We're going all-out on the elegance stakes this morning, with gorgeous Bride and Groom Abi and Greg. Abi had her dress made for her and reading about the design process is just a joy. As you'd expect, she looks simply stunning, clearly a woman who knows her own style. The decor styling is lovely too, a clean palette of whites and greens is always really pleasing to the eyes. Enjoy this one everybody, it's an absolute beauty from start to finish...

The Bride

Abi the Bride: Designing my own dress was so much fun that I really do miss the process. From the initial sketch to sourcing beautiful fabrics and trims, and working with Rebecca Yong (an amazing pattern cutter who kindly agreed to make it for me), it was a great experience. In terms of design, I decided a simple silhouette would suit me best, going for clean lines with delicate detail. I knew I wanted a plunging neckline and an open back and felt the long sleeves added a sense of elegance to the overall look. I found the lace through Matthew at Bradshaw & Bradshaw, it had a beautiful scalloped edge and extended floral border, which was great as we were able to place the border in various ways.  The main skirt and bodice fabric was a beautiful sand washed silk which had just the right amount of weight and drape. I was able to move with ease and that was the main aim. I am so grateful to Becky for creating my dream dress.  For my shoes I splashed out on a pair of Valentino rock stud block heels in ivory with gold studs. I don’t tend to wear a lot of jewellery, but knew I needed something to compliment the plunging neckline of my dress, so I went for a very delicate necklace with tiny diamonds within a V-shape. (Varro Honeycomb pendant by Astley Clarke at Liberty).

The Groom

Greg the Groom: I went for a three piece Paul Smith ‘Soho’ suit in navy – it was already a great cut that didn’t need any tailoring bar the trousers being taken up slightly. The shirt was a Paul Smith double-cuff in a breathable fabric (which definitely helped on the warm day!). The silver bow tie was from Favourbrook in a dragonfly pattern, and I wore Grenson ‘Declan’ Chelsea boots which are great as they continue the flow of the suit – it all seems more ‘together’. My wife bought me a Uniform Wares watch in rose gold (to match my wedding ring), which I was given on the day.

The Venue

Brympton House, Somerset. Abi's Auntie Kathryn found the venue online, she was looking for venues with a chapel onsite and came across Brympton. We went to see the venue on a bright and sunny spring day, which really showed off the yellow stone of the building. Initially, we fell in love with the Great Hall, the way the light beamed through those windows was pretty spectacular. We then went to Castle House where the ceremony takes place and fell in love instantly, for us it had a church feel (without being a church), it was the right amount of rustic versus elegance. The beauty of Brympton is that there are so many stages and locations throughout the day. You start the day typically in the Great Hall, move into Castle House for the ceremony, enjoy canapés and cocktails on the terrace (we chose the option of having games such as crochet on the front lawn to keep everyone occupied). We then moved into the ballroom, which is a beautiful space full of light, then back to the Great Hall for tea and coffee before moving to the stables for the evening entertainment.

The Décor

For the graphics and signage, we wanted the day to feel relaxed and romantic so we went for a very simple colour scheme of ivory, soft charcoal and gold. Greg is a book cover designer for a publisher and (mostly together) we designed all the graphics and invitations. We wanted a cohesive look to the day, and ‘branded’ it. The graphics were a mixture of hand-drawn botanical flowers and wildlife illustrations by Greg coupled with elegant typography. We also dressed the signage in foliage and flowers of the day via our florist. We decided to decorate the tree next to the stables with paper lanterns for the evening, they looked beautiful and gave a festival feel. This helped to create a relaxed vibe for the evening. We had some great help from Ellie and her team at Brympton, who were amazing collaborators and seamless in their setup and organisation on the day.

The Flowers

For the bouquets I went for ivory flowers of various shapes, sizes and textures with lots of green foliage.  I didn’t want the flowers to feel packed in. I wanted them to feel like they’d been put together without too much thought. The bridesmaids had smaller versions of what I had. The flower girls (Greg’s four year old twin nieces) had a peony posy each to hold, Emily our florist also made two beautiful flower crowns for them utilising some of the foliage and baby roses. The flower crowns had ivory ribbons. Emily did a fantastic job with all the flower arrangements’ - we were so happy with the result on the day. Emily also gave us some off cuts for the bridesmaids’ hair so we added a floral element to the girls’ plaited hair, and buttonholes for the groom and groomsmen. We went for ivory flowers and tones of green foliage, we mixed large and small flowers to created a textured look (almost as if we’d just picked them out of the garden). We decorated Castle House with ivory rose petals either side of the isle, relaxed foliage cascading from the pillars and we decorated the arched windows with foliage and pillar candles of varying sizes. Emily created a beautiful long floral arrangement to frame the edge of the ceremony table with a large floral arrangement nestled in the window ledge directly behind. The main goal was to create a rustic timeless, yet modern feel. We continued the ceremony décor throughout the day Emily and Ellie dressed the ballroom windows again with pillar church candles and foliage. For the table decorations we chose tall ivory candelabras, in part because people would be able to talk with ease and also because they looked great against the ivory back drop of the room and our colour scheme.Each candelabrum was decorated with relaxed yet considered foliage and flowers. We also decorated the signage Greg designed to ensure everything flowed well. 

The Wedding Party

Having worked as a dresses designer for many years, I decided to design all of my bridesmaids’ outfits, as it was like the ultimate game of dress up! One of my bridesmaids (Emily Radford) works for a fashion manufacturer within our industry and put me in touch with a pattern cutter willing to take on the task. I decided to design each dress specifically for the bridesmaid. Each bridesmaid had a different top ranging from plunging to high necks to off-the-shoulder versions, to some with frills, backless and some with intricate straps. All wore pale grey silk georgette, which I sourced from Biddle Sawyer Silks. Each girl had the same skirt section, which helped to tie everyone one together visually. We got the two flower girls, Xanthe and Athena (four year old twins) dresses from Monsoon. They were ethereal and fairy like which they loved wearing on the day along with their flower crowns.

The Ceremony

We had two readings from close friends, and we gave them free reign to choose whatever they liked. One was a set of lyrics that fit the day and our relationship perfectly.  He read ‘Wedding Song’ by Bob Dylan.  The other was a phrase that described our very first date which had some comedy moments – the dictionary definition of ‘Head of Heels’.  The whole congregation found it very funny. Both were a great surprise.   During the ceremony we all sang ‘God Only Knows’ by the Beach Boys which was light-hearted and had the right sentiment. We wanted the service to be relaxed and not too serious. We also had a classical guitarist, Andy Nash, play during the entrance, and in particular David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’ while we signed the register. He learnt this especially for us. As we exited the service as man and wife he played ‘Get Lucky’, which set the tone for the cocktails on the terrace. He played a broad range of genres on beautiful classical guitar during the ceremony and terrace drinks.  

the Entertainment

For the evening we had a DJ play an eclectic mix of eras, with everyone hitting the floor including my 83 year old Grandmother, who was on the dance floor until the bitter end!

The Food

Greg’s sister, Claudine is a talented cake maker, and we asked her to make our cake for us. We went for red velvet cake with buttercream icing and dressed it in some of the foliage and flowers of the day by our florist. She did an amazing job, especially as she’d had her new oven delivered only two days before the wedding. It was delicious! Dine With Style catered our event, and did a fantastic job. Keri was a brilliant and professional liason. Canapes: On the front terrace we had smoked salmon and cream cheese roulade, Yorkshire pudding with beef and horseradish, spinach and goats cheese crostini, and cubes of wasabi pork belly Starter: Goats cheese and pesto ravioli with butternut puree and basil oil Main: Corn–fed chicken breast with creamed leeks, chantenay carrots, herb crushed new potato cake and truffle oil emulsion Pudding: Vanilla and Amaretto panna cotta with almond caramel crunch, and marinated berries For the evening food we went for a BBQ provided by Street Feast. We also set up fire pits for toasting marshmallows (which were our wedding favours) whilst relaxing on deck chairs with a view of Brympton in the background. The Marsh Mellows were provided by The Marshmellowist, and we chose Raspberry and Champagne, Blueberry and Sipsmith Gin, and Coconut. All were personalised with a message from us and a monogram on the box.  

The Photography

We found our photographer, David Jenkins via the supplier list at Brympton, along with a recommendation. He was absolutely fantastic, and a good addition to the day also. David has an amazing eye for the candid and spontaneous, and we wanted a relaxed, genuine and natural look to the day; he was the perfect choice. We didn’t want endless family photos, as there are so many people to see and catch up with, and this suited us and David perfectly. David has a brilliant temperament, and is a very happy and funny guy, who was also great at suggesting locations and styles. He also had several cameras swinging from his neck, which provided many shooting styles. When our photos came back, we were over the moon with them – it was a very relaxed, happy day which David managed to capture beautifully. He has a wonderful eye and great depth of focus – we would thoroughly recommend him

Special Details

The invites and graphics were also special to us…we used an amazing printer for our invite package, Artcadia, who printed our design on pillowy cotton using a mixture of letterpress and hot gold foil. We also designed our own stamp using our monogram, which we used in gold ink on the back of the envelopes, and on the band holding all of the stationery together within. Another nice touch was getting our monogram and the date of the wedding etched onto the inner of our wedding rings in the font we used for all of the graphics.

Special Moments

I will never forget the moment that my Mum walked me down the aisle and later gave a knock out speech. She looked incredibly elegant on the day. I know I’m biased, but my usually shy Mum was a poised and confident inspiration. Enjoy the whole process, don’t sweat about the little things, everyone will get on, the day is full of love, and people are so happy to be there and share in your joy. As a couple, really embracing the wedding was something we thought we might shy away from, but we most definitely got swept up in the moments and loved every minute. We also really enjoyed working as a team. And...Greg and I decided to do our wedmin over breakfast every Sunday morning, to the point where we knew all of the staff in the local gastropub! But getting out of the house worked for us as there were no distractions. We tried to tackle one task at a time and finish it before starting the next. We also had the app called WedHappy. We loved this as you can tick things off as you go along, the app prompted us when we needed it. 
Fern Godfrey

Written by Fern Godfrey

Groom: Paul Smith | Bowtie: Favourbrook | Bride's Necklace: Astley Clarke | Shoes: Valentino | Hair & Make Up: Kate Kent | Invites: Greg Heinimann | Venue: Brympton House | Food: Dine With Style | Favours: The Marshmallowist | Guitarist: Andrew Nash

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