Wow. Just WOW.
That all too familiar question: “Charlotte, if you were to plan your wedding now what styling/dress/accessories would you choose?”
And the answer would be “I would probably just copy Tori….”
The blush beaded gown (a SUPER flattering hue on fair-skinned blondes) the slightly un-done up do, the gold leaf garland crown…..dreamily ethereal but with a generous dose of timeless elegance.
Photographer Katherine Ashdown questioned that as Tori and Paul only chose to have the ceremony and canapés covered rather than the entire evening reception that perhaps there wouldn’t be enough details to warrant a feature.
My response: “I loooove this more than cake!!! There is no way we wouldn’t want to share it!!!!”
Ahem. There might not actually be any cake, or centrepieces or a million decor details for you lovelies to be in inspired by but my goodness, the fashion alone is enough to make your pinterest boards look the prettiest they ever have.
And did I mention they planned it all in TWO MONTHS?
We both adore Norfolk and my family has a little cottage there which is where Paul would first come to visit me from London. We spent a lot of time on our bikes exploring the pubs (mostly) around Norfolk but one of our favourite places that we kept coming back to was Holkham hall with its gorgeous beach, just down the road from us. We knew we wanted a small venue and when we saw the temple tucked away and nestled in the woods we loved it instantly, as did our dog Tallulah!
With no electricity and an open fire it was just the right setting for our intimate little wedding.
I don’t really wear much make-up so I was afraid of looking over done on the day…and I have one hair style (sloppily pinned up with a couple of clips…) so I didn’t want to turn up next to Paul not really looking like me. I did my own hair which I just wanted to be natural and a little bit loose and messy but I used Love Moi Makeup and I’m just so glad I did.
Emily did an amazing job covering up a long red scratch on my cheek (made by an over excited Tallulah the day before the wedding!) and she gave me just the right amount of glam – it was perfect.
A Blushing Bride
We organised the whole wedding in just two months and I quickly realised that most brides order their dress at least 6 months ahead so I knew I had to be a bit creative! Scouring the internet one designer kept catching my eye again and again – Jenny Packham. One very dark and rainy evening after work in February I decided to go to her flagship store in Mayfair and emerged just over half an hour later clutching my sparkly new wedding dress – a Jenny Packham evening gown, the AD135.
It was the first dress I tried on and it was beaded perfectly – and with it’s slight blush colour, it was a really flattering tone and just a little bit different.
I adore all things art deco and went on the hunt for some chandelier earrings, eventually coming across a Lulu Frost design at Whistles. I didn’t think I needed much more than that but I kept falling in love with the natural, ethereal look of flower garlands on brides.
Feeling unsure if I dared go all the way with a real garland I came across a Tel Aviv based designer Avigail Adam, through her shop on Etsy. She makes stunning gold plated garland crowns and managed to post one out to me just in time for the wedding!
Gold, Silver & Inky Blue
Since we had such a tiny wedding (just 20 guests) we decided not to have a traditional wedding party – we just had a Maid of Honour – my best friend since we were about 11, Karena, and Tallulah our cocker spaniel was our ring bearer!
With my dress being a blush colour I really wanted shades of neutrals that could all blend in together so we looked for subtle shades of gold, silver and champagne. Fitting with the vintage, sparkly look of my dress, Karena wore a cocktail dress from Coast with antique gold sequins around the neck and a drape down the front which we thought was a little bit flapper style.
Paul looked so handsome in an inky blue, slim fitting suit from Suit Supply with a silvery brown tie. We bought a dapper handkerchief for his top pocket but I think he forgot to wear it!
We both wanted a warm, cosy and relaxed atmosphere so we knew we wanted a lovely log fire and lots of candles. I love all things vintage so I knew I wanted lots of old cut glass candlesticks and mercury glass votives in silvery tones. I went to one of my favourite shops, Vintage Home & Garden in Thornham, Norfolk, where Jo the owner helped me put together some amazing details including an old vintage ‘Bar’ sign for our champagne table, which I just loved. We kept the whole colour palette to very soft and muted shades of blush, creams, dusty pinks, sagey greens and metallics which made the photos look so gentle and ethereal.
As a total flower obsessive I knew that our flowers were going to be a really important detail of the day for us. We used the amazingly talented Clare from Love Blooms and from the beginning Clare just totally understood the kind of look I was after, putting together stunning moodboards and constantly pushing my ideas a bit further. My bouquet featured memory lane roses and hanging amaranthus which gave it such an elegant draping effect. Clare also made a beautiful hydrangea garland with stunning glass candlesticks which sat on the mantelpiece where we got married, I just loved it.
Claire also did an amazing job of decorating the front of the temple, including making two flower garland rings for the pillars. I just love spring flowers so we also brought in some big branches of magnolia, which were stunning next to my old vintage bench. I also adore big bundles of hydrangeas and knew I wanted them to feature quite heavily so I filled the basket of my Pashley bike (which was the first present Paul gave me) with pink hydrangeas and that became our parking directions!
In The Woods
The ceremony was our favourite part of the day by far. We had both been nervous about it but half way through Paul whispered in my ear how lovely it was and he was right. We were married right in front of the fire and held hands tightly the whole way through. We opted for very simple vows and just one reading by my brother, Joe. He read us an apache wedding blessing which was just perfect for our simple ceremony in the woods.
Keeping It Local
We held our wedding dinner at the Hoste Arms in Burnham Market, which is our local and serves amazing local produce – so it seemed like the perfect choice. With such a small group we were able to order whatever we liked from the menu and we loved it that we didn’t have to choose for our guests. The staff were incredible and it was so nice that we knew them all well from having been in there as regulars over the last few years.
Having such a small group meant that we could have plenty of champagne and some really lovely wines, which was perfect for us as we knew that good food and wine was a top priority.
Being a graphic designer by trade, I designed our invitations myself. I just adore letterpress so I got in touch with Cardlab who did an amazing job of setting the tone for our day with lovely, thick, rich pressed invitations in a gorgeous pocket with a hydrangea motif that I designed. They also made us some gorgeous tags with a blush ribbon which they printed each guest’s name on – I then tied the tags to mini milk bottles which I got from Vintage Home & Garden, and used them as little vases – giving each of our guests a rose and some sage as their place names. Our guests loved them and quite a few of them took them home, it was lovely.
There are no rules – so you can design the wedding that feels right for you – we wanted an intimate tiny ceremony but were worried about offending those we couldn’t invite. We settled on holding a fantastic cocktail party in London to share with all our friends and relatives who couldn’t be at the ceremony and it was great. I also really enjoyed planning it quickly – it doesn’t have to take two years or even one! Something I discovered was that having a wedding on a weekday instead of a Saturday (we got married on a Friday) means that you might be able to get the best suppliers, even at short notice.
Ceremony Venue – Holkham hall
Reception Venue – The Hoste Arms
Make-Up – Emily at Love Moi Makeup
Brides Gown – Jenny Packham
Brides Headpiece – Avigail Adam
Maids Dress – Coast
Groom’s Suit – Suit Supply
Florist – Clare at Love Blooms
Photography – Katherine Ashdown
So then, how many of you are now considering some kind of gold leaf type headwear?
I am, and I’m not even getting married.
And that view? Priceless.
Big Ethereal Love