Ian and Kate got married last Winter in the face of so much adversity that I can’t believe they actually managed to pull it off. If you’re having one of those days where you start to think it’s just not worth it, or everything is getting on top of you, then this is well worth a read, just to remind you not only what is important, but what a real disaster is!
Aside from the fact that they actually pulled the day together despite the weather, I really love the pale greens, muted golds and cream colours in this, helped along massively by the just lovely photography by Debs Ivelja – our latest talented find 🙂
Ian and I (Kate) got married (just!….the weather nearly got in the way of that one!) on Saturday 18th December 2010, apparently the snowiest day down South for about 40 years…. The wedding ceremony was held at St. Nicholas’ Church, Hedsor, and the reception at Hedsor House.
My dress (and fur jacket!) were from ‘Windsor and Eton Brides’ in Eton. The dress was a Veromia gown called ‘Grace’, and the fur jacket was made by Lynne, the very talented seamstress used by the shop.
I was about to leave the shop (having tried on a few and not been bowled over by any of them), when my sister pointed it out as it was brought down from the upstairs dressing room. I wasn’t struck by it at first, but that all changed when I put it on. I loved the rich colour that the layer of pale gold silk gave under the lace (I am very pale and pastey, so needed something that wouldn’t wash me out!) and the beautiful crystal and pearl detail that gave the dress, what I felt was, a real wintery sparkle.
I still went to a few more shops, but ended up comparing every dress I tried on with it and nothing even came close.
Their shop is absolutely beautiful, with a fantastic array of dresses, shoes and accessories. They were so helpful and patient with me (I went back to try it on 3 times in front of different audiences (mother, sisters, bridesmaids!) just to make sure!).
Million Design Accesories
I decided against a veil as I thought it would all look too busy with the amazing collar on my fur jacket. I did, however, wear what I thought at the time was a ridiculous amount of jewellery considering how detailed my dress was. However, I made an appointment with Gillian Million, and she pointed out that if you have a strapless dress and no necklace, you can look a bit bare in photos of just your head and shoulders. Plus, it’s good to have something on your writing wrist for pictures of signing the register etc.
So I ended up buying my beautiful headpiece and necklace (a one off vintage piece Gillian had adapted) from her, and made my own bracelets and earrings. I chose them because they were beautiful and elegant and I felt they went well with the ‘vintage’ type look of the dress (and vague, not deliberate to begin with!) theme of the wedding.
For my shoes, I wanted something relatively traditional and comfortable without being boring. I bought my shoes (called ‘Treasure Trove’ by Diane Hassall) from the Bridal Rogue Gallery in Chiltern Street. I had actually seen some other Diane Hassall shoes on the Rainbow Club website that I liked so actually went to the shop as they were named as a stockist. However, I tried mine on (the last pair they had in my size, and it was an end of the line range) and thought they went really well with the dress, with the buckle detail matching that of my dress brilliantly.
I went for kitten heels as I have crap feet (!) and am absolutely pathetic when it comes to high heels. I thought I would be kicking them off after about an hour, but they were brilliantly comfortable all day (when I got to wear them….!). My “other” pair of wedding shoes was, in fact, a pair of Hunter wellies! – which I bought in case it was a rainy day…..little did I know we would end up competing with half a foot of snow… Needless to say, the wellies actually ended up being one of the best wedding purchases I made!
Hands on Make-Up
My hair and make-up was done by the lovely Katrina Shortland of Katrina Bridal Beauty, who was a complete star from beginning to end. Her and her husband drove up from Bath at the crack of dawn on the morning of the wedding (where the bad weather was heading in from). Thank goodness they had a 4×4 so were able to contend with the snow. Katrina packed her husband off to Marlow while she got started on my two bridesmaids (my little sister and Ian’s sister).
Rather than being the pampering/champagne drinking few hours that most people experience on the morning of their wedding, my dad, bridesmaids and myself spent most of the morning on the phone discussing logistics and getting news of more people that couldn’t make it. Katrina was a hugely calming influence, and not only made myself and my bridesmaids look not half bad considering all the stress, drove our photographers to the venue after their car got stuck in the snow, and promptly came running in with her make-up case, convinced I would need a touch-up (and she could not have been more right….I had literally just had about my third tear fest of the day…!)
Antique Gold and Tartan
For the girls, we bought beautiful long “antique gold” dresses from Luella’s Boudoir in Wimbledon. They had ivory sashes and each wore a brooch which all tied in with my dress and the colour scheme brilliantly.
We had a mix of Scottish and English ushers, so the Scots all looked very dashing in their kilts, while the English ushers wore their own grey suits. We hired waistcoats from Moss Bros in Windsor (www.moss.co.uk) and bought gold ties to link into the colour scheme in Debenhams.
Ian was in his family (Sutherland) tartan kilt, and had a gorgeous matching tweed jacket and waistcoat for the occasion. His Crockett & Jones brogues had their first outing, and he wore the custom handmade silver kilt pin that I had given him the day before to open on the morning of the wedding.
I was so determined not to cry as I went up the aisle, and was successful until I set eyes on Ian…..cue the tears!! Not only did he look so fiercely handsome, I think we were both so relieved to finally see each other after everything we had independently been through that morning (needless to say he was in tears by the time I reached him as well….!)
The Right Photographer
Our photographer was the wonderful and extremely talented Debs Ivelja who drafted in Lisa Brown to assist her on the day. Debs had only done one wedding, I repeat, ONE WEDDING when we booked her, and seeing her photos from that were all that was needed to convince us that she was absolutely the right person to capture our day.
We had an engagement shoot in the summer to get to know each other a little better, which helped the very camera shy Ian and I to get a bit more comfortable being photographed. I honestly cannot recommend Debs highly enough. Not only does she make you feel totally relaxed because she is so very lovely, she was a complete star on the day and I genuinely think I wouldn’t have been as calm as I (apparently!) was without her.
She is a genius with a camera and with processing pictures, and we could not be happier with how she captured all of the wonderful moments we had.
Our fabulous florist was Sue Barton, based in Marlow (01628 482 770). We opted for really neutral flowers – ivory roses for the bouquets with diamantes/pearls to match the wintery occasion, and candelabras with ivory roses and lots of festive greenery in the Church.
The boys button holes were predominantly thistles (as my husband is Scottish), with Ian and the best man having a thistle, white heather and a white rose.
I found inspiration for our table centres from a wedding featured on Rock My Wedding some time ago – vases filled with twisted willow and gold baubles (to match our colour scheme) and hanging tea lights, which we felt suited the time of year and venue perfectly.
We left our cake in the trusty hands of Ruth, Ian’s sister, both in terms of content and design. Her only remit was cupcakes, and she made the most fantastic array including salted caramel, strawberry cheesecake and ginger.
At one point, the cupcakes were the only food that we had to feed our guests after we found out the caterers were definitely not going to make it!
Licence to Ceilidh
As Ian is Scottish, there was never any debate that we would be having a ceilidh! We found a great band called ‘Licence to ceilidh’, who unfortunately, never made it to the venue due to the snow.
However, we are very lucky to have hugely talented family and friends, who managed to pipe some reels before launching into a disco DJ’d by a variety of people from Ian’s laptop through the speakers we had hired for the speeches.
We decided very early on that we a) didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously for our first dance and b) that we vaguely wanted to have an idea of how we would dance to it, so we chose ‘Crazy for you’ by Let Loose and headed to Karen Hardy’s Dance School for a lesson to brush up on our (totally non-existent) dance moves. We had great fun with it and just about managed to pull it off in front of a very forgiving audience!
We decided that we wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary for our favours. So we made use of Debs’ fantastic photography skills and had a photobooth (complete with an array of props) set up in the venue, which guests could visit during the course of the evening. This doubled as both our favours (we sent out a digital version of the picture to everyone who visited the photobooth with our thank you cards as a memory of the day), and pictures for our guestbook, as instant prints were taken of guests as well to stick in the guestbook alongside their messages.
Words on Salvaging a Wedding from the Snow
Our wedding day was, as everyone tells you it will be, without a doubt the best day of our lives, even though at several points during the morning it looked like it might not go ahead at all…. Several inches of snow fell in the early hours of the morning and set to cause more disruption that we possibly could have imagined. The wedding car company called at 9am to say that the beautiful vintage car we had booked would not stand any chance on the roads. My Dad and bridesmaids spent the entire morning on the phone discussing logistics, not only of how we would get to the church, but of how we were going to transport everyone that was in nearby hotels to the venue. Throughout the morning, we learned of more and more people who weren’t going to be able to make it in the treacherous conditions, and received more bad news about caterers and ceilidh bands not being able to get through. Ian had a phone call from the vicar who couldn’t get out of her driveway, and the organist who didn’t think she could make it. Luckily we had a couple of ushers with 4x4s who went to pick them up.
Meanwhile, a coach that had been arranged to transport many of our guests from a hotel in Maidenhead got stuck about 5 miles from the venue so had to unload everyone into a pub. The boys arranged for family and friends with cars that could cope with the snow to make countless trips to ferry everyone from the pub where they had been left to the venue. We delayed the ceremony by an hour and a half to allow more time for people to get there (at 1pm when it was due to kick off, the church was empty).
Every single one of our guests who did get there had made heroic efforts to defy the extraordinary conditions. Friends hitchhiked from nearby towns, family drove down from Scotland overnight, and others walked miles across fields to get there, abandoning cars on roadsides when they could go no further. My sister and her family drove the wrong way down the hard shoulder of a dual carriageway, knowing that if they didn’t, they wouldn’t make it, and one of my Dad’s neighbours dropped everything to take me and my bridesmaids to the church in his weather-friendly car. One of our usher’s whose car got stuck on the roadside got his suit so wet and muddy trying to push his car out of the snow that a lady came out of her house to offer her assistance. After finding out that he was trying to get to a wedding, she not only offered to drive him there, but insisted on him having a shower and lent him a shirt and jacket! It is hard to find the words to paint the picture of the extraordinary camaraderie, determination and spirit that went into making the day what it was – a roaring success in the face of adversity.
The snow, despite the amount of chaos it caused, did make for the most incredibly romantic setting we could ever have hoped for. We served mulled wine and mince pies in the church after the ceremony (only fitting for a festive wedding!). When we realised that the caterers were not going to make it, we imagined that everyone would come back to Hedsor House for a glass of champagne and a cupcake before braving the roads once more to hotels/home. The beautiful food we had been planning to serve (including lamb legs from Ian’s parents’ farm in the Scottish Borders which we were serving for the main course, with a nominated carver on each table who we provided with a chef’s hat and apron) was stuck on the motorway with no hope of getting through. However, my brother had a bright idea to go to nearby supermarkets and buy some picnic food. So our wedding breakfast consisted of sausage rolls, crisps & dips, bread, ham and quiches, all carved beautifully by the boys in hats and aprons as they bought into the wonderful spirit of the day!
Even though the food hadn’t made it, thankfully we had deposited all of the alcohol at the venue the day before, which, along with the pipers playing reels and dance tunes blasted from the laptop in the absence of the band, miraculously kept the party going until nearly midnight. It was only because of everyone’s steely determination that the day was such a success, and we are forever indebted to our incredible family and friends for making it the day that it was.
Although I wasn’t a “bridezilla”-type, I have to confess that I can be a bit of a control freak and am someone that meticulously plans everything to the nth degree. And I can safely say that almost nothing on the day went according to how I had intended it. The best advice I can give to future brides is literally THE ONLY thing that matters is the wonderful family and friends that you have around you, and that is what makes your day so special. It’s not the hours you spend tying ribbon onto napkins (and I did, several!) or the days you spend narrowing down canapé choices. It’s that you come away as husband and wife and have the most wonderful celebration of that with everyone you care about (and also a great photographer to capture it all beautifully is essential!). Also, if you are planning a December wedding, make sure you invest in some wellies and have some 4x4s on standby!!
Photographer – Debs Ivelja
Venue – Hedsor House
Gown – Veromia from Windsor and Eton Brides
Accessories – Gillian Million
Shoes – Diane Hassall
Hair and Make-up – Katrina Bridal Beauty
Florist – Sue Barton, based in Marlow (01628 482 770)
Maids Dresses – Luella’s Boudoir
Dancing Lessons – Karen Hardy’s Dance School
I think that deserves a collective RMW Commmunity round of applause!
Beautiful, with love shining through – not only from Kate and Ian, but all the family and friends that helped them. What a day!