Sheena Holland

Pin Image

Great Expectations.


We are about to go on a journey… A journey into a time gone by. Think picturesque rural english countryside with a slightly darker more gritty edge. It’s a little less “Pride and Prejudice” and a little more “Great Expectations”.

Eleanor and Stephen are both complete bookworms so a wedding with a theme that pulled inspiration from classic literature suited them perfectly. Let’s get this Dickensian glamour-fest on the road then.


Tumbledown Faded Elegance

We found Thrumpton Hall the same accidental, meant-to-be way that the rest of the wedding fell into place. We’d been looking at another venue, it was nice, but not very…us. We were with Stephen’s parents and I think we all felt we wanted a bit more adventure, so I suggested that Thrumpton wasn’t far away, perhaps we could have a drive past, just to nose. It really wasn’t what we expected, to get there we went through the most perfect and picturesque village and drove down a little track with beautiful brick arches over.


The tumbledown, faded elegance was just perfect, Stephen and I couldn’t help but want to get out and look at the little lake at the front of the house. At that moment a lady came out and asked if she could help us, we were mortified! We didn’t realise someone actually lived there! However, Miranda was wonderfully welcoming and interrupted her Sunday to show us round. As we went round the house, Stephen and I just fell in love, we wanted somewhere where we could have the venue for the whole day and feel a little like the lord and lady of the manor and, being bibliophiles, it absolutely HAD to have a library. Thrumpton was more than we could ever have hoped for.


Downton Abbey

I really wasn’t sure what hair and makeup I wanted for the wedding, and after one total disaster of a trial (all victory rolls and clown makeup, so inappropriate) I was more confused than ever. I was also running out of time. Luckily I found Elizabeth Peat, her current take on the vintage look gave me hope and at the trial she got straight to business and constructed a wonderful look for me when all I’d really given her was “Downton Abbey running through the woods”. I couldn’t recommend her more, during the morning getting ready she kept my maids and me to a strict running time, calming us down and making sure I was ok. An utter star! In addition to Liz’s wonderful work, I bought Chanel Illuminating Powder and a Chanel lipstick, the powder has an amazing shimmer!


Great Expectations

I had a dress shopping trip that ended in disappointment, including one shop that wouldn’t let me try a single dress on (So curvy girls buy dresses by just looking at them do they? Hmmm.) After that I knew I had to go back to the drawing board, I hadn’t seen anything even approaching what I wanted. I didn’t want a “fat girl dress” all rouching and spangles and cover ups. I wanted something dramatic and old looking, something with acres of tulle and lace dripping off it, something stunning. Then, flicking through blogs to try and find a dress maker who could conjure my dream dress I found it! Already designed and made and beautiful! So, off to Birmingham I went, to the Couture Company for my perfect Miss Havisham dress. The first fitting I was just shell shocked, I hadn’t realised one dress could make you feel so… much! I cried all the way home I was so happy. I cried again, seeing Stephen’s face as I walked down the aisle. It was completely worth it.


For footwear I went with boots. It was February, in the middle of the countryside, it felt right, plus I didn’t want heels as I’m quite tall and don’t wear them the rest of the time. I replaced the laces with ribbons to make them more “weddingy”!
The Grand Tiara I got at a wedding fair from the wonderful Sheena Holland. I searched high and low for jewellery to match it, before realising the antique pearl necklace Stephen had given me for my 30th matched like a dream.


I wanted the maids to look more like house party guests in our grand party, so I got the bridesmaid dresses from Etsy, it was a bit of a committee decision and pretty much the only one of my suggestions my 15 year old sister would accept! I sourced real furs through Ebay.

Stephen’s suit was from Asos, and so inexpensive that the groomsmen were able to get the same suit so they could all be in matching tweed! Brogues and ties from Etsy finished the look. They all looked very dashing sipping their whiskies in the evening!


Green, Ivory & Peach

We didn’t really have a set colour scheme, we just wanted it to be things we liked, however, my favourite colour is green so for things where colour was important we went with greens, ivories and hints of peach. Our original idea was to have taxidermy, but unfortunately our budget just couldn’t stretch to that, instead we got antlers from the deer farm down the road from my parents and my father leant us Frank, the family deer skull. We got skull candles to edge it out a bit, Steve’s a huge metal fan and neither of us are particularly twee, we wanted to show that. We also brought bits and pieces from home, including Emily the bust and Hugo the owl, so it felt like a bit of us on the top table.


Faded Beauty

Michele was the only florist that didn’t flinch when we mentioned the antlers and taxidermy! After a short meeting and me emailing her a couple of pictures, I was amazed at what she created!! It turns out she’d been studying my pinterest board (seriously! How do people plan a wedding without pinterest!?) and it felt like the bouquets and table decorations had been pulled straight out of my brain and on to the tables. My one flower request was for Amnesia roses, their faded beauty was exactly what I wanted for our big day.


The Best Bit

The ceremony was hands down the best bit of the day, in such a cozy venue with a small number of guests, it felt incredibly intimate. We knew that only the people we loved were there to share in our special moment. Stephen and I each chose a reading, my choice was i carry your heart with me (I carry it in by E.E. Cummings and Stephen chose an excerpt from Union by Robert Fulghum. We wrote our own vows:

I promise to love you from now until forever
I will be your shelter in the storm
Your warmth in the cold
And in us, there will always be home
I will always be true to you, whatever comes.

I was crying from the start, but I think by the end of it, judging by the sniffles and amount of hankies out, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
The Registrars were amazing as well, so lovely and warm and funny! And we got to sign our marriage certificate with a Batman pen! What more could you want?


Blinded By Love

We were on a very strict budget, so having a father that was obsessed with disco equipment came in very handy! He managed to set us up with everything we needed and Stephen and I had an amazing day sorting out the playlist!
Our first dance was Seek It by Richard Hawley, the lyrics are soppy and funny so it was the perfect choice.



The catering was provided by Thrumpton Hall and they were so accommodating, we got to choose whatever we wanted for the wedding breakfast, so Stephen and I chose our favourite foods! Confit Duck with white bean puree and a lemon oil to start, Steak and chips for mains and finishing with a beautiful Tarte Tatin! So delicious!

I think one of the best decisions I made was having a cocktail for the drinks reception, we chose an English Mule, which was full of elderflower, vodka and ginger beer, it was so delicious I stuck to them for the rest of the day, well…until the elderflower ran out!

For the evening supper, we had roast pork cobs which went down a treat! Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with popcorn, so we as a favour, we hired a popcorn machine and had bags printed especially, I made some flavourings to go on them.


A Touch Of DIY

Being a bit of a graphic designer in my job, I designed and printed the invites myself, it was fun, but also getting everything together was quite stressful! We kept having to go on emergency runs to John Lewis for ribbon! I decided on parchment envelopes from my favourite shop, Paperchase, and sealed them with green wax. It was a lot of work, but totally worth it!


Pick & Choose

My advice to any future brides is to carefully look through all the traditions and rituals, throw out what you don’t want and keep what you do. I wasn’t “given away”, I was accompanied down the aisle, we didn’t have a greeting line and we kept it small, but we had a beautiful intimate wedding with people we loved.
Also – thistles as button holes may look awesome but you will end up with a face full of prickles any time someone tries to hug you.


Stephen and I knew that we wanted vintage style photos and were really struggling to find someone local to Nottingham that had the reportage style we liked as well as a vintage feel. Then, in another meant-to-be moment, Thrumpton Hall posted a load of photos on their Facebook page from a shoot done by Lee Garland on their grounds in exactly the style we were looking for! They were gorgeous!


We went to see Lee, who turned out to live right next to the Hall, and ended up booking him and his utterly ingenious vintagebooth.me. The vintage photo booth was a huge success with the guests and has contributed to a lot of facebook profile pictures.

Venue: Thrumpton Hall.
Hair & Make-up Elizabeth Peat.
Dress: The Couture Company
tiara: Sheena Holland.
Groom: Asos.
Florist: Michele Gledhill
Photography: Lee Garland

Click here & view all images from this wedding

Really original and an absolutely stonking wedding… Eleanors Couture Company Miss Havisham inspired gown is seriously jaw dropping and Stephen with his Asos bargain? Seriously, that suit rocks and it is so cool that it’s budget price tag meant that all Stephens groomsmen could get kitted out in the same totes trendy tweed.

Yeah I said totes, deal with it.


Pin Image

True Love Ways.

Emily and Henry married in April 2012 at the fantastic Soho House, London.

Yes we are in London folks 🙂

Emily and Henry chose Soho House because they loved the idea of getting married in central London and also Soho House has a roof terrace that you can open up… If the sun shines.

Sadly it absolutely poured with rain all day long so the roof was never opened, but it didn’t stop them having an amazing day to remember forever. Henry our groom has a few words to say in today’s report so I have picked him out in bold and plain text. Emily is in italic.

Photography today is by the super cool Lisa Devlin. Enjoy.

The First One

My dress was by Ugo Zaldi and was the first and only one I tried on! A few weeks after we got engaged I spotted that Brides magazine was doing a big sample sale with some of the proceeds going to charity. It was at The Langham hotel so I went along with a friend with the intention of having a nosey around and a few drinks in the bar. I ended up finding the dress at the Blackburn Bridal stand – something of a coincidence as I live in Blackheath and had planned to go to the shop once my ‘proper’ wedding dress hunt started!

I fell in love with the top of the dress and all of the detail. After a bit of pondering and remote consultation with my mum via picture messages and a phonecall – I took the plunge and bought it! Although I missed out on the typical wedding dress buying experience of appointments and champagne etc I actually loved the spontaneity of the evening and there was a real buzz about the place. Russell Blackburn and colleagues looked after me so well and my dress, my friend and I still made it to the lovely hotel bar for a few celebratory glasses of wine!

1930s Feel

I chose not to have a veil as it wouldn’t really have gone with the style of wedding or my dress. I didn’t want too much going on with my hair accessories due to the detail on the shoulders of the dress but found a lovely vintage hair slide that went with the slightly 1930s feel. I got it from Sheena Holland she has a shop in Derby and a very good selection of vintage accessories available on the website.

On the morning of the wedding, Henry (via my best friend Hannah) gave me some beautiful earrings from Johnny Rocket – the jeweler in Greenwich who made my engagement ring and our wedding rings. I knew I wanted to wear them and luckily they went perfectly!

I also wore a grey pearl bracelet from Fenwick which I had bought the previous day…

Ivory And Crystal

My shoes were by a designer called Pedro Garcia. They were high heeled ivory coloured satin with a peep toe and Swarovski crystal detail. I found them on Net-a-Porter not long after I got my dress. They were surprisingly comfy so I managed to keep them on until fairly late in the evening when I changed into some sparkly white ballet pumps from Topshop! The flats actually came in very handy earlier in the day when I had to walk the short walk from my hotel to the venue in the rain as I could keep the heels pristine! (a brilliant idea from our photographer Lisa Devlin…)

A Last Minute Change

I had always planned to have my hair and makeup done by someone that could come to the hotel but a few days before the wedding I was let down by my hair/make-up person so ended up with a very different plan… After an hour of furious googling – I called Daniel Hersheson salon in Mayfair who managed to squeeze me in for both hair and makeup the morning of the wedding! They were fabulous and despite the short notice I managed to meet Andre the hair stylist for a consultation that same day. As things often do it all worked out for the best on the day as I think I would have gone slightly mad in my hotel room for the whole morning and a trip to the salon was a lot of fun! Lauren Hersheson did my make-up and did an amazing job.

Peonies Throughout

Vic Brotherson from Scarlet and Violet did our flowers.

Vic was recommended to us by Shoreditch House during a site visit. We knew we wanted the flowers to be relaxed and colourful and loved the slightly vintage style of Vic’s arrangements. We had a few meetings to discuss what we wanted but she is just brilliant at picking up on what you say without you really realising it.

Rather than specifying certain blooms we talked more about a general style and colour theme for the flowers and then Vic worked her magic! We actually had two slightly differing styles as the colour schemes in the different rooms we used for our ceremony and party were slightly different. My only real demand was for peonies if they were in season and Vic pulled it off with peonies in my bouquet and throughout the arrangements! I almost cried when I got back from my hairdressers to find my beautiful bouquet!

We have had lots of positive feedback from our guests who all thought the flowers were beautiful, and many of them were happy to take some of them home at the end of the wedding!

My 4 year old niece in particular was so taken by her flower girl posey she didn’t put it down all day and even carried it around with her the next day. She was convinced the peonies smelt like ice cream – adorable!

Henry – having previously told Emily that the flowers were entirely her domain I was quite surprised by how interested I was when we first met with Vic to discuss, and I ended up having quite strong opinions! In the end Vic used a small rose bud called ‘bombastic’ as the centerpiece of my buttonhole, and I think we all thought that was quite appropriate! I loved it and Vic managed to match the colour with the colours in my outfit superbly.

Two Best Men

Henry – Emily decided not to have any bridesmaids, but I had two best men. I left it to them to sort out their own outfits, and as a stroke of luck they ended up complementing each other (and me) quite nicely!

Emily’s niece Nancy was our flower girl, and Emily and her sister chose a pink flowery dress from Monsoon for her to wear. She loved it but not quite as much as she loved her posey!


Henry – I thought I’d tell you about my outfit, before I leave it to my wife to describe how she felt!

I wore a suit from Acne which I bought in the January sale and had adjusted closer to the wedding. My shoes were from Folk on Lamb’s Conduit Street in London. I knew I wanted a white shirt and red colours in the outfit (red being my favourite colour). The shirt was from Paul and Joe and (groomzilla moment coming up!) I actually had it sent over from their store in Paris! I originally saw it in the window of their Covent Garden store, but they were all out of my size, so I emailed Paul and Joe in France and they were brilliant, and told me they had one left in their Paris store. After a short call using what remains of my A-Level French, I managed to get it sent over and it was perfect!

My bowtie was made by Dolbeau and I had it embroidered with our initials and the date of the wedding, so it will make a nice keepsake. The pocket square was from The Hill-Side and I also bought it at Folk.

The final detail was a watch which Emily arranged for my best man to give me on the morning of the wedding. It is rose gold and I had seen it a year or so before in a shop in Liverpool, and it was a lovely surprise to receive on my wedding day.

Although I had seen each part of Henry’s outfit I had not seen it all together until the big day! His attention to detail paid off and he looked both handsome and incredibly stylish stood there at the end of the aisle waiting for me!

Team Lisa

My sister knew of Lisa Devlin through one of her friends and as soon as we saw her website we knew she was exactly what we were looking for. Her photos are so beautiful and really give you a sense of what the people are like. We met her for a coffee and got on really well. Despite saying we would never do an engagement shoot, we decided to go for it on Lisa’s recommendation and we are glad that we did. It was fun and helped us get used to being photographed in busy places – useful for Soho on a Saturday afternoon!

We saw the first set of photos when we were away on honeymoon and just loved them. Lisa has done a fantastic job of capturing how we felt on the day as well as all the details!

Lisa always works with a second photographer and we were very lucky to have the lovely Lisa Brown! She met the boys at their hotel and was a great help – particularly with buttonholes and in getting things going with the Polaroid camera…

If you can I think having two photographers works amazingly well as you can cover so much more and get the natural photos we were after.

We also loved having the Lisas around on the day and they were valiant in their efforts to get everyone out in the rain for a group shot!!

Cupcake Tower

We knew we didn’t want to do formal cake cutting and are both big cupcake fans so went for a cupcake tower. Crumbs and Doilies did a fantastic job – I actually found them through Rock My Wedding but coincidentally my friend knows the girls who run it. We had a mix of flavours, sizes and decorations for guests to munch on throughout the day. In fact they were such a success that we didn’t get to see some of the individually decorated cakes as our guests had eaten them!

Henry – as well as cupcakes I was keen to provide an alternative for our guests, and so we bought a box of Hostess Twinkies from Cybercandy in Covent Garden. I love Twinkies and they also feature in some of my favourite movies (like Die Hard!), so it was nice to have them as part of the day. I didn’t expect them to be such a hit, but I found myself only left with one slightly battered twinkie hidden in our crate at the end of the wedding, the rest having been devoured by our sweet-toothed guests!

Rock N Roll

We hired the lovely Vanessa Mallinson – one of the resident DJs at Soho House for the evening. She did a great job and kept people on the dancefloor all night! We gave Vanessa a mix of music that we wanted to hear – a good dose of 50s and 60s rock n roll as well as some particular songs that we love. The official evening ended on a high with Empire State of Mind… A nod to our engagement in New York last year.

Two First Dances

Henry –The first dance was the focus of much discussion! We went round the houses but got it down to a shortlist of two – True Love Ways by Buddy Holly and In My Life by The Beatles. We love Buddy Holly and although we hadn’t heard the song before, we fell in love with it and the fact that it was written for his wedding. We also love the Beatles and it was nice to have a reference to Liverpool (the city where we met). In the end we had both!!

I was a bit reluctant to do a first dance but it ended up being one of my favourite moments. A few people joined in part way through the first song and having the second song gave us some time to ourselves just to take everything in!

Wedding Scent

We had scented candles in the ceremony and by the guest book. I had been to Jo Malone for a wedding consultation (a bit of fun and a free arm massage!) and fell hook line and sinker for the idea of ‘scenting the wedding’!

Our florist and Soho House provided candles throughout the venue which were gorgeous in the evening. We added a few personal touches like the knitted Bride and Groom dolls and the table plan which was designed by Henry and based on our USA honeymoon to California, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado!

Sticklers For Detail

Originally we seriously considered getting married in California. We both love the states and have always pondered a wedding on the Pacific Coast. However we soon realised that would mean that very few of our friends and family would be able to attend and there was no way we wanted to get married without those people there. In the end we decided on central London. We have lived here for almost 8 years and it is home to us. It also meant that almost everyone could come (including my lovely little nieces and nephew who were a big part of the day) and seeing how happy they were for us made our day really special.

For us making sure we were both involved in all of the planning made sure the day was a representation of what we both wanted. It was never the case that Henry only nodded or vetoed each decision – we are both sticklers for detail and put a lot of time and effort into getting things right. It was so nice to see that all the tiny decisions we’d made all had an impact – from choosing a single venue for the ceremony and reception to embracing the rainy weather with a couple of nice umbrellas and the music, food etc.

Henry – my advice would be don’t be afraid to try and use your creativity. When I decided to design the table plan and invitations myself it was a bit daunting but in the end I really enjoyed it and the result was more personal. We also had a lot of fun – particularly doing our save the dates using the photobooth app on the iPad!

Venue – Soho House

Photographer – Lisa Devlin

Dress – Ugo Zaldi

Hair Slide – Sheena Holland

Shoes – Pedro Garcia

Florals – Scarlet and Violet

Hair – Daniel Hersheson

Make-up – Lauren Hersheson

Cake – Crumbs and Doilies

Entertainment – Vanessa Mallinson

A bit of a fashion-fest this one. Henry is one seriously dedicated groom in the clothing stakes… He knows exactly what he wants and he is going to move heaven and earth (well, a shirt from Paris) In order to get it.

Emily isn’t letting the side down either – the Ugo Zaldi dress and Sheena Holland are a seriously classy combination.

I love London, it is a shame the sun didn’t shine for our lovely couple but they embraced the bad weather and made the most of it. Lisa Devlin did the same and managed to pull off some impromptu photographic magic – that last shot of the brollies is an absolute corker.