Valerie and David’s wonderfully colourful Pembroke Lodge wedding, with GK Photography
Welcome to May, lovelies. I thought we’d kick off the month with a truly enchanting wedding to lift our spirits. Valerie and David’s May wedding is unique and beautifully memorable, with lilac as the main wedding colour inspired by their favourite flower wisteria, and yellow accents for bright and cheerful contrast and sunshine. Coming from Cambridge and Southern Ukraine, David and Valerie’s day combines their little world in creative ways, with Ukrainian delicacies and wedding games – oh, and the ‘stealing of the bride’ tradition! The look is very much a traditional English wedding, with beautiful sunshine and the most magical sunset over Richmond Park at the end of the day.
Valerie’s wedding dress is breathtaking – the beautiful bride searched high and low in London without finding her dream dress, then on a trip to Kiev to visit friends she went to bridal boutique Anne Mariee and fell head over heels in love with this stunning designer gown. Valerie had a lot of compliments on the wedding day and she really loved her dress – and I can TOTALLY see why!
I hope you enjoy this, lovelies. Take care, stay safe.
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
Colours, colours, colours! We went through hundreds of photographers’ portfolios on social media, different search engines and blogs, and we did not settle with any until we found Greg’s Instagram. I don’t remember exactly how we came across him – and I suppose somebody else shared his photo, and that’s how we got guided to his page. Greg’s photography is very natural, with minimum posing, when he portrays real emotion and miraculously manages to make all his photos extremely colourful. We absolutely loved it! We had our engagement photo shoot with Greg about 8 months before the wedding, and I highly recommend it, as it’s a great exercise to get to know your photographer and be able to fully relax on THE DAY.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
Oh yes, very much so! Our wedding photos show the full palette of emotion we had during our day: nerves, romance, fun, craziness, elegance.
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
Greg did a cheeky little Highlight Slideshow for us when he presented our the photos, and recommended that we watched it first. So we did, and we (I) cried 🙂 The photos were stunning, and we will forever appreciate Greg’s awesome work, as it’s thanks to him that we can relieve this day again and again.
We chose Lovekyn Chapel, the only remaining free-standing chapel in England, dating back to 1309 for our ceremony. The chapel is literarily 2 minutes walk from our house and we loved the idea of getting married so locally.
The reception location was also an easy choice – the largest Royal Park in London and officially our favourite place in the world! We feel so honoured and excited to have been able to celebrate our marriage at the highest point of Richmond Park with stunning views of Thames Valley. The Pembroke Lodge was love at the first sight, and we gave our guests some time to explore the historical mansion and its beautiful gardens while we get stolen by our photographer to capture some precious ‘just married’ moments.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Fun-filled, sun-filled, love-filled DAY!
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
We spent a long time choosing every single vendor – from venues, invitations, cake, band to photo and video and other services. We followed a very clear, but time consuming rule: do no commit until you LOVE IT. And since we had over a year to plan our big day, we managed to make some very good decisions. Our research included blogs, social media, recommended websites, search engines and wedding shows.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Add a little bit of DIY – it’s fun, saves money and adds something special!
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
We got an excellent band (Lazy Marmalade), and our dance floor was full throughout the night!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
Oh, we found a lovely, lovely crafty lady when searching through Etsy website, and she did all the stationery for us! Al the invitations, menus, sitting plan, name cards were within the same style – very natural, clean and ‘park themed’.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
OMG! What a process.
I made the most of it! Like every other element of the wedding, I followed my rule of not committing to anything until I had butterflies in my tummy. That meant I had to try more than 50 dresses on, and sometimes it got stressful and annoying.
After 3 months of dress searching, mainly taking place in London, I happened to have one free Saturday in Kiev, visiting friends. So I asked one of my friends to take me to a wedding dress shop. I only had time for one visit, so I wanted to make sure that the shop would sell dresses from a single Ukrainian designer, without representing any other designers (Especially European), since I had access to them in London. And that is where I met my dress! It was the only dress that made me cry as soon as I saw myself in the mirror. It was a very clear YESSSSS, and I ordered it straight away! It was from a growing brand Anne Mariee, where all there dresses are created by talented lady called Oksana Pravnyk.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Brand: Anne Mariee (www.anne-mariee.com)
Designer: Oksana Pravnyk
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I had minimum accessories on the day, to avoid being overdressed. I had simple pearl earrings, my mum’s present from a few years ago and a very subtle pearl bracelet which I wear in my every day life too. I was very proud of my shoes though! There were shiny chic pair from my favourite shoe brand LK Bennett, and I can’t wait to take them out again for a fancy evening do!
And what did the groom wear?
The groom chose to go for a light lilac tie and light yellow waistcoat to match our wedding colours, together with stripy trousers that shouted confidence 🙂
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
I wanted them to look gorgeous! I offered them a choice of dresses, so that they could pick their best fit and style! After which I passed the preferences together with all the personal sizes and measurements to my friend who runs a tailor studio, where bespoke dresses were designed for my girls out of the same, bright lilac silky material. When I saw them all on the day, I could not believe how incredibly stunning they all looked!
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
I am not a make up person, since my every day make up is limited to mascara and lip balm. So I definitely needed a professional, who would get my natural style and fully embrace it. I found beautiful Pippa, a very talented make up and hair artist, based in Kent. It was clearly a perfect match, as I was extremely happy with my hair and make up from the very first attempt at the trial session, and I wasn’t nervous about my look on the day at all. I loved the way Pippa did my hair – very relaxed, artistic and spring like, and it fully reflected my mood on the day!
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Our florist was Siobhan Pilkington from la Belle Floral Design (http://labellefloraldesigns.co.uk/). I wanted a colourful bouquet, together with all the flower arrangements matching our wedding colours, being seasonal, local and natural. We were very happy with our choice.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
We were lucky, as the venue didn’t need any additional decoration. Minimum flower arrangements and floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Thames Valley – what else could you possible wish for…
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
We prepared ‘Guess who’ cards on the wedding breakfast tables for people to read the cards and guess who they referred to on the table. All the cards were written in poetry, some with lots of humour and sarcasm. It was a big effort to do it for 70 guests, but it was really worth it, and it was the best ice melting start for people who met for the first time. Our wedding favours were also DIY – flowers seeds with a message to spread the love and see it blossom!
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
Our wedding cake represented Richmond Park theme, which we absolutely loved. We had a little deer couple standing for bride and groom on top of the cake, together with a stunning wisteria climbing up the cake, fully made out of sugar. I honestly could not stop admiring our cake designer’s talent, and except for looking gorgeous, the cake was also truly delicious!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
Music matters a lot during the wedding day, so we had an abundance of it. We had a live musician in the chapel, Jon Marjin, who played elegant classical music during the ceremony and drinks reception afterwards. When we arrived to Pembroke Lodge, we offered some relaxing time on the terrace for our guests, to enjoy home made Ukrainian Picnic, refreshing cocktails and awesome live music by violinist Abi Kerr, who played a range of fun Ukrainian, Russian and Gypsy tunes. It definitely helped to keep the happy vibe of the day.
After wedding breakfast we had a fantastic band ‘Lazy Marmalade’, who played a few sets of live music and provided DJ service in between. We got a lot of compliments about out band, and the dance floor spoke for itself – it was NEVER empty!
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
It will be a day for both of you, you will never forget it. Plan it together, find ways to communicate, listen to each other, split the roles and enjoy every moment. Brides should never assume that grooms don’t care. They might seem to behave this way, but if you magically create teamwork in planning the wedding, you both will have the best day ever!
What’s the best thing about being married?
New chapter, stronger bond… and we got a puppy 🙂