That is how many bridal gowns Rock My Wedding reader Kelly and founder of Dear Evie stationery design tried on before she found the “one”… which resulted in a feminine lace fishtail number by Stewart Parvin. Judging by how beautiful Kelly looks I’d say the whole traipsing around the boutiques adventures were well worth the effort.
And it’s not just the dress that I love about this wedding, it’s the whole chic, sophisticated and elegant vibe that is evident throughout.
Oh and the lush green fresh apple place settings? One of the most effective and money-saving ideas I’ve seen yet. And such a great way to make a monochrome colour palette pop.
Must mention the Groom’s gift too, I’ve got to hand it to Kelly – that was a stroke of genius. If it was my turn again I would be stealing that idea faster than a speeding bullet.
Kelly and Simon were married at Castle Ashby in Northamptonshire on a bright, sunny and happy day.
My dress was a real labour of love! I started the search early and tried on about 150 dresses in total, from various different shops. I just never found ‘the one’ and was becoming increasingly disheartened. Then an image I found online made me think ‘That’s how I want to look on my wedding day’ and I started to focus on the dream look rather than the dream dress. After several visits to Lauren at The Bridal Gallery, Finedon, she suggested a corded lace, fishtail gown by British designer Stewart Parvin. I knew it was the dress for me when I just couldn’t get it out of my head… and I was lucky enough to meet the designer along the way too.
When we left our reception in the evening, I changed into a cute vintage-inspired beaded dress from Monsoon which I actually took on honeymoon too!
Because my dress was quite detailed I didn’t want to wear too much jewellery. My drop earrings were a last-minute purchase from Stewart Parvin, which I accompanied with pearl bracelets from Wallis and a statement pearl ring from Oasis. I actually bought a second, identical ring to use as decoration on our cake!
For the ceremony, I wore a veil edged with lace (to subtly match my dress), also bought from The Bridal Gallery, and Iater, a silk flower in my hair, bought from Etsy. I fell in love with my little pearl clutch bag when I saw it on the shelves of Monsoon and just knew I had to have it!
Simon gave me a beautiful Jo Malone box set as a wedding gift and I used all the lotions and potions on the day. It was great to wear a new fragrance which now reminds me of our special day whenever I smell it!
Red Soles And Natural Polish
From day one I joked that the shoes were more of a priority for me that the dress! I knew that I wanted to walk down the aisle in those famous red-soled heels! I searched high and low for a pair of Christian Louboutin ivory silk shoes and finally a call came from Browns Bride that my dream pair were back in stock! I literally dropped everything and drove to London that evening.
A make-up artist was a big priority for me – I just didn’t want any stress on the morning of the wedding. I found Lauren Dunn through a Dermalogica event in London and knew she would be perfect for the big day. Together with her hairdressing assistant she helped to make myself, my two bridesmaids and both mums feel ultra-glam on the day. I loved the natural but polished look she gave me…
Our groomsmen wore dark grey suits bought from House of Fraser with ties from John Lewis. We hunted high and low for bridesmaids dresses – because of the heat of the summer we didn’t want anything too heavy and finding black dresses in June is not an easy task! Finally my maid of honour found the perfect black, cotton dresses online at Boden. I handmade matching pearl bracelets and earrings for my maids to wear on the day and their outfits were finished with a pair of black satin peep-toe shoes from John Lewis.
Simon wore a bespoke three-piece suit from Souster & Hicks (his one extravagance for the wedding!) with shoes by Jeffrey West. As a wedding gift, I bought Simon some silver Tiffany cufflinks engraved with the map coordinates of the church. We love how meaningful yet cryptic they are!
Our flowers were arranged by Sharon at Mulberries the Florist. I wanted a simple, elegant bouquet and incorporated cream roses and lisianthus wrapped in an offcut of lace from my dress. The same blooms were used for the bridesmaids bouquets, but with added hydrangea and green foliage. We carried this neutral scheme throughout but used striking black goldfish bowls for the centrepieces to tie in our black and white theme.
To keep costs down, after the ceremony we moved arrangements from the church to the marquee, along with two bay trees which had decorated the church entrance.
Over The Moon
Early on, Amie at Velvet Crush (our brilliant wedding coordinator) recommended David Hughes to us. David had photographed another wedding at the same venue so we were confident he knew it well. When we looked at David’s portfolio we weren’t disappointed. I think in fact we said ‘If you give us an album half as beautiful as this we’ll be over the moon’. It was a no-brainer.
Simon and I have never been fans of live music so we knew from day one that we didn’t want a band. Instead we opted for a great DJ (recommended by the venue) who played a real range of tunes to get everyone on the dance floor.
Because we don’t have similar tastes in music, picking a song for the first dance was hard for us. In the end we went for Destiny by Zero 7 because of the meaningful lyrics.
Being a graphic designer, it was a given that I would design all the paper goods for our wedding myself. It was a hard task – often designers are their own worst critics! In the end we went for a classic black and white suite, with a chandelier motif which was carried throughout. We saved money by printing items such as the save the date cards and table numbers on our laser printer at home. I enjoyed the whole process so much that I have now set up my own wedding stationery company, Dear Evie.
For the drinks reception we arranged for vanilla ice cream to be served in tubs, which was a real hit in the heat. We also bought plenty of giant garden games from Mark & Spencer to keep the kids amused.
A Blank Canvas
Our marquee was a real blank canvas and at first we were daunted by the task of decorating it. We decided to make black cotton sashes for the back of every chair which was time-consuming but really lifted the space. To add a pop of colour to the scheme we bought apples from Costco the day before the wedding and used them with hand-cut paper leaves as the place names. We decided to create a Polaroid guest book, which has been a precious keepsake from the day, and even included snaps of us when we were young!
Our table plan was mounted in a huge vintage frame which we found for a bargain price on eBay and simply revamped with a lick of silver-gold paint.
The Learning Curve
We were lucky enough to be lent a classic Bentley for the day which a friend drove for us. It really was the icing on the cake for me! We also had a sparkler send-off which was amazing – seeing our guests all lined-up with huge child-like grins on their faces is a memory I’ll never forget.
I think our wedding was unique to us because it incorporated so many fun and personal elements. Despite the grandeur of the venue, it felt familiar and welcoming – something which we were desperate to achieve from the word go.
In terms of advice, I think for me, finding the dream dress was the biggest learning curve. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find ‘the one’ straightaway (if at all)! Just know that the dress you keep comparing all others to probably is ‘the one’ without you knowing it.
Brides Gown – Stuart Parvin at The Bridal Gallery
Brides Evening Dress – Monsoon
Veil – The Bridal Gallery
Make-up – Lauren Dunn
Florist – Mullberries the Florist
Grooms Suit – Souster and Hicks
Maids – Boden
Photographer – David Hughes
Venue – Castle Ashby
Paper – Dear Evie
I know. Not one but TWO amazing gowns. And if I had those pins? I’d be wearing that short Monsoon frock just to hang out the washing.
Anyone else having a monochrome colour palette with a pop of colour? And is anyone now tempted to steal the apple and/or cufflink idea?
Hope you are having a lovely Sunday you gorgeous lot.
Big Apple Green Love