What a pleasure it is to be sharing this elegant and classically beautiful wedding day.
WWW readers Bryony and Richard chose to marry on the 1st August 2015 at Bignor Park in East Sussex. The vision was simple, a relaxed summertime wedding in a pastel palette of pinks and blues. So dreamy.
They were helped by friends and family to hand craft their day, complete with pretty flower arrangements, stylish paper goods and blackboard signage to name a few. I really love how pretty the marquee looked with the hanging lanterns and blooms in jars.
Bryony looked really very gorgeous in her Paloma Blanca two piece dress which she accessorised with flowers in her hair and simple jewellery. The little ones were so adorable in their pink dresses with blue sashes, while Richard plumped for a blue bespoke suit. Stunning.
THE PROPOSAL | I had an inkling Richard was going to propose on Christmas day but it still took me by surprise when it actually happened! It was our first Christmas in our new home and he’d spent ages making decorations and hanging them around the house to make it all festive and romantic. We enjoyed a really lovely morning just the two of us drinking champagne before we visited our families to share our exciting news.
THE VISION | We both knew we wanted the day to be fairly relaxed and informal, the theme being a sort of laid back elegance amid plenty of personal touches, with a summertime palette of pastel pinks and blues running through everything we did. The venue itself was also a massive help in achieving our vision, giving us a classic English countryside setting which we could personalise as we wished, and also allowing plenty of time in the week leading up to the big day to get everything in place and set up just how we wanted.
THE VENUE | We fell in love with Bignor Park on our very first visit, and could easily picture ourselves being married there and enjoying a fantastic day. We were able to have our ceremony outdoors with intimate courtyards and beautiful walled gardens for guests to congregate, before spending the afternoon on the rolling south lawn with wide open views of the surrounding fields and Sussex’s South Downs behind them. In the evening we held the wedding breakfast in a marquee attached to the old stables, and had a live band and bar in the stables. The space was perfect for guests to dance or relax with a drink by the bar without being too spread out, and there was also a small courtyard for guests to step out into that we decorated with festoon lighting and a fire pit for atmosphere – it looked so pretty!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Although we didn’t have a wedding planner, Louise from Bignor Park was so lovely and helpful throughout the planning process that we felt we could totally rely on all the advice and tips she gave us. It was really useful to hear what other couples had done with the different spaces before us, so we could decide if there was anything we wanted to adopt or adapt ourselves. The most important thing for us was that everyone could enjoy themselves and soak up the atmosphere, and that we had a lasting record of our memories from the day; with that in mind our priorities were finding a fantastic band and a photographer that we loved and sorting out plenty of booze for the bar menu, and then everything rolled on from there! We planned everything in just seven months, some couldn’t believe it was possible, but once we found the venue, band and photographer everything else fell into place easily. It helped that Richard was really involved in the planning, he’s much more creative than I am so we worked well together to get jobs done.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | The dress was a Paloma Blanca lace bodice and silk dupion A-line skirt that I bought on sale and had altered to be more slim-line, as well as adding a plain ribbon tie around the waist. At the time I really worried that I rushed into buying it as I didn’t have that moment brides describe when they find ‘the one’, but on the day I loved wearing it and looking back at the pictures it was exactly what I was after. I kept my accessories quite simple, I knew I wanted flowers in my hair rather than a veil to go with our outdoor ceremony, and wore a pearl drop necklace and pearl stud earrings that went perfectly. The shoes I found at Phase Eight, the heel was quite low, the colour matched the silk skirt and they had a few pearls round the toe – it was like they were made just for me.
FINDING THE DRESS | I found the dress in the third shop I visited with my mum and Richard’s mum on our first day of shopping. The shop was really lovely and had a mix of designers I liked the look of, Grace (from Grace of Westcott, Dorking) was closing down a few months later so most of the dresses were discounted which helped with our budget as I knew I didn’t want to spend crazy money on a dress for just one day.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Richard doesn’t wear suits for work so he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to source a bespoke three piece, for the first and possibly the last time! We visited a few different places in London but were won over by the friendliness and expertise of Graham from Norton & Townsend from our first appointment, which proved a good choice as the suit looked superb on the day.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We asked Richard’s mother and sister to give our readings and were delighted with their choices of ‘Why Marriage?’ by Dena Acolatse and ‘In And Out Of Time’ by Mary Angelou respectively, which were really fitting for us as a couple and lovely to hear on the day. Marc and Anna from Platinum Band (our evening’s entertainment) arrived earlier in the day to accompany the ceremony with some acoustic songs; I walked down the aisle to ‘Here Comes The Sun’ by The Beatles, we signed the register to ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson, and exited to the chorus of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’ by Andy Williams, all of which meant something special to us and raised a few smiles amongst our guests.
Platinum band accompanied our first dance and then launched into the first of two live sets for the evening. We honestly couldn’t recommend them highly enough and loads of our guests commented afterwards on how amazing and fun they were; they played with so much energy that encouraged everyone get up on the dance floor and boogie! We were all singing along and throwing our arms around one and other by the end of the night, making for a really joyous and wild climax to the day.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had three adult bridesmaids; my sister, my oldest friend who I grew up with and my closest friend in London who I’d lived with for four years before we both parted to move in with our future husbands. I wanted to find them a floral dress that was bright and summery rather than a formal bridesmaid dress, it was a bigger challenge than I was expecting but we found the perfect dress in April when the shops finally had all their summer clothes stocked. It was from Joules, a shop I hadn’t previously considered, and was pale blue with big pink peonies – the style suited them all and the colour went perfectly with our summertime palette.
I also had my four nieces and two nephews walk down the aisle, they looked so cute holding hands in their pink and blue outfits. The girls wore a pink dress from Next with a blue ribbon tied round their waist, and the boys wore blue chinos and a pale pink shirt from Debenhams.
THE FLOWERS | My mum used to have a flower business and had done many family and friends weddings, so she did all our arrangements and bouquets with the help from a family friend. We were going to buy all the flowers from a local wholesaler but we were very lucky to be put in touch with Beth from Fittleworth Flowers who grows flowers at Bignor Park. She provided buckets of beautiful seasonal flowers that complimented the English countryside setting for our table decorations and I ordered roses from a wholesaler for the bouquets. Beth also created a stunning white carnation curtain that decorated the Greek Loggia that we were married under, it was such a romantic setting.
THE CAKE | We incorporated the cutting of the cake into the afternoon tea that was served after the ceremony, a classic three-tier Victoria sponge alongside sandwiches, nibbles with scrummy sloe gin and cloudy lemonade cocktails.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We were bowled over by Ali’s observational and informal images, not only because of his relaxed and intimate documentary style but the warmth with which he captured particular moments and the day’s natural light. He was so affable and friendly when we met in person that we were more than happy to entrust him with our photography, and remain thrilled with that decision having seen the happy memories that he captured throughout our day!
YOUR VIDEOGRAPHER | Having a videographer was a relatively last minute choice, deciding with a couple of months to go that we had the budget remaining and it was something we wanted to do. We were really grateful and fortunate in hindsight, Justina and Greg from HD Moments were so easy to get along with and blended in amongst the guests capturing the whole occasion from beginning to end. It’s a really different memento to have and to cherish, and something we’ll look back on for years to come I’m sure.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We’re both fairly creative (or at least think we are working in creative industries!) so tried to do as much as possible ourselves, hand crafting a lot of the decorations with the help of friends and family to give the day a handmade feel. Richard designed and illustrated our stationery, Richard’s Auntie Gill did the calligraphy for our place settings and table plan, our friend Mike made chalkboards and frames, our friend David wrote out all our signage, Richard’s Mum put together all the lace jam jar tea lights and vases, my Mum put together all the flower arrangements, and together they made the jams and marmalades for our wedding favours, whilst a small army of helpers hung up our paper lanterns, festoon lighting and various decorations in the days leading up to the wedding. We were so grateful for everyone’s efforts, and the occasion really did feel like a team effort and all the more special for it.
THE HONEYMOON | I love beach holidays whilst Richard much prefers city breaks, but we found a perfect compromise and combination with our honeymoon to Cuba. We spent a week lounging and relaxing in a luxury beach resort, soaking up the five star treatment, before heading to Havana to experience its amazing atmosphere, music, culture and history.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | BRYONY: I’ll never forget our friends and family surrounding us in the summer sunshine for our wedding vows and the confetti shower that went everywhere afterwards. I also loved dancing the night away, one of the reasons for not spending a lot on my dress was so that I could have the best time ever without worrying about trashing my dress – which it really, truly was by the time the music stopped but I didn’t care, we’d had the best day ever!
RICHARD: I loved walking down to the lake for twenty minutes or so in the afternoon and just enjoying a few moments on our own as a couple. Also, we hadn’t particularly prepared for it but our first dance as the band played ‘Everywhere’ by Fleetwood Mac was so much fun, as were the evening sets they played as everyone loosened up and cut loose on the dance floor!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | It’s cliché, but everything really does rush by so quickly on the day itself, so relax and take it all in and try to make some time for the two of you as a couple if you can. Don’t fret too much about what you should do, or have to do, and try focus on what you want to do as much as possible to have the occasion you want. Aside from that we’re really grateful for the suggestion of one friend to get a Polaroid camera and let guests take photos of the drinking and dancing late into the evening, which captured a completely different set of moments that are so much fun to look back on!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Ali Paul
Videographer | HD Moments
Venue | Bignor Park
Bride’s Dress | Paloma Blanca style 4309
Bridesmaids’ Dresses | Helena Wrap Dress from Joules
Groom’s Suit | Norton & Townsend
Groomsmen’s Suits | Racing Green
Band | Platinum Band
Lanterns | The Hanging Lantern Company
Just so special.
Thanks so much to Bryony and Richard for sharing their stunning wedding story with us xo Lou