Where to begin with Katie & Ian’s flower and cake filled extravaganza? Honestly, there aren’t really any words, so I’m going to leave it with this – wedding suppliers should get married more often!!
Images come from Dottie Photography, the incredible floral arrangements are by Michele Gledhill and the cakes come from super talented Bride Katie, who looks stunning in her glitzy Jenny Packham gown. Are you ready for this?! I hope you’ve got a sofa/bed/desk handy because you will probably need a lie down once you’ve finished – this wedding is off-the-scale-pretty…
Katie The Bride: Being in the wedding industry, the idea of talking shop all weekend to plan my own wedding was a little bizarre, so my fiancée took the reins with his vital criteria; a traditional British church ceremony, with a marquee reception on the farm at home, on a Saturday in the summer, with me wearing a white dress. The rest of the blanks were mine to fill, and so I did.
The first detail planned was the flowers; the friend who introduced us (Matthew Naylor) is a flower farmer, so it was of such sentimental importance to us to use his peonies, delphiniums, sweet Williams, scabius and alliums, which were supplemented with other flowers by local growers he introduced us to, including the only British grower of gypsophila, which we supplemented with some of our home grown cosmos & nigella, as well as silver birch trees chopped down from the farm. I knew Michelle Gledhill Flowers & Styling was the perfect person to arrange the flowers in the relaxed organic style I love, and having access to literally thousands of stems straight from the fields of Lincolnshire meant that we were able to really get carried away with an opulent effect and have them literally dripping from the ceiling with suspended arrangements, as well a continual run of arrangements along the long tables, in my collection of vintage bottles & pewter tea pots. Michelle stayed on site for 4 solid days, and it still amazes me how she soldiered on alone and managed to achieve so much.
Having worked with so many suppliers before it was easy to choose the suppliers that I knew would be right for us – the photographer, florist, marquee supplier, hair & make-up artist were all quick and easy to book, as I’d worked with them so extensively before that I knew I could trust them to deliver exactly what I had in mind.
Being a devout British farmer, I knew my father wouldn’t allow any food through the gates unless it was British, so before we knew it we had an all British theme emerge. Our farm supplied the organic vegetables, potatoes and free range eggs to the caterers, and one of the ushers provided a hog roast for the evening. My 9 year old nephew made the elderflower cordial (for which I was given a special deal, of £6 a bottle, or £90 for 9!), a family friend provided the beer from his local brewery, and we sourced some beautiful British white wine and champagne.
It was important to reflect our heritage & rural upbringing into our wedding with rustic touches, so we had an old farm cart restored to take us from the church, which was led by a neighbouring farmers cart horse, our farm crates were used to make the rustic signs, and potato boxes were used to construct a bar. The tables were named after pre-2nd World War boats Ians grandfather built (for their boat hire company on the Norfolk Broads).
To continue the botanical theme, I collected some botanical pictures and an etched vintage frame, which Zoe of Dottie Creations magically incorporated into a beautiful bespoke stationery design.
Being a cake maker, cake was always going to be a central part of the day, and the pressure was on to design a cake that was the most spectacular cake any of our gusts had ever seen, yet also one I’d never made before! I had a short list of designs, but found it difficult to narrow them down, only finalising my choices the week before…with a golden nuggets cake suspended from the ceiling, a triple towered cheese cake for those without a sweet tooth, and a dessert table with intricate botanical sugar flowers, and yummy treats like our dipped profiteroles, meringues, dipped pretzels and nougatine. The final results formed huge centre pieces to the wedding, as well as providing plenty of yummy treats for the guests to enjoy.
We chose the stunning Crowland Abbey for our ceremony, being one of the most stunning land marks in the region, both inside and out. But they were already booked for a wedding the same day, so we (or our recruits!) had only 45mins to redecorate the church for our ceremony! Simplicity was therefore key, so I choose clouds of gypsophila for Michelle to create a romantic elegant effect that wouldn’t detract form the beauty of the Abbeys architecture. The singer Rebecca Diamond further enhanced the romantic feel with her heavenly voice, to serenade guests before & during the ceremony, and our nephews led me up the aisle with my hand painted “Here Comes The Bride” sign, and the resulting accumulation of emotions literally reduced Ian to tears when he saw it.
I always knew I wanted the relaxed feel of a Jenny Packham dress, and I loved how the relaxed silhouette of Asteria combines with the divinely opulent crystal embellishment to the halter neck. It was great to have the convenience of the our local JP supplier (Stamford Bridal Rooms), and although they didn’t stock Asteria they knew exactly how to handle & adjust it. I couldn’t quite find the perfect coordinating shoes or bracelet from the Jenny Packham range, so my good friend Amanda of Amanda Caroline Couture used the spare crystals from my dress to create a bracelet & customise shoes to reflect the crystal embellishment of the dress – they finished the look perfectly.
Hair & make-up is so personal, but Liza & Alison both work regularly together and were a pleasure to spend the morning with, making me feel very relaxed and accommodating my every request.
We chose to honeymoon on the coast of Genoa, Italy. We stayed in an old farm house to a stunning mountainside villa with coastal views. We originally found the villa delivering a wedding cake there for an Italian bride, and felt very lucky to find an area where we never came across a single English tourist.
So my opulent botanical organic feel to the day evolved over time, but was perfect to reflect our heritage, and enabled us to incorporate personal DIY touches, whilst also recruiting the suppliers we knew we could rely on; the whole process feeling like I was surrounded by family and friends in the run up to the day as well as on the day itself.
The day itself of course goes by in a whirlwind, but our wonderful photographs from Dottie Photography and memories remain with us forever.