Today’s wedding is blissfully beautiful, classic in style and with a sophisticated wintry look. The styling is elegant and light, using silver and grey – the bridesmaids’ dark dresses are fabulous. And I’ve totally fallen for Izzy and Tom – they look so wonderfully happy together, not to mention absolutely gorgeous! Izzy’s dress is a showstopper: her smile is infectious. You’ll love these two! The stunning venue is De Vere Tortworth Court, which is captured so beautifully in Bristol wedding photographer Martin Dabek‘s inimitable signature style.
“When we first started planning our wedding I had a vision of a winter wedding, with a burgundy theme. I wanted silver and reds everywhere. The vision was also to have a home-made photo booth, with lots of different bits around the room for guests to enjoy. I had always wanted a venue that did everything, I didn’t want to get married in one place and then move onto another.
I also wanted a venue that people could either stay in, or there had to be a nice hotel nearby. Tortworth fit this bill perfectly, all of our guests were able to stay and everything was all done in one place. Once we had decided that Tortworth was the place for our wedding, I didn’t like the burgundy idea anymore, so we went with grey and silvers. This really worked with the Orangery, as it had been newly refurbished and the carpets were a silvery/grey, which blended in perfectly with our theme. Such as, our wedding invitations, the bridesmaid’s dresses, the flowers and the boys’ ties.
Wedding photographer’s website:
We met Martin at a wedding fair in Bath. We had been to a few other wedding fairs and hadn’t met any other photographers that we had ‘gelled’ with. From the minute we met Martin he was kind, friendly and made us feel at ease. I am not that comfortable with having my photo taken and I wanted someone that made me feel comfortable. When we walked away from Martin’s stand I told Tom he was our guy. We are so glad that we chose Martin, everyone that has seen our photos has said that they are some of the best wedding photos they’ve seen. He was just fantastic throughout the day!
I was once told that your photographer is actually the most important booking you will make when planning a wedding. Looking at the photos now, that is 100% the truth! We keep going back to look at our photos and have shown all of our friends and families. Everyone says they have never seen photos like these and how truly amazing they are. Martin was exceptional from the moment we had our first meeting with him. He was so considerate and really wanted to know about us and what we wanted. I’m somebody that loves a selfie, but don’t feel 100% confident in a full photo. Martin just put me at ease and I immediately loved it! Throughout the day Martin worked tirelessly and was always looking for different shots. He was just fantastic and words cannot describe how grateful and thankful we are that we booked him for our wedding. When we received our wedding albums, they quite simply took our breath away. They are beautiful and a true testament to Martin’s fantastic work. The photos are proof of how incredible he is: they take our breath away each and every time we look and them. I will absolutely be recommending Martin to absolutely anyone and everyone possible! Thank you so much Martin!!
When Tom and I saw the wedding photos for the first time, we were sat on the sofa. It had been a long, tiring day at work but I was dying to see the photos. From the very first photo to the last one we couldn’t stop smiling. Each photo showed us a different part of our day and the memories came rushing back. One of the most remarkable things was that Martin had the knack of capturing all of the special, honest moments. He caught the moment where I was laughing with my parents and he caught Tom looking exceedingly handsome outside. He caught Tom kissing me on the nose and he caught our guests sharing in our day. He even managed to capture the random Father Christmas, who happened to be enjoying his work’s Christmas do, when my mum dragged him into meet me.
Discover more from Tortworth Court wedding photographer Martin Dabek:
We chose Tortworth Court because it was the first hotel that we had ever stayed in as a couple. We visited other venues but none of them stood out to us. I went to Tortworth with my mum and we walked around, it just felt like the perfect place. We chose to do everything in the Orangery, the light and space was just perfect for the mid-sized classy, but not over-the-top wedding that we wanted.
Tom and I had only stayed at Tortworth in the summer, where we were able to walk through the grounds and enjoy the sunshine on the terrace. We had never been to Tortworth at Christmas time. The venue is absolutely stunning at Christmas time. Tortworth put in all this little touches that make it feel magical. Out front there are lit up horses and fairy lights dotted around. In the grounds there was a beautiful tunnel of fairy lights that went into the trees. We have some pictures of us in the tunnel and it just looks like something out of a fairy tale. I would absolutely recommend a winter wedding to the future brides and grooms and Tortworth Court. It felt magical and the wintery/Christmas feel made the atmosphere feel electric.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
We found our photographer Martin Dabek at a wedding fair in Bath.
My mother-in-law and I found our florist, Lisa Elliot, when we were browsing in Clifton one day. Her shop was gorgeous and we knew straight away.
My wedding dress was the first dress I tried on. We went on to two other bridal shops, but I couldn’t forget the dress. It was perfect. We found that dress at Allison Jayne in Bristol.
The boys got their suits from Dyfed Menswear in Westbury-on-Trym. Tom grew up there and his family live there.
The girls got their dresses from The Bridal Room in Westbury-on-Trym. We had searched hundreds of shops and this was the last one we went to. They were perfect dresses!
Our stationery was made as a wedding gift from our best man’s mum, Jo. She did an absolutely incredible job and tied in the silver, wintry theme beautifully.
Our cake was made by Jo Edwards (Cakes by Jo), who is a family friend and lives a few doors down from Tom’s parents.
Our hair and make up were done by Vickie (Limelight Hair Salon Bristol) and Becky. They were incredible!
Our DJs were from The Celebration Roadshow
Our guitarist during the ceremony and drinks reception was Hugh McDonald
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Our top tip for saving money is to really think about what will make your day perfect to you. If it isn’t going to make it perfect, don’t have it. I started off the wedding planning with a large book of ideas and I wanted everything. As time went on, I saw that I didn’t need the photo booth, the games and a casino table. So I sat and thought about what would make my day perfect. At the end of the day it’s your day and you should only be having things there that you want.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
There are three main elements of our wedding that we are glad that we spent more on.
1. The photographer. These photos will keep our memories alive for a life time and I love to get them out and look at them. Martin was worth every single penny.
2. The food and drink at the wedding breakfast. With our package we originally got one glass of wine per guest and the 3 course meal. We chose to opt in for canapes and more wine. It made the day feel more special and our guests seemed to really them!
3. The outfits for the wedding party. The girls and I spent many months trying to find dresses for the big day. We started off on a budget but I ended up choosing dresses that were way over budget. I wanted the girls to feel special and to look beautiful. I am so glad we did this!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
We were lucky enough to have our wedding stationary made for us by a family friend. Jo, who is the best man’s mum, offered to make us our stationary as our wedding present. She worked tirelessly to create exquisite invitations, table menus and order of services. They were just incredible!
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
My wedding dress was the first dress I tried on. When I walked down the stairs in the shop people in the street stopped and looked. It was like being in a movie; I felt incredible! However, I refused to believe that the first dress was the one I would go for. I went on to two other shops, but couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was everything that I had ever dreamt of. It was perfect. So yes, I did fall in love with my wedding dress and I said yes to the first dress I tried on.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Wedding dress designer = Pronovias
Bridal boutique = Allison Jayne Bristol
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I kept it quite simple, my shoes were a low heel from Monsoon, my earrings were white gold dangles, which were diamond encrusted and my bracelet was a wedding present from my husband that matched the earrings.
My veil was from the bridal boutique, it had sparkles throughout and thick white lining around the ends.
And what did the groom wear?
Tom wore a navy blue Itallian suit from Dyfed Menswear. He matched this with a silver tie, pocket square and a white rose.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
The girls wore a gorgeous silver/grey dress from the Bridal Rooms. They were sleeveless with a sparkly detail around the middle. Each of them looked amazing! They all had purple and silver flowers in their hair.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
We had our hair done by Vickie who owns and runs her own hair salon in Bristol. Alongside her we had Becky who did our make up. Both ladies were incredible and helped to make us all look beautiful.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
We found the perfect, friendly florist, in Clifton, who looked at my wedding plans (I had a whole notebook of my vision) and she gave us some ideas of what we might like. I wanted flowers that were subtle and elegant, ones that stood out but didn’t take over. Lisa made fantastic bouquets with silver and grey flowers and added in purple roses to complement our colour scheme.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
The venue did not need much decorating as Tortworth Court was already stunning in the winter months. We had fairy lights dotted around in jars and in bushes. We had white lillies around the room. We also had a few ‘surprises’ in and around the Oragnery, but mostly the setting created the atmosphere itself. In the evening the DJs set up a projection of our names in a love heart onto the orangery ceiling. A beautiful surprise for us!
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
I am a primary school teacher and my class had made me a book of wedding advice. We put that out for the guests to read and laugh about.
We also had Polaroid pictures of Tom and I since we met, spread out on a table.
One of our family friends made us a photo-booth. It had a chalkboard background, so our guests were able to leave us personal messages. It was a perfect way for people to have some fun. We had feather boas and all the other traditional props, but the handmade feature made it feel a bit more special.
Tom and I also played Mr and Mrs with our wedding shoes in front of our guests.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We had a three tiered circular cake. The bottom tier was a Victoria sponge, the middle tier was a chocolate sponge with chocolate orange and the top tier was a lemon drizzle. All three cakes were covered in a white chocolate ganache with white icing. There were then snowflakes and swaroski gems dotted down the cake. We chose this design because we wanted to keep it simple but elegant at the same time.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
During the ceremony and drinks reception we were lucky enough to have Hugh McDonald play his guitar and ukulele for us. As I walked down the aisle he played A Thousand Years by Christina Perri (acoustic version) and then he played Somewhere over the rainbow on our way out. This was an homage to my Nana, it was her favourite song.
During our wedding breakfast and evening reception we had The Celebration Roadshow DJs who were fantastic. They played a fantastic set of music and we had two confetti cannons. One for our first dance, Everything I do – Bryan Adams, and one for the end of the night. We also played Mr and Mrs with our shoes (at this point I was in my trainers as my feet hurt from the dancing) and had sparklers for everyone to enjoy.
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
I only have one piece of advice to give to other couples and it’s to listen to what you and your partner want. It’s your day and you only get it once. If you want something, go for it, if you don’t want it, don’t have it. I think sometimes we are pulled along with other people and find ourselves saying yes to things for other people. At the end of the day, it’s your day and you’re never going to do it again. So make it the best possible day for you!
Also, make sure you get time for just the two of you during the day. Tom and I managed to have ten minutes together in our room before going down to the evening reception, it was a perfect moment of calm before going down and celebrating with our nearest and dearest.
What’s the best thing about being married?
The best thing about being married is that every time I look at the ring on my finger I think “wow, I’m so lucky”. I still can’t quite believe that a man as incredible as Tom would fall in love with me. Waking up to him every morning is absolutely THE best thing about being married and I don’t want it to ever change.
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms: