REAL BRIDE TAKEOVER // Claire & Ollie, Vintage English Riviera Wedding

All wedding day photographs by the talented Abigail Steed Photography

All wedding day photographs by the talented Abigail Steed Photography

Today real bride Claire is taking over our blog to tell you more about planning their vintage inspired seaside wedding and what made the day so special.

Some guests (cough *parents* cough) were quite sceptical about the idea of a humanist wedding. A non traditional venue. Spending money on design. Spending NO money on cars (I got a taxi). No money on cake (I asked 20 friends to bring a cake). Spending money printing things to hang from the ceiling and a palm tree. It was all a bit backwards for them. But you know what. Everyone LOVED the wedding. Moral of the wedding. Do what makes you happy. If what makes you happy is unique, personal, hand drawn designs. DO IT.

I had thought quite a lot about what my wedding would be like (fun, unique and lots of cake), look like (beautiful, glam and colourful), the sort of shoes I'd wear (blue) and lots of other things you can get carried away with (oh the lost hours spent building dream wedding boards). It wasn't until I met with the florist and I showed her my idea for flowers that this came tumbling down a bit.

The flowers I had carefully selected would all die, were fake, not available at the time of year or not available in Devon (unless I had a private jet to transport them in - I had grand ideas, but maybe not that grand). So I stopped referring to all my wedding boards, wedding magazines (now there's a mine field we do not have time to talk about. Short hand: step away from the white dress book) and I looked at all the people around me were are experts in things that I needed to create a dream wedding. Friends, family, people who have businesses in Devon (some minutes walk from my house) and others that I'd bump into along the way who knew exactly what I was banging on about. This is how I came to ask Abi of Dearly Beloved to help me out.

I knew I needed invitations, a menu, seating plan and all the usual things. But more than that, I knew I wanted someone uber talented, fresh with ideas, great style and with both computer and paint brush illustration techniques to help me make my wedding look like I imagined. Abi doesn't just give you the bits of paper that you need logistically. She breathes life and beauty into the tactile things people touch, keep and hold on to as lasting mementos of your day. When all the Facebook pics have disappeared off the news feed. You can bet your programme of service will be loving treasured in a drawer (or else forgotten, ready to be found and loved again in years to come). Here are some of the things I especially loved about the day and where you can really see Dearly Beloved at the wedding.

Each of the wedding invitations (day and evening) were illustrated with a portrait of Claire & Ollie looking out across Torquay Bay. Liberty Pearl Photography

Each of the wedding invitations (day and evening) were illustrated with a portrait of Claire & Ollie looking out across Torquay Bay.
Liberty Pearl Photography

Everyone who was invited to the wedding was super special to me and Ollie. However Ollie and I had quite different ideas for ideal number of guests. We comprised by having day guests and evening guests. We really wanted to give folk a beautiful invitation as it was their first glimpse of the wedding. That's when I spoke to Abi about two different invites, to really reflect the experience the guest would have. I so love both. They're still up in my house!
Abi also hand painted their names and other lettering which featured throughout the wedding styling Liberty Pearl Photography

Abi also hand painted their names and other lettering which featured throughout the wedding styling
Liberty Pearl Photography

The overall ideas for the wedding fell into these camps: sailing, glamorous English Riviera (in it's 1950s heyday), flowers and colours of (white, grey, various blues, yellow and a purpley-pink < I even had a Pantone chart for all the suppliers with the 8 colours).
It was super important to feel that the wedding had its particular look and feel. Perhaps this is because my day job is marketing, so I know how important 'brand' is to a persons experience. Brand is not a logo. It's design, colour, the formality or informality of the words, the way the staff at the reception greet guests, it's everything. Everything came back to: sailing, glam, English Riviera, 8 colours.

I had imagined my bridesmaids being topped by oversized flower head hats. Along comes Rivka of Rivka Jacobs Millinery. She made all the hats for me, mum, sister and bridesmaids.

Claire & Olli'es Order of Service booklets Abigail Steed Photography

Claire & Olli'es Order of Service booklets
Abigail Steed Photography

Using the seaside theme we created hanging mobiles that were used to decorate the reception space and dancefloor Abigail Steed Photography

Using the seaside theme we created hanging mobiles that were used to decorate the reception space and dancefloor
Abigail Steed Photography

We wanted to keep the wedding menu clean and sophisticated for Claire and Ollie, yet still in line with the rest of the wedding stationery, and so we incorporated the palm tree painting but this time in a classy white silhouette Abigail Steed Photography

We wanted to keep the wedding menu clean and sophisticated for Claire and Ollie, yet still in line with the rest of the wedding stationery, and so we incorporated the palm tree painting but this time in a classy white silhouette
Abigail Steed Photography

What happens when you know exactly what you'd like to wear to your wedding, but traditional wedding dress shops have no clue what you're talking about? You draw your dress and find someone who can make it for you! Que Lesley of Feathers of Isca. I loved my dress. Best thing - it's now two dresses I can wear again! 

The day was a celebration of creativity and all the things Ollie and I love best (including each other). When else do you get to spend a crazy amount of money on things like a beer boat, flower hats and paintings of clouds?!

We just loved working with Claire and Ollie, they had a real vision for the feel they wanted to create on their wedding day. It's (more often than not) coming from a place of love when family and friends are a little sceptical of your ideas but they stuck to their guns and we know you'll agree that it was a BEAUTIFUL celebration, what an inspiration!