This morning lovely blog readers I have the prettiest real wedding for you – a gorgeous bride and groom and one of England’s most stunning venues – Hampton Court. You’ll adore this! Beautiful bride Joanne told me all about their day (don’t miss the full English Wedding Blog interview at the bottom of the post!)
“Our wedding style was a mixed bag – but oh so personal – and everyone commented on the personal touches. We used spring time blooms – lots of pastels and soft pinks and blush mixed with lime green to signify the start of spring and the start of a new adventure for Archie and I.
Given that I am from South Africa but decided to get married in the UK, we made sure that our wedding theme had lots of personal South African touches mixed in with English traditions. These included:
- biltong snacks on our boat trip from our church to Kingston upon Thames down to Hampton Court.
- Amarula cream (like Baileys but better) on each of the tables for shots
- Home made biscuits as guest favours, each one of which had either a South African flag or St Georges flag on them
- Our table names were South African footballers who have played in the English premier league (with wonderful anecdotes and stories written by Archie)
- All our stationery had the South African national flower – the protea – on it, next to a beautiful English rose
Images are by lovely Katrina, who you can get in touch with at Captured by Katrina Wedding Photography. She shared her thoughts on Jo and Archie’s beautiful day:
“There were a few things that made this wedding really stand out for me. The boat trip from the church to the venue was such a great idea and really added to the party atmosphere early on, it was definitely something new for me! The fact that so many came from so far away was wonderful – so many people flew all the way from South Africa and showed just how loved the couple and the bride are. The venue was stunning – I have never photographed at Hampton Court House before, it is the perfect combination of both elegance and ecclectic bohemian style 🙂 And finally, heading out into the parkland as the sun was setting to be faced with a herd of deer was so memorable.
The venue was beautiful – as I say, beautiful elegance, bohemian patterns and colours decorate the venue, a beautiful orangery, the dining room with those deep red walls and enormous ceilings, the botanical gardens and the deer filled park behind. To think it is a school in term time is amazing!”
The English Wedding Blog Interview: Archie and Joanne
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
We were recommended her by our sister in law who was a bridesmaid at her best friend’s wedding where Katrina was the photographer. She said how lovely Katrina was and how her energy and enthusiasm just made the day such fun. We met up with Katrina a month or two before the big day and she was just wonderful. She’s completely natural which suits our style as we did not want lots of posed contrived photos and we also did not want to be away from our guests for long periods of time. It was a natural fit and she made everyone feel special on the day – from the bridesmaids to our parents and even all the guests commented on how great she was.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
We lovee them!
Katrina gave us a sneak preview 2 days after the wedding and we just loved seeing all the happy memories. Katrina kindly brought along a friend (free of charge) who wanted to take photos of our wedding to build her portfolio. So we had a second photographer who could capture so many great snaps of our guests having fun.
The lighting in Katrina’s photos is very soft and natural and just complements the colours and feel of the day so well.
We were both just over the moon with happiness on our wedding day and Katrina’s photographs capture that happiness to a tee. Everyone has said how wonderful they are and how happy everyone looks.
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
We were at home with my parents deconstructing the whole day and going over all the lovely events during the day and then Katrina posted a sneak peak on her Facebook page. I was thrilled when we went through them as Katrina had captured all the moments perfectly. It was then a case of emailing the whole family the link and having them relive the day again!
Hampton Court House, Hampton Court
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Spring time happiness surrounded by incredible friends and family
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Pinterest was my bible for a year for loads of inspiration and tips
Blogs were helpful too in terms getting an idea of realistic budgets.
I think friends’ recommendations were a huge thing for us which really helped with all of our suppliers (venue, photographer, florist, food)
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Ha ha Archie is probably thinking what saving?!
Firstly we chose a venue which allowed us to supply all our own drinks. Our caterers just charged us for bar staff to serve and prepare all the drinks which was amazing. A lot of venues charge incredibly high corkage and by supplying our own drinks we were able to choose the wines we liked and could make sure we had more than enough for the day so that everything was catered for, for our guests.
We still spent quite a lot on drinks given all the guests (130) but considerably less if we were to have paid corkage at a venue that made you use their bar.
Another saving was on the cake. My lovely friend from work offered to bake our cake which was so special and kind of her. This saved us a fair amount of money given that wedding cakes are really expensive.
So find a talented friend or family member who may like to do this as a wedding gift for you. It makes it much more persona too which was important to us.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
An old family friend is a graphic designer and she made our amazing save the date and invites for us- again a mix of South Africa and English touches and colours. We had so many guests telling us that they were the most beautiful invites they had seen. Very elegant get personal.
We made all the place names ourselves – definitely a labour of love over several months. We made scrabble tiles for every single guest with handwritten name tiles.
The person who had the highest score from their name one a bottle of Amarula.
We bought lovely cards for the favours where we wrote a little thank you note to each guest. The cards were themed around English high tea as I love tea and all the traditions around a good English high tea!
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
I tried on quite a few dresses at boutiques in Wimbledon with my 2 friends and when I first tried on the Pronovias gown I thought it’s so beautiful but did it look ok on me as a wedding dress is not something one wears everyday!
I loved the sheer back with the lace detail and I found the dress very classic in style yet still beautiful and not too fussy.
My mom really liked it which meant a lot to me.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Pronovias Laren lace style
I found it at Teokath boutique in Wimbledon. I did not purchase it from the store as I did a bit of scouting around online and found one half price from someone who was selling the exact dress brand new. This bride had bought the Pronovias Laren dress but then in the end decided to wear her mum’s altered wedding dress.
So this dress still had the tags on it and I just had to alter it to my size as the other bride was shorter than me and had taken the dress up.
I got the alternations done at Chambers bespoke tailors in Wimbledon Village and they were amazing. The team is fantastic and so professional. They altered the dress superbly and it fitted me like a glove. I am so grateful to them.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
My main piece of jewellery was a pearl drop / diamond necklace from my late grandmother. As a little girl she told me that her mother wore this beautiful necklace on her wedding day, my gran then wore it on her day, my mum and aunt, my cousin and now me. So it was such a special as my gran wanted all the women in the family to wear it so I felt like she was with me on the day.
All other jewellery was focused around the necklace – some lovely Swarovski drop earrings and a Swarovski tennis bracelet which my close friends had given me for my 30th birthday.
I wore lovely lace embroidered ivory closed toe shoes wth a dainty strap around the ankle. They were from popular wedding show brand Rainbow.
I bought a gorgeous ivory stole from Chambers Tailors who altered my dress. It made me feel very regal wearing it in the cooler evening when I was outside for photographs.
And what did the groom wear?
He wore a very smart black morning suit with a light grey Paisley tie.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
My bridesmaids are such special and close friends to me. They are all beautiful ladies so it was easy for them to look gorgeous on the day!
I wanted them all to be in spring shades of blush, coral and peach in lace like my dress.
They all chose their own styles and they were shop bought dresses from stores in South Africa and UK.
The all wore nude coloured court shoes and wore matching pearl earrings and bracelets. I bought them all marching Ivory stoles too which tied the dresses in well too.
They looked so pretty and natural.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
I had my hair and make up done by lovely Kirsty Fuller who is a mobile make up artist. I had a trial session with her and she made me feel so relaxed on the day and both my hair and make up were very natural and light – which I loved!
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
I was recommended by a colleague at work to get in touch with a freelance florist called Kirsty Grieve. She is amazing! We met up and discussed the colours and types of flowers I like and a month before the wedding she took me early in the morning to New Convent Garden market where all the flower wholesalers are. What an incredible experience! I could literally go around and choose all the blooms and colours I liked!
Kirsty’s arrangements in the church and at the venue were beautiful. They exceeded my expectations.
My bouquet and those of my bridesmaids were breathtaking. She even put sprigs of mint in them for a wonderfully fresh smell.
Kirsty went the extra mile carting flowers between the church and venue and cleared everything away from the venue at 1am so they I did no have to worry about returning cases etc.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
No luckily not as Hampton Court House is beautiful as it is. The drawing room where we had canapés and drinks has beautiful big sash windows overlooking Busy Park and it has a wonderfully high ceiling painted al fresco and a balcony looking down on the room. The conservatory which acted as the dance floor and bar area is decorated with fairy lights and I put up pretty peach and cream Pom poms which looked really pretty against the lights.
The dinigroom too had 4 standing candelabras to bring dramatic feel to the room which also had a lovely high ceiling. We had some lovely photos in the pretty garden and in wonderful Bushy Park with the deer!
It was all just perfect.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
Yes they were one of the best bits for guests as it was all personalised. We had home made name settings where we made individual scrabble tiles for everyone, a sign showing all the towns our guests had come from and individual thank you notes with the favours which were cookies with the South African or Union Jack flag on them.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We had a three tiered lemon drizzle cake that a friend made. It was delicious and we’ve saved one tier for our first anniversary! It was decorated with edible sugar flowers and looked amazing. The top layer had a sugar South African protea next to the Emglish rose.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We got a boat for the journey from the church to venue as both were on the banks of the Thames. Was great as turned the logistical transport into an event in itself and really a part of the wedding.
We had champagne on the boat trip, biltong as a snack and lovely background music to keep everyone in the spirit.
We also hired a lovely jazz duo to play during canapés which created a lovely relaxed atmosphere, and a caricaturist who did really fun sketches of all the guests to keep them entertained. It worked so well!
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
We pre-bought all the drinks from France so saved a lot of money and it also meant it was a free bar for guests which really helped get the party going and made for a very relaxing night where everybody just had fun.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Being a team!
The shared experience of planning and enjoying the wedding day is also something we’ll always have joint memories of and will look back fondly on in our old age!
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Katrina Bartlam was our photographer and was amazing – so accommodating, knew exactly what she was doing and very unobtrusive. Her photographs are also brilliant and capture the spirit of the day so well.
Event Crashers band. Matt and his team were wonderful. What a party!
Flowers by Kirsty