How beautiful is Kara's gown by Maggie Sottero?! We're majorly swooning over those buttons and back detailing. And to think she almost didn't try it on because it wasn't the style she had in mind! Honestly if I had a pound for every time I've read a Bride say that, I'd be a very rich lady indeed. Try the dress on! Try ALL of the dresses on!!! Kara and Si planned their wedding from Hong Kong, meaning that they got to use wedding suppliers from both sides of the world. (Including the lovely Frances Sales and Beauty Call from our recommended supplier directory, The List). And isn't the result fabulous? Let's take a closer look...

The Bride

Kara The Bride: As we were living in Hong Kong in the run up to our wedding, I made a trip back the year before to buy my dress. I had a tea length dress in mind but my bridesmaid Shalla thankfully convinced me to try on some sheath style dresses which I ended up much preferring. I couldn't get the Maggie Sottero Francesca dress out of my head and so a few days later went to Wedding Belles in Four Oaks with my mum to try a few dresses by this designer. We both agreed that Francesca was definitely ‘the one’ and my parents kindly bought it for me as a gift. I absolutely loved my dress and I felt so beautiful and comfortable in it. The back of my dress was so stunning that I didn’t want to cover it with a veil but some delicate hair vines had caught my eye. I decided they would be easy to replicate so gathered some supplies in the Sham Shui Po area of Hong Kong and made my own for the princely sum of five pounds! I spent many an hour looking at bridal shoes but I really couldn’t find the style or heel height I had in mind. Finally, I came across Shoes of Prey, this company lets you design pretty much any shoe style or colour you can think of and my perfect wedding shoe was born. Of course I shall be able to wear these again and again as they don't fit the ‘ivory satin’ mold. After our wedding ceremony we had a short Chinese tea ceremony for which I had a traditional red Chinese cheongsam made to measure in Hong Kong. My hair and makeup was done by the calm and unflappable Becky Sargeant. I partied the night away and my hair and makeup both stayed perfectly in place.

The Groom

Si had a blue three-piece suit made to measure at Bonham Strand Tailors in Hong Kong and shoes from Moustache Store. I had Si wear a contrasting peach tie to the groomsmen’s gold ties which made him stand out but still tied in with the theme. The grooms cufflinks were a gift from me on the day - some Hong Kong twenty cent pieces to remind us of our beloved second home!

The Venue

We wanted somewhere we could put our own stamp on and that would provide a laid back day for our guests but mostly we wanted to provide a free bar without blowing the budget! Monks’ Barn provided the perfect exclusive venue allowing plenty of time for setting up which is so important for a DIY wedding. We were able to hold our ceremony and reception there and the grounds provided the ideal area for children to run around in.

The Decor

Early on in planning I had decided I wanted a colour palette of sage green, blush pink, white, peach and gold as I didn’t want everything to be too ‘matchy’. As the barn was a blank canvas I hired some statement lighting and paper lanterns to give the ‘wow factor’. I also sourced 1500 yards of ribbon in Hong Kong to make a huge ribbon curtain and decorations for the chairs. Si and my father helped with my gold spray painted cat cardholders/favours and I spent a good few hours painting a globe for our guests to sign. My cousin's new wife Lisa lent me her DIY gold glitter jam jars and candle holders to decorate the tables with.

The Flowers

Rachel runs a fantastic flower farm and allows you to pick and choose which flowers you want to DIY and which she will arrange. I visited her at the farm the week before the wedding and we walked round so I could point out the flowers and colours I preferred. The day before the wedding I picked up our buckets of flowers and my wonderful bridesmaids kindly arranged them for the tables. The beautiful bouquets and buttonholes were delivered by Rachel a few hours before the ceremony. The peonies were absolutely stunning and the roses smelt divine!

The Wedding Party

I was determined to have mismatched bridesmaids using my colour palette so I went for a pale green and a champagne dress by Jenny Packham from Debenhams and for my pregnant bridesmaid a blush pink dress from Seraphine Maternity. They all looked beautiful and were such a great help in the run up to and on the day.

The Ceremony

We kept the ceremony short and sweet but our registrar performed a lovely service and this ended up being one of my favourite parts of the day.

The Entertainment

Our budget wouldn't stretch to a live band but our DJ had everyone on the dance floor partying the night away.

The Food

To fit with our laid back day we went for a whole roast hog and lamb for our wedding breakfast with delicious canapés during the reception. Our sparkling wine, fruit liqueurs (for the obligatory bellinis), wine and ale were all sourced from France and ensured everyone left merry at the end of the night. I found the perfect budget cake at Marks and Spencer's which looked fabulous with some flowers and a DIY cake topper and tasted delicious too.

The Photography

I found Frances Sales here on Rock My Wedding after entering a competition, unfortunately we didn’t win but we loved her reportage style photographs and booked her very early on. We didn’t want to spend ages having posed photos which she totally understood allowing us to get on with enjoying ourselves. Frances was calm, unobtrusive and has given us a huge number of beautiful photos for us to treasure.

Final Thoughts

I planned the wedding myself, mostly from halfway across the world, however I couldn't realistically run the day itself! My brilliant bridesmaid Shalla stepped up, despite being 6 months pregnant, and coordinated the day with military precision! Thank you Shalla!
Fern Godfrey

Written by Fern Godfrey

Bride: Maggie Sottero | Boutique: Wedding Belles Bridal | Alterations: Image Tailors | Bracelet: Glitzy Secrets | Rings: V Jewellers | Shoes: Shoes of Prey | Flowers: Green & Gorgeous Flowers | Venue: Monks' Barn | Lighting: Oakwood Events | Hair & Make Up: Beauty Call | Cake: M&S | Catering: Spitting Pig | Bridesmaids: Debenhams | Groom: Bonham Strand | Stationery: Joy's Card | Entertainment: City Nights Disco

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