WWW readers Nikki and Russell married back in March in a Church ceremony followed by a reception at the Chequers Inn, Lincolnshire.
Nikki and Russell are one super stylish pair, with Nikki wearing a lace Essence of Australia dress with her side swept hair and Jenny Packham hair accessory. While Russell chose a slim fit Dolce and Gabbana black suit. They looked amazing.
They kept details to a minimum, wanting an English country wedding with a twist. With a cake of cheese, a pretty Lily of the Valley bouquet and a roaring fire.
Thanks so much to the brilliant John Hope for sharing his photographs with us today.
The Proposal… Christmas Day 2011 – Russ knew I would never suspect if he proposed in front of my family as he is fairly shy so I didn’t think anything of it as I opened a large box to reveal a small one with an engagement ring inside (it had been under the tree for days!!). He then turned to my Dad asked his permission and then proposed – very sweet. The champagne flowed and the planning started.
The Vision for the Day… An English country wedding with a twist (see factory photos!!). We wanted a traditional church ceremony and a relaxed intimate reception with lovely food and a great party atmosphere.
The Planning Process… Initially we looked at a number of country houses and hotels but none of them felt right until we visited Chequers. The planning process was pretty hard work – trying to juggle a young child and full time job made it more complicated but lots of help from both of our families and friends ensured the day came together. I loved Pinterest and blogs which gave me loads of ideas for decorations, hair styles etc. Luckily Russ is very laid back and as long as the church had pews and a pub nearby they were his only requirements so I had pretty much free rein.
Budget… As low as we possibly could but it still went over! We kept costs down by decorating the church and the room ourselves.
The Venue… The Church – St Johns the Divine based in Colston Bassett village – where we had our first Valentines date at the local pub. Also the home of Colston Basset stilton which we used in our cake – more of that later.
The Chequers Inn at Woolsthorpe by Belvoir – an old coaching inn located at the foot of Belvoir Castle chosen for its amazing food and friendly staff. We wanted to avoid the usual package deals and Chequers was perfect for this. They provided a really warm and personalised service.
The Dress + Accessories… My dress was Essence of Australia (D1264). I wanted a dress I had never seen before and this fitted the bill perfectly. The lace was traditional but the keyhole back design gave it a modern twist. The headdress was Jenny Packham – I kept it centre stage by wearing minimal jewellery. I am a “hair down” kind of girl so opted for old Hollywood style side swept waves which worked really well with the headdress and also allowed everyone to see the back of the dress. Shoes were ivory lace.
Finding the Dress… The first one I tried on! – I wanted something I had never seen before in lace. The keyhole back sold it to me. I still had to go and try lots on especially the meringues – the bigger the better. I was tempted by a few but the words Princess Barbie doll did spring to mind as I twirled in the mirror.
Groom’s Attire… Dolce and Gabbana – slim fit black suit and tie with a 1960s vintage tie clip. No buttonholes only pocket squares. The shoes were black Loakes – made in Northampton (Russ’ home town). There were a few raised eyebrows and Blues Brother jokes when friends and family knew we were opting for black suit and tie but we both loved this look and it worked well on the day and in photos.
The Readings + Music… I walked down the aisle to Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke) and the recessional music was The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (Handel). Our only reading was biblical – Song of Solomon – read by Russell’s sister Mel. It talks of Spring and new beginnings so we thought this worked well for our March wedding.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… Our daughter Lily and niece Lois. Both dressed in white prom dresses with vintage style white capes. They looked gorgeous and it was so special to have our daughter at our wedding.
The Flowers… I wanted to keep the flowers minimal and fairly natural so opted for an all white hand tied bouquet consisting of Lily of the valley (I love this but be warned it is so expensive but really pretty)and avalanche roses provided by Flowers by Susan.
The Cake… A cheese cake – provided by our good friend Doug at Neals Yard Dairy included Colston Bassett Stilton (from the village where we held our wedding ceremony), Keens Cheddar and Wigmore as the tiers. I then sourced a heart shaped goats cheese for the top from a local deli but left it in the fridge on the day of the wedding! Thankfully no one noticed including me and the cheese went down a storm with our guests and formed part of our evening food.
Your Photographer… The amazing John Hope of John Hope photography. We wanted very few group shots and needed to find some locations as the venue wasn’t really an option. John was brilliant at finding some really cool locations for our wedding photos including a burnt out factory. Climbing through a fence in my wedding dress to get into the factory was quite an experience. His reportage style photos were also lovely. He stayed throughout the day and evening so captured lots of dance floor moments and guests loved his photo-booth.
The Details + Decor… A simple white colour theme. Centrepieces consisted of white lanterns and the top table had a white candelabra. We used lots of candles and ivy from our garden to keep it understated and subtle. The table plan was an old ornate mirror borrowed from my mum with individual table cards attached onto the mirror. DIY decorations kept the costs down and made it feel more personal to us.
The Honeymoon… Pure luxury at the one and only Royal Mirage at Jumeirah Beach in Dubai. I grew up in the Middle East and so it was great to go back to this part of the world. We met up with old family friends who showed us the sights and treated us to a wonderful champagne brunch at the Al Qasr hotel a must for anyone visiting Dubai.
Memorable Moments… Saying our vows was our most memorable moment and being surrounded by all of our wonderful family and friends. The band playing Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline with the whole room on the dance floor.
Advice for Other Couples… Don’t stress about the small details no one will notice. Borrow what you can from friends and family to keep costs down. You can’t beat a live band for a great atmosphere.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Photographer – John Hope – www.johnhopephotography.com
Make up – Rochelle O’Brien – www.bridalmakeupspecialist.co.uk
Venue – Chequers Inn – www.chequersinn.net
Flowers – Flowers by Susan – www.flowersbs.com
Cake – Neals Yard Dairy – www.nealsyarddairy.co.uk
Band – Richie Muir Band – www.richiemuir.com
Just wonderful. Thanks so much to Nikki and Russell for sharing their gorgeous wedding with us today XOXO Lou