WWW readers Hollie and Paul decided to get married on the 20th March 2015 at Stoke Place in Buckinghamshire. The setting was perfect for their old Hollywood glamour wedding day, which was oh so chic.
There was a really fresh feel to the day with tones of blush and white and pops of red and navy. It worked so very well. The décor was simple and relaxed with tree branch centrepieces, LOVE letter lights and fun balloons for the portraits.
The most favourite part just has to be the attire for me though. Hollie looked like a film star in her lace fishtail Pronovias gown with red lips, nails and those fabulous Jimmy Choos. The bridesmaids donned multi-way Twobirds Bridesmaid dresses while the boys wore pale grey suits. Simply stunning.
Kate Gray Photography, thank you so much for sharing these lovely shots this afternoon.
THE PROPOSAL | We’d been together just over 2 and a half years living in a tiny open plan studio really only made for one! We moved in together after just 6 months so it all went quite quickly ever since the night we met at Stawberry Moons with the light up dance floor and 2 for 1 cocktails! We finally saved up enough and bought ourselves a gorgeous 2 bedroom house and on the day we moved in, he proposed as soon as we walked through the door into our new house for the very first time. I turned and saw the ring on the kitchen top (he’d snuck in before me!) and he dropped down on one knee. He simply said “I love you so much…will you marry me?”. I was already in floods of tears with all the emotion of buying our first house together and that set me off even more! It was just perfect and so personal – no audience, no fancy performance – just us in our lovely new house about to embark on a new chapter in our lives.
THE VISION | We were going for a vintage Hollywood glamour style wedding that still had that cosy and welcoming feeling to it. We wanted a relaxing day for us and the guests so planned to be in one venue for the whole day. We wanted our guests to be well fed and watered and experience lots of personal touches to remind them of us during the day.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We got engaged in November 2013 and planned to marry in March 2015 so had just over a year to plan our perfect wedding which was just the right amount of time. We both have very busy jobs and busy lives outside of work but we made sure we spend time together and also separately ticking everything off the to-do list that seemed to never stop growing! I’d say I planned 70% of the wedding and my now husband planned the other 30%… however we made the decisions together and always got each others input which was nice. Not to say we didn’t have our petty arguments over going over budget (on absolutely everything!). As much as I had moments of utter panic and stress, I miss all the planning side now that we’re married! It was a very fun and exciting time for both of us envisioning how our big day would be (and dreaming about it most nights…).
THE VENUE | We chose Stoke Place as it reflected our taste completely – a gorgeous small boutique countryside hotel in Stoke Poges, it boasts gorgeous vintage style rooms with a nice modern twist. The grounds were just as stunning as the inside and it didn’t have that stuffy hotel-feel – it was just a lovely charming venue that felt like a real gem. The staff were friendly and the wedding manager was a dream!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | After visiting over 10 wedding dress shops (well you only do this once right?!?), I fell in love with the Pronovias Landel lace fishtail dress. I loved the lace detail and design and the back of it was just stunning – sheer lace open back and it fitted my curvy figure so well. I chose a very simple and long sheer tulle veil from Rainbow (which stayed on all of 1 hour!). I bought a crystal hair piece to place at the nape of my neck to keep my hair swept to the side – I bought it from Crystal Bridal Accessories online. I got my diamond pear drop earrings from Swag and a simple diamond string bracelet from Chapelle – nothing too fancy as I wanted to earrings to really stand out and the dress was quite busy. I topped it all off with bright red Jimmy Choo Abel suede stilettos – my favourite (and now most expensive!) shoes in the world. I wore red lipstick and red shoes to match to really emulate that ‘old hollywood’ glamour look.
My something new was my dress, my something borrowed was a brooch from my Auntie, my something old was an embroidered handkerchief that my late Popper had bought my Nan over 60 years ago and my something blue was my Agent Provocateur garter that my bridesmaids had bought me for my hen do.
FINDING THE DRESS | I had to try on the dress I ultimately ended up with 3 times before I was convinced and I traipsed all over Hertfordshire, London and the South East visiting various wedding shops I’d researched or read about. I always brought along an entourage of girls – whether it was my Mum and sister or my gang of eager bridesmaids. Being the first to get married out of my friendship group was really special and everyone was completely and utterly desperate to get involved with the planning (especially the dress!).
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Paul and his best man and ushers wore Austin Reed pale grey slim cut suits. They wore crisp white shirts with navy ties and pocket squares, except for Paul who wore ivory to stand out a bit. They all wore dark brown shoes and black socks with our wedding date on them (one of their gifts).
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We chose the below readings and music:
My sister Rebecca read – “I carry your heart” by E.E. Cummings.
My bridesmaid Josie read – “Sonnet 116” by Shakespeare.
Paul’s best friend Gemma read – “He never leaves the seat up” by Pam Ayres.
So we had an emotional reading, a classic reading and a funny light-hearted reading. All had a strong meaning behind them for us and they were all so fitting.
We then had a singer play on my late Father’s piano and we chose 2 songs that mean a lot to us:
Adele – Make you feel my love
Eva Cassidy – Song bird
It was very special that our singer was playing on my Dad’s piano as he only passed away last year so he should have really been at the wedding so it meant a lot to us that he was there in some vein.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Nicola – my maid of honour who I’ve known since school and we’ve been best friends ever since.
Rebecca – my gorgeous younger sister.
Sarah – my other best friend from school.
Josie – a very close friend from sixth form.
Kelly – my closest friend from university.
They all wore floor length royal navy Two Birds dresses. They also wore red lipstick and red nails to match me so we all looked so ‘old hollywood’!
THE FLOWERS | I chose a really classic vintage bouquet of white, cream and cafe-au-lait roses and hydrangeas with eucalyptus and gypsophila. The bridesmaids had a pure cream and white hydrangea bouquet to create a contrast. Paul and the ushers had cream rose, hydrangea and eucalyptus button holes and the mothers of the brides had cream spray rose corsages. The flower girl had a white gypsophila alice band and bouquet and the two “mini” ushers had white gypsophila button holes.
THE CAKE | We LOVE cheese so we had a 5 tiered cheese cake of 5 of our favourite cheeses – brie, stilton, cheddar, wensleydale with cranberries and Spanish manchego cheese. Our florist added some gyp around the layers to make it super vintage and we displayed it on a rustic tree slice on top of an old shabby chic barrel. We then laid out the cheese with crackers, bread and chutney in the evening as part of our evening buffet! We still have several slabs of cheese in our fridge and freezer even now… it will take us forever to eat through it all – one cheese and wine night at a time…
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Kate and Jon Gray – the stunning and talented husband and wife duo. What a dream they were. They were the friendliest couple to work with and they put you completely at ease. I loved their candid shots and almost portrait like style. They captured our day beautifully and we loved the photo slideshow and Super 8 vintage film. We cannot thank them enough for how wonderful they both were on the day. The most personable photographers we ever met.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We just added a few touches around the rooms like photos of us from our pre-wedding shoot, favours that linked back to our jobs (nail polishes from Nails inc for the women and ‘Bouncetastic Bon Bons’ in cute jars for the men as Paul runs his own bouncy castle business called Bouncetastic). We got 4ft light up LOVE letters which we displayed in the room during the ceremony and wedding breakfast. A nice touch during the breakfast was the white birch trees in the table centres as we asked our guests to write us messages and hang them on the tree – we called them ‘wish trees’. Finally we had a bouncy castle during the drinks reception courtesy of Bouncetastic (of course…). Have to say how incredible our band was – Junior Guevarra – normally playing at festivals we managed to persuade them to do our wedding as a 3 piece band. Just amazing! Great soul and funk music and everyone hasn’t stopped raving about them since.
THE HONEYMOON | We went to Thailand for 2 weeks after the wedding which was just a dream. We did a mix of adventure and relax – 2 nights in Bangkok seeing the sights, 5 nights in Krabi in a remote beach resort with gorgeous views of the Hong Kong islands, 2 nights in the Elephant Hills looking after elephants and hiking through the Thai jungle as well as sleeping in floating lake tents, finishing up with 5 nights in pure luxury in Koa Lak where we had our own pool and were waited on hand and foot!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | There were so many but I’d say the most memorable moments were walking down the aisle, saying our vows, when they announced us as Mr and Mrs Allen for the entrance to the wedding breakfast, listening to the speeches and our first dance. To top it all off my most favourite and most memorable moment was when we walked through the door to our honeymoon suite once it was all over and we both just hugged each so tightly and we both cried – it was all just so emotional and we’d managed to hold in the happy tears all day and night so it had all built up and came out at the same time! It was beautiful and a very special moment for us both.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t leave all the small and finer details to the last minute as they actually take the longest and you don’t want to be stressing out in the last few weeks leading up to the wedding. Prepare everything in good time and leave yourself 2 weeks to relax before the big day – you won’t regret it. Remember to look at your husband to be as you walk down the aisle – I was so nervous my vision was darting around so much and I was looking more at the guests but I wish I’d just focused on the man waiting at the end of the aisle. Also make sure you both have at least 15 minutes together just the two of you to take it all in – it’s such an emotional day and you want to remember every moment but you need to take a breather together and just ‘be’ as well. Finally invest in a videographer or video cameras so you can capture your day and always look back at it. I would be devastated if we didn’t have all the videos we have – we went with Shoot It Yourself so we had two cameras that our ushers and bridesmaids and friends used throughout the day to capture the important parts.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Adrienne Hickey | Seamstress who did my dress fittings – she was a dream and made me feel like a princess and this was the most special dress she’d ever worked on
Kate and Jon Gray – the photographers | They were honestly the nicest people you’ll ever meet and helped when we were in chaos and made us laugh when we were nervous. The photos and videos are also just what we wanted – they captured the day so beautifully.
Kaye Stallwood | The florist was so personable and didn’t mind how many meetings we had to get it all just right.
Junior Guevarra | The best band in the world!
Turquoise Holidays | Who came up with the most tailored and special honeymoon for us that we’ll never forget – Tracie Harries was perfection!
The Cheese Plate | Who created our amazing tower of cheese that kept our guests well fed throughout the evening.
How very elegant.
Thanks so much to Hollie and Paul for sharing their gorgeous nuptials with us xo Lou