I bloomin' LOVE this wedding! Not only are Bride & Groom Beth & Dom absolute beauts, but their whole monochrome, grey and silver wedding at Hedsor House is one seriously sexy and sophisticated affair. For a start it is photographed by the fabulous Sam Docker Photography whose style we simply adore, plus he always manages to captured the most fabulous emotive moments between couples and guests. Secondly it features the Suzanne Neville Cameilla gown. I say the because whenever we've shared this gown before you've all gone crazy for it. I don't know about you but it's the gowns lace long sleeves and fitted bodice and billowing skirt that make me totally weak at the knees. And how can I forget the bridesmaids in their charcoal Twobirds multiway dresses. Both designers are members of our stylish wedding Look Book too so you know you're more than in for a treat, and finishing the wedding party look perfectly are the Groomsmen in Tuxedos and bow ties. I haven't even mention the beautiful white blooms, marble effect stationery, delicious popcorn bar or elegant wedding cake yet, but trust me you need to see them, pin them, have them in your life, because they are also beyond beautiful.
VenueBeth the Bride: I was pretty clueless when I started looking for my bridal gown! Having never looked at a bridal magazine or visited a bridal boutique before getting engaged, it was a bit overwhelming. I started by looking online and I made a Pinterest board of any dresses I liked. I wasn’t keen on any of the traditional ball gown style dresses and I knew that a strapless/corseted number would not suit me. The first dress I came across that I liked & pinned to my board was the Camellia gown by Suzanne Neville. It was number one on my Pinterest board and the dress I ended up saying yes to! I loved the look of this gown online and loved it even more in real-life when I tried it on. It is a contemporary A-line style with a lovely soft organza skirt. I really liked the neckline, the long sleeves & the beautiful details on the bodice and as soon as I put it on I knew nothing else was going to compare. I got my dress at Miss Bush Bridal in Surrey. Their boutique is in a beautiful old chapel and we had the whole place to ourselves for our appointment. It is a really magical place to try on dresses and Corinne from the Miss Bush team was really helpful and down to earth. As the dress already had quite a lot of detail on the bodice and sleeves, I paired it with a really simple cut edge, full-length veil. Accessory wise I wanted a silver, sparkly hair comb to fit at the side of my bun. I struggled to find anything that didn’t have pearls in it but eventually came across Nancy & Flo who had a beautiful crystal hair comb that fit the bill. For my shoes I had my heart set on the satin pumps by Sophia Webster. Sophia Webster’s bridal range was a saviour for me as I was struggling to find bridal shoes that weren’t extortionately priced and really dull. The Sophia Webster range is a lot more fun and includes shoes that you would actually wear again after the big day. The ‘Wifey for Lifey’ engraving on the sole is also very instragam-friendly if this is your thing!
The Grooms Fashion & AccessoriesDominic the Groom: Given our overriding ‘classical’ theme, I was fairly certain from the start that we would go for tuxedos. Black and white stands out against any setting/backdrop and goes with any bridesmaid dress colour. It is also formal and smart – which is how I wanted to look, knowing that the overall vibe of the day was going to be casual/laidback. I wanted that juxtaposition of formal appearance, against the relaxed atmosphere. I am not really a fan of matching the bridesmaids dress with tie colour or over doing that co-ordination aspect so we opted for a black tie for all of us – my only differentiating factor was that I wore a cummerbund. I also decided against a pocket square, which is unusual for me but we had quite wide lapels and in any event, would be wearing a flower and it just seemed overkill to add another detail. We went for patent black leather slip-ons on the feet with a bow detail which would not be to everyone’s taste (in fact, I couldn’t convince my father-in-law to do it, so he went for laceups!) but I liked them. A bit of eccentricity in an otherwise stiff outfit. I was never going to wear a rental to my wedding and I wanted all my ushers to look the same, so it left me with little option but to sort them all out! I like the fit and style of Suit Supply and they are not too expensive so went straight there. It also served as our gift to all the ushers. I was really pleased with the result.
The VenueBeth the Bride: The overall look of our wedding we wanted to be classic, simple & glamorous. Our bridal party were to be in black tie and we wanted a reception venue that would fit with this. We liked the idea of having a country house for the weekend so that our family & friends could stay and we were also keen to find a venue that were flexible in terms of suppliers. Hedsor House was perfect for us. It is a Georgian House just outside of London in the Buckinghamshire country-side, with a stunning bridal suite and 10 further bedrooms for our family and bridal party. We hired Hedsor House on a dry hire basis, which meant we were able to plan our day exactly how we wanted it and had the flexibility to pick our own suppliers. What made it even more perfect was that there is a small 12th century church on the Hedsor Estate, a stone’s throw from the main house, where we were able to hold our ceremony. St Nicholas Church is really beautiful; right in the middle of the countryside and only a short walk for our guests back to main house. Hedsor House itself, apart from being absolutely stunning, had a really nice flow to it. As you enter the house you go straight into the Centre Hall with its incredible domed ceiling which is where we held our reception drinks. After our reception drinks the doors to the Ballroom opened for our wedding breakfast. During this time the Centre Hall was transformed by our production company who set up our dancefloor & evening lighting. After the wedding breakfast we also opened the Dining Room which we turned into a bar-room with poseur tables and seating areas. There was an easy flow between all of the rooms in Hedsor House which meant that our guests could make themselves comfortable wherever they pleased (busting moves on the dancefloor, propping up the bar, or reclining in the seating area) – without it ever feeling too disparate. It felt like our house for the day and it was absolutely perfect!
Colour Scheme & DécorOur colour scheme we wanted to keep classic and clean. We started off with the idea of a monochrome theme but I was worried about this looking a little too harsh (and slightly tacky) so I went with black, white, silver, charcoal & soft grey in the end. Hedsor House is already very grand and opulent so our décor again was classic and minimalist. Our decorations consisted of our amazing flowers (from the team at Lavender Green), loads of candles (tea lights & storm lanterns) and balloons from Bubblegum (giant white and marble effect balloons). I designed my own stationery and signs for the day with black hand written calligraphy style font and a marble background. I really enjoyed pulling all this together and it also allowed me to make those inevitable last minute changes! My favourite touch was the sign we had covering a large portrait in the Centre Hall which said ‘you had me at hello’. Jerry Macguire was the first film we watched together and Dom also sent me a bunch of flowers with this message after our first few dates! Totally cheesy I know, but nice to include these personal touches! Our stationery and theming also followed a movie/hollywood glamour thread, with our popcorn bar in the evening and our tables named after famous couples (e.g. Ross & Rachel, Jack & Rose, Maria & Captain Von Trapp).
FlowersI went to see Sue Barnes at Lavender Green about the flowers for our big day and she was absolutely amazing! I had my colour scheme all set and a couple of flowers picked out that I wanted to include but Sue really helped me pull everything together. Sue had worked at Hedsor House before which was really useful and she gave me guidance on what would work well. The flowers I selected were all shades of wintry ivory & soft grey; Anemones, Freesia, Stephanotis, Akito Roses, Hydrangeas, Burneii berries, Seneccio foliage and Eucalyptus foliage. Sue was not just an expert in floristry, she actually helped me with theming and décor for the day and got me thinking creatively about the styling and atmosphere I wanted to create. When I sat down in her office she asked me to sum up my wedding in three words! Quite a hard task when you have a million things running around in your mind and have overdosed on Pinterest and wedding blogs. I answered ‘classic, minimalist and glamourous’ and throughout my planning I always remembered this and made sure I wasn’t going off-piste or making unnecessary purchases! My bouquet was gorgeous. It was neat and dome shaped and used Anemones, white Freesia, Akito Roses, Stephanotis, Seneccio foliage and Bruneii berries. My bridemaids had exactly the same bouquet in a smaller size (minus the stephanotis) and my little niece and flowergirl Isla had a mini 3” version. All button-holes used the Akito Rose, bruneii berries and Eucalyptus leaves. Only Dom’s button-hole had added Stephanotis which was a special addition for just us as the bride and groom. As Hedsor House is a grand venue we knew we needed some statement flowers for the entrance and the ballroom – we picked some large arrangements on mirrored silver plinth and urns that really had the wow factor. Our table centrepieces were simple and stylish, consisting of square mirrored plates with four silver mint julep beakers filled with small Bridal bouquet flowers & three glass cylinder vases with central candles and white petals. The rest of the venue was decorated with tea lights and different sized storm lanterns, all of which were provided by our florist.
The Wedding Party FashionFor my bridesmaids I picked the classic ball gown by Twobirds in charcoal. I have always really loved these dresses; you can wrap them in different styles, which meant that my bridesmaids could pick what worked best for them. I also quiet like the mix and match look – rather than having them in a uniformed style. The Twobirds boutique in Covent Garden is also really lovely; we were well looked after by the team there who helped us trial out lots of different styles and colours. I ended up getting all five dresses in their sample sale which was amazing! I got some ivory scarfs from Accessorize to complete the look and to keep them a little warmer in the chilly winter weather! For my gorgeous little flower girl Isla we went to Monsoon as they have a beautiful range of occasion wear for little ones. Isla was in seventh heaven trying on the dresses! At only 2.5 years old she got very excited and ran riot through the store in her ‘princess dress’ on several occasions! Myself, Isla and her Mum (Tara) picked out the Baby Estella Dress in ivory, the Baby Firenze Fur Cardigan and some silver metallic pumps. Isla also carried a hand-painted sign on the day as she walked down the aisle, which said ‘Uncle Dom here comes your bride’ – it was beyond cute!
CeremonyIt was important for us both to get married in the church, so it was great that we could hold our ceremony at St Nicholas Church on the Hedsor Estate. We attended the church throughout the year leading up to our wedding, so we built up a great relationship with Reverend Janet Binns who would be marrying us and felt comfortable in the church on the big day. The church looked beautiful; our florist Lavender Green had created three large plinth & urn displays for outside the church and at the alter, added flowers to the pew ends and also put out candles and storm lanterns on the window sills. The structure of the service was traditional. My dad walked me down the aisle to the most romantic song of all time and a firm family favourite ‘Edelweiss’ from The Sound of Music. It was an instrumental version that Dom and I picked out and we just played it from our iPhone on wireless speakers. We had the local choir join us for the ceremony to lead on the hymns and the singing from them and the congregation did not disappoint! We picked ‘For the beauty of the earth’, Lord of all hopefulness’ & ‘Make me a channel of your peace’. We also had two readings during the ceremony; a poem by Roy Croft titled ‘Love’, which we really felt captured our relationship and a bible reading beautifully read by Dominic’s Mum (Colossains Chapter 3, Verses 12-17). We wanted to make sure the ceremony flowed nicely and that there were no awkward silences for our guests, so we played ‘I Giorni’ by Ludvio Einaudi while we signed the register and ‘Shine’ by Elmo for our recessional. All of the music, readings and hymns we picked were personal to us and they made our ceremony so special. Dominic & I both agreed in our post wedding debrief, that standing at the front of the church, saying our vows and singing with gusto to the hymns we had picked with all of family and friends behind us, was one of the most overwhelming and poignant parts of the day. Totally amazing and memories we will never forget.
EntertainmentDominic the Groom: We booked the band CODA through Band Boutique for a 2-hour set in the evening. They were absolutely awesome and very user friendly (both the band and Band Boutique). I think it cost £1300 for the night, which included a 2-hour set, after which they stayed around to ‘DJ’ our pre-prepared playlist. Coda will learn any first dance song for you – though we opted against having them play ours live. Our first dance was ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol. For the rest, we just created a reception playlist, dinner playlist, and night playlist on Spotify and pumped it through the speakers – it works really well as you can have absolute control over what you are playing. We had 5 or 6 songs that we just had to end the night with (a combination of university, relationship and family memories) and being able to guarantee they would be played at the right time worked perfectly for us.
FoodNeither of us are big foodies so I have to be honest this was not top of our list when we came to plan for the day. Notwithstanding, we also decided (as with most decisions about our wedding) that what our guests might like was not a consideration – this was our day. We decided we wanted hearty and warming British food (this was a cold, late November wedding) and Hedsor recommended that meet The Wild Fork – as that requirement is right in their territory. We actually liked Oliver and his team so much that they were the only caterer we met. Super helpful, super professional and just generally a nice guy, Oliver talked us through options and we picked a number of these to taste. We went for: Mixed canapés during reception (these were pretty creative from Wildfork – such as mini Yorkshire puddings with beef!) Beetroot and goat’s cheese starter Beef Wellington with green veg and potato wedges Treacle sponge with custard Food was incredible and the service was excellent. A lot of our guests commented on the same. Drinks wise we paid one fee for all-inclusive drink all day, inclusive of champagne and reception drinks, wine for the meal, and an open cocktail bar in the evening (we chose a few signature cocktails ahead of time: Espresso Martini & Berry Collins) which was incredibly well stocked with spirits, beers etc. and all included in a one-off fee. Super easy and provided cost certainty. Fair to say you caterer is an essential part of the day. We provided Oliver with a fairly comprehensive ‘plan’ and they just followed it and made it all happen for us - from dressing the tables to setting up all the rooms (bar room, photo booth room, popcorn table etc.) in accordance with our plan.
PhotographerBeth the Bride: We wanted to find a creative photographer for our wedding day who we really got on with! I made a shortlist of three and had Skype chats with each of them. I picked Sam Docker as our photographer as his style was exactly what we were looking for and when we spoke on Skype we instantly got on. We didn't want clumsy, drawn out or staged photography but candid and real moments that caught the feelings of the day. Sam certainly did not disappoint. He had the skill to deliver it almost anonymously. So many of our guests commented on his style; mingling without obtrusion to capture the vibe of the day. It was the same for Dom and I - it was like being photographed by a friend. The photos are a triumph, the slide show moved us to tears (both kinds) and the memories of our perfect day are always there for us to look at - all 876 of them!
Dress Designer: Suzanne Neville - Camellia | Bridal Boutique: Miss Bush Bridal | Headpiece: Nancy & Flo | Bridal Shoes: Sophia Webster | Bridesmaids: Twobirds | Flower Girl: Monsoon | Groomsmen: Suit Supply | Venue: Hedsor House | Florist: Lavender Green | Caterer: The Wild Fork | Cake: Petit Gateau | Entertainment: The Band Boutique