Today we are escaping “down the rabbit hole and into wonderland“; as today’s bride describes in her wedding report.
WWW readers Philippa and Stephen were married on the 31st May 2014 at CHET just outside of Liverpool. They created an Alice in Wonderland wedding after falling in love all over again with the classic book.
From the cake to the table plan mirror and eat me labels the décor was just perfect. I so love the pink Peony and blue Hydrangea blooms, they must have smelt heavenly.
Philippa looked stunning in a lace La Sposa gown with cathedral length veil while Stephen donned a Ted Baker suit and paisley print accessories. Beautiful.
Thanks so very much to the amazing Claire Penn for sharing her photographs today.
THE PROPOSAL | In Barcelona back in November 2011. Having been together for four years by that point, as well as on many fantastic sojourns abroad during which our entire family and friendship group had hypothesised the proposal would take place and had been disappointed, it actually turned out to be a complete surprise for everyone, most of all me!
THE VISION |Something magical! A step into the extraordinary! A world of unknown for our guests! As an avid reader, I originally really wanted to incorporate a childhood favourite, The Wizard of Oz, into the wedding , with hay bales, silver slippers (as per the novel), and an emerald colour scheme, but quickly fell back in love with another children’s classic instead; Alice in Wonderland. After re-reading both books, our minds were made up! We were taking our guests down the rabbit hole and into wonderland!
THE PLANNING PROCESS |We had a long time to plan (2.5 years!) as we’d already planned a trip to China before Stephen proposed! This meant we had more opportunity to arrange (and pay for!) the things that we really wanted for the wedding without compromise.
THE VENUE |Crosby Hall Educational Trust (CHET centre) – a not for profit trust in Little Crosby, North of Liverpool. Technically in the countryside but well in reach of the city for guests – perfect!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES |An elegant lace La Sposa dress (made in Barcelona – a sign!) with a sweetheart neckline, fish tail skirt that shimmered with pearls and a beautiful floral lace overlay that separated from the underskirt whilst I walked. Even now, I get goose bumps thinking about how much I love it and would never ever sell it!
FINDING THE DRESS | I’d always read about brides finding ‘The One’ and never quite believed that would happen to me, as I do most of my shopping online! I thought I’d feel differently when it came to my wedding dress as it had been something I’d imagined searching for since I was little (haven’t most girls?) but as we approached the Big Day and ticked everything else of the list, I had barely even looked for the dress! Stephen emphasised this point at the end of the August as this was nine months until the wedding so I thought it was time to start. In the first shop I looked in, I found a beautiful lace dress with capped shoulders, a key hole back and a puddle train but couldn’t decide on that or a satin gown with rather a large train and corset bodice. I gave the first a 9 out of 10 and the second an 8.5 and opted to go away and think about it. For weeks, I pored over the photographs my sister had taken of the two gowns but the only thing that I could decide was that I wanted a Cathedral length veil. I thought I’d just have to bite the bullet and go and choose whichever felt best on the day. Looking back, the first was unflattering and the second completely out of kilter for me that I wouldn’t entertain either now!
Having booked the return appointment, a friend suggested a bridal store near her house to visit in the meantime. I’d selected around 12 gowns to try on, but the first one I tried on was The One! I tried on the rest to make sure, but each and every one made me realise I loved mine all the more.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | A grey three piece Ted Baker suit (with tails!) from Moss Bros. with mid-blue paisley print tie and pocket handkerchief. Luis, our page boy, had exactly the same in miniature and the rest of the boys had grey tails with pale blue ties, all with Windsor knots!
THE READINGS & MUSIC |Pachelbel’s Cannon in D as the bride’s entrance music. All Things Bright and Beautiful, In Christ Alone and Jerusalem (our absolute favourite) as our three hymns. An excerpt from the Songs of Solomon read by Catherine, our close friend and bridesmaid and Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussy Cat (a beautiful innocent childhood poem about a wedding) by Shirley, our friend from Australia as the secular reading.
We were extremely lucky to have two sets of very talented musicians at our wedding. A string trio from The Dotted Crotchets performed in the sunshine for our guests as they arrived at the venue; a surprise we had kept from absolutely everyone. We’d selected our favourite songs from their extensive repertoire and it was wonderful that we got to hear them when we arrived and see the delight on our guests’ faces as they recognised the Game of Thrones theme and wonderful renditions of The Killers, Goo Goo Dolls, Coldplay, Christina Perri, Elton John and many many more on strings. It was truly beautiful to drink refreshing Pimms in the courtyard on such a beautiful sunny day listening to the trio.
To get the party started for the evening entertainment, we could think of no one better than the wonderful Helly and Andy of the Ragtag Misfits; a duo we had seen countless times busking in Liverpool surrounded by crowds of people drawn to the fabulous unique music and various percussion instruments! We were so happy that they were able to perform at our wedding as they were already planning to busk in all of England’s counties to raise money for charity and so returned to Liverpool specifically for this day to thrill our guests with their versions of old and new songs with maracas and tambourines for everyone! We were honoured that they also agreed to learn a very special song for our first dance as well; John Mayer’s Waiting on the Day. John Mayer is our absolute favourite music artist of all times, and this song our most favourite as it is about growing old together, but we have to say, Helly sang it better.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS |My sister, Stephanie was my Maid of Honour and our wonderful friends Catherine, Michelle and Stella were bridesmaids, with niece Daisy as flower girl. It was particularly special as I’d met Catherine and Stella on our first day at University at the halls of residence across the road from the church, so we were back where it all started nine years on!
THE FLOWERS |I’d always wanted pale blue hydrangeas and pink peonies for the bouquets and we were lucky that we had chosen a date when they were in season. They were stunning and we couldn’t have been more pleased. The boys had these as their button holes too and Catherine arranged the stocks, meadow flowers and gypsophila that we had picked up from Sainsbury’s (3 for 2 offer) for the table and venue flowers. They looked stunning and went perfectly with the whimsical wonderland theme.
THE CAKE | Crafted by our dear friend Wendy. We hadn’t budgeted for a cake, so it was a wonderful and extremely generous surprise when Wendy offered to create this for us as a gift. She visited us with fabulous ideas and samples of cake, colours and decorations in the run up to the big day and then went away and crafted a vision of loveliness! A beautiful pink, white and blue cake of four tiers with miniature peonies, bunting and a tea cup and saucer with flowers – it was perfect and one of the few surprises kept from us until the day itself!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Claire Penn Photography. Put simply, words are not adequate to express how beautiful Claire’s work is. Nothing short of an artist, she captured the excitement, the emotion, the elation; the absolute essence of everything that made our wedding day the most wonderful day of our lives. We can’t even quantify the number of compliments we’ve received from friends, families, even strangers, about our photographs – we’re so happy we booked her (even before the venue!) and get shivers even looking at the photographs as they transport us back to the day itself – nothing short of magical!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | A traditional church ceremony then on to a farmyard chic venue with blue and pink details! We splashed out on some stuff, so opted to craft bits and pieces ourselves; most notably the skittle vodka favours (in ‘drink me’ jam jars), fluffy pompoms and mirror table plan (‘Through the Looking Glass’), supermarket table flowers, stacked tea cup flower vases (our favourite!), handmade stationery and photo booth with instant camera! The entire day breezed by with such fun, adventure and joyfulness and we even got to go to Crosby beach and have photographs with the Anthony Gormley statues – it had rained heavily both before and after our wedding day so it really felt (and still feels!) like a dream! We were so lucky.
THE HONEYMOON | A sojourn to the Canadian Rockies starting in Vancouver. We picked up a Chevvie and then journeyed up into the mountains, stopping at Whistler, Sun Peaks, Jasper, Banff and ending in Calgary before flying onwards to New York. It was immense.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Where to start! Taking a moment away from getting ready to read the beautiful card that Stephen had written for me and opening his gift of a necklace and earrings with sapphires to match my engagement ring, that special moment just before the ceremony where my heart pounded with the excitement, the walk up the (really!) long aisle and seeing Stephen at the end, travelling to the venue in our Morris Minor with the tin cans rattling, going to the beach for photographs, drinking Pimms in the cobbled courtyard, eating candy floss in the garden, sitting at the top table and watching for a moment all the friends and family who will never be in the same room every again, the amazing speeches (all of them!), dancing with my husband.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Just do it! Best day of our lives!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Venue | CHET
Dress | La Sposa Denia from Boutique Brides
Photography | Claire Penn
Utterly charming. I am lost in wonderland for sure :-)
Thanks so much to Philippa and Stephen for sharing their amazing wedding story today XOXO Lou