Disco Cages And Peach Flavoured Delights In Wiltshire.
For once I’m lost for words with the opening to this morning’s wedding – that of Nina and Daniel who said ‘I do’ by the riverside in Wiltshire.
Why might you ask? Well it’s because this big day is flipping AWESOME, that’s why. There are so many gorgeously creative details that it’s hard to know where to begin. But begin I must, so I’ll start with Nina’s oh so chic and simple bridal gown from Jenny Packham. If there’s one thing I have a bit of a soft spot for lovelies then it’s those brides who choose and are able to carry off the merest slip of a gown for their wedding day and Nina does this with aplomb!
And then there’s ALL the decorative details; I don’t want to give away too much at this point but I will say that there are mirror balls and peach coloured lampshades and disco cages and stars and giant letters and an ACTUAL LOVE TENT.
Yes an actual Love Tent. Cor blimey, it’s enough to make this wedding blog editor hyperventilate!
So whilst I take myself off in an attempt to calm down from the sheer epicness of this big day I urge you to read on dear readers and experience the joy for yourselves.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
Nina The Bride:My husband and I wanted to get married in a very natural setting with a slightly bohemian feel. As he grew up on a big farm in Wiltshire we decided to have the wedding there. This environment was absolutely perfect: it had over 1000 acres set on a world heritage site by Stone Henge with 3 miles of the River Avon running through it. In fact, the site was just next to the more recently found Wood Henge, which used to be a hugely historical site for thousands of marriages many years ago.
I wanted to find a very natural, figure-hugging Duchess satin dress that would sit perfectly in the vintage, yet natural setting. The Jenny Packham dress was perfect – it was so elegant and simple, without any embellishments or over-detailing. The subtle train flew behind me in the breeze and felt wonderful against my skin.
When we entered the marquee for dinner I slipped on a stunning handmade bespoke Erte cape, based on a 1920’s style. This had lots of beautiful embellishments to make the outfit feel more glamorous for dinner. I wore very simple accessories: purely some original art deco earrings and daisies in my hair, so that I created a real balance between the vintage theme and the natural farmyard feel.
I designed the Save the Date invites in Photoshop and then designed a wedding website, all in the quirky vintage theme of the wedding. Our friend Anne-Marie Cullum sang beautiful opera for us during the ceremony down by the river. People brought their own guitars and played informal sessions on the lawn throughout the weekend.
I also had speakers rigged up throughout the farm, so music could be played constantly from various playlists I created. I emailed the guests prior to the wedding, asking for a list of tunes they would each love to hear being played at the wedding. So I combined all of these, along with our own, to create playlists that everyone could feel part of.
We hired a vintage split-screen VW campervan to transport the bridesmaids and I to the venue. The campervan was called Gus and we hired it from Camperbug.
My husband wanted to be dressed in a very natural outfit, to be in keeping with his character and the relaxed farmyard setting. He didn’t wear a tie; he rolled up his shirt sleeves and sourced a vintage hat from Portobello Market. He wore linen trousers from Hackettand a waistcoat from Thomas Pink and managed to create the perfect outfit for the environment. The bridesmaids wore dresses from Phase Eight.
I selected a delicate peach, pistachio and vintage cream as my colour palette, with accents of dark brown. This meant I could contrast in old brown leather suitcases with pastel vintage typewriters. We themed the event completely, from old watering cans filled with flowers, to hand-made vintage lace bunting, giant distressed wooden letters, a cute little tea room set-up and trunks of fancy dress! All items were made/sourced by me and my team at my company Prop Studios; as well as our wonderful mums who worked flat out.
We created all of the florals ourselves having saved up hundreds of jam jars and tin cans for months and finishing them off with ripped pieces of fabric around them to make them look really beautiful. Using Gypsophila, Eucalyptus, Asters, Freesias, Pepita Roses, peach Peonies and barley we then arranged the flowers in them in a very natural way.
We covered the tables in hessian home-made table cloths and sourced some beautiful original 1920’s lace placers which we put on the centres of the table. On these we put the tin cans containing flowers and jam jars containing tea lights.
We had already carried out the legal side of the wedding a week before which meant that on our big special day we could make it exactly as we wanted so we opted for a humanist wedding right next to the river.
We wrote the wedding ceremony ourselves with support of a humanist minister, including our vows. This meant they could be very personal, sentimental and we could really express our thoughts, right from thee heart. At one point we brought our parents up to tell them what they mean to us and thank them for everything they have done for us. This was a very emotional part of the ceremony. As I walked down the aisle, Annie sung Ave Maria. She has an incredible operatic voice which sounded incredible.
The guests sat on wooden benches and we formed arches made of branches strung with vintage lace and strips of cream fabric. We hung tin cans containing flowers along the walkway and strung up strips of lace that had been knotted onto long lengths of brown string – then suspended these off the branches of trees that hung right over the flowing water. White paper pom poms hung in the trees and iron troughs were filled with white flowers we had grown.
After the ceremony we played one of our favourite songs ’Ho Hey’ by the Lumineers, as we skipped back down the aisle whilst the crowd threw petal confetti on us. This was one of the best moments of my life!
We wanted an informal, natural, rustic food offering throughout the day. We started with homemade elderflower, Pimms, then brought out canapés including locally sourced sticky honey glazed Wiltshire sausages, cheddar tartlets with goats cheese etc. For our main we had a hog roast carved up and served on vintage crockery with individual freshly baked three cheese tartlets with caramelised onion and vine roasted cherry tomatoes topped off with baby leaf green salad with meadow flowers. For dessert we served Eton Mess with strawberries and cream.
The wedding cake was a three-tier fondant iced vanilla sponge cake with butter cream
and fresh strawberries. This was positioned on baking paper on top of a lovely old stack of painted crates I sourced from Sunbury Antiques Market. We cut the cake outside, right next to the lake as sunset approached the beautiful evening. The cake was made by our caterer, Alison Jump.
We managed to find the chap that is considered the best in the industry for wedding photography. Ed Peers is unbelievably talented and such a kind, great guy to work with! We would give him the best possible recommendation to anybody looking for a wedding photographer.
The styling and the DIY projects were some of the most fun aspects of organising the wedding. As a set designer I take such enjoyment from these things! I have a studio full of left-over props we have previously created for high-end retailers, which I adapted and distressed to fit in with the colour palette. For instance, giant Vegas-style 3D letters which spelt out words like ‘love’ and ‘N&D’. These became great attractions for photo opportunities. I had a giant birdcage which was previously used by Liberty to fit the whole of the Rolling Stones band in! This cage transformed into our “Disco Cage”, with a mirror ball suspended at the top and vintage trunks of wild fancy dress outfits were positioned next to it, to encourage lots of raucous behavior. Not that our guests needed much encouraging. I had a giant wooden heart that I had previously made for a job which I again adapted and surrounded the edge with lights.
Our mums made our own bunting from vintage lace doilies, hessian sprayed with white hearts and vintage pattern fabrics. They also made special tree bunting by knotting long lengths of ripped fabrics and lace onto brown string. These looked beautiful hanging from the trees.
I distressed lots of furniture, mirrors and picture frames and had these positioned in areas around the farmland and I adapted some lovely 3D Vegas stars into the colour pallet using crackle varnish and attached these onto a beautiful big tree at the site, then projected lights up onto them.
We made our own hessian table cloths and had vintage lace cloths arranged on each table with tin cans and jam jars wrapped in brown string and strips of vintage lace. These held the flowers and tealights.
I made a quirky signpost with my father from distressed planks which I painted up in different colours, to direct people around the venue. We also made a tea room set-up using vintage furniture which we upholstered in fabrics from the same palette. My father and I made a lampshade cascading chandelier, using vintage team room lampshades.