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Charlotte and George’s informal English country wedding with handmade decorations and a village hall reception

Charlie / 9 January 2013

Charlotte and George's informal country wedding

What could be a nicer way to start the New Year than with a beautiful real wedding to provide you with lots of inspiration and ideas for your own ‘big day’.  Today’s wedding is particularly special to me because it’s the wedding of one of my TNWC businesses – the lovely Charlotte who runs The Crafty Baker.

English country wedding tables

English country wedding

Handmade rosette place names

It’s also pretty special because a number of TNWC businesses were involved in this wedding, including the photographers Bohemian Weddings who are a recent addition to the directory AND Charlotte was inspired by my own wedding stationery.

Plus, tomorrow on the blog I have an exclusive wedding photography offer from Bohemian Weddings so don’t forget to check back!  If you fall in love with any of the suppliers from their Charlotte and George’s wedding you’ll find all the details and links at the bottom of the post.

Chic village hall wedding decorations

English country wedding

Village sign

Charlotte and George got married in October 2012 near their home of Market Harborough in Leicestershire.

“We wanted the day to be relaxed and informal, we wouldn’t have felt comfortable with anything too traditional so we were aiming to make it quite natural.  The whole day was just so amazing, I think I was either laughing or crying all day!”

Bohemian Weddings photography

Bride and groom initials

Charlotte and George had a low-key civil ceremony on the morning of their wedding, before they headed to a local village hall for the main part of their wedding.  “We hired a 19th century village hall with a Bedouin tent outside for a mock ceremony and reception.  I’d seen the village hall when driving through the village and it was so pretty, we went to look around and knew it would be perfect.”

Village hall wedding

Bohemian Weddings photography

Village green

Although they decided not to get dressed up for the civil ceremony, it was a special and meaningful way to start their wedding day: “We didn’t get dressed up as we just thought of it as the legal bit, but saying those vows made me really emotional, it was a lovely start to the day.”

His and Hers ring pots

“After the ceremony at the registry office, George went to our house to get ready with his boys and I went to Farndon Grange, a farmhouse in a nearby village, where my family were staying for the weekend.  It was lovely and relaxed as we had plenty of time – we’d set everything up at the hall the day before with friends and family coming to help, it took about 14 hours but it was worth all of the hard work so we could just enjoy the wedding day.”

Bohemian Weddings photography

I always love hearing the story about how a bride found her wedding dress, here’s how Charlotte discovered hers…  “My wedding dress was from a local shop called Wedding Belles in Kibworth, made in the Isle of Wight by a company called Forget Me Not.  I absolutely loved it and would wear it everyday if I could!

Lace wedding dress

Bohemian Weddings photography

Bohemian Weddings photography

“I tried on lots of fitted fishtail dresses as I thought they would suit my curvy shape, but when I tried on the dress I ended up choosing, I couldn’t stop smiling, I felt like a doll!  The lace was stunning and it fitted the feel of the day.”

Bohemian Weddings photography

Lace wedding dress

Bohemian Weddings photography

“My mum didn’t see it until I went for my first fitting, I lied and told her we were going to discuss flowers at the venue and drove her to the dress shop instead!  It was when she was with me that we decided I should have a veil, I then bought some beautiful handmade earrings from Edera on Etsy, I left it quite late so they only arrived three days before the wedding!”

Bride getting ready

Wedding shoes

Bohemian Weddings photography

For her bridesmaids, Charlotte picked dresses that were all different but in neutral shades.  “My bridesmaids were my sister and my two best friends, they’ve all been with me through ups and downs so I wanted them to be a special part of our day.”

Walking to wedding

Charlotte’s mum did all the wedding flowers – many of them homegrown and others from a TNWC flower farmer:  “My Mum did our wedding flowers – as soon as we got engaged I knew I wanted her to do them as she’d do an amazing job.  I’d looked at a lot of ideas on the internet for the kind of flowers we’d be able to have in October and really loved the idea of old English roses and hydrangeas, but I also love spring flowers.”

DIY wedding flowers

DIY wedding flowers

“We wanted them to be seasonal and British flowers, most were from my Mum’s own garden and her friends, but to help make sure she had enough I found Catkin Flowers on The Natural Wedding Company website.  Rachel was so lovely and the walled garden at Doddington Hall was stunning and such an inspiration, the whole garden had the exact feel that I imagined for the wedding flowers.”

English country garden wedding flowers

I love this photo which is a glimpse into the room where Charlotte’s mum was putting together the bridal bouquets…

Bohemian Weddings photography

“George wore a French Connection tweed suit that he bought on ebay and had fitted, he then bought the boys suits that they’d be able to keep after the wedding, rather than hiring them, so they were all different.”  

“He really struggled with trying to pick a best man, as he was choosing between his three best friends and his brother.  Rather than follow convention and just have one, he decided to have all four – they all had roles throughout the day.”

Groom tweed suit

Bohemian Weddings photography

Bohemian Weddings photography

Charlotte and George held their wedding ceremony in a Bedouin tent outside their village hall reception venue.  “We hired some cubes and sofas which we arranged into rows with an aisle, then decorated it with some bunting which I made and a few flowers, we wanted to keep it quite simple as the tent lining had a lovely saffron colour print so it didn’t need much.

Bedouin tent wedding ceremony

Brown card order of service

“Outside the tent, my Mum arranged to have two living willow hearts for either side of the entrance, we got to keep one as a wedding present from my Mum and Dad, as it will grow and become bigger each year like our marriage, my Mum is such a romantic!”

English country bride

The moment when Charlotte and her dad walked to their wedding ceremony in the Bedouin tent – here’s how she was feeling:  “Despite being really relaxed all morning, I’d become quite nervous as we arrived at the hall and was quite self conscious of saying the promises I’d written in front of everyone, but as my Dad walked me in, I saw George and it may as well have just been the two of us as I didn’t notice anything else, I was too busy staring at him, smiling!”

Tent wedding ceremony

Tent wedding ceremony

As Charlotte and George had done the legal part of their wedding earlier in the morning, they were able to create a wedding ceremony that was totally personal to them.

English country wedding

They asked George’s brother to act as a Registrar and to talk about the meaning of marriage, and George’s mum and Charlotte’s best friend did readings.  “We asked them to write about each of us, the person we were before we met and how we’d changed since becoming a couple.  They kept them a secret until the ceremony – by the end of I think everyone was in tears!”

Tent wedding ceremony

Bohemian Weddings photography

Personalised wedding ceremony

Don’t they look like they had wonderful fun at their wedding ceremony?

Bohemian Weddings photography

Personalised wedding ceremony

Bohemian Weddings photography

“George and I each wrote five promises to say to each other, we saved these along with the exchange of rings for this ceremony, rather than the registry office, as we wanted to share them with everyone.  We hadn’t rehearsed the ceremony and I’m not sure if it showed, but it felt very personal and ‘us’.”

Wedding vows

Tent wedding ceremony

English country wedding

I was keen to find out from Charlotte if she had any advice to other couples planning their own wedding ceremony: “My advice would be just to be yourself, if there are things you want to do, do them, don’t feel you shouldn’t because it might be a bit different.  A don’t worry about the day, I didn’t like the idea of being centre of attention, but you’re so busy having a lovely day, you don’t even notice!”

Confetti

Bohemian Weddings photography

Bohemian Weddings photography

Bohemian Weddings photography

Between their wedding ceremony and reception, Charlotte and George had some time to chat with their family and friends and take some photos – just the two of them – amongst their beautiful village surroundings.

Bohemian Weddings photography

Country bride in wellies

Country bride and groom

Bohemian Weddings photography

Charlotte and George held their wedding reception in the village hall where they’d set up their Bedouin tent – Charlotte made all the decorations for her wedding herself.  “I ended up making all of the decorations myself, it wasn’t the plan from the beginning but the more I looked for inspiration, the more ideas I got!”

Village hall wedding

Rustic country village hall wedding

“I made tissue paper pom poms which were hung in the windows, and paper heart garlands which we used with a large piece of fabric to cover an autumnal hedgehog scene that was in the village hall when we arrived.”

Handmade paper heart garland

Handmade wedding paper pom poms

“The most time consuming were the rosettes on the back of the chairs which had everyone’s names on, so they served as place settings and favours, as everyone could take them home. I’ve had a few people since the wedding tell me they have them hanging up at home which is really lovely!”

Handmade rosette place name

It’s lovely to hear the Charlotte was inspired by my own wedding stationery when designing hers. “All of the stationery was made using brown recycled card inspired by Charlie from The Natural Wedding Company’s own wedding stationery!  I made the save the dates and invitations in the same style as your own (thanks for the amazing idea!), then used the same card to make the table plan.”

Rustic brown card wedding menu

“George made a frame which we painted and strung with the same circles as I used on the rosettes with everyone’s names on, using some nice chunky wool.  The menus and order of the day cards were printed on the same recycled card, then we cut blank A6 sheets for a guest book, asking everyone to leave us a message or doodle so we could frame them all to hang at home.”

Handmade frame table plan

Green glass vase with seasonal flowers

For their wedding feast, Charlotte and George chose to use local caterers who run a deli in nearby Market Harborough.  “The food was amazing which we were pleased about as we’re all about the food!”

“We wanted dinner to be served in big dishes down long tables for everyone to help themselves so it was a bit more sociable, and we choose a menu of hearty autumnal food, with pie and stew, followed by three puddings.  I also made a few bottles of fruit cordial so people had an alternative to wine during dinner.”

Handmade rosette wedding place setting

Vintage green glass bottle with flowers

Of course, as a wedding cake baker, Charlotte made her own wedding cake.  “Making our own wedding cake was more difficult than I thought as I couldn’t decide what to do!  I ended up making three separate cakes, in vanilla, chocolate and lemon, all quite simply decorated, on pretty cake stands.  I managed to get a bit of duck egg blue (my favourite colour) into the icing of the vanilla sponge too, along with some lace that my Mum gave me.”

Handmade country wedding cakes

In the evening they danced the night away with their family and friends, even having an impromptu first dance.  “We had decided not to have a first dance as neither of us are fans of dancing, but after a best man/bridesmaid collusion midway through the evening, we were talked into it.  I was given the choice of song, so I picked Beach Boys ‘God Only Knows’ as it’s so beautiful, I think it made it more special as it wasn’t planned.”

Bohemian Weddings photography

When asked whether there were any particularly special moments from the day, Charlotte explained the story behind these funny pictures of her and her bridesmaids wearing fake beards…

Fun wedding photos

“One of my favourite things was probably the beards – as George has a beard we’d encouraged the men to grow them specially (even putting it on the invitations!) and quite a few people actually did!  Some friends even brought fake beards which made an appearance during the ceremony and for the group photos.”

Bohemian Weddings photography

Charlotte and George chose the lovely and talented Bohemian Weddings to capture their wedding: “Our photographers Michael and Andrea of Bohemian Weddings were brilliant – George has known Michael for a few years and knew he’d do a great job.  They took so many photographs that totally captured the day, and some of my favourite pictures are really relaxed shots that I don’t even remember being taken.”

Bohemian Weddings photography

“We left everyone during the meal to get some photos of just me and George on our own, as well as having some incredible pictures, it also meant we got a bit of time with each other, I think that was one of my favourite parts of the day, so thank you Michael and Andrea for making it happen!”

Bohemian Weddings photography

In a bid to share as much advice for real brides, I asked Charlotte where she got her ideas and inspiration from: “I looked at so much online for inspiration whilst planning our wedding, there’s so much information once you start looking!  The Natural Wedding Company blog and directory gave me so many ideas.  From reading the how to guides for the wedding stationery and about other people’s real life weddings I picked out details that we could use ourselves.”  

“My mum has to be given a lot of credit too, she phoned me so many times with ideas of things she’d found and seen that we could use, I think she should start a new career as an event stylist!”

Vintage suitcase wedding card box

Following their wedding, Charlotte and George, along with their dog Ivy, spent their honeymoon at Fforest in Wales – another brilliant TNWC wedding venue (and honeymoon location!).  “We met at Fforest in September 2009 at an event called The Do Lectures, I was a volunteer and George won his ticket, so when it came to deciding where we would go on honeymoon, there was no question!  We then had the rest of our two weeks at home getting a few jobs done that we’d put off since buying our house.”

Tent wedding ceremony

As well as running her wedding cake business The Crafty Baker, Charlotte has been enjoying getting back to normal following their wedding: “I’m enjoying making things just for the fun of it, rather than for a wedding deadline and George is busy teaching himself cabinet making.  Ivy the dog is spending her time chewing fabric scraps and wood shavings whenever she gets the chance!”

Country wedding

A huge thank you to Charlotte and George for allowing me to share their wedding and all its details, and to Bohemian Weddings for supplying me with all their beautiful photographs of the day.

If you like Bohemian Weddings style of wedding photography don’t miss an exclusive offer on the blog tomorrow!

{ Details }

Photography: Bohemian Weddings (recommended supplier of The Natural Wedding Company)
Venue: Local village hall
Bedouin tent & furnishings: Oasis Events
Flowers for bouquets: Catkin Flowers (recommended supplier of The Natural Wedding Company)
Wedding dress: Forget Me Not Designs from Wedding Belles
Wedding cakes & decorations: The Crafty Baker (recommended supplier of The Natural Wedding Company)
Wedding stationery & paper details: Made by the bride inspired by The Natural Wedding Company
Bride’s earrings: Edera Jewelry
Catering: Emerson & Wests
Accommodation: Farndon Grange
Honeymoon: Fforest (recommended supplier of The Natural Wedding Company)

Comments

Becky on 9. January, 2013

Amazing, love it :)

Blog Love » Bohemian Weddings on 10. January, 2013

[…] are very excited to have our work featured on The Natural Wedding Company of Charlie and George’s country wedding. The blog really shows the many great details that […]

Hazel Somerville on 15. January, 2013

That was a brilliant and very inspirational real wedding. One thing that I have pondered long and hard over myself, is whether to bake my own cake as I just wouldn’t know what to do. Seeing what these guys have done for theirs, a wonderful variety of simple, elegant and delicious looking cakes, has made my mind up.

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