Weddings in Cornwall always have a special place in my heart, and this one, at the stunning Boconnoc Estate is particularly gorgeous. With a little help from Knot & Pop’s consultancy service, Luciana and Tim went on to plan a wedding just brimming with thoughtful details and stylish accents.
Luciana looks every inch the Hollywood starlet in Halfpenny London, with groom Tim wearing Paul Smith. The florals by Grandirosa are in my favourite tones of soft pink and deep burgundy, really making the most of late summer blooms (and those Cafe Au Lait dahlias)!
Images come from The Curries, whose work is always perfection and I’ve included lots for you to pour over…enjoy lovely ones, it’s the perfect example of how to throw a wonderful weekend wedding.
Luciana the Bride: Every year we have a date day at Christmas. We go and sing carols, treat ourselves at a restaurant, and soak up the seasonal atmosphere and excitement; it’s a fond time of year for us. And so, in December 2016 following carols and on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, Tim proposed. It was so exciting, we were blown away by the moment and by how our closest friends & family responded. It really was the start of something special!
As we sipped on fizz we made an immediate and important decision for what lay ahead: no stress. Wedding planning is a bit notorious, and we just wanted it be a wonderful experience from start to finish, come what may. We gave ourselves a full 18 months, and it paid off. Well…until the day before, at least!
Where Do You Begin?
Starting from ground zero, with no experience and no idea where to begin, we enlisted the services of wedding planners Knot & Pop. We felt their consultancy service would be the thing to get us going. The talented Susie invited us over to her studio, and she was fantastically helpful. She showed us suppliers that might fit our vision, built us a budget sheet (which removed any naivety we might’ve had!) and, most importantly, filled us with confidence for discovering what we wanted, and how to crack on and make it happen.
It was here we made another important decision. Between us, we’d not compromise on anything: we’d only go for things we both loved. If only one of us loved it, it wasn’t enough.
What Did We Want?
It goes without saying: we just wanted everyone to have an unforgettably good time! We wanted the wedding to be ‘magnificent’ – but really easy-going and cheerful. We wanted it to reflect what’s important to us: to be full of family, friends, love. We wanted time with everyone – only a long weekend would suffice. We wanted to have little windows of luxury. We wanted a church ceremony, since we felt a cultural affinity, and a connection to the history. We didn’t want a second to pass without music, and naturally we wanted amazing food, drink, sounds, and a real visual feast. Perhaps counter-intuitively, we wanted as many people as possible to get involved in making it all happen – meaning an army of helpers that was nearly as long as the list of guests!
Choosing A Venue
We had a big decision to make. We had the relatively unique opportunity to marry at St Paul’s Cathedral. The pull factor was enormous, but somehow it didn’t quite hit a couple of fundamentals we’d decided very early on. We were unsure about a London wedding. After a tireless search, we formed a list of 30 (!) from Luciana’s native Scotland, to the Cotswolds, and beyond. We pursued interest in around four.
Boconnoc, in Cornwall, really stood out. It had everything. Up to around 50 guests staying on site, and plenty more options close by, its own 14th century Church, a stunningly and lovingly refurbished mansion house set in undulating hills of the Cornish countryside. We visited on a sunny spring day. Its gardens were already brimming, its cottages shimmered with luxury, everything felt timeless. It felt like our own canvas rather than a wedding venue, and came with a wonderful team in Sima and Grace to support. With the grounds, gorgeous drives, breath-taking coastline and beaches nearby, we knew we could fill a weekend with plenty of wonder. We abandoned the search: we’d hit our jackpot!
We are big foodies – who isn’t – so we got researching. We soon hit upon The Dartmoor Kitchen, an award-wining West Country caterer boasting a distinguished client list. We chatted with its owner Claire who would go on to become a supremely reliable partner, and our friend. We loved the menu proposals, locally sourced foods, and a tasting session in Devon had us convinced our guests were in for some seriously good food! The team Claire put together played a quietly exceptional role throughout the day. They’re a seriously impressive outfit.
We were pretty sure we didn’t want a videographer, which brought extra focus on finding a photographer who would create rich, but honest photographs that would stand the test of time. The Curries were resoundingly the answer. London-based, we met Chris and Gillian a couple of times before the wedding. They ‘got’ us immediately, knew we wanted to be at the party than on a photoshoot, and on the day it just felt as though a couple of friends were with us as guests. They’re artists; enormously talented and their work speaks for itself – but they’re also so chilled and fun, so experienced, and so humble. We’re delighted with the shots and very grateful to them!
We decided to supply all our own drink, with corresponding glassware – which looking back was a brave undertaking! Tim’s brother and his fiancé, and Dartmoor Kitchen, deserve special thanks here. A 1920s champagne reception was followed by Aperol Spritz, and bottled San Pellegrino softs. At dinner we enjoyed Luciana’s Nonno’s deliciously inebriating homemade Montepulciano wine followed by Limoncello digestifs. Three of our bar-experienced guests then jumped onto the bar and made fresh cocktails, in the shape of negronis, old fashioneds and espressotinis – our favourite drinks. The guys impressed, before Dartmoor Kitchen staff took over the evening bar – which was widely stocked and helped finish everyone off!
Flowers were central to Luciana. Finding the right supplier wasn’t easy, but London-based Grandirosa effortlessly understood the brief – and absolutely nailed it! Another enormously talented team and wonderfully lovely team brought Luciana’s vision to life, and brought tears to her Mum’s eyes! Luciana wanted a theme that was natural and pretty, with a glamorous, dramatic edge. The palette of blush pinks, creams and whites set off by darker more plum tones and deep green foliage made it romantic & sophisticated. Antique roses, Babylon dahlias, peonies, were abundant, while Tim’s favourite herb rosemary adorned the buttonholes.
In the church we wanted height, achieved with an entrance arch, meadows and candles, and a stunning urn display on the altar. Our guests are still talking about the stunning smell in the church. On the banquet tables we wanted to create drama! Clusters of vases were peppered throughout in clear crystal-cut vases of varying shapes and sizes, punctuated with long, tapered plum candles. Key areas such as the fireplace in the drawing room, and the main entrance hall, were set with stunning feature pieces that stole everyone’s attention. We reused flowers across the whole weekend and they were simply, stunning.
The Art & Stationery
We wanted all ‘official’ interactions to hang together with continuity, right from our invites to the weekend itineraries, the order of service, and the signage on site. We commissioned the wonderful artist and designer Eve Spencer. Her wedding stationery hub Scotch & Bonnet set about creating original dahlias, anenomes, ferns and eucalyptus, along with pictorial guides for the full two days’ itineraries. Several guests said the invite was the nicest thing they’d ever received in the post! Her drawing of the church has since been donated to the Boconnoc Parish. And, having our own artworks feels really special – something we’ll keep forever.
The Bride & Groom
Luciana and her mum looked high & low, spending several Saturdays searching across London. There were a couple of occasions where they thought they’d cracked it – but when ‘the one’ came along they were both so elated they went for celebratory drinks!
With a brief to “look and feel like myself”, but with hair that perhaps had a hint of classic Hollywood, Luciana turned to the lovely Nicola Pettit. She delivered brilliantly, and was great company on the morning.
Tim wore the Soho suit by Paul Smith, a navy wool and mohair-blend evening suit, with Paul Smith shoes in a dark Bordeaux calf leather.
The Wedding Party
Luciana wanted the bridesmaids to feel relaxed and sophisticated on the day. We left the brief in the very capable hands of Luciana’s mum to find the dresses. The adult bridesmaids dresses were by Ghost, and flower girls’ dresses were hand made to our design by Scotland-based Madara. Our two young pageboys wore granddad shirts and linen shorts by John Lewis & Partners. The (six!) best men’s suits were from Marks & Spencer, in a deep navy to compliment Tim’s suit.
For a four tier semi-naked cake with opulent layers, we turned to Nicky Grant of Cornwall. At a tasting session, she helped us to devise a masterpiece! It was a chocolate cake layered with fresh Cornish cream and milk chocolate ganache, blueberry and vanilla cake with cream cheese buttercream, strawberry & champagne buttercream sponge, lemon chiffon cake with swiss meringue buttercream and lemon curd! It was…fantastic!
Music was absolutely central to the whole day. We spent sooo long trying to find bands we loved, and having reviewed hundreds on various band aggregator sites, we eventually hit upon Alexander’s Dixieland Band – a perfectly quirky and skilled trio that we felt would inject lightness and fun straight after the ceremony. We enlisted Down for the Count’s larger band offering for the evening, with The Get Downs doing sets from Motown and Ratpack for some serious classic-style boogying.
Before the ceremony, Luciana’s amazing Uncle Willie played bagpipes in the build up. Boconnoc church provided us with a wonderful choir, and was so flexible in allowing us to play our own music down and up the aisle.
Various playlists carried us through the day, finishing with some serious dancing classics at the end!
We stretched our budget to include fireworks later into the evening, and we’d recommend anyone to try and do the same! We worked with the excellent Tom at Celebration Pyrotechnics who produced a wonderful ‘wow’ moment later into the night. Somehow the fireworks seemed to cap the wonder of the day, it was a great climax.
We left favours a little late! We knew that on the table, we wanted to add colour and personality, and to avoid anything too generic. We were delighted when we found Creighton’s Chocolaterie, which creates handmade chocolate bars with wonderfully interesting designed wrappers. We ordered around 12 variations, matching their unique flavours to our guest’s personalities, and they went down so well!
Part of Boconnoc’s charm is that you really can make of it what you wish. That enabled us to turn to Prop Factory to bring in all sorts, from sofas for the lawn, to wonderful bar furniture, games and more. So much fun can be had with props, and the more interesting the supplier the better! Our glassware came from Keeping it Vintage and really helped to accent the flowers and contrast the white linens.
We hand-built signage for cars and taxis, with Tim’s brother Ben honing his carpentry skills while his sister Tamsin did some fine painting. Elsewhere, goodie boxes were left in each bedroom on site, to welcome guests and Tim’s mum created personalised handmade gift bags for each of the children there on the day.
Some Last Thoughts
In essence, you can’t really go too far wrong when celebrating the love of two people you really care about. But of course, if you’re already on RMW then you’re probably trying to make it a bit special. For us, essentially what you put in, is what you’ll get out. But this doesn’t mean stress. It just means giving yourselves time to enjoy the process, take time to hammer out what you both like and want from the wedding, and finally, to enlist and involve lots of your guests in the build up and the day itself. For us at least, a wedding has extra meaning if everyone’s a part of it, rather than simply a spectator 🙂