Blind Date Love StoryGrace & James: James & I met on a blind date, set up by our two best friends. A very busy nine years later, Jim proposed with a velvet Mrs Box and we spent a wonderful day visiting antique jewellers to find the perfect ring. I came home the proud owner of a a very beautiful gold diamond trio, which we named Mr Sparkles! We set our wedding for the second May bank holiday - my parents were married on the first bank holiday and May is my favourite month for flowers - a massive consideration being a florist!
Fine Art Styling By Kate CullenWorking in the wedding industry, I already knew so many wonderful suppliers - it was so hard to choose who to ask to help. My first port of call was always going to be Kate Cullen. We have worked together for years now and I love her style & vision. Kate kindly agreed to take me on as her last ever styling client and worked wonders with coordination before the day and on it too. Although I’m an annoying perfectionist, I knew that I could leave the table & marquee set up to her and it would all look incredible - and it did. Kate brought together my vision of relaxed, classic elegance and dyed bespoke napkins for us in the most delicious berry pink and provided an array of silk and velvet ribbons for our bouquets. The lovely Laura Elizabeth Patrick created our invites, menus & name placecards, which we know friends have kept and framed!
Fine Art Photography & FilmI knew I wanted a fine art style photographer and video too - Baxter & Ted’s Caroline & Chris were the only ones we wanted for the day. (Still waiting on the video but should have this asap if you wanted to feature that too!) They made us feel so at ease, even though neither of us enjoy being in front of the lens.
Hayley Paige 'Princess' Style Wedding DressI’m not a terribly girly person, but ended up with a total princess dress. I knew I didn’t want white or ivory and discovered Hayley Paige & a new boutique in Bath who stocked her designs, Ellie Rose Bridal. Ellie was so helpful and lovely - after lots of fun trying on, I fell in love with Dori and never looked back. I tried a few more dresses on after her, but nothing ever came close. She was the absolute opposite of what I thought I wanted, but I desperately didn’t want to take her off by the end of the night! Victoria Fergusson made my gorgeous earrings and apart from them, the only other jewellery I wore was a ring that I had made by Tom McEwan, which contained gold and silver from jewellery from my grandparents, mum, dad & James. I’m a shoe obsessive, but knew I had to be frugal somewhere. You couldn’t see my shoes beneath the dress, even when I walked, so I re-wore a super comfy pair I had as a bridesmaid. My maids are all very different in body type, but we found the perfect dresses in Ellie Rose - again they were Hayley Paige. Each was just a little bit different but in the gorgeous burgundy pink which was running through the wedding. We chose star themed jewellery from Anthropologie & Accessorise, with sparkly shoes from ASOS.
Moss Bros. Suit HireJames is a joiner, so buying a suit which he might use again wasn’t practical. We decided to hire them from Moss Bros. Cue them arriving three days before the wedding and not fitting. AT ALL. A speedy change around by James’s mum though and we got their in the end. He wore a black velvet bowtie from Mrs Bow Tie & his groomsmen wore burgundy velvet and they all had braces - which proved very good props for dancing! Each paired their outfit with a brown belt and shoes - James’s were from Will's Vegan Shoes. Of course, he had to have his best dog by his side and so we made Bracken a very special floral collar! He sat by our feet and on my dress for the whole ceremony, as good as gold, even though he ran around like a lunatic during the rehearsal.
Hand Fasting Wedding CeremonyWe held the wedding at my parents house in their field, in a marquee from Abbas Marquees. Neither of us wanted a church wedding, so we had a simple registry office wedding the week before, then a hand fasting on the day. Ali the celebrant is a friend of James’s Mum and she worked magic to create a ceremony that celebrated love, family and our relationship. We asked our mums, best man Matt & maid of honour Kat to each choose a ribbon to bind our hands with during the hand fasting - the most ancient of marriage ceremonies. My mum chose brown for healing, nurturing, home and hearth, whilst Jim's mum chose gold for unity, longevity and strength. Matt chose black, for empowerment, wisdom and pure love, whilst Kat chose silver for creativity, inspiration and protection.
No matter how much planning you do - there are some things that you just cant plan for. The weather was stormy that week, at the beginning of the heatwave. We had rain in the morning, so put up an emergency marquee of our own (not Abbas’s!) to keep the ceremony dry. Half an hour before, the sun came out and it was boiling hot, but there was no time to take it down again. Halfway through the ceremony, mother nature decided that we should have the outdoor ceremony we had planned for, whipped the wind up and pulled the canvas right off, mid vow! It sounds awful, but actually was wonderful - the sun shone, chaps leapt to the rescue, everyone laughed and even though the best man dropped the rings in the canvas folds, everything turned out ok in the end! You really do just have to roll with it.
Peonies, David Austin Roses, Foxgloves & Delphiniums
The ceremony was something we had envisioned for a while. We wanted to wow our guests and so the main decorations were flowers, of course! Being a florist, we really had to go big or go home & my team did the most amazing job. I’m really drawn to deep berry pinks, so we lightened these a little with mauves. Peonies, David Austin Roses, foxgloves, delphiniums, pink hawthorn, clematis, stocks, sweetpeas and foraged garden foliages made up the majority of the designs. I walked up an aisle of flowers with both of my parents while The Colston Quartet played ‘A Thousand Years.’ The squash into the rain cover meant that the aisle was a little narrower than planned, so we didn’t quite fit and I didn’t even notice - too caught up in the moment! The main design for the ceremony was a ten foot moon arch, finished with a gorgeous swag of bespoke fabric from Kate and flanked by two tall urns - sadly the wind and the ceremony marquee roof did rather a lot of damage to these, so everything had an impromptu move around. I can honestly say though that in the moment, nothing like that even matters, as long as you’re marrying your best friend! Cheesy but true.
Vegan & Vegetarian Food
We wanted a really informal affair for the food, even though the whole theme for the day was elegant and dressed up. Ebbie’s Kitchen is a Frome based caterer and the only choice for us, having known Ebbie as a customer of mine and having sampled her mouthwatering cooking at a wedding before. Ebbie helped us create a menu of sharing platters, 90% of which was vegetarian or vegan & everyone still comments on how delicious it was - and how full they were! Our actual menus went AWOL on the day, so guests had the surprise when their food arrived. We decided against starters and went for copious amounts of canapés, Pimms and Prosecco instead. We then dined on roasted potato & summer squash salads, bowls of slow roasted balsamic tomato, asparagus and avocado, filo parcels of squash, basmati rice, pistachios and pomegranates, chicken breast stuffed with ricotta, seabass with black olives and quinoa with aduki beans and roasted peppers. The puddings were out of this world - trays of apple and ginger sticky toffee pudding, cointreau profiteroles and bowls of Eton mess. The food was really important to us, as was the cake! Leanne The Baking Chick brought my dreams of a sumptuous drip cake to life, caramel on top of lemon drizzle, chocolate orange and salted caramel, but the heat, (very high 20’s!) meant that it was a little more drippy than it was supposed to be! It sat on a table from The Prop Factory who also leant us the most gorgeous velvet sofas! We surrounded the cake by more florals and popped it near the showstopper of our marquee - the cocktail bar my dad spent weeks making from scratch, covered in flowers! After the cake cutting, we had our first dance to ‘Where the Sky Is’ - a Ward Thomas song which perfectly summed up the day - ‘Look, the sky is right where it should be,’ sung by Molly of The Delectables, our incredible swing band who helped everyone to dance the night away!