There is such a sweet sentimental connection between todays Bride and the breathtakingly beautiful venue, Prior Park College in Bath. With her father being the live-in headmaster of the school, she actually spent most of her childhood there, making the wedding extra special.
The grounds have provided some amazing backdrops for Andrew Brannan Photography to capture Laura & Dave’s big day. I absolutely adore all the swing portraits of them giggling away and how can you not gasp when you see the Mansion or the architecture of the Palladian Bridge.
Honestly sit back relax and take it all in. It’s a goodie.
Laura the Bride: My dress was a bespoke soft lace gown made by the wonderfully talented Jessica Charleston in Bath. I had been to a few other boutiques in London and Bath and just couldn’t find a dress I felt myself in, until I went to see Jess. My sister spied the beautiful lace on an existing design in Jess’ collection and Jess worked her magic to adapt the dress to something I felt really comfortable in. I could not have been happier with the end product. Jess was a dream to work with – hugely patient and never putting any pressure on when I was being indecisive, I would highly recommend her.
I opted for a delicate, simple floor length veil, also made by Jess. I made my hair vine (actually very easy to do, there are some great tutorial videos out there) using gold wire and small beads and pearls purchased on eBay. For jewellery, I chose a rose gold necklace and earrings, made by Karin Andreasson who has a stall on Broadway Market in London.
Dave found his perfect dark charcoal suit in Selfridges, from the Kooples – they make great slim-fit suits with a twist of modern tailoring. He paired it with a navy and white tie from TM Lewin. His decision on shirt was slightly more last minute…he and the best man had to dash out to buy them on the morning of the wedding!
The mix-and-match dresses actually happened by accident. I was thinking either sequined or floral, then ordered a range from ASOS and the final four each suited a different one of the bridesmaids yet went together perfectly. I really wanted the girls to wear whatever suited them best and I loved the relaxed vibe of having mixed dresses.
The ceremony and reception both took place at Prior Park College in Bath, where I lived until the age of 10 as my dad is deputy headmaster at the school. I hadn’t intended on holding the wedding here, but Dave loved the site and coming back to visit brought back many happy memories. It’s also a stunning setting and it seemed foolish not to make the most of it! After a catholic ceremony in the chapel, we held our reception in a sperry tent (complete with large disco ball, we wanted a proper party!) on the lawns overlooking the valley and the city of Bath. A special mention our sperry tent supplier PapaKåta and their excellent team, especially the unfailingly-cheerful and incredibly dedicated Bob, who worked tirelessly to ensure everything was working perfectly on the day.
We made a lot of the decorations ourselves – the huge origami crane installation was inspired by Pinterest and I spent many hours in front of the TV folding those birds! We lightly sprayed a large tree branch gold, then drilled holes through which the fishing line with the birds could be tied.
The centrepieces comprised our huge plant haul from Columbia Road flower market in London, planted up in white Ikea pots and large gold spray-painted tins filled.
I love flowers and wanted to make the sperry tent feel as outdoorsy as possible – buying and potting up the plants ourselves was a brilliant way to achieve this without breaking the bank. We added antique brass candlesticks from charity shops, and clear glass baubles containing ivy and led tea lights.
For the menu cards I used watercolours to paint on green leaves and then colour photocopied the design. The place names were hexagonal marble tiles, on which we wrote the guests’ names with gold paint pens. We also had a gold-tipped feathers on each place setting, which my wonderful bridesmaids helped me to make one Sunday afternoon. We sewed the table runners ourselves using different blue and white patterned fabrics from Ikea. The troughs and pots around the edge of the tent were filled with fragrant herbs and tulips to add to that garden feel.
Food, drink and cake:
Gloriously gluten-free food: Don’t tell our guests, but nearly all our wedding food was gluten-free – my mum and I have coeliac disease and it was essential for us that we wouldn’t have to spend the day worrying about whether there was anything we could eat. The venue’s catering team did a fantastic job in producing canapes and cooking a delicious three-course meal, with huge sharing plates for the main course and cheesecake for dessert.
For our wedding cake we had a towering homemade brownie stack – my mum and I baked the brownies a couple of days in advance and then my ace bridesmaid Jess and I stacked/decorated the cake the night before the wedding.
On the drinks front, our “Pimp Your G&T” station went down a storm!
We were so pleased we chose Andrew Brannan to be our photographer. He was so down-to-earth and friendly, we got on with him instantly. We wanted lots of natural, non-cheesy shots and Andrew suggested we did an engagement shoot to get us used to the camera and so we had a better idea of what would work on the day, which I really recommend as he totally put us at ease and the pictures then took less time on the wedding day. We loved the pictures he shot for us and many of our guests have commented about his great work, especially some of the stunning landscape pictures.
Bouquets, pew ends and church balustrade arrangements were made by Julia and Dee at Stocks Cottage Flowers. I was especially grateful for the effort they went to in sourcing the coral peonies for my bouquet.
We were very lucky to have some talented performers sing and play during the ceremony – the highlights were my school singing teacher and her daughter singing a spectacular rendition of the Flower Duet and my brilliant stand-up comedian friend Rosie performing the Owl and the Pussycat on her ukulele as our second, more relaxed, reading. I walked down the aisle to “Lovely Day” by Alt-J.
For the reception, our band the Midnight Funk Orchestra got everyone up and dancing under the glimmer of the disco ball.
A special thank you should go to all our wonderful family and friends who helped out behind the scenes and put in some serious hours in the run up to the big day, particularly Jennie and Denis, Becca, Amy, Jess, Jess, Stacy and Will. What legends!
I was very nervous about getting married, but I loved the day once we got to it and I had a brilliant time – my advice would be try not to worry too much in the run up the day, it all works out in the end and you will have a fantastic time with all your family and friends around you.
Photography by Andrew Brannan Photography
- Dress Designer & Boutique Jessica Charleston
- Necklace Karina Anderson Jewellery
- Makeup Littlelace
- Hair Number Three
- Bridal Shoes No.1 Jenny Packham for Debenhams
- Grooms Suit Couples from Selfridges
- Shirt TM Lewin
- Bridesmaid Dresses ASOS
- Venue Prior Park College
- Sperry Tent PapaKåta
- Florist Stocks Cottage Flowers
- Catering Glorious Gluten Free Foods
- Comedian Rosie Holt
- Band Midnight Funk Orchestra