The styling in this afternoon's sunshine filled at-home wedding is so unique, I love the glamorous, opulent feel to the dining tables and the blooms are just fabulous - huge displays full of colour and texture...I'm not surprised they took Bride Jessica's breath away! They did the same for me too. Jessica also mentions that her Mum thought the cake looked like something from Pinterest...well I can guarantee that after this post goes live it will be a bona-fide Pinterest cake in it's own right. It's an absolute stunner. Jessica herself also looks stunning in Memoir by Suzanne Neville, whose tailoring as always is spot on - Jessica looks the epitome of elegance and the ever so subtle touch of Sports Luxe about the dress is just super stylish too. There's also a cracking bar (unsurprising as the couple run a bar together) with delicious looking cocktails, and last but by no means least, the fabulous photography from the lovely Claire Penn and wedding film from Papertwin which capture the essence of the day perfectly - fun, relaxed but ever so stylish.
The BrideJessica The Bride: As a self confessed wedding fanatic (yes I was the little girl with ‘Brides’ magazine in her Christmas stocking), I full anticipated a lengthy and stressful search for ‘the one’ but amazingly it turned out to be the easiest decision of the whole process! After spotting Suzanne Neville’s ‘Vintage Rose’ collection on RMW I was sold. My dress, Memoir, was a Silk Crepe fishtail gown with short sleeves, illusion neckline and exquisite pearl detailing. I loved the sharp, slightly sporty, sleekness of the design, the tiny buttons down the back and the sweeping train! My inner ‘Maria Von Trapp’ was desperate for a dramatic veil. I really wanted the ‘drop veil’ effect a la Kate Middleton and it was a case of trial and error to get the effect I envisaged. In the end I opted for a shroud of pure, firm silk secured with a few crystal tipped bobby pins. I found my headpiece from US designer Erica Elizabeth – a beautiful comb and pin set of ivory silk flowers, Swarovski crystals and freshwater pearls. I loved how solid and yet how soft it looked especially paired with the sleek lines of the dress and the romance of the veil. Ilka bought me my shoes a good year and a half before the wedding! ‘Lace’ by Jimmy Choo – as soon as I laid eyes on them I knew they were perfect (they remind me of ‘Baby’ in Dirty Dancing and isn’t that how every girl wants to feel on her big day?!
Old, New, Borrowed & BlueI wore a watch belonging to my Great Grandmother and a silver sixpence in my shoe - both of which my own Mum wore on her wedding day! My something blue was a piece of my Granda’s blue shirt which Suzanne Neville very kindly agreed to sew into the train of my dress! I absolutely loved the flash of blue as I walked down the aisle and it felt like he was there and part of the day! As a rally driver, a huge fan of vintage cars and the owner of a successful Citroen dealership for most of his life, Granda also inspired the transport - two fantastic Vintage Citroen DS! They looked incredible and meant so much to the whole family.
The GroomIlka always knew he would be going down the tailor made road. We visited Steed of Saville Row in their Carlisle office and chose a three piece design in a gorgeous shade of blue. Ilka treated himself and my dad to matching Hermès ties and I bought him his Paul Smith cufflinks for his birthday. I had been saving for Ilka’s wedding gift since our engagement and the Blue Faced Tag Heuer watch finished off his look perfectly! Ilka’s best friends and my brother were his Best Man and ushers. As a gift we treated all of the boys (including my Dad) to matching tailor made suits (also from Steed). They wore their own shoes and pocket squares and I found their navy mismatched ties while on my hen party in Rome. As a point of difference Ilka chose to forgo wearing his waistcoat during the ceremony and later changed into just his waistcoat with rolled up shirt sleeves – HOT!
The Mother of the BrideA special mention to my quite frankly amazing Mum! She pretty much coordinated the entire wedding and without her talent and vision the day wouldn’t have looked anywhere near as incredible as it did. She’s not your typical Mother of the Bride and looked effortlessly chic and stylish in a custom made outfit, hat and the obligatory Jimmy Choos.
The BridesmaidHaving only one bridesmaid made shopping for attendants outfits significantly less stressful than it could have been. My cousin looked absolutely sensational in a one shouldered Navy Blue Dessy dress from local boutique Capricorn finished with Art Deco style jewellery we bought in Spain. Her shoes were the perfect complement to my ‘Choos’ – sparkly T Bar Michael Kors sandals!
The CeremonyWe were married at St Leonard’s Church in the village where my Mum grew up. It was the church my Mum & Dad were married in 33 years ago, where I was christened and where my Granda is buried so it meant a great deal for me to be married there. The church unfortunately is due for closure so ours will be one of, if not the last wedding to be held there making it all the more poignant. 8 year old Jessica marched around the house to ‘here comes the bride’ and 22 years later that’s exactly what I did! Standing at the doors to the Church with my Dad and hearing the music start is a moment I will treasure forever! Our ceremony was amazing – full of laughter, jokes and loud singing. We had two readings, John 2 v 1-11 and The Velveteen Rabbit which was a favourite of mine as a child.
The VenueEver since I was a little girl the only place I ever envisaged having my wedding was in my grandparent’s garden! The views are breathtaking and I loved that it was completely unique and utterly personal. We were lucky enough to have the most stunning custom marquee provided by Bakerwood who went above and beyond to make the day look as spectacular as it did. To make the most of the views the marquee was built up to a height with an open terrace at the front while inside huge glittering lanterns were suspended over the dance floor. Ideas for the decor went through various themes from 1930’s Glamour to Palace of Versailles to A Midsummer Night’s Dream! Inevitably all of these ideas evolved into a distinctive style all of its own, something inextricably ours which still manages to take my breath away!
The FlowersI was absolutely determined that the flowers would be big and blousy and make a real impact! Luckily Derek our florist was completely on my wavelength and wasn’t at all deterred when I declared everything needed to be messier and more ‘Phantom of the Opera’! When I first saw the arrangements at the Church doors (which included Hydrangea, Roses, Dahlia, Foxgloves and swathes of trailing ivy) I was speechless with their sheer size and beauty. They were regal and dramatic and just spine tinglingly beautiful. We hired tablecloths and napkins from Jones Hire then added sumptuous low level centrepieces (arranged by Derek in a variety of gold and silver sparkling vessels), gold calligraphy table numbers and clear Perspex chairs. We also added Diptique Candles in my favourite ‘Mimosa’ scent to each table and Coffee Patron Favours for each of our guests. The finished look was beyond beautiful!
The Paper PrettyAs a bit of a stationery geek there were certain elements I wanted to include in our invites and save the dates. I wanted a classic yet modern and luxurious feel so we used traditional methods such as letterpress and foil blocking to create a sleek modern design in slate gray and gold. I absolutely adore calligraphy – it’s such an art form so we splashed out on hand written place cards for all our guests which went down a storm! My very talented husband created our Order of Service which (as well as the usual ceremony info) gave guests a sneak preview of what to expect at the reception with information on the food, band and the all important Cocktail Menu!
The Food (& Drink)Bakerwood excelled themselves yet again with the food providing an array of delicious canapés (washed down with copious amounts of our favourite champagne Billecart-Salmon), followed by a meat platter of Steak, Cumberland Sausage and Chicken with a trio of Lemon Soufflé, Chocolate Terrine and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Gooseberry Jelly for dessert! Just to die for! Evening guests were treated to wood fired pizza, pork & apple burgers and mini tubs of Häagan-Dazs ice cream! Ilka and I run a bar – it’s what we do, so we decided that for our wedding we would do it in style! Cue an open bar featuring giant light up letters, gorgeous glass wear, premium spirits and eight awesome cocktails! Nobody went thirsty on the evening of June 20th!
The CakeAs I applied my make up my mum came to me and said ‘the cake looks like it should be on Pinterest!’ I had to wait until after the ceremony to see it in all its glory but oh my word it really did! A four tiered vision dripping with gold leaf, Jo from Cutiepie Cake Co absolutely outdid herself! We added a gold Mr & Mrs Rhoades Cake topper to match the Table Numbers and oodles of flowers strategically place by the brilliant Derek!
The EntertainmentOur DJ friend Paolo agreed to compile a playlist for the drinks reception with our 4 piece Swing Band kicking off the evening party. We had seen Schwing perform on a number of occasions and they are incredible! The style of music is so elegant and yet they always mange to fill the dance floor and create a wonderful atmosphere! Our friends ‘Gaz & Daz’ then took over with an amazing selection of vinyl classics and dance floor fillers that kept the party going into the early hours!
The Photography & VideographyFinding a photographer was tricky. I struggled to decide whether I liked the picture or what was in the picture! I knew that this was going to be a very important decision so decided to look a little bit further afield finding myself on RMWs very own List! I had already noticed Claire’s work from following real bride Karen on these very pages and suddenly securing Claire as our photographer became a priority! I bit the bullet, made the call and Ilka and I are now in possession of some of the most amazing pictures I think we’re ever likely to have of the both us. From the engagement shoot to the wedding itself Claire was brilliant – a fountain of knowledge and always ready to answer any and every (ridiculous) question I had! Through Claire we found Dan and the amazingly talented guys at Papertwin. I initially questioned whether we needed a videographer but in the end we had simply heard of too many people who regretted not having one. So far we have only seen the highlights trailer but I’m already so pleased we decided to go for it. The day goes by in such a blur that it’s truly a delight to revisit those special moments!
AdviceEveryone says the day goes by so fast and it’s true...but it’s actually so much more than that - It’s as if the day doesn’t happen. You go to sleep on Friday evening and wake up on Sunday morning wondering about the delicious dream in the middle. It’s only through the talent of people like Claire and Papertwin that your perfect day stays that way in the minds of so many for so long so my advice would be, choose wisely!
Bride: Memoir by Suzanne Neville | Hair Piece: Erica Elizabeth Designs | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Florist: Derek Armstrong | Marquee & Catering: Bakerwood | Table Cloth Hire: Jones Hire | Stationery: The Letterpress of Circencester | Strawberry Sorbet | Calligraphy: Claire Gould | Cake : Cutie Pie Cake Co. | Bridesmaid: Dessy at Capricorn Bridalwear | Mother of The Bride Outfit: Karl Bowman | Hat: Sara Gadd | Groom & Groomsmen: Steed | Band: Schwing | Videography: Papertwin Weddings | Bar Hire: Thin White Duke | Light Up Letters: Doris Loves | Cake Topper: Better Off Wed