There’s nothing more quintessentially British than a sunny village fete on a Bank Holiday, it’s all about cream teas, bunting and a few jugs of Pimms in the sunshine, perfect! For Brighton-based couple Andy and Emma, who married over the May Bank Holiday last year, this laid back theme suited their big day celebrations at Falmer Village Hall, to a tee.
It’s time to grab that cuppa and get lost in this gorgeous Sussex wedding. Over to bloomin’ lovely bride Emma to hear all:
Andy and I are both from Sussex, I’m from Patcham in Brighton and Andy is from Burgess Hill. We both love our home county and it was really important to have a local wedding so all of our friends and family could make it to our big day, especially our grandparents, as they are really important to us both. I got ready at my childhood home which was really special.
We went to a few wedding fayres locally and one up in London, well you are only going to get married once! I’m the first to get married in my family out of a few cousins so my mum, nan, sister, aunties, cousins and close friends all wanted to come along.
The big wedding fayres were good fun and gave you some lovely ideas but they weren’t really me and what I had planned in my head for my wedding day. The only thing that I fell in love with were my Rachel Simpson Tilly shoes. They were perfect.
Sam from Page and Picture did our wedding photography. Andy and I were really pleased to get Sam for our big day as it was lovely to have somebody who you could feel really relaxed with. So many people at the wedding thought that he was a friend of ours, as that’s Sam’s great laid back nature. His pictures captured our day perfectly!
We also used Sarah from Fizzy Snood. Sarah’s fabulous ‘floofs’ [paper pom-poms] were just the kind of thing I was looking for to add that summer time village fete look. Sarah has such great ideas and was so helpful in understanding what we wanted and then putting her magical touch to our venue. The snoods also made great take home keep sakes for friends and family!
As I’m not a dressy girl and I had no clue about what dress I wanted. I didn’t know the difference between a fishtail and a princess dress. I just knew I didn’t want a big dress. And, at first I couldn’t find that. Everyone kept saying “Oh you just know when you find the one,” but I had been to three shops tried on lots of dresses and none felt like the one!
Then a friend recommend Mathilda Rose and oh my goodness when I walked in to that shop I knew this was the place I would find my dress! Nicola put me at ease and her shop décor was the picture in my head of how a wedding dress shop should be! Now the wedding dress journey did have a little bump in the road as I did find a dress by Johanna Hehir but something didn’t quite feel right and I changed my mind! I’d seen a new range of Johanna’s dresses online and fell in love with Annabel. I went back tried her on and I then had the; I’ve found the one moment! Yes!
My childhood played a big part in the inspiration for our wedding day. Even though I’m not a girl who had dreamed about her wedding day from a young age, I knew I wanted to get married in All Saints Church, the church I went to as a child and played a big part in my childhood. Knowing we wanted to have a summery British village fete themed reception, we instantly ruled out hotels as we wanted it to be in a more unkept, vintage, quirky venue we could put our own stamp on.
My uncle and my mum suggested Falmer Village Hall as they had lived nearby when they were young and my sister and I used to visit the pond as kids to feed the ducks with our Nan and Grandad. We went to visit the hall and that was it. I could see the idea in my head coming to life of a fun filled day with bunting, a Sussex cream tea for pudding, flowers and pimms by the pond. Plus the major advantage we could be in control of what we wanted on our special day!
I’ve also had a funny little love for Routemaster Buses. Ever since I was little I’ve had a love for them and thought it would be cool to have one for my wedding day (lucky they’re ‘on trend’ as well!). It was great though sharing the excitement with everyone coming from the church, all arriving at the reception together on the bus to a lovely Pimms and champagne reception by the pond!
My Tips for Other Sussex Brides To Be are…
Go with what you and your groom want. Don’t be pressured by other people, what other people have done at their weddings, or what people expect! Do what you have in your head and in your heart. It really is the best day ever.
If you are going to do a DIY wedding, get an event plan together. Mapping everything that needs to happen weeks and months in advance helps so much. Set mini actions for you and your groom to achieve every few weeks and again pull in friends and family to help with this. It sounds silly but set up wedding meeting nights! Get a pizza in and just sit for a couple of hours with your groom-to- be to check how everything is going. Invite mums along as it gets them feeling part of everything and stops them worrying.
Also have a schedule for the day so you know exactly what’s supposed to happen. Of course it won’t go like clockwork but it gives you peace of mind and gets your mum off you back from asking questions. Just give her a copy and it should answer all of her concerns. I also gave a copy of this to my cousin on the day so he was overseeing everything and I could have fun and enjoy it.
Lastly get a good band! It makes the world of difference. Music makes the day and getting everyone, literally everyone up dancing is great. A family member suggested Murdoch’s Crazy Eyes – so when we went to see them play at a pub, we knew instantly they were the ones. Rob and the boys are brilliant!
Fabulous Friends & Family
My friend Angie is a florist and is also a really good friend of the family as well so has known me for years, so it was great having her input as she knew and understood exactly what we wanted. As British seasonal flowers were another key theme of the wedding, I wanted lots in the church and hall. As I love sweet peas my Nan and I tried to grow them for the day but even in the greenhouse with the cold winter they just didn’t flower in time! It was great fun though sewing the seeds and trying to get them to grow.
My uncle’s friend also helped us with the catering, Chris is an experienced caterer and understood that we wanted a British picnic themed menu with gammon, salmon, new potatoes, salads, cheese and breads followed by the cream tea! We had so much lovely food all from Sussex bakeries and food producers.
Also hiring your own venue gives you greater flexibility around your drink choices. We had a lovely trip up to London with my sister and her boyfriend to taste wines at Laithwaites. Lets just say nobody went hungry or thirsty at our wedding!
Another close friend Lou is a brilliant cake baker and knew exactly what I wanted when I asked for a naked Lemon Drizzle cake. It was beautiful and tasted great.
My hair, my mum’s and my sister’s were styled by my good friend Shelly who also happens to be our hairdresser. Again having a friend who knows you and your style made this a really enjoyable experience and it was great having another friend on hand on the morning of the wedding.
What we enjoyed most about planning our wedding was…
Having the control over what we wanted to do. I just loved, along with Andy, having the input in everything that we did. It was us, nobody else was telling us what to do. Also, being with friends and family when your making up the jam jars and the invitations. Setting up the venue the day before was really special having everyone helping out!
The most fantastic find had to be our custom made stamps. We used them as the main theme for the invitations on brown card with a strip of lace along the edge, along with hundreds of brown luggage labels stamped all by hand by chief stamper Andy! I received so many compliments on the invitations. They were so easy to make and that’s from someone like me who isn’t the most arty person in the world and so much cheaper than a lot of companies for something bespoke like this.
We also created a website by www.mywedding.com so people could reply online and also have all of the other information that I always lose when people send through wedding invitations with loose cards or other bits of paper inside.
Wow-oh-wow, what a wedding! It was great to see a bride and groom (and practically every member of the wedding party!) getting stuck in to create such a memorable day.
Andy and Emma really thought about what they wanted their wedding day to be, and did it, adding those pretty and oh-so personal touches along the way.
From the wedding website to the pizza planning nights, the no-stress schedule (mostly for the mums) to having someone oversee the celebratory goings-on, the couple planned their day to perfection and this really came across!
A massive thank you to Emma for sharing all of her top tips and helpful advice with us and to her fantastic wedding photographer Sam from Page and Picture for letting us share this wonderful May bank holiday wedding, we don’t know about you, but it’s made us want to dig out our picnic hampers and head off into the Sussex countryside for cream teas and cucumber sarnies!