So this spring wedding at Babington House in Somerset captured by RMW fave Especially Amy is all kinds of AMAZING. First setting my heart a flutter is Bride Heather's Inbal Dror wedding dress that she travelled all the way to Ireland to try on. It literally fits her like a glove and is both elegant and sexy. I adore the delicate lace and the low back is stunning. Next giving me palpitations are the blooms by Flowers by Passion who are part of RMW's recommended supplier directory, The List. Between the pink hued bouquets, immense floral arch, staircase garland and heart wreath I think your pinning fingers are going to be extremely busy.
DressHeather the Bride: My dress was designed by Inbal Dror, and was from De Stafford Bridal in Ireland. I found the design online, and De Stafford was the only bridal boutique in the whole of Europe who stocked this designer’s range and had the right sample. It's in Howth, a pretty coastal town on the edge of Dublin. Although it was a short flight away from my home in London, I was so in love with the dress that I had to at least try it - so I took a friend with me and we made a fun day trip of it. We arrived early for the fitting so we could take the scenic route & go for a long stroll down Howth beach to get to the store. I was quite nervous on the way, thinking that the dress might not suit me and we’d have wasted a day and flights on a failed pilgrimage. Luckily, as soon as I put it on, we knew it was perfect - so we went off to a harbourside pub to toast with a pint of Guinness. I also really enjoyed coming back to Dublin for the fittings. Kathy De Stafford herself was wonderful - very sweet and talented (she’s a designer too), and she made the dress fit like a glove. My shoes were from Aquazurra at Selfridges. My “something borrowed” was some beautiful flower shaped diamond ear-rings from my mother in law, my “something old” was a pearl drop necklace, and a friend of mine gave me “something blue” which was a tiny flower taken from her own mother’s veil, which Kathy had sewn into the lining of my dress.
The Grooms FashionThe groom and best men/ushers all wore morning suits. Thomas is French but has lived for most of his adult life in the US. His groomsmen were a very international bunch too - a mix of French, American, Jamaican and Croatian. The idea of having an English country wedding was quite an exotic theme by contrast & Thomas wanted to embrace it by being traditional. It was a challenge to fit out a group of lads who were based all around the world, but he did it with the help of the trusty Moss Bros.
The VenueBabington House was the first and only venue we looked at, as it ticked all the boxes straight away. We wanted everything in one place, so our guests could stay together all day, and stay up for as long as they had energy to play. We’d had visions of stepping out of a chapel straight into a party, hearing happy jazz sounds, smelling all the flowers in full bloom, with the sun beaming goodwill down on to our friends and family from a clear, cloudless sky overhead! But, we live in England, and we couldn’t get a summer date - so, we took the only one available (spring) and crossed our fingers. It worked really well, and we were freakishly lucky with the weather - it was like a Mediterranean summer. As most people stayed at the venue for a couple of days, we were able to spend a bit of relaxed, quality time with them. We had a barbecue in the walled garden the night before the wedding, and served cocktails made with herbs actually grown in the garden. It got a bit chilly in the evening, but that was fine as we had a couple of fire-pits - which we ended up huddling around late into the night and having a sing-song and ukulele jam. The morning of the wedding was spent lounging by the pool and catching up with old friends, before we had to leave the fun & start getting ready.
Colour Scheme/BridesmaidsMy colour scheme for the girls was really "petal shades" - the vague idea was that, all together, they would look something like a mixed bouquet of roses and peonies :-) I wanted each to have her own style of dress, in a different colour, but with the same skirt length and fabric (crinkle chiffon). The girls all live in different towns & have busy schedules, so I met them all separately to select dresses and shades. It took more time running around with fabric swatches than I expected to pull it all together and find enough style and colour options so that everyone had a dress they were happy with. The first time I saw the girls all together in their dresses was on the day of the wedding, and I felt really proud of how beautiful they all looked. The dresses came from Watters, Allure, Wtoo, J Crew, and Marks and Spencer. For my little flower girl, Polly at NABBD was an absolutely fantastic resource - helpful, accommodating and fun - and it was through her I ordered most of the adult dresses.
FlowersWe wanted a wild, abundant, colourful feeling, so we really went to town with the flowers. Babington House looked glorious on the day - Flowers by Passion did such a great job. My first moment (of many) of being completely giddy with excitement on the day was when I came downstairs on the morning of the wedding and saw them setting up the arch outside the church, and hanging the floral heart on the door. Erin, Amy and Tracey were so helpful, and we loved what they created. The following morning, Passion came back to dismantle the arrangements, but took the flowers and made them into little hand tied bouquets so that the guests could take them home. I thought this was such a lovely touch as it gave people a going-home treat and meant the flowers weren’t wasted.
FavoursRather than having favours on the tables, we made up some little embossed welcome bags and wrote cards for each of the guests, which we delivered to their hotel rooms. We filled the bags up with champagne, truffles, some other snacks and these cute jammy biscuits with our initials and smiley faces. I’d wanted to bake these myself, but after a trial run realised that I couldn’t possibly (be arsed to) do as many as we needed so close to the wedding… which was probably very good news for the guests, as we ordered them from the very talented Bee at Bee’s Bakery - they looked great and tasted delicious. We also included a sprig of lucky Heather for each guest, tied up with their menus.
Hair and Make UpOur hair stylists were from Melanie Giles and the make up was by the lovely Eleanor Nancy.
StationeryWe were very fortunate to find Emiliana Guiltieri at Amoretti, who designed our beautiful stationery. It was classic, elegant and excellent quality. Emiliana herself was also great to work with - she’s a wedding planner too, and kept us sane with her advice and helping us to meet our up-to-the-line timescales.
CeremonyThe priest who married us, Father Rob Hall, deserves a special mention. He knew my parents, who are sadly no longer with us, and he & they were very fond of each other - so it felt really important to have him officiate and I was so grateful that he could make the trip from my home town, Birmingham. The ceremony itself was really heartfelt and moving, but also hilarious as he’s a brilliant speaker and kept the guests entertained throughout. My sister, Angeline, gave me away, did the first speech and sang throughout the cocktail reception, so she was really working hard that day and did a great job! My friend Jennifer gave a lovely Bible reading chosen by Thomas, and Thomas’s sister, Olivia, gave a beautiful reading of a poem that she chose herself.
EntertainmentWell, we got our dream of stepping out of the church to jazz and sunshine! My sister finished her bridesmaid duty, and went off to sing with the Cocktail Trio, booked through Stylish Entertainment. They did some jazz standards and also a few of Angeline's own compositions (she’s a singer/songwriter - check her out here). Thomas really likes opera, so as a surprise for him I booked opera singing waiters to come and perform after the main course. He had no idea what was coming, and I was scared he might start on one of the waiters for trying to hijack his wedding - but fortunately they were really impressive singers and it went down very well. They gave all the guests a real energy lift after dinner & got everyone up singing along to rousing opera choruses with their napkins in the air, ready to celebrate again. The waiters were from Incognito, and were also booked through Stylish Entertainment. DJ Nigel Peirce handled the evening entertainment and did an amazing set, bringing in the guests’ 90s favourites with some more contemporary hits, ska classics for our family and Northern soul. He got the mood just right and the dance floor was lively all night.
FoodAfter the service, we served champagne and signature cocktails along with canapés. Dinner was served in the Orangery, so guests had a view of the gardens until night fell. The food at Babington House is all fantastic, but we opted for a family style dinner with a selection of sharing platters, so guests could have one or all of the options. For starters we had Devon crab, roast squash & ricotta pasta and duck liver pate, the main courses were lamb, sea bass and chickpea tagine, and puddings were chocolate & salted caramel tart, cheeses or wedding cake. We had a naked cake, which was a Victoria sponge with lemon and passion fruit, decorated with berries and flowers.
PhotographerOur photographer, Amy Murrell was one of the first bookings we made. We loved her documentary style pictures, she’s a real artist and captured the mood of the day perfectly. We’re delighted with the photos. She was also lovely to be around, very friendly and unobtrusive - she felt quite like another guest.
VideographerGorgeous Films made our wedding video - we love their style, and absolutely love our film!
Other AdviceJust have fun with the planning and enjoy the excitement leading up to the day. Once it arrives, you will be all smiles and none of the small details will matter.
Dress Designer: Inbal Dror | Bridal Boutique: De Stafford Bridal | Bridal Shoes: Aquazurra at Selfridges | Hair: Melanie Giles | Makeup: Eleanor Nancy | Groomsmen Suits: Moss Bros | Venue: Babington House | Florist: Flowers by Passion | Biscuit Favours: Bee's Bakery | Stationery: Amoretti | Entertainment: Cocktail Trio | Incognito Singing Waiters | Bridesmaid Dresses: Watters | Wtoo | Allure | Marks and Spencer | J Crew | Flower Girl Dress: NABBD | Videographer: Gorgeous Films | DJ: Nigel Peirce