Charlie and Tom's Summer Wedding
How we met...
We met in September 2010 when we both moved into hall of residents on our first day at the University of Sheffield. After a quick hello and introductions, we took a walk to the shop to get the drinks in with a couple of others. Our love story was not a story of love at first sight. In fact, for the first few weeks, Charlie couldn’t remember Tom’s name and found his overt confidence an annoyance. It wasn’t long until we found that we were completely inseparable and every day since, we have been the bestest of friends.
It took Tom almost 8 years to pop the question; but it was years in the making. In 2016, during the summer holidays, Tom spent his time constructing a wooden puzzle box in his parent’s garage. Charlie was mostly miffed by why the house hadn’t been cleaned whilst she had been at work all day, unbeknown to her what he had been up to. His family had noticed the box and speculated what its purpose was. There were even occasions where Tom would innocently stand near Charlie and their suspicions that a proposal was about to happen were wrong. On Charlie’s birthday in October 2018, Tom sent Charlie on a treasure hunt around the house with handmade pictures as “clues” of where to look next. These led to a puzzle box which inside had the biggest clue of them all; a picture of a ring! There were immediate tears of happiness, hugs, kisses and a realisation that Tom hadn’t actually “popped the question”.
The vision for the day...
We are both really relaxed and our vision was all centred on friends and family having a good time! Dodmoor House was the perfect venue to create an intimate setting. Our wedding was originally planned for April 2020, so there was a very loose theme around rustic, spring, wildflowers and foliage.
The Bride - Charlie wore a champagne dress Olivia by Sassi Holford that was purchased from a cute boutique bridal shop called Miss Bush Bridal in Ripley. Charlie tried on three dresses that were picked out with the help from her sister and mum but didn’t feel comfortable or “bridal” in any way. Emma (from MBB) pulled a dress of the rack and as she took it into the changing room, Charlie thought “oh no, I don’t even want to put that on”. Turns out, bridal shop owners know exactly what they are doing and the dress fit and felt like a dream. The dress had three “looks”: a beautiful and simple straight neckline ball gown with a long train and button details, perfect for the evening. For the ceremony, Charlie pieced it with an delicate lace overlay with a v-back with a cathedral length veil. When it got a little chilly outside, a matching box jacket took the dress to another level. It was elegant, beautiful and timeless and the cherry on top was the pockets! Two weeks before the wedding, Charlie found beautiful Liza headpiece in Courtyard Bridal where she had her gown adjusted. It matched the colour of her dress perfectly. Charlie wore her Gran’s gate bracelet and pearl necklace to accessorise.
The Groom - Tom wears a suit to work every day as a teacher and so wanted something that felt special. The suit was from Moss Bros, blue with subtle gold checks running through. Little did Tom know at the time, the importance of the golden tones to compliment the champagne dress! Tom chose to have the waistcoat custom-made that meant that he could customise the lining of the waistcoat to his chosen pattern. Tom paired the suit with a blue and gold paisley tie, and gold cufflinks.
The Bridal Party and Groomsmen - The bridesmaids all wore a different style of Wed2Be’s range of bridesmaid dresses and each bridesmaid had the opportunity to try on and pick their favourite. It was really important that they all felt comfortable on the day. The chosen dresses were called Laila, Bella and Thea and were all worn in the colour Forest Green to compliment the wild, spring theme. Likewise, we wanted the groomsmen to feel comfortable and they each planned what they wanted to wear but we gave them each a matching tie to tie things together (pun intended). The best man wore his No2 dress during the ceremony before changing into something else for a more relaxing evening.
As massive foodies, picking what we were going to eat was one of the biggest and hardest decisions - hardest because we had such a fantastic tasting menu experience, we wanted everything. As Dodmoor allows you the freedom to pick your own caterers, we did a lot of research and Instagram following to find Hall&Co Events. They were so helpful and flexible throughout the whole planning process and even allowed us to request our own desired foods outside of their huge menu. We tried eight canapés each and shared three starters, three mains and three deserts as part of the tasting experience. Needless to say, we were excessively full in the most fantastic way.
We had a mix of canapes, from truffled macaroni cheese fried bites, pork and hoisin balls, mini filled poppadums’ and tempura veg and prawns. These were served in individual boxes due to the Covid restrictions, but we think people were happy they got to try one of each. For our wedding breakfast, we had runny scotch eggs (pork or falafel) or pork belly. For mains, we had an array of pie and mash options that certainly filled a hole if there ever was one. For puddings, we had a choice of a rich sticky toffee pudding topped with whiskey-soaked dates, a rhubarb and ginger pudding and a clean cut lemon tart with a crackly caramel topping. Finally, our guests enjoyed to option to have “dirty fries” around 9pm to soak the booze that had been happily flowing all day.
If that wasn’t enough, we also had sweets, popcorn and donuts arranged by Dodmoor House and a lemon wedding cake that we ended up eating for the next week.
Our favourite part of the day...
The ceremony of course but a close second would be the speeches.
The most important part of the day was for us to get married and make our promises to each other; this is what it has really all been building up to. As soon as Charlie saw Tom, there was an instant relief of the nerves just disappearing. As soon as Tom saw Charlie, he burst into tears and couldn’t believe his luck. The ceremony was meaningful but also fun with a few giggles in between.
The speeches were all incredible and the only regret is not having filmed them. The star of the show was Tom - he put everyone on an emotion rollercoaster (even Louise at Dodmoor!) with his heartfelt and humorous speech. A perfect balance and a perfect moment.
Another great and unexpected moment was the first dance that we planned to not have. Pre-Covid we had planned to dance to “Best Friend” by Queen and get everyone involved early on, but due to the restrictions, we decided that didn't want all eyes on our questionable moves for almost a full 3 minutes. At one point in the night, we were having a mini dance to “All the Small Things” by Blink 182 and when we turned around, the whole room was filming us!
Although there were a couple of key standout moments, the whole day was perfect and the reason for that was definitely down to the team at Dodmoor being absolutely brilliant.
The plan we felt really worked on the day...
The plan to be totally relaxed about the day and have absolute trust that it was going to run smoothly was what worked best. That, and the no-corkage during the day! We also had the barmen play “ beat the barman” to offer our guests the opportunity for a few free drinks over the evening. This way of doing it meant that there wasn’t a rush to get as many free drinks as possible before our tab or time ran out. Placing a set amount behind the bar meant that we were in total control and the guests didn’t even realise it was a “free bar” by us.
We had a live band in the evening who played on the mezzanine, as we were restricted in having a dance floor. I was worried that without being able to dance, there might be a lack of atmosphere and the band wouldn’t have the vibe they are used to. Turns out, there was nothing to be worried about. The Peaky Blinders smashed it and everyone has something good to say about them. Even one of the Dodmoor team sent a recommendation to a friend who was due to get married!
Where we feel our budget was really well spent...
We definitely tried to be savvy with our money and do a lot of DIY touches, but where we did spend more it was totally worth it. Firstly, no regrets spending money on the venue. When we got engaged we looked at barns that were 100% DIY and knew that this would entail a lot time and effort. It was so worth investing in a venue that is naturally stunning and doesn’t need any decorations to appreciate its beauty. Dodmoor also offer various extras such as decorations, card box and stands which really help piece everything together. Needless to say, the team there are fabulous and they were so supportive throughout the whole pandemic, and accommodating to frequent changes as the rules changed. We feel truly lucky to have been able to have our wedding at Dodmoor and they helped us have a stress free day.
Also, the food! It wouldn’t be a good day without good food. We did end up spending more money on flowers than planned but all the flowers from the bouquets, to the buttonholes, to the table decorations were all sensational and smelt gorgeous. Amy at Blooming Beauties did a fabulous job and created Charlie’s dream bouquet with wild flowers, a mix of colours with a few sentimental flowers.
Personal touches that reflected us as a couple...
The origami cranes that were hanging around the room were a true reflection of us. Ever since we met, Tom has always done origami and in the early days of our relationship, Tom would always make Charlie a mini origami elephant out of his bus tickets!
Our wedding stationary was all designed and handmade or printed by Holly Hurst Illustrations. This included our invites, table decorations, table plan and wedding signs. Holly did such a create job in the designs, creating something which reflected our image of spring with a fun and tasteful colour palate.
Suppliers we used and loved...
Fine Art Wedding Photography by David Swailes - David’s photography is faultless and his friendly, relaxed and professional manner put us at ease throughout the day. He also provides you with a link to access the pictures online and you get a wooden USB to keep your memories safe.
Amy at Blooming Beauties for her wonderful flowers and brightening up the day.
Hall and Co Event Design do various things to support weddings from general event planning, props and decoration, floristry and finally their delicious food. If we had the budget we would probably have used their services for many things as they have a great eye for detail, but I couldn’t recommend their food enough; and I believe our guests would all agree.
The Peaky Blinders via Entertainment Nation - The band were so easy going and happy to take requests all night long from our guests. I was really picky when choosing a band and these guys exceeded my expectations.
Hello Beautiful by Rachel Jarvis - Rachel did an excellent job at doing everyone’s makeup in the morning which included the bride, three bridesmaids and the MOB. Everyone looked and felt stunning.
Charlotte Chartell Hair and Make-Up - Charlie had a trial with Charlotte before the postponements, but as time past wanted something completely different on the day. Charlotte gave Charlie exactly what she wanted with no notice. Charlotte also had a unique style request from a bridesmaid on the day, and really enjoyed creating something she hadn’t done before.
Finally, if we could give a tip to other couples...
Go with the flow and don’t sweat the small stuff - which is most of the stuff btw! Focus on what your wedding is really about and do what makes you happy as a couple because it isn’t about everyone else!
Special thanks to Charlie and Tom for sharing their story, and to David Swailes Photography for the photos x