The gorgeous gardens at Narborough Hall make for such a beautiful backdrop to a wedding, and Holly and Matija’s elegant affair is no exception.
Matija is Serbian and the couple were keen to honour some Serbian wedding traditions. This included handing out bunches of rosemary and flowers tied with ribbon before the ceremony – thanking the guests for attending the wedding and as a symbol of fidelity, love and wedlock.
Don’t you think that’s a lovely gesture? Along with the stunning flowers, they must have filled the church with such a wonderful aroma.
The couple also hired The Balkanatics, a Balkan Brass Band, to serenade them as they walked from the Church to the Hall. The images of the wedding party and guests walking through the countryside with a brass band are amazing and it looks like such fun.
There are so many pretty details too, the gorgeous blooms, pastel Bridemaids gowns, stationery and Holly’s elegant Pronovias gown look beautiful in the images captured by fabulous Norfolk based wedding photographer, Katherine Ashdown.
Holly The Bride: I think I knew my dress was ‘the one’ the first time I saw it online. For me it was the perfect mix of delicate lace and illusion neckline, with a relatively slim silhouette from the front but some drama in the train! I knew I would wear a cathedral length veil, but as the dress was so detailed it needed to be simple. Mirror Mirror made one to order to the perfect length.
At the last minute, I realised I wanted to wear a veil in the evening too, so ordered a shorter one from Wedding Veils Direct. They were fantastic as I messed up the length of my order, but they replaced it at no extra cost.
Just like the dress, it was love at first sight with the venue, Narborough Hall Gardens. My Mum told us about it and we popped in on our way elsewhere. Joanne, the owner, couldn’t have been more helpful, showing us around on the spot. Obviously the gardens and grounds are beautiful, but the house itself is completely stunning – and you basically get to own it from Friday to Sunday morning! Being a teacher, it had to be the summer holidays and they had one possible Saturday free – so we took it.
Once we had the venue, the inspiration for the colours and décor fell into place. The interiors and the gardens evoked soft, pastel shades for me, particularly pinks, greens, blues and whites, a little reminiscent of the palette of Sofia Coppola’s film ‘Marie Antoinette’. We hung a couple of chandeliers that I already owned from a tree and made a backdrop of ribbons and lace to hang behind top table. My Bridesmaid Suzanne wrote out the order of the day on a mirror from a car boot that my mum painted mint green.
Instead of a seating plan, we turned Penguin book postcards into escort cards. We had a lot of fun matching guests to the titles and many managed to guess their card without looking at their name! Our navy menu design was from Vistaprint, tied with ‘To Have and To Hold’ ribbon with a sprig of lavender (to represent Norfolk) and rosemary (Serbia). We used a photo album for our guest book, to which people added instant photos and notes on pastel coloured flashcards.
RMW inspired our favours as we created CDs of all the music of the day, from the ceremony to the Serbian music to the first dance and our favourites from the disco playlist.
A local florist did the flowers for the church, using seasonal flowers in more vibrant blues, pinks and greens, such as delphinium, stocks and larkspur. Our bouquets included pink and white peonies, Esperance roses, sweet peas, green hydrangea, lavender, alchemilla mollis and nigella. The groomsmen had Esperance rose buttonholes and Mat choose a blowsy white rose.
Across the road from Narborough Hall Gardens is a beautiful little church. We didn’t have a qualifying connection, but the vicar was very welcoming and I attended when I could to become eligible. We thought a lot about the service, as it was the most important part of the day.
My entrance was to Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap, our reading was ‘A Marvellous Living Side By Side’ by Rainer Maria Rilke, the church choir sang The Irish Blessing during the signing of the register. At the end we walked out to Widor’s Toccata. Our ushers handed out little bunches of rosemary and flowers tied with ribbon – a Serbian wedding tradition to thank the guests for gracing the couple with their presence and a symbol of fidelity, love and wedlock.
My bridesmaid Helen designed our invitations and the order of service, which included the quote “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun” but we got them printed professionally to save the hassle.
We wanted to bring some Serbian flair to our traditional English wedding so Mat booked The Balkanatics to welcome us at the end of the service and serenade us as we walked with our guests to the Hall. They continued to play during the drinks reception and it created such a celebratory atmosphere that they were one of the things guests talked about most afterwards.
The only hiccup of the day was when our DJ didn’t show up, something we only realised 15 minutes before our first dance! The venue’s co-ordinator, Georgie, found a speaker and a flashing light, I grabbed my Macbook from the bridal suite and our friend took over as DJ. We had our first dance – to Rihanna We Found Love – a little later than planned, but our guests were more than happy to wander the grounds, finish the wine and enjoy the beautiful evening. By this point we were honestly too ecstatic for it to matter – and apparently most of the guests didn’t even notice!
The cake was a team effort, with my Granny and Mum making the different tiers (fruit, carrot and chocolate) and family friends icing and decorating it with pastel lace ribbon and fluffy pink peonies. It stood on a green milk glass cake stand – I loved it so much that I ended up buying it in different colours for my Bridesmaids. I love the colours of macarons, so my Mother In Law ordered these and we displayed them in antique cut glass cake stands around the cake.
We booked our photographer, Katherine, solely on the strength of her work, but she is also a lovely person and so passionate about what she does. We had great fun on the engagement shoot that she includes in her packages and she was instrumental in helping us with timings on the day and ensuring everything ran smoothly. Although we married in the July heatwave, we had a completely overcast day but she managed to bring so much light into the photos. We will treasure them forever.
We went full circle on the idea of a videographer, initially saying no way, but then having our mind slowly changed. Videoteers were completely unobtrusive, using small cameras (some guests asked why we had four photographers!) and we are delighted with our finished film.
It’s been said before but remember what’s important – getting married and having the people you most care about with you. It was touch and go whether Mat’s family would be able to make it over from Serbia, as their visa applications were initially rejected – luckily they made it, but it certainly put other wedding ‘stresses’ into perspective.
We had an amazing team of family and friends helping us set up on the Friday, not to mention all the people who played a part in so many other ways. We can’t thank them enough.