So often we write something fluffy and light hearted here, because it’s a wedding – it’s all about celebration and it can quite often be an occasion that is over the top and decadent. But strip all of this back and really it’s about relationships, the people who change your life for the better and who you can’t imagine your world without. Heartbreakingly though, this group of friends went through just that, with Bride Leona losing her best friend and bridesmaid Emmy just a few weeks after this wedding took place.
This feature is for them, as much as we’re here to celebrate Leona and Ross’s love, we’re also celebrating friendship – and the incredible one between Leona and Emmy. Whatever your plans are for today, make sure you grab the people you love and give them a huge cuddle. Life is fleeting and we need to make the most of every second. Here’s to best friends and the brilliant joy and support they bring to our lives…
Leona the Bride: Just before I started planning for our wedding I had a hard wake up call to how precious and delicate life is and it just highlighted what was important and what wasn’t, my best friend & maid of honour was diagnosed with terminal cancer, it was devastating and it put things into perspective. So I guess I went into planning quite chilled, in the sense that I wasn’t going to be bothered if I couldn’t have a certain flower/ cake/ colour etc. I really wasn’t stressing about it. I did have an image of what I wanted, but what was important was marrying the man I want to spend the rest of my life with in front of all our most special loved ones and having are loved ones close.
I started pinning mood boards, I knew I wanted pale soft colours and the type of whimsical image of what I wanted, Ross was so laid back he was horizontal, I mean he was in charge of the spreadsheet & keeping me on budget but other than that, well he didn’t bring much inspiration! That’s not quite true – he chose the band who were awesome so he did contribute! They were called Rockit and were brilliant, they sounded amazing, could play anything and they got everyone dancing and having fun and that’s all we wanted. We added the DJ package which meant music all night from 7-1am was covered.
When looking for a venue in all honesty I was actually set on a barn, I wanted it relatively close to home (I don’t really know why now looking back) however we started looking for venues at quite a tough time and my head wasn’t really in it, we also weren’t willing to pay some of the prices that were coming up for the beautiful barns I saw and when it came down to it I wanted to be able to have more of the people we wanted and some of the places just couldn’t fit that. Luckily Dorton House popped up when I was searching and it was the one and only place we looked at, there were some beautiful places to take photos, they had a brilliant amount of outdoor space and our littlest daughter was sold by the playground! It also allowed us to have 110 guests for the day and we could legally marry there.
I started pinning, as a mum of 2 it tended to be late at night or if I managed to get 5 minutes to myself, so really it didn’t consume too much time, I guess most ideas I already knew so I knew where to start which did help and save time. The dress was really important to me, I’m not a big fan of my bum or legs and so knew the shape I’d want and although I’d found lots of beautiful dresses, when I actually pinned the dress I ended up wearing I knew it would end up being the one. I found out the design and who stocked La Sposa dresses and that’s where my hunt began. I went to Bridal Rogue Gallery in London & they were wonderful. There were so many beautiful dresses I particularly loved all the La Sposa ones, and they were so helpful in there, nothing was too much, they talked me into just trying some other shaped dresses and I’m glad I did so I could rule them out.
However when I tried on the dress I had pinned I knew it was the one and my mum cried which helped (well actually I’m rubbish at saying anything is definite but I totally fell in love and sent a million photos to my best friends and decided that was it!) I tried on my veil from there too, I again knew I wanted long and Lacey and when they brought it out and I tried it on I knew it was perfect!
My make up was also something I knew I’d be really fussy about and I actually looked for general make up artists rather than solely wedding make up artists and I found Sophie Duffy and she was beyond perfect!!! She was incredible and so patient, kind and calm – I couldn’t have wished for a better make up artist and she listened to absolutely everything I wanted and the girls wanted. My hair was done my Clips of Tring and again they were just such an incredible team, Jane did my hair and then some of the girls from the salon came and did my mum and bridesmaids, again they were so lovely, kind and listened to everything everyone wanted. The hair was done beautifully.
The Stationery & Decor
The save the dates and invites I made myself, I really enjoy that sort of thing (well the first ten or so I enjoyed…) I ordered a personalised wax stamp from UK Wax Seals, as I just love the look, and some pale champagne wax sticks from them too. I designed the invites myself, I bought a pdf from Etsy of a watercolour wreath and a few calligraphy fonts and put together a save the date which we had printed by Consort Media, they also sourced the card it was printed on and the lace I bought from Hobbycraft.
I designed the invites similar in style and used the same wreath and fonts as before, Consort Media again did our printing and then it was a fair amount of sticking, putting together and wax stamping! Using the same basic design / fonts I painted some decorative signs and decorated them the day before with some real and some fake foliage and flowers. The fake ones I had bought from Homesense, I used fake ones in the lanterns. The lanterns, jars, crates and wooden table centre pieces I bought from various shops in Holland and I used our engagement photos in frames as decorations.
The chair covers were soft blush waterfall ruffles and I hired them from VIP Functions – they were so helpful when trying to match/decide on the colour and they came and set up all the chairs the day before. We hired the L&R light up letters from Bespoke Light up letters https://www.bespokelightupletters.co.uk/ The rest of our lighting was organised through the venue by Alan Still and our marquee was also a recommendation from our venue.
The bridesmaids dresses were really important to me, these girls mean the world to me and I wanted to make sure each one of them felt comfortable and beautiful! Our eldest daughter definitely did not want to be a flower girl she wanted to be a bridesmaid, so we also needed to find a dress for her that somehow matched the bridesmaids without making her too old/young etc! I found a website called JJ’s House – there were so many styles you could order in the same fabric so the girls could wear different styles if they wanted, there was also a huge array of colours and a number of fabrics, which meant I could find a shade I loved. On top of that they made junior bridesmaids dresses and for a small additional fee they could make the dresses for exact measurements instead of standard sizes. I ordered a few colour swatches and when they arrived I chose the colour and sent the girls the website to see if they liked any of the dresses, they all liked the same one and I could find one pretty much identical for our daughter – it was perfect! They took about 6 weeks to arrive and all fitted perfectly. The flower girl dress which was just beautiful was from Millie’s Wedding Shop on Etsy.
When we were looking for the groomsmen, Ross and I had said we wanted like a grey tweed type look, but when he tried the tweed suits on he thought it was too hot. He actually found the suits they wore on Moss Bros. They had a deal on and so he ordered a few different ones just to see what they were like, to be honest I let him just get on with it and surprisingly he nailed it. The ties and pocket squares we didn’t buy until 2 days before when we went shopping- yep last minute dot com, but we happened (very luckily) to find the perfect colour combo again from Moss Bros.
The flowers and cake we were exceptionally lucky with, a very close family friend Anji is an ex florist and does the most beautiful flowers and she said she would happily do them for us, and the cake was done by Ross’s very talented aunty Louise. Ross bought my wedding shoes as a gift from Jimmy Choo – I know I was utterly spoilt- he does remind me still to this day!
The Photography & Film
The photographer and videographer were probably the most important choices for me, and I hugely lucked out! To me photographs are so important and finding the right photographer was so so important, I searched for ‘fine art’ wedding photography and started going through websites – I LOVED Julia’s work and when we spoke to her and met her for an engagement shoot we knew she was perfect she was like an old friend and made us feel instantly comfortable and her photos…well they speak for themselves! After seeing our engagement photos I knew we had made the right choice and the wedding photos were perfect.
It was my best friend who told me a videographer was an absolute must and she was being filmed for a documentary by an old Uni friend John Nicol at Other Finger Films and said his work was incredible (it is!!) so I messaged him and he said he would do our wedding, I know he doesn’t do too many weddings anymore but I’m so glad he said he would do ours because our video is just perfect.