Jennie & Andy’s vibrant florals and fabulously fun wedding at Dorney Court, with Nicola Thompson Photography
Jennie & Andy’s wedding is just so wonderfully bright and filled with the loveliest flowers – the long, wooden tables at Dorney Court look stunning – and our bride and groom are such a gorgeous couple – you will love this… I saved it for Sunday so there’s plenty of time for you to Pin away to your heart’s content! Enjoy.
“I had a clear idea on what I wanted for the flowers – colourful, wild and unstructured. We chose to use Siobhan (of La Belle Floral Designs) having seen the beautiful arrangements she made for my friend’s wedding. She tolerated my fussiness about the colour scheme (no purple!!) and let me choose specific bottles from her collection for our table displays. The flowers surpassed all our expectations – as well as choosing a stunning selection of flowers she used herbs in the table decorations and bouquets which gave off a beautiful scent. I would thoroughly recommend her!
The modern barn at Dorney Court was a blank canvas and the venue were flexible about allowing us to decorate it. We spent what felt like many hours making garlands of gold discs to hang from the beams, but they had a huge impact on the space and reflected the light into the evening. We chose rustic long tables and chairs for the sit-down dinner, and our florist made small posies of flowers for the tables which looked like they’d just been picked. Academy Audio dressed the courtyard with festoon lighting and fairy lights in the olive trees, which gave it a beautiful light come the evening.
Wedding photographer’s website:
Photography was one of the most important aspects of the day to us, and (embarrassingly!) I had saved the websites of a couple of photographers before we even got engaged. It was important to us that our photos were modern but not overly trendy, and not too staged or formal. We loved the vivid colours of Nicola’s pictures, and speaking to her it was clear she has a wealth of experience.
We were absolutely thrilled with the pictures from our wedding; Nicola definitely exceeded expectations! She captured so many special moments from the day and all the details we’d worked hard to achieve. The light in her pictures is stunning, and she was a dream to work with on the day – she was totally unobtrusive and put all our guests at ease. As someone who is usually happier behind the camera, she made me feel comfortable having our portraits taken and we couldn’t be more pleased with the result!
Nicola captured the atmosphere of the day and the venue so perfectly! As well as the more formal family groups there are some beautifully cheeky shots of friends and family which we will really treasure.
Discover more from Nicola Thompson Photography:
It didn’t take long to decide on Dorney Court as our venue. We loved the modern barn set in the stunning English gardens and the walled courtyard. It was clear there would be plenty of space for our guests, and had the relaxed feel we were after. We were also wooed by the menu from Absolute Taste, the associated caterers – there was so much choice! The service provided by Dorney Court on the day was impeccable. There was so much attention to detail and we didn’t have to worry about a thing! The food certainly didn’t disappoint – from the canapes through to the midnight snacks it was perfect.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Relaxed and pared-down summer garden party.
Your wedding style or theme:
Whilst we didn’t ascribe to a strict theme, we decided on bright colours with accents of gold. We wanted the decor to be simple and unfussy, and the focus to be on the flowers and beautiful setting.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
I followed a number of recommendations, and tried to use local suppliers where possible. I’d been so impressed with the flowers at my friend’s wedding a couple of years earlier, and she kindly put me in touch with her brilliant florist. Dorney Court were helpful in putting us in touch with some local suppliers, and I used wedding blogs to source suppliers for our tables and find our photographer.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Don’t feel pressured by anyone to buy extras you don’t need – so many beautifully manicured weddings I saw on blogs had a photo wall, interactive guestbook, fete games etc, but we knew we wanted our wedding to be free of fuss and focused on quality time with our guests. It’s easy to think you have to put on a show for your guests but people should be coming to celebrate the occasion and as long as there is food, wine and good company you don’t need the extras!
We bought our own wine etc, and despite the corkage costs it meant that we could afford to be much more generous than if we’d chosen to go with the venue’s food and drink package. It’s worth doing the calculation, especially as many vintners will offer wine on sale or return.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
I was so glad we spent money on the flowers! I’ve always been a sucker for peonies, and had imagined lots of big blousy blooms. They made such an impact in the church, and in the modern barn at Dorney Court, and we had a few large arrangements of wild flowers in milk churns. Ask your florist about how to get the most use out of the arrangements – we were able to repurpose some of the church flowers for the reception venue, which helped with the budget!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
I trawled through Etsy looking at invitations, and found the lovely Sara Oakley of Juntos Creative. We loved the simplicity of her designs, and she was so accommodating about changing the designs to meet our specifications. We used Telford Repro, who were the best value suppliers I could find for small batch printing in gold, and we were so pleased with the results! Sara also designed other lovely pieces of our on-the-day stationery, such as place cards and our orders of service.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
I didn’t have a pre-imagined idea of my wedding dress, and had a couple of disheartening trips to bridal boutiques where nothing was quite right. However, things changed when I went to Blackburn Bridal boutique in Blackheath. They have a carefully curated range of dresses from modern designers, with beautifully-kept samples. Having sworn I wouldn’t choose a Jenny Packham dress (lovely, but ubiquitous!) I was persuaded to try the Harlow dress. It blew everything else I’d tried out of the water! I was so pleased with the helpful and honest advice from the staff in the boutique, and their seamstress did a brilliant job at altering the heavily-beaded dress to be a perfect fit.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I visited the Jenny Packham accessories boutique to choose a headband and some simple earrings to match the dress. I chose to keep the jewellery simple as my dress was heavily-beaded. My wedding and engagement ring were designed by Lily Kamper, a jewellery designer I’ve loved since my husband bought me one of her marble column pendants for my birthday a couple of years ago. We worked with her to develop a modern art-deco design, inspired by the architectural influences that are typical of her jewellery. She also designed a modern wedding band for Andy with some stylish detailing symbolising our wedding date.
The shoes were one of my big extravagances! I’ve always had a thing for shoes, and had my eye on some Bionda Castana beauties for some time. After a lot of indecision about whether they really were budget-appropriate I decided to splurge, and was so pleased! They were perfect with the dress and I’ve worn them many times since – worth every penny.
And what did the groom wear?
Andy chose an off-the-peg three-piece suit from J. Crew. We were very impressed at the advice given from the staff in their Regent Street shop, and he looked extremely smart on the day! He chose to pair it with some modern tan Grenson brogues which had been a Christmas present from me.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
My lovely bridesmaids made choosing dresses very easy! I spotted some dresses on Mango which were beaded in a similar style to my own dress, and the girls looked lovely in them so that was that! I gifted them some earrings on the day from Anton Heunis.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Following a last-minute cancellation from my original hair and make-up artist, Clare Turner stepped in to save the day. Although there wasn’t time for me to have a trial she did a fantastic job. My hair is naturally short and very fine, but I was keen to avoid extensions or hair pieces if possible. Clare worked miracles when it came to making me look like I had much more hair than is really the case, and the ‘do lasted all day! I felt natural and glowy and am so pleased with how my make-up looks in the photographs.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We gave free reign to one of Andy’s good friends, who made us four (!) beautiful cakes decorated with fresh flower petals. They went down a treat with our guests!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We spent a long time searching for the perfect band to fit with the garden party feel of our reception, and eventually came across the New Orleans Footstompers. Their light-hearted dixieland jazz was the perfect backdrop, and they looked the part in stripey blazers and boaters. My grandma was a huge fan! We booked DJ Markus through A Live Network for the post-dinner dancing – he was responsive to all our recommendations and kept the dance floor full all night.
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Make sure you’re 100% happy with your suppliers and don’t be afraid to keep looking if you haven’t found quite what you’re after. It felt like it took me a long time to find the right dress, but I’m so glad I didn’t settle for something I wasn’t completely happy with! Identify someone who can manage the logistics on the day itself, whether a co-ordinator at the venue or a trusted friend – you don’t want to be thinking about anything other than enjoying the day!
What’s the best thing about being married?
Not having to plan a wedding! Jokes aside, wedding planning wasn’t something we enjoyed – it can feel like there is a lot of pressure to plan the perfect day. Be open to offers of help from friends and family, and remember that the hard work will pay off. After all the organisation we had an incredible day and have so many lovely memories to look back on!
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JuntosCreative – wedding stationery
https://www.telfordrepro.co.uk/ – wedding printing
http://www.blackburnbridal.co.uk/ – dress
http://lilykamper.com/wedding-engagement/ – wedding and engagement rings
http://biondacastana.com/ – shoes
http://www.labellefloraldesigns.co.uk/ – flowers
http://www.rustichire.co.uk/ – table and chairs
http://www.academyaudio.co.uk/ – production company
http://weddingmusic.co.uk/client/neworleansfootstompers.php – band
http://www.markusf.co.uk/ – DJ
http://www.clare-turner.co.uk/ – hair and make up