Katie and Gianluca are also affectionately know as ‘The Beans’; a nickname that they first used as a term of endearment for each other but which has stuck for nearly seven years. This gorgeous pair first met in 2006 at a friend’s birthday party and got engaged five years later on New Years Eve.
Just wait until you see what we’ve got in store for you today lovelies.
Blue skies and sunshine. The sweetest bridesmaids. An ultra-luxe BBQ and the lightest of Victoria Sponges.
And did somebody say Wang?
Yes folks. Katie wore the fluffiest, dreamiest Wang dress I’ve ever clapped eyes on.
A Secret Enchanted Garden
Katie The Bride: Gianluca is half Italian, half Austrian and has lived all over the world. I am half Turkish, half Welsh and a born and bred Londoner. We toyed with the idea of getting married abroad and in the end decided on a bit of countryside close to home and fingers crossed for the weather! We got lucky! Our wedding was on a beautiful sunny day in September.
We had our marriage blessing at a gorgeous tiny church in Colchester. A friend of mine, Victoria sang three songs in the church, one of which she had written for us. It was such a wonderful moment and her voice is truly stunning. The reception was held at Westwood Park, the one and only venue I went to see only three days after getting engaged. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the perfect place for us.
I wanted somewhere with a country feel and lots of greenery and flowers that wasn’t too far from London. We knew we wanted to have a marquee and lovely grounds. Westwood Park reminded me of a secret enchanted garden and was a great mixture of elegance and theatricality. It looked beautiful in deepest winter and in the sunshine, it was truly stunning. They had two dates left for the year so I picked one and got it booked. My parents surprised us with a beautiful vintage car to pick me up and then take us to the reception which certainly made those two journeys very special and memorable.
As an actress, I wanted a dress with a bit of drama. I saw a lot of pretty dresses that looked nice but none of them gave me much of a feeling. After three weeks of trying dresses in every wedding dress shop I could get to and not finding anything that bowled me over, my mum and I went to the one day sample sale at Browns Brides just to ‘look’. Being very bad at making quick decisions, there was no way I ever imagined I would get a dress in a situation like this.
However, after queuing for an hour and trying two very expensive dresses that weren’t for me, the lady brought me one more to try before leaving. I still wasn’t sure but as soon as I put it on, I knew it was everything I had been looking for. I felt like me in it, it was so delicate yet dramatic and made such an impact. It had the most beautiful mixture of materials, swirls of lace and tulle and from the back especially was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. It also happened to be designed by the one and only Vera Wang! I walked out the shop with it twenty minutes later! It is such a beautiful creation and I’m so glad it found me!
I am a total magpie and so, after many a day spent browsing RMW pages, a particular vintage crystal Jenny Packham headpiece kept catching my eye and I knew it would really complete the look and match with the embellishment on the dress. Knowing, there was no room in the budget to buy it, in the end I managed to hire it on eBay for a fraction of the price and paired it with a simple veil I got for £10 on eBay that I wore in the church. My earrings and necklace were borrowed from my Mum’s extensive collection.
At 5 foot 11 and a half with a groom of the same height, skyscrapers were never an option for me but neither were flats. After a lot of looking, I eventually went for a pair of Vivienne Westwood silver piped court shoes with a small heel that were cool and comfortable and a little bit quirky.
Make up artist Hayley Barr came to do our hair and make up on the day. I opted for a natural look with big lashes and a loose side bun for the church, which I then pulled out into loose curls for the reception. Not being good at decisions, I mostly went for both options rather than deciding on one!
The Best Of Both Worlds
Flowers were tricky as I love lots of different types. I absolutely couldn’t decide between classy pink and white blooms or a mixture of colourful country flowers. After lots of changing my mind back and forth, lovely Liz of Blue Sky Flowers decided I should have both.
We had pink and white blooms for the church and then a mixture of bright colours for the reception to bring the marquee to life, which meant I got the best of both worlds. The bouquets and pew ends were subtle and gorgeous and then walking into the white marquee and seeing the burst of bright happy colours was a great moment.
Let’s Play Dress Up
My bridesmaids were my best friend (since the age of four) and my two sisters who are identical twins and rarely wear dresses or heels. I was so excited about getting to dress them up ad make them girly but wanted them to love the dresses too. The second dress I looked at turned out to be perfect on all three of them. They were a fairly neutral dusky pink with intricate silver beading and came from Debenhams. I loved their delicate vintage look and how they made the girls look like fairies.
Gianluca was dashingly handsome in a traditional morning suit hired from Moss Bros with an ivory Hermes tie his mum gave him as a gift. The Groomsmens’ morning suits were the same as Gianluca’s and hired from Moss Bros.
It Must Be Fate
Anna Hardy took our photos. I looked at lots of photographers work but Anna’s photos were so brilliant and artistic and made me laugh and cry. No other photos had moved or impressed me in the same way so I got in touch. She was sadly booked up for our date but then fate stepped in and she had a cancellation. I’m so happy we got her. She was lovely to have around and we love the pictures as a reminder of the day.
A Perfect Summer’s Barbecue
Food was a big priority for us and we had Talbooth Catering provide a wonderful barbecue and hog roast which couldn’t have been better for the summers day. It was all delicious, not that I got to eat much. I was too excited and the dress was pretty tight! Again, inspired by RMW, we chose a three tiered Victoria sponge with strawberries that was made for us by Elizabeth at Betty’s Bakery. It was delicious and just perfect for a relaxed summery day.
For entertainment we went for an evening disco and used BlackJack DJs who had done a number of weddings at the venue. The dance floor was never empty which was exactly what we wanted. Our first dance was to ‘Turn Your Lights Down Low’ by Bob Marley ft Lauren Hill. We both love the song and the relaxed vibe. I took off my shoes and we got everyone up on the floor dancing with us.
The Bean Theme
We had beautiful stationery designed and made for us by Sharp Stamp Design. They helped us to create the classical/theatrical secret garden look we wanted to tie everything together and went for a Bean theme with the table names as most friends know us as ‘The Beans’. Our name places were designed as bookmarks tied with ribbon and a little blue glass evil eye good luck charm to reflect my Turkish roots.
As well as the beautiful colourful flowers, we decorated the marquee with coloured balloons and colourful bunting that I made with my hens as part of my hen weekend. It was so lovely to have something we all made ourselves decorating the marquee on the day and brought back memories of a great weekend. We had tea lights inside glass jars decorated with lace and filled with beans and crystal table confetti.
Kiss Your New Husband…Lots
We had such a beautiful day that was so full of warmth and love in every way. We were surrounded by family and friends from all over the world and it was so special. I think we achieved the balance of formal and informal, relaxed and sophisticated that we were going for and we were so blessed with the weather.
My advice to brides would be to savour and enjoy every day of your engagement and every moment of your wedding. I adored all the planning. It was so much fun and then so lovely to surprise Gianluca with some of the choices I had made and see how much he loved them. It goes by so fast and it is truly overwhelming to see all your planning come to life and to be right there in the moment you’ve been thinking about for so long. Advice for the day; relax, dance talk to as many people as possible, celebrate your love and kiss your new husband, lots!
I love Katie’s wedded philosophy – not only to be right there in the moment but also to kiss your new husband…lots!
So much so that I’m going to smother the boy in kisses when I get home tonight; he won’t know what’s hit him.
Congratulations you two – you brought a whole heap of sunshiny joy to my morning.
All my love Lolly xxx