Tuesday are so boring. Until now! There are so many details in Hannah and Tim’s wedding that I’m not even sure where to start.
With their 1950’s theme perfected they achieved a truly glamorous day. And Hannah has so many fantastic vintage suppliers to share with you.
The images captured by the fabulous Lisa Devlin really tell a story about Hannah and Tim; who they are, what they’re about and the love they share. Enjoy this fabulous story told by bride Hannah and leave her some love for a wedding so true to her individual style and love of all things vintage.
A Suitably Quirky Venue
Chiddingstone is a gorgeous rural National Trust village 15 minutes from our home, which makes me feel like I am on a period film set every time I am there! Tim and I wanted a very traditional church ceremony from day one and St Mary’s is absolutely beautiful. We then wanted a reception venue which had the feeling of “come back to our country mansion for some super food, drink and dancing”. We both knew Chiddingstone Castle was the venue for us as soon as we walked in. It was intimate, Wintery, glamourous and suitably quirky with its crazy encased mummy, random artefacts and chintz floral wallpaper in various rooms. The fact that our guests could go to the old country pub opposite the church before the ceremony and could walk 2 minutes down a pretty path and over a footbridge from the church to the castle rounded off our decision.
My hair and make-up of course had to fit in with our 1950s theme. I started going to The Chapel hairdressers in Tunbridge Wells soon after we were engaged, as I wanted to use them on the day of the wedding and it meant I could get to know the hairdresser and we could discuss the wedding hair well in advance. Sarah totally got it as soon as she saw my moodboard, but when she started playing around in the trial she put it up and down about 3 times until the very last 2 minutes of the appointment she came up with something and my mum and I squealed “that’s it”! The Chapel also did all 3 bridesmaids and my mum’s hair on the day and I think they all looked very glam!
I wanted to look like me on the day so I wanted to do my own make-up. I used some of my basics; Lancome foundation, Mac powder and blusher, YSL faux cils mascara and purchased some additional special items; Hourglass Veil primer which is amazing, Hourglass eyeshadow, Nars eye liner which has fantastic staying power and an iconic Chanel red lip liner and lipstick and matching nail polish. It was my birthday 2 weeks before the wedding and the girls at work bought me Tom Ford White Patchouli after I kept spritzting myself with it on every trip to Selfridges. It is very distinctive and gorgeous for a bride, and now reminds me of the day every time I wear it.
Me Written All Over It
I had designed my dress in my head even before we were engaged! I was pretty certain I would have it made, but my mum and I thought it would be a shame to miss out on a day of trying on dresses in boutiques, so we went to Pronovias, Vivienne Westwood, The Vintage Wedding Dress Company and Sassi Holford finished off with dinner at the Bluebird joined by my Maid of Honour. It was a fun day but I didn’t feel right or look like me in any of them. My friend in the Royal Ballet then recommended a dress maker James Kelly.
When we met up we hit it off straight away. I explained what I wanted and with his expert knowledge on fabrications and 1950s styles he sketched up exactly what was in my head. We bought the silk, lining and netting via James’ connections in the stock room at the Royal Opera House. Mum and I found the lace after me standing half naked in various fabric shops in Soho draping super expensive laces over me. The one we went for was so delicate and vintage looking. We found the Swarovski crystal buttons for the back of the dress in Maculloch and Wallis and after many many fittings…voila! James had managed to translate the exact image I wanted into the most beautifully made unique dress that had ‘me’ written all over it.
Perfecting The Details
Because there was so much going on with the dress I wanted a very simple traditional veil the same length as my dress. My mum sourced the veiling and made it for me. For once in our lives we actually preferred the cheaper option! The silk tulle was so fine, it was a little limp so we went for the one with a bit of body. The right tiara was very hard to find. I wanted a vintage 1950s one but I could only find ones with real diamonds for tens of thousands of £’s and many of the new ones are so flimsy and floral! Eventually I found one which was new but had a real vintage feel and when I showed it to my mum it was the first time she got really emotional as it was so stunning.
My bracelet was vintage Dior costume jewellery from the Vintage Wedding Dress Company and I had very simple diamond stud earrings. My something borrowed was my Nana’s engagement ring who passed away. It was so special to me as my Nana was the ultimate perfectly glam woman and domestic goddess wife and their marriage was really something to aspire to. My gloves were ivory silk made for me by Cornelia James, who were incredibly helpful. They actually made me 3 pairs because the first 2 weren’t perfect in terms of fabric and colour, they simply said “keep sending them back until we get them right”! My fur stole was also very hard to find! After scouring many vintage shops leaving my contact details to all and sundry in case they came across the right one, I then found a particular seller on ebay who had 2 I loved. I was devastated when I lost the bid on a blonde mink cape but it was fate because the same seller then put up the 1950s Norwegian blue fox stole and I sat around a pub table in Pimlico on my bridesmaids birthday while everyone egged me on and I won!
I am a huge Christian Louboutin fan so I headed straight to the store on Mount st and fell in love straight away with the pair I bought. The colour was perfect and the pointed toe and bow were so 1950s! I am quite an impulsive shopper, I know exactly what I want in my head so when I see something that matches I just have to buy it, I don’t really do the whole shop around/have a think about it thing! I bought super cute, lace, retro looking knickers from Agent Provocateur which had suspenders for my Wolford stockings, and my MOH had a tartan and lace garter bespokely made for me with my ‘something blue’ bow.
The bridesmaid dresses…well my MOH bought me a Vivienne Westwood tartan notebook to jot down my wedding ‘to do’ lists which I slipped into my Vivienne Westwood tartan handbag and thus the tartan idea was born! I fell in love with a VW Anglomania tartan dress but it was completely sold out so I set about to find my own VW inspired tartan, which I found on Berwick street, Soho. I loved the colours in it, it was rich, wintery and not too Scottish looking! I ordered it in pure silk and it eventually came in after a disastrous flood at the mill in India! James and I followed a similar design process as with my dress. They had to be 1950s and I wanted the silhouette to compliment mine. James came up with the idea of cutting the tartan on the cross with the waistband on the straight which really gave them that couture edge! I made their fascinators on one Sunday sitting in front of the fire and 4 Fred Astaire movies! They each had a different 1950s diamante bow shaped brooch. I bought them silver bow earrings and silver bracelets with a bow charm and their initial from Joy Everley near Carnaby Street. They had quite classic Carvela navy suede shoes and navy long gloves. I wanted them all in a different 1950s fur cape, I already owned 2 so I just had to find 1 more.
Tim was adamant he was getting a tailor made suit until he tried on a beautifully classic morning suit from Buckleigh’s in Chelsea. It fitted him perfectly so we hired all of the groomsmen’s suits from there. He did however get his shirt tailor made at Emmett. James then made his tie and pocket square out of the bridesmaids tartan silk and the other men had plain deep red silk. I bought Tim a pair of Lanvin silver bow tie cufflinks for Christmas which we chose together on the same evening that we had a really fun time in Selfridge’s men’s shoe department. The winning pair were black patent brogues by ‘Stemar’ which are beautiful.
Grace, Doris And Mary
Our whole lives are very vintage! I think Tim and I were born in the wrong era! It naturally followed suit that our wedding would have very vintage styling. However instead of going for the shabby chic/rustic feel, we decided to go for a more glam look. We picked out the deep red from the tartan as our main colour and the tartan also had navy running through it so that became our secondary colour which worked perfectly for the time of year. We already owned some vintage cut glass vases, decanters, glasses and silver candelabra so we began collecting more of this ilk which included antique silver plated vases, rose bowls, trays, a perpetual calendar showing the wedding date and anything you could put a tealight candle in. It was so much fun, one of my bridesmaids took me to Bermondsey antiques market one early morning before work and another bridesmaid took us to Topsham in Devon which had the most amazing charity shops and antiques centre. My parents loaned us an antique wooden chest for our card box and I made the sign using vintage playing cards. By the card box we had photos of our grandparents on their wedding days alongside an antique silver gong my stepfather used to announce the line-up. My favourite decorative item was my Grandad’s trumpet which he played as Sergeant Major of the Grenadier Guards. The florist dressed it beautifully and it sat on the mantelpiece in the Great Hall. It also did become a source of entertainment when it started to be passed around the tables in an attempt to make any sort of musical note out of it!
I travelled very much in style in a 1957 black and ivory Rolls Royce Silver Wraith, which is the same model as Grace Kelly’s wedding car! Our good friends have a company hiring out vintage VW campervans the Glampervan Hire Company, so they picked up the bridesmaids in ‘Doris’ and my my brother has a nearly identical model called ‘Mary’ who picked up Tim and the boys.
Amanda at Distinctly Floral just got me as soon as I walked into her house. It was like she could read my mind! She created my beautiful 1950s teardrop shape bouquet of spray roses, hypericum berries, ranunculus and eryngium thistle. The bridesmaids had much of the same in smaller hand tied bouquets with the addition of honeymoon tulips which look like they have been edged in a delicate lace! The buttonholes and corsages all tied in, but Tim had chincherinchee in his, just because he loved the name! Tim’s buttonhole stems were wrapped in lace from my dress and the other boys were wrapped in tartan ribbon. The ladies from the church very kindly tied in by using the same flowers and did some beautiful arrangements. The pew ends were gorgeously tied with red bows. We had various arrangements around the castle, flowers were a big thing for us! Our table centres were tall silver candelabra with huge glamourous arrangements covering the candle arms, as we weren’t allowed naked flames. We then had the low level vases and candle holders in clusters around them in the antiquities we had collected! The top table arrangement was a stunning cascade of blooms over the edge of the table with clusters of candle holders at either end. We stuck to mostly ivory and green in the bouquets and church and then introduced colour at the castle.
Strings And DJs
Our church ceremony was everything we wanted it to be; traditional, joyous and full of love. We had 3 hymns which were ‘Give me Oil in my Lamp’ for a jolly sing song, ‘Be Thou My Vision’ for something a bit different, a very old Irish hymn that we love and ‘Jerusalem’ because I am super patriotic and it gives me shivers! We chose Tim’s cousin Lucy to do our biblical reading and my cousin Daniel to do the non biblical reading. We asked them both to chose their own readings to make it more personal and Lucy chose ‘1 Corinthians 13’ and Daniel chose a poem ‘On Your Wedding Day’ which was beautiful and light hearted.
We had a string quartet playing as our guests entered the church and for the traditional Bridal Chorus as I entered and Wedding March as we walked out. They also played during the signing of the register and then quickly tootled up to the castle to play as our guests arrived there. I gave them a playlist of purely classical pre 1920s pieces including some from Ballets as I used to be a Ballet dancer so that was a nice touch. As our guests entered the Great Hall for the Wedding Breakfast the string quartet stopped and we then had a playlist Tim and I put together playing on a Bose docking station of 1930s and 1940s music which created a lovely atmosphere. We then had DJ Phil Webster in the evening who was brilliant. It was Tim’s task to find the DJ and he did a great job. They worked together to come up with the most fantastic playlist which went through the eras starting with our first dance which was from 1952; Rosemary Clooney’s ‘Botch-a-Me’. We first heard it whilst watching Mad Men and it became a firm favourite. It then seemed an obvious choice for our first dance, as we just don’t have the personalities for anything slushy and this was suitably fun and quirky. We finished off the night with our favourite most current track by DJ Fresh ‘Gold Dust’ and the dance floor went through the roof!
My family, Tim and I are big foodies so this was a very important aspect of our day. My mum is a caterer, my stepfather had his own pub and my brother has his own very successful free range Butchers and delicatessen. When we fell in love with Chiddingstone Castle we were worried that you had to use the one and only recommended caterer, so before committing to a deposit we went for the tasting at Kalm Kitchen and they were perfect! They are a small young family run business who are super passionate about what they do and were really flexible in working around exactly what we wanted. The fact that we could also buy all of our own drinks with no painful corkage fee made everything fall perfectly into place and my parents could tootle off to France and take the ‘wedding wine tasting trip’ very seriously!
On arrival we had an Apple and Cinnamon Fizz (syrup made by my mum) in 1950s champagne coups which we bought 80 of (!) and beautiful canapes served from the antique silver trays we had collected. We then had a Game Terrine to start, Gressingham Duck Breast (supplied by my brother) and Hot Chocolate Fondants followed by coffee and petit-fours. Oh and Champagne for the toasts in 1950s coupes! My parents bought special 1950s cut glass coupes for everyone on the top table to keep. In the evening we had a huge cheese board with bread, chutneys etc and a magnificent 3 tier pork pie made by my very talented brother. On the top tier was a small silver vase that was on top of my grandparents wedding cake. Next to the cheeseboard we had Port in vintage decanters with our collection of vintage port glasses!
Our beautiful cake was made by my very talented mum and dressed by the florist. At 7pm we had Mojitos in jam jars tied with bows and stripey straws, because a chap called Juanito the Mojto taught us how to make the perfect Mojito on one of our favourite holidays in Cuba. We then had a free evening bar of locally brewed beer, Cuba Libres, Rum Coolers, Wine and Champagne. So many of our guests have commented on how amazing the food and drink was which was one our main aims!
Classic But Glam
I love all of the quirky fun wedding stationery that is on trend now, but it just didn’t go with our theme. We wanted very classic but glam stationery which we got from a very small family run business called Bond Street Print. They use an old fashioned process to do raised lettering onto heavy weight card and we had hand tied tartan bows. Tim and I made our own Guest Information cards which had an old black and white photo on the back of each one; a car park, an old taxi, an old hotel sign and a 1950s wedding present table! Our save the date card was a postcard with a black and white photo from our engagement shoot with Lisa Devlin and simply just said save the date with the date and our thank you cards are postcards with a black and white photo from the wedding.
Bond Street Print also made our Order of Services, Wedding Breakfast menus and Bar menus. For our table plan I made a board covered in navy silk that stood on an easel. Every guest then had a seating card in an envelope pinned to the board with a diamante pin through a tiny hand made bow. Our table names were; Fred and Ginger, Audrey, Grace, Marilyn, Bing, Gene and Cyd after our favourite 1950s movie stars. Each seating card had an old black and white photo of the movie star and on the back it would say ‘please find your seat at Audrey’s table’. The place names were very classic cards with handmade tartan bows which took my mum, sister-in-law and I a very long time to do over Christmas. For our confetti I bought some vintage music sheets from ebay and my mother in law made them into cones with small red bows.
Above And Beyond
Lisa Devlin was the very first thing we booked after the venue. I fell in love with her style instantly and knew we had to have her. She didn’t let us down, the photos are uniquely styled and emanate the atmosphere and feel of the day. And what was even better was that Lisa and Alexa’s personalities just seemed to fit right in. It was like they were a part of our day, they were fun, lovely and really helpful…Lisa actually fastened my suspenders to my stockings for me! Now that is above and beyond!
The Toxic Octopus
On a shallow note to all brides out there, set someone the task of keeping you looking spic and span the whole night long! You will be having so much fun with everyone and potentially be rather inebriated that you won’t care about touching up your make-up, but believe me – people will keep snapping away at you and it is impossible for your make-up to last an entire day especially if you enjoy jumping into the arms of your friends, being lifted by your groom numerous times and having an emotional dance to Bob Marley with your brother! Having said this, my mum did say to me “Hannah would you have rather been in the bathroom doing your hair and make-up or on the dance floor doing the amazing toxic Octopus with your friends (a very unusual dance move created at my hen doo!)?”.
On a deeper note, as you can probably tell from the above, it is all in the smallest of details for me and I am pretty anal about everything. I mean, I don’t think a caterer has ever had a bride worry whether the salt and pepper pots fit in with the theme before or a car company ever had a bride change the ivory ribbon on the car to premium Berrisford satin ribbon…but I have to say – above all of this, what will make your day so special is the people and ultimately your relationship. Our day had such an amazing atmosphere, it felt like everyone was having so much fun and was so happy to be there and to celebrate ‘us’. Some of the moments you will remember forever are the impromptu moments that you can’t plan for like the raucous cheering that seemed to last forever when we entered the room and again when Tim stood up for his speech, the random hilarious heckling , and a bridesmaid’s impromptu speech! Even things that went wrong can make you laugh forever, like Tim forgetting the cheque and cash for the church and his Uncle having a cheque book in his pocket (who does that these days!) and like the caterers putting double the amount of rum they were supposed to in the Mojitos and everyone getting extremely merry on Havana Club! Cherish it all!
The most important thing is to have ‘your day’ whether it be castle, a beach or a field, not what anyone else wants. Tim and I had our dream wedding weekend which was uniquely ‘us’ and we wouldn’t change a single thing.
Tim’s heel click at the end says it all. How happy are these guys?!
The detail and effort Hannah went to is phenomenal. How about those Louboutin’s? And her dress is so stunning. Pinching in her tiny waist, perfectly fitted around her shoulders and a gorgeous length.
I love all of the cut glass, I love the trumpet, I love the mojitos, the bespoke bridesmaid gowns. What is not to love.
A super gorgeous day that is so true to who Hannah and Tim are. Truly their day their way.