Melania The Bride:
I definitely went for a big 'princess dress' but I wanted something modern and based more on silhouette rather than fabric. It was a large satin ball gown silhouette with fitted bodice, I had the top customised, taking off the straps and turning the top into a bodice with points on the bust. It had a low back with buttons. The skirt had a back bustle with a really long trail. I wore a 3 tier underskirt underneath to add more volume. I helped design the dress so that it ticked all the boxes and it really was everything I’d dreamed of.
My shoes where a wedding present from Leon, a patent leopard print Louboutin
pump. I didn't want a traditional shoe and I'd obsessed over these for a long time. I wanted to stay quite minimal with the earrings being the main feature and with the big dress, cathedral lace veil and leopard print shoes I didn't want too much jewelry. I hand made my earrings - I really wanted a big statement and I just couldn't find what I was looking for so I decided to make them instead! My bracelet was my 'something borrowed' from my gorgeous bridesmaid Sarah. I wasn't sure about a bag, I wasn't sure if I would need it but in the end I decided to go with something that tied in with the bridesmaids pomander flowers - a diamanté ball shape with diamanté tassels and an ivory sash handle.
For my evening dress I kept the same earrings, shoes and embellished it with a diamanté sash around the waist, which I also made. Initially I wasn't sure about an outfit change but I'm so glad I did. I really wanted to enjoy the 'party' on the evening and I knew I was restricted in my big day dress. My evening dress was made from sheer lace with sequin detailing. A full skirt bottom with a slightly longer trail and a low cut front and back. It was completely sheer so I definitely opted for something a bit more fun and relaxed for the evening. My hairdresser was also a guest and she changed my hair by tying it up in a full ponytail. And of course the bunny ears just finished it off :-)
It's funny because we only actually only went to GJS
because it was so local. We'd looked at Italy and I had my heart set on big barn in Kent but as soon as we went to have a look around everything changed. It was just so 'us' as it had a city vibe, really laid back and not 'weddingy' at all. We loved the terrace and the decor and we loved the idea of having a big 'party house' for 24 hours. We couldn't decide on which room we loved more so we decided that exclusive use was our only option. It just sat so perfectly with everything we wanted our wedding to be.
Me and my Mum ended up going to the national wedding show in Manchester. I'd already ticked a lot of boxes but I'd still not found a florist. Luckily just as we were about to leave we spotted Catherine and her work was just everything I'd dreamed of. I wanted more statement pieces rather than flowers everywhere and I wanted one bold colour to make it look more modern and clean rather than earthy and boho.
I had David Austin roses in white for my bouquet. I had 2 large flower balls made from white peonies that sat on top of large pillars which helped make a feature of our flower arch which sat at the end of the aisle during the ceremony and also behind our top table.
The floral arch was fresh flowers again made from white peonies and green leaves to fill it out.
The bridesmaids carried pomander balls, again made from white peonies and held with ivory ribbon. The boys had white rose button holes. We had a large gold frame covered in fresh baby pink and white roses to decorate our table plan. We used some of the bridesmaids pomander balls to then sit on top of the candelabras as centre pieces for the tables and my bouquet sat in a large gold vase on our top table.
We wanted music to feature a lot during our day. We had 2 singers throughout the whole day, Adam and Jimbo, who started by singing me down the aisle to ‘Rather Be’ by Clean Bandit and continued during the reception meal until late evening.
Leon really wanted the New York Brass Band
but I told him it just wasn't possible. In actual fact I'd booked them 2 years before the day and we surprised him when they started randomly playing on the terrace. They played a 2 hour set including The Conga and Sexual Healing as our first dance. We then had a DJ playing into the early hours for the serious party people!
Coming from a big Italian family who traditionally eat around 10 courses at weddings we had a bit of a fight on our hands to condense it down to something that comprised Italian and English traditions. My family have a background in hospitality so my Dad had a big influence in what we chose and how it was presented. In the end we opted for 5 courses, which again steered away from tradition. We had canapés on the terrace after the ceremony with cocktails and midnight munchies for the night guests.
Our wedding cakes were by Melissa Cakes. She is based locally to us and is somebody we've used on so many occasions so we really trusted her to do exactly what we envisioned. Again I wanted to steer away from tradition. I had a few different ideas on how to decorate each tier and we also decided to deconstruct the cake so the tiers where presented separately rather than on top of each other. Each tier stood on its own stand. On the cake table we had traditional Italian confetti and favours.
For some reason I actually considered not having a photographer! I think I was almost rebellious against all things traditionally ‘wedding’ and I hated the idea of leaving my guests to have pictures taken...I'm so glad I found Nicola Thompson
and she changed my mind! She wasn't intrusive at all, she actually felt like one of the guests and the whole 'photo taking' was so much fun. I realise now that after the wedding the pictures are all you have to keep the memories alive and getting those pictures after our day was just amazing and everything I’d wished for. Now looking back I would say a photographer is definitely one of the most important things you need.
We had 2 ½ years to plan the wedding so things definitely changed throughout. I originally wanted houndstooth printed table cloths and coloured flowers. I wanted something quite eclectic and focused on print and colour. That however completely changed and I decided I wanted more opulent and clean lines, white, ivory and gold with small hints of colour that came from antique centre pieces. Baby pink featured slightly but the main scheme was white and gold with the boys in black as a contrast.
We had a lot of items we'd been collecting along the way so we had a house full of antique candelabras, frames, and random bits and bobs. We used all these as centre pieces mixed together randomly. We had M&L printed ivory napkins on the table which each guest could take away. And pink and white floral headbands for all the girls. The menu was written on clear acrylic in white and gold and hung from the balcony. The balcony was decorated in a floral garland that wrapped all the way round. For the evening we had big gold letter balloons that spelt out DISCO up on the balcony.
We really did appreciate the importance of the ceremony and our vows to each other but we really didn't want a long ceremony. We've been together 8 years and we really wanted our wedding as more of a party to celebrate that. We didn't want to rush it but we also didn't want it to take up too much of our morning. We opted for the earliest time purposely to make the day seem longer for everyone. The build up of that moment over the 2 ½ years was so emotional but actually on the day our emotions and nerves turned into excitement. I remember practically running down the aisle to see Leon and we laughed the whole way through. We decided on a reading by my cousin which was the lyrics to Calico Skies by Paul McCartney. We'd been listening to that song during the planning of the day, as we originally wanted it for our first dance, so it definitely meant something to us. Our ceremony table was decorated with candles, candelabras, a light up dollar sign and M&L letters, we wanted something different and not too formal. My Uncle and Mum’s best friend (who is like an Auntie!) were our witnesses.
The Wedding Party
My bridesmaid dresses became the hardest part of the whole planning! I had 9 girls that I wanted to please and I was conscious of them all being different and being comfortable. I always knew I wanted them in white but after ordering 3 different dresses nothing worked we finally opted for 4 girls in one style, and 4 in another. I knew my sister would wear something different to everybody.
Her outfit was bespoke made by the same designer as my evening dress. A cream lace sheer jumpsuit with a detachable skirt overlay. 4 of my girls wore a white shift dress with a front ruffle and the other 4 wore jumpsuits with a one shoulder overlay. Everything was off-white. They all had the same gold shoes with diamanté detailing. We had white bunny ears for all the bridesmaids and the Mother of the bride.
The boys contrasted in black. They had black blazers with a spotty tie. White shirt and a low cut waistcoat with gold button detailing. I really wanted skinny jeans in black instead of suit trousers for a more relaxed feel. They had a small gold pocket chain on each blazer jacket.