Julia & George's wedding is the sort of wedding that I'd want (if I wasn't already married and was now planning my big day). It was a perfect mix of a celebration of their love, in a relaxed atmosphere, and one hell of a party. I loved how Julia had one dress to wear for greeting the guests with George as they arrived. She was then able to enjoy all parts of the day, and not be kept separate until after the ceremony. It was also a great excuse for having a 2nd dress for the wedding day ;), but I could tell how much the guests liked being able to say hello and chat to the both the bride and groom from the moment of getting there.
Then as the ceremony drew near, Julia went to get changed into her wedding dress, which was kept secret from George, before joining him to walk down the aisle together. I respect all couples that choose to follow the traditions of a wedding day, but I also really love those that break free of those traditions and do what works best for them. There is something very beautiful about arriving to the ceremony together. Perhaps that walk together is symbolism of the journey through life that they have taken to bring them there, or maybe it's the equality of walking down the aisle at the same time, but I love seeing this at weddings.
Julia and George had chosen Jane Blackman to conduct their humanist ceremony. It was my first time working with Jane and I'd not hesitate in recommending her to any couples currently planning their wedding. The ceremony was wonderfully personal, funny, emotional, and enjoyed by all. Jane clearly loves her job and puts a lot of heart into the ceremonies she conducts. I particularly liked the hand-tying part, and how they had a close friend doing the tying.
Another couple of major winning points for me were the dessert buffet table, which was a massive hit with their guests, and the pizza van providing further nourishment into the late evening. I enjoyed both immensely and applaud Circa Events for the food provided. I'd also like to mention the wedding coordinator Tammy from TLC Weddings & the band 'The Mp3s.' Two other wedding suppliers that I haven't worked with before but would happily recommend and hope to work with again soon.
It's true that Julia & George were blessed with great weather, but I have a feeling this wedding would have been full of smiles and great fun even in torrential rain. Julia and George are such a nice couple. They're adventurous, outgoing, have great taste, friendly, and are obviously crazy in love. I'll remember this wedding for years and years. Did I mention that I loved this wedding 🙂
Here is more about them and their day in their own words:
How did you meet, & how did you become engaged?
"We met in 2012 - Julia interviewed George for a job in the UK when he was moving over from the US. We were friends at work for some years, before getting together on a ski trip in 2017. We decided fairly early on in our relationship that we wanted to spend our lives together and that we wanted a family. We also talked about getting married for a little while, before George proposed on the Isle of Arran in Scotland, with a ring we designed together. Our wedding had to wait for a little while as our son Teo was born in 2018."
How long did you take to plan your wedding?
"We wanted a summer wedding, so had a little over 7 months from when we got engaged in October to our 1st June wedding. It was somewhat complicated by the fact that we moved overseas in that time!"
What made you choose your wedding venues and how did you decorate them?
"We wanted to get married near to where Julia grew up in Worthing, and loved the idea of a traditional English wedding. When we saw Long Furlong Barn and the beautiful views we loved it. We had a humanist ceremony and our reception at the same venue. We didn’t go all out on decorations; we loved the traditional brick and flint buildings, and added flowers and bunting to the existing décor and fairy lights. We also hired a few additional things – including a chesterfield sofa and chair to create a chill-out area in one of the barns, and a white post box for guests to leave their cards.
Julia’s family VW van also made an appearance, and was very popular with the children!"
What inspired you to style your day the way you did?
"We wanted something fairly simple and relaxed, with more of a family party vibe more than a full-on formal wedding. Between our friends and family there were a lot of children which we wanted people to be free to bring, so we chose to have both childrens and adult-sized games outside and be relaxed about the certain amout of chaos 30-odd children bring to party!
Inspired by Instagram (and the rings we exchanged!) we went for a bit of a hoop theme to our floristry – with hanging hoops on the ceremony arch, our flower children carrying flower hoops, and hoop shaped centre-pieces on the tables.
We mainly went for sage-green and white colours, with some greys and blues, and multi-coloured bunting from my brother and his wife’s wedding. We let our bridesmaids and groomsmen choose what they wore as we didn’t want it to be too overly co-ordinated. They picked some great outfits that all went together well."
How did you decide on your dress and accessories?
"Dress shopping was a little overwhelming to start with, but in the end I bought the dress from a designer who is a friend of a friend in New York City. They did an amazing job of making and tailoring the dress in a little over 5 weeks. It was a minimalist design, I am not a lace and sparkle type of girl! I loved how it was cut and it was super comfortable to wear all day.
Accessories were also simple, with fresh flowers in my hair and jewellery inherited from my mum and given to me by my new mother-in-law."
How did you decide on the outfits for the groom and groomsmen?
"George had never bought a custom suit before, so this seemed like a good excuse! We let the groomsmen wear what they wanted – the best man chose something similar to George, and the ushers were a little more casual in grey linen."
Who gave you away / walked you down the aisle? And did you walk down the aisle to a particular song?
"We decided that we wanted to walk ourselves down the aisle. Julia doesn’t love the history behind the ‘giving away’ ceremony, and it made sense for us, given we already live together and have a son, and are very much continuing our journey rather than starting something new. For our processional we chose Nuvole Bianche by Ludovico Einaudi. He is a favourite composer of Julia’s Dad, and we both think it is a beautiful piece of music.
For our recessional we went for something more upbeat – You’ve Got the Love by Florence + the Machine."
Would you like to share anything about your vows? Did you tailor your own?
"We had a humanist ceremony, which we loved and would highly recommend as we were able to make it very personal. We each wrote our own vows, which we kept secret until the ceremony itself. Our celebrant helped us to make sure they were relatively balanced, although George had a bit more to say! We both chose to share what we loved about the other person and made our commitments for our marriage and life together."
Did you have any readings? If so, what were they and why did you choose them?
"We had two readings. The first was a piece of Bulgarian poetry, chosen by George’s family and read by George’s sister first in Bulgarian and then in English. George is Bulgarian and we wanted some elements of our day to reflect and celebrate that.
The second was an extract from a letter by Mark Twain – one of George’s favourite authors – to his sweatheard, Olivia Langdon. This was read by one of Julia’s closest friends, Pema."
Please describe your wedding breakfast and the reasons behind it?
"Our wedding was vegetarian – Julia is fully veggie and George increasingly so. We spent a fair amount of time with our caterers talking through the food we like, our menu choices, and tasting different options. We both love food so wanted our guests to enjoy it. The caterers tailored something that matched the style of food we love – with plenty of nibbles and canapes to start, a twice-baked cheese soufflé served with a choice of salads, and then a desert buffet complete with ice cream bike. It was fairly casual, with only the main course served sat down in the main barn – we wanted to give people a chance to mingle and avoid the children becoming too bored. In the evening we had a pizza van, which was very much enjoyed by our guests!"
Did you provide wedding favours? If so, please provide details or what and where you sourced them
"We decided to go with an American twist given our recent move, and bought M&Ms personalised with a photo of us(!) and our wedding details. George found some little cardboard suitcase boxes which his family kindly spent 4 hours assembling!"
Please describe your cake and why you chose it?
"We both love cake so wanted something delicious. Our wedding co-ordinator recommended a great cake supplier, and we chose a design we liked on her website, that we’d already seen elsewhere. It was fairly minimal with an ombre and gold finish, and sugar flowers. Our baker did an amazing job creating cakes that reflected our favourite flavours: chocolate and hazelnut, lemon and elderflower, and pear and almond. We were worried it wouldn’t all get eaten and bought boxes for guests to take a piece home – this worked well, it was a huge cake but almost all disappeared!"
What was your first dance track and what did it mean to you?
"We chose All My Loving by the Beatles, but a slowed-down version that we both liked by the Arctic Monkeys. We have fairly different music tastes but agree on the Beatles! Our band did an amazing job learning the song and playing it for us.
We also had a Bulgarian dancing part of the evening after the band’s first set. George’s sister had taught the bridesmaids and some of our friends and family the day before, and we did what we thought was a pretty good job of leading our guests in a long ‘horo’ (similar to a Jewish horah). We were delighted that everyone joined in, despite some confusion from non-Bulgarian guests!"
What was your favourite part of the day and why?
"We both loved our ceremony – we were incredibly lucky and had glorious weather in an otherwise fairly mixed week, so we were able to have the ceremony outside overlooking the beautiful Sussex fields. It was amazing to stand in front of so many of our closest friends and family and make our commitments to each other in a ceremony that matched our personalities so well.
We decided to mix things up a bit, and have drinks together with our guests before the ceremony. This was a nice relaxed start, and enabled everyone to say hello to each other and get the know the venue a bit before sitting down."
What led you to choose Nick from Parkershots as your photographer and please can you comment on the results?
"We found Nick via another photographer, and when we saw his website both immediately loved his work. We really liked his thoughtful, creative portraits and interesting wedding shots. Neither of us is particularly comfortable in front of the camera, so we decided to have a pre-wedding shoot. We’d definitely recommend this, it was great to get to know Nick a little and experience being photographed fairly extensively before our wedding day! We also love the photos from that day – taken on the beach in Worthing late in the afternoon."
"Our wedding photos are beautiful, and perfectly capture the preparations, ceremony and celebrations. We love the mix of modern portraits, interesting shots of all the details, and some fantastic photos capturing our guests and ourselves chatting and enjoying the day. Nick was great to have around on the day – professional, friendly, unobtrusive and great at relaxing us for our couples shots. We would not hesitate in recommending Nick."
On reflection, is there anything you would have done differently with foresight?
"We were really grateful that everything came together on the day, and everything that was important happened to plan – there isn’t anything we would change."
If you could impart any words of wisdom to a bride to be planning her marriage and wedding day, what would they be?
"Don’t be afraid to pick and choose which traditions you like and where you want to do your own thing!
And it isn’t just the job of the bride to be! While in many cases the bride may care more about some of the details, we very much planned our wedding together.
As I’m sure many couples say after their wedding day, don’t stress about the details – things that seem important in the run-up to the wedding will almost certainly not be noticed by your guests if they don’t happen (we were running about getting signs printed, but no-one would have got lost without them!) . Focus on the things that are important to you first (for us this was the food, the ceremony, and keeping the children happy!), and then move onto the rest!
We would also highly recommend an on-the-day co-ordinator. We had a few moving parts and didn’t want to be the ones running around on the day making sure everything went to plan. Our co-ordinator was great in helping us find some final suppliers, confirming timings with all our suppliers and making sure everything happened more or less to plan on the day.
We loved having children at our wedding. This was never not an option for us – we wanted our son, nieces and nephew to be there, and so it was always going to need to be child-friendly. We did worry a bit about how they would be entertained, but were very lucky to be recommended a brilliant creche company by our co-ordinator. The creche team did a fantastic job setting up a bell tent, bringing loads of toys, and looking after the children at critical points during the day – the ceremony and our speeches. Some of the children were then picked up by very helpful aunts or grandparents, but others stayed on and enjoyed the dance floor!"
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
"As well as a lot of support from family and friends, we were lucky to have some amazing suppliers who did a great job listening to our – in places - fairly specific requests as well as coming up with some great ideas, and creating exactly what we wanted on the day. Thank you to all of them!"
- Bride’s gown (Designer and boutique): Sarah Seven, NYC flagship
- Jewellery (Designer & Boutique): gold earrings and bracelet inherited from Julia’s Mum; pearls given to Julia by her new mother-in-law
- Shoes: Vince Camuto
- Humanist Celebrant - Jane Blackman
- Veil / Headpiece: fresh flowers from our florist
- Hair Stylist: Amy Maughan
- Make-up Artist: Becky Howie
- Florist: Nell’s Flowers
- Rings: Queensmith, Hatton Garden, London
- Venue: Long Furlong Barn
- Décor / Styling: Hire Your Day
- Cake Maker: Kasserina Cakes
- Caterer: Circa Events
- Bridesmaids Dresses: their own; flower children outfits from John Lewis and Debenhams
- Groom’s suit: Steve Allen, New York
- Wedding co-ordinator: Tammy, TLC Weddings
- Stationery: made ourselves and printed in various places
- Entertainment: The MP3s – afternoon acoustic set and evening band
- Transport: A&A travel
- Videographer: friends and family let loose with our camcorder
- Photographer: Parkershots
- Honeymoon: TBD!
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