How do you pay homage to your job as a Science teacher? With gorgeous test tube centrepieces of course, and don't they look fabulous full of pastel pink stems. All the pink flowers grown and arranged by Narborough Hall Gardens are truly stunning as is the venue its self. So much so Aneliese & Rick got to enjoy a little boat ride in the grounds. They even bought their dog along to join in with the day. Anaeliese looks absolutely dreamy in her Justin Alexander gown, all that gathered ruching is SO pretty, making a train of dreams. Also her flower girl.... what a cutie. If you love pastels, and you love pretty, then you're going to love this classic country wedding.
The DressAneliese the Bride: I had an idea of what I wanted but it took trying on about 30 dresses before I found it. I saw it in the window of the final bridal boutique and fell in love with it there and then. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from it and truly did feel amazing when I put it on. I loved the details of the flowers around the skirt and felt it suited our outdoor garden wedding perfectly. I knew I wanted a veil, and when I tried the cathedral length veil on with my dress, I just think, for me, it really made me feel like a bride. But as time went on I realized I wouldn’t want to wear a heavy veil but still wanted some detail, that’s when I saw hair vines and found one with flower detailing to complement the skirt of my dress. Otherwise my accessories were quite minimal and I actually took Rick with me to choose the earrings and bracelet in Swarovski to get his opinion. Shoes were difficult, I couldn’t find any I liked as I wanted pretty flat sandals but that felt more special than something I would ordinarily wear day to day. Then with not much time to spare I found Charlotte Mills and managed to order the shoes and get them delivered 4 days before the wedding!
Grooms FashionThe light grey suit was chosen because it was a summer wedding and Rick always liked a 3-piece suit. He tried on lots of them but really liked the way the Ted Baker suit fitted. The light brown shoes and belt complimented the grey well. Rick wanted something different and has always liked (and suited) bow ties, so we chose a mint green in keeping with the colour scheme, and handily his favourite colour!
VenueWe both loved the idea of being able to get married outside and that we wanted it to be in Norfolk where we had both grown up, so we narrowed our options down to a few with those being the main criteria. With 18 months to go we contacted 6 venues and had responses from 3 that still had the date we wanted available. Narborough Hall Gardens was the second one we visited and we fell in love with it entirely. It’s hard not to! Stunning lakeside ceremony with a beautiful ballroom as the back up option if the weather didn’t play ball. We still had one more venue to see but when walking out of our appointment to see Narborough Rick’s first words to me were “We’re getting married here aren’t we?” - It was that clear to us.
Colour Scheme & DecorBecause it was a summer wedding and we had decided on it being more like a garden party we decided on pastels as it seemed they would fit nicely with the surroundings. As time went on and we looked for the outfits and decorations the broad spectrum of pastels gradually narrowed to blush pink and mint green, they worked well together. In terms of décor we wanted things that reflected us as individuals as well as a couple. We had the idea early on of having test tube racks as our centrepieces as Rick is a science teacher. Then as I have always been obsessed with Alice in Wonderland we had subtle nods to that throughout the wedding stationery and décor.
FlowersNarborough Hall Gardens do the floristry in house with flowers from their own gardens, which I loved the idea of. I knew I wanted a blush pink bouquet and I have always loved peonies. Rick loves roses and in memory of his Grandad he knew he wanted to wear a pink rose, his grandad’s favourite. So a combination of peonies and roses were the way we thought we would go. Unfortunately due to the weather the peonies were past their best in the run up to the wedding but the florist at NHG put together the most beautiful selection of hydrangeas, sweetpeas and roses which I absolutely loved! The bridesmaid bouquets were the same combination of flowers and the groomsmen all wore a pink rose. These flowers were used throughout the centerpieces, which we wanted to be quite a rustic look. As we had the ceremony under a willow bower the florist also decorated that with roses and hydrangeas as were the urns at the front of the venue. We didn’t need much more in the way of decorative arrangements, the gardens were beautiful enough.
BridesmaidsFollowing the colour scheme the girls wore pastel pink with my sister, the Maid of Honour wearing a mint green. It took a long time to find a dress that suited them all and I liked that didn’t cost the Earth. As my dress was strapless I wanted the girls to look a bit different so chose something with a mesh neckline. These were from House of Fraser and although they came with a matching belt I wanted something that just gave their dresses a bit of sparkle so ordered them online. Our 4 year old niece was flowergirl and I had initially been looking at white/ivory dresses but then by chance found her dress in a boutique sale, the last of that design and it was her size, for a third of the price. The colour matched the bridesmaids and when she tried it on she said she felt like a Princess. The pageboys were dressed as miniature versions of Rick, they both wore 3 piece suits and mint green bow ties, they looked adorable. For the groomsmen, again, we wanted them to look slightly different to Rick so whereas Rick wore a waistcoat and bow tie the groomsmen wore leather braces and skinny ties with gold tiepins. I liked the idea of Rick standing out from the others, I got to wear a big dress so it only seemed right he should stand out too.
CeremonyWe couldn’t have been luckier with the weather so we got to have the lakeside ceremony we had been hoping for. We chose two readings, very different from each other. The first was a definite as soon as we found it. A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton, about two dinosaurs falling in love with each other, flaws and all. It was very funny and I think very unexpected but our guests all commented afterwards on how perfectly it suited us. One of Rick’s closest and oldest friends read it out for us. The second reading was Let’s Grow Old Together, a beautiful poem read by my brother-in-law. We requested an unplugged ceremony, so no phones/ipads etc, I wanted people to look at everything going on in front of them, not through a screen, to feel in the moment. This decision was reinforced from advice by our fantastic photographer about our professional photos being invaded by people trying to get the same shot on their phones. We were lucky enough to be allowed to have our dog, Betty, attend the ceremony too and it really felt complete having her there; she is our family too and seeing her sat wearing her pink ribbon whilst we were married was really lovely.
EntertainmentIn keeping with the garden party theme we liked the idea of having some music on the lawn, we both love jazz and Rick found a fantastic band called Jazz a la Mode, a singer and pianist who played out on the lawns during the afternoon, it was such a beautiful backdrop to the games and chatter going on across the gardens. We had hired plenty of garden games including skittles, quoits and even a tug o’ war; we wanted something for everyone to enjoy! In the evening we chose a DJ. We have quite an eclectic music taste and luckily found a DJ who could cope with all of our music requests.
FoodAll of the catering is carried out by the fantastic chef and his team at NHG. Again, they grow and use produce from their gardens within their dishes and source anything they don’t have locally. We chose to do canapés instead of a starter as we expected it to be a hot day and didn’t want people to feel weighed down by lots of food. The canapés were fantastic. There was a variety of dishes to choose from including fish and chips, red onion and goats cheese tartlett, bangers and mash and strawberrys and cream scones. For the main menu we had a ‘family’ roast which consisted of roasted vegetables and potatoes surrounding pre-sliced beef joint placed in the centre of the table. We intentionally chose this form of serving because we wanted to maintain a relaxed involved atmosphere with everyone talking to each other at their tables, helping dish up, a real family feel. The desserts were picked because we love them! We couldn’t choose just one, so we had three, all the guests could have none or all, it was up to them. The desserts we chose were Eton mess, warm chocolate brownie and Bakewell tart. Later in the evening we had continental platters and the wedding cake sliced and served. There was so much food all day and all of it was absolutely delicious.
PhotographerWe hadn’t really given too much thought to a photographer initially then I spoke with a friend who does photography, she stressed the importance of looking at lots of different styles and choosing a photographer we felt could capture our day exactly as we wanted. Rick found Katherine’s website and we both loved her work instantly. The light, natural look to her work won us over, she has such a flair for capturing real moments. The only worry was she books up so quickly that we thought we may have missed our chance so I was ecstatic when Katherine responded to our enquiry letting us know that our wedding date was a day she had blocked out as her weekend off but she was willing to put that aside to photograph our day. We arranged to meet and discuss the wedding and felt at ease with Katherine, we could laugh and share our ideas or ask her advice, we felt comfortable, we knew we had definitely found our photographer. Katherine did around 12 hours of shooting at our day, arriving to photograph when we were getting ready right through to late in the evening when the dance floor was in full swing. We trusted her completely so any ideas she had of good locations for photos we were willing to give it a go, including getting into a rowing boat; tricky business in a wedding dress! Katherine wasn’t just a photographer, she was an advisor throughout the whole process, she helped with timings for the day, suggestions for suppliers; if she could help us she did.
AdviceI think really it’s passing on advice that we were given… The two things you really need to get right are your venue and your photographer. The venue can dictate the setting of the whole day, if you want things done in a certain way you need to trust the venue understand that and can deliver it for you. The photographer is so important because after the day has gone the photos are your tangible memories, you will look through them so many times hopefully for many, many years and the right photographer for you will capture moments in time that reflect the essence of your day. Even if it means cutting back the budget in other areas you will not regret paying for quality when it comes to your photos.
Dress Designer: Justin Alexander | Bridal Boutique: Prima Donna Bridalwear | Bridesmaid Bracelets: Sweetheart Jewellery Box Etsy | Bridal Shoes: Charlotte Mills | Hair Vine: Blossom | Venue: Narborough Hall Gardens | Bridesmaid Dresses: Shubette at House of Fraser | Bridesmaids Belts: Bridal Belts and Sashes Etsy | Groomsmen: Ted Baker at Slaters | Ties: Dickie Bows | Stationery: MelMade Stationery | Entertainment: Jazz-a-la-Mode Via Alive Network | Jeremy Durrant