We love a DIY sustainable wedding and Alice + Tom’s is a wonderful example of how you can transform a marquee into a unique and personal space for your day. The day sounded magical and the pair were lucky enough to have the most incredible cake table – we definitely want to try the meringues! We will hand it over to Alice + Tom to hear about their special day in their own words…
How We Met
Tom was a friend of my brother so we have known each other for years. We have been together for over 10 years now, time has flown! We got engaged in December 2014; Tom booked us a last minute holiday to Egypt to get some summers sun. We stayed in a beautiful hotel and had a lovely holiday. On the last evening we went out for a beautiful meal and then went for a walk around the grounds. Over a pretty bridge, Tom got down on one knee and asked me to marry him – I thought he was joking to begin with! It was the perfect proposal as I would have hated anything where other people were around us. It was a ‘fake’ ring so I had the excitement of going to collect the real ring the day after we arrived back home.
The Hair + Make Up
Whenever I go out I always wear my hair down, I wanted to look like me on my wedding day so I didn’t even consider an up do. A friend recommended going and looking at salon near my parent’s house called ND Hair & Beauty in Tettenhall, Wolverhampton. I knew from the moment I walked in I was going to have my wedding hair done there, it is a lovely family salon and they were on the same page as me from the beginning. They made me feel so comfortable and welcome there. They went above and beyond to make the whole process for me special.
My friend got married the year before and I was bridesmaid. I loved the makeup artist she used so I went straight to the same person when it came to me – Bridal & Beyond. Abbi was outstanding, she really listened to what it was I wanted and made us all feel very comfortable on the day.
The search for the dress was a long one. I started looking at the National Wedding Show in Birmingham, a great place to see lots of different dresses in one place but not the time to buy one. I then went to at least 6 different shops and tried on what felt like hundreds of dresses. I ended up getting the dress from a cool shop in the Northern Quarter, Manchester, Jean Jackson Couture. The one I decided on was designed by Naomi Neoh and called Orchid. I decided on this dress because it was the one I felt the most comfortable in, I knew I could wear it all day and not be restricted. I also fell in love with the beautiful lace of the dress, it was different to others’ I had seen, it was more delicate and the back of the dress was stunning (even though I didn’t really know what I wanted I always knew I wanted a back with detail).
I went for a pretty big headpiece; my dress was simple so I wanted to add a little bit of sparkle. I also got a detailed belt. Both were Ivory & Co, they have a fantastic range of accessories.
When it came to jewelry I wanted it to be simple and classy. Tom had bought me a gorgeous diamond necklace a few years ago; it was exactly what I wanted to wear on my wedding day so I kept with that. I bought my earrings and bracelet from Monica Vinader.
For my veil I was lucky enough that my sister-in-laws lent me her veil. So my something borrowed was very easy. It was a beautiful cathedral length veil with a lace trim.
The bridesmaid’s dresses proved to be more difficult than my own. I had more of an idea of exactly what I wanted for them and unfortunately I couldn’t find any anywhere. I wanted white/ivory – white bridesmaids dresses are very hard to find! I went down the route of having some custom made but they turned out to be far too expensive. Safe to say I was very disheartened and thought I was going to have to change my style when one of my bridesmaids found one on ASOS, they were just what I wanted and also happened to be very cheap it seemed too good to be true. I ordered a set for the girls to try on and they were just perfect!
Tom’s suit and shoes were from Moss Bros. We had been looking for quite a bright blue, slim fit suit and we find the perfect one there! It was a French Connection one. We got his tie and pocket square from John Lewis.
The best men and grooms men wore their own blue suits and then they had the same tie and pocket square as Tom.
As you can probably tell I didn’t want much colour. For inspiration I had spent a lot of time on Pinterest. We were recommended the florist Simply Flowers By Catherine and I showed her all of the ideas I had pinned and she brought them to life. The main flowers we used were; hydrangeas, quicksand roses (the most beautiful colour), bombastic roses and gypsophila… The flowers were made to look natural with the use of quite a lot of greenery to break it up.
Alan Grant a friend of mine who I work with is also a wedding photographer; he did my friend’s wedding the year before and then did ours. We couldn’t have been happier having him to take our photos; neither of us like having out photograph taken and having a friend do it put both of us at ease. He captured our wedding day perfectly, such beautiful and natural shots. It is exactly how we remember it! We will treasure his beautiful photographs forever.
We had a traditional ceremony in my family church. It is one of the most unusual, stunning churches inside. We stuck to the traditional vows. Most of the readings were from the Bible and we had an additional reading How do I love thee by Elizabeth Barrett, this was my late Auntie’s favourite poem, it was my way of having her there. We had friends and family doing the readings but the best part was having my 8 year old nephew do a reading, he did such an amazing job… I was so proud of him.
I was so nervous to begin with, I didn’t think I was going to be but the second I stepped foot in the church I was shaking a little. Tom really helped to calm my nervous and we laughed and smiled our way through the ceremony.
The reception was in a marquee on a beautiful piece of land belonging to a family friend on their farm.
We had a vintage cream VW Camper and a vintage Beetle from Dubs with Love. The bridesmaids and my mum went in the camper to the church and my dad and I went in the Beetle. Then from the church to the venue Tom and I went in the camper and my mum and dad went in the Beetle. They were both really cool and looked great in the photographs. The people were lovely and really looked after us, providing us with Prosecco and strawberries for after the ceremony.
Call the Caterers, again they were recommended by a friend of ours. We had the chef’s choice canapés, thai fish cakes to start, feta and sundried tomato stuffed chicken and an eton mess. The evening food we had a cheese board and pork baps. The food was delicious, well presented and beautiful flavours. The staff were very professional and did a great job.
My sister in law made our main cake as a wedding present.
We had a cake table, half of the cakes were made by my sister’s friend who has a local coffee shop (Village Coffee, Bakery & Kitchen, Codsall) and the other half were made by Tom’s family, they have a café in Wales. Not only were they beautiful to look at and quite a feature of the marquee décor, they were also delicious.
The entertainment was one of the best things about the wedding; everyone still talks about the band now. It is so important to get this bit right, my worst nightmare was an empty dance floor, and luckily this wasn’t an issue… it was full from start to finish. During the reception drinks we had Ed Davis, playing the guitar and singing, he was outstanding and really set the tone for the wedding, guests were able to enjoy listening to him while sipping on prosecco (or larger/ale). He was my next door neighbour growing up. He was joined by his band (The Copicats) and a DJ in the evening. They played well known covers and had everyone dancing all night, I couldn’t have wished for a better band.
How did you make the wedding ethical and / or sustainable?
We had a lot of DIY. Outside the marquee we had a walkway with lots of flowers; Tom had grown all these himself in our garden, they added a splash of colour and were beautiful to look at. Also, some of the plants in our table plan were grown by us.
The centerpieces we had were jars on top of wooden logs. My dad sourced the logs and then cut them all using his chainsaw. Everyone I knew was collecting jars for us that we then decorated to suit our theme.
Our wooden signs were made using a laser printer and Tom made some extra signs to use as directions by creating a stencil and spray painting it on to wood.
Some family friends very kindly made our place settings, by tying together dried lavender and corn.
The day before the wedding it was all hands on deck, transforming an empty marquee into our dream wedding venue. We even mowed the field outside the marquee!
Do what you want to do not what you think you should do. Enjoy the day and don’t worry about any little things that might not go to plan (no one else will know). Be part of the day – we didn’t have many group photographs as we wanted to be involved in everything and didn’t want to miss out.
Catering / Call the Caterers | Cake / a friend | Entertainment/ Ed Davis & band
What a wonderful DIY rustic chic wedding with the most amazing cake table we have seen yet! Thank you Alice and Tom for sharing your day with us and thank you Alan for the photographs.