Geometric Organza Justin Alexander Wedding Dress
Ashley & Alex:
I found my dress about a year and a half before the wedding, but held out for a long time just in case I was being too impulsive. However, I went to one store where the dress fitter just told me I had already found my dress and nothing would compare. So, I went straight to Angelica Bridal
and ordered my Justin Alexander
bridal dress. It's described on their website as a Geometric Organza Trim on a strapless ball gown, in sand and ivory. I felt like the dress was traditional but different. And I thought the dress wouldn’t age when looking back at photos.
Personalised Pink Faux Fur Coverup
Having a December wedding I always knew I wanted some fur to wear. I saw a family friend on my Instagram who had a fur jacket made with her initials on the back. I knew then that was what I wanted for the wedding. I started contacting Miranda Dunn London
to have a wedding jacket made. They sent me samples of fur, I sent them many pictures of fur jackets that I liked to get the right cut and length. I sent them photos of my wedding dress, they were with me every step of the way, as I wanted this jacket to be really special. I ended up going for a short length light pink fur jacket with my new initials on the back in leopard print. So, I only wore the jacket after we had been pronounced husband and wife. The guests and my husband only saw it for the first time as we were lining up for the confetti throw.
Once I’ve settled into married life I’d like to buy myself another of her jackets. I'll suggest it to my husband as a 1-year anniversary present, HINT HINT!!!!!
Rose Gold Bridal Jewellery
I’m not a big jewellery person but I was going for a vintage glam look for the big day and thought I needed something sparkly. Especially as it was Christmas. I found the earrings and necklace from Ted Baker
. As they were rose gold they went really well with the sand and pink tone of the jacket.
Customised Prada Bridal Shoes
My shoes were Prada
. Again, I had them custom made. In Harrods
where I purchased them. Prada was holding a customise your own shoes event. I took in a sample of my dress to match the material and again underneath the shoe above the Prada label I had my new initials on the sole of the shoe.
Black Tie Suits
My husband, the groom also wanted to go for a timeless look. So, he and the groomsman went for the traditional black tie. However, Alex went for a black velvet jacket from Gieves & Hawkes
. Trousers and shirt where from T.M.Lewin
. Alex also matched the groomsmen with the black velvet bow tie from ASOS
. The shoes he wore were a gift from the Christmas before, which he’d saved them to wear on our wedding day. They were black Ravello Derby Gucci shoes. He was also given matching Gucci cufflinks from the bride’s godfather.
Coltsfoot Country Retreat Wedding Venue
Coltsfoot Country Retreat
is where the big day took place. This place is very dear to me, (bride) my God Mother who sadly passed away before the wedding owned and ran the venue. When I was growing up I’d been to the venue for many events which I thought would make the experience less special as I'd been there so many times before. But on the contrary, it made the day more relaxed and intimate, as I was so familiar with it. My husband’s family and friends were coming from Wales and as the venue had 15 bedrooms meant that everyone could stay and have breakfast together in the morning and carry on the celebrations.
Winter Christmas Wedding
Like most people, I looked a lot at Pinterest
for some inspiration for the colour scheme. We didn’t want it to look to typically Christmassy. We’d seen lots of winter/Christmas themed weddings where there was a lot of white, like a winter wonderland or lots of red and green like a Santa’s grotto.
We obviously wanted it to look festive but I love to mix and match, colours flowing but not matching. Because I had the blush/sand colour in the dress I knew I wanted some pink, obviously red as it's Christmas, but we wanted a deep red and lots of gold. On the tables, we had bought odd Christmas crackers on sale from Christmas 2016 to go with the colour scheme from various shops like M&S
, John Lewis
etc. We figured to get them the year before on sale as Christmas crackers don’t really go out of fashion. Also on the tables, I had made individual Christmas trees out of different colour wool with wire and wine or champagne corks for the name placements. Making these was one of my favourite things about the wedding. I loved the sense achievement I felt once I saw them all together. And most guests took their name placement home with them. On Christmas day, my family reused them which was really special. I got the idea from Pinterest then, YouTubed how to make them. It’s like making a toilet brush then cutting them into the shape of a Christmas Tree. Then all you do is make a hole in the cork for them to fit. The names of the guest were then written on a brown package tag with a miniature bauble and bell or pompom on the tag string.
For our centerpieces, our florist Lamberts
made wreaths with wildflowers and baubles with the colour scheme of our wedding. In the middle of the wreath, we used battery powered candles as we preferred the candle not to be in a vase like the venue restricted. Again, we supplied all the baubles and candles for the day which we collected from Christmas 2016 when they went on sale. When the January sales came, we were very busy looking at Christmas things for the wedding.
Throughout the wedding, we used the same graphic designer for our invites, carol sheets, thank you cards and table plan. Sarah Ardrery had actually made my friend’s wedding invites as well so I knew we were in safe hands. We said we wanted our invites to look like Christmas cards to keep with the theme of the wedding, which we and our guests loved. The carol sheets had a similar theme to our invites. It was like a wreath in a mixture of red, green and gold and in the middle of the wreath, it said “The most wonderful time of year” which reflected on the wedding/Christmas. Our save the dates however we made ourselves. We have a bar trolley in our flat so we used that to display the date on some bottles then got the image printed on polaroid prints. Everyone loved the personal touch. We always get comments on our bar by our friends and family. For our table plan, we wanted to be quite creative and stick to the Christmas theme. So, we wanted to make an advent calendar type plan. As there was a running theme of Christmas songs the table plan was going to be “Driving home for Christmas”, so the plan was a big house with lots of windows and a big front door to open. Behind every window was the names of the guests sitting at each table. We put the plan in a big wooden frame and we tried to make a 3D effect. So, on the base of the frame, we had some white fluffy fabric to look like snow, small Christmas trees and a tiny version of our blue fiat 500 car carrying a Christmas tree on the roof. Everyone noticed the car and thought it was really sweet. We tried to put a lot of personal touches into the decorations as it was Christmas you can be as colourful and creative as you like.
Down the banister of the front entrance to the venue, we had our names in light decorations mixed with exotic and traditional decorations which my mum had made for us. On the main balcony, there was a big garland again with a mixture of exotic and traditional decorations which my mum had made before the big day. She and the friends had to go to the venue early on to fit them which was a rush as someone got married there the day before. She did such a good job they were so colourful and festive and really brought the venue to life.
And what’s Christmas without mistletoe, we had a big bunch in the inside door from the outside. Fairy lights finished it all off with plenty of tea lights as well in GU dessert pots we had sprayed gold.
We used a local florist from Welwyn Garden City Lamberts Flower Company
. They had done many weddings at the venue before so they knew exactly how to help us with our choice of flowers and centerpieces would suit the venue. We wanted to keep everything quite festive as it was a December wedding. In January, a year till our wedding we bought lots of baubles on sale to go in our centerpieces. As we supplied all the baubles for the centerpieces and the battery powered candles. For our centerpieces, we had a mixture of flowers and baubles to complement our colour scheme. I voiced very early on with the florist I didn’t want anything looking too perfect, I wanted everything to look a bit wild. For my bouquet, I didn’t want perfect edges on the stems, just wanted everything to look quite natural. Our centrepieces were big wreaths as it was Christmas. With the number of flowers and baubles that went into them we didn’t want vases with candles in the center so we went for battery powered ones which looked great.
I was so pleased with the flowers they really looked fantastic. The colours were perfect.
Wedding Party Fashion
We wanted the grooms best man to match Alex (the grooms) black tie look. So, they all wore black suits we had got from Next
with black velvet bow ties to match Alex’s suit jacket.
They supplied their own shoes and white shirt. We also got a matching black suit for our little usher who is also our nephew. He loved being one of the grown-ups for the day, one of the lads.
We didn’t want our flower girls to match the bridesmaid exactly, I wanted them to still look young. Our youngest flower girl was turning one years old, two days after the wedding. She wore a long pink tutu dress with a gold top with a gold cardigan all from MONSOON
. Our older flower girls both wore gold sequin dresses with a pink ribbon belt from Debenhams and matching gold cardigans from MONSOON.
I had 4 bridesmaids all wearing the same outfit but different shoes. I original thought I wanted them all to look different however when I saw them all together I thought they look incredible. I decided I wanted them to wear a skirt and top very early on as I find winter dress either frumpy or too sparkly and they seem to always be in rich dark colours.
The skirts I found a year before the big day on sale from Closet London
. I knew the brand quite well and knew the quality was really good. They were full length pleated dusty pink skirts with pockets to keep their hands warm. The tops were from Lace and Beads in pink.
They also had blush pink faux fur scarfs to wrap round their shoulders for photos. Everyone looked so fantastic.
And my mum was the one to walk me down the aisle. From day one I wanted her to wear a suit, like she’d worn to her own wedding to my dad. So, she wore a cream trouser suit by Ralph Lauren. I think we looked amazing standing together. Like we were ready to take on the world.
We had a pianist and a surprise singer to play while I walked down the aisle. I walked down the aisle to ‘Over the Rainbow’ which is from my favourite film ‘The Wizard of Oz’. We had one reading during the ceremony which was read by my brother Clark. He chose to read the ‘Love’ monologue from Stardust. While we were signing the registry, we had carol sheets printed with our 2 favourite Christmas songs, ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ and ‘Winter Wonderland’ for our guests to sing along with. Everyone got really involved even our registrar was wearing a Santa hat. It was the best start to the day. You really felt festive.
Then once the ceremony was finished we walked out to Madness “It must be love’. Which was my Dads favourite band. He passed away 7 years ago so this was a little remembrance for him.
While walking down the aisle we had just planned to have Paul Arnold the Pianist however my mum had surprised me Gemma Turner (wedding singer) singing ‘Over the Rainbow’ which was my chosen song to walk down the aisle to. Paul carried on playing through the drinks reception and during the wedding breakfast, dropping some romantic tunes and Christmas songs throughout the day. Paul was at Coltsfoot performing the night we had our food tasting, he was so good we even said to the staff what a great CD they had playing. As soon as they said it was actually someone playing the piano the whole time, we knew we wanted him to play at our wedding.
We went for a DJ instead of a band in the evening which was a great decision for us. We found our DJ through a recommendation from one of my bridesmaids who’d been to a wedding where he’d played before. His name was Jimmy Hickmott, who came from the company Festival Wedding DJ’s. We had sent him many song choices before the wedding which was harder than I thought. I was being very fussy about the song that followed our first dance which he understand. I’d been to 3 weddings where the second song had been ‘September’ by Earth Wind and Fire. So, I made it very clear I didn’t want that so we went for ‘Let’s Dance’ by David Bowie.
Our first dance was partly sang by my beautiful cousin Verity who has an incredible voice. We’d asked a friend to mix an acoustic song in to a dance version of the song. It was Sam Smith ‘Latch’ remixed into Disclosure ‘Latch’. So, Verity sang the acoustic version for us, then the second half of the track was the Disclosure dance version.
Christmas Dinner Wedding Breakfast
For our wedding breakfast, we had to have Christmas dinner. Our favourite meal, and to get everyone into the Christmas spirit.
Ombre Wedding Cake
Now our cake, our show stopping cake was by Claire Owen Cakes
. As soon as I found a picture of her ombre, sugar pearl wedding cake I just wanted it. I thought the sugar balls looked like baubles so it really went with our festive themed wedding. After finding Claire online I went to Most Curious wedding fair and she had a stand there. I was able to talk to her and see her original sugar pearl cake in the flesh. I feel in love even more. Over email we arranged an appointment for cake tasting and we were able to show her the kind of colours we wanted for the cake. We went for a three tier, red velvet, chocolate and carrot. With ombre colours of gold pink to deep dark pink/red.
We actually found our photographer on our videographer’s website. We fell in love with her pictures straight away. We loved the mixture of natural and posed images, especially the evening photos of guests on the dance floor. With this in mind, we collected Christmas props to put on the dance floor in a fancy-dress box. We had a Christmas pudding outfit, Santa hats, elf ears, funny glasses and celeb masks. All the guests loved them. We couldn’t be happier with our pictures. People even said they looked like they could be in a magazine. Nic from Lemonade Pictures
captured every important moment and we’ve even got all the family ones for the parents. Which were pretty painless. From the first meeting with Nic till after the wedding we fell very at ease. And our photos came back very quickly which was perfect so we could enjoy them while we were still on the wedding high.
Tim Spatz was our wedding videographer. Tim is actually a friend of my brothers and his actually from the area where the wedding took place. Tim knew the venue well which was such a bonus as he knew where the best shots would be taken. Another added bonus was that Tim and Nic had worked together before, it added to the relaxed friendly environment that we wanted on the day. Tim asked what songs we wanted for the short video which went so well. A mixture of Christmas songs and songs from the ceremony. The editing is crazy good. When he first sent it to use we watched about 5 times on a loop. And after that once a day for a week. We LOVED it. We both thought we didn’t want a videographer when we were planning the wedding, but I think it was the best money spent. I love looking back on the amazing DAY!