Matt and Tamar got married in a beautiful old church in Stoke-on-Trent. It was so colourful and expressive, with a real atmosphere of family and togetherness. They are a lovely couple, and their wedding was so unique and reflected their personalities so well! I loved the handmade, natural, boho style that they created throughout the day.
I’ll pass you on to the bride to explain a bit more in depth about the process of planning the day and what she and her husband wanted it to look like:
Venue: Shallowford House
Both Matt and I are Christians and we really wanted to have our wedding a church building. My mum is actually a vicar, so we had the ceremony at St. Marks Church where she is currently working. The church is actually undergoing some repairs and has some scaffolding up around the front and some work being done inside, but we managed to disguise this to some extent by wrapping flowers and greenery around the scaffolding and using lots of foliage and gypsophila inside the church.
After the ceremony, we went to Shallowford House for our wedding breakfast and evening reception. It is such a beautiful venue! They don’t usually do weddings, but they were so lovely and accommodating, and were very excited to be hosting us! It’s a lovely old house used as a spiritual retreat centre in the Staffordshire countryside where meetings and conferences are held. We knew of the house through my mum since she’d done some work there in the past, and we were already in love with how hidden away it felt and the lovely grounds around the house. We set up a marquee outside the house, and rented out the entire place for the weekend. I am so grateful to have been able to have our wedding there, it made it so special because of our personal connections with Shallowford House, and because they gave us complete freedom to decorate as we wished! They even set up activities like a zip wire, a fire pit, archery and croquet for us!
I have a real mix of bridesmaids! I have three sisters, one of which (my maid of honour) felt much more comfortable wearing a suit than a dress so we got her some really nice cigarette trousers from Zara, a white blouse from Topshop, a waistcoat from Burton, a pink bowtie from Asos, and some really cute pink kitten heels from Zara. My two other sisters are Sri Lankan, and I really wanted them to feel comfortable in their outfits too, so we bought some Shalwar fabric from a market in Birmingham, and one of Matt’s groomsmen’s mum actually made the shalwar kameez for my sisters herself!
I had seven bridesmaids all together, and the remaining four bridesmaids each designed their own dress (I really wanted all of my bridesmaids to feel comfortable and able to have their own input into the style of the day, since they each have such a wonderful part to play in my life). So I went to Birmingham with Matt’s groomsman’s mum (Jane), bought some fabric to make the dresses out of, and then each bridesmaid sat down with Jane and designed their own dress. I love the way each dress turned out! They really did suit the girls so much, and I was overjoyed with the way my bridal party looked all together! They are all such beautiful girls!
Rings: H. Samuel
Matt actually chose my engagement ring without any input from me! I think the most I said to him (probably about a year before he actually proposed) was that I wanted a gold band. He knows that I like things that are a little bit different, and a bit boho looking, and he chose the perfect ring from H. Samuel! It’s a gold band, with a sapphire stone surrounded by a ring of diamonds. We chose a matching gold band as my wedding band, with a scoop to accommodate my engagement ring’s stone, and some diamonds dotted along the centre of the ring, also from H. Samuel. We got Matt’s wedding ring from the same place – a silver band with a gold band running through the middle.
Matt and I are both vegan, and we wanted a fully vegan wedding! So our cake had to be vegan, too. Because of this, we thought it would be easier (and more special) for us to get some help from family. My auntie actually made our wedding cake. She’d never made a wedding cake before, but I remember growing up thinking that her children always had the best birthday cakes; she’s really creative and talented, and we thought that it would be so lovely to have our cake made by someone we love so much! She did an absolutely amazing job – we had a vegan naked rainbow cake with an icing sugar dusting, buttercream filling and decorated with flowers that matched my flower crown and mine and my bridesmaids bouquets. We are so grateful – and the cake went down so well! I didn’t even get a bite!
Flowers: Jody Page
Our flowers were arranged by the beautiful Jody Page. I came across Jody at a festival wedding fair held in Birmingham, and instantly fell in love with her arrangements! I booked her pretty much there and then, and we shared a Pinterest board so that we could collate ideas. She gave me the most beautiful flowers I could have asked for. I would not change a single thing! She made the most gorgeous flower crown for me to wear, some absolutely perfect flowers for my mum’s hair, and my bridesmaids bouquets were simply perfect. My bouquet was pretty close to the most beautiful thing I’ve seen!! The photos show it better than I can explain it, but it’s so big and beautiful, and messy in the best way possible; it was exactly what I was hoping for and more.
Photographer: Laura Rhian Photography
What can I say about Laura! Amazing. I’ve known Laura for many years now, before I knew Matt even! And I’ve seen her work and always known that I wanted her to shoot my wedding one day. When we got engaged, one of the first things I did was message Laura and see if she had our date available! We did an engagement session with her about a month after we got engaged, which was shot in the same place that Matt proposed to me, and the photos came out so beautiful. I have them dotted around my house in almost every room. The photographs and video from the day were really important to us, since we think it’s the best way that we have to re-live the best day of our lives. We knew that we could trust Laura to capture our wedding in a really beautiful, relaxed, raw and real way, which is exactly what we wanted and it’s exactly what she did.
To decorate, we bought some plastic vines and foliage from amazon, a few cute little signs from Ginger Ray, and then I pretty much either made everything else, or borrowed it from friends. Quite a few of my friends got married recently, so I got our table cloths from a couple that I know, as well as some cute lanterns and jars, which we decorated with left over fabric from when the bridesmaids dresses were made. The table numbers were different years in our lives, with photos of Matt and I in each year, and for the centre pieces, we bought some succulents and cacti from ebay, and my dad and I sawed some logs up that were in our garden to make placemats for the centrepieces. It was all very handmade and on a budget, which just made it that much more personal and special to us.
When you were planning, what were the most important things that you wanted for your wedding?
The most important things to us were that the wedding was ethically in alignment with what we felt was right, so we wanted biodegradable cutlery, plates, confetti, and all of the food was vegan. We also just really wanted it to reflect us as a couple – down to earth, a bit boho and natural and messy and fun and playful! We really wanted people to feel relaxed, to enjoy themselves, and to have fun spending time with family old and new.
Is there anything that you wished you had done differently?
honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Can you offer any advice to couples in the planning process?
Don’t let other people influence you too much. The wedding will be amazing as long as you feel comfortable with what is happening – if someone close to you is pressuring you to do things that you either don’t want or aren’t your style, don’t do it just to please them. Remember this is about your relationship, nobody else’s. You do you and it’ll always be beautiful.