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Real wedding: English country garden meets South African cape chic

Linzi and Freddie’s Isle of Wight wedding is a dream – an English country garden-inspired day, with elegant details and beautiful flowers, table stationery and accessories. Bride Linzi is stunning and graceful in her wedding dress with delicate lace sleeves – just the photos of Linzi and Freddie’s hands together are so romantic – I love it.

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They make a wonderful couple and this wedding is a real inspiration. When Linzi got in touch to share her day with us all I couldn’t resist – and I’m delighted to be able to share Linzi and Freddie’s wedding story with you today. Linzi has written an amazing wedding report for us all with details of everything from her wedding signs to the surprise flash mob!!… and the images of the wedding are by Mandy Meadows.

Enjoy!

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Linzi and Freddie’s beautiful Isle of Wight wedding

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Who proposed, and how?

Freddie proposed (nice and traditional!) after a morning run on a beach in South Africa close to his parent’s home on the Garden Route. Just me, Freddie and his parents’ Jack Russell Phritzy! It was romantic as he proposed with a ring that was made up of his great grandfather’s wedding band and set with his grandmother’s engagement diamond. He had carried it around with him for a year before proposing!

Wedding venue: Osborne House, Isle of Wight

We were living in the Netherlands when we got engaged and a month later, moved to Hong Kong. With Freddie being South African, me being British, we met in Canada (whilst playing rugby!) and then lived in Hong Kong, we wanted to find somewhere that meant the least amount of travel for everyone. We settled for the UK, as I had always wanted a traditional English country garden style summer wedding. We chose Osborne House (Queen Victoria’s residence) on the Isle of Wight for its unrivalled beauty, history and it was the first place I had taken Freddie when he visited the UK. I also had spent many a happy day on the island sailing so it made sense.

Wedding photographer: Mandy Meadows of Wight Studios, Ryde http://www.mandymeadowsphotography.co.uk/

How would you describe your wedding style? Traditional English country garden summer meets South African cape chic
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The wedding ceremony:

Religious or civil? We had a religious ceremony at St Mildred’s in Whippingham, East Cowes. It is a beautiful old CoE church steeped in history. Freddie’s father is a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church and we had a wonderful Vicar who allowed him to conduct parts of the ceremony for us – it made it so special!

We actually had to have our legal ceremony in Hong Kong a month earlier due to the rules around marrying in a church, however the church blessing was as close to a full marriage as it could have been and we treated it as such with the Hong Kong part being a means to an end. The other special part was my Brother in Law Ivan McCarthy who is an extraordinarily talented musician and singer and played our organ throughout. He was perfect!

Which readings did you choose?

We had such an eclectic mix of guests (Nationalities as diverse as / people travelling from Canada, New York, Houston, Dubai, South Africa, Hong Kong, Thailand, Greece, Mexico, Nigeria, The Netherlands and probably a few others I’ve forgotten) and varying (non) religious beliefs that we really wanted everyone to enjoy the ceremony and feel relaxed in what was quite a formal setting. Therefore we selected a mix of contemporary and traditional:

Love is a temporary madness – extract from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

– Genesis 2:15,18-24

– Extract from The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams (1881-1944) – I actually got the idea from this one from English Wedding Blog as I recall!
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What did you wear?

Bride: I had my dress designed in Hong Kong and had last minute alterations and changes done by Annette at Rags to Stitches in Wimborne, Dorset. Without her, I would have been in trouble, as the dress wasn’t finished when I left Hong Kong!

My something borrowed was my veil from a dear friend Ginnie Dallard. My earrings were from a small family jewellers in Lancashire where I grew up and Freddie presented me (via my father) with a gorgeous yellow diamond necklace made to match the earrings on the morning of the wedding. It was made by Ryder diamonds in Hong Kong who also made our wedding rings.

Groom: The groom and his team wore morning suits from Abigails in Corfe Mullen, Dorset.
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An English country garden wedding reception:

What were your wedding highlights? We were cheated out of a nice summer day as the rain started at least a week before the wedding and did not stop until 2 days after… Our marquee was cold and waterlogged so my wonderful friend Lara Caines who was helping out as my wedding planner and the team at Osborne House (Douglas Worsley) made contingency plans for the drinks reception. We should have had them on the terrace overlooking the solent but we instead we had a champagne tour of Osborne House all to ourselves! Everyone loved this.

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The other wonderful highlights included our table plan and signage done by the very talented Zoe Rusga from Bunny Delicious and the sweets on the tables supplied by peter at Humbug on Cowes High st. The flowers were out of this world, the brief to Nicky our florist was South Africa meets England and the result was vintage style giant proteas (South Africa National flower) and white English roses – stunning.

Wedding venue styling and details:

We had a marquee on the Dunbar lawn and we used Finishing Touches in Ryde for small things like bunting along the walls for hats to be hung with pegs, fake tea lights (as we weren’t allowed naked flames in the venue). My amazingly talented Brother in Law Alwijn Burger who runs his own events management and design company in South Africa, designed the most incredible place settings – everyone loved the details.

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The menu was very informal with the South African and English theme running through it. We also had a lovely savoury cheese layers with port and whisky for the end of the supper. We used our delicious Victoria Sponge and fresh strawberry wedding cake as the pudding. The cake was created by Alison McCallum from centrepiece Cake Designs (www.centrepiececakedesigns.co.uk). We also asked people to RSVP with postcards from around the world – it was really fun to receive them and we then displayed them around the marquee pegged to the bunting – great talking points!

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I grew up in Lancashire and my family are still there so hence the Lancashire cheese pie for our veggie option… You can take the lass out of Lancashire but you can’t take Lancashire out of the girl!

My wedding planner was a family friend Lara Caines who also owns her own event management company: http://www.destination-first.co.uk/

My chief bridesmaids were my best friend since school in Lancashire, Helen Feeney and my sister Laura Blakey.

Caterers were David and team (sole suppliers at Osborne House) from all about catering: http://www.allaboutcatering.co.uk
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Wedding music and entertainment:

One of the massive highlights of our whole day was the very special volunteer choir – Medina Community Choir lead by Hannah Brear. I really wanted a choir for the church and everyone (Freddie, the vicar etc) told me it would be fine just with our congregation but I was determined! After extensive internet searching, I found Hannah through google on 16th May so less than 2 months before the wedding.

After a few skypes, we sorted out a plan for music prior to my arrival, during the interval (as we didn’t need to sign a register) and as we were leaving. What Freddie (or anyone else) didn’t know is that I had planned for Hannah to plant a few choir members in the congregation dressed as guests and along with 2 of my friends who were talented singers, they did a flash mob as we were about to leave the church whereby they stood up randomly and broke into song “Son of a preacher man” – perfect for Freddie who wasn’t expecting it!

Our guests thought that we were being boycotted by some crazy singing guests but it was all planned! This along with a duet of Pie Jesu, which had everyone in tears…. They were such an amazing part of our day that we have set up an annual donation to support them. Our live band were a huge hit and due to being in Hong Kong we had only heard recordings via the internet and a recommendation from a friend – but they really got the crowd going.

Memorable wedding day moments:

Presenting my Father with a Panerai watch before we left for church, seeing my gorgeous little flower girls and page boy (made up of our godchildren) on arrival at the church (our pageboy went ahead of me up the aisle wearing a sign saying “Uncle Freddie, here comes your girl!” – it made everyone laugh and broke the formalities!, seeing Freddie’s face when the flash mob started singing, seeing all our friends and family from across the world (literally!) in all their finery (all the ladies wore hats or fascinators or hatinators as my request which was lovely!), so many lovely memories!
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Wedding day advice:

– If you are overseas, a wedding planner or project coordinator is a must

– Make sure you are clear beforehand with how you want things to run on the day perhaps even consider a small printed plan for the official wedding party.

– Provide an agreed list of important photos you want and generally how you want your photos (i.e capture all guests in informal situations) otherwise you get just what you get

Pinterest became a really helpful tool for ideas

– Put together a very simple powerpoint inspiration board – we then used this to email suppliers etc as ideas were developing and it helped everything come together in a coordinated way on the day

– Detail IS important, guests notice it and it makes it different to other weddings. It doesn’t have to be expensive. We made little welcome packs for all our guests (contained a candle made on the Isle of Wight, instructions for the wedding, directions and timings in case people didn’t bring their invites, a small pot of South African chutney which were made especially for us by Martjie at Food by Preserve in Stellenbosch – http://www.facebook.com/pages/FOOD-BY-PRESERVE/305701551473 who is Ivan, our organist’s sister and some English fudge)
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Recommended wedding suppliers:

  • Wonderful wedding coordinator at Osborne House – Douglas Worsley
  • Marquee was from coast and country: http://www.coastandcountrymarquees.co.uk/
  • Flowers by Nic – stunning and reasonably priced – Nic Downer – 51 Union st Ryde PO33 2LF
  • Make up and pre wedding beautician www.mirandaschipper.co.uk Amazing Miranda, calm, cool, professional and ill make sure I go back to her for facials whenever I’m back on the Island!
  • Hair – www.alan-foster.co.uk – Alan has been my hairdresser for years and it was so lovely to have him there (despite the distance he travelled!) – choose someone who knows you and knows your hair!
  • Creche – Freedom Childcare – 23 New Street Lymington Hampshire SO41 9BH. Invaluable to look after the babies and let the parents party!
  • Cake – Mrs, Alison McCallum – Firestone Glade, Wootton Bridge, Ryde, Isle Of Wight PO33 4LH
  • Dress adjustments – Anette Elliott and team 73C Leigh Rd, Wimborne Minster, Dorset BH21 2AA Saved my life!
  • Table plan, place name settings, menus and reception stationery by Bunny Delicious www.bunnydelicious.com and https://www.facebook.com/bunnydelicious
  • Choir – Hannah and the Medina community Choir (amazing, every guest we have had thank you or have spoken to said that these guys made the church service extra special) www.medinacommunitychoir.org.uk
  • Marquee décor – Jules Finishing Touches 15 Cross Street Ryde Isle of Wight PO33 2AD
  • B&B who were amazing with our guests – http://www.bedandbreakfast-directory.co.uk/uploads/estate/hotels/hotels78344.htm
  • Sweets for tables – Peter, Humbug Sweet shop, Cowes High St, West Cowes PO31 Isle of Wight
  • Cheese boards / cakes – Gabriella McKeague The Fine Cheese Co. 29 & 31 Walcot Street Bath. BA1 5BN Wonderful service and delicious cheese – best Brie we have ever tasted!
  • Band – http://www.depfinder.co.uk or Georgi Georgiev at georgi_kgm@yahoo.com
  • Wedding car (off the island but still fairly reasonable and the driver was wonderful) www.craneswaterweddingcars.co.uk
  • Stationery – Minster Press www.printsolutions.co.uk Mel is the contact of my wedding planner Lara Caines. They are really reasonably priced and good!
  • Confetti – http://www.shropshirepetals.com Came in a lovely box with colours that were coordinated and nice cones for each guest

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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9 COMMENTS
  • Pat Blakey
    7 years ago

    What a lovely story …makes me feel very proud!!

  • Julie Boyd
    7 years ago

    Lovely photos. Love the photo of the little people, so cute. Beauiful seating plan by Zoe of Bunny Delicious.

  • Dearest Claire,
    Thanks for posting the extraordinary wedding! There are so many parallels as I am from The Netherlands, have been to Hong Kong for an international Science Congress and we did some work in South Africa as well. Visiting Cape Town we witnessed a gorgeous wedding in the botanical gardens. Very elegant so I can see the combination here! Love the Protea flowers being present at the tables, one of South Africa’s special flowers and the idea with flip flops for tired feet is genial. I could go on and on but this was certainly and overall fantastically organized wedding! Hats off to all involved!
    Mariette’s Back to Basics

  • Lovely day, beautiful story 🙂

  • Miranda Schipper
    7 years ago

    Such a pleasure too be part of this special day with such lovely people- beautiful !

  • Laura Calderwood
    7 years ago

    Lovely images. Her dress is beautiful, I love the lace sleeves. And the sign around the little page boy’s neck made me smile! x

  • Linzi
    7 years ago

    Thanks for your kind comments, I loved every minute of organising the big day and wish I could do it all over again! Happy to be contacted if anyone needs any further tips or guidance.

    Linzi x Linzi.blakey@hotmail.com

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