Today we have *A Natural, Rustic, Autumnal Wedding* featuring Jon and Lauren, who we met with *A Picture Perfect Proposal in Vietnam*
Jon and Lauren married on 22nd November 2014 at *Sopley Mill* in Dorset.
*Wedding Planning* Jon and Lauren got married a year after their charming spontaneous engagement in Vietnam and used the remaining two weeks of their trip to form their initial ideas of how they wanted their wedding to be: “Our first two weeks of being engaged, travelling around Vietnam, allowed us to build a vision.”
Jon and Lauren knew that they would plan their wedding, their way to reflect their own style as a couple: “We always said we will do the wedding the way we wanted to, not how others wanted us to. We are both passionate about food- so prioritised making this work how we wanted it.”
Jon and Lauren jointly planned the wedding: “We worked well together as a team with Lauren coming up with lots of ideas and themes, then we would talk about it together and Jon would get it all sorted out.”
And Jon was certainly one organised, efficient and hands-on groom, which is really refreshing to see: “Jon was great at planning, he was very relaxed and organised with a clear vision. He created a brilliant spreadsheet to keep track of everything from budgets, to quotes all the way through to final costs.”
*Nomad* were integral to Jon and Lauren’s wedding planning, who organised and provided the wedding decor, flowers and food, “The best part by far was working with *Nomad*, as it was great having it all done by the same company; we only had to explain the vision to one provider and they made sure everything worked in harmony.”
Jon and Lauren’s bridal party were also very involved and were dedicated to ensuring to making the wedding as personalised as it could be and made various things for the wedding.
*Wedding Inspiration* Pinterest, wedding websites and the bride and groom’s own personal style inspired this beautiful wedding, which incorporated all of the following:
“Rustic, winter, warmth, natural, comfort”
*Wedding Style* Jon and Lauren’s wedding style was chosen to reflect them as a couple and fitted the time of year and the venue perfectly:
“Autumn theme – rustic, natural, minimal, deep pinks, green and gold. This grew organically to fit with the time of year, the colour of the dress and the style of venue. We are both very outdoors people so wanted to bring that to our wedding and have a real focus on cosy winter days with lots of rich food and hot drinks.”
*Colour Scheme* Deep pinks, Green, Gold and Grey
*The Bride* Lauren found the prospect of wedding dress shopping slightly daunting,
“I was a bit unsure about what I wanted, went to a few shops and tried on a lot of dresses with my sister. I was quite worried about finding something I loved for my budget that would feel like me. Lots of the dresses were beautiful, but none felt right.”
Lauren’s dress was created with the wonderful help of the assistants at *Charlie Brear* – starting with a simple silvery slip, “I was initially a bit unsure, but the designer and the assistants were incredibly helpful and patient; we built the dress up with a stunning lace overskirt, cream sash and lace insert in the back. I eventually added freshwater pearls, which I’d bought in Vietnam when we got engaged too.”
Lauren loved ‘tailoring the dress to be perfect” and stated, “I was so happy with it, it felt like my dress which no-one else would have and something I loved. The team at *Charlie Brear* were absolutely fantastic, they really knew what they were doing and were so friendly and patient.”
And it certainly paid off, as Lauren looked dazzling in her bespoke *Charlie Brear* gown, “A silver grey slip with a cowl neck and low back, lace overskirt with pearls, lace insert at the back, pearls on the tie and a cream sash”. She accompanied this with a beautiful matching cream fingertip veil.
Lauren’s romantic hairstyle was created by *Honeycomb Styles* and was curled in a beautiful half-half down style. *Claire Bowring* created Lauren’s beautiful look and Lauren chose Claire as her make-up artist because she loved her website and found her very easy to talk to.
Lauren ensured that she was completely happy with her look, “We did trials with both Jo and Claire – both of whom very really great in helping me refine what I wanted and creating it to a really high standard. It made me feel very relaxed on the day.”
*Something Old Something New Something Borrowed Something Blue*
Lauren wore her grandmother’s stunning diamante earrings and ring and placed her brooch in her bouquet, which is such a lovely touch! Lauren added, “I didn’t want to buy anything new, and it was really important to have something of my grandmother with me on the day. Jon also surprised me with a beautiful filigree necklace on the day.”
Old – Lauren’s grandmother’s brooch placed in her bouquet | New – The pearls bought in Vietnam | Borrowed – Grandmother’s ring |Blue – Garter from Lauren’s bridesmaids which they surprised her with
*The Groom and Groomsmen*
Jon selected his groomsmen from his two main groups of friends from school and from university, “I wanted them both represented! It’s never easy choosing the groomsmen / best men, so I considered who I wanted there alongside me and who would be most helpful in the planning!”
Jon selected *Shepherd and Woodward*, a local shop in Oxford to hire his and the groomsmen attire, as “They had a really great selection of suits and colours”
Jon and his groomsmen wore fitted grey suits with crisp white shirts and bow ties. The groomsmen were given the bow ties as gifts, as a lovely memento of the wedding and something they could wear again.
Lauren had four bridesmaids and chose them with such careful thought,
“My sister who knows me well enough to know when I’m happy and when I’m not and will help me get it right for me by throwing herself into things completely. Laura P who is my oldest friend and makes sure that I stay true to myself and not just do things because I feel like I ought to. Kate P who is the most optimistic and enthusiastic person I’ve ever met and keeps us focused on the fact it’s a celebration and fun. She’ll will go off and make all of the silly things I asked for and make them better than I cold have imagined. Laura K who will move heaven and earth to get things done; highly practical and organised! They were all brilliant and I couldn’t have done it without their love, help and huge amounts of time crafting things, test baking cakes, organising epic hen-do and general emotional support they all gave. A force to be reckoned with!”
Lauren wanted berry coloured bridesmaid dresses and her lovely bridesmaids were very accommodating and happy to wear whatever Lauren wanted. However she was determined to find something that they could wear again and wasn’t overpriced just because it was a bridesmaid dress. Despite several shopping expeditions, Lauren found her bridesmaid dresses through *Coast* and was very happy with the final choice, “It was a berry colour to go with the theme, a style that suited them all and full length for extra warmth!” The bridesmaids looked gorgeous in their stunning dresses and the beautiful lace hair accessories.
*Morning of the Wedding*
Lauren’s parents house was the happy and relaxing haven for the morning of the wedding where Lauren and her bridal party,
“Had make-up and hair done, drank champagne, watched my dad learning to tie a bow-tie and fixing the pearls onto my dress with wire-cutters and pliers. Jon also sent a note, beautiful bouquet and chocolates that morning to my house – it was unexpected and wonderful, made me so happy and excited to marry him later that day!” Now that is one thoughtful groom!
*Honeycomb Styles* created the bridal parties gorgeous hair styles and applied the lovely lace appliques, which had been made by bridesmaid Kate from the off-cuts of Lauren’s dress. Such a gorgeous touch and I love this no-waste approach.
*Transport* Lauren explained that, “Jon selected a beautiful Daimler DS. It was so much fun getting all of my bridesmaids and my dad into the car and driving to the venue. I had time to relax and laugh and wave back to all the people driving past! The driver was great, we were going to arrive a bit early and he was happy to drive around with us in the car until it was time.”
The ceremony took place at the first floor of Sopley Mill, as Jon and Lauren wanted their ceremony and reception together, “It was important for us to do it all in one place so we could have as much time as possible with our family and friends”.
The intimate ceremony was very personal with three carefully selected readings, “One from Lauren’s favourite books, ‘Northern Lights’ by Philip Pullman and one from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Jon chose the final more light hearted poem called ‘Love is like owning a dog’
They treated guests to mulled cider, which is “a Christmas tradition in the Jones household”, winter pimms and spiced apple juice after the ceremony.
*Walking Down the Aisle*
Lauren’s father walked her down the aisle accompanied by the song ‘Blood’ by a band called the Middle East. Lauren added, “It possibly doesn’t sound very romantic, but it’s absolutely beautiful!”
The venue was an incredibly important wedding planning decision for Jon and Lauren,
“Most important was finding the right venue- we decided to aim to be down in Dorset to be near Laurie’s Granddad, so we built a list of potentials and started looking. When we found Sopley we knew straight away it was the right place for us. It was the first place we could visualise the day in. Sopley allowed us to plan it all the way wanted to – use our own caterers, bring our own drinks etc. Yes it’s more work that way- but we could create the day how we wanted it, not how somebody else thinks it should be.”
“It was beautiful in it’s own right – it’s a stunning building with enough space for all of our guests and the different parts of the day. The most important bit was that it had wheelchair access too!”
Jon and Lauren’s beautifully chosen venue had three floors, which had enough rustic charm that was decor in itself,
“We wanted to keep it quite minimal, the venue was so beautiful that we didn’t have to do much to it. It was rustic, simple but beautiful with outdoor space and a log fire!”
Instead, they opted for lots of personal touches to the various areas of the venue:
“Ground floor – we collected huge amounts of pictures of our lives up until that point and strung them across the venue as well as adding conkers, which our family had diligently been collecting for months! We also had a few quotes we loved and a ‘guess the age’ board for each of us which Laura K, our bridesmaids put together.”
“First floor – we had a wedding arch made of Silver birch, white flowers and foliage, which Nomad created for us – it was perfect. We also had blackboards & slates dotted around the venue with timings, quotes and taxi numbers! All of which bridesmaids and family made.”
“Second floor – autumn fruits and foliage around white church candles as centrepieces, thin gold gauze on top of white tablecloths, pale grey napkins and tall wine glasses on the tables. We had candles and conkers in the windowsills and gold star garlands which Emma and Kate made, strung around the sides of the walls. Fairy-lights in the rafters.”
“Outside – torches and candles for the evening”
Food was an integral part of the wedding day for Jon and Lauren and they spent a great deal of time carefully planning all aspects of food and drink on their day and were delighted with their choice in *Nomad*, “We both LOVE winter pies and fruits and Nomad helped us to create the perfect menu!”
“We had blackberry turnovers and sloe gin cream instead of canapés – we wanted something warming, rich and a bit decadent for people to eat. We served squash soup with pancetta, parmesan and basil oil in tin mugs with Lauren’s dad’s home-made bread as a starter. We also served individual bottles of ciders, beers and special soft drinks at this point.”
“For the main meal we wanted pies – not traditional, but there’s nothing we love more than a hot winter pie on a cold day with mountains of mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables – so that’s what we had! Nomad did a spectacular job and everyone has been telling us since how much they loved the food. For pudding we had Brown sugar pavlovas, served with cream and topped with star anise, plum and blackcurrant berry compote. And then of course all of the cakes! We had Char Sui Bao (Chinese bbq pork buns for midnight snack), I loved them when we lived in china and it’s become a bit a tradition to swing by Chinatown in London and grab them whenever we can.”
*A Piece of Wedding Cake*
Lauren’s bridesmaids made and decorated the three wedding cakes, which were served in the evening,
“Carrot cake (which we first started eating in South Africa and have eaten all over the world since), Victoria Sponge and chocolate cake. They also made 4 types of cupcakes: Gingerbread, chocolate with Earl Grey icing, Spiced Chocolate and Apple pie. We also had an apple cake kindly made by one of our friends who is an excellent baker and Jon’s gran always used to make them.”
Jon and Lauren bought 100 postcards after the proposal in Vietnam, which they then used as ‘Save the Dates’. This is a fabulous idea, which beautifully ties in the proposal with the wedding. The wedding invitations were designed using *Minted* wedding stationery templates and were customised with appropriate colours and map. Place cards were handwritten in gold by Lauren onto *Paperchase* luggage tags and placed under a sprig of Rosemary from the garden.
The seating plan was written on a chalk board, coordinating with other signs that were spread around the venue.
Table names were chosen carefully: “We had our favourite animals – e.g. red pandas; we visited the panda sanctuary in China, Yaks; from our Everest base camp trip”. Jon and Lauren left a blank leather bound book with thick brown paper leaves out for their guests to leave them personalised messages.
There were some lovely personal touches to the wedding, such as bunting made from photos of Jon and Lauren’s lives, a ‘Guess The Age’ of the bride and groom photo quiz created by bridesmaid Laura K, carefully selected quotes hung on the walls, a personalised wedding breakfast quiz created by Jon and sparklers in the evening.
Jon added, “We honestly thought they would generally entertain themselves for the most part with a few helpful nudges such as quizzes, good music and photos”.
They summarised their wedding reception as having a “Great band, sparklers lots of cake and dancing” and stayed right until the end, “We wanted to enjoy every last second”
“We worked on Spotify to create a playlist for the day- splitting it up with times of the day- i.e. pre-ceremony/ post-ceremony. The style of the music changed as the day went on, starting with sigur ros, moving to Jazz and eventually party music at the end.”
They also had a jazz band during the drinks reception and a band to get everyone dancing in the evening.
The fabulous Camilla Arnhold was Jon and Lauren’s chosen photographer whose work has been recognised by many wedding photography blogs. Camilla had gone to university with one of Lauren’s bridesmaids, Kate but once Jon and Lauren had looked at her website and met with her, they knew that she was perfect for the day. They wanted natural and relaxed photographs to be taken during the day with a few humorous groomsmen shots added in.
(The images used in this piece are not Camilla’s shots)
They worked closely with Camilla to create this, “She was with Lauren in the morning, did bridal party and parents shots. Then she drove to the venue where the groom and groomsmen were getting ready. She photographed Lauren as she arrived, then took informal photos for the day and a series of group shots after the ceremony.”
To see some of Camilla’s stunning work, please click *Camilla Arnhold Photography*
*Favourite Wedding Moment*
Lauren, “Jon took me aside to the bridal suite in the venue and gave me a beautiful filigree necklace. It was lovely just to spend some time together and such a stunning and thoughtful gift, both of which made me feel like the luckiest person in existence to have married him.”
Jon, “Seeing Lauren walk down the aisle.”
*Most Special Moment*
John stated, “Ensuring we could have laurens granddad there, he’s not very mobile, and one of the key features of the venue had to be that it would be easy for him to get around – it made her so very happy to have him there.”
*3 Most Memorable Parts of the Day*
Lauren: * “Driving to the venue – it was a short break which let me catch my breath, relax and look forward to the day ahead.”
* “The ceremony – walking down the aisle, seeing Jon’s face and all of our family and friends around us.”
* “First Dance – first time we had really spent together, great song, which we loved and could really dance to!”
Jon: * “Lukes ‘How love is like owning a dog’ poem.”
* “Sparklers- great fun, went rather close to laurens dress which could have somewhat spoiled the day!”
* “Speeches: Some great speeches with the last one being rather embarrassing!”
*Most Surprising Moment*
Lauren added, “Despite absolutely adoring my dress and really worrying about it getting wet/trodden on, after the ceremony we went outside for pictures and I was so happy. I really did not mind it dragging through puddles or people stepping on it – it was still absolutely stunning!”
*Wedding Photo That Encapsulates The Day* “The bridal party shot or the sparklers shot”
*Honeymoon* Jon and Lauren stayed at *The Green House Hotel* in Bournemouth after their wedding reception. They loved the “roll top baths and bubbles with breakfast”
Their first of two honeymoons in China involved three weeks of backpacking before the wedding, in which they visited friends and stopping in North-West China where Lauren had previously lived. They loved, “travelling together without planning the wedding, getting some space and perspective; it’s so easy to get caught up in the whole thing, it was nice to take a step back, and come back refreshed for the last few weeks!”
They planned a more relaxed mini moon after their wedding and stayed at *The Pig on the Beach* in Dorset. They adored their mini moon break after the wedding and added that, “This was a fabulous hotel out by Old Harry rocks with a view overlooking the cliffs and the sea. The hotel was wonderful with open fires and incredible food all locally sourced. We went for lots of long walks just the two of us, getting some rest and talking over our favourite parts of the wedding.”
Their favourite part of their honeymoon break was, “The food! And it was lovely to take some time just the two of us to reflect on what a wonderful day we’d had”.
*Pearls of Wedding Wisdom*
* “Do things the way you want them to be done, not the way you think they should be done.”
* “Put in the groundwork and choose a venue and suppliers you are happy with and trust, it will make the day itself much easier. We had great, professional people all around us and it made the day go so smoothly.”
* “Relax, people are there because they love you and want to celebrate with you!”
Thanks so much to Jon and Lauren for sharing their simply stunning rustic and autumnal inspired wedding with us. *Sparkle Pearls and Lace* loves the thought that has gone into the wedding planning process and the wonderful and honest insight they have given to us. The array of DIY and personal touches is very endearing and I am sure this will inspire other brides and grooms to get their bridal party involved. Jon and Lauren will have such wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.