Today is mine and Mr. Actually’s 5 year anniversary, and it feels like it’s been barely any time at all and decades ago all at the same time! Life certainly has changed in the last five years! As it’s our anniversary, I thought it would be a good time to share with you what can only be described as the best day of my life! Okay, so we were technically already married (registry office, visa requirements… you get the drift) but this was the big wedding, the one we wanted, not the one we had to do. Great food, great friends, a few tears, and lots of dancing on my part (phwoar!).
Mr. Actually and I met at a wedding in Wisconsin in 2011. He was one of the groomsman and I was the wedding photographer! We hit it off right away, and by the end of the weekend had decided to stay in touch! Over the next few months, we messaged each other on a near daily basis, and by the time I visited London a few months later, I was smitten. Mr. Actually offered me a place to stay for a few days, which I happily accepted, and we spent so much time together, it kind of already felt like we were together. On the last night of my visit, he took me out to dinner and then we went on the London Eye. It was so nice, and rather romantic, and as we were heading down the escalators at Waterloo Station, Mr. Actually brought up his pending visit to New York in a month. He mentioned wanting to go away somewhere for a few days, just the two of us, and I (rather brazenly, I might add) asked what that meant. He said that he was hoping that made me his girlfriend. The rest, as they say, is history… I’ll admit, it was difficult to adjust at first, and working out the best ways to stay in touch when we were apart was a bit of a trial, but we persevered, and we took turns traveling back and forth between London and New York to visit one another. For two and a half years, we lived apart, while maintaining a happy and steadfast relationship, until finally Mr. Actually proposed (more on that in a bit) and I started the process of packing up my life and moving across an ocean!
Mr. Actually came to New York shortly after my 26th birthday, and planned a relaxing day to celebrate. We spent the day at a spa, complete with a chocolate massage (yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like… and I was in heaven!). We’d talked about getting married a few times, and I’d even tried on a few rings, but I had no expectations, as Mr. Actually was in the process of buying a flat. The idea of getting married was more of a vague-ish thought. So there we were, relaxing in a spa in Brooklyn, sipping prosecco and lounging in a hot tub and sauna, reveling in our post-massage glow. Then, we went to a fancy restaurant called One If By Land, Two If By Sea… and I mean fancy! It was so fancy, in fact, that I started getting really anxious about the menu because it was intimidating! As we sat in a quiet little corner, Mr. Actually confessed to me that he’d had a drink with my father a few days before (and not an old friend, like he’d told me) to ask for his blessing. Then he placed a little box on the table and told me that nothing would make him happier than if I would be his wife. I promptly burst into tears and said yes! The restaurant was in on the plan and promptly brought us drinks and some little treats, with congratulations written in chocolate across the plate! With all the free prosecco, we did get a little tipsy, but you only get engaged once, right?
The Venue: Taylor’s Farm
Taylor’s Farm was amazing from start to finish. The barn itself is on a working farm, with lots of gorgeous properties on all sides, and animals galore! It was easy to get to and not too far from London, which was perfect for us! Taylor’s Farm also offered us the creative freedom to really make our day our own. They were so helpful and just made us feel so welcome. It was the perfect setting! We originally wanted to have our ceremony outside, but the weather was looking a little grey so we ended up moving it inside the barn, which was large enough for us to have all the tables set up, and the chairs for the ceremony. We ended up with a more intimate group of friends, a bit more than 50, and it was the perfect number.
The Food: Bear Claw Catering
We discovered Bear Claw Catering purely through a Google search of Caterers in Sussex. We sent along an email, and Jessica replied in kind. She really listened to our thoughts about what we wanted from the day, and came up with some really great ideas of her own. When we went for a tasting, we knew we made the perfect choice! We had a little sweetheart table, and everyone else was served family style, with beautifully styled plates of roast lamb, potatoes and green beans, and a butternut squash salad. The vegetarian folks had some wild mushroom gnocchi, which was delicious. For dessert, we had mango and raspberry sorbet, which was the perfect end to our perfect meal. Even months later, everyone still comments how delicious the food was, and how much they enjoyed the family style eating!
The Flowers: The Homegrown Flower Company
We weren’t too sure about flowers at first. Doing bouquets and displays adds up quickly! I’d thought briefly about doing the flowers myself, but it seemed like too much hassle in the end. In the end, we found The Homegrown Flower Company, who not only did our bouquets and boutonnieres, but also provided two large buckets of fresh cut stems so that we could DIY the rest of the flowers! We weren’t too strict on the guidelines, mainly wanting a less manicured, more “fresh picked wildflowers” kind of look, and the lovely Zelie delivered that perfectly! She selected lovely flowers with a real rustic feel and they looked so great in the barn! One thing I never thought to put in a bouquet, but we found in the buckets? Mint! Who knew! It smelled amazing and once we popped some stems into the wine and spirit bottles I’d commandeered from work, they looked great!
The Cocktails: The Travelling Gin Company
I stumbled across the Travelling Gin Company at the Etsy Wedding Fair, before I was really wedding planning yet. Ed and Joe were handing out cocktails, something along the lines of an elderflower gin and tonic, which was delicious! After chatting with them for a bit, we decided it would be a nice touch to have some personalized cocktails for our guests! Ed and Joe were amazing! We arranged a tasting with them, were they came up with an array of cocktails for us to try based on our preferences (Mr. Actually prefers rum, I’m a fruity cocktail gal all the way). We tried lots of different combinations until we had three choice cocktails to be served. They had a great little set up on the day, with their vintage looking bike and basket, and the cocktails disappeared in no time!
The Photography: Joseph Galvin
The photography was perhaps the most stressful aspect of planning our wedding. Many of the people we looked at were way out of our budget. My dad even offered to be our photographer at one point, but I wanted him to be at my wedding, not working it. Plus, we wanted something a little more personal. The wonderful Joseph Galvin stepped in and was just so wonderful! It felt more like he was a friend, who just happened to have a camera with him, and he was able to capture some really great moments, as you can see!!
The Attire: This Modern Love Bridal/Jump the Gun
Mr. Actually and I both knew we wanted our wedding day looks to be special, but still comfortable. I had tried on dresses in New York, but couldn’t quite find something to suit me, style and price-wise. While I was sipping cocktails at the Etsy Wedding Fair, I met Anna, the designer of Etsy shop, This Modern Love Bridal. I fell in love with her dresses, which felt ethereal and soft without being too over the top. Anna, the lovely and talented lady that she is, allowed me to customize one of her designs, adding sleeves, and changing the neckline so that it better suited me. We finished off my dress in one 4 hour session, snipping and sewing until it was perfect, and I couldn’t have been happier with the result! Mr. Actually had a bit of an easier time than me, as all men do, I think. He popped down to his favorite shop in Brighton, Jump the Gun, They have really great Mod style clothing, and he always loves what he buys from there. His suit was no exception!
Rings: Addy’s Vintage
I was a bit nervous when I started looking for wedding rings. My engagement ring is a vintage art deco style, so I knew I wanted something simple to complement it, but unique on it’s own as well. After a bit of googling, I came across Addy’s Vintage, first on Etsy, and then on it’s own website. It is based entirely online, but if you live in London, you can arrange for an appointment with Erin, who started Addy’s Vintage from her own collection of jewelry! I met up with her and tried rings on over a cup of coffee, before finally finding the perfect one. I’d seen a few that I’d liked, and Erin brought along similar options so that I had an array of choices. She did the same for Mr. Actually, though we ended up purchasing a custom ring from Erin, since she didn’t have the exact one that he wanted. Still, she was so friendly, and for me, face to face interaction makes all the difference. We’re both so pleased with our rings as well!
Our Favorite Moments
There were so many great moments to the day. We just wanted our day to be personal and representative of who we are together. Each table was a place we’d been together, and I made postcards to sit on each one, detailing our favorite moments from each of those trips. I baked everything on our dessert table, which were the treats that Mr. Actually and I love the most! My absolute favorite thing though, was jumping the broom. That was something that I had been looking forward to since I was a little girl, and it’s the definitive moment that I felt married! Second favorite was the vows. Third favorite was the speeches. I cried. A lot. Some of Mr. Actually’s favorite moments were the ceremony and drinking cocktails out in the sun and socializing with all of our friends! To be honest, there were so many great moments for both of us, it’s hard to choose! There were so many unexpected things that happened as well, that added to making the day really perfect. It was meant to rain all day, but the sun came out about 20 minutes before the ceremony began. The only time it rained was when we were all inside, eating dinner, and even after that we were rewarded with a double rainbow! About an hour after that, a full rainbow made it’s appearance, and everyone went outside and started cheering! If that’s not good luck on your wedding day, then I don’t know what is!
Photography: Joseph Galvin
Venue: Taylor’s Farm
Catering: Bear Claw Catering
Drinks: The Travelling Gin Company
Flowers: The Homegrown Flower Company
Bride: Dress, This Modern Love // Shoes, New Look // Flower Crown, Gypsy Rose Vintage // Jewelry, Orelia
Groom: Suit, Jump the Gun // Shirt, Jump the Gun // Shoes, Dr Martens// Tie, Handmade by the Bride
Rings: Addy’s Vintage