WWW readers Karen and Peter had an elegant and pretty wedding in August; they held their ceremony at Picton Castle followed by a back garden reception. Karen and Peter have some serious style, Karen donned a breathtaking Claire Pettibone dress with Rachel Simpon shoes, while Peter looked quirky cool in Gresham Blake.
There were lovely blooms, a gramophone, a cake of cheese and a vintage bus. Gorgeous.
Thanks so much to Epoch Weddings for sharing their delightful imagery with us today.
The Proposal… Well…humm… there wasn’t really one. We were at a friends 40th birthday in August last year and a friend asked me if Peter and I were going to get married any time soon, a couple of nudges and conversations later Peter agreed ‘yes’! ;-)
The fun bit was finding the engagement ring. In fairness, I always said to Peter that I’d like to choose the ring myself and it certainly turned into a bit of an adventure… I frantically started looking online for something but really struggled to find something unique. Peter and I had a day free to look around Hastings jewellers, searching for new and vintage rings. We saved Pearl & Queenie until last, with high hopes. A ring I adored there turned out to be a £10k commission which was super disappointing but I asked if they would make one similar to one I had seen online by Ruth Tomlinson but it turned out that the owner knew Ruth, gave us her number and advised us to go to her Cockpit Arts studio in London. A phone call and 10 minutes later we were on a train to London. It was so magical to meet Ruth, see all of her beautiful work and have that intimate moment in her studio. I totally fell in love with a natural diamond ring with granules, it was stunning, 100% unique, luckily fitted perfectly and was ready to go. Peter and I were back in Hastings by 6pm, went out, drank lots and ate pizza – such a fun day and a real celebration!
The Vision for the Day… Peter’s rules were no speeches, no seating plan and no ceilidh. We managed two of the three. It was important to us that it was a relaxed, cheerful affair, which reflected our personalities. Nothing big. That kinda didn’t go to plan either.
The Planning Process… The hard bit was deciding where – Hastings or Pembrokeshire. The rest just seemed to flow, managed to space things out and of course, there was a spread sheet or two. Actually, the most useful thing we did was set up a wedding website with mywedding.com – it really steered us and managed all of our invites, food preferences, transport options and campers numbers – it really did all of the hard work for us. Can’t recommend it highly enough and its free! The photo app was fun and very much embraced by our guests.
Having the wedding in Wales (6 hours drive away) really forced us to plan ahead. We chose the venue in November 2012 and visited again in February 2013 – squeezing in hair trails, food and drink tasting and other bits and bobs, as this was our only visit before the wedding in August 2013. So pretty much everything was in place by February – making it a lot easier to manage and giving us time to do the fun creative things.
Budget… We tried our best to keep to a tight budget but it is too easy to get swept along with it all, we did okay though. All I can say is that we are so appreciative of our family’s support – couldn’t have had the wedding we did without it (thank you folks!).
The Venue… We tried a few venues in Hastings and then planned a trip to see Peter’s parents in Saundersfoot. Having pre-booked 3 places to look at during our visit in November 2012 there was one that we particularly fell in love with – Picton Castle ,the Great Hall for the ceremony and the gardens for a bubbly reception, it wow’d us – even in winter! It was a big decision to have it in Wales, especially as all but 2 of our friends and family are scattered across England, Ireland and the United States, we felt it was a big ask but it felt right. Peter’s parents very generously agreed to have our wedding reception in their beautiful garden (a winning garden in Saundersfoot in Bloom year after year).
The Dress + Accessories… My beautiful Claire Pettibone dress & Rachel Simpson Emily shoes (thanks mum), home made hair clips, my great grandma’s necklace, borrowed diamond earrings (thanks Lynne), the pearl bracelet my sister gave me as a bridesmaid gift when she got married (thanks Jane), a super soft pashmina (thanks Ann), and two handmade garters – lace (thanks Jenny) and silk (thanks Elaine). Such a lucky lady.
Our wedding rings were made by the talented Julia Gaimster – again, it was a really special experience choosing how we wanted them to be made and the good news is they were cast from a test silver ring first so if anything happens to them we can have another identical one made – phew!
Finding the Dress… I saved my wedding dress shopping for when my Mum visited (she lives in Dallas, Texas), booking a day of dress trying-on in Brighton. We did this just after our venue hunting – it really helped knowing the venue and what would work/not work there.
I didn’t expect to find ‘the’ dress on the first day! Initially I fell in love with Claire Pettibone’s Mademoiselle dress and booked in to try it in Leonie Claire in Brighton – who were so amazingly helpful and professional. It made sense to try another one so asked for Luna too. Mum and I waited our turn and watched what others were trying on, Luna look awful on the lady before me so I quickly ruled it out. Then it was my turn. Mademoiselle just didn’t do it for me and then I tried on Luna. I don’t really show my emotions but my-oh-my I had such an overwhelming emotional response to this dress – it really threw me – but that was the end of dress hunting. The problem was that it was way out of my budget.
I went home, scoured the pre-loved websites and found one in the US but it was heavily altered. Mum and I rang around all of the Claire Pettibone stores in the UK and US just to see if Luna was in the sale (as it was from the Fall 2011 collection) and I hit jackpot with The White Room in Sheffield – half price! They were excellent to do business with; I didn’t even try it on, just snapped it up and they sent it to me. It was 3 sizes too big but I had faith that Joan my dress-maker could work wonders with it, and she did.
Groom’s Attire… Peter has never really been a suit kind of guy but he wanted to do it properly so we went to Gresham Blake in Brighton. Peter choose his suit from scratch, sifting through what felt like thousands of swatches of material and learning the lingo of every aspect of a tailored suit – fascinating and nerve racking but it was well worth the effort.
The Readings + Music… We weren’t going to have any but as there were no speeches it seemed like a good idea. Our good friend Dave opened with Oscar Wilde’s quote starting with ‘Keep love in your heart…’ and my Dad ended with ‘To Love is Not to Possess’ by James Kavanaugh. Perfect, very emotive and a tear or two was shed.
My brother Tim played Blur’s Tender as Dad & I and the bridesmaids entered the Great Hall and after the ceremony we had a gramophone with old jazz/ swing/big band records.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… The beautiful bridesmaids – my sister Jane, Jenni, Jenny & Claire choose their own dresses with a vague instruction to get something knee length in champagne, nude or golden colours to match my dress. They all looked stunning and I really liked that they all had their own style. To tie them in together they had a corsage and home made hair clips made with vintage beads and pearls.
I wanted to give them a little something so show my appreciation of their support and heart-warming friendship over the years, so asked Julia (who made our rings) to use some of the beads to create a personalised necklace in keeping with the beads and pearls theme and packed them up in a little glass jar with a thimble.
The Flowers… Elsa Sharp, the in-house florist at Picton Castle, was so lovely and accommodating, especially with our unusual requests for the mantle piece at Picton. Peter and I handmade all of the pots from paper and concrete – not something Picton had seen before. It was great fun making the pots! http://www.bonsai4me.co.uk/AdvTech/ATPaperBonsaiPots.html
Top tip: Magnets instead of pins for the button-holes seemed to work well (until one of backs popped off and disappeared on the gravel driveway).
The Cake… I’ve seen plenty of wedding cakes go to waste. Booze filled dancers don’t really want sugary cake – and sending people home with crumbly, stale, leftover cake means that most of it will end up in the bin and not the stomach. Thankfully our caterer suggested a cheese cake. Not the sugary, biscuit base thing, but several different layers of whole cheese wheels with grapes and crackers. Sold. Was a total success – cut open late in the evening it was scoffed down in no time.
Your Photographer… Daniela of Epoch Weddings was incredible and her photos capture the most magical moments of our special day. It was such a pleasure to share our intimate moments with someone who understood and respected the enormity of the day. As non-camera lovers we were instantly put at ease. Daniela’s discreet presence and her relaxed approach drew the best out of people, and she was a master of directing hordes quickly to get the best group shot. We love her creativity and are so grateful for the most wonderful set of photos – exceeded our expectations by a mile.
The Details + Decor… Our favourite details include: Vintage comic’s (Lion Annuals 1958) for our invites and favour boxes, gramophone stickers for our invites and favour boxes, the gramophone and old 78’s, the vintage bus from Swansea Bus Museum, the 1963 Rolls Royce, home made bunting of our favourite materials from a vintage material shop, giant jenga, Kubb, hay bales, log tables, lanterns, fairy lights, Hershey’s hugs, origami, bubbles for guests, vintage beads, sweat peas in the garden, mojito cocktails and pink fizz!
The Honeymoon… Tanzania and Zanzibar – awesome!
Memorable Moments… Me – time with Peter in the fernery, taking a moment to watch people having fun in the garden. Peter – seeing the dress (awe), the bus.
Advice for Other Couples… Enjoy every minute!
Credit Where Credit is Due…
http://www.epochweddings.co.uk/ – creative photography
http://www.ruthtomlinson.com/ – engagement ring
http://www.juliagaimster.co.uk/Home/Welcome.html – wedding rings
http://whiteroombridal.co.uk/ – dress sale
http://www.leonieclaire.com/ – first dress try on
http://rachelsimpsonshoes.co.uk/ – shoes
http://www.pictoncastle.co.uk/ – venue
http://www.vinecottageguesthouse.co.uk/ – Peter’ parents – reception venue
http://www.swanseabusmuseum.com/ – vintage bus
Such a beautiful day. Thanks so very much to Karen and Peter for sharing their wedding with us today XOXO Lou