Well hello there outrageously decadent floral arrangements in gorgeous shades of pink… 😉
The Corinthia Hotel in London makes the most elegant back drop to this afternoon’s inspiration shoot. It literally screams for luxe table settings, ornate cakes and sophisticated sartorial choices, so naturally photographer Roberta Facchini and stylist Encharm’d had to oblige! They opted for florals by Amie Bone, who has made the place explode with Spring colour and the fabulous Elizabeth Cake’s Emporium has created a feast fit for Marie Antoinette. One of the cakes even has a crown!!!
I’ll hand you over to the team to tell you all about the inspiration and how much fun they had putting the shoot together. And there’s a fab behind the scenes video from Story Of Your Day too.
Fran and Duncan have got the balance of rustic AND glamorous just right. The combination of gorgeous wild flowers, candelabras and pastel tones for the wedding party alongside the simple interior of the barn and the beautiful Hampshire country side is perfect.
It’s romantic and whimsical but also sleek and stylish. And looks effortlessly so at that.
I’m so pleased that it was important to Fran to have a dress that was sexy and unusual – and her gown is definitely both. It fits her like a glove and she shines out from every single photo.
When it comes to first dances, Fran and Duncan have hit that nail on the head too. I’ve always thought I’d be too shy to have a choreographed first dance, but the images of this lovely pair have made me re-evaluate my opinion – Duncan and Fran look so elegant and lost in the moment, despite all of the watching eyes.
All of this fabulousness was captured forever by Guy Collier.
The Middle Of Nowhere Feel
Fran The Bride: We got married at Holy Cross Church in Binsted, Hampshire, before moving on to the Barn at Bury Court in nearby Bentley for the reception. When we first started looking for a venue we wanted a barn that would give us a blank canvas in terms of decoration but also had great food and a “middle of nowhere” feel.
Bury Court was the first place we looked at and we knew immediately this was “our place”. We looked at two more venues just to make sure, but we’d already lost our hearts to this beautiful location. We loved the warm feel of the barn and its beautiful gardens, plus it was very near to where Duncan’s mum lived. While I am from Germany, we were sure the wedding should be in the UK – and having it near Duncan’s Mums gave us the feeling we had a connection with the area.
I don’t normally wear make-up apart from Mascara so I wanted to look natural but with all imperfections ironed out. I ummed and ahhed for ages about how I wanted my hair: up, down, with flowers in it or a pearl comb. In the end, I decided a romantic up do would go best with my dress and would also show off its amazing back to the max. So Gemma Sutton created a lovely up do for me and also did my make-up.
I felt beautiful but also natural – and both hair and make-up lasted all day despite lots of hugging, kissing, crying and dancing. I kept everything else quite low-key, doing my own nails. I wore J’adore perfume by Dior – it was one of the first perfumes Duncan ever bought me and my is still my favourite.
David Fielden Keyhole Dress
Ooh, the dress. I wore a David Fielden keyhole dress made of crepe-backed satin and corded lace. The lace made up the shoulders of the dress and a satin bow at the back gave me just that little bit of extra coverage despite the open back. It was that back that first drew me towards this dress. I saw it at the National Wedding Show in Olympia a good year-and-a-bit before our big day. I was there by myself when I saw it at the Noble and Wright stand. I knew I couldn’t buy it then and there because I was waiting for my mum to fly over from Berlin for a wedding dress shopping weekend later in the year. So in the next few months I tried on another 20-odd gowns before I could show her The One. I got a great deal on it from Hannah Noble, who runs the Noble and Wright Atelier, so I drove all the way up to Leicester from London to buy it.
I loved how easy it was to wear and its simplicity while also being very sexy and unusual. It made me feel like a goddess on the day and was so comfortable at the same time. I’m just sad I can’t wear it every day.
Simple But Stunning
My shoes were an online purchase from Debenhams’ Debut range. They were very simple ivory satin shoes with a bow at the front. With the dress making quite a statement I wanted the accessories to be simple and the shoes went perfectly. I chose a fingertip veil from Kelly Spence because it was made to my requirements without costing the world and was the best match I could find. It was soft synthetic, which felt a lot nicer than it sounds and she gathered it just how I wanted it.
I did splash out on my floral hair circlet from Lila-Lila. I had found her accessories after searching for something more durable than fresh flowers on the internet. I loved that she makes the hair circlets from clay and my design had freshwater pearls and dried gypsophilia in it. Sofia, who owns the studio, also customized it to include blue blossoms – so it could be my “something blue”. Finally, I wore Links of London earrings that Duncan had given me for our eighth anniversary and a necklace borrowed from my mum as my “something borrowed” and “something old”.
Same Colour, Different Style
I had five bridesmaids – my three best friends, my sister and Duncan’s sister. They are all quite different girls so we thought it would be best to have one colour – my favourite colour green – but different styles. Because they were scattered across the UK, Germany and the US, having a traditional dress buying session was a no no. I ended up trying on a number of dresses for them, emailing them pictures and they chose their favourite style. It required a lot of trust from them but they all looked amazing on the day.
I ordered the dresses from Perfect Bridesmaids in the US as they came in a lot cheaper than if we had bought them here. The colour tied in with the colour scheme, which was a mix of pastels ranging from cream and pink to green and blue. So the girls were the green end of the scheme while the boys all wore blue waistcoats and ties with their morning suits – covering another colour in the scheme.
Country Garden Party
We had a loose theme of country garden party, which was reflected in the bunting I made and the homemade jam jar vases covered with burlap and lace. Our card box was a wicker hamper I had salvaged from somewhere and we had cream lanterns on the tables and wicker hearts on the wooden beams around the barn. The colour scheme, as mentioned already, was a mix of green, pink, cream and blue, which was echoed in the flowers and the bunting and the fabric covers for our homemade wedding jam, which doubled up as favours and name places.
We also had cream candelabra from Essential Wedding Hire.
The flowers and my bouquet were put together by the lovely Jill and Carolyn from the Apothecary’s Flower Company. My bouquet was made up of pink roses, hydrangeas and sweet peas. They did a fabulous job on the tables – alternating our wildflower-filled jam jars with birdcages they had also decorated with wild flowers. We didn’t want huge flowers and they understood exactly what we had imagined without me ever really being able to put it into words. Duncan’s mum lent us a big vintage birdcage, which is the mascot/ symbol of her interior design store Birdcage Interiors, as a focal point, which Jill and Carolyn transformed into a beautiful arrangement that looked very Secret Garden to me.
I Carry Your Heart
Where to begin? The ceremony was one of my favourite parts of the day and I loved every bit of it. We got married in a small village church, which felt really intimate. Our vicar was amazing as he was so relaxed and funny and made it a really lively service. He also gave us some amazing advice on married life. We chose 1 Corinthians 13 as our biblical reading and Duncan’s mum read E.E. Cummings’ I Carry Your Heart. The words mean a lot to us as they express exactly how we feel for each other and how much we’re each a part of the other one. It was a really emotional moment and fitted so beautifully.
I entered the church to Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, which was great because it was not too slow but light and airy. We left the church to All You Need Is Love – both pieces were performed by the fabulous Apollo Strings. Outside the church we were showered in confetti by the Shropshire Petal Company and handfuls of rice – a German wedding tradition.
A Viennese Waltz
Apollo Strings, who played at the church, moved on to the barn to play during the wedding reception as well. After dinner, we had a DJ from Chess Disco. Our first song was Annie’s Song from John Denver – not quite the right name, but we’re both extremely cheesy people and loved the lyrics. I had also always wanted to dance a Viennese Waltz for our first dance and Annie’s Song had the perfect rhythm and lyric combination for that.
The food was provided by Jacaranda Catering – the only approved caterer at Bury Court and they really make sure they deserve that. The food at our wedding was absolutely mouthwatering. We started with a tomato tart tatin, followed by duck confit and breast with sweet potato puree and a soy jus plus a lime panacotta with mango sorbet that was divine. Their service is excellent and so seamless.
We stocked the bar ourselves thanks to Bury Court not charging corkage and our wine and spirits were provided by Laytons Wine Merchants.
The cake was made by Duncan’s Mum Judy – it was her first foray into wedding cake making and she did a fabulous job with the traditional fruit cake. She and Duncan’s sister Sophie then decorated the cake with white edible flowers and bunting to mirror the decorations. My Gran is a super jam-maker so for our favours we wanted to incorporate that somehow. We had two different jams in mini jam jars, with the elderberry jam made by her and the raspberry jam made by Duncan and me. They felt like a really personal thank you and also worked really well for the name tags.
A Talented Bride
I designed all the stationery – invites, inserts, order of services, menu and thank you cards. But we had them printed at printed.com, which is a brilliant site for getting your own designs put on to high quality paper. They do a luxury paper range, which gave a lovely vintage feel to the designs.
We wrote the place names on white paper luggage tags from Not On The High Street. The table plan was also handmade from burlap and lace, mount board and a gilded picture frame from Birdcage Interiors. We didn’t bother with table names as we opted for two long banquet tables and didn’t feel we needed them.
Natural Reportage Style
Guy was AMAZING! We totally fell in love with his pictures when we first looked at his website. We did check out at a few other photographers but his natural, reportage style and the beautiful colours in his pictures just beat everyone else.
We wanted both awesome shots of us as well as “in the moment” pictures of the wedding day and our guests. And the photos we got were phenomenal. Everyone has commented on how beautiful they are – and because they really show the action of the day they will keep bringing back the memories when we look at them in the future.
We also really liked Guy as a person. It was important to us that we would get on with our photographer because he would spend quite a bit of time with us. Guy was so accommodating, lovely, in all the right places yet unobtrusive. Booking him was one of our best choices during wedding prep.
The whole wedding was an amazing day but if I could give any advice to brides is: try to soak it all in. It was the best advice I was given before the big day and I made sure I didn’t let the day pass in a blur. Duncan and I made sure we had moments to ourselves so we wouldn’t end spending our day without seeing each other. Also, DON’T PANIC – I’m a bit of a control freak and perfectionist (which bride isn’t) but after all the hectic of the last days before the wedding I stopped caring whether anything went wrong so by Saturday morning I was really relaxed, which stayed throughout the whole day.
One more thing that was really special to me: my girls did a video collage of me growing up, meeting Duncan and our time together so far. One of the pictures they included was of my Grandparents who sadly couldn’t make it to the wedding because of their health. It meant a lot to me that the girls included them so they were still a part of the day through that, the jams – and our rings, which were a gift from them.
What a gorgeous, gorgeous wedding. That gown is truly to-die-for.
We have some beautiful places in our British Isles don’t we?
Fabulous images from Guy and a lovely write up from Fran.
Long may the glorious sunshine continue!