All of this glorious weather has gone to my head. I totally thought Gemma and James’ wedding was a destination feature, with their stunning al fresco courtyard dinner. But NO – it’s the UK! The lovely Hengrave Hall in fact. It’s not often that we get to enjoy guaranteed sunshine here in Britain, so it’s such a pleasure to see you beautiful people making the most of it!
Gemma and James’ are clearly a couple with style, as the decor for their big day is just perfect, tonnes of foliage, hanging geometric details and beautiful blousy pink toned blooms. It’s a veritable feast for the eyes and I just know you’re going to love it…
Gemma the Bride: Being a fashion designer in my previous job and having a hand in designing bridesmaid dresses and trends for my old company, I knew both finding my dress and my bridesmaid dresses might be the toughest challenge for me! I wanted something with a romantic feel, but something that was a bit different too. The thing I love about my dress is the subtle detailing throughout the whole design. The pleated tulle accompanied by the nude lining gave it a real “midsummer nights dream” feel. The soft ruffles around the bottom of the dress made the dress look very elegant! I liked was the contrasts between the cleverly engineered lace and the delicate tulle as well.
I was very much involved in designing a lot of aspects of our wedding, as I wanted to make it very personal. This included my wedding and engagement rings, both of which have mine and James’ birthstones subtly on the bottom of the bands. I also wore some moonstone jewelry as we got married in June. My shoes were gold glitter heels as I wanted something a bit surprising and fun to wear with my dress.
The groomsmen’s suits were a classic navy 3-piece with ties to match the bridesmaids. James’ suit was from The Grooms Room, his accessories included a Barbour watch (present from the bride), an engraved tie pin with the date of our wedding and a personalized pocket watch (gift from Gemma’s sister, Gina).
We wanted to get married on the 15th June (seven years the day we met). A key reason we met was that James won a game of cricket that day, at Bury St Edmunds, so it only seemed fitting our venue location was there. We also both love old buildings, and weather permitting, I was keen to be outside for a lot of the day. I’d seen a photo of the courtyard set up once before and fell in love straight away with Hengrave Hall. Not only is the venue amazing, but the grounds are stunning! Hengrave Hall definitely ticked all of our boxes and the staff couldn’t do enough for us.
We went for a neutral colour pallet with a pop of colour. The ribbon used for the bouquets matched the bridesmaid dresses. We had a lot of greenery with metallic asymmetric shapes around the whole venue including six amazing olive tress in the courtyard, which were surrounded by hydrangeas.
We had very specific ideas about what we wanted our flowers to look like. Gemma even photo-shopped how she wanted the ceremony room to look! Francesca was amazing from the get go. She got our vision straight away and brought it to life! Our centerpieces in the wedding breakfast were very personal. We are obsessed with domes and have been collecting memorabilia to go inside them from our travels together over the years, which were on each table (even parts of our hen/stag outfits were in the domes). We also brought a lot of 3D asymmetrics, which we asked Francesca to hang and work her magic on throughout the venue. We also used one for the flower girls bouquet.
The Wedding Party
I always think bridesmaid dresses are hard for any bride to choose, especially if you have as many bridesmaids as I had. Luckily I have an amazing best friend who is a very talented seamstress based in London. She talked me into collaborating with her- we’ve always talked about doing a project together so I chose the fabrics and came up with the designs and she brought them to life and made them look stunning.
I went for a lightweight silky jersey – I wanted my bridesmaids to be comfortable all day. I love the colour I went for, I think neutral colours look amazing for bridesmaids, but I didn’t want to go for anything that would wash them out. I added the velvet detailing because I loved the contrast against the silky, almost metallic looking jersey. We echoed this velvet detailing in with the bouquets and some of the floral displays to tie it all in.
Grace was amazing! We’ve had so many compliments on the dresses and it was really nice to be able to design and pick everything myself so I could have something unique.
We wanted to go for something a little quirky, and luckily we stumbled across a 5-piece band with a sax player and bassist! Wandering Wings were amazing. They did an acoustic set in the day whilst everyone was playing garden games and enjoying canapés and drinks. The evening consisted of 3 sets with all 5-band members. They were great! The sax player even came out into the dance floor to join us!
We chose Reluca to make our amazing cake. I came up with the design for our cake shortly after designing some of the flower arrangements. I wanted the cake to reflect the rest of the décor and the travel centerpieces. We love globes so we put one from our collection in the terrarium we had brought for the top of the cake. Reluca did an excellent job of making the exact cake that we wanted! It not only looks exactly like the design we gave, but it’s also is one of the nicest cakes we have ever tasted! We had a layer of chocolate and a layer of carrot cake. Reluca is such a clever lady, she seems to be able to make anything!
We honestly can’t praise Sam & Louise enough for the amazing job they have done. They were the first supplier we ended up booking because I saw one of their images at another venue and instantly wanted them to photograph our wedding. Not only are their work and ideas creative, they also take on board what you are looking for in your photos as well. Their attention to detail is great and they’re the nicest people you could ever meet! We couldn’t have picked a better duo for the job!
We didn’t decide to fairly late on in our wedding planning that we wanted a videographer, but we are so glad we did! Steve Hood is terrific! We love our wedding short films that he put together, it’s so nice to be able to capture the day in the way he has and more importantly be able to share this with friends and family.
Make it personal. Even though it was really hard work, I’m really glad that we got as involved as we did. It made everything so special and brought out our personalities in the wedding. I even put together a PowerPoint with everything! No detail was overlooked and most things were designed by us (from invites to wedding cake), which meant we could tie everything together. We sourced most things ourselves from the terrariums to domes for the tables. Look for the unexpected – sometimes we looked in the weirdest shops and found some amazing items to use as decoration! Some things I would show to Francesca thinking I wasn’t sure if they would work (like some geometric hangers I brought for our backdrop), however they looked really nice on the day! So don’t just play it safe ☺ Have fun with it!