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Pennard House
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Nikki & Gareth

Pennard House weddings always have the most wonderful vibe, relaxed,joyful and just full of love. There must be something magic in that Somerset air. Nikki and Gareth’s wedding day definitely has all the usual Pennard House vibes, with an outdoor wedding ceremony, bright colour palette and a rainbow wedding cake – it’s one that will put a big smile on your face.

Nikki and Gareth have been together for 6 years and have two beautiful children, and the ease and natural understanding of one another really shines through in these beautiful images from Jonny Barratt. Enjoy this one lovelies, it’s a feel good wedding through and through.

The Photography

Nikki the Bride: As Gareth is a cameraman he had very clear ideas of the kind of photos that he definitely didn’t want, and anything ‘posed’ featured high on that list. Other than a few obligatory shots of the family to keep the mums happy, we really just wanted to capture the essence and emotion of the day.

Having already looked at the photos on Jonny’s website, we knew that we loved his style! He made us feel very at ease, and immediately felt like one of our guests rather than our photographer! We feel very lucky to have had him there.

The Flowers

Our flowers were extraordinary, and I can’t thank Nicky Llewellyn Flowers enough. I know lots of people comment on how expensive flowers are for weddings, but the beautiful bouquets, flower crowns, buttonholes and arrangements that we got from Nicky were worth every penny and she really did go above and beyond what we’d expected. We knew we wanted herbs to feature heavily in our arrangements, with the key elements being lavender and rosemary, and she really couldn’t have got it more right! They looked incredible and smelled amazing, which was a really nice added bonus.

The Rings

My ring was actually my grandmother’s wedding ring. It needed a little spruce up, so the restoration work was done by Joy Everly in London. They did such a lovely job, the ring is as good as new only with the added sentimental value of being passed down through our family.

The Cake

We chose the Marks and Spencer rainbow cake, because it’s the children’s favourite cake! We also let the children do the official cake cutting too as, until they said they wanted to do it, we weren’t going to have a cake at all! I’m so glad we did, as it turned in to a really lovely moment.

The Food

Caroline Gent Catering managed the food at our wedding, and everyone agreed that it was exceptional. They were a dream to deal with from the very start of the process and nothing was too much trouble. Not only was the food delicious but also Jess, our catering manager on the day, was a delight and her team were brilliant. I’d recommend them again in a heartbeat!

The Entertainment

We wanted an activity as an icebreaker at the drinks reception and our son loved the idea of archery, and we agreed! Simon at Phoenix Leisure provided a brilliant set up and everyone from the youngest to the oldest guest had a go – it was great fun!

The Stationery

We are lucky enough to know a brilliant graphic designer, Oli Milburn, as our daughters were friends at nursery. We spoke to him about the kind of design that we’d like for our invitations and reply cards, although neither of us had particularly fixed ideas. Oli pulled together the most beautiful design and we really couldn’t have been happier. On top the overall design and layout of our paperwork, he also designed a monogram for us, which was such a lovely touch, and which featured not only on our invitations but also in other ways at the wedding itself, and it’s something we can use forever.

Our Story

Gareth and I both work in the television industry, and actually met while we were both working at MTV but it wasn’t until we both left and worked together on a few freelance jobs that romance blossomed. It was a real case of opposites attract in those early days, think musical theatre vs rock music, but clearly it was meant to be! After 6 years together I had put any thoughts of marriage behind me as we already had 2 beautiful children, which was all the relationship ‘cement’ that we needed, but Gareth knew that marriage was important to me so proposed on Christmas Eve 2016, after we’d put the children to bed and I’d made him endure an hour of Christmas veg prep! I can only imagine how nervous he must have been but I didn’t notice a thing! He told me he’d wanted to give me a small gift while it was just us, before the madness of Christmas morning with the children kicked in, and that he’d hidden it in the tree. It took me ages to spot (again – what must he have been feeling?!) and then I saw the peppermint green of a Tiffany ring box. I actually couldn’t open the box, so he took over and got down on one knee. It was the most perfect proposal – right there in our lounge, wearing our slippers – and of course I didn’t hesitate in saying yes!

The Venue

We didn’t hire a planner, as I produce events for my job so the challenge of arranging our wedding didn’t seem at all daunting. That said, our beautiful venue, Pennard House, allocated us a wedding director to help guide us through the process. We were lucky enough to get the brilliant Tess Hillier so she was on hand to help everything run smoothly. We totally fell in love with her – especially our daughter, who was glued to her side for most of the day!

It only took one visit to Pennard House for us to know it was perfect for us. It is a family home and really has that feeling of being full of love. It’s utterly gorgeous and has all the elements of a luxurious stately home but in a very lived in way, which ticked a lot of boxes for us. We took the children with us to our initial look-around and Harry, the owner, was so welcoming to us all and didn’t bat an eyelid at the children rolling around on the floor (after 3 long hours in the car!) which was such a relief to us. Since that day the children only ever referred to Pennard as ‘Harry’s House’ – leaving people very confused when they asked where we were getting married! With a set up like Pennard House I also think it’s important to say that we never once felt like we were intruding in someone else’s house – we were made to feel like extended family!

The Decor

We didn’t really have a theme as such, but it was very important to both of us that our wedding didn’t feel too formal. We aren’t very formal people, so although we wanted the day to feel special we also needed it to feel relaxed and fun. It’s hard to pick a favourite detail as we didn’t really focus on details too much, but one lovely thing that we did was in honour of my dad who is sadly no longer with us. A family tradition that dad started, and we all still do, is the annual sloe gin production in early winter, so it felt like a fitting idea to have miniature homemade sloe gin as part of our favours. My mum made the sloe gin over a year ago so it had a good long steep, and we sat and bottled it up together, sampling each batch of course! We included the recipe on the labels too, so that friends could re-produce it if they like it – dad would have been very happy! It took a while for us to realise that it would mean that he was literally there in spirit!

The Fashion

My dress was from Phase Eight and it was the first dress I tried on. Although it wasn’t the one that I’d originally thought I wanted, the minute I put it on I knew it would be the one I wore down the aisle. The beading on it is absolutely stunning, and the short train on the back gave it a lovely bridal feel without it getting in the way of dancing later on! Never has a piece of clothing made me feel more wonderful – I just need to find another way to wear it again now! My shoes were from Rachel Simpson. I’ve always loved green shoes, and so the Mimosa Mint shoe was perfect for me – so elegant and not too high, so they were comfortable all day.

Gareth’s suit was made to measure by Gieves and Hawkes on Saville Row, where Thomas Blatch was his consultant. It was a navy, single breasted suit and it looked incredible! His shoes were tan brogues from Office.

The bridesmaids all chose their own dresses, they were just given navy as the colour theme. I wanted them all to feel really special and also comfortable, so they were given total free reign on style. We met up to try some dresses on all together, and they fell in love with some beautiful Ghost dresses, but they were a little on the pricey side. So, my savvy girls got online and ebay came up trumps with their dream dresses for a fraction of the cost! That would definitely be a top tip, as most bridesmaid dresses are only worn once before being sold on. The flower girls wore dresses from Monsoon kids and gold shoes. Our son wore a navy suit from Next with some new trainers, which he was thrilled about!

Advice

Try not to lose sight of the fact that the most important thing about your wedding day is that you’re marrying the person you adore! No one else will know if things haven’t quite gone to plan so try not to get too caught up in the detail.

Groom: The moment you see your bride walking down the aisle, you’ll realise nothing else matters. But before then you’ll feel nervous as hell. For all the time when you’re waiting, welcoming guests and so on, don’t feel guilty for taking a moment alone to gather yourself, or to go over your speech, or triple check that the music works, or whatever you need. You’ll no doubt have lots of family members and groomsmen offering to help, so give them all jobs to lighten your own stress, even if it’s just because it gets them out of your hair. Your bride deserves you there stress free.

Planning your wedding should be fun. Go with your gut instinct on all the big decisions and try not to get too lost in the smaller details. Make sure you’re both happy with any decisions you make and do as much of the planning as you can, well in advance. Not only will getting in early mean you’re more likely to get the key suppliers you want, but it will also reduce the stress hugely!

The biggest surprise was not feeling at all nervous about anything on the day. I think we were both so looking forward to being married that nerves didn’t really register, which was lovely as it meant that the ceremony was full of laughter! We were just so excited to be there!

It sounds obvious, but the actual marriage is what will stay with us forever. To have so many people that we love there with us at such a special moment made us feel incredibly lucky, and yet when we said our vows it was like they all fell away and it was just us. Being able to have our children there was really special too. Hopefully they will remember it as they grow up but, even if they don’t, it meant such a lot to us that they played a big part in our day.

Photography by Jonny Barratt
Author: Fern Godfrey
Fern spends most of her time dreaming about weddings and trying to convince her long-suffering boyfriend to propose. Lucky enough to live in sunny Cornwall, if you need her – you’ll find her at beach.

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