A stunning and sustainable wedding with a plant-based menu, handmade bespoke wedding dress and a wonderfully summery vibe. Today’s gorgeous couple Janna & Seb were married when pandemics were made up things in films, and the joy and freedom of their day is a delight to see! Huge thanks to lovely dressmaker Felicity Westmacott who first told me about their wedding, to Janna & Seb for a lovely interview, and to Hampshire photographer Lasting Impressions by Lucy for the glorious images.
Wedding photographer’s website
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
We absolutely loved our wedding photos, and really enjoyed the experience of having a friend photograph us on the day. It made it feel so much more personal and intimate.
Videographer details if applicable – and any thoughts for other couples about having a wedding video?
We asked friends attending the wedding to film video clips using their smart phones. In hindsight: not reliable getting a rounded selection of footage, and not all in landscape mode (despite being asked!). We weren’t too precious though and got a few nice clips sent to us which was great.
Tell us about your venue – what made this place special for you?
Cadhay House in Devon is a stunning venue. We really wanted to have a garden party and feel at home at the venue, and Cadhay allowed us to stay for the whole weekend with our close family and friends, making a really relaxed atmosphere. The gardens there are beautiful, and we really enjoyed getting our guests to walk around amongst the flowers, we even made a treasure hunt for the children. The venue had everything – a beautiful historic house (very important to us as we’re both architects), wonderful gardens suitable for a garden party with croquet lawn, plenty of space for a marquee for dining, a barn for a ceilidh with bar, and a range of other spaces for guests to sneak away to enjoy a quiet moment.
Did you love wearing your outfits? How was the dress / suit shopping experience?
We both loved our outfits – the dress was designed by me (Janna) and made by Seb’s cousin, bespoke bridal designer Felicity Westmacott. In fact I was able to use fabric that my grandfather had bought years ago from Indonesia for my mother’s wedding dress, but she didn’t need so kept it for her one-day daughter. It felt so special and connected our special day to my grandfather who had sadly passed a few years before.
As Felicity is an English Wedding member, I wanted to share a little more information about how this dress was created for Janna. The fabrics were layered pale pink tulle, delicate chantilly lace and vintage silk satin jacquard. In Felicity’s own words, “The design was as relaxed and summery as the day Janna had planned.”
The silhouette combines a lightly boned bodice with a full circle skirt. Felicity layered soft tulle in delicate shades of ‘shell pink’, ‘honey’ and ‘pale ivory’ to create a subtle warmth without overt saturation. “The neckline was a softly rounded square with straps extending up and crossing over at the back. Janna knew she wanted a low and open back from the outset. We were both excited by my suggestion of extending the shoulder straps so they would ‘become the lace-up ribbons that fastened her dress. A lace up back with eyelets and no modesty panel made a pretty design feature.
Another unusual design idea must be credited entirely to Janna herself. I would normally carefully cut and sew lace layered over a fitted bodice to hide the joins. But this time I did not cut away the extra fabric, instead I spread the extra evenly around her waist and fixed it into tiny waves for texture. I softened the join of skirt and bodice using the pretty scalloped edge of the lace for a couture finish.”
To see more of the dressmaking process with illustrations and close up shots of the fabrics and design, do head over to Felicity’s blog: https://felicitywestmacott.co.uk/blush-wedding-dress-for-vegan-bride/
Seb also had a lot of fun with his suits(!). He had two! He wanted a formal suit for the ceremony, but afterwards changed into a light linen suit that made him more comfortable for the garden party and dancing. With both outfits he had an amazing waistcoat that his mother made him, with matching bowtie. It was so special and personal.
Hair and makeup
I did my own hair and make-up, so can’t recommend anyone for that, but I enjoyed doing it myself with the help of my bridesmaids. I always cut my own hair and don’t wear a lot of make-up, so it would have felt unnatural for me to get dolled-up by someone. It was also really nice to keep it personal.
Did you hire a florist? Tell us about any floral amazingness
We sourced some flowers from a local organic farm, but we also included sweet pea seeds with our wedding invites and invited each guest to plant them and bring a bunch with them to the day. It was wonderful! Our guests felt included in the decoration, and we were inundated with sweet peas in jam jars, which filled the long trestle tables. We also decorated using 20 large metal arches that fitted over the trestle tables, with strings of greenery and wildflower garlands hanging between each one, creating a kind of tunnel over the long tables. We got the most of the greenery from family and had a team of friends helping set it all up the day before.
Did you hire a wedding planner?
No wedding planner. All done ourselves with lots of help from family and friends.
As cake lovers here at English Wedding we’d LOVE to know who made your cake, and how delicious it was?
Our cake was also homemade, by Seb’s mother. She’s an excellent baker and was up for the challenge of making a vegan lemon & elderflower cake, as well as a fruit cake, which were iced and layered and decorated simply with cornflowers.
Lyons Catering – Ginny did a great job dealing with our unusual food set up. She cooked some delicious canapés and helped sort and serve all our guest-brought dishes.
Tell us about any special personal touches, or creative projects you made yourselves
Another personal touch was our menu. We included basic recipe cards within our wedding invitations and asked our guests to bring a dish instead of a gift. There were four main recipes (which our food-writer friend helped us write), all vegetarian, and all but the quiche were vegan. We follow a largely vegan lifestyle ourselves and wanted our wedding to be a reflection of that. Everybody did an amazing job rising to the challenge, and we were overloaded with delicious food (almost everyone over-catered, so we had lots of leftovers). Of course it varied in quality, but we really didn’t mind about that. We tried to give the simpler recipes to our less foody friends, and asked those travelling from afar to just bring cheese and biscuits. It was hard work trying to coordinate it all and get a caterer and staff to dish it up and serve it, but I think it generally went really well, and it felt like a feast, just as we wanted.
At one point in the late afternoon I was getting tired, but Seb surprised me on the lawn with a serenade from him and his fellow choir members (who sang during our ceremony). It was absolutely beautiful and breathtakingly romantic.
Did you personalise your vows or have any wedding readings? What were they?
We didn’t personalise our vows, but we did have a few readings from family members, including Seb’s 90 year old grandfather who read a poem that his friend wrote. We personalised our send-off from the church by getting into a cargo bicycle (that we borrowed from a stranger and decorated with flowers and ‘just married’ bunting and tin cans). Seb lifted me and carefully put me in the box at the front, which was lined with hessian fabric to stop anything catching my dress, and then he cycled me through the village, escorted by his two best men (also on bicycles), back to Cadhay House. It was a truly magical moment.
What was your first dance song? Why did you choose it?
Our first dance was in the afternoon, to a lovely live trio who sang some Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong style music while we danced on the lawn. The very first song was Dream A Little Dream Of Me, followed by Cheek to Cheek, when several other couples joined in dancing. It was really lovely to break up the afternoon with some dancing, after drinks and nibbles, before our dinner feast. Louis Armstrong was my grandfather’s favourite, and so it has a very special place in my heart. It created a wonderful English summer-fête kind of atmosphere, dancing in a garden in the afternoon sun.