The village fête–themed wedding of Edd Rodgers and Jemma Simpson
15 AUGUST 2013
In true modern fashion, HELLO! Online readers Edd Rodgers and Jemma Simpson first met on a dating show when the adventurous bride picked out Edd from the crowd.
Love blossomed and three years later, Edd and Jemma married on their anniversary of becoming a couple. The bride and groom wanted all the details to be so unique and personal that they even chose a small church that had never held a wedding before.
CLICK ON PHOTO FOR GALLERY OF WEDDING SNAPS
At first Jemma struggled to find the perfect dress as she wanted a gown with straps. After months of searching, she finally got her hands on "the one".
The bride looked beautiful in a classic, white dress with cowl neck and a low cross-over back, and made sure the flowery, embroidered straps were just the ones she wanted. Keeping with tradition, Jemma wore a long veil pinned to the back of blonde her, which she wore down in loose waves.
"I am usually quite experimental with my look and follow fashion," said Jemma. "On my wedding day, though, I wanted to look natural so that hopefully my look wouldn't date."
The bride wore her engagement ring and another diamond ring her parents had given her for her 21st birthday, and opted for a simple white gold bangle.
"My something borrowed were my mum's diamond earrings to match," she said.
Jemma's three bridesmaids looked elegant in champagne-coloured knee-length dresses, which featured a one shoulder flower-patterned strap to match the bride. Jemma's little flower girls looked adorable in long, white flowy dresses.
Jemma and Edd wanted the day to be as personal to them as possible, so the happy couple chose to have the wedding in the village where they live.
"We wanted our wedding to be special to us rather than something similar to weddings we have been to before," said Jemma. "We live in a small village, Alvechurch, that happens to be the same village I was born in, so we decided to get married there and for the theme to be 'vintage village fete'."
The couple chose the local Catholic church where Jemma was christened, adding even more sentimental value to the ceremony. The church had in fact never held a wedding before, making the day even more unique.
Jemma hand-made the invitations and orders of service, and decorated the church with lace-covered jam jars that held flowers, ribbon and corn pew ends.
A total of 120 guests attended the ceremony, and another 80 joined for the evening reception. After the church service, the newlyweds stepped out into the sunshine and were greeted with cheers from their guests.
Edd's fire fighter colleagues wore their uniform to the ceremony and performed a Guard of Honour as the bride and groom left the church. "Edd loves his job so it was important to him to include an aspect of that in the day," said Jemma.
"One of the best moments was when the guest threw confetti over us outside our wedding car, our own beetle with ribbon and cans tied at the back, and Edd drove me to the reception," she said.
Edd and Jemma chose the grounds of the local pub nearby to set up their marquee for the reception. Guests could then walk straight from the church along the canal to the evening festivities.
The hands-on bride had decorated the marquee in true village fête style. Guests could find their places using the stones that had their names printed on each one, and could admire the dainty birdcages hanging overhead. More lace-covered jam jars were tied to the trees and lit up the romantic setting outside.
"Rather than a formal sit down meal we had picnic baskets with a variety of different foods in so our guests could mingle together over the hampers," said Jemma.
"We also didn't like the thought of cutting a cake so decided to have a cake competition. We asked 12 guests to bring a cake and the winner won a bottle of champagne."
The couple's first dance was upbeat and got the crowds jumping up and down to Mr Brightside by The Killers.
"To keep in with the village theme Morris Dancers came to our evening reception," said Jemma. "They got everyone dancing and gave me a Morris dancing stick to keep as a memento."
Later on in the evening, Edd and his friends set off fireworks to surprise his bride. "They had to stop as they had not been authorised to set off fireworks in a marina but it made it funny," said Jemma.
"The day was just how I hoped it would be," she said. "Everything came together. It was personal us and reflected who we are as a couple, and the sun even shone for us after a solid week of rain."