“Nikki said she wanted us to feel amazing on our wedding day. And she absolutely delivered! She really understood what we were trying to achieve and made the whole process feel completely personal to us – from brief to recce to reveal. Neither of us particularly like being the centre of attention, but Nikki made us feel so at ease. In fact, posing for the intimate couple shots was sincerely one of the highlights of our day.”
An early September cricket club themed wedding at Stowell Park was the most wonderful celebration of the wedding of Rachel and James.
This lovely couple got married in an intimate ceremony with immediate family only during the week at the Cheltenham Registry Office but had chosen to celebrate on a bigger scale with friends and family at Stowell Park. Stowell Park can be found in the grounds of Lord Vestey’s Stowell Park Estate.
Here is the story of their celebrations in their own words…
James has played cricket at Stowell Park since he was 14 (16 seasons), Rachel comes up to watch / score / help with teas every weekend in summer.
We didn’t want to have our reception in a specialist venue, we wanted to have it somewhere that means something to us as a couple. Plus, it’s a really beautiful setting. James spent most of his childhood up there, we’ve spent every summer of our relationship up there and one day we hope to take children of our own up to the cricket club.
We planned everything ourselves but our wedding was most definitely family powered! We had a bit of a working party up at the cricket club a couple of days beforehand to get everything ship shape and set up for the big day.
Our parents helped us clean and decorate. Siblings shifted hay bales and ran around town picking up flowers, ice and last-minute bits.
We really couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help and kindness. It was heart-warming to see two families come together to help us achieve our dream.
A very understated but classy dress for a bride who isn’t very good at being centre of attention!
Rachel found it in a small shop in Swindon which was closing down. The lace detail on the back was exactly what Rachel wanted and some sparkle in the bodice of the dress gave it some subtle detail that caught the light in places.
It had a fairly small train which was good for an outdoors wedding as we couldn’t be sure that dry weather was guaranteed!
As we were already married at this point, we decided to walk in to Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder.
James convinced Rachel to go for an early morning dog walk to the top of Cleeve Hill with Mortimer the sproodle on August Bank Holiday weekend. He popped the question at our favourite bench/resting spot at the top.
All the big stuff did (bar the car crash!!) – including the weather!
[James was in a nasty car accident the Sunday before the wedding. Rather battered and bruised but alive!]
When you plan something on this scale yourself there are bound to be things that you forget or that just don’t quite happen how you imagine. But it gets to a point where you have to just embrace it and focus on the things you actually pulled off rather than getting too bogged down in the tiny details.
As long as everyone has a good time, it’s a success!
We ordered suits for James and his best man Eliot (younger brother) online at marcdarcy.co.uk – it was the only place we could find something that was both a bit country and contemporary.
It all came within a couple of days of ordering and was really easy to return anything that wasn’t the right size etc. Would definitely recommend.
Taking some time out together to step back and take in all our hard work and watch people having a lovely day. After a year of planning, it was so lovely to see all our hard work being appreciated by our guests.
We had a cricket-tea-style afternoon tea from Mrs D’s Afternoon Teas. It’s run by a couple of sisters, Annette and Sadie, from Moreton in Marsh.
We wanted everything to be local and homemade and they were really helpful in the planning and on the day itself.
The food was lovely and we took the few remaining leftover cakes down to Cornwall on our honeymoon!
We followed this up with a hog roast from R&J Walker Butchers (Terry & Angie on the day, organised through Robbie Walker) – again from Moreton in Marsh – which went down a storm. The leftover crackling definitely helped to nurse a few sore heads the day after!
The most important thing about a wedding is spending time with the people you love and not sweating the small stuff.
So what if it rains, so what if the timings are all out, what matters is that everyone is together with smiles on their faces having a wonderful day.
You only get one wedding day so enjoy it, don’t waste it worrying about the little things.
Pretty much bang on a year (proposed end of August 2018, married start of Sept 2019).
We went to quite a few wedding fairs and spoke to a lot of different photographers who all had books packed full of really nice photos. But when we met Nikki at Pittville Pump Rooms we knew right away she had the most important ingredient – the right personality. She really bought-in to what we were trying to achieve from day one.
Her enthusiasm, experience and, of course, the examples of beautiful photos on her stand really swung it for us.
If you’re planning it yourself, surround yourself with good people that know what they’re doing. We did our wedding on a relatively small budget and did lots of things ourselves – but when we did need to pay someone to do something we couldn’t do – we went for the people we knew would make our lives easier and take away a share of the stress.
Everyone we used was small and independent – so they all really seemed to be totally invested in making it a success. Just like we were.
We met in a nightclub above a bakery in Cirencester!
Rachel was starting university in Bristol and James was in his first job at an advertising agency in Cirencester. For the next 2 years, we split our time between Bristol and Cirencester.
Rachel’s third year of university took her to Würzburg, Germany so we had a real long-distance commute to see each other! When Rachel returned we moved to Bristol together for her final year before settling in Cheltenham once she graduated.
For us, the time spent shooting our couple photos with Nikki was actually one of our favourite memories.
The day itself is such a whirlwind. There are so many people to see and so many little jobs to do – it was really nice to just spend some quality time together where we could just stop, step back and take it all in.
We were so relaxed we even forgot Nikki was there for some of it!
Our honeymoon had to be dog friendly so that our eternal third wheel, Mortimer, could come with us. The night of the reception, we stayed at The Wheatsheaf Inn in Northleach which was such a lovely place to crash after a looooong day before we headed back up to the cricket club on the Sunday to clear up.
For our actual honeymoon we stayed in a barn we found on Airbnb just outside Mylor Bridge in Cornwall (near Falmouth).
We went to a fair few National Trust places and walked some of the coastal paths down towards The Lizard Peninsula – which was absolutely beautiful.
Rachel’s Auntie Cathy made the cake. A traditional 3-tiered fruit wedding cake with marzipan and fondant icing from a doodle we sent her. She makes cakes as a hobby and has always done them for big family occasions (she even made Rachel’s christening cake).
She made everything by hand, including the delicate floral decorations to match Rachel’s bouquet and James’ buttonhole (sunflowers, eucalyptus, white September and white lisianthus).
James’ mum Karen made the face in the hole photobooth thing.!
[Note from Nikki – a big thank you to NKP Team member Charlotte for holding Mortimer still behind the scenes!]
Photography: Nikki Kirk Photography
Flowers: Bloomers of Cheltenham
Dress: Harmony brides, Swindon
Bridesmaid dresses: House of Fraser
Groom’s outfit: Marc Darcy
Cake: Rachel’s Auntie Cathy
Catering: Mrs D’s Afternoon Teas / R&D Walker Butchers (both Moreton In Marsh)
Stationery: Wildflower Illustration Co.
Entertainment: Own disco, lawn games, cricket and SPCC traditional game of flags
Hair and beauty: Leanne – Cotswold Wedding Hair and Make Up
Rings including engagement ring: Beards Cheltenham