Nuala & Dan’s The Compasses Wedding

Written by Emma Hla
Our first wedding of 2019 is a simple, vintage celebration in the Essex countryside. With “hedgerows brimming with cow parsley, foxglove and honeysuckle”, a country lane leads you to the hidden gem that is The Compasses at Pattiswick and the setting for Nuala & Dan’s big day.

We love Nuala’s advice – keep the day as ‘you’ as possible! This couple also ditched the speeches as it just wasn’t their thing, so if you’re currently struggling with all the usual traditions then have a little read.

Notes from The Bride

Nuala says…

I remembered The Compasses from when it was a pub and I’d go for Sunday lunch there with my family. I’d heard they’d gone into events from a friend and the location was so lovely we decided to go and have a look round. It was clear from our first visit that the team understood our laid-back approach and that we wanted something pretty and intimate without spending a fortune – and it really fit the bill.

I knew I wanted a vintage style tea length gown but found this quite difficult to source on a 4 month time constraint! I eventually found a supplier called Fairy Gothmother in South London who specialises in that type of dress and I bought and walked away with my dress there and then. It’s from the ‘True Bride Brighton Belle’ collection which are all gorgeous vintage-inspired gowns.

My shoes happened to be my something blue! Again sticking with the vintage theme, they were by designer Rachel Simpson but a real bargain off my local Facebook selling page.

My hair was in a half beehive created by my amazing hairdresser Laura from The Strand in Chelmsford. She’s been colouring and cutting my hair for years so I knew I could tell her exactly what I wanted and she would totally get it!

Dan’s suit was a tweed style from Next, with a pop of colour from a yellow bow tie he bought from Mrs Bowtie.

As we were trying to keep costs down, I did my own makeup.

The Compasses has a beautiful rustic look, so we kept to that theme as much as we could with the décor. I bought an old suitcase from eBay for people to put cards in, and we draped hessian bunting from some of the beams. We used miniature milk bottles in crates and filled them with gypsophila to decorate the tables.

Our florist was a lovely lady called Karen who runs her own business called Wisps Of Memories. I contacted her on Facebook only a few weeks before the big day and gave her a few ideas of what I liked, but was fairly open-minded. She made me a beautiful bouquet of lilac and white roses, lavender and gypsophila tied with a hessian wrap, and buttonholes to match.

Our cake was a three-tiered naked Victoria sponge made by the super talented Lucy of Little Lucy’s Bakery. Lucy made our daughters first birthday cake which everyone raved about so we knew we wanted her to make the cake for our big day. It was dressed with fresh fruit and fitted really well with the décor of the venue. Oh and it tasted amazing! The Compasses put on afternoon tea for our day guests, all served on traditional stands. In the evening we had bowls of chilli and sausages and mash which were delicious.

I’d worked with Gemma when she was doing photography in her spare time and had always remembered how fab her photos were. She was the only person I wanted and the only photographer I contacted (so it was a good job she was available!). She made us feel so at ease, which I think shows especially well in the shots she got of us both in the car at the reception.

Best part of the day

Definitely when I walked into the registry office and we saw each other for the first time that day. We’d been together for a long time so I never thought I’d find that moment particularly emotional, but it felt really monumental. And Dan isn’t much of a crier so when I saw him tear up as I walked in it made it all feel really real!

From one bride to another…

Keep the day as ‘you’ as possible and don’t feel pressured into upholding traditions if they’re not important to you. We didn’t want speeches as Dan hates public speaking! And the day certainly didn’t feel like it was missing anything because of that. If anything it made it more relaxed for us and we enjoyed it more. And definitely keep an eye on Facebook if you’re on a budget – the selling pages are great for bargain decorative pieces!


Venue The Compasses at Pattiswick

Photography Gemma Giorgio Photography

Bride’s Dress Fairy Gothmother

Groom’s Attire Next and Mrs Bowtie

Bridal Hair The Strand in Chelmsford

Cake Little Lucy’s Bakery

Décor Ginger Ray and Not on the Highstreet

Flowers Wisps of Memories

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