Ahh… I can almost smell the sunshine from today’s sublime English wedding – looking at these images is the loveliest reminder of summer, and the details of the day are simply perfect. Stunning bride Sarah has written about her day – and I just love that it was so perfect, this family home is set to become one of England’s prettiest new wedding venues.
“James and I got married at his parent’s house, Midway Manor, in Bradford-on-Avon and we would like to open up Midway Manor to other couples getting married as it is a splendid place.
We were blessed to be able to make use of James’ parent’s country home which has beautiful land with a lake and waterfall feature in the front of the house and a pretty manicured “secret” garden with an array of flower beds, kitchen gardens, peony patch (my favourite flower), walkways and pockets at the back of the house.
Midway Manor provided us with an idyllic English-country canvas to create an intimate at-home wedding weekend. We picked 28 May 2016 to tie the knot, which was my grandfather’s birthday (he was very much my father figure and a true gentleman) and the flowers at this time of year are truly lovely.
Photography – Louise Adby (http://www.louiseadbyphoto.com/)
I picked Louise as she takes personal, natural, editorial style photographs. Again another artist in her field. Louise has a unique flair for spotting and capturing a split second emotion, a glisten of light and a loving breath in as a new bride kisses her Mother.
She seems to see and portray the world (and wedding) in a way which I would (could) never see it and she takes photographs in an innovative way. I did think to myself at one point, what an earth is she doing taking a photo through a metal gate! The final photograph looks like the photo was taken through golden leaves.
What I liked about the process, is that Louise asks for as much information about the day, order of events and preferred location and type of photos to be taken (such as more group/family photos at the church or Midway Manor) to avoid awkward discussions as to who is joining in photographs if you just want photos of bride and groom and mother and father. Louise is very calming and she gives you the feeling like you have known her since the age of 5.
Discover Louise Adby’s distinctively beautiful photography here:
James and I come from mixed families, cultures and experiences: James was born in Switzerland, grew up outside of Paris and London, has a Swiss/Italian father an English mother and family ties to Boston. I was born a twin in Australia, grew up in Jersey with my Jersey mother and found a home in London. Despite of our “cocktail” cultures and backgrounds, we both have an affinity with England and we both agreed that we wanted to create a relaxed, yet sophisticated English-country garden (think, bring the garden inside) style wedding at Midway Manor.
We installed a marquee on the island of the lake at the front of the house for canapés and Champagne reception which allowed guests to wander the land whilst James and I had photographs taken.
The team installed a large marquee behind the house in the “secret” garden for the wedding breakfast and after party which incorporated a small water fountain at the entrance which added an oriental-garden feel and a fung-shui calmness to the entrance of the main marquee. We trusted the heavens and angels that we would have sunny weather, but in true English fashion the weather forecast was unwaveringly dedicated to rain and thunderstorms all weekend.
Fear not, our team put in place several rain contingencies (umbrellas and marquees with sides) and told us rain is “atmospheric”. The contingencies (thankfully) turned out to be in vain as there was not one cloud all weekend (thank you, Grandpa! x).
It was important to us to make use of the flowers and produce (James’ mother planted and nurtured) at Midway as well as local suppliers and local produce of which Bradford-on-Avon and Bath have plenty to offer!
We had an amazing team who were undeniably passionate, lived and breathed their art form, from the Event Planner (Gavin Parkhouse), the caterers (TEPI) and the florist, Elisabeth Anderson (Amamini Flower).
Having visited California, James and I wanted to bring the “farm to table”, organic, fresh and zesty way of life Californians seem to enjoy daily to our English country wedding. One tip for future brides and couples that I found invaluable is to work with people that you feel comfortable with.
When preparing for the most special day of your lives (to-date), you want to work with suppliers, creators (florist, photographer, band/ musicians), planners who understand and actually hear your words, thoughts and desires, who put you at ease and who essentially make you smile and laugh. If you do not like someone’s energy, you are unlikely going to enjoy their food, flowers or whatever it is they’re offering. They probably just care about the pay-cheque and not about you.
We kept our wedding day fairly simple. We did not have a first dance, nor did we have any fireworks or activities or surprises (or any of Wedding-y things one “must do”). I also did my own make-up (and my bridesmaid’s!).
We did what WE wanted to do on our special day, such as: entering the main marquee to a then number 1 song (Calvin Harris and Rhianna “This is What you Came for” and cutting the (scrummy, yummy) organic naked cake (and ensuring a secret stash of the yummy cake for the bride and groo… ok, ok it was really just for me).
We focused on offering delicious seasonal food; an organic hand-made naked cake; a fun, lively band and DJ to keep people dancing until the early hours; and beautiful flowers (which was particularly important me J). Those flowers still live on in my dreams.
Flowers – Elisabeth Anderson (http://www.amaminiflowers.co.uk/)
Elisabeth is an incredible talent. A florartist as I like to call her! Elisabeth has a wonderful skill in identifying a person’s personality, style, wishes and desires and transforms the same into her flower selection and arrangements. It was like Elisabeth popped inside my mind and extracted the images of my dream flower arrangements and brought them to life. The flowers were the most important part of the wedding day in terms of setting, ambiance and imagery – I loved the eclectic mix of flowers Elisabeth selected and the way she arranged them in a subtle, carefully thought-out way.
Elisabeth played around with vases, tea lights, candelabra, wreathes and ornaments; she used a range of flowers and foliage and arranged all the elements in a soft, multi-layered way which never tired the eye. It is clear that Elisabeth poured her heart into the flowers to create my dream flowers and it is fair to say that she transformed the wedding day with her flowers and her infectious (unforgettable) smile. She gives really good hugs too, for those who are huggers.
Cake – The Organic Cake Co. Jessica Langford-Snape (http://www.theorganiccakecompany.co.uk/)
Jessica made the cake the day before the wedding. She is lovely and will create any cake you desire. Jessica made an organic Victoria sponge (with a hint of lemon) sandwiched with Madagascan vanilla white chocolate buttercream and seasonal berry compote. Jessica liaised with our florist, Elisabeth, to arrange roses and peonies around the cake.
Catering – The Essential Party Ingredients (TEPI http://www.theessentialpartyingredient.co.uk/).
Our event planner, Gavin Parkhouse (again another person I cannot rate highly enough http://www.gavinparkhouse.com/) suggested TEPI to us. The food was incredible. TEPI is a family run business, headed by Heather and her son Oliver – who both felt like my family!
They, like the other suppliers, have a knack for identifying our taste (and my incessant sweet / champagne tooth). Heather personally hand-tied my (stubborn) silk organza ribbons around 170 Heather-folded napkins. I have never seen a bow so perfect.
Heather’s speciality is everything mini – she takes a pleasure in designing and constructing immaculate canapés (which tasted as good as they looked) and mini desserts.
The main courses (although not mini) were delicious too. TEPI were incredibly flexible and accommodating with our wishes for the menu and budget.
Band – Creation (http://www.creationmusicalservices.co.uk/)
We hired Creation Band from London. The band have a huge repertoire or songs and will pretty much sing anything you wish. They moved around the marquee and engaged and danced with guests. I even got a serenade to “My Girl”.
I could not fault them. Each band member had an incredible voice / was a superb musician and they blended well together.
The music really made the night and kept the energy high all night/ morning. So much so, Gavin had a small struggle getting the die-hard partiers to return to the hotels for some rest for the Sunday brunch!