Lauren & Jon’s autumnal wedding is full of the most delicious hues and tones, cool silvery greys mixed with rich berry pinks and luscious greens. Talking of deliciousness you really must read all about the couples menu and general food choices – such a unique and varied selection of treats, their guests were very lucky indeed!
Such a beautiful setting too, Sopley Mill is as pretty in the sunshine as it is in the evening glowing with an abundance of fairy light twinkle.
Please make sure you check out the night time sparkler portrait. Epic.
Lauren The Bride: I wanted a dress that was unique, beautiful and comfortable – something that felt special but I could move in without feeling restricted. I got my dress at a Charlie Brear sample sale – the assistants and Charlie were extremely helpful and professional when it came to creating my own, special dress. They suggested the silvery slip, which I would never have spotted myself, and we built it up from there to include a beaded, lace over skirt, cream sash and lace insert for the back. I also added freshwater pearls, which I’d bought in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam when we got engaged. My bridesmaid Kate added these on to the ties of the dress on the big day.
For jewellery I wore my grandmother’s diamante earrings and added the matching brooch to my bouquet. I also wore her ring which reminds me so much of her. Jon also surprised me half way through the day, pulling me aside into the bridal suite and giving me a beautiful filigree heart necklace, so stunning and such a lovely surprise and a chance to spend a few quite minutes together.
I had a fingertip lace veil in cream to match the sash. The shoes were flats from United Colours of Benetton – I searched everywhere for cream flats with a bit of sparkle which would feel special but I could still dance in!
The Wedding Party Fashion
The Grooms party had suits rented from Shepherd and Woodward– a tailor in Oxford. We moved away from traditional wedding suits, dark grey in colour and single buttoned.
Jon has always loved a bow tie- so we bought all the groomsmen, the dads and Lauren’s grandad bow ties as a wedding gift. For Jon a light grey bow tie (which matched my dress – by chance!) and then berry red colours for everyone else. To accompany this we had boutonniere’s that matched my bouquet.
The bridesmaids all had the same berry pink dress from Coast – we wanted something that would look good on all of them, full length with a bit of cover so they wouldn’t freeze! They all wore their own jewellery and we coordinated shoes. They also each had a beautiful hair-piece made from the lace off the brides dress which our Bridesmaid Kate made.
Sopley Mill was just stunning – we knew the first time we went there that this was the place. It had just been done up, and the beautiful, minimalist interior styling perfectly complemented the traditional brick building sat on a small island surrounded by fields and forest. David was great, we were able to use our own caterers, decorators and band which made the day really our own as we were able to choose our own suppliers. There was plenty of room for our ceremony, reception dinner and dancing, keeping everyone in one place but with room to move around. The open log fires and comfy chairs were a really lovely touch, which was especially appreciated by elderly relatives who didn’t want to dance for the whole evening! The exposed brickwork, sash windows and stripped hardwood floors meant that the place would be beautiful no matter what else we did to it.
We wanted to keep decorations to a minimum to let the gorgeous building speak for itself. We went for a winter theme; berry pink, white, gold and deep green. We wanted it to have a natural, rustic, warming feel. Nomad did all of the decorations, flowers and food for the wedding. Melissa who helped us with our wedding was fantastic at translating our vague idea of what we wanted into something we absolutely loved. We created this by hanging photos and quotes from berry coloured twine around the reception area and scattering conkers which our families had been collecting for months.
The ceremony room was just had a beautiful silver birch arch accented with white flowers and some blocks on the table with the title of our first dance. The 2nd floor where we had the meal was beautiful with fairy lights twined through the rafters, candle holders and conkers in the windowsills, Gold stars on twine which my bridesmaids had made strung along the walls. The tables were decorated with church candle centrepieces on wooden rounds surrounded by autumn/winter fruits and foliage. The tables themselves had white tablecloths with thin gold gauze over the top to add warmth, cream coloured napkins and brown paper tags with rosemary sprigs from our garden as place names.
We had painted boards with blackboard paint and our bridesmaids wrote the orders of day and seating plans on these for guests.
The only flowers we had besides the centrepieces and the arch were the boutonnieres, brides & bridesmaid bouquets. The bride bouquet was rustic a mix of deep pink/purple flowers and berries with green foliage, the grooms boutonniere was a smaller version of this. The bridesmaids each had their own small, white bouquet wrapped in a piece cut off from the wedding dress: small roses, ranunculus, tulips and anemones. The groomsmen all had smaller versions of these.
We love music, so much of the day was based around this. Jon’s sister Ali organised some friends to play some jazz after the ceremony, which created a really relaxed, funky vibe to the day.
After the food, we all headed outside to light up the sparklers, these looked amazing and really got everyone in a great mood. We then head inside for the evening band – festival sons. They were fantastic, putting their own twist on many classics. They did our first dance song on request (You and me song- the wannadies). When the band wasn’t on, we played our own music- allowing us to get the songs on that we know our friends will dance to! There was a lot of dancing throughout the evening, a conga line forming by 8pm set the theme for the night!
Good food is very important to us, we decided early on this was going to be a central part of our day. Before the service, we had party rings, iced gems and lemonade in star spangled glasses with stripy paper straws to keep the guests going after an early start. These are my favourites and we thought it would set a nice light atmosphere for the ceremony.
For Canapés we decided against finger food and instead went all autumn with Blackberry turnovers and sloe gin cream, this was served at the same time as mulled cider (Jones Christmas tradition), hot winter pimms and hot spiced apple juice.
We served squash soup with pancetta, parmesan and basil oil in tin mugs with Lauren’s dad’s home-made bread as a starter. It was served when the bar opened and the jazz band started playing before everyone moved upstairs. We wanted to give people as much chance as possible to mingle and to have something substantial before the speeches. We also served individual bottles of ciders, beers and special soft drinks at this point.
For the main meal we wanted pies – not traditional, but there’s nothing we love more than a hot winter pie on a cold day with mountains of mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables – so that’s what we had! Nomad did a spectacular job and everyone has been telling us since how much they loved the food.
For pudding we had Brown sugar pavlovas, served with cream and topped with star anise, plum and blackcurrant berry compote. And then of course all of the cakes!
For a late night snack we had Chinese BBQ pork buns served in steamers, Lauren used to love these when she lived in China and we’ve made a bit if a tradition of going via Chinatown especially for them when we’re in London.
Our photographer was recommended by on of our Bridesmaids who went to University with us. After looking at the website and meeting Camilla we knew she was exactly what we wanted – professional, relaxed and fun with a clear style of natural poses. She was brilliant on the day, blending in to the guests to take natural photos and great coordinating for group shots, all of this with very little input from either of us! She even made a few of the most special photos available to next morning for us to look at which was an absolutely lovely, thoughtful touch.
Make sure you use suppliers and a venue you trust. We spent time hunting for and finding the perfect people who understood what we wanted, were flexible enough to accommodate it and extremely professional and helpful with making our vision come to life. It meant that on the day we could relax and enjoy ourselves knowing everything was in good hands. They really made the day!