Sea glass green, creams and greys just make the most beautiful colour combination for this elegant, music filled wedding at Shilstone House. With grey skies and dramatic cloud, the soft palette looks natural and works beautifully with the surroundings of Shilstone and it’s gorgeous Georgian Manor House.
Toby Lowe is the man behind the lens and I love the way he has captured Vanessa and Nathan’s wedding day. There’s nothing forced or formal, it’s just their wedding day, as it unfolded.
Vanessa the Bride: Getting married in Cornwall was important for us as it’s where my family live, and we wanted a traditional ceremony in the village church. On our hunt for reception venues our hearts fell for the beautiful Shilstone House, despite it’s Devon location. Being an architect I’m a sucker for Georgian proportions, the way that the house had been renovated is very sympathetic and considered. The staff and house were so warm and we were both in admiration of its incredible views. We loved how we were able to experience the grandeur of the house and benefit from putting our own stamp on our day by having the reception in a marquee that we could decorate as we wished.
During my visit to Sophie Grace Bridal I pulled styles that were closest to what I’d pictured and one that was completely different but caught my eye for it’s simplicity and crepe material. It’s beading, in a geometric shape, reminded me of the Art Deco era, a favourite of mine. I tried it on first and was a bit upset as it didn’t fit and my family weren’t keen. However, after trying on the other dresses I couldn’t get it out of my mind, I tried it again wiggling into it. I walked out and my family burst into tears and I knew it was the one. I paired it with a cathedral length veil, to match the dress train and a vintage style head piece with pear shaped beading, matching the dress and my engagement ring.
We knew early on that the tradition in us would prefer morning suits, but the more contemporary side of us meant that top-hats and standard cut were a no-no. So the hunt began for a slim fit morning suit to suit the groomsmen who mostly stand over 6ft tall. We found the high street pretty limiting, so the hunt transferred online. We found a slim fit navy suit and grey waistcoat from Dobell to buy; we hadn’t set out to buy suits, but the cost wasn’t much more than renting, and it meant we weren’t tied to returning them the day after. Ties and pocket squares were sourced to match the bridesmaid outfits. Aside from a last minute trouser alteration for an usher who lives in Singapore, it all went very smoothly!
The form of the beading on my dress was the inspiration for the decor, little to Nathan’s knowledge. I translated the shape into the outline for flowers that I drew for the invitations. I made them soft grey-greens and white with a hint of blue Sea Holly. Our love of vinyl records also inspired the day – I designed all of the stationery and we spent many a weekend hand-making the invitations based on a vinyl and sleeve. We linked the theme and colours into our venue decorations, making as much as possible including hundreds of tulle pom-poms, silver-leaved jars for centrepieces, stands for framed vinyls for our table names and all the signage. We also made keep-sake boxes for our flower girls and page boy with toys inside to keep them entertained. We made countless trips to DIY stores and used several cans of grey spray paint! This was such a fun element to the buildup and enabled us both to be involved.
Dartmoor Flowers instantly understood our brief and we were overwhelmed by her creations. She took my drawings and made them a reality; naturally styled, soft greens, whites with a hint of blue. The flowers brightened up the church and doubled as our table decorations. They tied everything together beautifully and were more than we could have imagined. We gave wildflower seeds as favours, with the flower motif I’d drawn on the packaging. It’s so exciting to see them growing in our guests’ gardens.
The Wedding party
From the outset I envisaged my bridesmaids wearing a green-grey to tie in with the decorations and flowers, finding the right tone was probably the hardest part of planning! Les Trois Souers saved the day with their array of options – they were great and pulled nearly every option I’d planned for my girls to try on! All three of them loved a skirt and top option and so decision made. To compliment the lace tops of the bridesmaids we got our flower girls lace topped dresses with green belts.
The ceremony was one our greatest memories from the day. We loved how we were able to personalise so many aspects of it. Having my father walk me down the aisle was a moment I’ll never forget, and very emotional. We chose ’Scaffolding’ by Seamus Heaney as one of our readings, one of Nathan’s favourite poets and a nod to my architectural career, it was read perfectly by Nathan’s father, as was the religious reading, from Corinthians, read by my mother. We picked every prayer too and had our sisters read them, whilst Nathan’s mother and my father witnessed the signing of the register.
It was really important for Nathan to have a live band, he listened to so many demos before settling on The Choons from Cornwall. Little to my knowledge Nathan had arranged with the band to sing vocals for the closing song ‘You and Me’ by the Wannadies. I was so surprised and danced around like no one was watching!
Our first dance was to Hall and Oates ‘You make my dreams’; we sourced a vinyl of this (coincidentally it was grey!) and displayed it on a record player next to our cake – we don’t think anyone realised the link!
From the moment we first chatted with Toby over Skype we felt at ease. We hate our picture being taken and so he suggested a pre-wedding shoot. We did this on the Cornish coast, and had so much fun, making the wedding day so much more comfortable. Toby captured our guests and the atmosphere so accurately without people even realising. We are beyond pleased with our photographs.