Sweet & Relaxed ‘Beachy’ Camber Sands Wedding: Clare & Will
Today’s real wedding is a very sweet and relaxed Camber Sands, beach inspired wedding! Even though Hurricane Bertha hit land on their wedding weekend, the sun came out just in time for their ceremony.
With an amazing cake and dessert table and lots of nautical, sea-side inspired decor, Clare & Will’s wedding will inspire any beach loving bride and groom.
Words by Clare. Images by Sue Kwiatkowska.
We were inspired by the beach and the ocean and nature and all the beautiful places we visited around the world as well as our own home by the sea of Brighton and the venue itself of Camber Sands.
We wanted to find somewhere that reflected us and our personalities. When we got engaged we had just returned from an 18 month trip around the world where we spent a lot of time on or near beaches, scuba diving and volunteering on various projects , our favourite being a turtle conservation project in Costa Rica.
We would have loved to have taken all our friends and family to one of the beautiful tropical beaches we visited on our trip but knew that would mean some wouldn’t be able to join us.
Camber was the next best thing, with its beautiful stretch of golden sand and the grasses dancing in the wind. The Gallivant just reflected us and everything we wanted in a wedding venue. I found it on a Google search and as soon as I saw its laid back vibe and beach theme I fell in love with it, thankfully so did Will, it was the only venue we looked at!
The bridesmaids wore different shades of blue to reflect the different blues of the ocean with gold sandals or flip flops.
I also bought some foam frangipani’s from ebay and my maid of honour made them into hair clips for each of the bridesmaids.
I actually fell in love with the Genevieve dress by Jenny Packham but it was a bit out of my price range. I showed it to the girls in White Leaf and they set about designing a dress that was inspired by the Jenny Packham dress but tailored more to suit me. The end result was even better than the original.
I wanted a comfortable dress that I could wear all day and dance the night away in and they delivered exactly what I wanted. I was also keen to use local suppliers and the fact that White Leaf make their dresses so that you have your own design was really appealing.
I don’t really do heels and to keep with the beach theme, sandals or flip flops were the obvious choice. I found some beautiful sandals with pearl coloured flowers on that were ideal.
My favourite flowers are Frangipani’s but as I couldn’t have real ones I wore a ring and earrings with silver frangipanis on, both from Etsy. My turquoise bracelet was a gift from Will’s sister.
Tina at the Brighton Flower company exceeded all my expectations with the flowers. I wanted to have blues and yellows to reflect the colours of the beach and some grasses to reflect the nature of Camber. It was also important to have Gerberas as they were Will’s late mother’s favourite flower. The men had their button holes. The bridesmaids had lemon Gerbminis and chamomile.
Will wore a stone coloured slim fit suit from Next in order to fit with the laid back beach theme. He wore brown brogues on his feet and a teal blue shirt to go with the bridesmaid dresses and also in keeping with the blue and yellow colour theme. (colours of the beach and the ocean).
Will also wore the unfurling fern around his neck that he got in New Zealand on our trip. I love it as it looks a bit like a wave. The koru, which is often used in Māori art as a symbol of creation, is based on the shape of an unfurling fern frond. Its circular shape conveys the idea of perpetual movement, and its inward coil suggests a return to the point of origin.
The koru therefore symbolises the way in which life both changes and stays the same. It seemed to be an apt symbol of relationships and love and for the wedding and our journey together.
My Dad gave me away and I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to walk me down the aisle. He is a rock to me and he rocks.
The details were really important in order to really pull the theme together, plus I love being creative. To keep costs down and keep a personal touch I wanted to make most of the extra details myself. When I ran out of time to complete all my ideas my Step-Father stepped in and did a sterling job at finishing things off.
We hung some paper pom poms from the ceiling in different shades of yellow and blue the colours of the beach and the ocean.
We hand painted some beach huts and hung them across the wall with the message ‘clare and will just married’ on. We bought beach huts to decorate the tables with and scattered frangipani flowers. The Gallivant placed shells and starfish and candle lanterns around the tables.
For the mens wedding favours we had mini buckets filled with sweets. For the ladies we made candles out of scallop shells . We got most of the shells from a fisherman in Cornwall and the rest washed up on the beach near our favourite breakfast joint, Carat Cafe in Southwick.
My Step Father made the table names which were all Islands that we visited on our trip and photos from each place. He also made the labels for our bubble bottles ‘liquid confetti’. And the name place cards.
The table plan was vintage style luggage labels pegged to some hand-made belly boards we had made by traditional surfing in Cornwall. The boards were embellished with a logo on with our names, the date and the location of Camber Sands, we cant wait to hit the ocean with them this summer (http://www.traditionalsurfing.co.uk/ ).
OMG the cake! Tess did amazing with our cake. We decided to go with a beach themed dessert table instead of having dessert or just a cake. The centre piece was a blueberry and lemon cake with white chocolate ganache, on a bed of edible sand with our initials etched into the sand and topped with crocheted fish bride and groom toppers from Etsy.
There were vanilla turtle and spiced surfboard cookies, chocolate cupcakes made to look like ice cream cones, raspberry and white chocolate ganache cake pops and strawberry and elder flower cupcakes topped with fondant frangipani flowers.
It blew our mind how amazing this was and worth every penny. Tess set the table out beautifully with wooden boxes and a wooden boat shelf unit. It tasted even better than it looked!!!!!
We got so many compliments about the band with people asking us where we found them, who they were etc. The band provided a great set list and filled the room with good energy, everyone danced the night away. Best wedding band ever! After the band some of our friends took over on the decks and kept the party going until the early hours.
We had a mini paddling pool with hook a duck outside the venue. My Dad and Step Mum made these amazing cardboard cut outs that you find at the beach and stick your face through. They did an amazing job.
My maid of honour and me found Sue at a vintage wedding fair in Hove. We instantly agreed that Sue was the woman for the job. Sue’s bubbly personality drew us in as did her enthusiasm for the Gallivant. We didn’t want lots of formal pictures and loved Sue’s style and ability to capture moments and record the details.
If you could offer any words of wisdom to a Bride to Be planning her wedding day, what would they be?
For me it was the details that were important and searching wedding blogs and pinterest were great resources for ideas. It’s quite easy to get overwhelmed with all the options out there but as long as you accept that the whole process is quite fluid and as time goes on it becomes clear what ideas will work and eventually it will all fall into place.
For us the people we used as part of the day was one of the most important things. We carefully chose our suppliers according to their personality as well as their services but personality was key.
All our suppliers were an absolute pleasure to work with. Diana at the Galivant made the day run smoothly and was brilliant at understanding what we wanted and getting everything in place and got the day to run smoothly. Tess, Sue, Sarah, the guys from Freddy and the Freeloaders all the staff at the Gallivant. They were all key at making the day as perfect as it was.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
The ceremony itself. Our friend Debbie is a registrar and so she married us. It was really nice to have a friendly face conduct the ceremony for us. Standing there with Will it felt like we were the only people in the room.
The readings we chose were The Owl and the Pussycat and Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr Zeuss the second of which was chosen by our usher, Sunil. The readings were perfect to keep a light informal feel to the ceremony. We played The Sea – by Morcheeba while we signed the register.
Thanks so much to Sue Kwiatkowska for sharing these lovely images of Will and Clare’s big beachy day. I’m loving their laid back style.
wedding credits / photographer: sue kwiatkowska photography / wedding venue: the gallivant hotel, camber sands, england. / brides dress: whiteleaf bridal / grooms suit: next / brides shoes: sandals from accessorise / bridesmaid dresses: sexy her / hair & makeup: truffle / florist: brighton flower company / wedding cake: chatter cakes / catering: the gallivant hotel / entertainment: freddie and the freeloaders