I wish I could write an introduction as well as Allie but I can't, so I'll let her tell you all about her and Sam's love story and their beautiful wedding which is full of the most magical details curated by Curious Fair and stunning florals by Jay Archer Floral Design. Some of the moments captured by Marianne Chua’s will move you to tears, and please make sure you check out the aisle arch, it's a thing of breathtaking beauty. Allie: "An Englishman meets a Yankee-Doodle in the Windy City. They fall in love. He teaches her the delicious ways of tea drinking, Marmite eating, and meat roasting. She teaches him style, a love for all things design, and the joys of cat ownership. They live in the Manor House, dancing on the rooftop between the turrets and the Lion and the Unicorn..."
The DressAllie The Bride: I took about six months to find a gown and kept coming back to Jenny Packham as a designer. I really liked her aesthetic and approach to bridal design - soft, feminine, classic. I also loved the idea of wearing an English designer for our English countryside wedding. The exhaustive search for low-heeled wedding appropriate shoes pushed me to a custom option. Etsy shop Ammie Joyce proved to be the right choice
Groom FashionAs Sam is as non-traditional as it gets, he was never going to go for a morning suit. He decided on a custom three-piece suit from Alton Lane in Chicago. He went with a warm blue with goldenrod accents. Sam’s shoes were Johnston & Murphy in a toasty cognac leather. Sam topped off his look with squid socks and his father’s watch and cufflinks.
VenueWhen first visiting Sam’s family home on an old farm in Hampshire, I knew this was a special place. To an American, and hopefully anyone with eyes, it quintessential English countryside with flintstone barns, rolling hills, and an exquisite garden. Fortunately, Sam’s family welcomed the idea of hosting our wedding with open arms.
Colour Scheme & ThemeFarnfield inspired much of the theme for our wedding – Enchanted English garden with literary and vintage elements. Wedding stylists, Curious Fair, curated much of the vintage furniture, whimsical details, and lawn games. CF used salvaged wood and building elements found in the barns of Farnfield Farm to construct two drink bars and the table plan display. They helped infuse the essence of Farnfield Farm into the wedding.
FlowersJay Archer Floral Design was a true artist with flowers. With a focus on fragrant English blooms and a wild aesthetic, we knew Jay and her team were a good fit for our botanical wedding. Jay vision for the flowers expanded on ours for the wedding and made us feel as if we stepped into an enchanted garden.
Wedding Party FashionThe bridesmaids wore soft, romantic dresses found through an Etsy shop, RenzRags. The light grey dresses highlighted the flower bouquets’ beautiful shades of plum. The bridesmaids also wore custom chiffon flower headpieces from Cameron Couture on Etsy. The gentlemen wore coordinating waistcoats to the groom with soft grey Banana Republic trousers.
CeremonyEllen of Ellen Bower Ceremonies guided us through a completely custom ceremony that reflected us as a couple. She took time to get to know us and understand what was important to us. She led a ceremony that felt like it was lead by a friend.
EntertainmentAfter the ceremony, the guests were guided through to the sculpture garden to enjoy garden games and a bouncy castle. The bouncy castle had always been a dream of mine, as a January baby I was never able to have the ultimate outside kid birthday party – now was my chance! Best decision ever! Hampshire vintage electric rock band Mister Kanish rocked our party during and after dinner! Not a single person left sitting at the tables – all on the dance floor! Their eclectic playlist mixed with their vintage rock vibes In between sets, guests made their way to the teepee to roast s’mores. It was a great clash of cultures as the Americans showed the English all of the goodness of a roasted marshmallow sandwiched between chocolate and graham crackers.
FoodThe food was supplied by RED catering. They went above and beyond to customize a menu for our unique tastes, melding American and English cuisines. Canapes were a take on our favorite international street foods – elote, bahn mi, ceviche to name a few. It was important to us to have a family style, shared plate dinner to encourage our American and English guests to socialize a bit more. Main course was a selection of summer salads, English-style pork belly, American-style barbequed pulled pork, and dressed Cornish crab. Guests made their way to the vintage ice cream van (!) for a selection of handmade ice creams. The cake was supplied by French Made, which was a take on a naked cake, keeping in tune with our vintage, botanical feel. Wedding cake has never tasted so good – Victoria sponge with fresh berries, lemon drizzle and double fudge. All beautiful and delicious.
PhotographerMarianne Chua’s journalistic approach to photography really fit us as a couple. She captured the fun, the teary, the tender and the mischievous moments. Marianne captured the humanity and it is so evident in her photographs.
VideographerLong Haul Films were added to our team of vendors late in the wedding planning game but we were so pleased we were able to book them. Similarly to Marianne’s approach, Lucy and Chris captured the beauty and the candidness of the day. I have yet to watch the video without getting caught up in the emotion and the beauty of the day.
AdviceHiring a wedding planner, particularly for planning a wedding from another country, proved invaluable. We worked with Nicola Jones from Brighton Wedding Planner. She understood our vision for the day and helped us to build the right team of vendors, think about the details we never even considered and organise everything to run smoothly.
Dress Designer: Jenny Packham | Bridal Shoes: Etsy - Ammie Joyce | Grooms Suit: Alton Lane | Grooms Shoes: Johnston & Murphy | Bridesmaid Dresses: Etsy - Renz Rags | Floral Headpieces: Etsy - Cameron Couture | Groomsmen Trousers: Banana Republic | Humanist: Ellen Bower Ceremonies | Wedding Planner: Brighton Wedding Planner | Wedding Stylist: Curious Fair | Florist: Jay Archer Floral Design | Cake: French Made | Entertainment: Mister Kanish | Videographer: Long Haul Films | Hairstylist: Amanda Durkin Candy Pout