I thee Wed – Laura & Kristian
Cake competitions, 1940’s swing band, lawn games, bunting, a stunning bride, tweed, bow ties and one amazing beard! This is the wedding of Laura and Kristian captured by the talented Darren Cresswell.
Where did you get married and what was it about the venue that sealed the deal?
We got married on Sunday 25th May 2014 at Sir John Moore Foundation in Appleby Magna, Leicestershire. After getting engaged on my birthday the previous November, we already knew we wanted to get married the following spring…we just had to find the perfect location.
After some research on the internet and a few uninspiring viewings, we came across Sir John Moore Hall. The Grade I listed building, which is still home to the local primary school, was built in 1697 by Sir John Moore who commissioned Christopher Wren to create a school for his local village.
As soon as we drove through the gates, we knew it was right for us. Upon seeing the second floor Heritage Centre which recreates school life in Victorian time with original dormitories, boys’ classroom, headmaster’s study and clock tower, we were instantly transported back to another time. The large main hall has so much history with the names of former pupils from across the centuries carved into the wooden panelling and the underground cellar bar is a welcome surprise with the feel of an old county pub.
The whole atmosphere of the venue, and the extremely accommodating and friendly team, helped us to create a ‘theme’ without even trying – it was just screaming vintage school fete!
Talk us through the suppliers you used:
There are so many people I want to acknowledge at this point, most of them being my incredibly talented friends and family!
I’m very lucky that my best friend Sue runs a graphic design company called Smile and I had my heart set on her designing my invite for me. I showed her some examples and gave her the information, and she did the rest. I was so impressed, it invite was quirky yet understated and was exactly what we wanted… she even drew a sketch of the hall and created our own crest which we then used throughout the wedding!
Although the theme didn’t come to us until we saw the venue, we’d both agreed that we wanted to scrap a lot of the formalities. We viewed several venues before this one, and when we mentioned the wedding breakfast would instead be a BBQ, that there would be no cars, formal speeches or first dance!
But Susie, Jacqui and the team at SJM Foundation really understood what we wanted to achieve and nothing phased them! They put us in touch with Carla at Saffron Catering who supplied an amazing gourmet BBQ and a delicious cheese board together with port for later in the evening. When Kristian mentioned kegs of real ales, Susie put us straight in touch with Burton Bridge Brewery he promptly took my Dad for a taste and select session!
I really couldn’t have done it all without my amazing parents though. My dad made all of the outdoor signage and lawn games including a bean bag toss and outdoor photo booth… whilst my mum got stuck straight in, laying her hands on vintage books and suitcases wherever she went and made the button holes and bouquet by hand after watching an online tutorial!
We visited Kristian’s Mum and raided her treasure trove of a house for antique and knick-knacks to display their German heritage and in the months leading up the wedding, I collected every glass, jar and tin I could lay my hands on! We then set up a production line (which included Kristian and my Dad) to decorate each one individually with various bits of lace, Hessian and floral materials.
My amazing friend Alice and her partner Sean (who has an even bigger beard than Kristian) were so great… and proof that it’s not what you know, but who you know! Alice arranged a visit to a wholesale florist, a friend of her Dad’s, where we were given free reign to select the freshest flowers – all at cost price. They both came over on the day of the wedding to help set up the venue too, armed with an emergency gazebo in case the rain didn’t let up! Looking back, I sill can’t believe we selected and arranged all of the flowers ourselves – they looked so professional
And to top it all off, Darren Creswell did us proud with his incredibly beautiful and natural collection of photos – after working with him a few years ago, I knew he was the only one who could capture exactly what we wanted!
Our small and intimate ceremony with close family and friends was hosted in the main hall followed by a hilarious and unique photo shoot in the Heritage Centre above. At this point, our other 100 or so guests arrived and gathered on the lawns outside where they were greeted with a welcome cocktail and had a chance to play on the lawn games or relax on the hay bales.
To ensure everyone felt like they were part of the day, we ‘made an entrance’ from the hall, walking through the parted crowd so they could do the statutory confetti throwing and whooping! Short speeches were then given outside by my Dad, Kristian’s two best men and the groom himself.
To fit our theme, we tracked down the Swing Museum, a four piece 1940’s swing band who we watched on our first date in the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham, and booked them to play outdoors for the rest of the afternoon.
Continuing with the theme, we hung bunting throughout the hall and gardens, had a pick n’ mix tuck shop of sweets and set up a tombola for selecting the miniature jam and chutney wedding favours. Instead of having a formal wedding breakfast we worked with a local caterer’s to design a gourmet BBQ to suit all tastes and it was a real triumph!
However, the real hit was our cake competition. Instead of buying a traditional wedding cake, we invited guests to bake a cake which would be voted for on the day. We were blown away with the effort our loved ones had gone to! With over 20 entries, the selection included a two-tiered birdcage, a colourful cake decorated with handmade roses and a Madeira cake adorned with edible flowers and intricate lacework… but our talented friend Alice gathered the most votes with her impressive cake that paid homage to Kristian’s magnificent beard! A well deserved winner!
Overall, the whole day went exactly as we had planned (in only four months!) with only the weather threatening to ruin things… but even after a week of torrential rain, the clouds parted and the sun shone down on us for the whole day. Perfect!
Describe your dress and how you came about finding ‘the one’?
I had no idea what I wanted but I knew what I didn’t want and that was a good start! I’m not one for frills and sparkles, and knowing the theme of our wedding was slightly vintage, I wanted something classic and timeless to fit.
After a quick Google search, I came across a gorgeous collection by Nicola Anne in Pink Confetti, Broughton Astley and drove straight out there. As it turns out, the whole process was easy for me and I decided on the dress after trying on just three. The vintage-style lace gown felt great on, wasn’t corseted so wasn’t too restrictive and had a keyhole cut out back with delicate pearl buttons to add detail. Best of all, as I am nearly 5ft 10in, it didn’t need altering at all!
I want to thank my generous Nan, Betty, who bought the dress as a wedding gift for me… I’m not the emotional type, but I admit I did shed a tear or two at this gesture!
I also must mention that it’s not all about the bride! Kristian had his heart set on a blue tweed suit… and he didn’t stop searching until it was exactly as he’d planned. Obviously, I think he looked amazing and his relentless hunt for the perfect bowtie really did pay off!
Any words of advice for future brides about planning your dream day?
When asking for advice from married friends, the overwhelming message was to ‘plan the wedding day we wanted – and not focus on trying to please everyone else’. This led to a pact between Kristian and I to have a wedding day which involved everyone we loved, without the clichéd and traditional bits you’re expected to have but don’t necessarily want!
I created a Pinterest Board to collect my thoughts and ideas and used this to methodically work through what I needed to do. Luckily, I’m a very organised person and had several spreadsheets and lists to keep track of the budget and what was left to do!
The most important thing to me was to involve as many of our friends and family as possible along the way so we could share the experience and memories with them. And we wanted our guests to feel comfortable and relaxed whilst still making it feel special enough to be a wedding day and not just a big party. This is really hard to achieve when you are faced with so many options and things you are expected to do… but my advice is to stick with your gut feeling and just go for it!
Thank you to Laura & Kristian for sharing their beautiful day with us.
In celebration of Darren Cresswell Photography being 10 years old, one lucky winner who is getting married in 2015 will receive £1,000 of their photography!
For further details on how to enter this fabulous competition click here!