Where to begin? There is so much to love and share with you, but first and foremost, this wedding has a magical autumnal atmosphere, which will give you that warm tingling feeling.
WWW readers Elizabeth and Daniel were married on Saturday 29th October 2016 at Dewsall Court in Herefordshire. The venue was perfect for their woodland fairytale like vision, with it’s gorgeous countryside setting and the golden leaves on the trees, perfect as a backdrop to their romantic portraits. Every little detail was considered and thought out, from customised slippers to hand printed handkerchief invitations and hand carved pumpkin décor. You can find out all about the amazing detail they injected into their wedding in their brilliant wedding report below.
Elizabeth chose to wear an ethereal lace and tulle gown by Anna Maier called Carme, she accessorised with a gold veil and rose gold Jimmy Choos. Didn’t she look amazing? Daniel went for a bespoke suit in blue teamed with black Prada shoes. Such a classic and smart outfit choice. Enjoy every image lovelies.
Many thanks to O&C Photography for providing these amazing images with us.
THE PROPOSAL | Dan’s proposal was almost as magical as our wedding day itself. We had been together just over four years and for Dan’s 30th birthday we had a once in a lifetime trip to Dubai planned. I had organised a few weeks prior a culinary dining experience at the Burj Al Arab. I gave Dan all the details for him to book in what night we could go and didn’t think much else of it.
When the evening came around, I luckily had a blow dry at our hotel and borrowed one of my best friends amazing Ghost dresses to wear (it’s not every day you get to go to a 7* hotel!) The evening consisted of a course in every restaurant in the hotel, of which there were six so you really got to have a good look around (and consume lovely food and wine in the process). The fifth restaurant of the evening was ‘Al Mahara’ – the décor consisted of a floor to ceiling aquarium all around you. I was mesmerised by this and day dreaming about what a lovely time we were having as the fishes swam by. After a few moments, I noticed the fish were starting to behave slightly odd, swimming away and darting around as if they were scared of something, or someone! Suddenly right before my eyes a diver started swimming towards me with a sign that said ‘Elizabeth, will you marry me?’ I honestly thought it was meant for someone else until he pressed it on the glass right next to me and I felt a tap on my shoulder. As I turned around, Dan was down on one knee with my beautiful ring. I was in such a state of shock I hardly noticed he had organised a professional photographer to take pictures of the whole event for us to treasure forever! The evening was topped off with a ride back to our hotel in a white Rolls Royce – a real princess evening
THE VISION | Ever since I can remember I have wanted an autumn wedding. I think there is something magical in the air in the autumn, it could be the falling leaves, the smell of burning fires and smoke or the haunting atmosphere on Halloween. I also think it might stem from the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves; right at the end of the film Robin marries his Maid Marion underneath a canopy of trees, with the leaves gently falling all around them, it looks desperately romantic. So this was to be the vision and inspiration for our wedding day, we would plan it for October, to capture the season’s colours in all their glory. That combined with Dewsall Court as my venue meant the theme would be like an autumn, Woodland Fairy-tale.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | I am very lucky that other than my Dad, I am from a family of girls; my wonderful Mum and two amazing sisters. This makes planning a wedding incredibly fun and very much a social experience. From searching for venues to having florist meetings and then the all important hunt for the dress. I always had them by my side. We had boards on Pinterest and screenshotted many ideas from different blogs and websites to help build a vision for my day, they even got me a scrap book and corkboard to put all my ideas on display. We went to the National Wedding Fair at the NEC which was a great day out and fun to do when you are a bride to be to get more ideas and be completely exposed to the wonderful world of weddings!
My sisters, along with four of my best friends were also my bridesmaids and were there for me every step of the way. They could easily bring me back down to earth during any bridezilla moments! I had endless spreadsheets, detailing budgets, to do lists, guest lists and contact details. I always had a notepad on me to write down any thoughts whilst I was at work or commuting.
THE VENUE | Dewsall Court was the first venue I saw. I had researched it a few months before we got engaged as I was looking for a venue for a team building day at work and after getting a ‘Weddings at Dewsall Court’ email I completely fell in love. I knew it would be hard for any other venue to compete with. My Mum and Sister, Louise, came with me to look around (as well as my nephew Max in his pram). It was a cold, grey and miserable December day but we could still tell that we had found somewhere special. We were met by the wonderful Samantha who showed us around the main house first, we all noticed how warm it was and how even though it is very grand, is so welcoming and cosy. It really does feel like a home and you can tell that there has been many happy, loving times spent their both by Samantha’s family when it was their home, to the many weddings that will be forever imprinted in the houses memory.
Ask anyone that knows me well and they will tell you how much I love a hot bath, well, Dewsall is total bath heaven! Each bedroom has an en suite with the most incredible bath in, from a refurbished one from the Dorchester Hotel to one with the water coming from the ceiling, they are all amazing!
After the house we wandered down the path, through the gardens to the church (which can only be opened using the largest key you have ever seen! It looks like something from Lord of the Rings). I could just imagine walking down that path with my Dad at my side, surrounded by my bridesmaids.
St Michael and All Angels is a truly beautiful 14th Century church. I was slightly concerned as it didn’t look like it would be able to hold the 100 guests we had planned on inviting but on the day we had around 20-30 men standing at the back with the pews taken up by close family and women. This felt wonderfully traditional and I love looking at our photos and seeing how smart all the men look standing at the back. (It also meant the women weren’t in pain with their high heels too early on)!
As we do not live in the parish for us to get married there we would have to attend the Sunday service for 6 months. There are other ways you can get married at Dewsall (a civil ceremony up in the main house, Wainhouse or outside on the lawn or a blessing in the church) but for us we wanted to do it in that church, in front of all of our friends and family. Plus it meant that I got to see the beauty of Dewsall Court throughout the seasons, from crisp spring mornings, to hot summer days, eagerly awaiting my autumn wedding.
Finally, we headed over to the Wainhouse barn, where the wedding breakfast would be taking place. This 15th Century Wainhouse barn has so much character and I could just imagine it filled with all the people we love celebrating our wedding day. It has gothic candle lighting along the original brickwork wall and since its refurbishment in 2016 has the most enchanting bar area which is like something out of a fairy tale. The double wooden doors open out to a dancefloor where I could just picture a band, with a painted floor to finish of the decadent detailing.
I knew in my heart this was the place where I wanted to become Dan’s wife. We went on to see a further 9 venues ‘just to compare’ but the way Dewsall Court has so many different areas on one site made it so unique, I knew our guests would love the surprise element of having to go to different areas at different parts throughout the day and the way that we could stay in the house for the whole weekend just sealed the deal. Our very own country manor for the weekend, fit for a Lord and his Lady!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Every girl dreams of the dress hunt since they were little. I booked the wedding in January and after shedding my Christmas weight, my mum, sisters and I started this all important search. I tried on no less than 55 dresses to find the one. I wanted something that was ‘me’ yet also unique to capture my vision of an Autumn wedding. I tried on all shapes and sizes and was starting to loose a little faith when one of my bridesmaids, Annabelle, booked me in to The Mews in Clifton, as she said ‘one of the leading Bridal fashion houses in the South West.’ With designers like Suzanne Neville and Jenny Packham and window displays that can only be described as a feast for the eyes I was really excited about this appointment. I think my Mum and Sisters had started to give up on me a little so off me and Annabelle went.
This dress shop is quite an experience, from the rows of couture dresses to the opulent changing room, we had a ball selecting different dresses for me to try on. I know that people talk about the moment they put on the ‘one’ and just knowing it is, I guess I was waiting for that but it never really came for me. Instead, as I put on New York Designer Anna Maier’s dress ‘Carme’ we started talking about all the things we could do to it to make it ‘the one’. Make the neckline lower, make the back a ‘V’ shape, take it off the shoulders….. it just seemed so out of reach.
However, with its nude figure hugging slip and the way the exquisite vintage lace fell over the top of it, every other dress just didn’t come close to that one. It has a warm look to it and was just so different from any other dress I tried on. The Mews were happy to accommodate the alterations which turned it into ‘my dress’ and after taking my Mum and Sisters back for a final seal of approval the dress was purchased and the champagne was opened!
The Mews hire out these amazing vintage Temperley fur shrugs so I had an ivory one that I used mainly for photos and a gold cathedral length veil which I think completed the look.
I work for Swarovski so for my jewellery it had to be the refined and classic Emily bracelet and a pair of diamond earrings. I also had a vintage cameo brooch that was my Nans as my something old tucked safely into my bouquet.
One of Dan’s best friends and Usher on our wedding day was James Bushell, who is a brilliant hairdresser. Him and his team did the hair of all the wedding party and we were so happy with the results. The team came to Dewsall Court at the crack of dawn to make sure everyone looked perfect; from flowers in the Bridesmaids glamorous up do’s to rollers in my Mum’s bouncy blow-dry.
James was absolutely brilliant, as he was part of the wedding anyway he touched up my hair at various points throughout the day and in the morning was on hand with the champagne and pastries. He also delivered my wedding card to Dan and vice versa so he really did go above and beyond!
I never wear my hair up, so I wanted it down and flowing with gentle curls in it. Hairstylist Jay Birmingham (also from James Bushell) did my hair. I had extensions in to thicken and lengthen, and before we added my veil, we finished it off with a vintage Swarovski Pearl and floral headpiece called Millie from Isobel Hind Couture.
I wore a pair of beautiful rose gold Jimmy Choos that I had worn when I was my best friend Hannah’s maid of honour earlier in the year. It was only the second time I had worn them but they were so comfortable and felt so special to wear for both of our most important days.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | After rather a few trips to the shops and various department stores it was getting closer and closer to the wedding day and Dan still hadn’t found his suit. He is quite particular when it comes to clothes and was finding it difficult to get an outfit that ticked all the boxes.
In the end he opted to for a navy, three piece suit from Adrian Burrows, The Bespoke Tailor after he was recommended by a friend. The service he provided was so professional, he came to our house and went through Dan’s requirements such as suit colour and style and took all his measurements.
When it arrived it fitted him perfectly and needed no further alterations. I got him a pocket watch to wear with it as when the jacket is taken off the chain on show smartens up the waistcoat and gives it a traditional feel.
Dan loves nice shoes. So he got some very smart, classic black Prada shoes to finish off his outfit. Like the saying goes ‘you can always tell a man by his shoes’!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | With the church being so cosy, I wanted something quite delicate for our guests to listen to whilst they were waiting and also for the entry of the Bride. I decided to go for a harp played by the very talented Vera Khait.
For my entrance, she played ‘everything I do, I do it for you’ from Bryan Adams, which sounds a bit cheesy I know but on the harp it just sounds absolutely beautiful. I don’t even remember hearing it, everything was blurred out around me as I walked down the aisle towards Dan I didn’t hear a thing! She went on to play more traditional songs during the signing of the register.
I wanted the readings to be meaningful to me and Dan so we spent quite a while looking for them. In the end we had my sister Caroline read an extract from ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ which is one of my favourite books and then my Brother In Law Terry read ‘Time Travellers’ which has a dream like feel to it.
A few New Year’s Eves ago, I saw an amazing acoustic singer at the Marco Pierre Whites at the Cube in Birmingham and my sister said we should get his number for *when* I got married. So it was to be him! Sean Reeves, his voice is so good and he is so talented. He reminds me of Ed Sheeran and posts amazing covers on his You Tube channel, him mixed with a percussionist in the Conservatory at Dewsall made really fun entertainment for our guests (they were even taking requests at one point). I also wanted him to sing everyone down to the Wainhouse Barn in a Pied Piper style so this is what he did! He then sang everyone into the barn as they took their seats.
Our first dance song was Ed Sheeran Tenerife Sea. It isn’t such a well-known one from him but when me and Dan first listened to the words a couple of years ago, I could just imagine using it for the most important dance of our lives. The words are so beautiful and I had imagined that moment in the months leading up to our wedding so many times so when it finally happened it felt so surreal. I still can’t listen to that song without being filled with emotion.
We had Birmingham piano and drum band The Wedding Crashers in the evening and they also brought along a DJ to play in-between their two 45 minute sets and they were AMAZING at getting everyone on the dance floor. We had requested a couple of songs for them play which was also no problem for them to do.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | When it came to my bridesmaids there was no doubt over who I would be having. My sisters, Louise and Caroline, who are by my side through thick and thin. My two partners in crime Beth and Annabelle who I lived with throughout all my university days. My BFF and travelling partner Emily, whom I have travelled the world with and my best friend Hannah, who excitingly also got married in 2016, so it was so special to share that year with her!
They are all absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t imaging not having them getting ready with me and being by my side on my wedding day.
We decided to try and find a bridesmaid dress that was simple and elegant so it wouldn’t clash with the heavy lace on my dress but also one that would stand out and make them look the part. We eventually found it in House of Fraser, a Biba full skirted maxi dress with a v neck in a gorgeous champagne colour. It looked so amazing on them all (including one of them that was 8 months pregnant)!
My make up artist was blogger and childhood friend Polly Demetriou. She was absolutely wonderful and spent the entire morning making me, my mum and my six bridesmaids fit for the church!
THE FLOWERS | We wanted the inside of the barn to equal the ethereal beauty of Dewsall’s grounds so I knew that the floral and foliage arrangements would be key to creating the desired impact. This would mean dressing all five beams and the gothic candle lit chandeliers, which is rather a large task.
For this, I knew it would make sense to enlist a florist that was used to the venue, I spoke to a couple of different florists that Dewsall had recommended but the ladies at The Great British Florist were just so friendly and helpful. After putting together my wish list, my Mum and I went along to meet Heather (what a perfect name for someone with her own florist business). They are based at a beautiful farm just outside Hereford and their strapline is Home Grown, Not Flown. For this reason, you can tell them what flowers you would like, but they can never guarantee what is available as it depends on the yield in the UK at the time. This was fine with me, as the only flowers I really wanted were freesias (my Nan and Mums favourite flower) and they were pretty sure they would be able to accommodate that, the rest I left up to them!
In the button holes and the bouquets, I wanted little acorns and pine cones and they spent the weeks before my wedding day foraging in the Herefordshire countryside and woodland collecting them which I just loved!
The Wainhouse beams were dressed with Hops, which made the barn have a lovely harvest smell to it when you walked in and with the backdrop of the twinkling fairy lights made a beautiful frame for our wedding breakfast room. The chandeliers and centre piece flowers were the same as the bouquets – pussy willow, pine cones with a pop of pink to bring it to life.
THE CAKE | My sister is a teacher and she worked with a lady that makes the most amazing cakes. She made mine and Dan’s 30th birthday cakes and I was so impressed I knew I wanted her to make our wedding cake. I sent her a picture of one that I found on Pinterest and she made it to perfection! She had even added gold leaves as she knew it was an autumn feel I was going for. All of our guests commented on how delicious the vanilla and chocolate sponge was.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | My bridesmaid Annabelle got married in August 2013 and her wedding pictures were absolutely breath-taking. She had used Husband and Wife team O&C photography and I knew I wanted them for our wedding day. They seem to capture their weddings in a dream-like manner and really focus on capturing natural action shots which are just moments of happiness!
We had our engagement shoot with them in August along the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coastline and as soon as we met them we knew we had made the right decision. They are both so lovely and make you feel so comfortable in front of the camera, which for both me and Dan felt awkward at first!
On our wedding day Charis was with me, my Mum and Bridesmaids whist we were getting ready and it was like having a seventh bridesmaid there rather than a photographer, keeping me calm and speaking words of encouragement when my nerves were getting the better of me, she was amazing.
Owen was with Dan, who quickly became one of the lads in the time he was with them before the church ceremony. It was reassuring having photographers that we felt 100% comfortable with and able to be ourselves in front of and we are absolutely over the moon with are photos – both from the engagement shoot and the wedding day itself.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | I thought about the invites and stationery a lot as I believe that they set the tone for the whole day. We scoured the internet for hours to try and get the right look, I wanted something that was different yet traditional. My sister ended up finding them on Etsy, the main invite was a beautiful hand printed handkerchief that was tied up with twine. For the additional details we put a gorgeous poem on the RSVP and gift list cards; ‘he’ll be more than just her husband, he’ll also be her friend, she’ll be more than just his wife, she’ll be his soulmate till the end.’ When my sister got married she had a hand drawn map of the church and venue created that we all have up and framed in our homes still today, so I had to have one of these. Lydia Bevan listens to your theme and vision, looks at the map of the area you want and then creates the most stunning piece of artwork. I loved it so much that I had her create a second one which acted as our evening invite also.
We wrapped all the parts of the invite up with twine and added skeleton leaves and mini brass acorns that I got from Etsy to give it the autumn feel. They were then placed into canvas bags with an E&D stamp on and adorned with one final acorn to complete them. We spent hours on them, but they were worth it in the end!
So our guests knew where they were heading once they arrived at Dewsall Court, Annabelle’s husband Carl is quite the handy man and had made amazing signs out of wooden pallets that him and Beth’s husband Andrew spent the morning putting up. Bridesmaid Beth, who has beautiful handwriting then wrote on them. The words linked back to the wedding moments on our hand drawn map that went out with the invite; ‘Where we say I do’, ‘Where the party begins’ and ‘Where we dine and dance’.
In the church we decided to keep it simple, we knew it would be cosy with all of our guests in there so I didn’t want flowers getting lost or in the way of people being able to see the ceremony. I had a large flower arch above the church entrance with Storm Lanterns lining the 14th century porch, with a white Ghost pumpkin and mini pumpkins stacked up in a pile! Inside the church, we placed candles on all of the shelves, including a lot of pine scented candles that I was hoping would make the church smell lovely.
My bridesmaid Beth made the order of service and painstakingly tied them up with twine and we stuffed canvas bags full of natural petal confetti and placed an ‘E’ and ‘D’ stamp onto them that we had used for our invites. A floral garland ran across the alter that we then moved over to the barn for top table decoration after the ceremony.
The décor of the house is so detailed and beautiful that it doesn’t need to be dressed much for a wedding. We had our drinks reception following the ceremony up in the conservatory and main lounge area, through the large front door, flagged by burning copper torches.
The copper torches also lined the path from the house to the barn and then my brother in law, Terry is an infamous pumpkin carver so him and his nieces spent the days before the wedding carving wedding themed pumpkins as a nod to Halloween which was just 2 days after our wedding.
We had festoon lighting zigzagging outside the Wainhouse barn and then a canopy of light inside the barn itself which instantly created a magical atmosphere. I remember standing outside looking back into the barn and seeing all the fairy lights and candles twinkling. That, mixed with the sound of music and the laughter of our guests made my heart soar.
Two large wooden teak tables were used for decoration purposes, I love bread, so my bridesmaids Annabelle created an amazing bread table which was all wicker baskets, dried flowers and wheat sheaves. This then doubled up as the evening food table with the cheese cake and freshly baked artisan breads completing the décor!
The second teak table had our wedding cake, the guest book and the Polaroid camera that we had used for people to capture moments of the evening and then write a message in for us.
I know you see lots of unusual and different ideas when it comes to table plans and table numbers but I am a self-confessed book worm. So on each table number card we put a different love quote that meant something to us. The table plan was then a large floral heart that stood proudly at the entrance of the barn.
The place settings doubled up as favours and my family and I spent many hours creating them. The women all got a pastel coloured cotton scarves which had their name and then ‘to have and to hold in case you get cold’ on the tag. We wrapped them in twine and then adorned them with two small brass acorn charms (the same ones we used on the invites). The men received a shot (or three) of Johnnie Walker Black Label that my Dad had decanted into small glass bottles (whilst finishing the leftovers off)! These were then finished with a luggage tag with their name and ‘a wee dram’ as their message as Dan spent many years growing up in Scotland (and also LOVES whisky).
We had a little slipper area and my sister had ironed on our names and the date of the wedding as a reminder, the women found these very useful as we danced the night away and then we also had a sparkler and blanket area outside. We used the sparklers initially for a photo with me, Dan and my Bridesmaids but as our evening entertainment of the Fire Show started we began handing them out to guests.
The fire show was amazing, with our wedding being so close to bonfire night it was the perfect way to surprise our guests with something a little bit different. We had flame throwers, fire eaters and a giant heart that burst into flames as Dan and I sat just behind it.
To finish off our amazing wedding day, the clocks went back at 2am, meaning we got an extra hour in bed (and at the beautiful Dewsall Court). We were very grateful for that lie in!
THE HONEYMOON | We went to Barbados a couple of days after we got married which was just so exciting. You get so excited for the wedding day itself that you put the honeymoon to the back of your mind so going straight after the wedding is a great way to stay on cloud nine that little bit longer.
We stayed at The House, St James and it was truly out of this world! The staff just go above and beyond to make your stay as memorable as they can. We made friends there that we will never forget and we will certainly go back.
Barbados itself is heaven, you have the freedom that you don’t have in some other Caribbean destinations as it is very safe to explore the island on your own so we hired the car and spent a few days doing just that. The food is incredible and with world renowned restaurants such as The Cliff and The Tides you are spoilt for choice.
We spent the days exploring, swimming with the sea turtles from a beautiful catamaran and just lazing on our sun loungers with a cocktail in hand, reminiscing about our wonderful day.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Getting ready with my Mum and Bridesmaids was just wonderful. We were up so early and it felt like Christmas Day! I remember looking out of the window in the morning and hearing a shoot going on somewhere in the distant, then, as the morning went on seeing our guests slowly start to arrive was just beyond exciting.
Walking up to the church with my Dad and Bridesmaids knowing that Dan and all of the people we love were in the church waiting for us was so special.
Sitting at the top table with Dan and looking out onto all our guests laughing, smiling and having a great time. The speeches were absolutely wonderful and ended up with the room singing ‘you’ll never walk alone’ as Dan is an avid Liverpool fan.
Dan is half Iranian and his younger sister, Ariana, did a Persian ‘Knife Dance’ before we cut the cake. In this tradition, the groom has to pay the dancer to get the knife back before the cake can be cut. Ariana did this so gracefully and beautifully… and left £50 richer!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t rush the dress – there was numerous times I thought I may have found it. For me, I needed to go away, think about it a lot, and even try more on to realise it. Even if you have to try hundreds, it will be worth it in the end!
Have an engagement shoot – I was glad that we knew what it felt like to be in front of the camera as it did feel a little awkward at first. On the wedding day I was more prepared so knew what to expect in terms of the poses. It also means you get to know your photographer so you are comfortable with them (and you get lots of nice pictures from the shoot).
Don’t stress if it rains – It rained on and off throughout the morning and whilst I was stressing at first, as you get into the swing of the day you really don’t notice it. I think it also made the grounds look so beautiful, there was a mist in the air which made the atmosphere somewhat mysterious. It’s made me appreciate rainy days even more because it doesn’t ruin it, just changes the beauty of everything, plus it is good luck!
Relish every single second – everyone says it but you really need to do just that, take a step back and realise this is the day you have spent so long planning! Don’t scrimp on your photographer/videographer, they are the ones that will make your lasting memories.
Look at your budget and decide what is top of the list. For me it was the flowers and also my dress, then work your way down in the other areas from there. I know it sounds simple but costs add up and escalate so quickly so it’s good to have a spreadsheet to keep an eye on all costs in one place.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | O&C Photography
Make up | Polly Demetriou
Grooms Attire | Adrian Burrows
Wedding Dress | The Mews Bridal
Cake | Dawn Holliday
Flowers | The Great British Florist
Headpiece | Isobel Hind Couture
Hair | James Bushell Hair
Harpist | Vera Khait
Acoustic Singer | Sean Reeves
Band | The Wedding Crashers
Invites | Polka Dotted Bee
Hand Drawn Maps | Lydia Bevan
Fire show | One World Performing Arts
I love the sparklers and fire performer, such a fitting way to end a perfect day.
Thanks so much to Elizabeth and Daniel for sharing their utterly beautiful wedding here at WWW xo Lou