When I started this blog, I had no idea of how many wonderful new friends I would make. And Nicki Lyall of Nicki Feltham Photography is one of the best – talented photographer who I’ve had the pleasure of working with on a styled shoot, hilarious messenger buddy, and all-round super supportive gorgeous human being. I saw her wedding on Love My Dress blog in 2013, and was very much heart-eyes for its 1950s, polka-dotted, Christmassiness. So it’s an absolute thrill to be able to feature it here on Way Out Wedding. Not feeling festive yet? You will after seeing these photos from the fabulous Kelly Green of Lola Rose Photography. I mean it’s a wedding with Santa Claus, for crying out loud!!!
The Story of The Day
“As we are such big fans of Christmas and myself of the ’50s era, we decided on a vintage festive wedding with lots of red polka dots and a flash of tartan: the Lyall family tartan from the Sinclair clan, to be exact! And thank goodness we had Gemma and Katy from Distinctly Yours there to help style everything, set it all up beautifully, and run the day for us. They are the most amazing team to have behind you on your day. They bring your visions to life and keep the day ticking along nicely and seamlessly. They are so passionate about what they do, too. Absolute dream team!
“Steve was a good friend of my sister’s and her husband, and I had liked him for quite a while so we were already friends for a little bit before we got together. I was the first girl he’d taken home to meet his parents, and I knew straight away what an amazing guy he was – a real family man. Twelve years and three gorgeous children later, Steve proposed Christmas 2012, and after the tears, and my saying yes, we decided we would have a Christmas wedding the very next year, so plans got under way pretty quickly!
“Our wedding took place at Bignor Park, near Petworth in West Sussex. We fell in love with Bignor Park but weren’t able to stretch our budget to have our wedding reception there, so we booked the beautiful little village hall across the road from the church in Duncton instead, and were all set and excited to have our party there after the ceremony. Sadly, just one week before the wedding date, we discovered that the hall was having an extension built as well as scaffolding up around the walls and roof. Also there was a portable toilet in the car park, a big skip, and mud and breeze blocks everywhere!
“It looked like a building site and we were devastated. Luckily, the amazing Louise and owners of Bignor Park came to our rescue. We had gotten to know Louise at church over the year and she really was our saving grace. Within a week, we managed to turn it all around and we had the most spectacular reception at Bignor. It was more than we could have ever dreamt of, and we are forever grateful for the help and kindness we were shown by everyone at Bignor Park.
“My niece, Emma Burt, who was also one of my bridesmaids, made my dress. After visiting a couple of unhelpful bridal shops and not really finding what I was looking for, I plucked up the courage to ask Emma (who’d only just finished her A Level in textiles) if she’d make my dress. I had seen first-hand just how clever Emma was with a sewing machine; she has such a creative eye and attention to detail, so I knew she could do it. I was just worried it would be too much stress for her, but she agreed and we set to work straight away.
“I bought Emma a new machine and some old curtain material, and we made a mock-up and looked at various designs, then Emma came up with the rest. The dress evolved as we went along – it was quite an organic process for me and I loved it, but it caused a few sleepless nights for poor Emma! The end product was simply perfect, though. My very own custom made-to-measure beautiful ’50s dress, with lots of netting, bows, a sash and a layer of polka dots, too – I was delighted and will forever be indebted to Ems. She also made both hers and Lucy’s dresses, and Mia the flower girl’s, too!
“My good friend and florist Lou from Daisies Florist in Middleton-on-Sea supplied our flowers. I wanted something polka-dotty for my bouquet, so I went for white roses with cherries and berries in! The bridesmaids had little red felt balls mixed in with their white roses. Steve had a thistle in his button hole with a large white rose, and the centrepieces were Christmas wreaths so people could take them home as presents and have them on their front door. They looked fab with cinnamon sticks, apples and oranges all mixed in with the polka-dot and tartan ribbons. We were over the moon with the results. Lou also did the bouquets for the mums and special people for us and they were stunning, too. I would (and do!) always recommend Lou.”
“Our wedding cake was a work of art and tasted absolutely delicious, too! We had a layer of chocolate ganache, then carrot cake with orange butter icing, and a white chocolate and cherries layer, and also a separate ginger cake with ginger bread house on top. Our wedding motto was ‘eat cake and be married,’ and our great friend and baker extraordinaire, Tess of Chatter Cakes, did us proud. We love our cake topper family, too – the five of us; just perfect!
“To style our wedding reception, we used all our own Christmas decorations from home, plus extra baubles! We also used lots of Chinese lanterns, jam jar tea lights and honeycomb hanging paper decorations – all from ebay, Etsy and notonthehighstreet.com. Also got some fab festoon lights from a local garden centre and anything shabby chic from around our home, like our bureau and painted step ladder. Distinctly Yours added lots of candelabras, bird cages, crates, and supplied the dresser top for the sweetie shop. Their input was amazing; we could not have been happier.
“Steve’s friend supplied the bar as we couldn’t get a licence in time for the new venue. This was great, though, as it ended up being a ‘bring a bottle’ wedding – one of the best last minute decisions ever! The mojito station was great, and the shots kept coming at a snip of the price we would have paid at a bar!
“Our photographer was Kelly Green of Lola Rose Photography, and we were really nervous about being in front of the camera. But Kelly and I have been friends for a few years now and I’ve always loved her work. Her photos are incredible and she completely put us both at ease. She worked so hard all day, and there was a lot to photograph, but we didn’t have many group shots, we just wanted the fun of the day captured. Having said that, we had the most amazing 30 mins or so just with Kelly for some portraits, which was wonderful as it allowed us to chill out for a bit and enjoy being newlyweds, and have some great photos taken, too. I’m not even sure how we’ll go about thanking Kelly for all the fantastic memories she’s given us!
“My hair was styled by my hairdresser and dear friend, Mel from The Worx in Bognor. As a mum to three young boys, going to the hairdresser’s was such a treat! Make-up was by artist and another dear friend, Sarah from Enhance Make-up.
“My brother walked me down the aisle, and it was a very special moment. Having a church service was so magical – Steve and I only had eyes for each other and can honestly say it was one of the most special parts of the day. Giving yourself, promising yourself to just one person for the rest of your life is the ultimate compliment you can pay someone and it really has brought us closer together and made our feelings for each other stronger.
“My sister read a chapter from the book of Ruth – short and sweet, but very meaningful…
‘Wherever you go, I will go.
Wherever you live, I will live.
Your people will be my people.
Your God will be my God too.
Wherever you die I will die.
And there I shall be buried beside you.
We shall be together for ever.
And our love will be the gift of our life.‘
“For favours, we bought lots of bits in the sales last Christmas – little felt Christmassy smelling hanging hearts for the girls and Christmas spice tea lights for the boys. Children had colouring books, stickers and the best sweetie shop ever! Plus Father Christmas came with presents for them all after the meal.
“Our first dance was Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, the Christina Perry version. We chose that because there is a verse about faithful friends gathering near to us, and we thought they could all join in and dance with us, but they were unfaithful on the day and left us shuffling awkwardly around the dance floor together!
“With all the stresses and strains we had leading up to the day, we were exhausted, but we ran on adrenaline on the actual day. I already knew how fast weddings whizz by, so try to sit back and enjoy it when you can – take moments to be just with your husband/wife (and maybe the photographer, too!). Just enjoy.
“I wouldn’t have done anything differently because the whole day was everything I could have dreamed of, and more. Perhaps we should have just booked Bignor from the start, but we weren’t to know about the village hall!
“We had nothing formal about our day, no speeches, no pomp and ceremony – it was just one big happy party. We thought as an older bride and groom perhaps we should have got married before having a family, but it was great having the boys there, too, and all our friends with their families made it that bit more special. We honestly do feel so blessed and lucky. All of it – the service, the photos with Kelly, the meal, Father Christmas coming, the party, the dancing – really and truly, all of it was perfect.”
Photographer – Lola Rose Photography
Wedding planner/stylist – Distinctly Yours
Venue – Bignor Park in West Essex
Bride – dress made by the bride’s niece Emma, feather stole by Wonderful Wraps; veil/headpiece and accessories – bird cage with vintage brooch head band – Glitters; shoes – Irregular choice, Rocket Dog, and Evercreatues
Groom – suit by Skopes (via House of Fraser); tie via Lochcarron of Scotland; brogues by Ben Sherman
Bridesmaids – dresses by Emma (the bride’s niece); bow necklaces from Dorothy Perkins; stoles from eBay.
Page boy/young male assistants’ outfits – Monsoon, H&M, Etsy
Flowers – Daisies Florist
Cake – Chatter Cakes
Entertainment – Anthem Band
Rings – Ernest Jones (brides) + Wedding Rings Direct
Catering Company – The Hog Squad
Stationery – Carolyne Burton
Hairstylist – The Worx Hair and Beauty
Makeup-artist – Enhance Make-up