Sophie the Bride:
Alex proposed on Easter Sunday in a beautiful Airbnb we'd rented for the long weekend in Dartmoor. He'd set up an Easter egg hunt and had skillfully hidden the ring in the biggest Easter egg of them all. By the time I’d managed to crack it open, he was on one knee. Cue the tears.
designed a beautiful sapphire and diamond cushion-cut engagement ring for me. I’d fallen in love with Georgina’s designs after a work colleague came in with the most beautiful diamond ring so had proceeded to drop a few hints to Alex here and there.
By the Monday, I’d whittled the venues on my Pinterest
board (yes, I’m an optimist) down to 3, and by the Tuesday it was down to 1 - Chateau de Lartigolle
I’d always dreamt of a September wedding - the afternoon sun is so soft and romantic at that time of the year, and we were so lucky that Lartigolle had one weekend in the year remaining. It was meant to be.
The date is set and we only have 5 months from proposal to the wedding, which is a good thing for me as I am a closet overthinker so if we were to have a long engagement, I would have changed my mind on lots of early decisions by the wedding day!
We went for a planning meeting at Lartigolle at the start of May. As we drove up to Lartigolle it didn’t disappoint - there was a break in the clouds and the Chateau was basked in the most beautiful light. Lartigolle is run by Emma, Chris and Nick, who is an utter dream to work with. They make you feel like your wedding is their only focus for the whole year. By the end of the meeting, we had pretty much planned the entire thing.
Emma, one of the owners of the Chateau, is the most incredible florist and stylist so she was able to bring our ‘whimsical and wild’ vision to life. We went for bouquets of astilbe, fern, peonies and cosmos which complemented the Chateau perfectly.
We wanted to keep styling to a minimum on the tables, so went for candelabras, vintage glasses, dusky pink velvet napkin ties and white linen tablecloths. The flowers were displayed in cut glass vases.
Wildflower Illustration Co
designed all of our stationery and the husband and wife team were so lovely to work with. Rebecca designed the most beautiful invites complete with an illustration of Lartigolle, a sketched map of the surrounding countryside, and a schedule for the three days. We wanted to make it super easy for guests to know how to get to the Chateau and select their accommodation. Plus, Rebecca designed some really cute RSVP cards which we loved receiving in the post.
Caroline Castigliano Wedding Dress
I always thought it was just hearsay when people would talk about finding "the one" until I tried on my dress only to turn around and see my Mum in tears.
The dress was the first I'd seen in Caroline Castigliano
, but I'd dismissed it on the hanger after saying "I'm sure it looks beautiful on, but it isn't me". The stylist snuck it into the dressing room only for me to fall in love as soon as I put it on.
For my final fitting, I couldn’t believe it when Caroline Castigliano herself walked into the room to fit the dress! That's when the dream started to really become a reality.
Alex wore a Hugo Boss
suit, with a Kate Temple
tie and pocket square, and Grenson
brogues. The Groomsmen wore Marks and Spencer
suits with the same Kate Temple ties to match Alex, but different-coloured pocket squares.
The bridesmaids, my two sisters, wore the Mykonos dress by Rewritten
in a beautiful soft pink and I gave them rose gold necklaces by Astley Clarke
which complemented the dresses perfectly.
Our niece and nephews were our gorgeous flower girl and page boys. Anya’s dress was from Monsoon
and her shoes were from Zara
. I wanted her to feel like a Princess for the day, which she did - even turning up in her dress on Christmas Day, any excuse to wear it again! Caleb and Ralph’s page boy outfits were from H&M
Zoe at the Chateau is an incredibly talented chef and we all ate like Kings (and Queens) for the entire weekend.
Friday evening was an informal supper at Ferme de Labarthe (where we had) with melt-in-your-mouth rotisserie chickens, fresh salads from their own vegetable patch, and the juiciest apple tarts I have ever tasted. On the wedding day, we all shared social platters of jambonneau, salads and the most delicious house-smoked lamb. Our ‘cake’ was a sparkly tower of Eton Mess.
Our guests still talk about the food. That’s how epic it all was.
I walked down the aisle to Tildon Krautz’s
version of Hoppipolla, which sent chills down my spine. Tildon Krautz played us back down the aisle to The Weekend and continued to play the most beautiful music at the reception.
A friend’s husband kindly offered to DJ for us, and we’re so glad he did. He was brilliant and drove his whole set over from Bournemouth - the dance floor was in full swing all night, and he brought a smoke machine which made for some incredible photos.
I searched high-and-low for the right photographer. I instantly “clicked” with Nigel John
- I was drawn to his ability to capture the precious moments and tell the “story”, rather than just staging shots. Nigel brought a second photographer, Luke Bell
, who was brilliant at creating the more experimental shots. One moment, Luke would be hanging out of a top floor window shooting me walking down the aisle and the next he would be snapping away whilst lying on the floor! They are both top guys who became good friends over the course of the weekend, and really calmed me down when I was having a little bridal panic. Our wedding would not have been the same without them.
Try not to sweat the small stuff - it’s so easy to get bogged down in the details, only for you to not really even notice them on the day.
If you’re getting married abroad, and even if you’re not, try to make a weekend of it. We had an informal supper on the Friday evening which was perfect for breaking the ice, and brunch on Sunday to help nurse sore heads and share hilarious stories from the day before. Think about inviting your photographer along so they can get to know the people they’ll be shooting - they won’t feel like such a stranger on the day.
Don’t leave anything to chance. If your venue is hard to reach, make sure you include directions, travel times and a schedule of events so nothing is a surprise.
Use your friends and family to help out - it will make the day so much more personal. My Aunt, who just happens to be a priest in Australia, made the epic trip to be our celebrant. She helped with the script and was an all-around good egg.
And above all, enjoy it. You’ll have the best day surrounded by your greatest love and your closest friends and family no matter what curveballs are thrown your way.