A Classically Elegant + Thoughtful Wedding

I think we are all happy to welcome Friday along, to make the day go that little bit faster for you i have two gorgeous features to share with you today.

First up i have the stunning and elegant wedding of  Emma and Ed. Emma is a wedding industry professional, the designer behind A Bespoke Design... so get ready to see some amazing stationery ;-) It’s always exciting to see a wedding industry insider ‘s wedding, to see their choices and decisions and how they made them. Emma gives some great advice on choosing your wedding vendors in her report at the end.

Emma and Ed were married back in July of last year at the stunning Barrington Hall. They wanted their day to convey classical elegance and i certainly think they achieved that.

They had so many personal and thoughtful touches, from the surprise location, to the mad hatters party for the children, who even had their own invitations…. oh so adorable. Emma looks super stunning, despite having to find an alternative dress after finding out she was pregnant… she looks positively blooming.

I could go on and on, but instead i leave you with the beautiful images thanks to the amazing Hayley Ruth Photography…..




Names…. Emma & Ed

Wedding Date…. 16th July 2011

The Proposal…. 15th May 2010 – We had a weekend away at The Two Bridges Hotel on Dartmoor, which is a very special place to us and one that we had visited several time before. A very dear friend of ours who had recently passed away had celebrated her 70th birthday there and a “Letterbox” route had been set up in her memory on the tors in the surrounding the area. We decided to follow the clues to try and find the letterboxes. It was a really beautiful day, very bright & sunny. I really had no clue at what Ed was planning, but midway along the route, and with amazing views across Dartmoor, Ed popped the question! I’m very rarely surprised… so Ed wasn’t expecting my initial shock reaction & expletives!

The Vision for the day…. Quite early on in the planning process we decided to keep much of the wedding plans a secret… we (and a small handful of suppliers) were the only ones to know the actual location of our ceremony! It might all sound a bit drastic, but we wanted to build a sense of anticipation & excitement. Our invitations simply requested our guests attendance at The DoubleTree in Cambridge for a pre-ceremony reception, and informed them that a Coach was being laid on to transport them from there!

We wanted to make the most of having our friends & family all together (especially with some of them travelling such a long distance), so we decided to have a weekend of celebrations rather than just the day itself… the Friday night was a meal & drinks at The DoubleTree Cambridge, the wedding on the Saturday and punting on the river cam on the Sunday.

Involving my daughter, Evie, was also one a very important factor to us. We felt it necessary to include her as much as possible which resulted in her sending her own invitations for the other children attending to join her for a mad hatters tea party. We hired the services of the Care Fairies to entertain the children which gave Evie the opportunity to be centre of attention within her own group as well as giving the parents time to enjoy their meal in peace!

The Planning process…. Being involved in the Wedding Industry made selecting suppliers an easy task for us having built up bonds and strong relationships with others… so the planning process was relatively easy, we knew who we wanted to use… it was just a case of booking them! Keeping the venue a secret didn’t get a particularly good reception from some in the interim; I think it was probably hard for them to understand why. But we stood by our decision… we wanted to make all of the arrangements ourselves, with out help/hindrance, and knowing all of our suppliers meant that there would be little stress…

Ed & I are quite traditional at heart and although our initial ideas were flowing with creativity we decided that none of them really fit our personalities… in the end we described our wedding “style” as Classical Elegance… with some delicate vintage elements… We allowed our creativity to flow through the stationery I designed and Ed’s fabulous mini desserts that he made!
A brief outline of how the wedding weekend worked:

Friday Night: Dinner & Drinks at The DoubleTree Hotel. Saturday: Pre-Ceremony reception which was hosted by our parents at The DoubleTree, Coach transporting guests to Barrington Hall, Wedding Ceremony (which ended up being indoors, much to our disappointment, due to the rain, Drinks, Nibbles & Croquet, Entertainment from Pianist (Matt Carter) & Caricaturist (Josie Camus), Children’s Mad Hatter Tea Party & Care Fairies entertainment, Wedding Breakfast & Speeches, Band (Superstition), DJ, Return Coach. Sunday: Punting of the River Cam, Lunch.

The Venue… Venue 1: The DoubleTree by Hilton Cambridge. This venue acted as our base. It’s one of the closest large hotels to Barrington Hall and therefore made sense to use it (in the hope that many of our guests would also choose to stay there, or in the surrounding area). It’s a lovely modern hotel located right on the River Cam with excellent bar & restaurant facilities. Our guests also had the opportunity to make use of the on-site spa facilities.

Venue 2: Barrington Hall. I first visited Barrington Hall before its restoration was completed and instantly fell in love with it. Ed grew to know the venue through the work I did for my clients… it was the only venue we considered using! I’d describe it as a boutique venue… extremely elegant and sumptuously decorated and furnished. It’s very picturesque with lovely grounds and has a superb quality marquee to the rear. It’s also quite exclusive as they have a restriction on how many weddings they can host in a year! Angie, the Wedding Co-Ordinator at the venue, is fantastic and she has a very strong team supporting her. An additional advantage with this venue is that you can prepare it the day before the wedding (providing it’s not already being used)… which comes in extremely handy when keeping your venue a secret and providing all of the décor yourself!!!

The Dress + Accessories….. Where to start… My ORIGINAL dress (yes I ended up with 2) was “Diana” by Enzoani… I fell in love with it as soon as I put it on. It wasn’t what I expected to like in the slightest. A deep neckline, very tight fitted across the bodice and hips and into a fish tail. Covered with a beautiful lace and finished with a beautiful beaded grey belt. I started planning all of my accessories around the dress… even having my shoes hand made by Hetty Rose which featured elements of the belt. Then… 14 weeks before the wedding we discovered that I was pregnant!!! By 12-weeks before the wedding it became very apparent that my beautiful “tight” wedding dress was not going to stretch (or indeed be adjusted) around me and my increasing little bump! Thankfully, Fleur de Lys (the shop I bought my original dress from) came to the rescue and helped me find an alternative!

Dress number 2… when I got over the initial upset of not being able to wear my beautiful Diana (afterall, it was a great reason to have to change dresses!!!), I quickly began to love my new dress! Another from the Benjamin Roberts design house. This one had to be ordered in 3 dress sizes bigger than my regular size to be able to “house” the 20-week bump that I would have come the wedding. A local seamstress recommended by Fleur de Lys made the necessary adjustments and we incorporated the original belt and retained the 4” heels Hetty Rose had made for me!

Shoes: Hand made to match my belt by Hetty Rose, Tiara: by Karan of Royst and Aran, Necklace & Bracelet: bought at Fleur de Lys, Vintage Bouquet: by Debbie at DC Bouquets.

If anyone is looking to buy the Diana dress in a size 8… please contact me, I’m open to offers on it!

Groom’s attire… Ed opted for traditional grey tails, which he chose from a local gentlemen’s outfitters (Tissimans, in Bishops Stortford), and his waistcoat and cravat from a Newmarket outfitters (Goldings). It took a fair amount of time for the combination of suit & waistcoat to be discovered as Ed had seen “THE” waistcoat style & colour he wanted but wasn’t so keen on the suits they offered, hence using 2 separate businesses. The colours of a duck egg blue/grey and taupe were chosen to tie into some of the other “muted-toned” colours that we would be using on the day.

The Readings + Music…. Music… being fans of Linkin Park we chose “Wake” (an instrumental piece of music) for me to walk into the ceremony to. Our pianist, Matt Carter, learnt and performed it for us. During the signing of the registers he performed “Tear drop” by Massive Attack & “You’ve got the Love” Florence & the Machine. To exit we had “Your Song” Elton John.

Readings… we found a couple of readings that really meant a lot to us. Both of which reduced me to tears when they were read during the ceremony. “Message in a Bottle” by Tim Croce (the words are divine, but we’re not so keen on the performance of this song… have a listen on itunes!) and a passage from “when we were six” by A.A. Milne.

Beautiful bridesmaids….. I had two bridesmaids, my daughter Evie who walked me down the Aisle (to give me away) and my best friend Tracey (and florist!). Tracey & Evie wore matching headbands (bought at Fleur de Lys). Choosing their dresses was and easy task… they didn’t have to match and we simply went with what suited them most. Hetty Rose made them each a small piece that matched my belt & shoes which we attached to ribbon and added to their dresses giving them a miniature element of my own dress.

The Flowers… We wanted to keep these simple with the colours being more important that the actual flowers being used. Tracey produced bouquets for herself and Evie, and button holes/corsages for the remaining bridal party using the same flowers that we had at the venue. The roses are called “Amnesia” and have the most beautiful colouring to them. At the venue we opted for silver candelabra and a variety of voltives that I’d spent months finding on ebay, which included: rose bowls; glass dishes and silver sauce boats.

The Cake… Ed was toying with the idea of doing the cake himself (he’s a Pastry Chef), but the amount of time he would have available was limited and in his words “he’s no professional when it comes to cakes of that size!”. So, we turned to Delicia from Deesigns for Loving to create our cake. She’s one of the first suppliers I met and formed a bond with when I set out in the Wedding Industry. Ed & I have always admired her work and had had plenty of opportunities to taste her wares… We gave her a brief of the kind of style we were looking for, but pretty much gave her free reign with the design. We were delighted with the outcome! Somehow, during the course of the evening we managed to miss out of sampling the cake… thankfully there was a decent slice or two left over. Our guests were right… it was divine! The top tier (the traditional fruit cake for the christening) is safely stowed away for Eira’s (our little girl that arrived on 7th December 2011) Christening.

Your Photographer…. Award winning, Hayley Ruth was our photographer… with her trusty sidekick James Pearson. Both of them were fantastic, made us feel at ease, were far from obtrusive and just perfect really!!! Selecting Hayley as our photographer was again a really easy choice. Not only did we LOVE her work but we also value her friendship, she’s an absolute star. Thanks to her & James we have the most amazing wedding album (and some sneaky images for my portfolio!

Jim Cliff was our Videographer (Aardvark Wedding Films). He also had a second camera which was fabulous as the resulting DVD is timelapsed… Ed can see what I was getting up to at poignant moments and visa versa… nothing was missed and we now have the perfect account of the day. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching it back and finding out what everyone else was up to when our backs were turned… It’s rather an emotional thing to watch!

The Details + Decor…. There’s lots… Starting from our Save-the-Date Cards: I designed these to have a vintage feel to them and we chose to incorporate mini-images of our engagement shoot (with Hayley). It was a great way to share these images with family & friends… all to often images are simply sent to people electronically and rarely end up in a frame. We hoped that by sending them in this manner they would be cherished.

The invitations: We sent our guests a wedding book! There was so much information to share with them so I taught myself the art of book binding and set about producing a 16-page hardcover book! We wanted the book to have the vintage feel to it, and resemble a personal journal. We put a lot of thought into the content adding little snippets of unnecessary, but useful information. For example, in preparation for the punting on the Sunday, we had a map of the River Cam on a vellum sheet acting as an overlay to some instructions on how to punt! The RSVP’s were quite in depth in themselves… we had a fair amount of information we required from our guests including Accommodation details; Transport requirements; menu choices; which days they were planning to attend etc. The children being invited to the wedding had their very own invitation from Evie. I had enlisted the help of Josie Camus to produce a caricature of Evie as “Alice” sat at the Mad Hatter’s table… which we were delighted with. I then took this image and designed Evie’s invitations around the caricature.

The Mad Hatters Tea Party… we could have taken this theme a lot further, but the staff needed to clear the childrens table away as it was on the dancefloor. So, instead, we simply took a few elements of the idea through to the table… All the children’s chairs were bought on ebay or borrowed from friends/family.

The Wedding Breakfast: We chose to have our tables in banqueting format rather than using round tables. We think that the banquet style is far more personal! The mixture of the differing heights of floral arrangements worked really well and broke up the length of the table. On the tables themselves we placed a duck egg blue/grey fabric runner with a variety of lengths of wide lace over the top, and covered the chairs to soften the overall look. We folded & tied the napkins and placed each guests individual menu within, these also acted as place cards. We named sections of the tables to help our guests find their places from the table plan. These were named after Ed’s favourite classic French pastries. Each section had a table name card which doubled up as a guest book and also included the recipes of all of the names that had been used.

First Dance: The Band, Superstition, is one we’ve used many times and have recommended to everyone. They are fantastic performers and never fail to get everyone dancing. They learnt a song for us that’s not their usual style for covering, “You and I” by Will Young, for our first dance. We had originally thought about having our dance choreographed but never found the time. Then, 2 weeks before the wedding we panicked a bit not wanting to just do a little shuffle around! Louise, from Your Everlasting Dance, came over and spent 4 hours with us… built us a routine and left us to practice. Bearing in mind we only spent 6 hours working on the dance we think we did quite well… my dress did hinder movements a little, but it was fun. Evie was involved in it too… she LOVED it!

The Honeymoon…. Krabi in Thailand! A wonderful and much needed holiday! Unfortunately the time of year was not the best and the weather was awful at times. But we had the most amazing trip.

Memorable moments… ED: Everything! The whole day was amazing… and my dad not being very good at punting, that was rather comical… we overtook him twice (heading out, then heading back when he was still heading out)! EMMA: The Speeches… especially Ed’s. And my speech! Yes, I did a little speech… which pretty much got everyone crying! It was EMOTIONAL! And everything about the weekend. Being 20-weeks pregnant at the time made me more emotional than I normally am, and as I couldn’t have a drink there’s no moments that are “hazy”!

Advice for other couples… The only hick-up we faced on the day was the coach arriving 40 minutes late to transport guests! The company was the only supplier we didn’t know, and we had not asked anyone for a recommendation for transport. Thankfully they didn’t ruin the day (although they would have done had they have been another 5 minutes late!), but in hindsight we would have only have chosen a company that was recommended… BIG LESSON LEARNT… LISTEN TO RECOMMENDATIONS, ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS whether it’s from someone who was happy with a service they received or from a supplier you trust (suppliers will only recommend others that they know and trust, it would not be in their interests to recommend you to someone who wont live up to their own good name!).

If you have planned your entire wedding and worry about everything running smoothly on the day, don’t carry that responsibility yourself. You’ll only get this day once and you have to enjoy it rather than worrying about everything that’s going on! The best piece of advice we can therefore give you is to enlist the support of a wedding planner! Many offer an on-the-day co-ordination package meaning that they tae on all of the worries and organising and leave you to enjoy your day. Our on the day planner (Kim Taylor) ran around after everyone, made sure everyone was where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there, and carried a special “Kit” with her… fear not for laddered stockings, lost hair pins, missing readings…

Credit where credit’s due…

Photographer: www.hayleyruthphotography.co.uk
Stationery: www.abespokedesign.co.uk
DoubleTree Hilton Cambridge: http://doubletree1.hilton.com/en_US/dt/hotel/STNCBDI-DoubleTree-by-Hilton-Hotel-Cambridge/index.do
Barrington Hall: http://www.barringtonhall.co.uk/
Hetty Rose: http://www.hettyrose.co.uk/
Fleur De Lys Bridal: http://www.fleurdelysbridal.co.uk/
Dessigns for Loving: http://www.deesignsforloving.co.uk/
DC Bouquets: http://www.dcbouquets.co.uk/
Pianist: http://www.eventpianist.co.uk/
Ardvark Films: http://www.aardvarkcorporatefilms.co.uk/
Wedding Planning by Kim: http://www.weddingdesignbykim.co.uk/
Superstition Band: http://www.superstitionband.co.uk/
Care Fairies: http://www.carefairies.com/


Thanks so much to Emma and Ed for sharing their thoughtful and beautiful wedding with us today, XOXO Lou 

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