Another gorgeous wedding captured by Julie Michaelsen Photography, to share with you today!
Meet charming James of British heritage and delightful Rachel of British-Guyanese heritage, wanted nothing more than to make their wedding their own and they did so beautifully with such considered personal touches.
Rachel and James got married on 3rd October 2015. They held their romantic message in a bottle, beer inspired wedding at Crabbs Barn in Kelvedon, followed by an intimate blessing at Rachel’s family church two weeks later.
Over to the gorgeous Rachel with her infectious smile, who gave me the details of their beautiful day.
James and I have known each other for 10 years and we had talked about getting married several times.
In January 2014 we went on an extended holiday to Iceland, Toronto, New York and finishing in Disney World Florida (a long-standing dream of mine).
This was our last holiday in term time before I started teaching. Unfortunately for James after doing laundry in New York I found the ring box in his luggage (Nu Bride: LOL!) – he knew but we didn’t talk about it. (Nu Bride: Good call) I was then expecting a proposal for the rest of the trip, but after the amazing places we had been I was struggling to work out when he was planning to ask me. I was finally distracted once we got to Disney World until we went to Epcot one day. James would not let me carry the bag.
My suspicion grew.
I wanted to get the boat back to the entrance but insisted we walk back through the England set up. I popped into the bathroom and when I came out he said he wanted to ask me a question.
I realised later that James had chosen the perfect spot outside the replica of Hampton Court palace, which is my favourite place! My instant response however was not in front of the toilets, which was awful of me. We did then take a walk into their replica of the Hampton Court maze and he asked me there. Much to the appreciation of an American passer by.
We settled on our theme fairly early on.
We love to travel and wherever we go we love to try local and craft beers so we wanted to represent this in our day.
We found a fair bit of inspiration and the rustic feel we wanted seemed to be everywhere so we had a lot of ideas to choose from.
However I really struggled when it came to finding hair and make up inspiration that suited my skin tone without pushing me too far in one direction. I have mixed heritage and so I needed to find someone I was comfortable with. Thankfully in the end we did, but a lot of websites did not feature anyone of my complexion so it was incredibly hard to make a call.
We booked Julie Michaelsen Photography to capture our wedding. Julie was amazing from start to finish. Photographs were the part of the day we were looking forward to least, but after a couple of meetings beforehand and an engagement shoot running from the rain in Regents Park, she made us feel more than comfortable and we were actually able to enjoy the experience.
The ceremony was of course brilliant.
James struggling not to cry and me in a fit of giggles because it was actually happening!
Our favourite moment was a hi-five just after the photographs.
With such large families we knew this part could last quite a while and standing and posing doesn’t suit us at the best of times. For some reason though it all went very smoothly and didn’t take too long at all.
We didn’t even realise we’d finished until Julie came forward and without missing a beat James turned to me and said drink? And we nailed a hi-five surrounded by our bridal party. It was so lame and so perfectly us that it remains one of our highlights.
We weren’t interested in ‘traditional’ roses and white flowers. James was keen on thistles to represent his Scottish heritage and everything else we just wanted to be wild. James put it the best, we wanted more of the things that normally go with flowers than actual flowers themselves. Finished with hessian, the results were stunning.
In the main barn we wanted our flowers to add to our theme. So in the run up to the wedding we drank a lot of beer (not a problem) and then were able to use the bottles as our table decorations on thick cut logs from the florist.
We also had dried hops used throughout the decor and flowers, another nod to our theme. Our chair covers were from Chic Chair Couture with a hessian bow and our stationery was designed to match by Kathryn Deeley. She had a range of designs and we were able to personalise the ribbon/hessian to match our theme. The did our invites and then place cards, which we settled on very close to the day.
Each table was named after a beer that meant something to us and our table plan showed people where they all came from on a map. Einstok from our visits to Iceland, Steamwhistle from Toronto, even Watchmaker, which we had the chance to brew at a Craft brewery in Islington.
We named our parents table Flying Dodo after a beer we hoped to try in Mauritius on our honeymoon. We then had the hops, beer bottles and our favours to do the rest.
The food was prepared by Jamie Lee Smith Catering. The venue came with 5 preferred suppliers and after a couple of tastings Jamie’s menu gave us both something we wanted as well as our guests more of an option.
My amazing sister designed us some personalised beer mats with our initials, hops and the navy colour. These were printed by beermats.com and came very quickly. We gave these away as favours along with shot sized glass beer tankards, which we eventually found on Velvet City.
The funniest moment was most definitely the speeches.
My dad gave a brilliant speech which made everyone cry. It has been a long standing joke that when we were at school together I was head girl and James was deputy head boy. My dad however has always just assumed that James was head boy too. James politely corrected him during the speech and we moved on.
The next speech however was one of our best friends and James’ brother, Robert. They both introduced themselves, but Robert added that he had in fact been head boy at his school. There is the perfect photograph of him smiling at James just after this and our table in hysterics like the rest of the room.
For our first dance we chose Feels like Home, sung by Randy Newman. We began the dance together, then each had a moment with our dad/mum, before finishing together again. (Nu Bride: How lovely)
Challenges and Triumphs
Most of the ideas and planning we did together. But when it came down the the nitty gritty with final phone calls and actually putting a timeline of the day together that people needed to consulted Sonia Abrams at Event Artisans.
We needed a fresh look and she was able to pull our efforts together and asked us questions we had not even considered like food for suppliers, decorating on the day (I had assumed I would be able to do it!) She was very helpful and great with our finishing touches so things ran smoothly.
We created our own challenges by trying to find and buy a flat in amongst wedding planning. (Nu Bride: For good measure!) Which only just worked out as we had a new boiler fitted while we were all at the wedding so that we had somewhere safe to go home to.
We could not have asked for anything to go better on the day (apart form perhaps the initial choices of music) and we owe this to Crabbs Barn. They were always on hand to move things along and to check everyone had what they needed, it made all the difference.
One Tip for other couples
Don’t let any traditions stop you from making the day your own, but also don’t be afraid to make those traditions your own.
Photographer: Julie Michaelsen Photography
Venue: Crabbs Barn, Kelvedon, Essex
Dress: Rock the Frock Bridal | Shoes: Irregular Choice | Jewellery & Accessories: Bird Cage veil from Lily Bella, Bracelet from Pearsons Enfield and Accessorize | Hair & Makeup: Zena at The Boutique
Suit: Moss Bros | Shoes: Clifford James | Jewellery & Accessories: Tie from Charles Tyrwhitt and a personal pin from the Ron Pickering Fund (groom’s grandfather) who supports young athletes
Bridesmaid Dresses: NABBD (Not Another Boring Bridesmaid Dress) | Bridesmaid Shoes: TopShop and Marks & Spencer | Jewellery & Accessories: Small pearl necklaces from John Lewis, bracelets from Accessorize
Cake: Genuine Cakes and my great aunt also made us a traditional West Indian fruit cake with a lot of rum in it! | Flowers and Décor: Springfield Flowers, Chelmsford Chair Covers Chic Chair Couture | The food: Jamie Lee Smith Catering. | Stationery & Favours: Stationery Kathryn Deeley | Personalised beer mats (bride’s sister) beermats.com and miniature tankards Velvet City | Entertainment: In house DJ at Crabbs Barn.