One of the absolute highlights of 2017 was when we tied the knot, it was genuinely one of the best days we have ever had; we were lucky enough to be surrounded by the people we love for a whole weekend of celebrating and vowing to be best friends forever in our home town of Plymouth.
From beginning to end the whole weekend was about love, laughter and family and we just had the most beautiful time. EMBRACE the traditions you love and DITCH the ones you don't and above all else HAVE FUN.
We really wanted to follow the advice we give to other couples to not get bogged down with conventions that didn't suit us for our wedding; in so many ways our wedding was beautifully traditional, but we loved adding a couple of touches to keep it feeling like "us" (including a few feminist twists).
Photography by our talented friend Emma from Freckle Photography
We kicked off the weekend with a tiny legal wedding ceremony followed by champagne by the sea and an intimate dinner with our immediate families.
It was really important to us to get married at somewhere that meant something to us, since Plymouth has been such a huge part of our story we really wanted to get married in our hometown and it definitely had to be by the sea.
Our flowers were created by florist and jewellery designer Clare Elizabeth Kilgour, who did an amazing job. We love the wild natural shapes she creates with her arrangements; we really left it up to her to create whatever she wanted, they just turned out beautifully.
We both really wanted to feel comfortable and like the best version of ourselves on our wedding day... Ben wore his trusty Next navy wool 3 piece suit (that he already owned and always feels good in) with a mustard gold knitted skinny tie and white shirt; he also wore cufflinks stamped with with coordinates to Portminster Beach, St Ives (where we filmed our wedding announcement/engagement video) and a custom tie clip both from designer maker Copper Poppy found on Etsy.
We didn't have a formal wedding party with bridesmaids and groomsmen but instead had our immediate family walk down the aisle with us and stand by our side while we said our vows. Our sisters wore a white dress of their choice with a flower corsage and our brothers and nephew wore blue suits and light gold knitted skinny ties.
Abi: I knew two things before I even tried anything on ...that a traditional white dress just wouldn't feel right and that I wanted a cape! I wanted to be comfortable but still like the sassiest version of myself! Dressmaker Ailsa Munro created a wide legged jumpsuit for me with a floor length cape and rose gold leather flower detail on the shoulders. In the evening I slipped into a backless rose gold full sequin dress for dancing.
Our official wedding began the day after with a ceremony at Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard. Primarily an art gallery and artist studio space weddings are new to Ocean Studios and we were overjoyed to be the first couple to tie the knot in such a beautiful spot. We both really love the aesthetic of honest spaces that still have the charm of their original purpose, the whole of RWY is made up of old Navy buildings and Ocean Studios just had the right feel, both historical and industrial, so many of our guests commented on how it space "was SO us". We hired holiday apartments at Royal William Yard and spent the whole weekend there with our close family and friends.
In terms of colour scheme we weren't worried about things "matching" but wanted to blend colours and styles that were right for the spaces we were in. We had lots of different golds, yellows, coppers and oranges with touches of pink and red and blue as an accent colour. We also collected over 70 glass bottles and jars of all different shapes and sizes, including Plymouth Gin bottles which Clare Kilgour filled with flowers.
The wedding stationery we designed featured mid century inspired illustrations of birds and florals and hand drawn modern calligraphy; it was important to us to design the stationery together and so Ben drew the illustrations and Abi created the lettering.
We really wanted our wedding ceremony to be a celebration of us and our families coming together; we wrote the ceremony ourselves with the guidance of Abi's parents church Pastor who conducted the ceremony. Instead of hymns we sang motown songs such as 'Let's Stay Together' by Al Green and 'Higher and higher' by Jackie Wilson; we had a sand ceremony in which we mixed together sand from Jamaica and Cyprus (places important to our families' history) to symbolise our union; we also had had a ring warming where before we exchanged rings they were passed around all of our guests so that they could place well wishes upon them.
After our ceremony we celebrated with homemade cocktails and canapés...
The canapés included lots of olives, sun dried tomatoes and humous, and Abi's Mom's infamous spicy fried chicken.
One of the traditions we broke was to give our wedding speech together, after all we had just vowed to spend the rest of our lives together, why not start with the speech.
Ben's twin sister Lucy and her husband are musicians in Royal Marines Band and they played us into our reception at The Loft with a surprise rendition of some of our favourite songs on clarinet and ukulele, they included a few that had featured in our ceremony and Ben's late Grannie's favourite song. It was so special to us and a definite highlight of the day.
We had planned a surprise evening boat trip before our reception but when the time came around the sea was pretty rough and we had to abandon our plans - It just goes to show you can't plan for everything and you just have to "go with the flow" and everyone still had a wonderful time. After a delicious Caribbean wedding breakfast catered by Mama Rita's Afro Caribbean Pot we danced the night away to live music from 8 piece funk and soul band Freshly Squeezed.
Our beautiful wedding cakes were baked by our amazing friend Abbi and Ben's fabulous big sister Rebecca (look out GBBO2019!)
Having Pastor Cassius conduct our wedding ceremony will always be so important to us, the whole ceremony was very personal and an absolute joy from beginning to end, we just couldn't stop smiling. Walking down the aisle with our families; Ben chose to be given away by his Mum and Abi was given away by her Dad. Walking into our reception in such a special way ...AND we also had glitter confetti cannons which was pretty incredible.
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Just do what makes you happy! There were many moments when people told us "you can't do that - it's a wedding!" You have to wear a dress, you can't see each other on the morning of the wedding, you should get married in a church... Many of our guests commented that it was the best wedding they had ever been to (which is just so amazing to hear) from beginning to end the whole weekend was about love, laughter and family and we just had the most beautiful time. At the end of the day a wedding is a celebration of you both and your lives coming together, EMBRACE the traditions you love and DITCH the ones you don't and above all else HAVE FUN.
Photography - Freckle Photography
Wedding celebration day
Bride's jumpsuit and cape - Ailsa Munro
Bride's jewellery - Wolf & Moon
Groom's suit - Next
Venue - Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard & The Loft, Sutton Harbour
Flowers - Clare Elizabeth Kilgour
Catering - Mama Rita's Afro Caribbean Pot
Band - Freshly Squeezed