WWW readers Queenie and James were married on the 20th June 2014 at Fanhams Hall Hotel in Hertfordshire. With the grand setting they kept their wedding classic and timeless with simple touches including paper flower centrepieces.
They had a pretty purple colour scheme which ran throughout the decorations, lush florals and pretty bridesmaid dresses. Honouring Queenie’s heritage, there was a special Chinese tea ceremony in the gardens too. Such a happy happy couple.
Thanks so much this afternoon to the brilliant Aaron Collett Photography for sharing these images.
THE PROPOSAL | James took Queenie away to Bruges for a long weekend, which immediately aroused suspicion with Queenie as James never planned any holidays! He proposed within hours of arriving on a bridge over the Brugse Vrije river in Minnewaterpark. In spite of her suspicion, Queenie was surprised when James got down on one knee and cried throughout his whole speech (she said it was with happiness)!
THE VISION | A vintage inspired wedding (plus an Oriental twist to celebrate Queenie’s Chinese heritage). Queenie loves lace and so a lot of elements incorporated this as well.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Primarily led by Queenie! We chose the venue within a few weeks of the engagement – we fell in love with it right away! This gave us just over a year to sort out everything else. Queenie had been envisaging the wedding for quite a few years in her head and had an idea of what was needed and what to do very early on. We had the photographer, flowers, videographer, DJ and dress already organised within the first couple of months.
BUDGET | We kept to a strict budget but it certainly wasn’t a budget wedding (!). We managed to keep costs down where we could with a lot of DIY ideas and was considerably less expensive than the UK average.
THE VENUE | Fanhams Hall Hotel, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12 7PZ
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Queenie had three dresses. The main wedding dress was a lace sweetheart hug and flair dress with a mauve belt, a lace veil and Swarovski crystal hair piece. The second dress was a Chinese red wedding dress with a modern twist and also had lace details, worn for the Chinese tea ceremony. The third was an A-line dress with a high sheer lace neckline and a long tulle train, worn for the first dance and reception.
FINDING THE DRESS | Because of Queenie’s Hong Kong background, she was able to do some savvy shopping, getting all three dresses for a lot less than the cost of just one dress in the UK.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | James wore a dark blue suit made by his best man’s wife (a tailor on Saville Row), accompanied by a silver tie and purple/mauve pocket square. Hanging below the pocket square was a small vintage key (in line with the theme). The best men and ushers wore the same colours.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | The bridal entrance music was ‘A Thousand Years’ by the Piano Guys and the exit music was ‘Love is Easy’ by McFly. The readings were ‘The Bridge Across Forever’ by Richard Bach and ‘The Love Knot’ by Frances Nagle.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | The bridesmaids wore mauve infinity dresses which they customised to their own personal styles. As a thank you gift, the bride gave them a brooch with different gems on each to decorate the dress.
THE FLOWERS | Queenie and James made their own ‘flowers’ (pom-poms) out of craft paper and a bit of creativity for the table decorations but bouquets and head table flowers were provided by Ashby Florists in Ware. The bridal bouquet contained green viburnums, purple sweet-peas and white peonies. The bridesmaids’ bouquets contained white roses.
THE CAKE | Another DIY part of the wedding, we had a spiral of chocolate and raspberry cupcakes (decorated with homemade lace wrappers) leading up to a purple top-tier coconut and cream cake from a local (to Ware) bakery, Belgique.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We chose an amazing photographer, Aaron Collett, who not only took our photos on the day but also came to us in London to take an engagement/pre-wedding shoot. Aaron met with us on a few occasions beforehand and really understood our vision, which came through in the fantastic photos he took.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We chose a vintage style theme with lots of little handmade touches. Because Fanhams Hall was already such a beautiful venue we only needed to add bits and pieces. As mentioned earlier, we handmade the ‘flowers’ with one pom-pom on each table. We had some old books bound with ribbon as a centrepiece on each table with a miniature wooden ‘Q’ and ‘J’ placed on the books. The favours were jellybeans in personalised bags and every guest received a key, similar to those on the groomsmen and groom. The menus were shaped like ‘cootie-catchers’, the game everyone used to play at school (it took us a while to find out the name for those!) and the tables were scattered with a few buttons as an extra touch. The head table had a larger ‘Q’ and ‘J’ in front with the bouquets placed in old-style teacups, which we bought ourselves. We also had a table for our homemade guest book which had photos of the two of us, a vintage suitcase and a red post-box for gifts.
THE HONEYMOON | We spent our honeymoon in the Caribbean, splitting our time between Tobago and an all-inclusive week in St Lucia for a relaxing break after a year of intense planning!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Besides the typical memorable moments (which were still very memorable!), the Chinese tea ceremony was a great part of the day as it honoured Queenie’s heritage and was something slightly different for our guests. One of the reasons we chose Fanhams Hall was it had an oriental tea-house and garden in which we could perform the ceremony outdoors. Our first announcement as Mr and Mrs Beasant, leaving the hall to a host of bubbles, was also very memorable.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Organisation is a must! Keep track of everything you spend – it adds up very quickly and it helps you stick to your budget. Don’t be afraid to do some DIY. It not only helps save money but it adds a personal touch that your guests will definitely notice. The only other thing, and it’s a cliché, but make sure you enjoy the day. If something goes wrong, it doesn’t matter because more things will go right!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Flowers | Ashby Florist
DJ | Choice DJ
Photo Booth | Cinnamon Photography
Photography | Aaron Collett Photography
Film | Love Storage
Hair | Fiona Fenn Hairdressing
Such a lovely day.
Thanks so much to Queenie and James for sharing their wonderful wedding story with us XO Lou