Katie & Nick planned their pretty pastel Spring wedding in just six months – proof that with some of the best suppliers, sourced from our List and the help of inspiration from all of the lovely weddings we’re lucky enough to feature on RMW, it CAN be done!!
The couple are so elegant and look just right for a wedding at the iconic Botleys Mansion – Katie wears a gown called ‘Charm School’ by Caroline Castigliano, which is made from the most exquisite fabrics – it floats beautifully as you can see in the photos. And Nick looks quite the gentleman in morning dress, tailored by Buckleigh of London.
It’s a classic Spring wedding done to perfection and I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading Katie’s words and looking at the lovely images from RMW favourite, Especially Amy.
The Dress, Shoes & Accessories
Katie The Bride: Some brides know exactly which style of dress they want, but although I knew absolutely what I didn’t want (no meringue shapes, fishtails or too much embellishment), I didn’t have an idea of my perfect dress. Luckily Jess at Caroline Castigliano took me firmly in hand, and guided me through different styles. When Caroline herself appeared and asked me unexpectedly for a word to sum up my dream wedding look, I panicked and said “errrm, elegant?!”. When I tried on “Charm School” with its fitted bodice and floaty romantic skirt I knew (and so did my mother and sister!), with a couple of tweaks, this was the perfect, elegant dress! Caroline suggested adding some delicate lace straps to compliment the Chantilly lace bodice I had chosen, which made the dress unique for me.
I didn’t want shoes labelled as “bridal shoes”! I found a perfect pair of strappy nude sandals from Dune, and wore them until 2am.
I decided to wear my hair down with a few pieces caught back and found a gorgeous pearl hair vine on notonthehighstreet.com to weave through the front.
I kept jewellery relatively minimal and just wore some beautiful drop pearl earrings which were a gift from my parents.
The Hair and make-up
I had such fun with my mother and the bridesmaids getting ready on the morning of the wedding. Jodie Hazelwood did our make-up and Nikki Burnham styled our hair- both were fantastic, understood the brief for no “bridal/mother of the bride looks” and ensured that we all looked like more beautiful versions of our natural selves- perfect!
Searching for bridesmaid dresses coincided with a ridiculously busy period at work so I thought Maids to Measure would be the best option, allowing us to select the colour, style and material without trawling the high street or internet. It wasn’t quite that straightforward in the end, but I was so pleased with the contrasting colours and my four bridesmaids looked so beautiful.
The Groom & Ushers
Nick was absolutely clear about what he wanted to wear – morning dress with a yellow waistcoat made especially for him and a blue silk tie from a tailor’s on Savile Row. We got his suit, and the ushers suits with dove grey waistcoats from Buckleigh of London who were fantastic. Nick looked incredibly handsome, as did the ushers and my father who all had blue ties of differing shades and patterns- the result of a serious Saturday visiting every shop in west London!
We found the venue search a little stressful- each venue had something that wasn’t quite right. After a few weeks of searching, we had an email from Botleys Mansion to tell us they had some dates available for April and after some frantic sums and wondering whether we could pull together a wedding in less than six months, we decided we really could and went for it!
Botleys Mansion is a beautiful Palladian style mansion with fantastic spaces which we used for different parts of the day- the marble hall and grounds for our champagne reception, we had our wedding breakfast in the beautiful light and airy atrium, after-dinner cocktails in the drawing rooms and dancing in the atrium downstairs.
We found Amy Murrell of Especially Amy on RMW and booking her was one of our best decisions – she was a lovely and calming influence on the day, and produced the most beautiful pictures, and the guests thought she was great also.
As there was a grand piano in the entrance hall at Botleys Mansion, we absolutely had to have a jazz pianist play for the champagne reception. For the evening, we booked The Hype through Warble Entertainment (who we had seen play at a friend’s wedding). They totally nailed it, and created such a party atmosphere; the dance floor was full all night which was exactly what we wanted! They also learnt an acoustic version of our first dance- Mumford & Sons “I will wait” especially for us.
We started off being pretty ambivalent about the wedding cake, until we spoke to Clare Margary of Little Bear Cakery. We were sold on the idea of a naked cake, with three different layers- Victoria sponge, pistachio and rose and lemon, with berries and flowers heaped around it. To accompany it, Clare also made the most beautiful and delicious macarons in the colours of the bridesmaid dresses, which we (and our guests) were thrilled with!
This was one of our easiest decisions, to be married in the village church in Surrey we had both attended as children. Little did we know meeting again at law school that we would be going back there together to be married! It made the service even more meaningful and emotional for us. We spent a lot of time planning the service to include our favourite hymns which we knew our friends and family would sing with gusto (and they really did), Nick’s godfather read from Romans 12 and two of my closest friends read Shelley’s “Love’s Philosophy” and we had family members lead the prayers for us. Debbie, our vicar, ensured the service was so personal and heartfelt; our favourite part of the day.
Gabi at The Fine Flowers Company was the first florist I met, and set the bar high- she seemed to care so much about our ideas and was so supportive in the run-up to the day. We knew we wanted looser, more informal arrangements with lots of hydrangeas, roses, delphiniums and wild looking astrantia. After a wobble or two, I decided upon hints of pale blue amongst the white flowers, silvery eucalyptus and green foliage. The result far exceeded our expectations; Gabi’s arrangements in the church and venue and our bouquets were so spectacular; the blues gave an unusual edge and worked perfectly with the silver candelabras and glass vases dotted around the venue.
The Food & Drink
Clearly one of the key decisions, this was so important to us- we figured if people had enough to drink and great food, what could go wrong?! We worked with Botleys Mansion to create a menu of smoked salmon blinis with pea shoots and horseradish cream, the most delicious sticky beef in red wine and blackberry and apple crumble for pudding. After all that food and sitting down, we wanted something to re-energise people in the gap after supper and the first dance, so we had a “cocktail hour” and served mojitos and Moscow mules, which people loved and it certainly kick-started the dancing later on!
Botleys Mansion was already beautiful, with plenty of character and period detail so luckily for two non-artistic people, we didn’t have to be too creative. I did use RMW for inspiration for our world map table plan and table names and our florist filled the atrium and other rooms with masses of candles and glass vases. Silver candelabra with mirrored bases to catch the candlelight and flowers were on every table. We bought a guest frame for people to sign and created an area with a Polaroid camera and guest book for people to take pictures and write us messages.
Our biggest DIY project was a polaroid-style picture of every guest as our guest name places, in lieu of the usual name cards. We started the project far too late, and despite talking about abandoning it countless times, we pulled it off and were so pleased we did. The guests loved the novelty of finding their pictures- it was a great icebreaker.
Start DIY projects early, everything takes much longer than you think!
Trying to be a little imaginative with the drinks offering worked well for us- cocktails and the free bar included tequila shots which were incredibly popular!
Don’t try to do much in the last week, any small jobs not finished by that point probably don’t matter- we abandoned a couple of ideas and it was less stressful that way.
The Service and ceremony is the most important part of the day- you are actually getting married and committing to each other, so try to take some time out in the run-up to the day to think about this. The rest is just an absolutely awesome party.
You can totally organise a wedding in 6 months!!
Photography by Especially Amy
- Gown Caroline Castigliano
- Boutique Caroline Castigliano, Knightsbridge
- pearl drop earrings Peter Jones
- Pearl hair vine not on the high street
- Shoes Dune
- Veil/Headpiece Caroline Castigliano, Knightsbridge
- Hair Nikki Burnham
- make-up Jodie Hazelwood
- Florist The Fine Flowers Company
- Venue Botley’s Mansion, Surrey
- Cake maker Clare Margary at the Little Bear Cakery
- Bridesmaid Dresses Maids to Measure
- Groom/Groomsmen Buckleigh of London
- Stationery Honeytree Publishing
- Entertainment – Jazz pianist & Band The Hype Band
- Transport Classic & Vintage