Brrr… it’s been a bit chilly lately — so we thought we’d bring on an early spring and showcase Ashley and Adam’s bright and beautiful real wedding at Parklands, Quendon Hall, shot by STG fave – Claudine Hartzel.
At Smashing the Glass, we absolutely adore personalised details, and both bride and groom happily rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in creating a wonderfully crafty dà©cor scheme that truly made the day their own. The couple made most of their own decorations, from heart-shaped bunting to burlap-wrapped mason jars, for their relaxed, earthy big day.
In keeping with the natural vibe of the day, the chuppah was built using silver birch wood poles, small floral arrangements and a gorgeous multi-coloured tallit, sourced in Israel by the groom’s parents
To commemorate their dreamy hot air balloon proposal, creative groom, Adam, made a model hot air balloon guest book with a mini basket in which friends and family could leave messages for the couple.
But that wasn’t Adam’s only project. In a romantic move that has set the bar ludicrously high for grooms everywhere (if you listen carefully you can hear a distant, sarcastic chorus of “cheers, mate”), Adam ordered a custom-made bow tie using a design of a painting that Ashley had created for him. It was a wonderful surprise on the day and Ashley was blown away.
The meaningful details were sprinkled through every aspect of the day. Ashley customised her Cymbeline dress with a vintage brooch and wore a bracelet with a trinket from her grandmother so they she could feel connected. And a final, adorable touch was the hand-stamped mini succulent plants as favours for each guest — a lasting memento of a beautiful celebration.
How we met
Ashley, the bride: My best friend, Tash, knew Adam from uni. One day she invited me to come with her to his birthday drinks and we were introduced there. We met again at Tash’s infamous Seder night parties and then we hit it off again on a camping trip with a group of friends – the rest is history!
Choosing to get married at Parklands, Quendon Hall
We got married at Parklands, Quendon Hall in Essex. Ashley’s parents had been to a wedding at this venue and suggested that we check it out. We went to see it on a sunny day and fell in love with the beautiful grounds. The manor house overlooked a beautiful garden with a gorgeous fountain, and just beyond that was a nature reserve with fields of wild deer roaming. We had the chuppah overlooking the field of deer and the pathway of the fountain was my aisle.
It was a gamble to choose somewhere based on the grounds as, of course, we had no idea how the weather would pan out; but the manor house and marquee offered us plenty of room for loads of guests which was a key requirement.
A wedding that reflected us as a couple
The only requirement we had for our whole wedding was that it had to be a reflection of us. We didn’t have a theme, or a colour scheme or a particular style; we approached each element individually and thought about how we could make it our own and put our stamp on it.
I guess if I were to sum our wedding up, I would choose to describe it as a natural, relaxed, rustic, earthy party.
We hand made as many decorations as we physically could and enlisted help from most of our friends to do it. We chose seasonal flowers and food that we loved to eat. We chose party favours that were something our guests could take away to remind them of us and were from the heart.
We also understood that as much as you can decorate/stylise and theme your wedding, none of it really matters as it is ultimately all about the people, the spirit and the love. All we wanted was for it to be as relaxed as possible with a party vibe, and that is exactly how it turned out.
We wanted to keep the invitations lighthearted to present the casual vibe we were going for and I think they worked.
We chose a rustic-style invite on brown recycled card with floral detail and bunting designs from Norma & Dorothy. It was very easy to work with them and everything was online.
Hair and make up
My very talented friend and hairdresser, Leanne Pearson styled my hair, as well as mum’s and cousin’s. She is a good friend of mine, so we had talked a lot about what I wanted and since she knows me, she also had an idea of what I like and my general style. We had a couple of trials before the big day but they weren’t even needed. My hair was absolutely fantastic and I was so thrilled with how it all looked.
Not to mention it was great to have Leanne with me while getting ready. She has such a calming nature and I knew she would be 100% honest with me. Leanne was also a guest at my wedding so it was brilliant that she was with me throughout the day and night for hair touch ups (specifically after Israeli dancing)!
A Cymbeline dress
The detail in the lace, neckline and sleeves were exactly what I wanted and I fell in love with it immediately. I was very lucky too as I found a beautiful vintage brooch at a market which my dressmaker was able to add to the dress as a finishing touch. It felt like it made the dress unique and added that final touch of detail.
I had flowers in my hair, supplied by the florist. I always knew I wanted to have that earthy detail in my hair on the day. I wore pearl earrings that Adam had given me as gift a few years ago and a bracelet with a kamaya (trinket) from my grandma attached. I knew I wanted to have something of her with me on my wedding day and it was the perfect way to have her near.
My veil was short and very plain as I wanted to avoid any distraction from the dress.
New Look chunky heels
My shoes were actually £25 from New Look!
I struggled massively to find the right wedding shoes. I was looking for comfort first but I also wanted height and didn’t want to spend a fortune. I had bought and returned at least three pairs of expensive wedding shoes, until I finally decided it didn’t matter at all what I wore and then decided to go with what I knew worked!
New Look shoes are always my failsafe option for style, height and comfort and they were absolutely perfect on the day! They were simple chunky heels with a wedge — and they happened to be white.
The handsome groom
Adam’s outfit was from Ted Baker. He wore a casual slim-leg chino, white shirt and textured waistcoat and it worked perfectly.
He also surprised me with the most romantic gesture by wearing a custom-made bow tie using a design from a birthday card I had painted for him a few years ago.
He also had custom-designed bow ties made for his dad, best men and groomsmen, each with a different design, themed with something to do with our relationship.
It was a total surprise and such an intricate detail that only I would notice.
It was one of the most romantic surprises Adam has ever planned. The small personal details like these were exactly what made our wedding so special.
I had my best friends Tash, Emily and Keren as bridesmaids.
I had never actually planned on having them wear matching dresses. I’m not a big fan of that style and would rather have the girls be completely comfortable and wear something that they loved, suited them and that they knew they would wear again.
As we didn’t have a colour scheme or style theme, I told them to wear anything that they wanted – all I asked was that they were each different colours and were all shorter in length.
I went with them to choose their dresses (apart from Emily who lives in Australia) and it was an absolute coincidence that they all chose something in lace, in complementing jewel tones and matched each other perfectly.
There was no theme, style or deliberate cohesion but they all looked beautiful and distinctly like bridesmaids in their own way.
We wanted to keep our chuppah design natural, simple and rustic. Not over the top and not over decorated.
We chose to use silver birch poles and unstructured, seasonal flower decorations for the corners.
The most beautiful and special part of our chuppah was the gorgeous, multi-coloured tallit that Adam’s parents bought us from Israel. It’s a one-of-a-kind, handmade piece and looked stunning with the sun shining through it. We were so happy that we could show it off on such a beautiful day.
We had a very traditional Orthodox ceremony. We didn’t want to change anything about the style of the ceremony with respect to the rabbi and the traditions.
We chose for the chazan to sing an Israeli song, called Mitachat Lashamayim as I came down the aisle – one of our favourite songs. It was so emotional and touching to hear it just at the right moment.
Our flower theme was completely unthemed! We wanted wild, unstructured spring flower arrangements using flowers that were in season. We wanted as many colours as possible, mixed in with lots of leaves and green foliage to balance it out.
Miri was our florist and although she said our wedding was not her typical style, she understood exactly what we wanted and brought our vision to life.
We had tulips, daffodils, gerberas and other spring flowers of all different colours, mixed with herbs, aloes and moss. Our favourites were the burro’s tail succulents.
It all came together beautifully and the flowers were arranged in a mixture of taller structured vases, recycled jars and boxes made of rosemary.
Adam, his best men, groomsmen and my male family members wore daffodils in their buttonholes. Our floral theme was spring, so this was a perfect option for the men.
Adam and I love flowers and this was definitely the most fun part of wedding planning. It smelt amazing in the room.
Our fabulous photographer…
The wonderfully talented Claudine Hartzel was our photographer. We absolutely clicked and felt so comfortable with her. From the second she joined me while I was getting ready, I had complete trust in her. She was with us in every room, throughout the entire day and was an absolute rock.
Claudine kept us informed of everything that was happening, gave us great instruction and helpful timings. We are very pleased with everything that she did for us and also with the photos. They came out perfectly and we are so happy!
Our friend and neighbour Edan Schiller agreed to film and edit our wedding videos. He is a talented videographer in his regular day job but does not usually do weddings. We are thrilled with the video and we loved working with him – the care and attention he puts into his work is unbelievable.
Catering by Philip Small
We had Philip Small cater our wedding and the food was beyond anything I had expected. Everything we ate on the night was fantastic and so delicious. People are still telling us how good it was!
Not only did he cater the food at our wedding, he helped us plan the structure of the event and was instrumental in making sure the day ran smoothly.
Our first dance
Our first dance was actually less emotional and more of an uplifting song that we both love. We danced to Florence and the Machine’s You Got The Love. We played it again as our last song too which rounded the evening off perfectly.
We didn’t want to have too much of a serious/dramatic feeling throughout the wedding; we wanted more of an uplifting party atmosphere, so avoided ballads or anything too slow.
We took a gamble and chose a band that we had never heard of called The White Keys. We had not heard them play live before and hadn’t heard of anyone else that had used them.
Ashley found them online, really liked their showreel and felt that they were the perfect style of band for what we were looking for.
We wanted a great wedding band that wouldn’t be the showcase of the event but more of the ‘party starters’, and they absolutely delivered. They are so talented and such great singers, they brought the party to life! The music compilation was spot on, they looked fantastic and were great to work with.
We were able to give them requests and they were even happy to have an extra band member on the night (my uncle!).
Mini succulent plants as favours
We put a mini succulent plant at each place setting with a hand-stamped label saying ‘take me home’. We are very green fingered and loved the idea of giving our guests something special that reminded them of us, but that would also be a lasting thank you to them for coming to share our special day.
All of our friends and family still have their plants and our flat is overflowing with them. They were a huge success.
DIY-ing our wedding
We made all of our decorations. We chose to make all of the bunting that was strung around the entire circumference of the room. We used recycled paper and created heart-shaped bunting strung together with twine.
We also used recycled jars to hold all of the flowers and candles. Our friends and family had collected the jars for us over six months and we added lace, twine and burlap detail to each individual jar.
We bought a customised stamp and printed all of the labels that were attached to each individual succulent plant pot.
A hot air balloon guestbook
When Adam proposed, he took me on a hot air balloon ride, so we wanted to incorporate that into our wedding somehow. We also wanted to have something a little different instead of a guest book. Adam hand made a miniature hot air balloon. It had a basket attached, into which our guests could drop their hand written messages to us.
Advice to brides and groom currently planning their wedding
My advice to anyone would be to take all of it in. Your wedding day goes so fast, so try to step back and absorb everything that is happening. Remember to enjoy every minute. By the time that day finally rolls around, all decisions have been made and there is absolutely nothing to be stressed about – it’s time to let it all go and have the best day of your life!
Ashley & Adam’s little white book
Photographer – Claudine Hartzel
Videographer – Edan Schiller
Venue – Parklands, Quendon Hall
Bride’s dress – Cymbeline bought at Mirror Mirror
Bride’s shoes – New Look
Groom’s attire – Ted Baker
Hair – Leanne Pearson
Make-Up – Rachel Gold MUA
Flowers – Flowers by Miri
Catering – Philip Small
Band – The White Keys
Production – David Graham from Sound Division
Invitation – Norma & Dorothy