Cocktail Hour At Stoke Place

It’s a bit of a fashion fest this morning folks. I love seeing a black tie wedding and Rickies Paul Smith Tuxedo is absolutely perfect. Danielle chose a couture Phillipa Lepley gown paired with Manolo Blahnik shoes. I told you it was a fashion fest!

I love the blue colour scheme and am especially fond of Danielle and Rickies incorporation of a cocktail hour in the early evening. Oh and Rickies Whiskey bar sounds pretty spot on too…

A black tie city wedding with blue colour scheme and Phillipa Lepley gown_0001A black tie city wedding with blue colour scheme and Phillipa Lepley gown_0002A black tie city wedding with blue colour scheme and Phillipa Lepley gown_0003A black tie city wedding with blue colour scheme and Phillipa Lepley gown_0004A black tie city wedding with blue colour scheme and Phillipa Lepley gown_0005A black tie city wedding with blue colour scheme and Phillipa Lepley gown_0006A black tie city wedding with blue colour scheme and Phillipa Lepley gown_0007A black tie city wedding with blue colour scheme and Phillipa Lepley gown_0008A black tie city wedding with blue colour scheme and Phillipa Lepley gown_0009A black tie city wedding with blue colour scheme and Phillipa Lepley gown_0010A black tie city wedding with blue colour scheme and Phillipa Lepley gown_0011A black tie city wedding with blue colour scheme and Phillipa Lepley gown_0012A black tie city wedding with blue colour scheme and Phillipa Lepley gown_0013

Danielle The Bride:As soon as I got engaged I was dying to try on Vera Wang’s stunning Gemma and Kendall dresses. All of the gowns were beautiful but I couldn’t decide if I wanted to feel sexy or like a princess on my wedding day. My friend recommended Phillipa Lepley so after my appointment at Vera Wang I headed over there. When I saw my dress I knew it was the one! It had the best of both worlds. The hidden corset gave the dress the fitted look I wanted while the skirt screamed princess, not to mention the never ending train with beautiful hand stitched lace on the endless layers of stunning French tulle. But what really sold this dress to me was the fact is a one of a kind couture gown, I truly felt special and unique on my wedding day. Wedding dress shopping was one of my favourite parts of wedding planning sadly it only took me 1 day 3 appointments and 4 hours to find my dress!

I am looking to pass on the dress now so any enquiries please contact me at

After finding the dress I immediately went to the next task – shoes! After proposing pink to my bridesmaids as the colour scheme and none of them seeming very excited it was clear I needed to rethink. After looking through bridal magazines I came across a wedding were they had gone with a mixture of cobalt & baby blue and instantly fell in love. With a cobalt blue colour scheme it meant only one shoe would do, Hangisi Satin Pump in cobalt blue by Manolo Blahnik. I have been in love with these shoes for years and that it was the perfect excuse to get them! For further accessories I wore a cathedral veil and pearls.

As I am Canadian and therefore half of the wedding guests would be travelling we wanted the venue to be both truly British and convenient for everyone to get to. We immediately narrowed our search to venues in and around London. After a month of looking for the perfect Venue we came across Stoke Place. Good food was important to us and we noted that the venue has won awards for its food lending us the confidence this would be the case on the day. The grounds were spectacular and the friendly staff were also a huge selling point.

We picked hydrangeas and lilies to be the main flowers for the day as we wanted the table arrangements to be simple and classic. The Mother of the Bride who had taken a flower arranging course performed all the arranging for us.

The flower order was placed in advance and then collected from David Gibb at the Covent Garden flower market the morning of the wedding. If you are confident in arranging your own flowers I highly recommend this route. You will get great quality flowers and save a lot of money.

The aim with the decor was to make it both personal and tie in our colour scheme. The rooms were decked out with blue and cream tissue paper puffs. Blue Lillie scented candles were scattered on the tables as well as varying sizes and shapes of white candles around the perimeter of the wedding breakfast room. The Ladies and Men’s bathrooms had emergency kits with almost everything you could possibly need as well as flip flops in the ladies to encourage dancing all night long!

Having a massive sweet tooth the only way to go with favours was a pick and mix table which was the focal point for one of the rooms. Mini take away boxes with personalised stickers were left on each guest’s place setting to fill. Additional little extras like the MR & MRS and chair signs were used on the head table. To keep it elegant little silver ball table name holders were used as well as retro blue straws for the cocktails. Majority of these extras were ordered online from Not On The High street. For the table plan we had a map of all the places we had been together and the tables were named after these cities.

After giving my bridesmaids free reign to pick their own dress and none of them being able to decide I became a true bride and picked one myself. With all of them having different bodies types I found aspects I liked from numerous dresses they had tried on and had a tailor combine them to make the perfect dress! One of the bridesmaids is a professionally trained singer as well as a TV presenter so it was important to incorporate her talents into the day. She sung as the bride entered which was a special moment – everyone had tears! During the ceremony there were also some lovely readings by the Groom’s sister, Bride’s Sister in Law and God Mother. For those of you struggling to find a reading I high recommend Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda.

Throughout the whole planning process the Rickie had mentioned he thought live music would create a special atmosphere, however we weren’t sure where the money for that would come from. Keeping his wishes in mind I went to work searching to find the perfect group to surprise him with. Working with Vanessa at AllegroArts Live music I listened to various artists, when I came across Mood Swing who I thought were perfect. Just to confirm I had the vibe Rickie was looking for I casually played one of their covers one evening at home to see what he thought. Rickie’s face said it all; I called Vanessa and booked them the next day. Mood Swing were amazing on the day of and gave our cocktail hour the perfect touch of romance.

For the evening it was all about the Party. We wanted to ensure our guests were up dancing all night long. At an open day at the venue we came across Mighty Fine and were so impressed they had done an event in Danielle’s home town in Canada we thought it had to be a sign. Mighty Fine understood the importance of keeping the party going, they gaged the crowed perfectly and had everyone chanting one more song at the end of the night! The service from start to finish was brilliant. We particularly liked the online playlist, where we could build in all the songs we did (and didn’t) want.

The quality of food at Stoke Place was one of the deciding factors as to why we chose the venue. During the day everything was good quality and most importantly hot (We have lost count the amount of weddings we have been too with cold food). They were extremely accommodating with our dietary requirements and the service was good considering a high number of guests. The evening buffet was also good quality as were the canapés. Many guests have commented it was the best wedding food they have had.

The cake was provided by Lilybean Bakery. We had three tiers consisting of chocolate, vanilla and lemon and she also made edible minions as our cake topper for our second traditional fruit cake home made by the Groom’s father. If you love a moist chocolate cake you need to contact Lilybean Bakery!

We wanted a photographer that was a little different and Liam Smith didn’t disappoint. We particularly liked his artistic eye for shots which differed from the other photographers we met with. As the photographer is such an important part of the day I was hesitant to make a decision, but then Liam said something that really stuck with me. He asked me whether or not I felt comfortable with him, did I generally like him? He reminded me that him I would spend a large majority of the day together and if I was comfortable he would reflect in the shots he would capture. For a photographer to be so honest, and have such confidence in his work I knew we were making the right choice. Looking back at our photo’s it was the best decision we made. I have since recommended him to every friend I know getting married, warning he books up quick so get in there fast!

A unique aspect of the day was that I organised with venue to put together a whiskey bar for Rickie. It was a surprise and they set this up with his favourite types of whiskey and ice. It went down amazingly well with everyone although there were some sore heads in the morning!!

Photography by Liam Smith
Gown Phillipa Lepley | shoes Manolo Blahnik | Groom Paul Smith | Venue Stoke Place | Cake Lilybean Bakery | Entertainment Mood Swing & DJ Mighty Fine.

Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

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