I can guarantee that after reading Kat’s wedding report you will have a smile on your face. And you will probably want to go for a few glasses of wine with her too…she sounds sparky and fun. And her and JP’s wedding day can be described in exactly the same way.
Bright colours, quirky illustrated and hand written details, a cake that is on the verge of collapsing under the weight of fruit and flowers, and one seriously, seriously beautiful vintage polka dot YSL skirt. What a lucky find for Bride Kat!
I also love their idea of creating a ‘who’s who’ for guests who hadn’t met before – look out for the medieval looking scroll with the hilarious one-liners about everyone!
Kat The Bride: After weeks of hunting for the perfect bridal outfit, I couldn’t have been more delighted when my gorgeous bridesmaid, Louise, found me this incredible vintage YSL skirt – hand-stitched, silk lined, covered in polka dots and just my size! My wonderful designer, Faith Barber, managed to bring it up to scratch, and make me a delicate double-layered silk organza top, to compliment it perfectly. Plus, of course, a cape. Who wouldn’t want a cape?!
I didn’t wear a veil – just blue flowers in my hair, (something blue), a wild pearl necklace (old), drop pearl earrings (borrowed) and gold block-heeled t-bars (new).
A surprise find from Moss, a bluey/grey suit looked perfect on my silver fox – with a bright blue knitted tie from Charvet and brogues from Grenson.
Our wedding venue checklist – somewhere we could have a festival-style party with a late license, guest rooms and a bonfire went completely out of the window as we drove up the Lulworth estate! The Castle is stunning alone, but with the open-minded staff, the grounds and the sea view as well, it just knocked our socks off.
Our beautiful and bright party invites featuring ‘kitty and fox’ designed by Sophie Greenwood let everyone know this was not going to be a sombre affair! We went for the colours of a beautiful summer’s day – yellows, oranges, blues, whites and greens, so that even if the British weather pulled a dirty trick on us – friends and family coming from around the world would feel like they were having a little holiday. In fact, the best decorations of all were our friends and families – bright colours and beaming smiles, we couldn’t have styled them better!
There seemed no point hiding the Lulworth lily, a few simple colours in the garden from festival flags and giant balloons gave a lovely party feel. Inside, the colour of those beautiful stone castle walls was enhanced by absolutely tonnes of wonderful floral arrangements from Andree Turner, I was right not to cut the flowers budget despite the raised eyebrows from JP! We wanted the dinner to feel more like a relaxed in-door picnic – so we had tables covered in grass and daisies and steps covered in moss and plants, including dozens of herbs grown by my wonderful mother. I would have had the floor covered with soil and earthworms if Lulworth would have let me! Thankfully for our guests, they didn’t.
The Wedding Party
The bridesmaids looked stunning in shades of yellow dresses of their own choosing, the boys were terribly dapper in dark grey suits with yellow Reiss ties. An absolute highlight was our two nephews, Isaac (7) and Timothy (6) in tailor-made kilts of ‘Dress MacPherson’ tartan and Converse. They got such a huge ‘cheer’ in the wedding speeches – and well deserved!
The church has that perfect relaxed country feel, not too intimidating for fair-weather church goers like us. Our huggable vicar, the Reverend Hugh Maddox, noted the palpable excitement of the guests before the ceremony, and very thoughtfully gave me and my wedding party a moment of calm to reflect, before I headed off down the aisle, beaming, to the organ playing Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition. The readings, by JP’s father William, and my two cousins Alexandra and Rebecca were in turns, thoughtful, funny and moving. A rousing set of hymns, ending with Lord of the Dance, reminded us all that it is hard to dance with the devil on your back, but that it is fun to sing very loudly in a church. The Reverend passed on some excellent marriage advice, and the whole congregation will never forget that “when you’re wrong, speak up, when you’re right, shut up!”
Generally, the guests got up to all sorts of mischief playing in a giant castle all to themselves. Some 1920’s jazz played us through the canapés and lawn games. And our grand walk in to ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ certainly gave us some amusement! The first dance and cocktail hour got everyone in the mood for a bit of a highland fling with the ceilidh band Earwicker, before the absolute highlight of the day – our DJ Jessie Baines. JP and I spent what seemed like months honing our ‘what can’t you live without hearing on your wedding day’ playlist – Jessie took the list and put his own special spin on it – playing what seemed like an endless list of absolute classics, remix mash-ups, with some hilarious interludes of ‘what shall we do with the drunken sailor’ and ‘the Bear Necessities’. We had so much alcohol left we couldn’t understand why – then realised no one would leave the dancefloor to go and get a drink! Potentially placing the largest booze order that Majestic in Dorchester had apparently ever received had something to do with it as well…
Our hotel, Bishops of Lulworth, were our legendary hosts, keeping us all entertained until the last bottle of whisky ran dry.
The ever patient Beales Gourmet Catering didn’t bat an eyelid when we said we wanted a big pot of paella for 130 people that would be suitable for veggies, meat eaters and shellfish haters alike. The result, a paella with separate skewers of prawns, chicken and chorizo and halloumi and peppers, was a hit. The tables were full of homemade breads and salads, and excellent wine chosen by JP! Everyone says the bride doesn’t eat or drink on her wedding day – another myth busted! The ‘Exeter-mess’ a nod, to our alma mater, was unbelievably good, with some kind of strawberry concoction JP still dreams about.
The cake, well, the cake was a triumph of baking and engineering from my mother – 9 separate lemon, chocolate and vanilla layers, plus a gluten free version, decorated by my auntie and cousin, who thankfully followed their instincts to keep ‘piling more flowers and fruit on it’.
We have such a rose-tinted view of our wedding day – and thanks to our amazing photographers, Tom and Murray from One Thousand Words, so does everyone else! I am sure none of us are quite so unblemished and well turned out in real life, but my goodness it looks like we scrubbed up well. The moments they have captured are simply magical and we will treasure them for a lifetime.
Our stationery designer and dear friend Sophie (Nuisance Bunny Design), went above and beyond the call of friendship in making us hand-illustrated invites, signpost blackboards, name tags, the order of service and chocolate wrappers for the tables – a huge thanks to the girls from work for helping put it all together one afternoon, shh don’t tell the boss! My chief bridesmaid Kerry and my mother helped me glitter vases, ribbon baskets, fill toiletry hampers and much more. Our friend Tom made us ‘Kitty and Fox’ table mats for colouring in, Graham made the table stands, my father made the grass mats and ‘photo booth’, and Ricky made us the ‘Kitty and Fox’ poster for the DJ booth – what absolutely amazing and talented friends and family we have.
Over the years our family and friends have heard tales of each other, but not necessarily met, so a ‘who’s who’, or more accurately a scroll of ‘The One…’ gave everyone an idea of who everyone else was. Even if that was “James – the one with the obscene eyebrows”, or “Ben, the one who gave ‘that’ wedding speech”…
It doesn’t matter what you had planned for your perfect day, plans change due to circumstances out of your control. My best advice? Whatever happens – that is the NEW PLAN.