Welcome to the first week of December! Are you all black-Fridayed out?! I know I am! Let’s escape for a little while with a stunningly beautiful wedding, informally styled around a rosemary and lavender theme and beautifully captured by Jonny Barratt Photography. Bride Nikki wears a wonderfully sparkling Phase Eight dress, while Gareth’s suit is tailor made by Gieves and Hawkes. They look fabulous, happy and SO in love! I couldn’t think of a better beginning to our week. I hope you love this as much as I do!
“My mum and I are quite crafty, and so there was always going to be an element of home made when it came to table decorations and favours. One of my favourite home made touches was in honour of my Dad who sadly passed away a few years ago. A family tradition that my Dad started, and that we all still do now, is the annual sloe gin production. With that in mind, it felt totally fitting that we have miniature sloe gin favours. My Mum started the process a year in advance so it was all very well steeped by the time the wedding came round! Mum and I sat and bottled it up together, sampling each batch of course! We also included the recipe on the bottle labels too, so that friends could re-produce it if they like it. It took a while for us to realise that it would mean that he was literally there in spirit!
Pennard House is stunning, as are the grounds – the perfect backdrop for photos! We had a flower decoration made for the pagoda, which we got married under, but other than that we didn’t feel the need to do anything more.
The barn, where we had dinner and the party, needed very little decoration at all so we made table decorations and left everything else as it was.
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
Johnny was recommended to us by a friend who is a wedding florist. She’d come across him at an event and from the moment we looked at his website we knew he’d deliver the sort of wedding photos we’d love forever. Gareth is a cameraman and therefore is probably a trickier customer than some, but he loved Johnny’s work so from then on the decision was made, and Johnny more than delivered!
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
The way that Johnny captured the true essence of our special day, through his stunning images, elevated our wedding photos to a level beyond what we had ever hoped for. They are stunning, but rather than being posed and contrived, their beauty comes from capturing the love and emotion that everyone was feeling – raucous laughter, romantic looks, ugly crying(!)… everything was photographed in such a way that when we look at them we remember exactly what it felt to be in that moment. I’d recommend him again in a heartbeat, and have already several times!
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
I’d imagine that every newlywed couple have excitement and trepidation about seeing their wedding photos, in equal measure. It’s a big decision to pay someone to capture your day and of course you don’t want to be disappointed but Johnny had kindly shared one image with us just a few days after the wedding, and it was absolutely beautiful, so from that point on all nervousness disappeared and quiet impatience kicked in to see the others!
When we received the link to our photos it was really quite emotional. We absolutely loved them, and it was such a treat to get to see the moments that we had missed and to enjoy the faces of our guests having a brilliant time too.
Pennard House was the first and only venue that we saw. I think we knew from the minute that we stepped inside that we were going to get married there. It is absolutely stunning, and is surrounded by beautiful lawns which meant that much of our day could be outside – weather dependent of course! Thankfully the sun shone for us.
The venue delivered everything we could have hoped for in terms of spaces and romantic vibes, but over and above that the staff and team that worked with us were absolutely brilliant too.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
A perfect day full of love, laughter, friends and family.
Your wedding style or theme:
We loosely used rosemary and lavender as our theme, but outside of that we just wanted it to be a very informal feeling day, so that all of our guests felt relaxed. There wasn’t any real styling that we needed to do to the venue as it was stunning to start with, but rosemary and lavender featured in our floral arrangements and in the design of our paperwork.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Our suppliers were a mix of venue suggestions, friend recommendations and internet research. I think when you contact people you instinctively get a feeling as to whether they are right for you – I would suggest you always follow your instincts!
What’s your top tip for saving money?
It is very easy for wedding costs to get out of control so I would suggest that everyone writes a budget that is an honest reflection of how much they want to spend, and do your best to stick to it. You’ll be tempted along the way, but try not to spend impulsively! Take some time over the decision so that you’re sure it’s right.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
We don’t regret any of the things that we spent money on as our wedding was very personal to us, however we didn’t go over the top with anything. Other than the venue, our biggest spends were flowers, catering and our brilliant photographer and they were all absolutely worth the budget we allocated to them. The flowers were stunning, the food was delicious and the photos were perfect.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
We were lucky enough to have our stationery designed by a friend of ours who we met through our children being at nursery together. We spoke to him about the sort of design that we’d like, although neither of us had particularly fixed ideas. He pulled together the most beautiful design based on teal and gold colours, and on top the overall design and layout of our paperwork, he also designed a monogram for us, which featured not only on our invitations but also in other ways at the wedding itself, and it’s something still use now.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
My wedding dress was the first dress I tried on, from the bridal range at Phase Eight. I knew as soon as I put it on that it would be the one I wore down the aisle. I never intended to make buying my dress into a long and drawn out process, but even I was surprised at how sure I was that this was ‘the one’! The beading on it was beautiful, and the short train on the back added to it’s simple elegance and gave my son and daughter a job – they were chief train straighteners! Never had a dress, or in fact any item of clothing, made me feel more wonderful – it really was perfect!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
My ring was actually my grandmother’s wedding ring, which she left to me when she passed away. It’s a very fine, simple platinum band which just happened to fit beautifully next to my engagement ring. It never occurred to me to use a different wedding ring as the emotion and sentiment of knowing it had been passed down through my family makes wearing it even more special.
My shoes were from Rachel Simpson (https://www.rachelsimpsonshoes.co.uk). I’ve always loved green shoes, and so the Mimosa Mint shoe felt like it was designed for me! Elegant, not too high and genuinely a shoe I could wear again.
And what did the groom wear?
Gareth’s suit was made to measure by Gieves and Hawkes on Saville Row. Thomas Blatch was his consultant and really made him feel at ease through the whole process. The suit was a navy, single breasted suit and it is totally timeless and he looked wonderful in it! His shoes were tan brogues from Office.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
The bridesmaids all chose their own dresses, they were just given navy as the colour theme. I wanted them all to feel comfortable, and they all have their own style, so I was never going to force them to wear something matching. We met up to try some dresses on all together and found some lovely designer pieces that were out of our budget, but my savvy girls got online and ebay came up trumps with their dream dresses for a fraction of the price! The flower girls wore dresses came from Monsoon kids and their gold shoes were from John Lewis. Our son wore a navy suit from Next with some brand new trainers, which made him very happy!
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
I had a wonderful make up artist called Amber Ralf. I have never worn a lot of make up and therefore was quite anxious that I didn’t suddenly appear caked in make up, looking nothing like myself. Amber put me completely at ease, and my make up was super natural and yet lasted all day. I was thrilled and would recommend her in a heartbeat!
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
The wonderful Nicky Llewellyn of Nicky Llewellyn Flowers handled all of our flowers and did an exceptional job. She produced beautiful bouquets for myself and the bridesmaids, flower crowns for the flower girls and buttonholes and buttonholes for the groom and groomsmen. We wanted rosemary and lavender to feature throughout our day, so our arrangements were made up of these and other lovely herbs and foliage. They were absolutely beautiful and the smelled great!
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We chose a rainbow cake from Marks and Spencer as it’s our children’s favourite cake. We weren’t going to have a cake at all, but the children had decided that their job on the day would be cutting the cake and handing it out, so the decision had been made for us!
I actually bought a back-up cake, just in case we ran out, which didn’t get eaten on the wedding day but was taken to my bridesmaid’s nephew’s birthday the day after – she was very popular!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We wanted an activity that would encourage our different groups of friends and family to get chatting, at the drinks reception and our son suggested archery (it was a bow and arrow phase!), and we thought that was a great idea! Simon at Phoenix Leisure provided a brilliant set up and everyone from the youngest to the oldest guest had a go – it was great fun!
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
There can be a lot of pressure to make decisions to keep other people happy, which is fine if you agree with them, but it can also get overwhelming trying to please everyone. Therefore, one piece of advice that I would give it to remember that this is your day, and it’s your opinions that count and everyone will have a lovely time regardless.
What’s the best thing about being married?
This is quite a tough one to answer, actually, as we were already very happily unmarried but there is definitely an added sense of security and togetherness. The best thing was probably celebrating our love so publicly on our wedding day in front of our friends and family, and having them enjoy it all with us. It was the best day ever!
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Johnny Barratt: https://www.jonnybarratt.com
Oliver Milburn: www.olivermilburn.co.uk
Gieves and Hawkes: http://www.gievesandhawkes.com
Phoenix Leisure: www.phoenixleisure.co.uk
Nicky Llewellyn Flowers: http://www.nickyllewellynflowers.co.uk
Pennard House: www.pennardhouse.com
Amber Ralf: @amberralf