What could be nicer on a miserable Thursday afternoon than an English country garden wedding with a pretty pastel colour scheme, a stunning Naomi Neoh bride and a glorious Sperry tent from PapaKata, with the sun is shining and the drinks flowing? The answer is nothing quite frankly. This wedding is just the dose of summer we need. And those blooms from Green & Gorgeous?! Divine!
Look out for the gorgeous signs from Made by Wood & Wood who have totally nailed the rustic luxe look. Images come from the lovely Lucy Davenport, who very recently got married herself! Congratulations Lucy, and Georgie and Ben too! Aren’t weddings wonderful?! And if you’re planning a tent or marquee wedding yourself, do check out this post featured earlier in the week.
Planning Our Wedding
Ben the Groom: If you are in the process of planning a wedding it is probably very annoying to hear, but looking back we actually really enjoyed planning our wedding. Of course there were a couple of bumps along the way but overall it was one of the most fun projects Georgie and I have done together. And we did not make it easy on ourselves. First of all we chose a venue that had never done a commercial wedding before and at the time did not have any attached suppliers or wedding infrastructure in place. However, it was perfect for us, as it allowed us to really personalise every detail and make it our own. It also meant we were able to shop around for all the other elements – catering, marquee, alcohol etc. which of course again meant more work. However, we did our best to turn that extra ‘work’ into enjoyable day trips to visit caterers for example, or for the alcohol, a Father, Father-in-law-to-be and Groom bonding booze cruise to Calais! I do think the fact that we had given ourselves a year to organise it really was crucial in keeping our stress levels down as we were able to focus on it stage by stage.
I feel extremely lucky to say that the day went incredibly smoothly and I really wouldn’t have changed any bit of it. This was down to a fantastic location, great suppliers, a great ‘on the day’ wedding coordinator from Isobel Weddings and if I am being honest a hell of a lot of good luck. (I should probably say that the fact that we love each other hell of a lot, helped too). But it really was simply the most fantastic and unforgettable day of my life.
Georgie the Bride: When we got engaged, we followed advice to ‘ride the champagne train’ and celebrated just being engaged before tackling all the decisions ahead. After a couple of months we began to look at venues and started planning the wedding about a year in advance. We both work in TV and found that planning a wedding is very similar to planning a shoot – it requires a lot of organizing, negotiating and sourcing different people and props! We both had different bits we were in charge of – Ben took control of the drinks, the music and the PA system, while I liased with the marquee companies and organised the flowers and decorations. One of Ben’s ushers drew sketches for the invitation including a timeline of the day and another friend helped to design the invitations. Our parents and families were also very willing to help in different ways, which was great.
At times, it was stressful but generally it was a really fun process – choosing exactly what we wanted for the day and enjoying the anticipation of it all was really exciting. Nearer the wedding I had several anxiety dreams about turning up 10 minutes before the wedding in a tracksuit with scraped back hair. Luckily, I was more prepared on the day! It was such an incredible day; it was very overwhelming to have all our favourite people gathered together and I have never smiled so much in all my life.
I went to a few wedding dress shops with my bridesmaids and my Mum before I bought my dress. It was such a fun experience trying on all sorts of dresses – from beaded 1920s dresses to sleek silk numbers. I eventually bought my dress when I went with my Mum to Mirror Mirror in Islington. We received such a warm welcome there and it was the first place where we got a glass of bubbly – it’s a movie myth that they do that everywhere…I ended up opting for a strapless dress (which was exactly what I always said I didn’t want!) and a very fine lace ‘jacket’ which went over the top. It was great to have this as it created quite a demure look for the ceremony and then I took it off for the first dance. I had always thought I would like something lacy and vintage looking, but ended up having quite a classic dress from British designer, Naomi Neoh. It also comes with her signature silk rose, which I wore on waistband of the dress.
When I had my first fitting I was quite nervous about whether I had made the right decision about the dress – bear in mind that when you go for a fitting there is quite a long way to go and a lot of alterations to be done. I felt like I should be looking like I would on my wedding day, which of course I didn’t. I was tired and pale after a long week at work. I was worried the dress was too full in the skirt and once I left the shop ended up in floods of tears. Having shared this with other friends who have got married, they also had similar ‘freak outs’ at their first fittings. No one ever talks about this and people expect you’ll have a magical moment when you put the dress on. So don’t worry – if it happens to you, it’s very normal!
Veronica at Mirror Mirror did such a fantastic job of making sure the dress fitted me perfectly and made sure I was entirely happy. I wanted to make sure I could have a well fitting strapless bra underneath the dress. I also didn’t like that the skirt was quite full so she removed some of the layers of netting underneath. In the end I was so delighted with the dress, I wish I could wear it again!
Although I loved the drama of the cathedral length veils, I ended up choosing a shorter very simple veil from Brides of Berkhamsted. I really felt like a bride when I had this on and wore it for most of the day until the first dance. I chose a pair of Rachel Simpson shoes, which were a perfect height – made me feel glamorous but I could walk on grass and gravel and they were so comfy I was able to keep them on until midnight! I was lucky enough to wear a pair of diamond Van Cleef & Arpels earrings which belonged to Ben’s great-Grandmother which was my ‘something borrowed.’
Probably my biggest stress of the whole wedding was the suit. After going for a few fittings at high end Saville row tailors, I was recommended a ‘fashion secret,’ in Tufnell Park which happened to be 5 minutes from where we lived. Entering Chris Ruocco’s shop feels like going back in time. Do not expect to be given a whiskey from young man with a moustache and a waistcoat. Chris will greet you in cargo shorts and tell you a lengthy story about swimming on Hampstead ponds. I loved him. If am being honest it also helped that Tom Odell and Mr Hudson were also getting suits made by him at the same time. I would say that I still found choosing the fabric and colour of my suit incredibly hard and I still don’t know whether I got it right. Looking at a 5cm swatch of fabric really didn’t help me picture it as a suit, which perhaps means I am not the best ‘bespoke suit,’ candidate. Once I had finally decided Chris wrote all the details of my suit on scruffy notebook that did make me wonder whether what I would end up with. However he made a beautifully tailored suit that was exactly what I asked for and overall I think I looked alright!
When Ben and I got engaged, we both agreed we wanted a summer wedding and decided we’d love to make a weekend of it in the British countryside. When we found Newington House with the help of Isobel Weddings we knew it was for us. We loved the idea of using different areas of the house and grounds for different stages of the day and the fact that we could create a truly bespoke wedding there.
The Sperry Tent
We always knew we wanted to get a marquee and Ben spent a lot of time speaking to different companies about the different options. So many felt rather uninspiring and very expensive. Just when we were despairing, we came across Papakata and fell completely in love with their Sperry tents – and although they were also pricey, after seeing one at an open day decided to go for it. The Sperry tent was spacious and modern with lovely high ceilings and we were lucky we could roll the sides up due to the lovely weather on the day. We went for round tables and ordered some lovely extras from them, which included wooden barrels and a large round wooden bar, which proved an excellent centre piece for the Sperry tent. The flowers were the main decoration in the Sperry and we had some paper lanterns hung from the top and some lovely festoon lighting, which made it look beautiful at night.
We had some large B&G light up letters from Vowed & Amazed, which not only looked great but acted as a fantastic backdrop to our photobooth from London Lightbox. We asked people to put the photos in our guest book along with a message. We had a tequila station in the sperry tent, with some colourful sombreros, which was one of the surprising hits of the night. People then used the sombreros at the photobooth which gave us some great pictures!
People were always asking what my colour scheme was and I never really had an answer – the main thing I knew was that I wanted the flowers in light pinks, blues and soft purples. Luckily everything then tied in with this – the bridesmaid’s dresses, which were a soft pink and Ben and the ushers, who were in blue. Generally I went for a ‘rustic’ vibe – and picked things up from websites and shops as I went. I had lots of old baskets and hampers which I used to put bits and bobs in, such as white paper fans, which we gave out at the ceremony and flip flops for people with sore dancing feet. I also got some fantastic purple and white paper tassles from Paper Poms which I put round the large circular bar we had which gave quite a fun look. I also got some fantastic signs made by Made By Wood and Wood welcoming people to the wedding and showing signs to where to park.
My Mum recommended visiting Green and Gorgeous, a beautiful flower farm in Oxfordshire. I loved their ethos of freshly grown, scented British flowers and rustic, effortless arrangements. I knew I wanted to steer clear of very structured arrangements, opting for something more natural. I couldn’t have been happier with the result. I had two large milk churn arrangements, which we had at the ceremony and then at the front of the Sperry tent. Our ceremony was outside and we stood in front of a tree, which was decorated with large Dahlia’s in glass jars hung with ribbons. (This was actually Ben’s idea and people loved it!) Rachel at Green and Gorgeous made up our beautiful bouquets and buttonholes and then my Mum and sister arranged all the flowers on the tables and in the Sperry tent. It was such a wonderful experience going the week before the wedding to point out the very flowers you are going to have at your wedding and then we picked them up the day before.
The Wedding Party
I found it quite difficult to decide on where to buy bridesmaids dresses from. It is definitely a challenge finding a dress to suit several other girls. I had three bridesmaids with quite different body types – Izzy is very tall, Lucy is petite and Charlie was 5 months pregnant! It was Izzy’s idea to try J Crew. They don’t have the dresses in UK stores, but they have a fantastic wedding co-ordinator who offered me advice over email about sizing and cuts. The dresses I chose were a beautiful blush colour and lovely chiffon material. They fitted very well and only a needed minor adjustments. Each of the girls chose their own metallic sandals. The ushers all wore navy suits and Ben bought them and both our Dads a Liberty print floral tie.
It was a great privilege that Ben’s Dad conducted the ceremony in front of all our friends and family in the rose garden. It was something we took very seriously and together we put together an order of service and both our sisters did a reading – Charlie did a poem, ‘Blessing for a Marriage’ by James Dillett Freeman and Josephine read an extract from The Princess Bride. Although it wasn’t a religious ceremony, we had a nod to Ben’s Jewish heritage and did the ‘breaking the glass’ to symbolise the breaking of our past single lives and the beginning of our joint married life together, as well as the uniting of our two families. We then went inside Newington House with our close family to officially register the marriage. It seems quite an usual way of doing things but for us it worked perfectly.
We had a jazz duo playing for the champagne reception and a 6 piece band called Party Up who did two sets in the evening. They played a mixture of funk, soul and pop and people loved them. The highlight was a garage medley, which people absolutely loved! In between we played a Spotify playlist that Ben had put together.
We are both real foodies and knew that having enough food and drink was very important! Ben, his Dad and my Dad did a ‘booze cruise’ to Calais to buy alcohol for the wedding. We found a fantastic caterer in Oxfordshire called Ross & Ross. They won us over at our first tasting and we didn’t look back! We had some fantastic canapés such as scotch eggs and mini fish and chips and then sharing starters and main courses. We had cured meets and pork pies and then shared shoulder of lamb with salsa verdi, jerk chicken and halloumi. It was a real feast! We decided to serve the wedding cake as dessert. As we’re not fans of fruit cake we went for a ‘naked’ three tier wedding cake made by Sue at the Red House Cake Company. Each tier had a different filling – raspberry jam, lemoncello and salted caramel butter cream and not a piece was left! We served it with fresh berries. We also had a tea and coffee station – using family Nespresso machines to keep people charged up with caffeine! From about 10pm until midnight we had a brilliant pizza van at the venue – Pizza Pigs knocked up some delicious pizzas, which helped to soak up all the drinks.
After all the planning that goes in to your wedding, you definitely want to make sure you have some good photos! We loved the style of Lucy’s beautiful, natural photos and were delighted with the results from the day. She made us feel so at ease and she moved around effortlessly ensuring she captured everyone in a relaxed, unobtrusive way.
Photography by Lucy Davenport
- Venue Newington House
- Planner Isobel Weddings
- Bride Naomi Neoh
- Boutique Mirror Mirror
- Veil Bride Of Berkhamsted
- Shoes Rachel Simpson
- Bridesmaids J.Crew
- Groom Chris Ruocco
- Shoes Church’s
- Usher’s Ties Liberty
- Sperry Tent PapaKata
- Wooden Signs Made by Wood & Wood
- Giant Light Up Letters Vowed & Amazed
- PA Equipment AC Disco
- Flowers Green & Gorgeous Flowers
- Confetti Shropshire Petals
- Hair & Make Up Georgina Heron
- Catering Ross & Ross Food
- Band Party Up
- Cake Red House Cake Company
- Pizza Pizza Pigs