We seem to be featuring all the Northamptonshire weddings at the moment, and I love it! If you love the thought of a wedding in this neck of the woods, then be sure to check out Melanie & James and Natalie & Jack’s weddings too.
Anyway back to the gorgeous Kate & Dan and their outdoor orchard wedding at Sulgrave Manor, non other than the ancestral home to George Washington don’t you know. It looks like the perfect Summers day with blue skies, pretty blooms and ribbons billowing in the wind, and it is so dreamy.
Kate wore a gorgeous Charlie Brear gown with a stunning low back that she accessories with a delicate necklace. She also carries the sweetest bouquet of handpicked blooms and I just love her bridal up do.
Kate the Bride: After nearly ten years together, Dan decided to propose overlooking Sydney Harbour Bridge whilst visiting Australia for a close friend’s wedding. When you work and live with each other, planning a wedding should seem easy and simple to do, at times it was! But other times, the help and advice from family, friends and the amazing suppliers and businesses we worked with, helped the day become exactly what we wanted.
With one of our key ideas being an outdoor wedding, we had an inkling of the type of venue we wanted, we just wished British summertime could be reliable to allow for the scenarios in our head of glorious summer days and drinks outdoors! One thing we did find when viewing venues was that we were certain that we didn’t want a wedding “factory” as such and looking back now, really thrived on working with local small businesses who are so passionate and excited about their work and take the time and effort to make it so personal to you.
We both love the outdoors and had our hearts set on a venue outside that allowed us to soak in Northamptonshire countryside. After two days of visiting different fields and marquees we chanced upon an appointment at Sulgrave Manor with the brilliant Charlotte. Charlotte showed us around the house and the different available options that we could use if we were to host our wedding there. The flexibility of Charlottes options for Sulgrave was one of the amazing things about the venue, we fell in love with the orchard outside and couldn’t imagine anywhere else we would like to get married. The rolling hills in the background of this beautiful house just captured everything we were looking for. Charlotte was also brilliant in passing on so many amazing contacts that could help us piece together the other aspects of our day as well as being at the end of an email, answering all of our mundane questions!
When I had to start dress hunting it all seemed quite overwhelming until one of my bridesmaids, Katie, put me in touch with Ally at her boutique, Alexandra Anne in the Chatsworth Estate. Right from the off set Ally was welcoming, funny and excitable. The amount of time and energy she gave me and no doubt to all of her brides is incomprehendable as to how she must fit it all in. She knew exactly how to help me find what I was looking for and allowed me to dither, change my mind and get excited about too many dresses! Never once did she rush me for an answer and the Charlie Brear dress she found me is something I don’t think I ever wanted to take off. I wanted a less formal wedding dress but something that was still a dress to wow and stun, this was it. Her choice to accessorize the bare back with a necklace detail from Vivien J, was something that everyone remarked on and just added to how special the dress was for me.
We didn’t really have a colour scheme in mind but ended up with themes of blue running throughout from the stunning invites, wedding party orders and menu designed by Beija Flor who helped us develop an invite that wasn’t too fussy but still had an air of formality about it. The groomsmen and bridesmaids also ended up wearing navy which again, added some formality to a relaxed countryside setting of getting married in an orchard. (Bridesmaid dresses were Phase Eight)
Dan’s suit was custom made with a light tweed fabric design and also had blue running through the tweed which complemented the navy groomsmen and bridesmaid beautifully. The staff within Black Tie Menswear were beyond helpful and provided much needed advice for ideas that Dan and I hadn’t even thought of!
The flowers were one of my favourite things and I just wish I could have them in my world all the time!! Chloe, the brains and beauty behind BareBlooms produced our amazing flower and with Chloe’s passion behind seasonal British flowers, I was excited to follow her lead in her stunning designs for not only the bouquets and pin holes but the decorations throughout the orchard and the barn where we had our wedding breakfast. Chloe’s enthusiasm and excitement just made me even more excited for the day each time we spoke to go through ideas. My only idea was that I wanted to incorporate my dad’s home grown sweet peas into the flowers and these were then used alongside Chloe’s source at Swan Cottage Flowers, for table decorations and my own bouquet. The cake even continued the sweet pea theme, having trailing flowers placed on the layers. The cake was made by Karen from her company Cakes By Kit and again, was a delight to work with. Cake tasting is obviously never a chore but when you can’t decide what you want because everything is delicious, it’s always a nice decision to have to make! Having decided on red velvet, lemon and chocolate layers, the bare cake had summer berries cascading and was devoured when served.
Every bride it seems has a pinterest board and I was no different, working alongside Chloe to help get the right idea for the flowers, I also used it to help make my own decorations from table centre pieces from old wine bottles and plant pots to a hanging background to the top table to add a subtle colour and to soften the room itself. Bridesmaids as far away as South Africa and America were also then able to contribute and feel a part of the planning and designing by sharing their ideas too.
Make up and hair – morning prep
The day itself whizzed by, as every bride and groom will always say. Getting ready at home with bridesmaids and my family was really special and it felt like a day in itself with family doing fly bys and the house turning into a whirlwind of hair dryers, make up and prosecco! Maddie and Steve from Seckingtons worked throughout the wedding party, even making time to trim dads moustache and the hair styles they produced, lasted throughout the day and long into the evening. Their expertise and focus on perfection and detail made not only me feel special but everyone they worked their magic on. Having your regular hairdresser work with you on a day like this just added that familiarity and I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to help do my hair or the rest of the wedding party.
Aimee Garner’s make up was flawless and again, lasted throughout, producing exactly what I wanted. Her precision and professional touch along with her warmth put me at ease at the trial and on the day itself. Travelling to Sulgrave with my parents and all of my bridesmaids in one car was a break in tradition but also so much fun.
Ceremony and drinks reception
The service itself was led by our celebrant Kerry and we chose three readings to be given by my sister, Dan’s dad and the best mans wife, Sarah who’s wedding we attended in Australia when we got engaged.
Throughout the afternoon, Radio, our band came along early and the lead singer walked around the guests playing acoustic requests of literally anything! The band performed later in the evening to a constantly full dance floor, ending with the bride on her dads shoulders and the groom on an ushers!
The food was made and presented by Glen John. I knew Glen and his wife Kim from playing netball with their daughters and knew of their catering company through other friends rave reviews. They were both so supportive and accommodating to all of our requests, suggestions and ideas that they helped us with sorting cutlery and tablewear but also by producing show stopping food. Canapes all the way through to evening food of pulled pork sliders kept everyone happy and raving about their dazzling cuisine.
Having the day blur by, I just waited, not so patiently, for the photos and devoured them when they arirved. Nicola was recommended by my bridesmaid Katie who had previously captured their wedding. All of Nicola’s work that I had seen, I had loved and then to see all of your own day captured, it feels quite hard to comprehend that it has been and gone. The photos themselves are going to be the brilliant centrepiece for my memories and no doubt plenty of our friends and family, and I can’t thank Nicola enough.