Welcome to Part Two of Carlye’s takeover. Today, our gorgeous bride is going to whizz us through her fabulous vintage–inspired day.…
Well, readers, this is my day, my experience – and my advice for you!
Jase and I met almost eleven years ago at Uni in Swansea, aged just 19. Eight years later, we were living together in London when he took me on a surprise holiday to Venice – and proposed.
In the next three years, while we established our careers, we went to so many friends’ weddings that by the time we tied the knot this summer we had a really good idea of what we wanted our own big day to look like.
The most important thing for us was that the day had to reflect us as individuals and as a couple. Everything we chose was personal and meaningful to us. And although there were lots of themes going on, everyone understood those details were a reflection of us.
We also wanted to be respectful of the traditions of marriage but not necessarily follow everything if we didn’t feel it was right for us. We wanted things to be a bit more friendly, easygoing and informal, just like us!
As soon as we were engaged, we chose Devon for our wedding as that’s where Jase is from. We spent many summers there as students, and decided on our favourite village, Cockington: the most charming place with its thatched cottages and the best tea room.
I really wanted the wedding to reflect my love of all things vintage! I love the 1950s for its elegance and glamour, and the 1960s for its colours and simple style. So I chose a 1960s look for me and 1950s for my bridesmaids. Then we asked everyone to come in their own interpretation of 50s or 60s style. And I must say – though I’m a bit biased – everyone looked stunning!
To get everyone in the vintage mood, we played a range of vintage music – everything from a 20s charleston to swinging 60s pop. We had a vintage London bus, an old fashioned Post Box for all our cards… even a vintage taxi cab for a photo–booth!
My bridesmaids love a bit of vintage too, but are more contemporary in style than me. So we chose a modern dress with a vintage feel: with a halter neck, laced bodice and flared skirt. Then we added a pinny and peep toe shoes for that cute 50s housewife look (we even used the pinny fabric to create extra–special shoe laces!)
My engagement ring is a gold Panther sitting proudly on a branch – inspired by the famous Wallis Simpson Panther Brooch. I definitely wanted something different, so Jase had ‘Charlie’ (as my panther is now known!) made specially for me. I wanted a branch style ring for my wedding band, and found the perfect one at Alex Monroe. Jase even found a branch style on etsy so we match!
Jase is a typical big kid, and works in computer–generated special effects. He loves computer games, specially a Japanese series called Final Fantasy. He chose a character that represented us, (for those in the know this was Squall and Aeris!) so we had models of them by the cake. The game also has a classical musical score so I walked down the aisle to ‘Aeris’ Theme’ played by the organist!
We wanted an informal, summery theme and chose Italian to represent our engagement. We kept it simple and rustic – with an Italian menu, prosecco, and a dining room decorated with olive trees and herbs for fragrance. We even put up some of my sister’s photographs of Venice.
We wanted our family involved as much as possible, so we had lots of help with our cake, flowers, stationery, favours and decorations. It made things that extra special. (We had lots of people to thank!) And both of our families are big cat lovers so our tables were named after all our family cats, past and present.
We wanted the house to speak for itself so we mainly used flowers as its so beautiful & Jase’ mum lovely filled the house! We loved that we could invite most people to stay with us & we loved that we had the place to ourselves so it was more informal. We only had a handful of people to help with serving food and drinks.
We had a great time all helping to set up the venue at the beginning of the week, so we had just close friends and family with us. Most guests arrived the night before, and we all went out for a meal to break the ice.
On the big day, I was so excited as unfortunately I had been very very poorly in the week up to the wedding (I honestly thought I was going to have to go to hospital) but I woke up feeling great! I ran round the house shouting ‘I’m getting married today.’ It was great to have friends and family staying with us, all getting ready together!
The hair and make up team were calm, friendly and fabulous. They got the look perfect and though I still looked quite poorly, they worked a miracle! I loved my Priscilla Presley inspired look!
My bridesmaids looked so cute with their 50’s curls & flower in their hair & I loved their pines! I chose the Liberty print as I love their fabrics & also worked there when I first lived in London after uni!
The vintage bus was a great surprise for everyone. We all headed to Cockington at a thatched cottage pub a short walk from the church. It was a great opportunity for everyone to meet and greet, calm their nerves or toast the day! It was relaxed and friendly, exactly as we hoped and the best start to the day! I just wish I had been there but I was still getting ready…
It was great to travel together with my mum & sister! Mum had hired a VW campervan to take us to the church – a great surprise – I loved it so much! We did get stuck in traffic and arrive quite late. Poor Jase!
My mum walked me down the aisle and it was great to have her by my side!
I actually first brought them the year before, for a best friend’s hen do (we were each other’s bridesmaid). They were such a hit, she asked if I could bring them to her wedding too!
Everyone then got back on the bus to the venue. The weather was perfect and so we all enjoyed drinks in the garden before our Italian summer feast by the excellent Dartmoor Kitchens.
We had the speeches before we ate so the very nervous speakers could get this out the way and then relax. They were the most unprepared speeches but also the most spontaneous, funny and heartfelt! Jase’s brothers were great – each said a little bit about growing up together, looking up to each other and welcoming me into the family. My sister and grandfather made a speech on my family’s side and talked about bring our families together. Everyone was laughing and crying! There wasn’t a dry eye in the room!
The food was perfect. My very clever Auntie and godmother made my cake. I just said I wanted a vintage feel so bless her, already a gifted cook, she went on a course and made lace icing! It looked stunning and tasted delicious!
We then made things flexible for everyone. Those who wanted cake and a cup of tea could enjoy the vintage tearoom, others could enjoy the bar or the chillout in the Lounge, or take a stroll in the garden before the party got started.
The tearoom was a great hit with lots of specialist teas including Wedding Breakfast tea from Fortnum & Mason (one of my favourite places) and lots of homemade cakes from a family friend as well as the wedding cake.
We wanted people to feel at home and come and go through the different rooms as they please. We were so lucky that our venue allowed us to do this. I really feel Colehayes is a very special place. The owners are great too – I would highly recommend!
We then opened the dance floor and photo booth. We also had the fabulous Pizza Buona to keep hunger at bay with their made to order stone bake pizzas! Our final salute to our love of Italy!
Everyone enjoyed themselves until the wee small hours and it was great that most people stayed so no one had to worry about getting home or finishing at a particular time! At midnight, we had an open bar and kept the tearoom going. And we had the added bonus of a basement for our after–party, so the young at heart still had a place to keep dancing but those with tired party feet could also retire upstairs!
We wanted something for everyone but also still true to us and I think we achieved this. I had the most amazing day and was so overwhelmed to have everyone we know and love in one place.
I also love how everyone’s memories, stories and photos help you capture your big day in a way you couldn’t imagine. You truly feel very lucky and happy. There are still new moments and stories coming out and I hope that continues for years to come!
So here’s to all Helena’s vintage brides – past, present & future! Have a very Happy Wedding Day and may your Heavenly Vintage Wedding Dress bring you lots of love, luck & happiness now and always!
Thanks for letting me share my big day with you!
Lots of Love
Mrs. Carlye McCloy-Brown
Photographs with thanks to Alice of The Vintage Wedding Photographer
Bride’s Shoes: 1960s Vintage Lace from Candy Says
Bride’s Underwear: M&S
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Chi Chi London
Bridesmaids’ shoes: Mojo Moxy
Bride’s Hair & Make Up: Claire & Rebecca of The Popup Salon
Photo Booth: Alfie the Black Taxi Cab Booth
Groom’s Suit: Ben Sherman Tailoring
Shoes: Kurt Geiger
Best Men Suits: Topshop
Bridesmaid’s Pinnies, Ushers / Best Men / Groom Cravats & Pocket: Liberty Art Fabric
Stationery: Groom’s brother Danny Deeptown
Meet & Greet: The Drum Inn, Cockington
Wedding Ceremony: St George & St David’s Church, Cockington, Devon
Wedding Reception: Colehayes Park, Bovey Tracey
Caterers: Dartmoor Kitchens
Cake by Bride’s aunt
Flowers by Groom’s mum
Decoration by the mums, close family & friends