Posted on March 03 2019
From recycling, upcycling and doing the wedding decoration herself to even growing her own flowers, Jo is a true indiebride. She chose our beautiful, short Natalie dress, the Marka skirt to make the look more weddingy for the church and the Esther belt to complete the outfit. She then took off the Marka skirt in the evening so that she could dance and party in the very easy and comfortable Natalie dress. What a great idea!
Jo was happy to tell us about her wedding and the thought she and JP put into planning every detail, taking every quest in consideration as individuals and making the party personalised for everyone - not just for the happy couple - really moved us.
Read all about Jo and JP’s amazing wedding below.
- Miina -
The dress and look
I found Indiebride London by Googling sustainable wedding dressmakers. I really didn’t want to buy a beautiful dress that would never be worn again. I wanted something soft that I could move and breath in. I loved the long skirt as soon as I saw it on the website! I knew I wanted options for the day, because of the ceilidh, so the short dress was perfect for this but, with the long skirt over the top, no-one knew it wasn’t a dress – it was perfectly formal for the church service and perfectly dance-able for the ceilidh.
I loved every element of choosing my dress from the Indiebride shop. I liked that it was tucked away, that there were so many options to choose from. It was the first place I went and I found the right thing; I had another appointment afterwards which we went to anyway but nothing there was quite right and I knew it was because I had found the right thing already. The whole process of collecting it and the minor alterations was seamless.
I had Irregular Choice shoes for the formal part of the day and Toms for the dancing. It was quite the reveal when I ran back in for the first dance in the short dress and dancing shoes! My hair was done by Mitchell at Harrington’s hair in Maidenhead – we booked a section of the salon for a couple of hours so everyone in the bridal party could have their hair done. I did my own makeup, but can’t take credit for it – we had a lesson earlier in the year, provided by Claire Nicole. This was a really lovely day with my mum and bridesmaids – a great chance for the bridesmaids to bond and also a fantastic makeup tutorial. I wear no makeup most days and was really worried about not looking like myself on the big day. Having the tutorial and practicing how to do it myself meant that a) both I and my husband, were quite used to how I looked with makeup on by the big day and b) I’m now much more confident doing my makeup!
I had flowers in my hair and an antique silver butterfly brooch left to me by my grandmother – my something old – the dress was something new, and the little opal necklace was borrowed from my mother – the stone matched JP’s tie! The earrings were a gift from my cousin when I was a bridesmaid at her wedding.
The bridesmaids' dresses were from Hobbs and I’m pleased to say every single one of them has worn their dress again since!
The suit was bought from House of Fraser and he took it to the local tailor, Best Quality Alterations in Abingdon to have it altered. His cufflinks have Cambridge and Thurso on them – these were a gift from me when we first started dating – two places that were very important to him. We got the men in his family similar cufflinks, all with Cambridge on one and another place that has been important to them on the other, and they all wore them to the wedding. As a wedding gift, I gave him a pocket watch with a map of Argentina on it – the place he proposed – he wore it on the day.
My husband and I got engaged on a hiking holiday in Argentina, and the first few bits of wedding planning were hashed out on the back of an envelope on the long bus trip to Ushuaia. There were a few things we knew we wanted right away: a church ceremony, long tables to sit our guests at, a ceilidh and a hog roast. We also realised it was going to be a big wedding. We had been long-distance for 5 years and both came from big families... an initial headcount came in at 160 people.
We chose Lillibrooke Manor in Maidenhead for the venue. I grew up in Maidenhead, so could get ready for the big day in my childhood home. Lillibrooke has this incredible long barn, which we loved, and we could see the ceilidh filling the whole space with dancers from the moment we walked in there. They also offered banqueting-style dining even for our high numbers and served their hog roasts family style, with big platters for sharing in the middle of the tables – it was perfect.
I had it in mind that I wanted to keep the wedding as sustainable as possible, and the things that I felt we could really make a difference with were the décor, the dress, and the flowers. As a pair of avid readers, the theme was books. We decided that rather than doing wedding favours, we would make everyone a bookmark for a place setting. Each one had a quote from one of our favourite books appropriate to the individual person. Most people took theirs with them; some didn’t, but all of the ones left behind could be recycled. Our tables were named after our favourite authors. We had piles of old books on the tables that were collected from our various relatives for the big day.
We had hessian and lace table runners that were gifted to us by some friends who had a similar theme to their wedding the year before. We collected and decorated jam jars – having “working parties” with my family where we all sat around the table chatting and gluing lace or scraps of books onto jam jars. All of these were then gifted on to another friend after the wedding to be used at hers the following year.
We tried to grow our own flowers - I wanted English cottage-garden style flowers, so we chose daisies, cornflowers, sweet-peas and wild roses, plus grasses and rosemary (for fidelity). We did a trial run in 2017 and grew hundreds! So we thought we would be fine. Sadly 2018 did not prove such a great growing year and we ended up having to buy some from a wholesaler in the few days before the wedding, although only a small number to top things up. When you look through the wedding photos, the daisies, blue phaselias, pink sweet-peas, rosemary and grasses were grown by us, as well as the planted pots of wild roses outside the church. We had to buy the cornflowers from a farm near my in-laws, and the gypsophila and white sweet-peas came from a commercial wholesaler. We used dried flowers for the buttonholes and my mother-in-law did the bouquets. She also made the cake, and I made the decorations for it.
The food was all provided by the catering team at Lillibrooke Manor and it really was delicious. The wine was sourced by my uncle, who is a wine merchant, and took us on a trip to France to meet his suppliers and choose our wine. The beer was supplied by my husband’s uncle, who is a brewer, and he made us special labels for the big day – a JP and Jo branded beer.
We had lawn games for the kids (big and little!) provided by Lilibrooke and a ceilidh provided by Rockall, a band based in Oxford – several of their members play shinty with my husband – so they were people we knew and liked, and who knew and liked us. Our first dance was a St Bernard’s Waltz, which we had spent a long time practicing. We did a few rounds just the two of us, then a few rounds with my family and his family, and then the band stopped, taught everyone else how to do it and the entire wedding joined in. They played 2 sets of 2 hours – it was a lot of dancing – and in between we had a playlist of songs that our guests had requested with their RSVPs. There was also a photo montage on display at some point, put together by the chief bridesmaid and the best man – with help from our parents I think.
Photography was done by Daniel Moore (one of my husband’s cousins) whose portfolio can be found on Instagram @boundwedding.
Looking back at it, I was so pleased to see all the planning come together on the day! Most of our plans worked, apart from some of the flowers not growing as well as planned, and nothing was wasted or thrown away – everything has been reused or recycled.
And the ceilidh was wild...
- Jo -