I love it when we receive weekend long celebrations, especially when there is double the inspiration, fashion and fun, and this destination wedding at Borgo di Castelvecchio in Tuscany is most certainly not in short supply of any.
The festivities kickstarted with fun and frolics with friends and family around the pool, followed by a colourful Indian ceremony. The Bride, Groom and guests all wore traditional attire, partook in bhangra dancing with ceremonial bells and had what looks like an absolute riot. The Groom even arrived by horse!
The second day followed a more traditional white wedding theme with the exception of the Brides stunning Coral Oscar de la Renta gown which popped against the Bridesmaids white Ghost dresses and looks epic billowing in the wind surrounded by those stunning Tuscan views.
I won’t spoil any more for you I’ll just let the gorgeous images by Fiona Kelly do all the talking. Enjoy. Every. Detail, let’s just say you’re in for a treat.
This beautiful and traditional spring wedding at Braxted Park is just pure eye candy. Soft pink floral arrangements including peonies, ranunculus and David Austin roses make for the most dreamy centrepieces and bouquets and the ‘boudoir’ pink Ghost bridesmaid gowns are just pure heaven.
I also can’t stop ogling our Brides gorgeous Pronovias fishtail gown, the ruffles just scream fairytale princess which our Bride Lucy is every bit the leading lady, and of course every princess needs a pair of glass slippers don’t they or should I say epic sparkly Jimmy Choo‘s!
Everything is SO sophisticated and SO romantic and none more than the tender moment cleverly captured by Studio Rochford of the Groom snuggling into his Bride during the speeches that will literally make your heart skip a beat it’s so adorable. Enjoy every detail of this glorious wedding and prepare to swoon. ALOT!
Who is in the mood for an ultra glamorous Black Tie affair set against the wintry backdrop of Castlemartyr in Ireland? Well you’re in luck because we have exactly that in Kiara and Gregg’s delicious wedding this afternoon.
And these two are hot. Like seriously HOT. Perfection right down to Gregg’s shiny shoes and Kiara’s sparkly toes bringing with them a serious dollop of Hollywood glamour to these pages for our delection.
The pair opted for a winter wedding at Castlemartyr partly for sentimental reasons and partly because they felt that the venue would be just as beautiful on a cold wet winter’s day as it would at the height of summer and I have to say that they weren’t wrong. I adore the colour palette that Kiara has integrated into her wedding – all soft minky greys with subtle golden undertones and a dash of dusty pink – perfect for the time of year.
I swear if there’s ever a bride and groom that have smiled from ear to ear for the whole of their wedding day then it’s Lucie and Stuart. The pair married at Lucy’s parents’ super chic manoir in Puisseguin, France complete with a classic and elegant black tie theme.
And it looks as if everyone had an absolute hoot judging from the beams on their stylish guests’ faces.
Perhaps what I love most about this ‘I Do’ apart from Mister Phill’s awesome photography of the day is the time and dedication that Lucie put into the decor and styling of her wedding reception. Be it the spotty black and white paper wrapped lovingly around mini baguettes for each guest, the antique clocks set at the times that each event of the day was due to take place at or the glass window frames doubling up as an epic table plan…there’s something to gaze at in every photo.
And let’s not forget the flowers either; the little galvanised buckets filled with Gypsophila, Lucie’s Anenome and Peony bouquet and the sweet spotty feather and Gypsophila buttonholes for the boys. All just so lovely!
I’m going to go out on a limb here and bet that this morning’s beautiful sylvan affair will be pinned to within an inch of its life by you folks.
I mean how can it not. There’s Annabelle’s ethereal beauty (I’m seriously coveting her tumbling locks!), the drop dead gorgeous bridesmaids in antique hued silks, hanging lampshades and an outdoor leather sofa, floral wreaths, a swing, a heap of kisses, the sweetest signage and a plethora of boys in blue.
Oh and then there’s THE dress.
What’s more Annabelle’s frock was specifically designed for her by bridal designer extraordinaire Stephanie Allin who then named it “Annabelle” after her. How immense is that!
I also have to say that I applaud any bride that puts thought into her wedding breakfast setting; the one hundred jam jars filled with tea lights throughout the woods, the big banquet set-up and the specially requested wooden floorboard planks in the marquee make the whole set-up completely enchanting.
Don’t believe me…take a look for yourself.
Summer In Pembrokeshire
Annabelle The Bride: There were two things that were always going to happen, we were going to get married in the Summer and it was going to happen in beautiful Pembrokeshire, where both of us were born and grew up. Our wedding day was August 3rd 2013. The wedding ceremony took place in St Mary’s Church Haverfordwest a medieval church built in the heart of the town.
We both wanted a marquee reception at a venue that showcased Pembrokeshire’s natural charm. A visit was made to Hilton Court Gardens (Roch, Pembrokeshire), a venue perfectly situated amongst acres of romantic woodland. There was something so magical about the gardens and the surroundings; it was ideal. We would be the first wedding that they had hosted, making it even more special.
A Hint Of Drama
I have always had an appreciation verging on obsession for beautiful dresses, so wedding dress shopping for me was always going to be hugely enjoyable.
I was lucky enough to get an appointment with Stephanie Allin in her Mumbles Boutique. After a cup of tea we chatted through the dress and my thoughts. It had to be romantic, but with a hint of drama ( a long train was a must) and I ideally wanted to use the fabric from her Indie Rose creation, which is an unusual oyster/blush colour and boasts the most beautiful texture.
In a matter of minutes Steph had whipped up a sketch based on our conversation. It was like she had stepped into my imagination and drawn my perfect dress, she just got it. Some people would be wary about choosing a dress without physically seeing exactly what it would look like first, but I remember Steph said to me “ I don’t let any of my girls leave this shop until everything is perfect, do you trust me?” And I did.
I absolutely adored my dress. One of my favourite parts about it was a thick piece of lace that was stitched all the way down the back of the train. We added this in towards the end after a conversation Steph and I had about the BBC drama the White Queen and how much we were enjoying it and seeing all the medieval fashion. We thought the lace would be a nod to that era.
My friend Beth runs a wedding accessory site called Pearl and Willow, which sells gorgeous vintage inspired items. I knew that I didn’t want to wear much jewellery, just earrings and decided on a pair called Diedim, designed by Australian designer Stephanie Brown, which I purchased through Pearl & Willow.
From the very beginning I wanted a veil. It was really hard to find one that complimented my dress, as I loved the train and detail on the back and didn’t want anything that was going to hide this. Again I turned to Stephanie Allin who designed me a cream medium length veil adorned with lace at the bottom, it reminded me of Maid Marian! On the day to add a extra bit of romance, I placed a clip of flowers just above the veil comb.
I am renowned often laughed at for wearing impractical shoes. Just ask our photographers who I think during one of our first meetings were impressed with my ability to walk through a muddy woodland in pair of 6 inch sandals! Therefore, my wedding shoes were of course very high- a pair of gold stiletto sandals from Dune.
I have basically had the same hairstyle since I was a little girl, so I wouldn’t have felt like me if my hair hadn’t been down. Elements of the wedding were going to have quite an ethereal feel and I wanted my hair to be styled in a way that reflected this. Sarah who did my hair made me feel so relaxed and really listened to what I wanted which made all the difference.
Sarah came to the house on the morning of the wedding to do my hair which she curled then brushed through to create soft waves. This was followed by a lot of backcombing! We then decided to loosely pin back the front pieces. Carl was very complimentary about my hair on the wedding day, which I didn’t expect as he never usually notices these things.
I did my own make up on the day, with my friend and bridesmaid Jade stepping in to do my bronzer as I can never seem to get this right!
A local florist in Haverfordwest called Tussie Mussie arranged the bouquets for the bridal party and the pin holes. My favourite flower has always been amnesia rose, so I wanted this to for the base of the bouquet along with a selection of other dusky colour roses and fresh herbs. My only other request was that the bouquet wasn’t overly structured. Every bouquet was tied with lace ribbon, the same lace that had been used for my dress.
Amnesia roses were used again for the buttonholes along with stems of wax flower.
To me the church where we got married has a haunting beauty about it which I wanted to emphasise. I didn’t want loads of formal flower arrangements, Instead we used mainly ivy and lace, which hung from the pew ends and window sills. Decorating the church was a real family affair. A family friend was in charge and along with aunties, cousins and sisters they made it look wonderful.
We did add some colour to the entrance arch where Dean (a family friend) draped lace and flowers; it was very romantic.
Guys And Gals
All six of my gorgeous bridesmaids each have their own style and idea of what they do and don’t like in a dress; I wanted to reflect this in my choice of bridesmaid dresses. When it comes to fashion I am really not a matchy matchy person and love putting items together to create a certain look, so having a range of different style and colour dresses was very me.
Four of the bridesmaid dresses were from Ghost using their dye to order collection which had an perfect range of dusky colours for me to choose from. The other two were from John Lewis. Each bridesmaid wore a dress that was really suited to them, they looked incredible and very romantic which is what I wanted.
Carl sorted the usher suits himself. First of all he went for grey suits, but two weeks before admitted it had been playing on his mind that they weren’t quite right, so exchanged them for teal blue suits from Next. It was definitely the right decision.
Carl knew exactly what he wanted, a classic charcoal grey suit just like his Dad wore on his wedding day. We were visiting my sister in Bristol and whilst we were there decided to call into Hugo Boss to take a look. Carl tried on one suit and when he walked out of the changing room both my sister and I said wow, he looked so handsome, he had to have that suit.
Flowers In Her Hair
O & C Photography were recommended to us so we arranged to meet up with them at Hilton Court Gardens. We both walked away from the catch up saying that we had found our photographers, decision made.
We were really impressed with how genuine Charis and Owen were, we didn’t feel like like just another bride and groom. Their approach to wedding photography was perfect for us; they had the right balance of being laid back but obviously very conscientious about their work. I had a few ideas in my head of how I wanted the photos to look and they encouraged me to send over images that I liked, they really listened.
With O & C Photography you get two photographers which for us was brilliant as it meant that the morning of the wedding Charis went with the girls to capture them getting married and Owen went to the pub with the boys.
Both of them really embraced the day Charis even put flowers in her hair to be in keeping with the woodland theme!! Our family and friends all commented on how great the photographers were, they were very much part of the day. A few weeks after the wedding we received the photos and we were delighted, they captured the feel of the day perfectly.
Tea And Cake
We decided to have a vintage themed tea and cake area. A friend of ours built us a wooden backdrop which we wallpapered with Laura Ashley wallpaper. In front of this we put a table laid up with teacups and saucers which we had collected from charity shops, Great Aunts and Grandparents and placed the wedding cake next to them.
Neither of us are a big fan of icing or fruit cake so we had a different flavour for each layer – raspberry and champagne, white chocolate and lemon. The sponge was smothered in a thick buttercream and had fresh roses on the top. The whole tea and cake area looked really effective and the cake was delicious.
Love Of My Life
We wanted our dancefloor to constantly be full of people, so we chose a band called Symphony Sid and the Swing Kings, a local band who are guaranteed to get everyone up dancing We also had a disco (West Wales Disco) which played all our favourites!
Carl chose the first song, I didn’t know what it was going to be until I stepped up on the dance floor. He chose a queen song called Love of My Life. The song is significant as we both generally have different taste in music, but when it comes to Queen we both agree. It’s a beautiful song and I love it even more now.
For our wedding theme we drew inspiration from the beautiful venue and the fact that I am a hopeless romantic, something Carl finds very amusing! The theme was Romance in the Woods.
We wanted to incorporate the woodland and gardens into our day as much as possible. A mini seating area was set up under a tree complete with a couch and lampshades hanging from the branches. There were also swings and hand painted wooden signs dotted around, I think the most popular sign was the one saying “to the bar!”
At night we hung over 100 jam jars with tea lights throughout the woodland. Carl’s parents had spent many evenings wrapping wire around the jars!! Also, at night Hilton Court created a large fire pit and up lit the gardens. Collectively it all looked so effective, the woods were enchanting.
Inside we wanted it to look like one big banquet so decided on long rows of tables. My stepmum was incredible and spent months bringing my ideas to life, she always found a way to make them work, however impractical they were! Some of my favourite accessories were the array of floral napkins which were actually cut from curtains found in charity shops and the long lace table runners that again my step Mum had made. We all spent a year collecting cut glass vases and glass candle sticks from charity shops. These were lined up along the table and filled with flowers and candles.
One of the best decisions was regards the flooring in the marquee. I felt strongly that carpet would not work with the look I was trying to create so asked the marquee company if we had to put carpet down or if we could just use the wooden floorboard planks. First of all I think they thought I had gone mad, but it really worked.
We found an old red post box at a local vintage shop which we bought and used for wedding post. It’s now on display in our house and is a nice reminder of a very special day!
What I loved about our wedding was that it was that it was simply us. Couples shouldn’t feel that they have to do things a certain way because they think it’s how it should be done or because it’s fashionable at the time. A wedding is about the two of you and that’s what your day should reflect. We were surrounded by family and friends who were drunk, laughing and having a good time – that’s what made our day.
My only other bit of advice is advice I was given by my friend who got engaged a few months before me. Planning a wedding is a really special time and something you will only do once, so enjoy and appreciate every bit of the experience. Whenever I felt stress levels rising I always thought of this and it made me feel better. In fact, I wish I could do it all again!