This wedding is about to blow your mind, so make sure you're sitting down (!) and have plenty of time to devour it. Nathalie and Benjamin's wedding is styled to absolute perfection, with lots of foliage, white blooms and pampas grass (which is all over the internet at the moment - Nathalie and Ben were clearly waaaaaay ahead of the curve). Nathalie looks utterly ravishing in Rue de Seine, a true bohemian bride. The couple's venue is the incredible Godwick Hall, which never fails to make me weak at the knees, the brick, the lofty ceilings, the stairways, the wooden trestle tables - honestly if you're looking for a venue in Norfolk then you absolutely must check it out. Images come from Darina Stoda, who is one of my favourite photographers (yes, I am allowed favourites), so it's a real treat to share this beauty of a wedding day with you all. Hold on to your hats babes...you're going to love it!
The VenueNathalie the Bride: When we visited Godwick Great Barn in North Norfolk for the first time we were really struck by it’s unique character and beautiful, peaceful surroundings. The luxurious Georgian Godwick Hall and shepherd huts were an absolute bonus as it meant that we could bring our families together for the weekend of the wedding which meant a lot too us. On a practical level the flexibility of Godwick with regards to suppliers was a huge draw, as this was something we couldn’t quite find near our home in Surrey, we also would have a dedicated wedding planner and get a design consultation with The Little Lending Company! Kevin + Penny (wedding planners) and James Garner (Owner) were extremely welcoming and helpful which gave us a really good feeling about the place, we knew that it was the place for us even though it was the only venue we looked at! Unperturbed by the torrential rain and gale force winds of early spring during our initial visit, we set a date for the following March...we were very lucky to have a dry and bright day with a beautiful sunset on the day!
The Decor & StylingWe knew we wanted a rustic theme to the décor, lots of candles, lots of foliage. We wanted it to feel informal, like a big old fashioned banquet, and Godwick had just the thing – huge custom made rustic tressel tables that I believe James had made for his own wedding. I wanted to decorate the tables and so ensued multiple trips to Covent Garden Market (thanks for all the coffees Dave), months of trialling different foliage combinations and living in an evergreen jungle, we picked up eucalyptus, asparagus fern, rosemary and lucked out with mimosa on the day. We stuffed the car full (which smelled amazing) and drove to Norfolk. The bridal party then set about making table runners, aisle bouquets and wreaths made with gold hoola hoops sprayed gold. Our florist, Emma Alexander was a friend of a friend who put together a beautiful foliage chandelier that was set on a beam above the ceremony area. She made the bridal bouquets, foliage bar runner and the floral display in the reception area. The rugs that lined the aisle were from my family home and the Berber Wedding blanket on the ceremony table was bought during an adventure in Morocco. We had our design consultation with Penny who also runs The Little Lending Company, she has great vision and fantastic props. We hired a teepee for the kids – which they loved, items for our grazing station and favour/seating planner table. After seeing gold cutlery at A Most Curious Wedding Fair in London, there was no way I could go without, so we hired rose wood and brass cutlery from Helene Millot and beautiful French cut glass champagne flutes and tumblers for the reception. My sister Stephanie and I collected oyster shells from the beach in one of mine and Ben’s favourite places on L’ile de Re in Fance, and Remy my brother painted the inside of them gold, these were used and salt and pepper pinch pots. Remy our in-house artist also made our welcome sign, menu-holders and our room dividers – which were just Ikea clothes rails sprayed copper with a curtain. Favours, we wanted things that people would actually use and both being from the medical profession (Ben a surgeon and I used to be a theatre nurse) a hangover kit seemed fitting with 'Recovery' powder sachets from Boots, vitamin sachets, coffee, mints and sweets...something people thanked us for the next morning! A whole Iberico Ham – a generous gift from a friend - was carved during the reception, which somehow made it through security at Madrid Airport.
The FoodFlorentina provided the catering, and we decided to go for a roast dinner “table picnic” which everyone could help themselves to in keeping with our banquet vibe. We went to Florentina headquarters near Norwich and tried some excellent food, and settled on a menu which we decided later may not suit a cold spring day. The decision to revert to the roast dinner was definitely approved of by our guests! Jake and Annabelle were absolute legends in the run up to the wedding and went over and above what was required to make everything run smoothly. The team on the day were slick and professional and the food was amazing. We decided not to have a traditional wedding cake and opted for a cheese cake from the West Country Cheese Company which doubled as the after dinner cheese plate with the addition of some other cheeses and delicious local pies from Bray’s Cottage (“Next level pork pies” – The Guardian) To keep the French contingent happy we ordered 1000’s of baguettes from Repertoire Culinaire who import from France. Wine was purchased in a round robin trip from Majestic Calais by my Dad who was a star and did so much running around for us! Our bar was run by husband and wife team, Ben and Becca of Quaff + Slosh, they were super professional, they responded and sourced all of our whiskey, gin and craft beer whims! They and their team were great fun on the day!
The MusicThe music was very important to us, and we spent several months compiling the playlists for the ceremony and reception. Nathalie walked down the aisle to one of our favourite tunes by Arcade Fire. We struggled to look for readings that we had not heard before, but our patience was rewarded when we found two beautiful poems: one by Rainer Maria Rilke and “For Better For Worse” by Gillian Clark. The music for the rest of the evening was by “The Wedding Smashers”, who really allowed us to choose exactly what we wanted to hear. Starting with Ben’s family’s idols Bowie and Iggy we eased into a bit of Trojan reggae before ending the night with a mini rave featuring garage, jungle and drum n’ bass anthems from the last 10 years or so. Our dealings with the Wedding Smashers from the start were extremely easy. We sent them a list of tracks and went through the general ideal of what we wanted with Max on the day, who was brilliant.
The BrideWhen I first spotted my dress on Pinterest and saw that it was made by the New Zealand designers Rue de Seine I resigned myself to the fact that I could never have it – low and behold I discovered that Leonie Claire Bridal in Brighton at that time were the sole stockists in the UK. Leonie has the coolest selection of dresses in the most beautiful boutique in Hove. I first visited with my Mum and I saved the Chloe till last, we loved it. I wanted to be sure so rebooked to try it on again with my bridesmaids and my timing couldn’t have been better – Greer Osborne of Rue de Seine was to attend a meet the designers event at LC bridal! It was amazing to meet her and clearly meant to be! My Aunt and Uncle then surprised me by buying the dress. I couldn’t recommend Leonie Claire Bridal enough, she and her team made the whole experience exceptional. My mum found my shoes online in the January sales – the only pair left in any size! They fit perfectly, and despite the scary heel, they were comfortable. I had wanted to wear my old beaten up leather jacket, but fell in love with the suede biker jacket from Reiss and convinced myself that I needed it for the wedding to justify buying it! I had some leather biker boot wellies from Jigsaw for trudging around the surrounding fields of Godwick. Make-up was by Amanda Steed, she was so lovely and did such a great job – none of us wear tons of make-up so didn’t want to look too made up, but Amanda kept us looking very natural but camera ready!
The Wedding PartyI just wanted them to wear something they felt awesome in, due to the time of year we wanted a dark colour and sequins, because why the hell not. We found their dresses on ASOS, they were a hit and the only dresses they ended up trying on - How easy! The groom and groomsmen’s suits were by Ted Baker at Moss Bros., as were the velvet bow-ties. Ben’s shoes and accessories were also by Ted Baker.
The PhotographyWhich leads to Darina...such a star and wonderful spirit. We loved her natural, unforced and informal style with beautiful light. We first met Darina for our engagement photos on a Norfolk beach, Ben and I are absolutely rubbish at having photos taken, we always look awkward. The second we met Darina we clicked and we didn’t stop talking and laughing, which really put us at ease as it was like hanging out with an old friend! On the day she got on with everyone and made them feel really comfortable, she captured beautiful moments without anything too staged. We have recommended her to everyone we know getting married!
Special MentionsI couldn’t recommend all of our suppliers enough, they have all been great to work with and have made the whole processes easy and enjoyable – zero stress! Special shout outs to our families for their unbelievable generosity in both time and money, we couldn’t have done it without them. Darina who put everyone at ease captured everything so beautifully, Godwick, especially Kevin and Annabelle from Florentina, they were all an absolute dream to work with and so professional in the lead up and most of all kept the day running smoothly - neither Ben and I had to think about anything on the day other than having fun - what more could you ask for?
Bride: Rue De Seine - Chloe | Boutique: Leonie Claire | Earrings: Maria Tash | Shoes: Kurt Geiger | Veil : Sassi Holford | Make Up: Amanda Steed | Florist: Emma Alexander | Venue: Godwick Hall | Decor Hire: The Little Lending Company | Crockery & Glassware: Helene Millot | Catering: Florentina Events | Bar: Quaff & Slosh | Bridesmaids: ASOS | Groom & Groomsmen: Ted Baker at Moss Bros. | Entertainment: Wedding Smashers | Cheese Tower: West Country Cheese | Evening Food : Bray's Cottage | Bread: Repertoire Culinaire | Wine: Majestic Wine Calais