These two beautiful brides have literally melted my heart this morning. I think I actually gasped when I saw the images captured by Holly Bobbins and second shooter Kitty Wheeler Shaw of the ladies bridal entrances. Jessica wears the most fabulous frou frou gown and Claudia a sleek dress with illusion lace neckline and both look absolutely breathtaking. But we knew from their engagement shoot they were an incredibly stylish duo. Their Quaker ceremony was a fabulous way to ensure the nuptials stayed unplugged. With the sweetest illustration documenting the momentous occasion. And their reception at Kings Weston House in Bristol compliments their vintage style perfectly. Decorated by Elizabeth Weddings with fairy lights, paper lanterns and the most elegant white candelabra and pastel bloom centrepieces. All the WOW. This amazing couple have triumphed over some really difficult hurdles during their relationship so it is truly lovely to see so many smiles and tender moments captured between them. Ready to feel the love? Lets take a look.
The DressJessica the Bride: Our wedding was unusual in that not only were there two wedding dresses but three! We tried to keep our dresses a secret but since our first date we’ve done everything together and it was incredibly strange to be making such big decisions separately- when you discuss every new dress purchase together to then buy such a meaningful one on your own is very strange! We cracked just a week before the wedding and showed each other pictures of our dresses for reassurance. Claudia wore a bespoke bridal gown from White Leaf Bridal in Brighton. Although she has a tomboyishly feminine sense of style and a wardrobe with many skirts and dresses she hadn’t ever imagined her future wedding dress and had no idea what it would be like! She found it whilst helping her sister, who was also engaged, look for a wedding dress so it was quite a surprise! As an Instagram Fashionista I of course had to have two dresses! My first dress was a graceful and modest look from Lou Lou Bridal, in keeping with Quaker traditions of simplicity (and a love of Grace Kelly). However… it wasn’t the flashiest choice and for a girl who counts circle skirts and feathered headpieces as daywear I felt something else was needed for the reception. Cue a last minute dash around the bridal shops of Brighton, looking for the perfect dress that could be ready with just five weeks to go! The answer came in the form of a beautiful, one-of-a-kind prototype from Ocean Bridal Studio for a dress that never went into production and was able to be taken away that day. I then worked with a local seamstress to alter the bodice and neckline of the dress.
The CeremonyHaving a Quaker wedding was important to both of us, not only because I am a Quaker and was raised in the Society of Friends but because the ceremony is such a special way of bringing two people together. Not only is it the only religious option open to us as two brides but the keystone of Quakerism, Equality, means that during a Quaker Meeting for Marriage there is no minister to marry the couple and no fathers giving their daughters away- instead we give ourselves to the other and everyone in the room takes part in a ceremony of silent worship that binds us together. We were delighted to be able to come together at Frenchay Quaker Meeting House, my childhood Meeting and a beautiful building that reflected the simplicity and warmth of the ceremony. In keeping with there not being a dry eye in the house, it rained heavily- making entrances and exits in long white dresses quite a challenge!
The VenuesOur reception was held at Kings Weston House, an elegant early 18th century country house that I grew up in the grounds of and have loved since childhood. The house retains the charm of a lived-in and loved family home as, whilst the ground floor can be used for weddings and functions, the top two floors are lived in by owner Norman and his family. Norman and his staff were incredible on the day and in the run up- exceptionally friendly and helpful.
Colour Scheme/DecorOne of the best parts of using Kings Weston House as our wedding venue was that it is already so beautiful we didn’t need to add much other than the beautiful table decorations. Since we live in Brighton and weren’t able to travel to Bristol much before the big day it was vital to have help putting everything together. Kings Weston House put us in contact with Liz Wong at Elizabeth Weddings, a venue styler and designer who was invaluable in the run up to the big day, liaised with suppliers, amazingly put everything together in record time on the morning AND took everything down. We also had a great time with our friends DIYing various little bits for the tables but didn’t get too worried about things being perfect as we know from attending so many weddings in the past few years that guests often don’t even notice! Our colour scheme originally involved much darker purples but became much pinker as we bought bridesmaids dresses and chose the flowers! In the end the light pink worked well with our classic look and we loved it- though it is the girliest wedding!
FlowersOur beautiful bouquets along with the bridesmaids’ flowers and the arrangements at the Quaker Meeting House were the creations of my aunt Joanna who did an amazing job. We weren’t very fussy about the flowers, just asked that they match the bridesmaids’ dresses and had a loose, classic look about them. The stunning flowers at Kings Weston House fitted the classic sense of the historic building and were provided by the Pink Peony Floral Studio via Liz Wong.
Bridesmaids DressesThe blush dusky rose bridemaids’ dresses were probably harder to choose than our wedding dresses! We tried to find a bridesmaid dress that perfectly matched not only our own dresses (hard when we weren’t sharing what our dresses looked like!) but also our everyday styles… which was pretty hard. We finally compromised on the lovely ‘Adele’ from Chi Chi London. The two youngest bridesmaids were wearing dresses we picked up for a steal at TKMaxx almost as soon as we got engaged- thank goodness they didn’t grow any faster than predicted!
EntertainmentHaving a live band was particularly important to Claudia. Finding the right one online was an ordeal until my Maid of Honour, Emily, stepped in with a band her musician father had played with previously. The Scarletons were great fun and kept us dancing all night long!
FoodHaving felt the pains of hunger at previous weddings we were determined to over-cater and succeeded if the leftovers were anything to go by! Watch our YouTube wedding video for details of our delicious spread…
PhotographerHaving two photographers was possibly the second best decision, after getting married. It meant we now have beautiful pictures of our special moments but didn’t miss any great shots of our guests enjoying themselves! Our lead photographer Holly Bobbins was a joy to work with and incredibly friendly- it felt as if we’d known her for years. Our second shooter, Kitty Wheeler Shaw, I really have known for years as they’ve been family friends since childhood. Kitty also took some beautiful engagement pictures for us, which can also be found on Rock My Wedding.
Videographer/YouTubeWe already make YouTube videos together (and post them on my channel, where I also teaches BSL, reviews films and vlogs about disabled life) so decided not to have a videographer. So instead here is a video about the day, because the written word really cannot do justice to the stunning mix of people, colours, tastes and foods that made up our perfect day.
Second Shooter: Kitty Wheeler Shaw | Claudia Gown: White Leaf Bridal | Jessica's 1st Gown: Lou Lou Bridal | Jessica's 2nd Gown: Ocean Bridal Studio | Venue: Kings Weston House | Frenchay Meeting House | Planner: Elizabeth Weddings | Florist: The Pink Peony | Entertainment: The Scarletons | Bridesmaid Dresses: Chi Chi London - Adele | TK Maxx