You can’t beat a classically beautiful wedding in the heart of the English countryside complete with princess dress and boys in dapper suits. Good job that we have just the ticket for your perusal on the blog this morning then!
Arabella chose the beautiful ‘Gracie’ dress by Fashion Pack member Suzanne Neville to glide down the aisle in towards her beloved who incidentally has a very romantic way with words if you choose to read her sweet note that he sent along with diamond earrings on the morning of her wedding. I know – diamond earrings! He’s a keeper that one 😉
Come and see all the glorious details for yourselves.
Arabella The Bride: After months of enjoying trying on many wedding dresses, decision time came down to a slinky, detailed Lusan Mandungus dress or what I called a true princess dress by Suzanne Neville. I stood in the shop, going back and forth between the two very different dresses and didn’t know how I was going to decide, until I put on the veil and turned to see my sister, my mum and Ellie from Ellie Sanderson unanimously sigh and gush as I tried on the ‘Gracie’ dress one final time.
As I looked in the full length mirror with the veil, flowers and head piece, I knew this was THE dress I would walk down the aisle in. Deep down my heart had always been with the princess dress, ever since I was a little girl, but I just enjoyed trying on so many dresses! It also worked well for our venue and the ‘fairy tale’ wedding we, well maybe I, had always wanted…
One of my best friends, Anna Louise Downman, does make up for weddings and she perfectly captures the natural look that every bride wants on her day. No one wants to walk down the aisle looking tangoed! She’s known me for years which means she knows how I like my make-up; simple and natural. I had so much confidence in her that we didn’t even bother with a make-up trial and on the day she nailed it. For me it was such a nice way to have her part of the day and there in the morning to keep me calm, although she wasn’t too pleased with me when the tears started to roll when Scott’s wedding gift arrived; beautiful diamond earrings. They were the first of many happy tears that day.
For us, the importance of our wedding was always to have our friends and family around us and make the celebrations last as long as possible! We didn’t want to go abroad and we found the perfect venue at Orchardleigh in Somerset which answered all our desires. Guests arrived the day before for Afternoon Tea and croquet, with Scott’s mum providing all the cakes and both mums hosting the afternoon. Later that evening we switched from tea to wine and organised a hog roast – luckily the weather was on our side that weekend so we didn’t need to bring out the emergency gazebos!
All guests were then able to stay on site in the courtyard of cottages. We provided welcome bags in each cottage so everyone had breakfast and any essentials needed for the morning of the wedding. At midday all of our guests moved up to the grand main house and at the end of the night everyone could drift off to their rooms when they wanted, as the party only ended when the last guest went to bed. The next morning the venue allowed us to extend the celebrations even further by organising clay pigeon shooting and segway racing to help clear the hangover. We found it a really nice way to make our weekend last as long as we could and gave us that chance to spend quality time with all of our guests.
That morning I woke at 5am and too excited to sleep I walked out into the courtyard to a cloudless sky. I looked around thinking about our 80 wedding guests all tucked up in bed and took myself off for a little stroll around the Estate watching the sun rise. Whilst there was stillness and silence, it was a peaceful time to have a moment to myself – little did I know Scott was doing something similar at the other end of the Estate. By 6am I decided it was time to start waking my bridesmaids and headed into the cottages to start jumping on their beds. From that moment on the morning sped by and the nerves started to increase but I wanted to enjoy every little part of it. I had to keep reminding myself that the day was just about Scott and I and our love for each other, surrounded by family and friends it wasn’t a reason to be nervous.
For both of us, the Church service was the most nerve-wracking part, but also the most important. Having not seen Scott since the night before, I couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle but as I stood outside the Church with my father and bridesmaids, I was getting more and more nervous. Picture perfect, I can still remember the music starting and walking into the Church to a sea of smiling, friendly faces and my nerves subsided.
As I reached the front of the Church I can still remember feeling my knees physically knocking together due to the nerves and adrenaline, but once the first hymn started Scott and I took the chance to chat and calm each other and the nerves disappeared. The church service for us was a very moving part of the day and despite the nerves at the time I look back so fondly at it. My advice to other brides would be to try not to get caught up in the nerves of the day, remember it’s just your friends and family, and appreciate it for the very special moment it is and represents.
With a year to plan the wedding, I was really keen to decorate as much of the venue as I could myself. I found Rock My Wedding (of course!), Pinterest, Etsy and NotOnTheHighStreet invaluable research tools and provided an easy way to get inspiration and personalise décor for the day from the Mr & Mrs Campbell sign to the Mrs Campbell top I wore on the wedding morning and the personalised love hearts we used as wedding favours.
Being a spring wedding in May, and a girlie girl, pink was an obvious and easy decision for the colour scheme however there was no chance I was getting Scott in a pink tie, so we used the groomsmen to carry through the pink theme with their ties and socks. Luckily one of my friends, Emma, is an events planner so she and a couple of other friends were invaluable helping to do the set up in the morning and ensuring what I’d imagined in my head came to light on the day. For the evening we hired in a chequered dance floor and lighting to add to the atmosphere and supplemented it with our own fairy lights and candles.
We had a tasting day at Orchardleigh and got to sample the many menus they offered. From that we were able to personalise our choices which culminated in one of my favourite meals – roast lamb, which was fitting as we were married on a Sunday. We hid little paper chef hats in the napkins of one guest from each table and they were given personalised aprons and chef hats to carve the leg of lamb for the table. In the evening we provided a buffet to soak up the alcohol and give our guests the energy to keep dancing as the night only stopped when the last person went to bed.
Our amazing photographers were husband and wife team John and Soph Barwood. My sister had used them for her wedding the year before and the instant we saw their preview photos on the night of their wedding, I told John and Soph there and then that we wanted to book them for our wedding. A few weeks before our wedding we met them down in Lyme Regis for a ‘getting to know you’ shoot and straight away they put us at ease as we laughed and joked our way through the next couple of hours. Scott has never been a fan of having his photo taken but they showed us a few simple tricks and on the day those tips worked perfectly.
Having two photographers on the day meant both Scott and I could be photographed getting ready and it meant they never missed a shot. John has a real skill for taking photos in the best possible light, he sees moments other people wouldn’t and Soph has a wonderful skill at capturing great portrait shots – plus I’ve never seen a photographer work a wedding breakfast so well without anyone even realising! For us, it was like having two additional friends at our wedding and we didn’t mind heading out at midnight to get that late night shot as we knew John was once again working his magic. We’ve since recommended John and Soph to three of our friends and we’re sure there will be many more.
Once again, we ended up using the same videographer as my sister and her husband, Rupert Ward-Lewis…well if it ain’t broke! Rupert, not only is he a lovely guy, he has gift for the way he captures what is the most special day for a couple in such a stylish way. He provided a highlights video along with a DVD of the day which included the full wedding speeches and interviews with some of the guests.
Having the highlights video is a quick and easy way to take you right back to the day, something which photos can’t do to the same extent. But for Scott and me, reliving the speeches was unexpectedly one of the highlights of the day which included a jubilant song from my dad, an honest and tear jerking poem from Scott – a moment I can honestly say I will never forget – and a witty and laughter filled speech from our best man, Stuart. Rupert is another supplier that we’ve since recommended to friends.
Make a moodboard at the start and use it to help you get a feel for what you want, especially when talking to suppliers. Take a moment – the day passes so quickly, so make sure you take time to stop and look around you and take in what’s going on.
Photography by John Barwood Photography
- Wedding Dress ‘Gracie’ by Suzanne Neville
- Boutique Ellie Sanderson
- Makeup Artist Anna-Louise Downman
- Headpiece Pure Couture
- Venue Orchardleigh House & Estate
- Chequered dance floor & evening lighting Groovy Floors
- Band Beats Working
- Florist The Little Flower Company, Frome
- Groomsmen Hired at Austin Reed
- Stationery Paper Themes
- Horse and Carriage Blagdon Carriages
- Videographer Rupert Ward Lewis
- Grooms waist coat Bespoke from Favourbrook
- Bridesmaid Dresses Debenhams