Weekend weddings i.e. weddings that take place over the course of a weekend, with a build-up and an after party to boot are my favourite kind of weddings. I should caveat this with the fact that I have never been to such an affair but they sound like SO much fun. Stef and Andy chose to make the most of party time with their weekend soiree at Huntsham Court opting for a luxurious vintage theme as a backdrop to their celebrations.
Stef’s Ian Stuart frock looks like it was made for her and her tumbling Rapunzel locks and it’s easy to see why groom Andy is a smitten kitten with her. All of the festivities have been captured perfectly by the talented duo that is O & C Photography.
Traditionally, as the rhyme goes, a bride should include ‘something blue’ as part of her wedding attire. Not so for Zoe who married her beau Mike at the Andaz Hotel in London last year. Instead the colour red holds special significance for the pair – a nod to their early dating days – and it was this hue that they included in select areas of their wedding decor including Zoe’s exquisite pair of Louboutins.
I know! I’m positively green with envy right now.
I’m also seriously lusting after Zoe and Mike’s cake extravaganza which they lovingly scattered along the centrepiece in the 1901 restaurant for their guests to dine upon. Check out the chocolate cake….!
Lastly serious legend points go to Zoe’s dad for styling Zoe’s hair on her big day. I love the fact that the pair of them spent some treasured moments together on the morning of the big day. Don’t you think Zoe’s hair looks absolutely blinking sublime…
I’m going to go out on a limb here and bet that this morning’s beautiful sylvan affair will be pinned to within an inch of its life by you folks.
I mean how can it not. There’s Annabelle’s ethereal beauty (I’m seriously coveting her tumbling locks!), the drop dead gorgeous bridesmaids in antique hued silks, hanging lampshades and an outdoor leather sofa, floral wreaths, a swing, a heap of kisses, the sweetest signage and a plethora of boys in blue.
Oh and then there’s THE dress.
What’s more Annabelle’s frock was specifically designed for her by bridal designer extraordinaire Stephanie Allin who then named it “Annabelle” after her. How immense is that!
I also have to say that I applaud any bride that puts thought into her wedding breakfast setting; the one hundred jam jars filled with tea lights throughout the woods, the big banquet set-up and the specially requested wooden floorboard planks in the marquee make the whole set-up completely enchanting.
Don’t believe me…take a look for yourself.
Summer In Pembrokeshire
Annabelle The Bride: There were two things that were always going to happen, we were going to get married in the Summer and it was going to happen in beautiful Pembrokeshire, where both of us were born and grew up. Our wedding day was August 3rd 2013. The wedding ceremony took place in St Mary’s Church Haverfordwest a medieval church built in the heart of the town.
We both wanted a marquee reception at a venue that showcased Pembrokeshire’s natural charm. A visit was made to Hilton Court Gardens (Roch, Pembrokeshire), a venue perfectly situated amongst acres of romantic woodland. There was something so magical about the gardens and the surroundings; it was ideal. We would be the first wedding that they had hosted, making it even more special.
A Hint Of Drama
I have always had an appreciation verging on obsession for beautiful dresses, so wedding dress shopping for me was always going to be hugely enjoyable.
I was lucky enough to get an appointment with Stephanie Allin in her Mumbles Boutique. After a cup of tea we chatted through the dress and my thoughts. It had to be romantic, but with a hint of drama ( a long train was a must) and I ideally wanted to use the fabric from her Indie Rose creation, which is an unusual oyster/blush colour and boasts the most beautiful texture.
In a matter of minutes Steph had whipped up a sketch based on our conversation. It was like she had stepped into my imagination and drawn my perfect dress, she just got it. Some people would be wary about choosing a dress without physically seeing exactly what it would look like first, but I remember Steph said to me “ I don’t let any of my girls leave this shop until everything is perfect, do you trust me?” And I did.
I absolutely adored my dress. One of my favourite parts about it was a thick piece of lace that was stitched all the way down the back of the train. We added this in towards the end after a conversation Steph and I had about the BBC drama the White Queen and how much we were enjoying it and seeing all the medieval fashion. We thought the lace would be a nod to that era.
My friend Beth runs a wedding accessory site called Pearl and Willow, which sells gorgeous vintage inspired items. I knew that I didn’t want to wear much jewellery, just earrings and decided on a pair called Diedim, designed by Australian designer Stephanie Brown, which I purchased through Pearl & Willow.
From the very beginning I wanted a veil. It was really hard to find one that complimented my dress, as I loved the train and detail on the back and didn’t want anything that was going to hide this. Again I turned to Stephanie Allin who designed me a cream medium length veil adorned with lace at the bottom, it reminded me of Maid Marian! On the day to add a extra bit of romance, I placed a clip of flowers just above the veil comb.
I am renowned often laughed at for wearing impractical shoes. Just ask our photographers who I think during one of our first meetings were impressed with my ability to walk through a muddy woodland in pair of 6 inch sandals! Therefore, my wedding shoes were of course very high- a pair of gold stiletto sandals from Dune.
I have basically had the same hairstyle since I was a little girl, so I wouldn’t have felt like me if my hair hadn’t been down. Elements of the wedding were going to have quite an ethereal feel and I wanted my hair to be styled in a way that reflected this. Sarah who did my hair made me feel so relaxed and really listened to what I wanted which made all the difference.
Sarah came to the house on the morning of the wedding to do my hair which she curled then brushed through to create soft waves. This was followed by a lot of backcombing! We then decided to loosely pin back the front pieces. Carl was very complimentary about my hair on the wedding day, which I didn’t expect as he never usually notices these things.
I did my own make up on the day, with my friend and bridesmaid Jade stepping in to do my bronzer as I can never seem to get this right!
A local florist in Haverfordwest called Tussie Mussie arranged the bouquets for the bridal party and the pin holes. My favourite flower has always been amnesia rose, so I wanted this to for the base of the bouquet along with a selection of other dusky colour roses and fresh herbs. My only other request was that the bouquet wasn’t overly structured. Every bouquet was tied with lace ribbon, the same lace that had been used for my dress.
Amnesia roses were used again for the buttonholes along with stems of wax flower.
To me the church where we got married has a haunting beauty about it which I wanted to emphasise. I didn’t want loads of formal flower arrangements, Instead we used mainly ivy and lace, which hung from the pew ends and window sills. Decorating the church was a real family affair. A family friend was in charge and along with aunties, cousins and sisters they made it look wonderful.
We did add some colour to the entrance arch where Dean (a family friend) draped lace and flowers; it was very romantic.
Guys And Gals
All six of my gorgeous bridesmaids each have their own style and idea of what they do and don’t like in a dress; I wanted to reflect this in my choice of bridesmaid dresses. When it comes to fashion I am really not a matchy matchy person and love putting items together to create a certain look, so having a range of different style and colour dresses was very me.
Four of the bridesmaid dresses were from Ghost using their dye to order collection which had an perfect range of dusky colours for me to choose from. The other two were from John Lewis. Each bridesmaid wore a dress that was really suited to them, they looked incredible and very romantic which is what I wanted.
Carl sorted the usher suits himself. First of all he went for grey suits, but two weeks before admitted it had been playing on his mind that they weren’t quite right, so exchanged them for teal blue suits from Next. It was definitely the right decision.
Carl knew exactly what he wanted, a classic charcoal grey suit just like his Dad wore on his wedding day. We were visiting my sister in Bristol and whilst we were there decided to call into Hugo Boss to take a look. Carl tried on one suit and when he walked out of the changing room both my sister and I said wow, he looked so handsome, he had to have that suit.
Flowers In Her Hair
O & C Photography were recommended to us so we arranged to meet up with them at Hilton Court Gardens. We both walked away from the catch up saying that we had found our photographers, decision made.
We were really impressed with how genuine Charis and Owen were, we didn’t feel like like just another bride and groom. Their approach to wedding photography was perfect for us; they had the right balance of being laid back but obviously very conscientious about their work. I had a few ideas in my head of how I wanted the photos to look and they encouraged me to send over images that I liked, they really listened.
With O & C Photography you get two photographers which for us was brilliant as it meant that the morning of the wedding Charis went with the girls to capture them getting married and Owen went to the pub with the boys.
Both of them really embraced the day Charis even put flowers in her hair to be in keeping with the woodland theme!! Our family and friends all commented on how great the photographers were, they were very much part of the day. A few weeks after the wedding we received the photos and we were delighted, they captured the feel of the day perfectly.
Tea And Cake
We decided to have a vintage themed tea and cake area. A friend of ours built us a wooden backdrop which we wallpapered with Laura Ashley wallpaper. In front of this we put a table laid up with teacups and saucers which we had collected from charity shops, Great Aunts and Grandparents and placed the wedding cake next to them.
Neither of us are a big fan of icing or fruit cake so we had a different flavour for each layer – raspberry and champagne, white chocolate and lemon. The sponge was smothered in a thick buttercream and had fresh roses on the top. The whole tea and cake area looked really effective and the cake was delicious.
Love Of My Life
We wanted our dancefloor to constantly be full of people, so we chose a band called Symphony Sid and the Swing Kings, a local band who are guaranteed to get everyone up dancing We also had a disco (West Wales Disco) which played all our favourites!
Carl chose the first song, I didn’t know what it was going to be until I stepped up on the dance floor. He chose a queen song called Love of My Life. The song is significant as we both generally have different taste in music, but when it comes to Queen we both agree. It’s a beautiful song and I love it even more now.
For our wedding theme we drew inspiration from the beautiful venue and the fact that I am a hopeless romantic, something Carl finds very amusing! The theme was Romance in the Woods.
We wanted to incorporate the woodland and gardens into our day as much as possible. A mini seating area was set up under a tree complete with a couch and lampshades hanging from the branches. There were also swings and hand painted wooden signs dotted around, I think the most popular sign was the one saying “to the bar!”
At night we hung over 100 jam jars with tea lights throughout the woodland. Carl’s parents had spent many evenings wrapping wire around the jars!! Also, at night Hilton Court created a large fire pit and up lit the gardens. Collectively it all looked so effective, the woods were enchanting.
Inside we wanted it to look like one big banquet so decided on long rows of tables. My stepmum was incredible and spent months bringing my ideas to life, she always found a way to make them work, however impractical they were! Some of my favourite accessories were the array of floral napkins which were actually cut from curtains found in charity shops and the long lace table runners that again my step Mum had made. We all spent a year collecting cut glass vases and glass candle sticks from charity shops. These were lined up along the table and filled with flowers and candles.
One of the best decisions was regards the flooring in the marquee. I felt strongly that carpet would not work with the look I was trying to create so asked the marquee company if we had to put carpet down or if we could just use the wooden floorboard planks. First of all I think they thought I had gone mad, but it really worked.
We found an old red post box at a local vintage shop which we bought and used for wedding post. It’s now on display in our house and is a nice reminder of a very special day!
What I loved about our wedding was that it was that it was simply us. Couples shouldn’t feel that they have to do things a certain way because they think it’s how it should be done or because it’s fashionable at the time. A wedding is about the two of you and that’s what your day should reflect. We were surrounded by family and friends who were drunk, laughing and having a good time – that’s what made our day.
My only other bit of advice is advice I was given by my friend who got engaged a few months before me. Planning a wedding is a really special time and something you will only do once, so enjoy and appreciate every bit of the experience. Whenever I felt stress levels rising I always thought of this and it made me feel better. In fact, I wish I could do it all again!
I am so waving the welsh red dragon flag this week – this time for Olivia and Maurice’s sophisticated big day in Pembrokeshire.
To start with Olivia is certainly one hell-of-a stylish bride, from her delicious Bruce Oldfield gown to her sprig of ivy adored hair (love that). And as with every W-day we feature captured by Love Lust List members Charis and Owen at O & C Photography, the couple portraits are (said in best welsh accent) LUSH.
And I’ve got to say, this is one of the cutest flower girls I’ve ever seen.
Oh and the image where Maurice is whispering to Olivia as her father “gives her away” ? You just know he’s saying something to the tune of “You look beautiful….”
Happy Thursday Lovelies….. Enjoy the pretty!
A Timeless Choice
My dress was an off the shoulder, ivory, silk chiffon gown by Bruce Oldfield. It had a wrap around Grecian style front with transparent back detail, full skirt and 12ft train. It was not what I had originally planned which was lace with a tight straight skirt!
I had always wanted something classic, elegant, timeless, but different from all the bustier everyone else has. I tried on 4 more Bruce Oldfields after, but that was the one!
A Touch Of Ivy
I always wear my hair down & had planned to but the back detail in my dress required a half up, half down, to not detract from the back. It was in ringlets, with ivy & daisies to decorate. Originally I wanted it to look kind of Thespian, Pre Raphaelite, and a bit Mid-Summer Nights Dream…. I like antique classic things.
For make-up I went for a natural look, deep pinks that I know suit my complexion. I resisted the fake tan, to go for a more modern natural skin glow!
A South African Influence
Our colour scheme was Emerald Green & Yellow, as per the South African Flag. My maids wore Emerald green chiffon strapless gowns from Sexy Her, a store in Croydon. I wanted the girls to feel comfortable, feminine &and like themselves so they all had their hair & make up how they wished as I didn’t want them to feel they lost their own identity.
My little niece Jess wore a white dress from John Lewis. We got a sash that matches the girls dresses and my clever mother fixed it to her dress.
Simple And Classic
The bridesmaids and I all had roses- simple & classic, cream for the bride & pale yellow for the bridesmaids. The ushers had yellow roses and ivy button holes. At the church and the reception we had seasonal and some wild countryside yellow flowers with lots of greenery & ivy. I wanted a very British countryside style wedding with the Saffa green & yellow theme.
In the marquee we had ivy & fairy lights wound up the poles, it was stunning….
The grooms party wore black suits, white shirt, green tie and yellow button hole. Maurice wore a slim fitted grey/ blue suit. I also gave strict instructions to his mother to made sure he exfoliated & moisturised first!!
Young, Fun And Informal
My Mum found our photographers Charis and Owen, they are young, very friendly, fun and with a great non formal, artistic, experimental take on wedding photography.
As a young married couple themselves they were perfect for this special occasion.
All Abut The Music
We had Hymns during the ceremony that included a very British Jerusalem and the South African national anthem Nkosi Sekaleli. An old school friend who is first violin for the Welsh national opera played Lark Arising during the signing of the register.
We walked out of the church to The Beatles “All you need is love” played on the Organ and our first dance was the Dave Matthews Band “You & me”.
We had a lovely 4 piece jazz band for the beginning of the evening. That went down a treat. Later in the evening we had a fab disco and everyone was up dancing!
The Gift Of Song
Our cake was made by my God Mother, a 3 tiered gloriously moist carrot cake. With beautiful big handmade iced flowers. We love carrot cake, not particularly into fruit cake and liked the idea of having something different.
Instead of favours we gave each of our friends a family a gift of a song- that were either was a favourite of theirs, reminded us of them or one we had enjoyed with them in the past.
In Maurice’s case this may have been enjoying jamming with them, in mine getting down on the dance floor(!) If guests wished their song to be played they took it up to the DJ.
Advice from The Bride
Be different, individual, be true to yourself. Do whatever you want to, for yourself, its your day. Do nice little things, gifts or speeches for the important friends & family who are important. Get all the family involved- we did, it’s a family affair…..
After a city chic ceremony at the National Theatre Sarah and Paul enjoyed a laid back garden marquee reception at Sarah’s Mum’s in Barnet.
Some really really beautifully captured moments courtesy of Charis and Owen at O & C Photography, look out for the “kissing in the lift” series…..
For the reception as well as bunches of flowers in borrowed mismatched vases each table had an assortment of white, cream and blue plants with flowers on. I hated the idea of the flowers ending up rotting, and Emily from Urbanstems came up with lots of suggestions before settling on the lovely flowers & plants we had. She also did the small posie we had on top of our wedding ‘cheese’ cake. All gorgeous!
Capturing The Day
Paul found Owen and Charis whilst we were away travelling. We really liked their online portfolio and approach. We met a few photographers before making our final decision, and some of them weren’t exactly the kind of people you’d want to spend any time with, let alone your big day. They had lots of great ideas for pictures and we’re really happy with the work they did.
I Love London
For favours we the guests all had London red bus keyrings to take home, as well as the plants on the tables. They travelled between the National Theatre and Barnet on a vintage routemaster bus.
We had cheesecake/key lime pie on a stand for the pudding, but the cake we cut was all British Cheese from Neals Yard dairy. Perfect for us.
Contemporary and Traditional
Paul is an architect, and once we’d decided it would be a London wedding we realised that the National Theatre would be a really special place to have it, you don’t get much more London than looking out onto St Pauls.
It was really special to have the reception in the family home, and it allowed us to have it all just the way we wanted it. There we had a traditional marquee and paper bunting, and heaps of fairy lights up the king poles.
Memories Are Made Of This
We had a squeezebox and fiddle when we first arrived back in Barnet, then after the meal (hog roast) some friends did a fantastic DJ set.
Dean Martin – memories are made of this was our first dance. We had no idea of what to dance to, but loved this when we heard it on the radio whilst we were planning the wedding. We liked that it was short(!) but also had a great retro positive cheery feel.
Making It Magical
We were really pleased that we had everything just the way we wanted, the sun even came out! Just as everyone will tell you, it is magical having all of your favourite people together, and it really does fly by. We had planned to have all sorts of extra things that got missed on the day but it didn’t matter at all. You do have to allocate jobs to people then let go of things & let people get on with stuff.
My mother lent me some jewellery that my Dad had bought her, which was very special. I was still finishing making my birdcage veil on the morning of the wedding! Getting ready at the hotel whilst getting my fingers covered in glue trying to attach the blue feather (for the something blue bit!!!), I was thinking ’this probably isn’t what most brides do on their wedding morning’…..
Sparkles And Symmetry
My shoes had a 2 inch heel, but I don’t often wear heels so was very glad I hadn’t gone for anything more skyscraper. They were from Next, and were absolutely the nicest appropriate shoes that I’d seen.
I don’t understand why shoes that are designed for weddings look like shoes no one would wear at any other time? Like really big kids shoes, why?! I liked their colour which matched the dress almost perfectly, the dangling sparkles which I hadn’t seen anywhere else, and their symmetry.
The Groom, groomsmen and bridesmaids were all in blues. We didn’t want to be too prescriptive as it wasn’t a very formal wedding. One of the bridesmaids (matron of honour to be precise) was actually wearing her wedding dress.
Understanding What Suits
My hair and make up was done by someone who’d done my friend’s hair and make up. I was really lucky that she was able to do it as she’s really busy. She completely understood what would suit me & was a beacon of calm.
My dress was designed by Magic Moments in Southgate, North London, made from Thai silk in Edmonton. This was pretty handy as we only got back from 8 months away around the world 3 months before the wedding. A lot of the dress shops I went to were amazed that I was making appointments to try on dresses in May for a wedding in July that year.
There were lots of other dresses that I quite liked, some samples which were also a lot cheaper, but none that gave me the Cheshire cat grin the one I chose did. My Mum also found it, we were just leaving the shop when she said ‘what about trying that one’? It was on a mannequin so I hadn’t seen it. Magic Moments is a really nice little shop, I hated the production chain feeling at the bigger bridal stores.
I loved the corset and bustle, and whilst all the dresses I tried felt to an extent like there were from a ‘dressing up box’, that one made me feel special.
A Western Feel
Paul wore a blue suit from Reiss. Although he didn’t know what my dress looked like they were both a bit ‘wild west’ . I helped him choose the suit, and am glad in the end that he didn’t go for cream/oyster!
Although it was fun checking out the tailors on Saville Row, the suit from Reiss was actually the nicest, and he will get much more use out if it than me of my dress! It was adjusted by a local tailor, so it fitted him perfectly on the day.
Phlox in London did the flowers for the National Theatre, the button holes and the flowergirls posies – we wanted English country style flowers with a touch of blue and they were great.