Helen & Julian's English country garden wedding

By on Jan. 3rd

Photos by Eleanor Jane

The offbeat bride: Helen, photographer

Her offbeat partner: Julian, writer

Location & date of wedding: Medieval Hall and Leaden Hall School Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK — September 4, 2010

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We'd been together for seven years. We met in the very first week of university and have been together ever since. We live in Dubai but decided to get married in Salisbury, as I am a northern girl and he is a southern boy — it was in the middle. Plus, I have an uncle who owns a beautiful guest house in the heart of the city: St. Ann's House. We took it over for the weekend.

Our talented photographer Eleanor set up a photo booth for us, which was very fun. I also had tons of fun getting my dress made (I love pink!) and picking out my shoes. We DIYed some elements as well, including the invitations and cakes — all from Dubai.

Tell us about the ceremony: It was over far sooner than we thought it would be. I walked in with my father to Aqualung's "Brighter Than Sunshine." My friend Heather did a reading as did Julian's father. Our friend and groomsman, Rich, played guitar.

Medieval Hall was built at the same time as the cathedral, so it's just as old and beautiful, but you can have civil ceremonies there. John, who runs the hall, was a huge help with the whole day. A local florist named Leslie provided all of the flowers, including the pink daisies in my hair.

After the signing of the register, we walked just a few hundred yards down the road to Leaden Hall School for Girls. It was the weekend before the girls went back to school, but they didn't mind us taking over the beautiful conservatory. The chef cooked the most fantastic dinner for us as well.

Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge was organizing long distance. We trusted family and friends to help, and they came through. Anything that didn't happen on the day didn't really matter after all since the main goal of being married was accomplished.

My favorite moment: Having dinner with a lot of people at my uncle's guest house the night before. It was like a pre-wedding party!

I also loved being very calm even when all my bridesmaids were fussing like mad. Plus, as I started down the aisle, I wanted to run down to Julian when the music started. But I had to hold on to my dad because my shoes weren't staying on my feet!

My funniest moment: Maybe me putting Jules' ring on the wrong hand? Also, when I tossed my flowers to the girls, my closest girlfriends took a step forward as I am not known for my throwing skills. However, I ended up really chucking it far over their heads and it landed in another girl's arms.

Our first dance was bad. We decided on the song that Robbie plays for Julia in The Wedding Singer, "Grow Old With You." We forgot to practice beforehand and ended up just shuffling around awkwardly. Ha!

My advice for offbeat brides: Choosing a venue where everything is within walking distance really cuts down on transportation costs.

Use your resources! I got a good deal on our photographer since she was a friend, my sister-in-law baked the cakes, and my uncle let me take over his guest house, of course, which was so appreciated. Trust and love your family, both new and old. Our wedding was a team effort, and it payed off big time with everyone's help.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!



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