Nicky and Natalie’s wedding has everything a wedding blogger could wish for and more: romantic hugs, gorgeous design (Vivienne Westwood anyone?), and fabulous details which combine rustic with modern elements. The wedding venue and decor, by the way, is sublime! Dream Occasions‘ Bernadette Chapman worked her magic there, and helped with the wedding story for this blog post as well!
There are beautiful pictures – courtesy of the lovely wedding photographer Mark Bothwell – and plenty of ideas for other couples to include in rustic but elegant weddings. But most of all, this is one of those weddings which has that fantastic sense of freedom: a humanist ceremony, some glorious moments with friends and family, and a couple who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Nicky and Natalie are beautiful and inspiring. I hope you love today’s wedding blog as much as I do.
A Milden Hall Wedding: Nicky and Natalie
Who proposed, and how?
A surprise trip to Paris, disguised as a 40th birthday break away. Nicky wanted to propose before turning 40th and organised our arrival in Paris one day before. Over a relaxed lunch in the beautiful Les’ tuileries garden, Nicky asked for my hand in marriage.
We had a lovely weekend, shopping, romantic meals, night time stroll down past the Louvre and along the river, finishing the evening listening to a Jazz band, drinking Armagnac & port and eating sweets – served by the waiters, well into the early hours.
The wedding venue
Milden Hall, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 9NY http://www.thehall-milden.co.uk/
Wedding photographer: … Mark Bothwell http://www.markbothwell.com/
How would you describe your wedding style? … ‘Modern meets Rustic’
The wedding ceremony:
Humanist ceremony conducted in the garden by celebrant Linda Morgan. We were determined to have the ceremony outside by a stunning tulip tree and were fortunate with the weather. Thankfully the rain held off albeit it was a tad windy so some of the design details planned for the ceremony area had to be ditched. We did still manage to tie Perspex balls and buckets of flowers to the tree although they did bash about a bit!
Both fathers walked us down the aisle and Natalie’s sister was a bridesmaid whilst our dog Hatty was the ‘best dog & ringbearer’. His bed was under the tree so he could nap during the ceremony!
Which wedding readings did you choose?
Excerpt from the novel “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” Louis de Bernieres
Nicky was wearing an Old Town waistcoat and trousers, and Trickers boots – all British made.
Wedding venue styling and details:
In one of our earlier meetings with Bernadette we discussed styles & colours. We told her we wanted ‘tradition with a twist’& ‘luxury but not glitzy’. We were open to colours so when Bernadette suggested apple green & plum we were happy to go with it. We were thrilled to get permission from Liberty to use one of their designs, this was scanned and used on all stationery and subsequently the colours were used for the design palette. Emma (a bespoke designer) was thrilled when we showed her the pattern as it gave her a chance to get creative and use some fabulous colour mounts.
Milden Hall is an amazing wedding venue and we knew when Bernadette recommended it that it would be perfect. We wanted to keep the quirkiness of the barn but add some glamour. Our numbers were low for the daytime so we were able to have the long banquet tables along with a children’s table.
The banquet table is Suffolk made and beautiful so we decided to have a green runner made instead of covering it with linen. All down the middle of the table were tealights and small vases with flowers, the sweet peas smelt amazing on the day. Chartreuse French chairs were hired from Great Hire.
James did a great job of draping the far end of the barn thus hiding the band until the evening, fairy lights were criss-crossed across the ceiling and festoon lighting was in the courtyard.
Personalised menus with the liberty print were tied to napkins using green & plum raffia. The children’s table was decorated with green art paper, purple plants with windmills, felt watering cans with colouring sheets & crayons + craft kits.
Nicky’s father supplied the drink including some personalised labels for the wine.
The cake was a stunning 4 tier chocolate wrapped design by Michelle at Vanilla Patisserie. Bernadette worked with Michelle to come up with the design that best matched the wedding. The flavours chosen were vanilla and raspberry, lemon, carrot, dark chocolate and blackcurrant truffle.
What were your highlights?
So many highlights, seeing the transformation of the barn after Bernadette, Beverly (jades flowers) and James (wedding creative) had finished with it.
Seeing all our friends and family let their hair down especially when Blue Harlem started playing.
Watching the hilarious antics of guests whilst doing the thumb art canvas which turned into an array of body parts used instead of just thumbs!
“I became very close to Nicky & Natalie as we had the same sense of humour and I hope we will stay in touch. We were totally on the same wave length for their wedding, they gave me the design freedom to get on with the job. I loved that they didn’t see the transformation until the Saturday making it more special, the suppliers and I were left to set the barn up on the Friday. We were trusted and as a wedding planner there is no better feeling” says Bernadette.
The wedding reception:
Chimneys Catering Long Melford were selected as caterers for this wedding. Bernadette has worked with them many times so knew the food and presentation would be spot on. It was important that the food was organic and as locally produced as possible.
Guests were give a choice of Seafood Stack or Asparagus & artichoke salad to start and Fillet of Beef / Vegetarian or Seabass for the main. Pudding was a trio which included Gooey chocolate brownie – mini tarte au citron – summerfruit pudding
Wedding music and entertainment:
We had Sax & Honey http://www.saxandhoney.com/ (female vocals & sax) for the ceremony & drink reception, then during dinner we swapped the sax for a piano. During the ceremony they were hidden behind the trees so guests wondered where the beautiful voice & sax were coming from.
In the evening we had the fantastic Blue Harlem http://www.blueharlem.co.uk/ who were FANTASTIC! We had seen them perform at Ronnie Scotts so knew they’d be perfect for our wedding. Not only did they sound great, their outfits were very dapper! Even if guests were not used to Swing it got everyone up dancing.
Wedding day advice from Nicky and Natalie
It can be a stressful time, as emotions are running high. Try to get some time alone, even if it’s a 10 minutes quiet time before leaving, 5 minutes break away with your wife/husband from the wedding party during the day. Time goes very quickly and stepping away allows you an opportunity to take it all in, observe your guests enjoying themselves and soak up the atmosphere.
- Feeling overwhelmed as we walked side by side with our fathers and seeing all our family and friends seated and waiting for our entrance.
- Exchanging of rings and asking our Labrador (Hatty) to step forward as the ring bearer.
- Having fun during the photo set
- Seeing the venue finished with flowers, furniture and all the little touches added by our amazing wedding planner
- Emotional speeches from both fathers and wife, our guests complaining that we hadn’t supplied tissues!
- The Evening Swing band – Amazing, Amazing, Amazing. Blue Harlem rock and made our first dance go with a swing!
Recommended wedding suppliers:
- Wedding Planner – Dream Occasions http://www.dream-occasions.co.uk/
- Photographer – Mark Bothwell http://www.markbothwell.com/
- Caterers – Chimneys Long Melford http://www.chimneyslongmelford.co.uk/
- Cake – Vanilla Patisserie http://www.vanillapatisserie.co.uk/
- Florist – Jades Flowers http://www.jadesflowers.co.uk/
- Celebrant – Linda Morgan http://humanist.org.uk/lindamorgan/
- Stationery – A Bespoke Design http://www.abespokedesign.co.uk/
- Lighting & Draping – Wedding Creative http://www.wedding-creative.co.uk/
- Chairs – Great Hire http://www.greathire.co.uk/
- Signage – Muddy Creek Signs http://www.muddycreeksigns.co.uk/
- Bar – Ibarco http://www.ibarco.co.uk/