Inspiration

Sophia & Chris filled their lovely wedding day with pastel blooms and lots of rustic, handcrafted details. Sophia wore the gorgeously feminine Esme gown by Naomi Neoh and her bridesmaids dazzled in Needle & Thread, whose dresses are fast becoming the most coveted dresses around. We get it, that tulle and sequin combination is hard to beat! The photos come from the wonderful Katherine Ashdown whose light-filled images have graced these pages often. It's always a pleasure to share her imagery with you all. Sophia and Chris definitely hit the jackpot in choosing Katherine to capture their wedding day, as you're about to see...

The Bride

Sophia The Bride: When you’re told that you’ll know when you’ve found ‘the one’, they weren’t wrong. I had a designer in mind having seen various dresses designed by her on social media. From the ethereal chiffon silk billowing skirts to the delicate eyelash lace, it was clear that the Naomi Neoh’s ‘Esme’ was the dress of my dreams. The dress looked stunning when worn, but as soon as it caught in the breeze, like it did on the wedding day, it was magical. It just happened to be fate that the one store that stocked her dresses was closing down and had ‘Esme’, a brand new sample, for sale. It was slightly small for me, but with some room for altering, I couldn’t resist. My veil was simple and for me, it was the one must have bridal accessory – it made the transition from normal attire to bride and complimented the dress beautifully. I chose a dainty golden leaves headpiece to add detail to my hair once the veil is removed and continued to add golden accessorises as I can’t resist touches of metallic. I chose Kate Spade shoes that featured gold glittery heels (small heels as I’m tall at 5’10), an Anya Hindmarch gold glitter clutch to match the heels, a pair of cushion cut, champagne/amber simulated diamond earrings and matching tennis bracelet – which never got used after receiving Chris’ surprise gift. Chris had secretly left instructions with his mum to hand a letter and a bag to my friend Mandy, who was my hairstylist for the wedding morning. The letter stated Mandy was to read his letter before my makeup was applied (it has to be said – the best make up I’ve ever had applied). As she read out his letter, it very quickly had us all in a mix of tears, awe and most definitely left us speechless. Chris is a romantic at heart and the words were so touching and close to his heart, I was relieved my makeup wasn’t finished, I was a teary mess! He asked her at the end of the letter to hand me my first gift (first?!), it was a Mulberry bag! And the second gift, which overwhelmed me further, was a Tiffany pearl bracelet – which I of course wore on the day.

The Groom

Chris was adamant from day one that he knew the look he wanted. A stressful experience as we managed to track the only suit left in the world in his size and the colour he preferred, which had us checking our emails at 6:30am every morning to grab it before anyone else could once it was put back into stock. He chose a sky blue Hugo Boss cotton suit. He paired it with a grey waistcoat that featured a blue floral pattern on the back, a blue floral bow tie, a grey suede Russell & Bromley belt and topped the look with a pair of Tan Barker McClean leather brogues that were detailed with contrasting blue suede inserts. A very handsome, dapper Groom and he certainly stood out from the rest of the groomsmen.

The Venue

Picking the church and venue was simple. Chris’s mother had not only grown up in Kimbolton, but his parents had married at the church and his grandmother who had remained living in Kimbolton with his grandfather, had also worked in the Castle. The sentimental touch behind the venues was nothing short of perfect for us. Not only do we both love castles, we got engaged at a castle, so we felt it all tied beautifully in together.

The Decor

We love flowers, so we decided on a summer’s garden theme, but incorporated our love of metallic and colour. We sourced floral details such as edible flowers to decorate the welcome champagne, seed favours to share the love of flowers with others and a floral/metallic design for the cake. We bought some special favours for the top table because we just couldn’t resist, Faust’s Hangover Potions, which we thought would not only be apt but something original. They weren’t floral, but herbal surely counts! Chris’s father kindly grew the flowers for the table plan crate display, which featured the table name cards themed around castles and flowers. The wooden centrepieces on the tables were matched with handmade log slice place names, which my maid of honour and I took a gold calligraphy pen to and mimicked calligraphy as best as we could. One of the best parts that we couldn’t recommend highly enough, was designing our own displays and details for the reception, from spraying rustic wooden crates gold, to detailing plain 3D letters with gold glitter. It added to the excitement when the wedding party all pitched in the day before the wedding to dress the venue.

The Floral Design

We were lucky enough to have support from not one, but three florists. They each in their own way helped us achieve a soft, whimsical, handpicked style with an air of natural beauty. The church florist kindly made the pedestal for the church, with soft white and blush hues. The talented local florist, Andrea, helped us last minute the day before with faux rose garlands that intertwined through the wrought iron staircase at the venue, which was ideal as our group photo’s ended up using that as our backdrop. She kindly brought some more props to help decorate any spaces that would benefit from some extra detail. She was a godsend! She was also the stylist behind the whimsical pew end flowers. We worked with our other florist Heidi to create a summer’s garden theme with log slices and milk bottles featuring in the centrepieces with soft, handpicked flowers. She also worked with us to design the boutonnieres, bridal and bridesmaid bouquets, where we added twine and ribbon to tie them all to achieve the relaxed summer feel.

The Wedding Party

The bridesmaids had originally been destined to wear apricot Coast dresses, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from Needle & Thread dresses and on a whim purchased them when I noticed they had gone into the sale. The tulle skirts were too pretty to resist. Their hairstyle completed the look with a halo braid – they were the epitome of brides ‘maids’. The little bridesmaids wore apricot and blush Monsoon dresses that appeared soft and fun for their age. We matched the page boys with cotton bow ties in apricot and soft grey braces and shorts to give a relaxed summer vibe to the children. Amazingly they stayed fully dressed all day! The groomsmen wore French Connection 3 piece suits in cobalt blue with floral bow ties and tan leather shoes from Next. We shopped for the suits as a group and the decision was unanimous that they loved the suits and tan shoe accompaniment.

The Ceremony

The ceremony was the highlight of the day for us. We had both been tearful during the rehearsal, which appeared to have saved us from tears on the day. The entrance music to the church was a piece we heard at a classical music concert years ago, which had us grinning as we locked eyes on the walk down the aisle. We couldn’t stop smiling during the vows and felt transfixed with appreciation as we heard our readings. Jenna, one of the bridesmaids, read Corinthians, which was symbolic of love and marriage to us. Carina, one of our close friends, read Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Love’s Philosophy, which we had both agreed was natural and personal to us. The music we chose for during the signing of the registers was from Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, the instrumental version of ‘Kissing You’. It had been trialled but turned out to have Leonardo DiCaprio whispering over the beginning part, which made for plenty of laughter – no wedding day is complete without a hiccup! The deep sense of love, warmth and contentment that we felt, seeing our family and friends mingling and enjoying themselves was priceless. We knew it would be a day to remember for us, but we couldn’t be happier that it was equally the same for them.

The Entertainment

We both love the way music compliments a setting. We chose a string quartet who played before the guests were seated until the speeches began. We chose music that was classical and some pieces that were instrumental versions of a few of our favourite songs. It felt extra special as we sat to eat and catch up on our day, to oversee our family and friends enjoying themselves, with the melody of Coldplay’s Yellow drifting through the room. We could even say that the Best Man’s speech was entertainment! He had a projector and performed a half an hour quiz on Chris and I; embarrassing moments and memories, of course. We are still recovering from it! We had a DJ in the evening because we both agreed the music we enjoy just couldn’t be recreated by a band. We chose a variety of songs and danced the night away with our friends to nostalgic music that we all share memories with.

The Food

We were keen to ensure our guests were comfortable and enjoying the day as much as us; especially when we would be off having photos taken. With this in mind we chose a 1940’s ice cream bike instead of canapes, in hope that it would be hot enough on the day, which, despite cloud, it was just hot enough. We later found out it was very popular, with most guests admitting to not just having one ice cream, but having four! The main wedding breakfast was exquisite. We had already had the pleasure of tasting the options prior to the day and decided against a ‘safe’ menu. There wasn’t any food untouched as our friends and family equally share the love of food like us. Our friend Lydia is a cake genius, making our decision easy! She created a cake of dreams with a cascading rose and metallic leaf, a design we had happened across and kept circling back to. The flavours were out of this world – sheer heaven! We were kindly gifted by friends two large boxes of Hotel Chocolat chocolates for after dinner, which went down very well...so well, we didn’t see a single chocolate! The evening food was a cheese tower, adorned with nettle leaves, raffia and accompanied by various flavours of chutney’s and crackers. Knowing the wedding breakfast was going to be so filling, we opted for a relaxed feel for the evening food, where the guests could snack on cheese as they please. If not dancing, most seemed to be surrounding the cheese!

The Transport

I can’t not mention the joy of having two good friends drive you and your father to your wedding. Talk about calming your exciting nerves! They gifted us the use of their vintage Jaguar, which Judy opted to drive. We were running fashionably late by 10 minutes due to hair and make up! Judy had us laughing the whole journey with her swift corner turning, causing David to hold his hands over his eyes for half of the journey. It’s a priceless memory I’m so pleased we will share for years to come.

The Photography

We don’t know where to start with describing our experience with Kathy. She was like a friend on the day, than another supplier. We had actually met her for our engagement shoot a year previous to the day of our wedding. We had found her work enchanting and full of light, knowing that her style was what we wished to use on our day. It is more than safe to say she did not disappoint. To us, we feel a photographer is one of the most important supplier’s to book for the wedding day. We checked she would be free before we booked the venue date! A photographer may be expensive but can be worth their weight in gold, as it’s their memorable, snippets into your day that you will cherish for life. Truly, she caught moments that you may forget in a flash, or never knew existed. She is the best purchase we made, next to the venue.

Advice

We didn’t use a wedding planner as we had both planned to keep the wedding within budget and the indulgence of a wedding planner was out of the question. However, it wasn’t the only reason, as we had been keen to get hands on and create our own vision. The day before the wedding we dressed the venue with our family, bridesmaids and ushers, which was fun and ironically, a calming experience before the big day. We would thoroughly recommend this!

Written by Fern Godfrey

Bride: Esme by Naomi Neoh | Alterations: Simply Alterations | Bracelet: Tiffany | Earrings: Etsy | Shoes: Kate Spade | Ballet Pumps: French Sole | Hair Piece: Britten Weddings | Veil: HM Veils | Make Up: Sabina Ventriglia | Bridesmaids: Needle & Thread | Flower Girls: Monsoon | Groom: Hugo Boss | Brogues: John Lewis | Groomsmen: French Connection via Moss Bros. | Ceremony Venue: St Andrew's Church | Venue: Kimbolton Castle | Videographer: TK Wedding Films | Floral Design: Heidi Appleyard | Stationery: Wildflower Illustration Co. | Calligraphy: Kayleigh Tarrant | Entertainment: Rose Quartet | DJ: Stardust Wedding Disco | Ice Cream Bike: The Ice Cream Bike Co. | Marquee: Concept Marquees | Ribbon & Silk Runners: Pom Pom Blossom | Lancaster & Cornish | Signage: Painted By Katie | Edible Flowers: Maddocks Farm Organics

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