All images below by our amazing wedding photographer Jeff Newsom
My wedding dress came from a gorgeous bridal shop called Forever Bridal on the upper Lisburn road in Belfast. The owner, Leondra, was so wonderful and patient as I jumped in and out of dresses trying on as many as I could. A few emails later I was back in the same shop, in the dress I couldn't stop thinking about and left with it in a box that very day. For weeks as it hung up in my mum and dad's room I couldn't help going in and looking at it every day. I just loved it!
As I bought it off the rail it needed a few alterations, so I went to a little shop above Colour Match in Ballymena to a very talented seamstress called Alison Maternaghan. I went for lots of fittings and despite the challenge that came with the style of my dress she made it fit perfectly for me. We also took off a flower that was initially placed on the front of the dress and used the material to create a plaited shoulder strap.
After finding the gorgeous cobalt blue bridesmaid dresses on sale in House of Fraser, we knew we wanted each bridesmaid to bring in a different colour so we chose a coral red, hot pink, sunny yellow and turquoise green. They found their shoes individually and then I turned to the ever creative Hannah Scott of Copper Broccoli to come up with the chunky jewellery and awesome hair pieces. I'm really bad at explaining things and making decisions, but I knew Hannah would just get it perfect.. and I think you'll agree she completely nailed it with these accessories!
The Boy's Buttonholes
Xander and I aren't very flowery people, so when it came to the buttonholes we knew we wanted something a little different to the norm. Thank goodness for having a super skillful member in the family, Xander's brother's girlfriend is an absolute whizz with wool and crafts and she mocked up a few ideas for a felt, wool and sewn together camera buttonhole. They looked amazing every step of the way, up until the final idea to stich each guys initials onto the front. Tasha even took on the extra challenge of fitting a hidden 'spy cam' into Xander's buttonhole even though unfortunately the idea of him filming the day via his groom cam died when the spy cam failed as he arrived at the church, technology eh!? She also created the usher's felt stuffed hearts which clipped to their braces, these were the perfect pop of colour! Tasha is in the process of setting up the awesome Where's The Wool blog so she can showcase all the crafty things she gets up to and eventually take over the world! If you'd like her to make something amazing for you, get in touch with us and we'd love to send you her way.
OHHH the tipis! One of the first decisions we made after getting engaged, we loved the outdoorsy and laid back feel they created and the inside gave us such a blank canvas to do our thing with decorations. Ed from Magnakata was more than awesome from the word go and we couldn't have been happier with how they helped create the atmosphere of our day. We first came across these guys when our wonderful friends at Quirky Weddings posted a link about unique venue ideas and we fell for them straight away. We wish we could have kept the tipis up forever and ever, but alas..they had to move on to their next wedding destination.. sniff sniff.
Grace & Saviour
This wonderful lady is the coolest person to have hit the wedding world in a long time - Grace, of Grace and Saviour, can basically create anything out of something. We first got in touch to hire her beautiful chiavari chairs and she was more than helpful when trying to squeeze us in during a super busy wedding weekend for herself. We then kept an eye on her facebook of all the goodness she was creating for other weddings and one day a very cool set of old bushmills distillery barrels popped up. At first we didn't even know what we could use them for, but after getting in touch and explaining that we needed a bar area for our jam jar juice drinks she came back with the awesome idea of using an old door laid acorss the barrels and it fitted in perfectly with our mis-mash theme! She really is amazing and goes above and beyond for everyone, we wish we could work on weddings she's involved in all the time because anything she touches turns to pure gold.
Invites & Graphics
Mr Ally Simpson is not only Supersimbo aka graphic designer extraordinaire, but a very great friend to us both. Knowing him as our bearded small group leader at church and as the designer behind our first ever navyblur website, he was the obvious choice to ask to come up with something for our wedding invites and stationary. The night he emailed through his idea we squealed like little piglets (well I did anyway, Xander of course was a little more manly in showing his delight) he had created something better than we could ever have imagined. We knew that as soon as our guests received their invites they would be intrigued about the rest of our day, he really set the tone of some of the fun that was to be expected ahead. We love this man and his designs are always incredible. Use him. That is all.
You need cupcakes? You go straight to Jeannie at J-bird Bakery, do not pass go, do not collect £200.. simply choose from the tastiest array of flavours and eat your little heart out. Not only are her cupcakes yum in your tum, but the beautiful lady behind the cupcakes is one of the loveliest people you ever will meet - for our big day we asked her to make two flavours which are our favourites.. mine was Jelly Bean flavour and Jeannie even made the sponge colourful to match in with the rest of the wedding, and Xander chose chocolate caramel - needless to say we were one happy bride and groom!
Whoopee for Whoopie Pies
Being in the business we get to see first hand some very awesome things in wedding days, and this was most definitely the case last October when one of our brides and grooms served a big pile of whoopie pies as part of their evening food. Of course we had to do a taste test there and then, just to double check they tasted as good as they looked obviously, and my-oh-my did were they good! So good, that we found out the bride and groom got them from Cupcakes and Fairycakes and ordered a big pile for our own evening food. They went down an asbolute treat!
I love vanilla. Xander loves chocolate. Our parents love fruit cake. And we couldn't forget carrot cake. Oh and who doesn't love lemon flavoured cake. So.. we couldn't choose just one. And we didn't have to! As we're quite simple in our ideas, we didn't envisage a cake so high it would touch the sky. It was all about the flavours. That's why we asked some of our nearest and dearest who have made cakes in the past and we've absolutely loved them to make these cakes for our day. Small round cakes that would sit all in a line. My mum made the fruit cake, and I hear from my dad that it was the best fruit cake he's ever had! Our lovely friend Lindsey of Cooking4Christ Table Talk Ministries kindly agreed to make the yummy scrummy chocolate and vanilla cakes, and Hannah of Copper Broccoli, who you've already heard about earlier on in the accessories section, made her famous carrot cake and the lemon cake too. We couldn't thank these three more for so generously giving up their time to bake for our wedding.
Sweets & Schmores
Food glorious food! We wanted to keep our guests well fed throughout the day, including all those in between times where you just fancy something small to nibble on. Straight away we knew the lady for the job was Filipa Donaldson of Alphia Events, a creator of all things pretty for weddings! She took our love of all things sweet, chocolatey, colourful and handmade and created two of the most fun tables we've ever seen. On the sweets table she painted drawers and boxes and made sweet little signs to tell you what you were just about to devour. Later in the evening, we had firepits outside and Filipa had put together a very cool Schmores table full of different flavoured biscuits, chocolates and marshmallows. Total gooey goodness.
I pity any florist who gets a bride like me coming into their shop and uttering the words 'I'd like some wedding flowers please, but could you make sure they don't look wedding'y?' - despite this silly request, Sally of Sally's Floral Studio completely understood our outdoorsy, countryside, laid back and colourful feel we wanted to go for, and put together the most amazing bunch of flowers I have ever seen in my life! I'm not a big flower person, I just about know what a daisy is, but what Sally created for my bridesmaids and I was simply the best wedding flower arrangement in the world! B.e.a.utiful.
Banner of Love
Our church building has some very cool architecture, and right at the front there is always a banner hanging. We thought it would be a nice touch to create our own banner and then keep it to hang in our home to remind us of our ceremony. A very talented friend of ours, Emma Kenny, is always putting up new artwork she has created from a photo she's taken and then added some text to. We love these and one of the lyrics she had previously used just so happened to be the song sung during the signing of the register, 'Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me'. She so kindly worked with us to get a perfect quality print and it was such a focus point during our service. If you ever want something creative to hang on your wall.. Emma's your girl!
The week leading up to the wedding, myself and the girls were in and out of KKbeauty getting some killer eyelashes put in place, our nails painted lots of colours and on the big day, Kathy and Leigh-anne came out to my house to do our beautiful makeup. The girls who work at KKbeauty are so lovely and so good at what they do, and this also just so happens to include my wonderful sister so it was even nicer to have them involved in our day.
My brother so enjoyed teasing us about our upcoming 'festival wedding' in a field, but we thought it was quite fitting when we asked the incredible folksy duo, The 1930s to play as our guests arrived at the tipis. These two are constantly on our editing playlist from day to day as we work, and the more we listened to them the more excited we got that they would be involved in our day. They totally fit into our day playing some of their own songs and some covers of others and they created such a chilled out vibe for our guests to enjoy their refreshments to.
This. Band. ROCKS! Wolfpack consists of a whole lot of Xander's friends from back home in England, and having heard them play at our other friends weddings, we knew they were the band we wanted dance the night away to. They are so fun and so good at what they do, keeping everyone on the dancefloor all night long, people couldn't stop talking about how amazing they were! Nothing could have planned for one guest appearance at the end of the night by the groom himself, Mr Xander Neal, oh yeeees! When he was younger he fancied himself as a little bit of a rapper extraordinaire and sang in a function band with all the guys a few times, so when Josh on bass started playing Black Eyed Peas 'Let's get it started' Xander went into some crazy reminiscing state and sang/rapped the whole song word for word much to the surprise and sheer delight of all our friends. Best. Moment. Ever!
Show and Tell
Where do we begin. Reuben and Adam of Show and Tell Films are the best in the business. When we first met Reuben at another wedding, his silly humour and easy going nature made us like him straight away. Watching his films we knew he was doing something different and fresh and we knew he would do a perfect job with our day. Then he brought Adam on the scene and we got double the fun! Both guys are so creative, so excitable and so amazing at what they do, they were an absolute joy to have film our day and there's rarely a day that goes by that we don't look at our wedding film. These guys rule the world and we want every bride and groom to hire them. Do it. Now!
Just incase you need any more convincing, have a look at our wedding film
JEFF FLIPPING NEWSOM!
From one day reading an interview about Jeff the photographer from California in a magazine to receiving the email back of confirmation that Jeff Newsom could photograph our wedding day.. was that even real? Like seriously? Choosing him as our photographer was one of the easiest and best decisions we made for our wedding. His photos are completely creative, totally beautiful and SO exciting. We loved getting to hang out with him on the few days running up to our wedding and on the day itself he was so easy going, friendly and just fitted into all that was going on. Our guests were pretty much in awe of this dude from America and the magic he could create in his mind and then into his camera. We could go on and on and on about his amazingness, but his photos clearly speak for themselves. You can see the blog he created from his stay in N.Ireland here.
We can't forget to mention Rog, Jeff's buddy and fellow photographer of EPlove - he brought so much fun and silliness to our lives and it was such a bonus and a treat to have him assist Jeff throughout our wedding. We literally had the dream team.
Other people we'd like to thank but don't have links to send your their way...
The Kennedy Family - they so graciously allowed us to use their field and beautiful home for our teepees
The Two Roberts - our unbelievable caterers, they cooked up the BEST BBQ we'll ever eat in our lives
Rhonda & ladies - the hardest working waitressing team ever to set foot at a wedding, they deserve medals
Tracey at Three's Company - my hairdresser, I LOVED MY HAIR!
The Cars - ecabs taxis and Mr Mike Ward, you helped us arrive in style, thank you so much
Richard Houston - the marry'er, he lead our ceremony perfectly and we're Mr&Mrs because of him, woohoo!
Musicians - Graeme, Laura, Nick, Andrew, Kenny, Neil - played so amazingly during our service
Readers - Tasha, Anna, Becky, Yamika, Naomi, Ross - read so awesomely for us
Pray'ers - Sylvie, Agee, Hayley, Keith - prayed so personally over us
Handy Andy - Xander's dad made with him own bare hands the giant X&C lightbulb sign, absolutely incredible
PomPomer's - YIKES! Too many to mention, but the bridesmaids, The Neals and The Boyds were prime members of this wooly factory line.. We are forever in your debt!
Mini PomPom favours - Xander's mum Jane made 160(ish) mini pompoms to attach to name tags for every one of our guests, what an absolute trooper!
Haybale Blankets - My mum, Angela, cut up and sewed back together 16 IKEA blankets just to make sure our guests didn't get prickley backsides, what a star!
Friends & Family - Here's a great one to finish with - you all come under this umbrella in one way or another and you know it. Anyone who encouraged us, prayed for us, helped us out any way - we love you and we appreciate you so much. It was a complete team effort and our day wouldn't have been the same without you.
We love you all!