Whimsical Wedding Blog - Rachel & Ed O'Hare
WWW readers Rachel and Ed were hitched on Saturday 14th May 2016 and held their reception at The Lingholm Estate where they hosted guests in magical tipis. Their church service was really meaningful, with personal readings and music choices and Rachel’s mum doing the prayers. The vision was eclectic, with a combination of ideas which ranged from carnival to fairy princess with references to Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter too. There were balloons throughout, crochet details and daisies for good measure.
Rachel looked stunning in her bespoke dress, which was a pretty shade of pink with long lace sleeves. Sparkly shoes and a flower crown completed her look perfectly. Ed chose a check tweed suit with a floral tie and pocket square for a quirky cool style. The whole wedding party looked so amazing.
Alice The Camera, thank you so much for sharing these divine photographs today.
THE PROPOSAL | We met on Plenty of Fish.com. The first date was at the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry to the planetarium to look at the stars. We got engaged on Christmas Day 2015 (after me asking Ed to marry me daily for about 12 months prior!) We were both opening our presents sat on the floor, then he got up onto both knees and asked me with a bright green emerald ring to match my eyes!
THE VISION | Think: ‘fairy princess, carnival, festival, yarn bombed, multi coloured, northern soul happiness’! We wanted to include as many personal, hand-made bits as we could (hence the hand drawn ‘Lord of The Rings’ map for the invitations, a polaroid photo name place setting for each guest etc.). So I rounded up all my crafty mates to crochet individual coasters for my wedding favours and we made all the painted signs and other decorations.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We project managed the whole thing ourselves which was a huge task! I didn’t quite realise how time consuming it was going to be (it takes over your life!) – having said that I loved every second and would do it all again exactly the same! The vision was there right from the start and we began by going to see several venues around the Cheshire area where we live. We saw countless barn venues and other mansion house-type sites, but I always left feeling like they weren’t quite right for us. We had in mind exactly what we wanted and none of the wedding venues could offer us the flexibility to create something unique. I always got the feeling they would churn out the same style of wedding, week after week. Also, we are both HUGE fans of Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter (I’m more the HP fan than Ed is though!) and I always knew I wanted our wedding day to have an enchanted forest sort of feel: magical!
We went along to a couple of wedding fares, read countless wedding magazines and trolled through loads of wedding blog websites (such as this one!!!) and I eventually fell in love with the idea of having tipis. Ed was hesitant at first given the high cost… they were by far the most expensive part of the wedding (apart from my dress of course!). We looked at other forms of gazebos but none of them had the warm, rustic feel of tipis. I managed to talk Ed round to the idea then it was a case of sourcing the suppliers and finding the site. Ed was the one who discovered The Lingholm Estate from a link on one of the tipi suppliers websites. We have both always loved the lake district being keen (albeit amateur) walkers and camping lovers. To make sure we assessed every option, Ed create a google map of all possible locations, both near home and in the lakes and we spent weekend after weekend investigating. It was a very long process but I was so glad we did it – we found the perfect site as a result!
BUDGET | £15,000 (which probably ended up more like £18,000 by the end… It’s hard to say really, the last few weeks are a blur and all we know is that we’re still paying it off. But we don’t regret a penny spent!
THE VENUE | 3 giant tipis from Teepee Tent Hire on the lawn of the Lingholme Estate, Keswick, Lake District, overlooking Derwent Water. We love camping, climbing, walking, rowing and generally being around the mountains and the lakes. We knew we wanted tipis as no other venues were ‘just right’ – they were all too ‘samey’ churning out the same sort of wedding day after day. We knew we wanted something totally different with a hand-made/festival vibe so we went for the tipi then we needed to find the site.
The church was the easy bit! Ed found the church on a walking website, it was absolutely perfect. Tiny, intimate and right on the edge of a lake! St. Bega’s was only 10-15 min drive from Lingholm, so it was perfect distance. The beauty of Lingholm is that is has its own private shore line off Derwent Water (it now has a jetty which has recently been completed), which is directly opposite the jetty at Keswick. So, we actually decided to arrive back at Lingholm by rowing boat after the ceremony and we invited all our guests to row along side us! The rowing boat man on Derwent Water was so helpful and friendly and he offered to collect all the boats from Lingholm shore as we’d only be rowing one way. In the end only a few guests decided to brave the water but it was still amazing to be on the lake, our best man offered to row us so we didn’t get too hot and bothered. It was a gorgeous sunny day so that helped!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Right from the start I wanted a long sleeved, lace gown in a pale pink colour, sort of ‘vintagey’ in style because that’s the sort of girl I am! I love flower crowns so I wanted the bridesmaids to each wear one of those in multi colours. Seeing as I was to be in pale pink, I had my girls in white lace, all different styles to suit their body shapes and heights, which worked out really well I think – they all looked gorgeous. I love my lipstick and bright colours so I wanted the colours to be mainly in the flowers, make up and accessories (the bridesmaids shoes were all different colours, as were the beautiful flower crowns!). Ed chose his suit – tweed, with a multicoloured bow tie. All the blokes wore different suits and looks really smart. If Ed had his way everyone would just have turned up in T shirts and shorts!
FINDING THE DRESS | I started to research ‘The Dress’ as soon as I said yes!! ha ha. I still believe its one of the most important parts for a girl. You have to feel beautiful and comfortable on your wedding day. Most of my research was through Pinterest, which I kept private and collected loads of inspiration on there that I could use. It was hard to actually transfer my Pinterest dreams to reality though, as you have to then find out who has designed certain things and which shops actually stock them. I would advise girls to use Pinterest sparingly, as you can easily find the perfect dress, which is only supplied to shops in the back of beyond and went out of stock about 7 years ago! I’d probably stick to googling websites and go from there – keeping it a bit more ‘real’, so to speak. Having said that, it is impossible to know what will suit you from looking on websites and blogs because everyone’s body shape and colouring is entirely different. I made a few appointments to visit bridal shops in and around Manchester/Cheshire and took along my sister in law to some appointments and my mum/friend to others. You need to make appointments in advance and most dresses take 6-8 months to make so I would definitely advise girls to start soon!
I always knew I wanted long sleeve dress and not in white… But I found it so difficult to find what I wanted! At the time I was looking, everything was either strapless or short sleeved. Eventually, I found a shop called 7th Heaven Bridal in Congleton, who were so welcoming and lovely. They were one of the only ones who actually asked me about my personality, what sort of things I like etc. They picked out a few dresses and I tried them all on, but I still couldn’t find exactly what I had in mind. So, they called their seamstress in who listened to me carefully and offered to help create me something bespoke. I chose my favourite fitting dress, which was short sleeved at the time (and about 3 sizes too small) lace upper boddice, nipped in at the waist with an open, slitted back and a long, flowing full skirt which moved really lovely. I wanted a dress I could move in which wasn’t too stiff. I had several fitting meetings with the seamstress who managed to add some sleeves, carve the neck line and eventually we added in an entirely new back panel! I pretty much ‘hacked’ my wedding dress to create just what I wanted.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | This is much more easier to explain! Ed wanted something in tweed, so I googled a few websites, looked through some shops and we eventually settled on a 3 piece, tweed suit from a supplier based in Manchester. I then selected some bow ties which ‘sort of’ matched the coloured flowers I’d chosen and that was that! My man is so easy to please when it comes to clothes…
THE READINGS & MUSIC | I loved the ceremony. It was so magical. I walked in to the church, arm in arm with my dad to the sound of ‘Many Meetings’ by Howard Shore – from Lord of The Rings and my four gorgeous bridesmaids and two flower girls followed behind. Beautiful Bella (one of my best friends daughters) was so proud to be holding my veil! She told all her friends about it at school when she got home. The first reading was by my father in law, Mike and was the Song of Solomon 2.10-13; 8.6,7 – we chose it because its really earthy (Ed) & dramatic (Me!). Then the second reading was read by Ed’s nephew Harry and second cousin Chloe – the song of the trees by J.R.R. Tolkein. We found it here on the Natural Wedding Company. It was perfect for our wedding – speaks for itself! My mum did the prayers which was really special for me as she has just been ordained as a vicar in the church of England and I know how much it meant to her to say the prayers at my wedding. My mum cried the whole way through the day! She was heartbroken thinking she was giving me away to Ed’s family! One of the hymns – ‘If I were a wiggly worm” – I will never forget. It was such fun to sing! We walked out of the church to one of Ed’s favourite songs by The Smiths ‘There is a light that never goes out’ and we had hand-made magic wands by wrapping wool around one end – all the guests were given one and told to point them at us as we left the church. It was supposed to be like a guard of honour… but it didn’t quite work out in that way! It was still magic :) All our guests were given some Grassmere gingerbread as they left the church which was lovely. I was really conscious that people needed feeding ASAP as the ceremony started at 12 and we weren’t eating the meal until later in the day. I didn’t want our guests to be drunk too quick and miss the games!
THE FLOWERS | It was our vicar who recommended our florist and I couldn’t have been happier. Right from the start they were helpful and friendly and as I was planning the wedding from home, we kept in touch via email as I sent images and long email descriptions about what I wanted. I was very happy with how they turned out too, Evergreens delivered all the flowers on the morning of the wedding to the venue and my amazing bridesmaids rallied round to sort out the table flowers as I was getting my hair done. This wouldn’t have been possible without all our friends and family running round to help us! The multi coloured flowers in the flower crowns and bouquets were just what I had in mind. The table flowers were a mis-match of wild flowers and they looked brilliant in the selection of different vases and bottles that I had collected from charity shops.
THE CAKE | My brief to the cake supplier was that I wanted a multi-coloured, happy, Harry Potter style cake. I wanted the actual cakes to be quite plain from the outside, with rainbow coloured slices inside and some multi coloured meringues on top. Abbi sent me some sketches and nothing could have made me happier!!!! It was just what I wanted and more. I had a stylish Hogwarts cake. Amazing. I don’t really need to say any more! We all went down to the tipis on the Sunday morning eating cake and drinking champagne in the aftermath of the wedding. Such happy times.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Alice from Alice the Camera. ‘We loved working with Alice. She was such a peaceful, calm and positive spirit to work with from start to finish! Professional service with a personal touch with every step. She was really interested in all of our plans and was so genuinely on our wave length – we knew she had to be our photographer. We chose her by looking at the style of photos on her website and we really wanted someone who could capture the special moments of the day that actually matter; the laughter, the tears, the silliness, the anxiety but most of all the happiness and LOVE. We can safely say that she did that and more! Every time I look throughout photos I re-live all the emotions I felt on the day and that it truly magical. One regret would be that I wish I’d asked someone to video the speeches. it was my favourite bit of the day and I’d do anything to listen to them again… But we can always look at the pictures :)
THE HONEYMOON | My parents gave us the honeymoon as a gift and we went to Santorini in Greece for a week. It was beautiful and we were very excited to go abroad (we’d not had a holiday in some time!). The weather was hot and sunny and we were able to relax and sunbathe, which was fantastic. However, I was so run down from all the hard work that I ended up with a kidney infection after 3 days and spent half of the week on the bathroom floor – very poorly!! I suppose you cant have it all!! In hindsight, I would actually have waited a while before going on honeymoon. The wedding week was so intense and hard work that we were both so shattered. I wish we could have just rested at home or up in the lakes for a few more days just to let it all sink in and recover! But, it was still and adventure.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The speeches. All our guests were sat in one space, merry from a few excited tipples so we were surrounded by the love of everyone. The sun was shining on the lake, we were drinking fabulous champagne about to eat some amazing food, Ed, my best friend, and dad all said lovely things (Sharon even sang!) and everyone was having a fantastic time. That’s all you ever want on your wedding day!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Never settle for a package deal (unless that’s exactly what you want of course!). There should always been room to customise to suit your requirements and to reflect the people you are. You will spend soooo much money and time organising your wedding day – why not make it exactly as you want it! Try to relax on the run up to the day and understand/accept that you will never please everyone! Delegate as much as you can, try not to do too much yourself especially the night before! If you’ve planned a lot yourself make sure you plan well in advance so that all your bridesmaids and groomsmen know what they’ll be doing – if I could do it again, I’d create little cue cards for all the groomsmen and bridesmaids to remind them of what needs to happen at a certain time! Might sound sound very regimented but it will make a big difference to your stress levels on the day. Get a videographer for the speeches – or ask a friend to film them for you. Keep a wall chart to remind you of what needs to be done and when… I had a massive (A1) to do list and diary chart on my living room wall of each day and reminder of what needs to be ordered, researched and found and by what date. When you’re project managing it yourself it’s crucial to stay organised. It also means that when your other half is ‘busy’ watching tele and trying to ignore the wedding plans, it’s a constant reminder to him that stuff needs to be done!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Alice The Camera
Tipis | Teepee Tent Hire
Catering | Fell & Dales
Site | The Lingholm Estate
Flowers | Evergreens, Keswick
Cake | Abbi Hunt
Toilets | Classic Chambers
Dress | 7th Heaven Bridal, Congleton
Eds suit | Marc Darcy
Bow ties | Mrs Bow Tie