleeves to long sleeves, so booked Natalya in to help.

She did a great job as she managed to keep and re-position the buttons that I loved so much and was also able to use some of the lace that had been removed around the top of the arm, making it more detailed and more unique to me. She also did the traditional alterations; adding in a loop for me to hold my dress, turning up the bottom and taking in the sides. I saw her three times in total; once with the dress taking measurements and discussing the alterations, the second time to try on the initial alterations and the third time to try on the dress with the final tweaks.

Lillian West 6422

English wedding

My Wedding Shoes

Before I finish this post, I have to give a shout-out to my wedding shoes! They were Kurt Keiger heeled strappy sandals with some glitz on the front and they were THE most comfortable heels that I have possibly ever worn! I managed to pick them up in the Topshop (Oxford St) summer sale and only wore them for an hour’s practice around the house before wearing them on the day. I loved that sometimes you could see a peek of the sparkle under my dress and that I was able to dance in them all night long.

Heeled sandals wedding shoes Kurt GeigerKurt Keiger strappy sandals

My Tips for Brides to Be Looking to Find Their Wedding Dress:

  • Do your designer research first. Although trying on dresses was fun, I had wasted time going to local boutiques that just did not stock the style of dress I was after.
  • If you are after a more affordable wedding dress designer in the UK, I can recommend brands like: Lillian West (of course), Watters, Wtoo, Catherine Deane (also does separates and is stocked in BHLDN) and Needle and Thread (good for a boho bride).
  • If you are on a budget (who isn’t), then when making a booking, feel free to ask if your budget works for that store. It will save any embarrassment on the day!
  • If there is a specific dress you like, ask them if they have it before making your appointment. If they don’t, most places can call in a sample for you for a small fee.
  • Paying for an appointment isn’t the norm, so don’t feel like you have to. There is bound to be another boutique that stocks the same dress who won’t charge!
  • When you find a dress you like, practice sitting down in it and raising your arms in it, to see if it will actually work and feel comfortable on the day.

If you’d like to read more about our wedding (and see more pics of the dress!) then you can visit my post on Our Wedding Day! The Ceremony…

Do you have any questions or comments? I’d love to hear!

Marc and StephLoveEucalytpus rose bouquet

Northbrook Park wedding photographers

You probably noticed that things got a little quiet over here mid August- mid September but that is because I was busy getting married! (And it was surprisingly busier than either of us anticipated!)

But now we are back, a few pounds heavier from our honeymoon, and as I love hearing about other people’s wedding days, I wanted to share some of the photos and memories from the day.

I also want to say a big thanks to our lovely photographers – Liv from fab blog What Olivia Did and her fiancé Joe – for their hard work on the day and for sending over so many gorgeous pictures!

As there are in fact so many pictures, I am going to do this post on the first half of the day/the ceremony and a second post on the rest of the day. So, here goes…

Venue : Northbrook Park, Farnham, Surrey

Date: Saturday 2nd September 2017

1.30pm wedding

The Night Before

The families, bridesmaids, groomsmen and I had all stayed down in Farnham the night before. It had been such a lovely feeling seeing everyone turn up throughout the afternoon and to catch up over a meal and drinks before the hecticness of the wedding day began.

It also meant that I could give Marc the surprise wedding gift that I had made for him. As we have been together 9 years, with 3 of those years spent long-distance, I decided to surprise him by making a scrapbook filled with nearly a decade of memories. (And yes, I did feel like a cheesy romcom American teenager doing it)!

I included the MSN conversation (yes, MSN!) I had with my friend/Maid of Honour Rosie where I first admitted that I liked him (and where Rosie clearly told Marc, despite me saying not to). I included some of the letters we wrote to each other during our long distance years at Uni (I have written about that here), funny emails, pictures (that I had printed in a polaroid style through Cheerz.com), the cinema ticket stub from our first movie date and a letter that I had written to him the day before the wedding. I thought I had earnt ultimate fiancé points, until Marc surprised me with a gift of his own the next day…

Getting Ready

On the morning of the wedding, we were (technically) able to have a lie-in as we couldn’t get over to the venue to start getting ready until 10.30am. However, I was up early as I hadn’t really slept very well, partly thanks to a busy mind running over the next day and partly thanks to a noisy family in the hotel hollering upstairs.

We did run a little late (thanks to slow moving family members, a dysfunctional SatNav and losing the makeup bags) but the fabulous hair and beauty team were prepped and ready to get started on us.

The hair stylist and makeup artists were provided by Blowout Ibiza, a mobile hair and beauty company that we had worked with lots at my previous bareMinerals job. The girls were absolutely fab, very understanding of us running behind schedule and kept cool, calm and collected, despite a bit of pressure from the venue’s wedding coordinator. I absolutely loved my finish look – thank you SO much to Blowout Ibiza for organising the team!

At this point I should also say a big thank you to my favourite hair stylist Colette at Charles Worthington (who I have raved about before here) for getting my hair long, blonde and healthy for the big day! I have been going to Charles Worthington for 2 years and over that time Colette has transformed my dry, knotty, bleached hair into something healthy, long and something that I could feel proud of.

Wedding getting ready shotBlowout Ibiza wedding

During the morning, our florist Mel (a relative of Marc’s) had visited with the bouquets and corsages. As well as some creeping stress from running late, this is where we had the second stress of the day as we realised that we hadn’t ordered enough centrepieces for the tables! Somehow we had completely missed that we had ordered 10 centrepieces when we had 11 tables. A big thank you to Mel for thinking on her feet and constructing a last-minute centrepiece that looked almost identical to the rest!

Greenery wedding bouquets

The bridesmaids, mums and I did open some Champagne that Rosie had bought along but in between swapping between the hair and makeup stations and answering questions, I didn’t have much time to drink mine! I think a top tip for future brides-to-be is to have as much time as possible to get ready in the morning. We started at 10.30am for a 1.30pm ceremony, with 6 people getting ready together, and it absolutely flew by. (I didn’t realise before but you are asked to be ready 30 mins before the ceremony to chat to the registrar team before you walk down the aisle).

Just before I put on my dress, my beautiful bridesmaids had handed me their gift, a gold photoframe with a picture of the 4 of us from my hen do, and I was also able to open the gift that had been sent to me from Marc that morning. It was a very beautiful – and completely unexpected – eternity necklace from Tiffanys. (Not quite the same as a scrapbook!)

Bridesmaid gifts

Tiffanys wedding presentHappily Ever After card

With a few minutes left, the bridesmaids helped me into my Lillian West dress, the hair team attached the veil and then we headed out to meet my Dad, who I think had been wandering around a little confused!

Veil

Eucalytpus rose bouquetFather of the brideFather of the bride seeing the bride for the first time

Then it was into the car with him to be driven round to the entrance….

Father of the bride with brideWedding photography Northbrook ParkNorthbrook Park ceremonyFree standing wedding welcome boardWedding sign

The Ceremony

I think this section is going to be pretty short as to be perfectly honest with you, it was all a bit of a blur!

Northbrook Park Vine Room

I remember standing with my Dad in the little room connected to the ceremony room, as the Registrar ran through some details of the ceremony with us. I remember hearing our String Duo (the fab Manor House Strings) playing to our murmuring guests in the other room and suddenly getting nervous and a little emotional. I remember the venue coordinator cheering me up with some funny faces, the doors opening and suddenly seeing a crowd of faces, before Marc’s at the end of the aisle.

Manor House Strings Groomsmen

Steph Marston wedding

Hampshire Surrey wedding venuesLillian West long sleeve dressLillian West real brideBlue mother of the bride dress
Then I don’t remember what on earth I said, as I was so busy trying to keep composed, to not think about everyone staring at us and to listen to the words I was supposed to be repeating!

I did snap back into action during the readings, which were read by Marc’s brother and groomsman Alex and my brother Gary. Alex read the Winnie The Pooh poem ‘Us Two’ by A.A. Milne, which he chose as their parents used to read Winne The Pooh to them when they were children. I actually wrote the second reading myself, which was a surprise poem for Marc! I did this as we were really struggling to find a reading that we liked, as they were either very religious, or emotional, or clichéd, so I though I would put my English Lit background to good use and get creative! I wanted to write something sweet and funny and it was such a good feeling surprising Marc, so hopefully it went down well with him too. (I’ve popped the poem at the end of this post, in case you are interested)!

Own poem wedding reading

Then there were some more words exchanged which are blurry to me and then all of a sudden we kissed, were signing the register and I was finally able to relax and look at the crowd!

Northbrook Park wedding

Exchanging vowsNorthbrook Park ceremony

Steph famlySigning register
I definitely wish we could do this again (in fact, the whole day again) so that I could properly take everything in. It all felt a bit surreal and throughout the whole day I kept having to remind myself that this was the real thing, after all those years of planning!

Then we headed out for our confetti line, spoke to a few guests and got whisked off for all of the pictures!

Biodegradable confetti

Confetti shotFamily shotNorthbrook Park blogger weddingNavy wedding suitsBridesmaidsMother of the brideMe and bridesmaidsSteph Style weddingMarc and StephWedding archwayLove

Steph Style wedding pictures

English weddingNorthbrook Park wedding photographers

I think that is quite enough pictures for now (!) so I will chat about the reception in another post. For now, I shall leave you with the poem I wrote for one of the readings!

The Story of Steph and Marc

Like all great love stories,

It started with a Smirnoff Ice!

In a local social club,

Where students could afford the price.

Some MSN chats later,

And a friendship on MySpace,

We ‘made it official’ with a kiss,

Back in the very same place.

But our ventures there were short-lived,

As we headed off to Uni.

We were worried that it could mean,

The end of you and me.

But we stuck it out and rode the trains,

We didn’t want it to fail,

Squeezing in essays with weekend visits,

And spending our loans on national rail.

Since then we’ve been all over,

We moved from North to South,

(And all those countries inbetween,

Thanks to your job and persuasive mouth).

But the best place of all?

Well, it’s got to be Deptford, right?!

Where I can wake up to you every day,

(Now there is a scary sight!)

I’m sure you love the flat as much as me,

When I ask you to take out the bins,

And wake you up in the middle of the night,

When those bloomin’ mice come in!

And talk over all your boy car shows,

And bang on about avocados and diet,

But I can tell that you’re a keeper

Because you never ask me to be quiet.

And though I stress you out with cleaning,

On Sundays handing you the broom,

We have made our flat into our little home,

(If you ignore that messy spare room).

And now 9 years later here we are,

Taking our next step,

It’s a little bit scary walking down the aisle,

And trying not to trip!

But you have always looked after me,

So I know it will be alright,

And I can play my part when you hit the bar

And help to keep you upright!

Who would have thought that nearly a decade on,

Those two kids in the bar,

Would be getting ready to say their vows,

We really have come far.

I’m excited to call you my hubby,

And for married life to begin,

Although I hope you realise that even so,

You’ll still have to take out the bin.