Well hello beautiful Princess dress by Vera Wang!!! This dress is epic on two counts - firstly Lily snapped it up at David's Bridal, so it was a total bargain (although you'd never think it) and secondly, saving money on the overall dress budget meant that she could go to town on customising the dress with alterations to make it into her dream gown. So she's totally wearing bespoke Vera Wang people ;) Lily and Ewan decided to honour her Jewish heritage and his Scottish heritage in the ceremony and the attire, so their wedding is just one big culture mash up party and it looked like such fun! I loved reading Lily's write up as she's so honest and gives lots of great advice - so settle down with a cup of tea and get comfy. I hope you find this wedding both helpful and inspiring.
The BrideLily The Bride: I wore White by Vera Wang from David's Bridal. I changed quite a lot to the dress. I added the sweetheart neckline, dipped down the back into a v drop which used to cut straight across, and brought up the skirt by significantly shortening the length of the bodice. The first thing I did after I got engaged, which was a year and a half before the wedding, was buy the dress. Initially I was more attracted to a more vintage/bohemian look like ones from BHLDN and I went there first and tried some on but didn’t quite feel like a bride. The next day, I went to David’s Bridal without any intention of buying, just simply to see what was out there. When I saw my dress, it reminded me of what I always envisioned myself getting married in as a little girl. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted and didn’t fit perfectly but it was 700 American dollars and I knew I could make it into what I wanted. Choosing such a princess dress was very hard for me since it goes against a deep bohemian style that I was truly leaning towards but I loved it and I knew I could make it work. I chose to wear a flower crown for that reason, to tone down the ‘princess vibe’ and bring it down to earth. Sophie and Luna is a company that preserves and freeze dries flowers to create long lasting flower pieces such as bouquets, buttonholes, flower crowns, hair clips and more! When I saw a photo on their Facebook page of a crown with just foliage around the top and flowers in the back, I instantly fell in love. I could see myself in it and could not wait to go try it on. I found out she was going to be at a Most Curious Wedding Fair in London and I had to go meet the woman behind the beautiful designs and I needed to try on some of her crowns. I met Sandra Blanco, the artist and she was as beautiful as her designs and very sweet! I tried a crown and a smile spread across my face from ear to ear, I knew it would be perfect. The rest of my look went on to bring together my entire design of the wedding, combining fairytale with a relaxed bohemian vibe.
The GroomIt was such an honour for Ewan to wear a kilt on his wedding day. Not only did it celebrate his Scottish heritage but it was a way for Ewan to honour his father who passed away when Ewan was young. Ewan and his groomsmen had a blast wearing the kilts together despite being English themselves. You can really see their enjoyment from the photos! Not only did they wear kilts but so did the ring bearer, my nephew Ben, and my father! My father an American Rabbi who officiated our wedding and has never worn a kilt before in his life! He was so sad he could only wear it one day that he wore it to breakfast the next morning. The English Kilt Company was a joy to work with. As a family run company they are very proud of what they do and the way they run their store. Visiting is by appointment only and Steven, the owner, recommended that Ewan and I go first just the two of us to allow Ewan some space to try things on and to decide what he really wanted. Steven was very professional and knew everything there was to know about the tartans, history, and different styles. Afterwards, Steven said Ewan could come in with all the groomsmen to try the kilts on, have some beers and a good laugh. Which is exactly what they did!
The VenueAfter visiting many different wedding venues and hotels we came across the Royal Berkshire and we immediately felt it was the one. It has a wonderful classic feel to it and the history of the house is fascinating. It has all of this without feeling pretentious. Instead it feels warm, cozy and full of charm. The reasons we chose it were that it ticked all of our boxes. The places we had seen in the past always ticked a few but not all. We were looking for a gorgeous reception room, stunning outdoor space, a place with history, ideal location, good management, and confidence they would take care of us. This is what the Royal Berkshire had and more. It is simply one hour from London and twenty minutes from Heathrow. The wedding coordinator, Natassia Robinsson, who was very friendly and accommodating to all of my questions and concerns. They provided a sampling of canapés on our first visit and it was such a nice touch especially since the food was very impressive and continued to be so for the wedding!
The DecorThe colours in the banquet room of the hotel were a light purple and the light fixtures were yellow so I wanted to pick a good colour scheme that would enhance the room and bring out its beauty. I decided the most important thing I wanted was to create an atmosphere that was felt by all the senses. I wanted the lighting soft and romantic, the smell to be filled with florals and greenery, the room to be dripping in foliage and the décor to give the feeling of mismatched beauty. I wanted the wedding to combine fairytale and bohemian in the best way possible.
The FlowersI wanted a blush colour palette with pops of pink. I wanted ‘wild’ with lots of dripping foliage. I wanted to have the centrepieces be half-high and half-low to tease the eye and create a sense of being inside a garden. I wanted my bouquet to be big and wild and my bridesmaids’ to be alternative. My wedding theme for a while was flowers. I discovered Blush after a long internet surf going from photographers’ vendor recommendations to pictures of flowers at venues and back again and somehow stumbled upon her website. I was in love with her flowers. I loved all her designs and when I met with her both Ewan and I felt that she knew exactly what we wanted and was excited and inspired to design our day. We had a few meetings where she gauged what I wanted and brainstormed with ideas. Ultimately, however, I left it all up to her and she did more than I could have ever imagined. The flowers were absolutely perfect. The colours matched what I wanted perfectly and she came up with the idea of the bridesmaids having a single bloom which I thought was perfect. My favourite card from the whole wedding was the one she left for me, listing all the different flowers she used and wishing us all the best.
The Wedding PartyI chose the beige/champagne palette and they picked the dresses. My honest opinion of this: it made it more difficult. For some reason my bridesmaids couldn't really grasp the concept, one thought silver would do and one chose pink...some couldn't find dresses they liked enough. It was as if they forgotten that I didn't make them all squeeze into the same one! Flower girls – I wanted big puff balls and they definitely were! I found a few Etsy dresses that I liked and left it up to the eldest flower girl to choose which one she preferred!
The CeremonyOur wedding combined the best elements of my Jewish background and Ewan's Scottish heritage as well as a fusion of both our American and English traditions. The ceremony couldn’t have been more special or more us. My Dad did the ceremony but each of our mothers said something to us. My Mom presented the Ketubah, a Jewish wedding certificate, which she designed and painted for us. The certificate was imbued with all sorts of symbolic references to each of our lives individually, the people we care about, and us together. My favourite part about the ceremony was definitely saying our vows. The Entertainment Joseph and Maia are the incredible two-person acoustic band we had play for our wedding. We heard them busking on the streets of Edinburgh and immediately fell in love with their sound. We followed them to a concert they had in London and someway somehow, they agreed to play for our wedding! They played a cover of Hearts on Fire by Passenger as I walked down the aisle and their own song Gold in Your Hands for the recession. They both went perfectly. Please go check them out on Spotify their music is simply stunning. The DJ we had at the wedding was a friend of a friend we had heard play at a party and hired. He honestly did a perfect job we didn’t even request any music beforehand. The dance floor was always full and everyone had the best time. I would absolutely love to promote him and recommend him to anyone who wants to have the best dance party at their wedding! It was also great for all ages!
The FoodThe chef at the Royal Berkshire Hotel was incredible, the food got amazing reviews by my guests! Our Cheese Cake- I saw The Cheese Stall while out walking in Winchester with my family and instantly knew that's what I was going to do for the wedding. It's such a fabulous idea for those who don't love cake and it looked incredible as well. Not only that but cheese is my favourite thing, and one of the first things I told Ewan to understand how much I loved him was to tell him I loved him more than cheese. He understood. We went back to Winchester a few months before the wedding and met with Edward, who designs their cheese cakes. He was extremely friendly and gave us about 4 different cheeses to take home and try. He then went to work designing a cake with the perfect cheeses that fit the description of what I wanted it to look like. He sent me photos of what he put together and we instantly ordered it from there. What a great experience! Ewan and I are going to ask them to send us a box of all the different cheese we had on our cake for our one-year anniversary!
The PhotographyPhotography is a hobby of mine and something that I am very passionate about so choosing the perfect photographer was very important. Story and Colour were shown to me by my Pilates client and I thought they were fantastic. What I loved, was the way all the pictures looked natural and not contrived nor posed. I was also really attracted to the way, on Dan's blog, he was able to tell the story of the wedding through the photos.
The VideographyIt honestly took me ages to find the perfect videographer. It seems as though the good ones were outrageously expensive and the ones in my price range which was around 1,500-1,800, were terrible quality, cheesy, or downright boring. When I came across Purple Ribbon, I felt they were the complete package. They were a bit out of my price range but Leo offered me a good deal and I can honestly say he blew my expectations out of the water. Our little highlight is more than I could have ever imagined and to have that for the rest of our lives to remember such a great day warms my heart.
Special DetailsMacramé - One of my best friends, Madi Knott, recently started creating beautiful macramé pieces such as plant hangers, lamp shades, benches, and simply beautiful wall hangings. I asked her if she’d like to make me a ‘hanging’ for the wedding and she jumped on the idea! She created a stunning piece I used for both the back drop to my outdoor photo booth and the seating chart. The boho feel of the macramé was a perfect incorporation to my vision. Photo Booth from VIP Box - What a fantastic idea! This company has a camera photo booth which you pick up from their location in London, easily assemble at the venue yourself, and drop off at your convenience after the wedding! All for an extremely reasonable price. The design - Praying, hoping, and wishing for good weather, I came up with and designed an outdoor photo booth on a specific tree on the grounds of the Royal Berkshire Hotel. Doing a photo booth, yourself is great fun and not very complicated. Luckily I already had all the components in our flat except the macramé and props of course. We just had to take a few car trips down to Ascot from London to bring over all the components. Honestly the photo booth was a huge hit at the wedding, you saw it occupied the entire time. I knew the guests wouldn’t want the fun to end once it got dark so I prearranged the VIP Box to be put inside for photos to be taken during the reception! DIY Tattoo Bar - Doubled as both our wedding favours and entertainment! They were such a hit there was no tattoo left behind. They created awesome photos and it was such a great way to get people talking! I came up with the idea after stumbling upon a photo of two guys with their sleeves pulled up and each having the tattoo ‘best day ever’ on their wrists. It looked great and sparked up the idea of creating a DIY tattoo bar for the wedding. I bought little bowls, cut up some sponges, and bought all my favourite tattoos from Tattly. The table was decorated with my gold bottles I used as vases, candles, and cute hand written signs. My friend hand wrote all the signs on black background. Spray painted gold bottles - Saw this idea on Pinterest and instantly started to collect bottles. Easy, affordable, and looked great! Welcome sign - Bought the frame from Ikea and spray painted it to look more antique. My friend wrote the welcome message on black construction paper with a chalkboard white marker. Wishing Lanterns - This was always something I wanted to do. First of all, I wanted to create an experience at the wedding that was as magical as the love between Ewan and I. Cheesy? Maybe, but it truly was magical, and everyone was simply flabbergasted at the beauty of the experience. I bought markers for everyone to write down their wishes and announced during my speech before dinner, to start getting into groups and thinking about what their wishes would be.
AdviceMy greatest advice would be to go with your gut when it comes to making decisions. Try hard not to second guess yourself and stay as excited and inspired as possible throughout the whole process. There were times where making a decision seemed impossible with all the choices there were out there. I ended up just choosing what I loved and my wedding ended up being a way to express my creative side and show my guests an insight into my mind. I found at times family drama could get in the way of me being excited to plan the wedding. Planning would turn into a burden or a chore. To get myself out of it, I would either get a task done and immediately feel more on top of everything or I would Pinterest and blog to get inspiration. It would get my imagination going of how amazing my wedding could be. One more thing, choose vendors whose style you trust. It is one less thing to worry about and the less you worry, the more fun you have!
Bride: Vera Wang at David's Bridal | Earrings: Ernest Jones | Shoes: Steve Madden | Flower Crown: Sophie & Luna | Florist: Blush Floral Design | Macrame: Knotts Macrame | Photo Booth: VIP Box | Pashminas: Fashion Unic | Temporary Tattoos: Tattly | Chuppah: Head & Haft | Lanterns: Sky Lanterns Online | Cheese Cake: Cheese Stall | Kilts: Kilts 4 All | Wedding Planner: Delphine Carles | Band: Joseph & Maia | DJ: Ali Cannon | Videography: Purple Ribbon Weddings | Venue: Royal Berkshire Hotel