This wedding is extra special as bride Rachel happens to be a friend of mine :) I'm really excited to share her big day with you all and tell you about her wedding planning business, Mirabella Weddings. Rachel not only has a great eye for detail and is super organised, but she is also lovely - exactly the kind of lady you want by your side when planning a wedding. If you're feeling a little overwhelmed and need the assistance of a planner - do get in touch with Rachel, she'll be able to help and make the process really fun at the same time! Her own big day is just beautiful, gorgeous flowers, the decor is really pretty and it just exudes the laidback luxury style that Mirabella Weddings is known for.

The Bride

Rachel The Bride: With so much choice, the dress hunt was initially a bit tricky, but I was adamant from the beginning that I didn’t want anything too traditional or typically ‘bridal’. Instead, I wanted to find something chic and contemporary, and quickly found that the fitted Pronovias styles were most flattering for me. Having tried on a number, I put on the Pronovias Agua, which I’d spotted online, and instantly knew it was ‘the one’. It's simplicity made it feel classy, yet the intricate detailing on the shoulders, a low back and huge train helped really give it the wow-factor too. After struggling to find the right veil to match, we ordered the plain cathedral length Isabella veil from Britten, and my Mum very kindly spent many hours hand-stitching on a selection of small beads and pearls, that complemented the detailing on my dress. It was the perfect balance, and I absolutely loved having something so unique and personal. Having always set my heart on owning a pair of Jimmy Choo’s from a young age, I treated myself to the Tori heels as our wedding day seemed the perfect excuse. I loved that the embellished attachment could be added for the day to make them feel more special for our wedding but could easily be removed for other occasions in the future.

The Groom

Wearing a suit every day to work, Luke really wanted to have something special for our wedding and went to Edit Suits in London to get a tailored suit. We happened to find suits in the same cloth in Suit Supply, so the groomsmen were able to get matching suits, without the tailored price tag. We really struggled to find ties and pocket squares in the right colour but eventually stumbled upon Swagger & Swoon, where we found a lovely nude colour that complemented the bridesmaids dresses perfectly. Luke topped off his outfit with some beautiful cufflinks from Tateossian.

The Bridesmaids

Luke and I knew very quickly that we didn’t want matching bridesmaid dresses – firstly, there is no other occasion in life where anybody ever wants to go to an event wearing the same dress as someone else, and secondly, it’s so hard to find something that suits everyone! In the end, we picked a colour palette (a sort of blush/nude) and myself and the girls ordered a whole load of dresses online, making a day of it trying them all on and seeing what worked. The girls fairly quickly found their favourites, and they all happened to be similar enough in style to clearly show they were bridesmaids, but different enough that they all suited them individually.

The Ceremony

As much as we tried to steer away from a lot of the stereotypical traditions on our big day, we felt that, for us, getting married in a church was the ‘right’ thing to do. We got married in the beautiful church in the tiny village Rachel grew up in. Not only did this mean our ceremony was highly personal to us both, but it was also so lovely to have a number of family friends from the village come to celebrate with us outside the church after the ceremony! We had both worried about being nervous or emotional, but there was just so much warmth and love and everyone went above and beyond to make sure we had the most perfect day – we literally couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces the whole time! Our readings were Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Apache Wedding Blessing and 1 Corinthians. Walking out to a huge shower of confetti, the sun shining down and wedding bells ringing was just such an amazing moment.

The Venue

Despite first visiting on a rainy January day, we instantly fell in love with the beautiful South Farm. The fact that we were blessed with perfect September sunshine on our big day only made it even more beautiful, and our guests were able to fully enjoy all of the stunning grounds, soaking up the garden games, deckchairs and ice cream stand. We are big foodies and this was a big part of us choosing South Farm. Many of the ingredients are grown onsite, and the food was absolutely incredible, from the canapes through to the delicious wedding breakfast. From our initial visit through to the day itself, all of the South Farm staff went out of their way to ensure we had the most stress-free day and we cannot thank them enough for all their help.

The Entertainment

This was a priority for us – aside from good food and good wine, what we really wanted was a good party! During the welcome drinks, we had live Spanish guitar, which was the perfect accompaniment for such a warm, sunny day. During the wedding breakfast we had live piano, before moving on to the beautiful adjacent barn for the evening party. We found it tricky at first to find a band as many were too cheesy, but we found the Hot Shots and couldn’t have been happier! They were great and had everyone on the dancefloor all night – including Rachel’s 96 year old grandma!

The Transport

Both being big car fans, our wedding car was an important decision - we didn’t want a traditional classic car, and instead decided on a Jaguar E-Type convertible. As well as Luke being desperate to drive one, it had long been Rachel’s dad’s dream to one day drive one. We kept this as a surprise, and only when Rachel’s dad arrived at the venue in the morning did he find out that he’d not only be able to drive Rachel to her wedding, but in one of his all-time favourite cars! He was so excited, and having my Dad drive me to the church with all the passing cars en-route honking and waving at us was such a special feeling and made me all the more excited. Post-ceremony, it was Luke’s turn, and we had so much fun putting the roof down to enjoy the sun on our skin as we drove to the venue as a just-married couple!

The Flowers & Styling

We didn’t really want a colour scheme – instead we just wanted a palette of our favourite colours. We love flowers but wanted something a little different. The amazing Claire from Lily & May managed to perfectly interpret our rather vague brief and the only time I cried all day was when I saw my bouquet (happy tears!). They were more beautiful than I could ever have imagined, and the venue, once complete with centrepieces and ribbon and flower backdrop was just stunning. The venue was topped off with a fairy light canopy (you can never have too many fairy lights, right?!) from Alice at Fleur de Lace. I absolutely loved the styling process, as well as the planning itself, and have since set up my own wedding planning and styling business, Mirabella Weddings.

The Photography

Our photographer was the brilliant Bea, along with her second shooter, Ilaria Petrucci. We were keen from the beginning to have two photographers, having often noticed that other couples wedding photos only featured photos of the bride getting ready, but none of the groom. We wanted to capture all moments of the day, and both Bea and Ilaria did an amazing job of getting all of the little details but also so many wonderful natural shots of our friends and family that we weren’t even aware they were taking. We are so happy with our pictures and feel that they really capture all of the warmth, love and happiness of our day.

The Videography

Despite initially questioning the need for a videographer (we were visualising cheesy wedding films in our head), this is now hands down the best money we invested. Tim from Spatz Film was great to work with and, along with his second shooter, blended so well into the background but perfectly captured all of the moments. Our video is the perfect reminder of our day and captures the pure happiness and joy of the day so well. Everything on the day goes by in such a blur, and I genuinely couldn’t recommend a videographer more strongly so that you can take the time to enjoy and relive every moment post-wedding.

Fern Godfrey

Written by Fern Godfrey

Wedding Planning & Styling: Mirabella Weddings | Bride: Pronovias | Veil: Britten | Shoes : Jimmy Choo | Hair & Make Up: Victoria Percival | Groom & Groomsmen: Edit Suits | Suit Supply | Swagger & Swoon | Venue: South Farm | Flowers: Lily & May | Prop Hire: Fleur De Lace | Guitarist : Jon Alexander via Warble Entertainment | Band: The Hot Shots via Alive Network | Pianist: Piano Shell | Cake: Emily Jane Cakes | Film: Spatz Film | Transport: Wallis and Son

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