Helen and Jonny were engaged on Christmas day so it made complete sense for the couple to carry on the festive theme for their wedding. Think twinkling fairy lights and roaring log fires – yes, we thought it was pretty perfect too.
Talking of perfection (and even though it took her the purchase of two other dresses to get there!) Helen’s Suzanne Neville Gracie gown looks as though it was literally made for her, a vision of full-skirted whimsy and swish. And her hair? lovely. I expect to see muchos pinning action of her romantic up-do occurring today.
This elegant winter affair has really got me in the mood for carols, mince pies and holiday cheer – Enjoy folks!
Helen The Bride: Choosing the dress was one of the hardest parts of the wedding planning process. Anyone who knows me well will tell you how much I love dresses, no matter the season or occasion I will find a dress that suits. This is why I knew it would be difficult as there were so many dresses to choose from and so many that I wanted to wear!
I had admired Suzanne Neville dresses for months before I was even engaged, the style and fit matched everything I wanted. One particular dress, the Suzanne Neville Gracie I had seen on another bride on RMW and absolutely fell in love with it. It was the very first dress I tried on and I should have bought it there and then. What followed was endless umming and ahhing and two other dresses which I ended up selling. Yes, I am the bride who bought three dresses!! In the end I went back to the Suzanne Neville Gracie dress and I am so glad I did. It was classic and elegant but with a full skirt, the sort of dress you can only wear on your wedding day.
I accessorised the dress with a simple cathedral length veil I found on Etsy and the most sparkly silver courts from L.K. Bennett” target=”_blank”>LK Bennett. I also found an extremely talented lady on Etsy, Jennie from Jewellery made by me who created a bespoke hair comb to match the detailing on my Suzanne Neville dress.
My wonderful husband bought me the most beautiful tanzanite and diamond earrings to wear on the day these were also my something blue. My something borrowed and old was my late Grandmas sapphire ring.
Loving nothing more than getting pampered and also not trusting myself to do a good job myself I decided to get a hairdresser and makeup artist to work their magic. I couldn’t have been happier with the end result, my hair looked beautiful from every angle and was exactly the romantic, soft look I was going for. Melissa also did an amazing job with the makeup, especially with managing to disguise my under eye bags after not getting any sleep the night before due to being so excited!
The Grooms Fashion
Jonny’s suit was a grey woollen suit from Next which was tailored to fit him perfectly. He also wore a woollen navy tie to match the Bridesmaid dresses and fit in with the Winter season. He then managed to find the most perfect wooden cufflinks and personalised them with our names and wedding date. He looked so handsome and always does, I still have to pinch myself every day!
Jonny mentioned in his wedding speech that we got engaged on Christmas Day and by New Years Eve we had already seen four venues. A lot of the guests asked me afterwards if he was exaggerating to get a laugh, he wasn’t I was just very keen!!
Gate Street Barn was actually the first venue we saw, and is only a few miles from where we live. It was perfect. With the beautiful beamed barn, log fires in both of the adjoining barns and surrounded by miles of countryside it was everything we wanted for our rustic winter wedding.
Jonny has a very unique surname, Twelvetrees, with his Dad being a tree surgeon and our mutual love of the countryside we really wanted to incorporate the rustic theme into our day as much as possible. With twelve fir trees dotted inside and outside the barn and of course one huge Christmas tree in the main barn our vision came to life. With help from Jonny’s parents we decorated the lights in the barn with Ivy and mistletoe and had roaring log fires in both of the adjoining barns. Our favours were brown paper bags with marshmallows to toast over the fire pit outside and we provided our guests with blankets to keep them warm when doing so.
In order to get some more fun shots of the day we provided a Polaroid camera and stand to peg the pictures on. We’ve got some great pictures and everyone seemed to really enjoy taking silly photos throughout the day.
After reading through several wedding threads on recommended florists in Surrey one name kept on being mentioned, Alice at Lock Cottage Flowers. We went to visit Alice at her home where she grows a lot of the flowers herself and I quickly understood why she was so highly thought of. Her passion for floristry and her rustic ‘undone’ approach really appealed to us. Although we were getting married just before Christmas, I didn’t want this to be the theme. Alice completely understood and made the most beautiful wintery bouquets, table arrangements, buttonholes and small posies to be tied on the guests chairs. The flowers we decided on consisted of blush roses, sweet avalanche roses, cool water roses, blush rannunculus and lots of greenery. The Bridesmaids also had viburnum berries in their bouquets to match the dark blue of their dresses. To fit with the rustic feel of the day the buttonholes combined winter foliage with small pheasant feathers, they looked amazing against the Groomsmens winter suits.
The Wedding Party Fashion
Jonny is the eldest of four Brothers and he felt it was only right to have them by his side as his Best Men and Groomsmen. They all wore the same dark grey woollen suits from Next, which once tailored looked incredible. They also wore navy woollen ties to match the Bridesmaid dresses.
The Bridesmaid dresses were one of my best finds, I fell in love with the twobirds dresses but with three bridesmaids I was keen to find a cheaper alternative. After many hours of searching the internet I found the twist and wrap dresses at BHS in the exact colour I wanted. I have to admit when they arrived I tried one on and felt so glam I kind of wished I could be a Bridesmaid too!
As it was a December wedding and I’m a nice Bride I got all of the girls some grey knitted shawls from Accessorize to wear over their dresses when outside. The Bridesmaids teamed their dresses with silver sparkly heels and all had a glamorous updo to show off the low back on the dresses.
The ceremony was absolutely beautiful and one of the most memorable parts of the day for me. The candlelit barn looked stunning and it was so overwhelming to see all of our friends and family in one place just for us. Jonny’s Mum Beverley is part of the Wisborough Glee Choir and they offered to sing whilst the register was signed. They sang two songs very beautifully, Adele, Make you Feel my Love and Baby It’s Cold Outside. The choir also joined in with our walking back down the aisle song, Aretha Franklin, Say a little Prayer. We had two readings the first was from a book called ‘The Last Good Time’, read by my Sister Jenny which really summed up what love means to Jonny and I. Jonny’s Cousin Emma read a more light-hearted reading which actually felt like it was written about us called ‘He Never Leaves the Seat Up’.
Jonny and I said from the start that we wanted the evening to have a party atmosphere and a live band was key to creating this. We chose a local band, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, they had played at Jonny’s Brothers wedding and the dance floor was full all night as it was at ours! My best friend and head Bridesmaid Sadie is a singer and she joined in with the band for a few of the songs which just added to the lively atmosphere. One of my favourite moments of the day and one of the only nods to Christmas was Sadie finishing off the evening by singing ‘All I want for Christmas’ by Mariah Carey.
The food was a very important part of the day for us and we chose Tandem Catering, who provided delicious food throughout the wedding.
Tandem arranged our wintery welcome drinks, Hedgerow Fizz (prosecco, elderflower and a frozen blackberry) and Winter Pimms. This was then followed by a selection of hearty canapés.
Jonny and I wanted to ensure that all our guests felt completely relaxed, we didn’t want a formal atmosphere, more the feel of a big party. In order to do this we had sharing courses for the starter and the main, platters of food to be shared with other guests on the table. Our main course was roast lamb and on each table we picked a guest to be the carver, it was a great moment when the carvers were called to the kitchen with no idea what they were going to have to do!
We decided early on that we wanted a naked cake as neither of us are big lovers of icing or marzipan. My Bridesmaid Lucy’s Mother in law Pam made an incredible three tiered Victoria sponge cake which was decorated by our florist with fresh flowers, greenery and blackberries. We also used the Twelvetrees log cake stand decorated with Ivy which has now been used at two family weddings and will be used again for a third next year!
We chose Jacob at Foto Memories to be our wedding photographer. After researching many photographers online Jacob’s photos really stood out and after meeting we knew instantly that we wanted him to photograph our wedding. His passion was clear to see and was also evident throughout the day. On the day itself he arrived at 9am and was there until almost the end of the night not wanting to miss a single shot. He persuaded us to take a moment outside towards the end of the evening and captured some beautiful images whilst Jonny and I took some moments to reflect on what an amazing day we had both had.
A family friend who also happens to specialise in wedding videography, Gerry Lewis filmed our wedding for us. It was such a wonderful gift and something we will treasure forever. It has given us a permanent record of all those details, speeches and moments that would otherwise be forgotten. I’m not embarrassed to say that I have probably watched it more than 30 times already and cried every time. Any Bride considering getting a wedding video, I would urge to go ahead.
Photography by Foto Memories
- Dress Designer Suzanne Neville – Gracie
- Veil Etsy
- Bridal Shoes L.K Bennet
- Jewellery Etsy – Jewellery Made By me
- Hair Stylist Crowning G Hair
- Makeup Artist Melissa Oldridge Bridal
- Woollen Suit Next
- Wooden Cufflinks Not On The High Street
- Venue Gate Street Barn
- Florist Lock Cottage Flowers
- Bridesmaid Dresses BHS
- Grey Knitted Shawls Accessorize
- Catering Tandem Catering
- Entertainment The mad Hatters Tea Party
- Videographer Gerry Lewis