Heartwarming Festive Winter Wedding

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Although lovely spring is in the air, today’s beautifully wintry wedding makes we want to get wrapped up in a blanket and take in all the frosty details, so snuggle up and enjoy. WWW readers Jonathan and Sarah wed on 28th December 2016 at St Mary Oatlands followed by a reception at Cain Manor. They wanted a cosy and relaxing day rather than a big party and they didn’t go overboard with the small details, the result is stunning.

The pair made the most of the daylight by having their ceremony at 10.30am, leaving the whole of the rest of the day to relax with family and friends, some of whom had travelled from afar. Sarah’s mum gave lots of help during the planning process and made an impressive five bundt cakes!

Sarah’s Needle & Thread separates go perfectly with the winter theme. I just love her gorgeous flower crown and I’m very impressed with her fuss free hairstyling. The bridesmaids also looked glorious in separates and Jonathan chose a fantastic slim DKNY suit.

Thanks so much to Nikki van der Molen for the incredible images, such beautiful winter light.

 

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THE PROPOSAL | We went for a coastal walk right after I had returned from a trip upcountry. Jonathan proposed on a golden summer evening in June on a cliff on the coast of Falmouth, Cornwall. The views are breathtaking on a normal day but it was all the more special getting engaged in the town where we met and the cliff that we had so often walked together. The ring was custom made by Willows Jewellery in Falmouth.

THE VISION | I know weddings are often meant to be big parties but we wanted something warm, cosy and relaxing. We knew that Christmas time would be busy anyway and being from Canada and South Africa we had family coming from abroad so we just wanted our guests to feel relaxed, loved and appreciated. We focused on how we wanted the day to feel rather than loads of decorations and little details. It was important for us to have those we loved and cared for around and for us to show how much we loved them and to thank them for the support they had given us.

THE PLANNING PROCESS | We got engaged in June and did not feel the need to wait a long time so we decided on a winter wedding. My mom and I planned much of the wedding as Jon was studying for a masters degree at the time. The planning process was somewhat stressful and by the end I just wanted the planning to be over! I am quite organised so I had quite a few lists and spread sheets to try and help, it is very useful and keeps a person sane in all the planning!

THE VENUE | We got married in a beautiful church in Surrey, St Mary Oatlands. After an early 10:30 ceremony we spent the rest of the day at Cain Manor. And what a beautiful location it is! The interior is made up of wooden beams and views of the Surrey hills can be seen out the windows. Very little decoration was needed, as it was so beautiful on its own. We were so lucky to have the most beautiful lighting on the day, the light was golden and the world frosty and it made for the most magical setting. Everyone felt so cosy in the manor! We didn’t do an evening dance, instead everyone lounged around and chatted late into the night. Cain Manor did a wonderful job and there was always an endless supply of food, I don’t think anyone ever felt hungry!

THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress is actually not a dress…. it is a top and skirt made by Needle and Thread! I wore a lovely pair of Irregular choice shoes and a dusty rose coloured wool wrap from LK Bennett and a simple pair of earrings from Links of London. We all did our own hair and makeup and I loved it! My cousin did my makeup and to be honest I didn’t do a thing to my hair! I just wetted down a few strays in the back and stuck on the flower crown!

FINDING THE DRESS | I had the most wonderful experience shopping for a dress. In the summer I got engaged I had entered a Needle and Thread competition for 20 brides to win a wedding dress trying on session in a suite at the top of a London hotel overlooking Hyde Park. I had no expectation to win but I did! I went with my mom and younger sister (and bridesmaid), we had champagne and I tried on about five dresses one of which was the one I chose. I loved it! I actually loved them all but of course I only needed one! This was the only dress shopping I did and I don’t think after that experience I could have gone on to do any more just because it was so wonderful! The ladies at Needle and Thread were just amazing and I so enjoyed the experience and the dress!

GROOM’S ATTIRE | After some deliberation and a few last minute decisions the suit decided on was a slim DKNY suit from Moss Bros, a white patterned tie for the groom and the same in purple for the groomsmen. The groom wore a pair of black shoes from Clarks.

THE READINGS & MUSIC | For the ceremony we had traditional organ music and sang hymns. Both of us felt that it was important to have hymns and bible readings and for us to share that with those we loved. We wanted our faith to speak clearly throughout our wedding. Our reading was Revelation 21:1-5 which was also the passage that my pastor spoke during the ceremony and the hymns were Come Thou Fount and Immortal, Invisible.

During the drinks reception we had two of my uni housemates and friends playing violin and in the evening one of Jon’s housemates and friends playing guitar and singing. We loved that we could involve them in this as they had played a big part in our lives while we were dating.

BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My fabulous bridesmaids were my two sisters and my childhood friend from the States. I chose ivory flowing tops from Zara with dark aubergine coloured skirts from Needle and Thread. The top skirt theme I wanted to continue from my dress. None of them lived in my area and my bridesmaid from the States didn’t actually try hers on until a few days before the wedding! It all worked out and I think they looked beautiful.

THE FLOWERS | I knew from the start because my hair is cut quite short that I wanted a flower crown. Sonning Flowers did all our bridal flowers and they did them beautifully. Just a heads up for anyone wanting a wedding between Christmas and New Year, quite a few flower suppliers are closed! So be aware and communicated well with your florist! Sonning Flowers did such a good job even when a number of the flowers I wanted were not available.

THE CAKE | My wonderful mom made five bundt cakes! Five! We decided on the flavours and then tested them all in the months before the wedding. The flavours were Walnut Spice, Earl Grey and Orange, Vegan Lime Raspberry, Gluten free Walnut Spice, and Chocolate Vanilla Marble. We wanted everyone there (with all the different dietary requirements) to get a slice of cake!

YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Our photographer was Nikki Van Der Molen and we had a second shooter as well (Monika Szolle). I cannot speak highly enough of Nikki! She was just amazing, we met with her twice before the day and went over what we like and didn’t like and what photos we really wanted. We wanted to capture the joy of the day and she did just that! She was calm and everyone seemed to feel comfortable even with the camera around. We are so incredibly happy with the result! The photos really do bring out the feeling of the day, pure bliss!

THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We didn’t actually have a lot of décor at all, the church already had flowers up for Christmas and the venue looked very beautiful already. We had a few fairy lights at the venue and on the tables we had jars of sweets and our favours were little kilner clip jars filled with Jasmine, Earl Grey, or Chai loose leaf tea. Both of us are huge tea lovers!

THE HONEYMOON | We wanted our honeymoon to be as relaxing and stress-free as possible. We rented a little cottage in the hills in Wales and enjoyed home cooked meals, a huge bath, wood burner, and beautiful views. We really needed that time to relax and spend time together after all the busyness of Christmas and wedding planning.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Oh so many moments, the whole day! It is hard to choose just one as it really was such a wonderful day. A moment for us both is when we said our vows to each other, it is in that moment that you commit entirely to each other, it had this feeling of sacredness and absolute significance, but in the most wonderful way. Another moment was just stepping back for a moment during the drinks reception to look and see all those I love that had come to support, encourage, and celebrate with us. What a wonderful thing it is to have people that give up so much and care so much for you. One last moment was the weather! When we got to the reception venue the grass was white with frost, the sun low and golden, and misty fog hung in the trees, it was breath taking to behold and nothing I could have thought to wish for. Don’t get me wrong, it was cold!…but it was completely magical.

ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t worry about the details, I was told that so many times and I didn’t really listen, listen though! The details are not worth the stress and even if it doesn’t go according to plan, no one will mind because the joy of the day overshadows everything that could go wrong. Don’t worry about what people will think, they will just be happy to be there to celebrate with you. On the day put other people in charge of what needs to happen so that you both can just enjoy the day. One last thing, take moments throughout the day to stop and look around, the day goes by so fast.

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |

Photography | Nikki van der Molen

Cakes | The bride’s Mom

Venues | St. Mary Oatlands & Cain Manor

Bridemaids Outfits | Zara and Needle and Thread

Dress | Needle and Thread

Brides Wrap | LK Bennett

Brides Shoes | Irregular Choice 

Suit and Tie | DKNY from Moss Bros

Flowers | Sonning Flowers

Rings | Willows Jewellery Falmouth

 

Thank you Jonathan and Sarah for sharing your beautiful day with us, just gorgeous. Rachel x

 

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