Bex and John’s epic, elegant Madingley Hall wedding with Ayshea Goldberg Photography
Hey lovelies! I’m so happy to be sharing such beautiful inspiration with you this week – I like to think I save the best until last and this year we’re celebrating December in style!! Today’s wedding combines historic elegance with lots of fun touches and a secret theme of Jane Austen – gorgeous bride and groom Bex and John had Jane Austen photo props and did their first dance as the dance from the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice!! How awesome is that? Images are by our lovely friend and sponsor Ayshea Goldberg Photography, who gets the loveliest review from the happy couple (just a couple of paragraphs on…)
The Tudor hall at Madingley was so historic and beautiful. We personalised the Saloon Room with lots of photos of us and our family and friends. Our florist added incredible flower garlands to the staircases and the top table. We reused ivy garlands from the church over the grand fireplace and used the bridesmaids bouquets in pint glasses on the tables! My sister put together boxes of goodies for the bathrooms – facewipes, safety pins, chewing gum, nice soap and hand cream. They were such a lovely touch.
We personalised the upstairs gallery with John’s nephews train set (which was loved by adults and children alike) and my favourite game – articulate!
We made blackberry gin as favours – my mum and two friends did the gin and Dad was very keen to help taste and decant it! John’s mum made the labels for them. We loved doing this and wanted something that could be completed at least a week ahead so no last minute stress. The invites were also homemade. I got very bored of embossing R&J onto each one… but it was worth it.
My incredible Bridesmaid Gen Smith made the cake. It looked and tasted wonderful. We had lemon, chocolate and fruit layers so there was something for everyone. She’s very talented (and generous). Our florist made a garland for the cake which offset the cream coloured royal icing wonderfully.
Wedding photographer’s website:
Ayshea Goldberg Photography
We asked on Facebook for friends to recommend photographers in East Anglia and then researched each suggested photographer and rated them! Thankfully one of our 5 star picks (the lovely Ayshea) had availability that day. We were so lucky to get her!
We’re very pleased – the photos are stunning. Ayshea is really diligent, lovely and talented. She works so hard to get absolutely everything you want on the day. She gets to know you beforehand so that she understands what would be important to you as a couple. We have had SO many comments about our lovely photos from our suppliers, family and friends. My dad who absolutely HATES having his photo taken actually enjoyed it and said he didn’t feel harassed or stressed by photographs for the first time ever!!
Ayshea paid wonderful attention to detail, and was very dedicated and helpful throughout our planning and our big day. Having Ayshea, Andy and Sinclair as our team was so reassuring and wonderful. Thank you so much!!
As with everything she does, Ayshea takes care to make the wedding photo reveal really special. We went to her studio and watched through a slide-show with music to see all 1400+ of our photos. She’d even got me gluten free biscuits as a snack. It was incredible to relive the day together – so many lovely memories captured forever! I have no idea how we are going to choose which ones to put in an album!!
Contact & Bookings: Ayshea Goldberg Photography
The Great St. Mary, The University Church, Cambridge for the ceremony. Our lovely Vicar Devin was relaxed, kind, welcoming and so friendly. My (Bex’s) Dad did the wedding address and it was so lovely and personal. We were so lucky as it came out with gorgeous sunshine just as we came out of the church (it’d been seriously raining before)
Madingley Hall (owned by the University of Cambridge) was an amazing venue – a gorgeous Tudor Hall with a beautiful walled garden, croquet lawns, a grand staircase, a sumptuous banqueting hall (complete with Tudor fireplace), a saloon room with wing back chairs to relax in and a wonderful bar. The food was yummy – so well presented and amazing.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Epic, elegant, classic, grand, fun, beautiful, historic, warm, friendly, us!
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Recommendations and blogs. We found that suppliers were brilliant at suggesting other trusted and excellent suppliers if they weren’t available.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Haggle for absolutely everything, ask for things to be thrown in for free, pay suppliers to travel from a cheaper part of the country, borrow anything you can, design your own invites (printed.com was excellent), use your bridesmaids’ bouquets to decorate the tables (we put ours in pint glasses that the venue lent us, they looked great!), as talented friends to make your cake or print the table plan.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
Photographer, videographer, florist, make-up, hairdresser and venue (the food was amazing and it was so important to me to have our dinner indoors in case of rain as I’d been in too many damp marquees before!)
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
We made it- John designed it and we had it printed at printed.com (excellent value) and hand tied it all with ribbons. We even put a wax seal on the back as a nod to the tudor venue. It was a labour of love but they looked great and were so so much cheaper!
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Yes, immediately. It was the first dress in the second shop. I’d been adamant I didn’t want a strapless dress but it just looked and felt so right. I look so happy even in the pictures of me trying it on. I reserved it and looked at others but nothing was right after that ‘one’. I still love it and want to wear it again!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Designer- White one Gowns
Boutique – Mia Sposa Bridal
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
My dainty diamond necklace was a gift from my parents many years ago, I wore both (!) my engagement rings – the sapphire one was my something blue. My pearl bracelet was by a designer in London – John bought it for me as my first ever gift. He also bought me my earrings as a Christmas present. We couldn’t find what we wanted for ages but then discovered these pearl earrings in a boutique near Covent Garden in the week before the wedding.
My shoes were an absolute bargain from BHS as it closed down. They were beautiful and had memory foam soles, amazing!
My hair vine was made by Dee Neicho in Essex in Pearl and Crystal.
My lovely bridesmaid Gen bought me a ‘Cambridge Blue’ garter with crystals on it. It was gorgeous but it started falling down my leg as I walked to sign the register. I was giggling with both the mums about that during the official signing!!
And what did the groom wear?
Moss Bros – it was on a deal from Moneysavingexpert.com!
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
I wanted them all to have different dresses that suited them in the same colour so I ordered online from JJ’s House. They were great and looked lovely. I LOVE the teal colour.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
We had professionals – it was so so worth it. It prevented any morning stress – I just felt so calm and happy and they did a wonderful job.
Beautiful Hair for Weddings
Victoria Bradfield Makeup
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
The flowers were amazing. So beautiful, natural and pretty. Lovely soft colours with roses, delphiniums and finally thistles in as we got engaged in Scotland in the Lost Valley of Glen Coe.
The pillars and top table had wonderful garlands. The lovely Gunilla at Together Flowers did the arranging (and grew many of the flowers herself!) She went above and beyond with the flowers and was very generous with the amount of flowers we had. The church displays were just incredible with a wonderful scent – our Vicar, Devin, commented on how fragrant the flowers were.
My Auntie Linda did the beautiful flowers in the bar and upstairs.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We had the University Ceilidh Band (who played for our Pride and Prejudice themed first dance) and then a DJ. Both were great.
Our lovely friends Nick and Kat agreed to do our first dance with us as it required 4 people.
The croquet was a big hit before the rain started and the games and space inside were popular all day and night.
The Jane Austen-style props were a last minute decision which I’m so glad we went for – there are so many great pictures of people wearing bonnets and top hats and monocles!
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Be you, be sensitive to others but be you.
Take a minute as you arrive at church/ceremony to breath and be calm. If you’re a praying type then get someone to come pray for a minute with you or just talk to you about your hopes for the day. It takes hardly any time but calms you and lets you take everything in.
Have at least 15 minutes after the ceremony and before the reception when you get to be completely alone together. It’s madness from there on in but you have already had that incredibly special time so you don’t mind. Our driver was amazing. He handed us prosecco and then left us in the car with a beautiful view of the fields and just walked off to give us that precious time.
Don’t worry about any minor details that don’t go to plan, there isn’t time for that!!
What’s the best thing about being married?
Having a kind and lovely husband (who cooks for me!!)
On the day it’s incredible to see so many of your friends and family in one place. It’s just such a wonderful feeling. Our ceremony was such a special bit of the day for us to declare our love and commitment in front of all our friends and family.
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Dee Neicho in Essex for hair vine
www.ladybweddingcarhire.co.uk – brilliant driver, not imposing but wonderfully friendly.