So this outdoor wedding at Pennard House in Somerset has got me feeling all fuzzy inside. The image captured by Ali Paul Photography of groom Joseph cupping Bride Rebecca's face is off the chart adorable, it's almost as if we're imposing on a private moment. The ceremony pictures are just as heart achingly beautiful, showing all the emotion, love and fun this couple feel for one another as well as showcasing Bride Rebecca's Rue de Seine gown to perfection. The delicate lace sleeve overlay really makes the outfit as does the simple flower stem & feather in her twisted bridal up do. Wait until you see the squad of blush bridesmaids and bromance between the groomsmen too, you'll be beaming from ear to ear. This wedding is definitely giving me that Friday feeling. Enjoy every minute lovely ones.
Our StoryRebecca the Bride: Joe and I met at work. He was actually my client, and I was working in a London ad agency. What started out as surreptitious hand-holding in-between meetings and kisses in the stairwell ended with us emigrating to LA, moving in together and getting engaged in San Francisco on a surprise trip he had planned. Although we had talked about getting married, and although I had a vague idea of weddings I’d been to that weren’t my favorite, I didn’t really have a firm plan of how the day should go. However, my friend had an amazing piece of advice for us. She said, decide what the most important thing is, and just focus on making that happen. For some people its getting perfect photographs, for others it’s having the most memorable ceremony, or creating a day that perfectly captures their personalities. So we sat down one day, and made two key decisions. The first was that we would get married at home, in the UK. The second was that the most important thing was for everyone to have a relaxing, fun time. That’s it. Especially us. The day was going to be intense enough as it is – seeing people we hadn’t seen in years since moving, binding ourselves together for all time – that the last thing we wanted was to be worrying about the particular shade of blush roses we had at the reception or the precise folding of the napkins. Those decisions pretty much paved the way for every single element of our wedding. Was it relaxed? Was it fun? Was it easily organized from the other side of the world with minimum stress? Then it was in. After a manic 4 hours on Pinterest one day pinning anything that caught my eye, I realized that I already had my theme. Everything I had pinned had feathers, blush or gold. So that was that. The ceremony itself was a real tear-jerker. Because we weren’t living in the UK we couldn’t officially get married there, so we had got married at The Little White Chapel in Vegas one weekend in October just to get the legalities out the way. What that meant for our ceremony was that it didn’t have to be legal, so we could do whatever we wanted. We had our close friend Gabriel be our officiate, and my sister Chloe plus Joe’s old friends Sam and James do beautiful readings. Gabriel did an amazing job – the ceremony he had written was romantic, hilarious and super relaxed. The sun came out right on cue; everyone had a full glass of prosecco and no one a dry eye. When it came to suppliers, we completely lucked out. All of our suppliers were wonderfully friendly and so accommodating; they added all sorts of little touches to ensure the day was perfect. They were all so understanding of our limitations – being in another country – and couldn’t have been more helpful. They were all as much of the day as our family.
PhotographerJust after we had got engaged (March 2015), we came home for Joe’s best friend’s wedding. Ali was the Photographer and did such a beautiful job of executing relaxed, candid, authentic, stunning images that really captured the spirit of the day. I knew that that was the style I wanted, so reached out to him as my first choice. Ali did a great job of photographing the day with very minimal assistance from me. We didn’t want styled or posed photographs in any way, so he had to grab everything paparazzi style. Friendly, unassuming and accommodating, Ali ensured our experience was amazing, and our memories incredible.
The DressI decided to buy my dress in the US, where we live, so that I could do my fittings without flying all the way to the UK! This boutique was actually recommended to me by my hairdresser, who bought her gown here. After visiting 4 or 5 boutiques in LA and not finding anything really special, I was eager to try somewhere new. Lovely is a lovely place to buy a gown. Relaxed, un-stuffy and accommodating, I tried on over 10 gowns in the end, all with something a little but unique about them. It certainly wasn’t your standard bridal boutique. I adored my dress on the hanger. Super simple, it focused on the waist – my best feature – and was very me. When I tried it on I knew I could wear it tomorrow – no dieting required – and could run around all day without it getting in the way. Most of all, I wanted to feel comfortable and like myself - a better version of myself, but not unrecognizable. This dress was that. When I tried the lace topper on I knew it was the one – not the prettiest, not the most flattering, not the most stunning, but it was me. I couldn’t stop smiling! It actually fit perfectly from the go-ahead. The length was spot on, I just needed the straps taking up a little and then I was good to go. Easiest fitting ever.
AccessoriesPricey and a little blingy – this belt was so not my vibe. The funny thing is though, it completely made the dress. I wore it in the evening once I had taken my topper off, and matched my earrings to it. It was my wild card purchase, so not me, but so perfect in the end. I’m tall and although a high pair of heels would have looked amazing – and been wonderful for the photos – that kind of painful glamour wasn’t what I was after. Most of all, I didn’t want to be taller than Joe. I found Nina Shoes online and found the perfect pair of simple ivory kitten heels with an oversized bow in the Sale, for less than $60. All I had was a blush rose flower in my hair – a lovely idea from my florist – and later on in the evening a gold-tipped feather from my place-setting that I spontaneously shoved into my bun. I had been trawling websites looking for chandelier earrings – big, statement sparklers – but they were all so expensive. I saw these on the shelf in Forever 21 for $10 when I was out shopping and stopped my search then and there! My aunt actually bought my earrings as a surprise on the day, and I quickly exchanged my Nordstrom chandeliers for these. It was very special to have something belonging to my nana with me as I walked up the aisle.
VenueChoosing the venue was the hardest part of the whole process. Firstly, because the venue really sets the tone of the whole wedding. Secondly, because we lived on the other side of the world. We knew we wanted to get married in either Somerset (Joe’s home) or the New Forest (my home), and with surprisingly few options in the latter, and after a couple of stunningly beautiful drives through the countryside around Glastonbury, Somerset won. When back in the UK for Joe’s best friend’s wedding in 2015, Joe’s mum took us to see Pennard House, a stately home close to the McGough’s hometown of Glastonbury, where a friend of a friend had recently got hitched. Joe was off on best man duties, and I hadn’t even really started thinking about venues, but I went along for the ride. We turned up without an appointment and were welcomed in by Georgina as if we were old and expected friends. She was so warm, so accommodating and showed us around the whole property – no mean feat with a newborn baby. The house was perfect. It was all England, which is exactly what we wanted, and very Jane Austen, which suited me to the ground. That being said, we couldn’t pick the first – and only – place we’d seen. Joe and I flew back to LA and the mothers stepped in, visiting every available country home in the Somerset area and taking notes down in a detailed spreadsheet – thank God for them! In the end our first impressions of Pennard House swung it – it helped that it was the only property I had actually seen – and we went with the team there. Joe didn’t actually see the venue until the wedding day! The team at Pennard House were just mind-blowing. They answered all my questions throughout the process, helped me out by sending me pictures of things so I could plan decorations, and were a total godsend on the actual day.
FloristNicky did a wonderful job of working to a very vague brief – I wanted blush and white, I love roses, and I thought eucalyptus would be a nice nod to our California home. Adding all the herbs – mint and rosemary – was Nicky’s idea, as was using the aisle bunches as the centerpieces for the reception, an idea that saved us tons of money, and what’s worse, wastage. We had buttonholes for all our family, and the bridesmaids carried a single rose with greenery – a lovely and romantic touch that meant that they weren’t laden down with bouquets all day. The rose in my hair and the greenery wrapped around the rafters at dinner were all Nicky’s ideas, and perfect. Nicky’s flowers were absolutely beautiful, and her willingness to help and flexibility meant that we saved time and money, all to beautiful effect.
CakeMy mum offered to make the cake and did the most amazing job. She handmade the sugar roses and ivy herself! There were two layers: carrot cake for Joe and chocolate fudge for me.
CaterCaroline Gent Caterers were recommended by Pennard House. We weren’t in the country to do tastings, or meet various people, so we booked them straight off and crossed our fingers! Wonderfully, no luck was needed. Caroline and her team were amazing, answering my West Coast emails at all hours, arranging a tasting for our parents and creating a menu that was absolutely perfect for our day: simple, hearty, delicious English fare. With canapés like mini Yorkshire puddings with roast beef, a whole gluten-free spread for my bridesmaid who is coeliac and large, family-style steak and ale pies for mains, the meal was incredible. So many of our guests said it was the best wedding food they’d ever had and we couldn’t agree more. The team were absolute heroes – we actually had to push the meal back by a couple of hours due to an accident and they handled the itinerary change so calmly and in such good nature that it took all the stress out of it for me. The quality of the food really was unbelievable. Full menu:
Canapes:Yorkshire puds Asparagus and parma ham Cheddar shortbread Mini fish n chips
Main:Elizabethan herb and goat cheese starter Steak and ale pie / lentil and caramelized onion wellington with mash and veg
Dessert:Trio of puddings: elderflower jelly, brownie and tart au citron Plus side table of teas and coffees
Evening:Massive Somerset cheeseboard
BridesmaidsI wanted my best girls to feel happy – genuinely happy – in their dresses. So I gave them 100 quid each, told them that pink or blush or gold would be ideal, and let them pick whatever they wanted. I loved the effect – all in sync but not the same, each dress reflecting their own personal style.
GroomsmenJoe’s suit was the first he tried on. Like my dress, he wanted to feel comfortable and look like himself, so he went with a slim blue suit. The groomsmen all rented matching suits. His tie and pocket square matched the groomsmen, and was from Etsy.
StationeryOur friend Kate designs wedding stationery, so we asked her to make our invites. Needless to say, she did an amazing job of capturing the relaxed atmosphere. We kept the gold feather theme, and bought blush envelopes to complete the look.
DJThe team did a great job. We had prepared a playlist, and asked guests to suggest a song when they RSVPed, so we really needed someone who could take our list and bring it to life.
DecorationsWe created everything ourselves with a lot of help from our families. Everything was handcrafted and lugged in a suitcase over from LA, or created last minute a couple of days before the wedding.
Dress Designer: Rue de Seine | Bridal Boutique: Lovely Bride | Bridal Shoes: Nina Shoes | Belt: BHLDN | Reception Earrings: Forever 21 | Venue: Pennard House | Florist: Nicky Llewellyn Flowers | Catering: Caroline Gent | Stationery: Little Molo | DJ: The Wedding Players | Groom Suit: Ted Baker | Groomsmen Suits: Moss Bros | Hair : Melanie Giles | Makeup: Eleanor Nancy