Beautiful Babington House is such a gorgeous wedding venue and it’s always a treat to share weddings from there. It was the perfect venue for Laura and Dan’s stylish Autumnal affair. Look out for the gorgeous table set ups, the immense fashion by Mirror Mirror and Self Portrait, and the couple shots under the lanterns.
Images come from one of our recommended suppliers, the lovely Matt Parry, who has captured the day perfectly in his usual relaxed and fun style.
The grandeur of Stowe House captured Bride Lyndsay’s imagination from when she was a little girl. From her very first sight of it, nothing else would ever compare.
And I can completely understand why. It is such a striking and solid building.
Walking down the steps in a gorgeous Bridal gown and gazing over the beautiful grounds would truly make you feel like a princess.
Her simple décor choices are perfect too. When your surroundings are marble and gold leaf there is really no need for lavish details. A touch of gypsophila in dusky pink vases was enough.
Disney Princess Dreams
Lyndsay The Bride: The conversation went a little like this:
Mat: “You really want to get married at Stowe don’t you?” Lyndsay: “I REALLY do!” M: “I think we’d be silly not to look at some other venues to compare prices and packages.” L: “You’re probably right”
Half an hour of Internet searching ensues…
M: “Found anything” L: “Ummmmm not really” M: “We’re getting married at Stowe aren’t we?” L: “I don’t mind searching a bit more” (I did)
M: “Come on, we both know we’re going to book Stowe so let’s just go for it!”
Without wishing to sound like something from Disney, I have wanted to get married at Stowe since I was a little girl. I used to spend every Saturday horse riding round the grounds where you get the most magnificent view of Stowe House.
So, long before boys were even in the picture, I’d found where I wanted to get married. The date was an easy decision too as our wedding day was also our ten year anniversary!
Spoilt For Choice
Luckily working in television I get to work with very talented make-up artists so I didn’t have to look too far when choosing someone for the day. And it was The Great British Bake Off’s very own Jo Penford who did my hair and make-up. If she’s good enough for Mary Berry…!
I wanted to go for a fairly relaxed look with my hair and pretty natural make up. That was the extent of my brief for Jo and I couldn’t be happier with the results, I had so many nice comments on the day with all my friends wanting to book her now.
Romantic And Glamorous
My dress came from Charlie Brear in Central London and I was lucky enough to buy it in their sample sale. I had tried the 1920’s dropped waist style on a few weeks before so it wasn’t an impulse buy in the sale, although I did pop there and make a purchase in my lunch break. I knew that I wanted a unique style to my dress and I love the romance and glamour of 1920’s fashion.
Like A Fairy With No Wings
I absolutely loved wearing a veil, without it I think I’d have been like a fairy with no wings! My dress barely had a train so I was keen to get some length from a veil and it was the lace trim on the Rainbow Club, Spellbinder that sold it to me.
My hair comb was actually a panic buy two days before the wedding, from Accessorize UK, as I felt the need to add a bit more glitz! I wore my mother’s Rolex watch as my ‘something borrowed’ as the vintage look really complimented the dress (and I was hoping she wouldn’t ask for it back – no such luck).
Small And Select
We had a fairly small wedding party, as we wanted to keep a relaxed and informal feel to the day. I had one bridesmaid – my gorgeous little cousin, Honey. Her dress came from Monsoon UK and ballet pumps from Zara.
Mat had a best man and one usher, their suits both came from Topman along with Mat’s tie. Mat’s navy suit came from The Kooples. There was no colour theme to the outfits, it was more important to us that the styles complimented each other, so slim fit for the boys and ethereal for Honey.
It’s Dusky Rose, Not Pink!
Overall there was a very unofficial colour scheme as early on in the planning Mat did say to me “I’m hearing the word pink quite a lot, not everything’s going to be pink is it?” So from that moment I started calling it dusky rose 😉
Although to be honest Stowe House is so beautiful both inside and out that we really didn’t need to have a theme or scheme. We kept any touches of colour quite understated so that we weren’t battling with Stowe’s décor – you just can’t compete with the gold leaf of the music room. We did have ‘dusky pink’ vases and giant balloons though.
Inspired By Lovely RMW Brides
Amanda Thirlby who owns Moss of Buckingham is such a wonderful florist (Chelsea Flower Show winner!) and was brilliant at dealing with my very limited knowledge of flowers and a groom who was reluctant to have a buttonhole.
All of my initial bouquet ideas were generated from other RMW brides – thank you! We went for gyp in the (Ikea) vases, which my mother in law kindly arranged for us. My ‘something blue’ was also incorporated in the bouquet with Agapanthus. Turns out Mat loved his buttonhole too!
Keeping Things Simple
Our ceremony started with the registrar reading a brief history of Stowe House to the guests which I thought was a really nice way to set the scene and gave me a few minutes to calm down and take it all in after the overwhelming walk down the aisle. We decided against having any readings during the ceremony, we read so many and none felt quite right so we decided to keep things simple.
Mat and I have never had a song that we’d call ours but we both have a whole lot of love for music so deciding on a first dance was tricky. We decided on Noel Gallagher’s acoustic version of Slide Away. We saw him perform it live at the Albert Hall a few years ago and have loved it ever since. Getting cramp in my calf half way through the dance was not part of the plan though!
Fish And Chips
We decided to go off Stowe’s usual menu for our main course and chose traditional fish and chips, which went down a real treat, it’s a great meal to suit all ages. Our cake came from Konditor & Cook in London and I think everyone should experience their Curly Wurly cake once in their lifetime!
There was a slight mishap with the icing melting a little so it didn’t look it’s best come cake cutting time but it still tasted amazing, with one guest confessing to eating four slices!
A DIY Job
All of our stationery was very much a DIY effort and we absolutely loved doing it – you get a real sense of pride doing things yourself and I’m a big fan of things looking a little homemade. We made our invites on Powerpoint using a RMW top tip of importing fonts from Dafont.
We also bought mini alphabet letter stamps to address each invite and place setting. We’ve lived in London for six years too so wanted to bring a little bit of London to Stowe and we did that with our table plan and names. Mat had a lot of fun with the table plan, finding the funniest pic he could of each guest. On the day guests had to find their photo to find their place.
Didn’t Stop Smiling
ENJOY YOURSELVES! From day one we both wanted to have a fun, relaxed wedding and every decision we made was right for us. That would be my biggest piece of advice to any bride planning a wedding; do what will make you happy as a couple. Mat and I did and we did not stop smiling all day.
Photos Will Last Forever
There are wedding photographers and then there is Matt Parry… honestly he is something else! Matt’s style is so unique and if I had a pound for every time someone said to me “your wedding photos are amazing” I’d be a very rich bride right now. When budgeting your wedding do bear in mind that photos last forever and lots of the little things you can spend plenty of time and money on won’t. Photos were at the top of our priority list, we even booked Matt booked before the venue!
I must also give a shout out to our wonderful wedding co coordinator Becky Maclean at Stowe as she was fab, nothing was too much trouble and she did a great job of making the day run like a dream!
Suzie and Joe are pretty darn savvy. For example, they married on Sunday 26th May 2013. Obviously Sundays are slightly cheaper but there is the downside that the party atmosphere can somewhat get affected because it’s a school night. However, this particular Sunday was a bank holiday… So party on.
And party on they did… With An Arabian Influenced big day complete with gold colour scheme.
Urban Bare Brick
Suzy The Bride: Both Joe and I are from London so when we began thinking about what we wanted from our wedding we knew we wanted something that was very symbolic of us. We were both born and still live in London so we thought we’d get married here too.
My parents are both Albanian and we knew we wanted to incorporate this foreign edge into a part of the day and thought that the evening reception would be perfect in a Lebanese/Moroccan type of restaurant. We actually found the reception venue first; Kenza right in the heart of the city. Once we had found the venue I thought we’d better get looking for somewhere to actually get married.
As I was googling places to get married in the city I came across Devonshire Terrace which was right next door to Kenza. We couldn’t believe our luck! It is the most beautiful venue with its bare brickwork and urban, indoor / outdoor feel with a glass roof so it didn’t matter if it rained. Perfect!
A Very Deep V
I have always loved lace and knew straight away that I would have a lace dress. The dress is called Gambia and is from Pronovias on New Bond Street. My mum, sister, one of my best friends and I knew it was the one as soon as I tried it on. Only about the fourth dress I had tried on. I loved the back so much. A very deep ‘v’. I wanted to walk round backwards all day to show it off!
Diamonds Aren’t Forever
My mum leant me my something borrowed – a diamond bracelet. I wore a waist length veil that I bought online for about £30 from the wedding veil shop. I wasn’t going to spend hundreds of pounds on something that I would only wear for half an hour for the ceremony and then take off. The night before the wedding Joe told me that he hopped that I wasn’t wearing a veil as he said how much he hated them (cheers Joe!!!) I had my heart set on wearing one and knew he would change his mind when he saw it… I loved it and that’s the main thing!
Bespoke Ballet Pumps
As well as lace I love everything gold. Wonderful; yellow gold. Therefore, I wanted to wear gold shoes. I am 5ft 11 so didn’t need to add any height and never wear heels so flats it was. My wonderful friend Jenna Speers is the women’s Ted Baker shoe designer. She made me some beautiful bespoke gold glittery ballet pumps with a baby blue insole (my something blue). As a surprise she engraved the shoes with mine and Joe’s name and the date we were getting married. They are just amazing. Thank you Jenna!
I wore some lovely art deco Lulu Guinness earrings from Whistles which matched a hair pin I bought from ebay. The hair pin was also gold and crystal which matched my beautiful engagement ring.
Loose Curl & Natural
I thought that I would treat myself and my bridesmaids to having our hair and make-up done. I found the hair and make up artist Nicola Hughes and had a trial a few months before which was really useful and we agreed on a loose curl with my hair down and quite natural make up with an eye liner.
My bridesmaids looked so slick with their very striking make up and side chignon. Nikki did a fantastic job and it was actually such a pleasure to have her and her assistant with us throughout the getting ready stage. She felt like one of the girls which made it so much more relaxing and stress free.
The only flowers we had were the bouquets for me, bridesmaids, flower girl and the button holes for all the men in the bridal and grooms party. My friend Gemma’s mum did all the flowers for me. It’s a bit of a hobby for her and she did such an amazing job. My instructions were I like roses and the colours blush / cream / pinks and that I wanted mine to be big! That was it! I was actually blown away by how beautiful the flowers were. Mine is drying now so I can keep it forever.
At Devonshire Terrace instead of flowers as decorations I bought and borrowed lots of lanterns as I love candles and think they look so pretty. My friends and family also collected about 200 glass jars (jam, pesto and sauces) which were scattered all around the place. Even though it wasn’t dark as it was such a beautiful bright day I love the look of candles as a decoration.
Blue, Grey & Gold
Joe and I thought it would be nice for him to wear something that stood out and was different to his best men and ushers. Joe’s suit was from Reiss in the colour air force blue. He looked so handsome in the suit. I absolutely loved the colour. His best men and ushers wore their own grey suits and so we matched the page boys in grey also. Everyone wore the same gold/yellow tie including my dad, brother, Joe’s step dad, best men, ushers and the page boys wore gold bow ties!
The bridesmaids were also in gold and blush and I made them wear ridiculously high gold peep toe shoes so that they would be closer in height to me! Sorry girls! My love of gold was really evident throughout the wedding. It wasn’t really anything that I thought that much about I just choose things that I loved and then it all just seemed to tie together.
The wonderful Matt Parry was our photographer. This was one of the first decisions we made about the wedding and by far the best decision we made; apart from Joe asking me to marry him of course! We have never looked so glamorous. I still can’t believe it’s us when I look at the photos.
I was initially quite nervous about being photographed throughout the day. Matt arrived at my flat for the bridal prep where I was with my bridesmaids getting ready and he fitted in straight away with his relaxed style chatting to everyone but also almost hiding in the background with his unobtrusive reportage style.
After the ceremony and while the guests were making their way to the restaurant and being seated Joe and I went off with Matt for thirty minutes into the deserted streets of the city to have some shots together. This was one of the most fun parts of the day and we totally trusted Matt when standing infront of corrugated iron and scaffolding. His style fully incorporated the city/urban feel of the start of the wedding and the photos truly speak for themselves.
My friend recommended her friend DiDi so once I had tried some of her cakes we booked her straight away. We had a chocolate top tier which she intricately decorated with flowers and then had loads of cupcakes in chocolate; chocolate orange; salted caramel; raspberry; vanilla and amaretto. She makes totally unique and bespoke cakes. I told her what the colours of the wedding were… so yes you guessed it gold and we didn’t know what it would look like until the evening of the wedding. They were amazing and even though we had four courses for dinner including dessert the cupcakes still all went. Luckily we had asked the restaurant to put away the top tier and Joe and I ate that on our mini moon!
Throwing Some Albanian Shapes
Our first dance was a traditional Albanian dance which included everyone holding hands and dancing round in a circle which was really special for me as this is the usual style of dancing at an Albanian wedding. We had thought that it might not work as no one apart from the wedding party knew we were going to do this however, everyone got stuck in and helped us to recreate some traditional Albanian moves.
I love candles and as candles featured heavily at Devonshire Terrace and Kenza I wanted to get everyone something similar to remember the day. I found some very delicate and simple glass bauble hanging tealight holders from John Lewis which I added lace ribbon, some dried rose petals and a tealight candle inside.
Arabian Inspired Stationery
Our friend James Allen is a fantastic painter. We told him about the foreign theme we were going for and as we had been on holiday to Morocco together the summer before he knew about the kind of style that I liked. He created the most magnificent invitation which incorporated an Arabic design totally created by James. We also used the same design for the order of service.
Our wedding day was completely fantastic! What made it all the more fantastic was that the day was completely ‘us’. I found all the planning really easy and simple as I just choose things that I already liked and did not get bogged down by little decisions because they didn’t really matter.
Neil and Jessica’s wedding was held at Somerford Hall, in Brewood, Staffordshire.
As I looked through the photos for today’s wedding I thought to myself – “That’s nice, they’ve let one of the younger guests have a photo taken behind the record decks…” Then I realised that Neil and Jessica had actually hired a 12 year old DJ. Amazing!! Check him out behind those wheels of steel.
We also have vintage VW verve and cool Converse chic happening in this retro affair – I am more than a little bit in love with this wedding.
Dress came from the small and independent vintage shop in the village of Gnosall (where we live) After seeing the style I wanted I knew I had to have vintage and not just a copy of a vintage style. After deciding a Jenny Packham was nice but not vintage I went back to what I knew best, local and personal. After visiting the shop and telling the owner what I wanted an original Frank Usher circa 1970 floated down the stairs, I paid and ran out of the shop almost crying with excitement. I had the dress for 25 months before we got married. My mum, an expert seamstress, altered the dress to fit and it was my perfect dress!
I wore a bracelet bought for my 30th by Neil from Swarovski containing amethysts to match my engagement ring. I then had a simple wide crystal hairband from an independent shop in Stafford.
Our wedding rings were provided by Snooty Fox Jewellers in Shrewsbury. Neil opted for a titanium band with rubber inserts, while I had a ring hand made to fit around my marquis cut engagement ring. David at Snooty Fox designed and hand made me a white gold band, with a notch to allow for the amethyst in my engagement ring, the band was also set with amethyst either side of the notch.
Carrie Bradshaw Style
I wore bright blue Carrie Bradshaw style skyscrapers, in velvet!
Hair was done by Kat from Francesco printworks, a pinned up style inspired by 1960s. Sarah Sutton a school friend who is a make up artist did my make up. We chose a look similar to what I would have normally as I didnt want to look any different to who I do normally! Smoky 1960s style eyes with blues to match colour scheme.
Jackie’s Designs from Telford provided seasonal flowers, hyacinths, freesias, daffodils. Daffodils also as I have a family welsh connection. I insisted on seasonal flowers. I also had carnations in memory of my grandmother who loved them!
My mum Annie Mellor made the bridesmaid dress with fabric from Watson and Thornton in Shrewsbury. A 1950s style dress in a cornflower blue with dark blue and grey accessories. The mens cravats and pocket squares were all made in the same fabric as bridesmaid dress.
The mens suits were hired from Misters of Stafford, an independent, proper, old school outfitters. The suits were slate grey, tailcoats with matching trousers and silver waistcoats to offset the cornflower blue cravats. Cravats were overhand tied not ruffled for a simpler more stylish look. The flourish from the groomsmen came in the shape of black, hightop Converse trainers.
Rocking The Converse
The Groom’s suit was hired from Misters of Stafford and again the groom was rocking the black Converse (as Neil wears Converse 24/7 it seemed only fitting to maintain the status quo for the wedding). The suit was topped off with a cane adorned with a silver Tardis (handmade, by the groom and a lot of superglue, hand broken by the Best Man on the morning of the wedding and fixed with an elaborate combination of tape and nail glue), And a ‘Groom’ prefects badge and a new pocket watch from me, that I bought from Fallen Saint in Wolverhampton.
Personal And Relaxed
Matt Parry did our photography because he is awesome. We saw Matt’s work on a friends facebook profile following their wedding 18 months ago and fell in love with his style. We booked Matt within about 30 minutes of finding him and never regretted it. Matt was a consummate professional and really took the time to ‘get’ what the wedding was about and what we wanted from our photos. He created an amazing record of our day while remaining in the background allowing our guests to enjoy their day. Matt was happy to take our ideas on board and his group shot of the boys was better than we had ever imagined. Matt’s service was efficient, personal and relaxed, we really can’t recommend him enough to anyone who is looking for dynamic wedding pics.
A Cake Collection
Cake was made by Jo Fox, the bestmans wife AND owner of the little white cake company. She made us 70 individual cupcakes with designs of sugar cameos on some and quilted style with small icing pearls added on the top. Again we wanted vintage and I adore cameos! They were wedgewood/cornflower blue to match the colour scheme. We also had a 2 tier fruit cake, the bottom tier was dark fruit covered in marzipan and blue icing and cut and served to guests, the top tier was made of the same and is now in our freezer to be kept for the next stage in our life (not too soon though!)
Three Types Of Entertainment
Trying to keep a personal touch to our day we split our entertainment three ways. Firstly during our day we enlisted the help of one of our closest friends and Neil’s partner-in-crime at Juice Comedy Clubs, Rob Halden as our Master of Ceremonies. We dressed Rob in traditional Toast Masters attire and he spent the day not only directing our guests but also, entertaining them with stories and jokes from his repertoire as well as working his compere magic during the speeches.
Into the evening we began with a split set from the band of another of our friends (and Husband of the Maid of Honour) Pete Wearn, .44Pistol are a hard blues band and the threesome started our party with two 45 minutes sets of their foot-stomping, table climbing, harmonica blowing blues tunes. It was important to us to have friends involved and it was great that Pete and his band were able to play for us at the reception.
To link the sets and to keep us dancing into the early hours we employed the services of The Den Disco. The disco is attached to a youth club Jess volunteers with and the DJ for the evening was 12 year old Jack. Jack was ridiculously professional for one so young and he kept the dancefloor bouncing right through to the end of the evening, he was better than many DJs with decades more experience and it was great to be able to give a young person a chance to show off their talent. As we both work with young people this was another important touch for us.
One evening we sat and went through our entire Mp3 music libraries looking for a first dance and couldn’t decide on anything, they were all too fast, too slow or a bit ‘naff’ after much too-ing and fro-ing we played Etta James ‘At Last’ which just suited us perfectly. It was something important that we could dance to and have a smooch and a slow dance too but not too slow so people got bored. Its also quite short so we were able to get on the floor big style after! We followed it up by Runaway Baby by Bruno Mars to ensure the dancefloor filled up fast.
An Easter Treat
We were married on easter Saturday and we decided that a small egg cup containing a small easter egg would be the perfect favour. There were kinder eggs for the kids which caused much excitement with my flower girls dad (I think he was quite jealous he didn’t get one).
There were miles of bunting, all made by Jess’s mum Annie. We had bunting along the stairs that had felt VW beetles added to each triangle in various colours. There was then plain bunting along the edge of the top table that had white rabbits on, for another easter touch. Cake table had cake pattern bunting and the pick and mix table had a chalk board in the middle made by my dad and decorated by Neils dad with a list of all the sweets, this had mini bunting with small sweet pattern along the top and pinned to each side of the table in a ‘fun fair’ style.
Instead of a guest book we had a huge vintage suitcase for people to write/draw guest cards with coloured pens, there was also a knitted red dalek in the suitcase keeping watch (we both love Dr Who) along the top of this suitcase was small map bunting.
Each name tag was a parcel tag in blue card with silver string and each one was hand written and had a hand drawn rabbit on, except Neil’s which had Jessica Rabbit on. All of these were done by an illustrator friend Hazel Monger and they were incredible.
We had vintage cake stands to display cakes, vintage teapot and vases for flowers and candles in large hurricane vases. Helen Reading also designed each menu for the tables and names, all of these had a theatre theme on them, along with the courses for the menu.
Showing Our cheeky Side
The touches we chose made our wedding ours, people made comments on that the menu choice, a BBQ was the best food they ever had at a wedding. There was even a round of applause for the food!
We chose things we wanted, bunting, a vintage VW beetle, a non conventional dress, converse for the boys and more than one theme allowed us to show our creative side and also at times our cheeky side!
The authentic vintage wedding dress by Frank Usher is a beauty. I must admit that I had not heard of this designer until now (I am still learning people – and every day is a school day). But any dress designer called Frank is ok by me! And Jessica wears it beautifully.
And on the flip side – the boys look pretty dashing in their Converse, prefect badges and stripy sock combo’s too.