This wedding is so dreamy… so almost fairytale, from the proposal to the that last image of a tender touch… it’s so beautiful.
Rachel and Nick wanted a wedding that was not only relaxed and romantic, but fun for their guests. Their love shines through these beautiful images, as does their elegant style. From Rachel’s equisite Jenny Packham wedding dress to the fvourite things table… oh so pretty and thoughtful.
Thanks so much to the amazing London based wedding photographer, Marianne Taylor Photography for sharing her work today, here is what she had to say about the day;
“On the day of Rachel & Nick’s East Sussex wedding the main road between me and them was closed due to a bad accident in the night. It took some innovative orienteering and extra hours finding our way without getting caught in the chaos, but oh boy was Rachel & Nick’s wedding worth it all!
Rachel got ready in her childhood home with her bridesmaids and, despite everyone having been up to the early hours with wedding-related tasks, the atmosphere throughout the morning was more joyous than stressed or nervous. Toni and Guy created Rachel’s beautiful hairdo, which went perfectly with her Jenny Packham gown (from Miss Bush Bridal) and Rupert Sanderson heels – she looked so so glamorous! A gorgeous bouquet by Shimizu Flowers completed the picture (and got me a bit obsessed with David Austin roses!). A really sweet touch was the veil, which was Rachel’s mum’s and was shortened by Miss Bush for Rachel to wear as her ‘something old’.
The ceremony took place at St James the Great on Ewhurst Green and was made even more special by the fact that Rachel’s uncle, the former Abbot of Alton, conducted the ceremony with Rachel’s Godfather, the current Abbot of Alton, assisting. We then headed back to the village, to a field with stunning views, where a beautifully decorated marquee awaited. Super Event took care of the catering, and Rachel’s lovely mum organised a team of ladies who did all the flowers in the marquee.
Other vendors I ought to mention are Hummingbird Bakery, who created the adorable cake, and Blush Publishing who were in charge of stationary. It was also lovely to see Gareth of GJ’s Discos, it’s been a while since we last bumped into each other at a wedding!
I can’t say enough good things about Rachel and Nick and their lovely families, who all made us feel so welcomed. Rachel and Nick, I wish your life together will be as filled with love and warmth as your wedding day was! x”
Names…. Rachel and Nick
Wedding Date…. 6 August 2011
The Proposal…. Perfect is all I can say, in fact that’s what I did say. Nick proposed in May 2010 just before our 8 year anniversary. We’ve been together since my first year at Uni after I met him through Daisy (the shorter blonde bridesmaid who I’ve know since we were about nine) was in the same flat in Halls as his friend (later her husband) and our Master of Ceremonies Matthew, who had moved back into halls for his final year. I’d always wanted to go to Venice (major History of Art geek) so he booked flights as a surprise and we planned the trip together. Afterwards everyone said I must have know it was coming but he was amazingly sneaky, asking me casually to hold his rucksack in the airport which quashed any minor speculation I had (turns out he carried the ring in his pocket panicking secretly all the way). Our hotel was in a beautiful converted former convent and he proposed the night we landed, on the hotel’s tiny terrace that faces directly on to the Grand Canal. We’d sat down with a couple of cocktails pre-dinner and I’d asked him to take a picture as I’d left my phone upstairs. When I asked to see it he’d said no which I’d thought was a touch rude* but we continued chatting. My precise words just before he proposed were “I can’t imagine a more perfect place to be”…I like to think I gave him a nice opening but let’s face it he planned a pretty perfect proposal. * Turns out he’d taken a pictures of the ring on his phone for the insurance company and it was directly before the terrace photo, he figured there was a strong chance I’d randomly flick back through the photo gallery and see it!
The Vision for the day…. We didn’t have a clear vision for our wedding initially, we’d thought we’d get married in London as that was where we had met but it never quite worked out or felt right for us. In the end we decided to get married where I grew up in East Sussex. We wanted something relaxed but romantic and above all we wanted our guests to enjoy themselves too.
The Planning process…. This went very smoothly due in no small part to all of the help we had from my Mum and my wonderful bridesmaids. Nick teases me about needing to be super organised about everything but in this instance it paid off. We did most of the planning quite far in advance and left the smaller bits until closer to the day. We still had a few minor panics (Thank you M25 for choosing the night before our wedding to go into terminal meltdown and not open until the following lunchtime) but overall it was a genuinely fun, calm lead up to the day.
The Venue… The church where we were married was St James the Great in Ewhurst Green and we were lucky enough to be able to have my uncle, the former Abbot of Alton, conducting the ceremony with my Godfather, the current Abbot of Alton, assisting.
Once we decided to get married in Sussex we settled quite quickly on a marquee wedding, if you’re having a country wedding you might as well make the most of the countryside itself! We did have a brief look at more formal venues but didn’t see anything that grabbed us. Once my ever resourceful mother found Super Event (our fantastic marquee supplier/caterer/event coordinators), scouted the location herself and managed to convince a very kind local farmer to let us use said field, the venue was taken care of.
The Dress + Accessories….. My dress was Shukura by Jenny Packham. As the dress was ‘30s inspired I chose a pair of Stephanie Browne Art Deco earrings from Liberty in Love and a vintage inspired hair comb from Chez Bec. The beading on the dress was so intricate that I didn’t wear any other jewellery. The wonderful ladies at Miss Bush Bridal Wear shortened my Mum’s veil for me to wear as my something old alongside a vintage brooch of hers that I pinned to my bouquet.
I love shoes so they were one of the first things I bought…and then I bought another pair…and finally Nick bought me another pair which were my actual wedding shoes. In my defence *ahem* I’d always wanted something that wasn’t white or traditionally bridal and all three can and have been worn, I promise. The ones that made the final cut were Japyn by Rupert Sanderson. They were beautiful pink-nude colour peep toes and some of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. They also stood up incredibly well to traipsing round a field despite my last minute worries.
I did my own makeup and in keeping with my obsession with nail polish had a pale blue pedicure as my something blue. I also sent Nick on a mission whilst on business in New York to find a then as yet unreleased in the UK nail polish from Chanel for my manicure. He came back clutching that and another polish I’d asked for, proving yet again that one of the many reasons I love him so much is his tolerance of my more random interests.
Finding the dress…. This was one of the planning tasks I was most looking forward too. Turns out shopping for wedding dresses is completely different to strolling down the King’s Road on a Saturday, but I probably should have known that. I had some strange and slightly depressing experiences and one fit of hysterical giggles with my best friend after leaving one shop with a spectacularly rude manager. One of my bridesmaids recommended Miss Bush Bridal Wear in Ripley who were incredibly helpful and found me the perfect dress. I wasn’t sure I wanted a traditional, strapless dress and after one appointment at another shop and some over-vigorous lacing I realised I could never spend all day in a corset. They were really honest and had a great range of dresses that lean towards the more fashion-based, although they do also carry more traditional dresses. Corinne, who did my initial appointments, was amazing and actually picked out the sample of Shukura to show me. I wanted an extra panel put in to raise the neckline slightly and they did that perfectly, including some hand-beading to blend in with the rest of the dress. I didn’t have the bursting into tears “It’s the one” moment when I first tried Shukura on but when I realised both my Mum and I couldn’t stop smiling it seemed like a pretty good sign. It was the most beautiful, comfortable dress and I loved every single minute of wearing it. In fact if I could just find a job that would let me, I’d wear it every day.
Groom’s attire… Nick decided against wearing a traditional morning suit and had a beautiful navy blue suit made by Favourbrook instead. He chose a pair of shoes from Church’s and I bought him a pair of cufflinks from Dunhill that I gave to his Best Man to give to him on the day. His Best Man and the Ushers also wore dark blue suits and all of the boys wore yellow ties from TM Lewin.
The Readings + Music…. We asked both of our Mums to do a reading for us in the Church. Nick’s Mum read a passage from Song of Solomon and my Mum read the beautiful poem the “The Confirmation” by Edwin Muir. The hymns were all personal favourites and we were lucky enough to have a fabulous organist who played beautifully throughout the service.
We found our DJ Gareth through our photographer Marianne and he was a complete star. Nick uploaded our requested songs a few days before the wedding and he then worked it into an actual playlist that worked perfectly. We chose Muse and “Feeling Good” as our first dance as I love Nina Simone but Muse are Nick’s favourite band so we thought it was a nice way of reflecting both of us.
Beautiful bridesmaids….. My twin sister Vick was my maid of honour and I had four brilliant girls as my other bridesmaids (Netia, Kate, Daisy and Fliss). They were hands down the best bridesmaids ever – they organised not one but two amazing hen dos, dressed up in 1940s fancy dress, dressed up in Letter R themed fancy dress, crafted, sewed, printed, fetched, carried, collected cakes, folded napkins, alphabetised cards and remembered all the things I forgot.
My favourite colour is yellow but, whilst I would have loved all of my girls in beautiful sunny dresses, they ranged from 5’2” to 5’10” and had a whole spectrum of different hair colours and skin tones so I’m sure at least one of them (if not more) would have been stomping down the aisle with gritted teeth if I’d gone with that. I still sneaked yellow in there with the boys’ ties, the ribbon round our bouquets and a couple of other touches but we decided on simple navy chiffon dresses from Coast that were customised with different straps depending on what they wanted. I had a minor panic when a couple of the girls found their straps were too long the day before but Netia swooped in with her not inconsiderable needlework skills and fixed them perfectly. I bought them all simple pearl pendants in different colours as a thank you gift for all of their hard work.
The Flowers… As it was a country wedding we wanted the flowers to be quite relaxed and not too formal. I love roses and hydrangeas so our florist, Mao at Shimizu Flowers, designed a beautiful bouquet of soft peach David Austin “Juliet” roses, pale pink “Sweet Avalanche” roses, purple-green hydrangeas and flowering lavender. She also included myrtle which my parents had planted in the garden when we were little to symbolise good luck. She made a Juliet rose buttonhole for Nick, Sweet Avalanche buttonholes for the other guys and corsages with pale pink spray roses for our Mums.
The rest of the flowers were a labour of love from a group of people, most particularly my Mum (again!). We had an amazing team of ladies who did our church flowers including beautiful pew ends and large arrangements. My Mum worked through the night to create all of the flowers in the marquee, including arrangements in the shape of Rs and Ns for outside the entrance to the church and the marquee. She created an arrangement of contorted willow, lavender and white hydrangeas to sit on our welcome table and found milk churns to borrow for the large arrangements in the marquee. She also made all of the bridesmaids’ bouquets of white hydrangeas and Sweet Avalanche roses to pick up on my bouquet.
The Cake… Neither of us were keen on the idea of a traditional wedding cake so we decide instead to have a “Favourite Things” table. We had a red velvet cake (my favourite), black bottom and chocolate cupcakes (Nick’s favourite) and a family friend made a fruit cake which we cut and sent to some of our relatives who were unable to attend on the day. My bridesmaid Netia made some gorgeous little birds as our cake toppers. We also had an assortment of other sweets, snacks and drinks alongside a cake stand full of macarons from Ladurée and chocolates from Artisan du Chocolat. My twin sister made some shortbread scrabble biscuits spelling out our names, one of which had a sneaky bite out of it which no one has ‘fessed up to doing yet! My Dad sourced cheeses from East Sussex and made a variety of delicious chutneys to go with them that came out later on for anyone who was still hungry. Apparently one of our guests was doing tours of the dance floor handing out percy pigs at 11pm so I think it went down well!
Your Photographer…. I cannot say enough wonderful things about Marianne Taylor. She was the first thing we booked; in fact her availability helped dictate when we would get married I was so desperate to make sure we could have her. She puts so much care and love into every aspect of her work, right down to the beautiful packaging our final photos arrived in. The pictures she took are a perfect reflection of the love and laughter of our day. I’ve never been to a wedding where I felt compelled to tell the Bride and Groom how good I thought their photographer was but we had many of our guests commenting positively on her. My Mum still keeps saying how amazing she and her lovely second shooter Susanna were. She’s an actual genius and any couples looking for a photographer would be mad not to consider her.
The Details + Decor…. When we started planning the wedding I knew I wanted to try and incorporate little details to make the day more personal. We collected quite a lot of the décor bits and pieces over a period of time from an assortment of places. With the help of my bridesmaids we made the place cards, escort cards, labels, menus, matchbox covers, seed envelopes, guestbook cards, cocktail stirrers, table signs, info sheets and RSVP cards ourselves. Another of my random obsessions is typography, calligraphy and letters so we used our initials as a theme on various elements and I wrote all of the place cards, table signs, escort cards and cocktail stirrers by hand. The matchbox covers were designed to reflect both of our surnames – Stern means Star in German and King obviously merited crowns – our wedding date was printed on the side. Our favours were envelopes of sweet pea seeds which my Dad sourced for us, I then found the envelopes and made labels and planting instructions for them. Our guestbook was made up of cards that people wrote then hung on the branches on our welcome table which we decorated with books (with titles related to us) initial mugs and candlesticks. Each table was named after a place or street that was significant to us. We used vintage style postcards of the world as signs and had an explanation of why the place meant something to us on the back. We also designed a “Make your own champagne cocktails” station for the evening with a cocktail list, different mixers, fruit for garnishes and ice champagne bowls Netia’s dad made for us. Note to anyone else who decides to do this, it was unbelievably popular so put it near the dance floor so that your Best Man and Ushers don’t have to lift the whole thing from one end of your marquee to the other to stop everyone congregating by it to work their way through the list rather than dancing (true story).
The Honeymoon…. Hawaii followed by Vegas – it was amazing. We drank Mai Tais, snorkelled, went paddle boarding, saw sea turtles, hiked up the top of the volcano and around beautiful waterfalls and watched the most beautiful sunsets. Vegas was hot (42°C) but really good fun, if anyone is planning a trip, the Grand Canyon is amazing and worth seeing. If you want a great view of the fountains at the Bellagio in the evening, go for a drink at Yellow Tail (the sushi restaurant and cocktail bar in the casino) they have a balcony that overlooks the fountains and you can stand there with an amazing view rather than dodging crowds on the Strip.
Memorable moments… There are so, so many parts of the day that we loved but I’ll just highlight a couple. Having my Uncle conduct the service was so special, even when he managed to ask Nick if he took me in “sickness and in death” by mistake which made the whole church fall about laughing. He’s done hundreds of weddings and is one of the most eloquent speakers I’ve heard but it felt like a real family comedy moment.
Sneaking off to do our portraits with Marianne directly after the church service meant that we had a chance to spend some quiet time with just the two of us. Marianne was so good at making us feel relaxed it meant the day never felt like it was speeding past and we had a chance to stop for a moment and reflect.
My sister bought some of the glow sticks that you can join together to make bracelets, necklaces etc for my hen do and we ended up getting her to buy lots for the wedding too – From the Pound Shop no less so it was about the cheapest, most effective thing we did for our wedding, the photos are hilarious! I’d completely forgotten we had them stashed behind the bar but my ever reliable bridesmaids remembered and I suddenly turned round on the dance floor to find all of our guests wearing them, including our parents. Out of about 200 we only found one on the floor of the marquee the next day so I assume everyone woke up the next morning to find piles of them strewn across their hotel rooms.
Advice for other couples… Surround yourself with good people – Without exception all of our families and friends were completely amazing. Our parents and our bridal party really went the extra mile for us and we were incredibly lucky in that respect. However, when you’re planning a wedding I think you always feel like there will be a problem with a supplier at some point yet ours were outstanding. Karen from Super Event was our event coordinator on the day and she made sure we didn’t have to deal with any of the teething problems; I have no idea if anything went wrong on the day although I’m sure it must have done! Marianne and Susanna were a joy and the photos we have are so beautiful. All of the people involved in the day made it even more special for us by being so easy to deal with and willing to help.
Get organised – Not everyone needs to be quite the list geek I was but it’s worth sitting down at the beginning of your planning process and working out exactly what is most important to you both. Good suppliers get booked up early so it will take a lot of the stress out of your day if the things you really care about are dealt with at the outset. Even if you leave things a little bit late you will be able to get stuff sorted so try not to worry too much. Do try and have a rough timeline for the day in advance, it won’t stay on track but it will give you a general idea of what you need to be doing when. Lastly if you can sort out some time for the two of you to spend quietly together to reflect on the day it makes you appreciate everything so much more.
Divide and conquer – Nick was incredibly good at stepping in and dealing with the stuff that I didn’t have the time or just didn’t want the hassle of dealing with. It’s amazing how having someone else send some emails or making a few phone calls makes you feel a bit better about your to do list. In the last few weeks leading up to the wedding you will feel like you have a lot to do so if you have people who can help out then don’t forget to use them. I had to be reminded by my Mum when panicking about who could collect the cakes that I had five wonderful bridesmaids who were more than happy to help and Kate came to the rescue immediately.
Credit where credit’s due….
Photographer – Marianne Taylor http://www.mariannetaylorphotography.co.uk
Florist – Shimizu Flowers http://www.shimizuflowers.com
Caterers and Marquee Hire – Super Event http://www.superevent.co.uk
Car – Rye Classics http://www.ryeclassics.co.uk
DJ – GJ’s Discos http://www.gjsdiscos.co.uk
Dress – Jenny Packham from Miss Bush Bridal http://www.missbushbridalwear.co.uk
Shoes – Rupert Sanderson http://www.rupertsanderson.com
Bride’s Accessories – Stephanie Browne via Liberty in Love http://www.libertyinlove.co.uk and Chez Bec http://www.chezbec.com
Groom’s Attire – Favourbrook http://favourbrook.com
Stationery – Blush Publishing http://www.blushpublishing.co.uk
Cakes – Hummingbird Bakery http://hummingbirdbakery.com
Thanks so much to Rachel and Nick for sharing their incredible day with us today… wasn’t Rachel’s dress amazing!!! ;-) xoxo
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