Kim the Bride: Otaso and I have been together for nearly 10 years, having met working together at Lehman Brothers. Our romance blossomed when the financial markets were crashing … every cloud as they say! Our wedding was about celebrating our love for each other and our lives together in front of everyone we hold close to us, from far and wide. Having travelled the world together, spending time with each other’s families and friends and experiencing each other’s cultures, we wanted to welcome everyone to our home and my birthplace, the UK, for a party to end all other parties! Our brief: quintessential English country garden wedding; relaxed country home atmosphere for friend and family to get to know each other; plentiful and interactive food experience with cuisines from around the world; free-flowing alcohol; a great party with great music!! I can safely say our wedding was perfect in every way, the best day ever!
Everyone who knows me knows that I am a perfectionist, and perhaps a bit of a control freak! Otaso on the other hand, whilst knowing exactly what he wants/likes, is about as laid back as anyone can be. One thing we do have in common is our demanding jobs. For all of these reasons, it was important for us to get the right team together to help deliver our dream. After spending months on Pinterest and blogs, visiting venues and at last choosing the stunning Cowdray House(do check out Hedsor House, Maunsel House, and the Tithe Barn ruins in Sudeley Castle gardens … stunning!!), a chance scan through social media reunited me with school friend Jemma Beattie of Beattie Bailey , and straightaway I just knew that they would share my visions, tastes and attention to detail, and the rest is history!
Everyone should consider using a wedding planner, whatever your budget. Beattie Bailey designed a completely bespoke styling, coordination and design service to suit my needs; by splitting the roles and responsibilities between us, we were able to make it work within our budget and retain the elements of control any bride needs! To say Jemma and Claudia over delivered would be a massive understatement, their passion for what they do won’t let them do anything less!
The entire team who helped deliver our special day was absolutely top class and nothing was too much for our suppliers (special shout out to Nigel and Phern of Jacaranda, Jenni of Jenni Bloom Flowers, and Emma and Tiffany at Quints of Jerseyfor entertaining my hour long phone calls making sure every detail was perfect!). The way the day came together seamlessly, just such a magical experience, watching our guests have their minds blown over and over again … we will have such special memories for the rest of our lives, we couldn’t have wished for any more!
Words from the Wedding Planner, Beattie Bailey
Beattie Bailey Weddings: From our very first creative briefing call, Kim and Otaso wanted their wedding to feel like a fun celebration and an engaging experience for all their guests. An experience that rang true of them as a couple, who they are as individuals, their shared passions, childhood memories and one that was littered with little knowing touches for their guests. We bonded in the design stages over a love of great restaurants and hotels: Babington House, Limewood Hotel and the informality of The Pig Hotel group where the simple pleasures of great food and relaxed entertainment are always the priority. How we would encompass that feeling, through design and styling, in the formal environs of the beautiful Cowdray House was the dream wedding challenge for us here at Beattie Bailey.
The day was designed around three cultures, their love for food and an abundance of flowers. And those flowers…were flowerFUL and flipping fabulous! To this day we have never seen so many beautiful blooms. We worked with JenniBloom Flowers to design the colours of the day, focusing on the different acts, a little like a theatre production; each with a different palette, creating a different feel for everyone to experience.
Emma Pilkington, captured the day using a mixture of film and digital to give the images a soft luminescent and a fine-art photography tone.
Soft romantic colours for a beautiful garden wedding.
The outdoor ceremony needed to feel dreamy, romantic and natural; an extension of the garden with a blend of white, creams, pops of blush, cappuccino pinks and little honesty seeds glimmering in the sun.
Floral meadows cascaded into the aisle, designed so that as Kim walked down the aisle the soft vines would brush against her dress before she greeted the most enormous scented flower arch surrounding the garden summer house; where together with Otaso they would both take their vows. Creeping down the stairs the vines tumbled amongst muted gold lanterns and hundreds of tealights. Jenny went to all ends of the earth to make it look perfect and her team of florists helped us to measure the lines of the chairs so the meadows looked like they were never-ending.
Kim wore a beautiful Suzanne Neville bridal gown from the original Knightsbridge boutique. A dress Suzanne herself said she was only making one of, so it was almost a bespoke creation (what a treat!). Her soft veil danced in the breeze and little fresh flowers adorned her half-up hair, perfectly placed by Gemma Sutton.
An Extended Cocktail Hour
Live food stations, colourful canapés and summer cocktails.
Kim really loved the idea of live food stations during the cocktail hour, an interactive experience for her guests and as a surprise for Otaso, a super indulgent grill with seafood, jerk chicken, satay skewers and padron peppers. A nod to their heritages and travels, as well as being some proper sustenance for the free-flowing champagne and summer spritzers. Alongside this was a live tostada and ceviche station, styled with rustic crates and wooden draws carrying garnishes and herbs. Jacaranda designed a completely bespoke menu for Kim and Otaso, incorporating elements from their favourite restaurants all over the world, with amazing flavours and buckets of thought. A fitting way to set the relaxed atmosphere
Kim & Otaso dreamt of and for their guests, an easy ice-breaker to meet each other as they chatted to the chefs. Summer games were set up on the lawns and Apollo Strings played gently in the background.
The Feasting Dinner
A vibrant flowerful wonderland of coral and blue.
Guests were then seamlessly guided into the magnificent Buck Hall. A stately room with an extraordinary vaulted ceiling and warm coral walls, set against a fireplace filled with mixed candles and dressed with trailing foliage. We designed the layout of the tables to mix round and longs, a trend seen much more frequently at American Weddings but a really easy way to make a formal space feel more relaxed and less like a banqueting dinner. The table styling was kept really simple, white floor draping linens and heavy crisp napkins topped with individual menus from Quints of Jersey used as place-names with gold waxseal details and personalised calligraphy names. The flowers were bright and heroic, all the corals and peaches, pale blue and bright touches of turquoise; wedding colours that created a feeling of vibrancy and fun, and such a contrast from the soft, romantic ceremony before. Jenny used antique gold vases and bronze tea holders to keep it warm and bright. The matching labels on the water bottles were no creative coincidence!
A Magical Dessert Terrace
Pink and green candy colours, all the wedding pretty.
After the speeches, the cutting of the cake commenced. A four-tiered, colourful show-piece created and styled by Otaso’s uncle, Dr Robert of Roberts Cakes, and travelled all the way in Virgin Upper Class from Nigeria! Outside, we set up a Midsummer Nights’ Dream dessert terrace, changing the linen from white to candy pink and green, adorning one side with cakes and mini desserts stacked on pink glass cake-stands and to the other, a dry-ice sorbet bar with glass vases filled high with berries. Together with Jenni and Jacaranda we transformed the space into a magical, super girly, perfectly pretty, sparkly wonderland. Our production partners at Firebird set the lawns alight with flickering candles and fairy lights in the trees. The penultimate act!
A Decadent Disco
During dessert hour Buck Hall was turned around, replacing the colourful dinner scene with a decadent disco. A large black and white dance floor, pink neon up-lighters and a large semi-circle bar. An 8-piece band with horns from Black Hat ready to rock the show and paaaarty! The wedding party danced until the early hours and guests enjoyed crèpes from the vintage Coco van outside whilst they waited for carriages to whisk them away to their nearby cottages on the Cowdray Estate.
Amy works on The List as Rock My Wedding Supplier Development Co-ordinator and she also writes and produces ‘real wedding’ content. Amy lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, three children and two chickens.