Right you probably need to be sitting down for this one…firstly, it’s a Samuel Docker wedding, which means HELLO GORGEOUS IMAGES. Secondly it’s in a French Chateau of dreams, complete with an ivy covered facade and turrets. And thirdly Bride Ali looks like an actual Princess in the most stunning Pronovias gown. Honestly, I’ve swooned on the floor in a big heap just thinking about it.
The flowers are stunning too, Ali was inspired by this wedding featured on RMW, which is universally adored (so much so we used the venue to shoot some of the RMW Book). I’ve got a feeling Ali and Ben’s will be too…every detail has been planned and executed to perfection. Let’s take a look shall we?
Ali the Bride: Ben and I have been lucky enough to have been on some fantastic holidays while we have been together but in 2016, we went on an amazing holiday to Kenya and Uganda and as the sun was setting on our private terrace overlooking the Rwenzori mountains at Kyaninga Lodge, Ben asked me to marry him and I said yes!
As soon we were back from Africa, we went shopping for the engagement ring! After selecting the diamond, Hearts of London made us a bespoke cushion shaped diamond set halo ring and when I first saw it, I was speechless! Of course, we went back there for our wedding rings when the time came.
We both love food which is one of the reasons that we have travelled to France and Italy a lot over the years. When we got engaged therefore, it made absolute sense for us to get married abroad – as nobody likes a bad meal at a wedding after all!
When I found Chateau de Cazenac online, it was perfect! It was romantic, rustic but grand and elegant at the same time. Thankfully, it was available in my favourite month (May!) and so we had to get it booked.
As we only had eight months to plan the wedding, finding the dress was next on the list. I did try on all of the different shapes, but realistically, I always knew that I wanted a princess dress. I loved the warmth and the sheen of the mikado dresses from Pronovias and when I tried on the Amanda dress with the La Chaqueta 114, it was exactly how I wanted to look on my wedding day – elegant and timeless.
As my dress had quite a train on it and as I had the lace detail from the bolero, I wanted something fairly simple for my veil. I ordered a custom made single tier veil with satin binding edge finish (three and a half metres in length!) from The Wedding Veil Shop and teamed it all with a narrow pearl bracelet and clip on pearl drop earrings from Glitzy Secrets.
Ben and I both love photography, so this was a big one for us! Another photographer recommended Sam Docker by complete chance, and thank goodness he did. As soon as we looked at Sam’s portfolio, we loved it! The moments he captures and the light, wow, we were blown away!
I wanted the colours and decor to reflect the rustic elegance of the venue and when I saw the shindo satin ribbon in dusky rose online, I knew that I wanted that to be the main colour for the entire wedding. I decided to make the invitations myself, so combining that with off white lace ribbon and Kraft card, formed the basis of our scheme.
The Groom & Groomsmen
I do love morning suits but I just thought it would be too cold and formal for our wedding at the rustic and romantic Chateau de Cazenac, so instead, we went with a dark navy slim fit suit from Charles Tyrwhitt with contrasting tweed waistcoat for Ben. I particularly loved the tweed waistcoats from Lloyd Attree & Smith as both colours (the brown and the grey) went beautifully with the dusky pink and because it meant Ben could wear a different colour to the ushers. Luckily, I managed to find a dusky pink tie and pocket square from Ties Planet and the look was complete! The ushers wore the tweed waistcoats in grey with white shirts and the same slim fit navy suit trousers.
When it came to the flowers, my Pinterest boards were full of tight rose bouquets interspersed with eucalyptus and other evergreens so I knew that was what I wanted for my bouquet. For the centre pieces however, I still wanted roses but I wanted something a little looser and more rustic and as soon as I saw these wonderful flowers at Almonry Barn on Rock My Wedding, I knew that was the look I wanted to recreate! Thankfully our florist Jenny Moss did a wonderful job and my bouquet was a mixture of pink and Memory Lane roses, eucalyptus, small white flowers and rosemary. It smelt divine and was finished off with a dusky pink ribbon which matched that used on the invitations and the table plan.
I’m quite a creative person and relished the opportunity to do some DIY décor for the wedding! To start, I made the invitations using two fonts: one was a more decadent wedding font that I downloaded online, and the other was a more traditional hollow times new roman type-font that was available on Word. Both fonts were printed in black onto Kraft card and were used throughout the wedding to make the signs, the table plan and the name places.
We also made all of our own confetti! (I know, we must be mad!) The thing was, when the venue said that only bio-degradable confetti could be used, we just weren’t sure what was going to arrive if we ordered it online. Therefore, the house was constantly stocked with fresh roses (no bad thing!) and once they were getting to the end of their best, I would pick the petals off and lay them out for drying. We weren’t sure how much we would need and ended up with about 50 litres (enough for about 500 guests!) but it smelt amazing and we loved the personal touch of having made it ourselves! The confetti cones were also made with Kraft paper to match the invitations and signs.
The First Dance
We wanted to make the most of all of the spaces available at the Chateau and so to make use of the beautiful courtyard, we had our first dance outside. A fantastic local band who had played throughout the wedding day, performed La Vie en Rose acoustically and with the fairy lights and the Chateau’s turret in the background, it was the perfect start to the rest of our lives together.