This afternoon is all about chic sophistication.
WWW readers John and Monika’s wedding had oodles of style and and simplicity. With their venue a priority they chose Hampton Court House, Surrey, with it’s proximity to London and bags of character.
Monika had two wedding dresses, one embellished and detailed, the other sleek and elegant. She also had the most effortlessly lovely hair do and perfect eye liner flick to finish off her look. The boys went for traditional tails which suited the day down to the ground. Wow.
Thanks so much to the brilliant Clair Estelle for sharing her photographs with us today.
The Proposal… On holidays! a surprise!
The Venue… The location was: St Nicholas Church, Thames Ditton , Summer Road, Thames Ditton KT7 0QQ (Ceremony). Hampton Court House: Hampton Court Road, Surrey, KT8 9BS (Reception)
The Dress + Accessories… Finding my dress was a bit of a challenge, it took visiting about 8 different shops and trying on about 30 dresses. I had a limited budget as I did not want to spend too much on a dress I would be wearing for just 1 day, but I had quite specific vision of what I wanted, in fact even 2 visions. One idea was a lacy mermaid style gown with cap shoulders and sweetheart neckline, I fell in love at the beginning of my search, and another was a very simple bias cut silk/satin dress with front and back cowl. As both were way out of my budget, I was even considering having a dress made, but not knowing a reliable seamstress I thought the risk would be too great. Eventually I was running out of time and had to order any dress if I was to go down the aisle dressed like a bride. I had settled on a lace and chiffon Sincerity dress with Sabrina neckline, beautiful V-back with buttons going just below the hips and a court length train, which I bought in a Celebrity Bridal shop in my home town, in Poland. I did not like the A-line skirt as I wanted something more fitted, so I had it taken in to create a more slimline skirt shape. When I finally got the dress and tried it at home it looked gorgeous but it felt extremely tight around my rib cage after about 5 min of wearing it, so thinking about my own comfort on the day which was very important to me, I bought a satin and crepe Chelsea Ghost dress in ivory from John Lewis, which I changed into after the wedding breakfast. It proved a great idea as I could enjoy myself on dance floor for the remaining 7 hours of the party. In the end I was able to wear both of my visions on the day! :-)
I accessorised the dress with a long veil. My dress had a lot of lace and crystal appliqués, so it did not need a lot of jewellery. I wore small drop pear shaped silver and zirconium earrings which I bought on Amazon and a wide vintage diamanté bracelet from Accessorize.
Groom’s Attire… Groomsmen wore black tails, creamy waistcoats and green ties. Groom looked most handsome in black tails and ivory waistcoat and cravat. He had his older suit tailored to fit him perfectly and got a pair of Henley shoes from John Lewis. He looked very dapper:)
Beautiful Bridesmaids… My bridesmaids wore pleated pink and navy lace dresses from ASOS.
The Flowers… My flowers were done by Mica Cope, a very talented florist, who happens to be my colleague’s wife. She created most beautiful bouquets with pink and white peonies and cream and peachy roses. Buttonholes were made of cream roses with some tiny pine cones in reference to my maiden name which in English means “pine cone”:) Table centers were made of bunches of gypsophila in long lily vases.
The Cake… Cake was made by Charlene at Char’s Cakery in Morden. For our wedding cake we chose a very summery and light naked 3-tier victoria sponge with fresh cream and strawberry jam filling decorated with pink roses and fresh berries. It was served with fresh whipped cream and summer berries and it was simply delicious. There were a lot of referrals on the day:)
Your Photographer… Our photographer was brilliant Clair Estelle. We chose Clair based on her portfolio. We both liked her journalistic style combined with stunning, dreamy shots of the bride and groom. Clair managed to really capture our happiness on that special day while trying for the whole session take as little time as possible, so we can enjoy the day and spend time with our dearest friends and family.
The Details + Decor… We did not stick to one colour theme throughout but somehow everything fit well together. Our wedding venue was so special it did not need any additional decorations. It had so much character being an 18th century Georgian mansion overlooking Bushy Park and including a small lake and a shell grotto in its grounds. The dining room featured a high glass ceiling, red walls and chequer black and white floors. Dance floor was in the light conservatory while the main hall where the reception took place featured the most beautiful ceiling. As we were very lucky with the weather we spent most of the day outside wondering in the grounds.
The Honeymoon… Sigiriya, Sri Lanka.
Memorable Moments… First dance was “All night long” by Lionel Richie – “not a very common choice” – we heard from the amazing band Better Day who were providing entertainment. We quickly realised we did not really have any typical romantic songs that meant something to us, but we both like a good party and always liked this track, so we thought it was a perfect choice. It really got everyone in the mood for throwing some shapes on the dance floor…all night long.
Advice for Other Couples… Our wedding day was truly special and we enjoyed it so much we both wish we could do it all over again. We had about a year to plan it and we did not find it too stressful as we split the list of things into chunks and ticked them off at different stages. This meant we could do it in a comfortable pace and there was never a mad rush, but at the same time, there were long periods when there was nothing to do apart from waiting, which in hindsight we probably regretted a little bit. If we could do it again, we would probably allow up to 8 months for planning. As most of us have limited budget prioritise the things you care most about – is it the venue/location or the dress or the quality of food and wine or perhaps the wedding rings. We were limited with location, as we had guests coming from abroad, so needed to be quite close to London. We had seen a few different venues which would have been more friendly on the budget but they just did not feel right, so when we have seen HCH we knew it was the right venue for us. This meant we had to be clever with budgeting for other elements. We chose to save money on stationery by sending electronic save the date cards, downloading a free invite template and having them printed ourselves, making our own table plan, place cards and table names. We have also saved on having a naked cake instead of a traditional wedding cake with icing. Our wedding rings were custom made to our design from palladium instead of pricey platinum which looks the same and is as hard wearing. Other things we managed to save on were favours (or lack of them), flowers – simple table centres and no other flower decorations for church or venue, bridesmaids dresses and alcohol and drinks without corkage fee.
One piece of advice would be to book your hair and make up with the same person/company. My original hair stylist had to cancel last minute so I had to find someone to do my hair only, as my make up artist was already booked and I was very happy with the trial. This meant that hair and make up worked out a lot more expensive than I would have wished for. We have spent most of our budget on the venue hire and catering but they were definitely worth it. Our guests still comment on how amazing our wedding was! Finally, your photographer is one of the most important elements of the day. After all the planning and expenditure, the day itself flies by, and photographs are the only thing you are left with so it is very important they are of great quality as great photos will evoke all the happy memories for many years to come!
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Cake | Chars Cakery
Photography | Clair Estelle
Evening Venue | Hampton Court House
Dress 1 Shop |Celebrity Bridal Shop
Dress 2 | John Lewis
Bridesmaids | ASOS
Accessories | Accessorize
Accessories | Amazon
Thanks so much to John and Monika for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou