Christmas weddings are so magical and romantic aren’t they? Twinkling lights, rich seasonal tones and sparkle, this wedding has all of these elements and so much more too. WWW readers Megan and Luke were married on the 29th December 2019 at Elmore Court in the Cotswolds. They envisioned a decadent black tie affair with a festive vibe. I just love that their guests all made an effort with the dress code, it must have made their day all the more special.
It worked so well that Megan and Luke didn’t go all-out Christmas with their theme, but rather embraced the essence of the season. Rich reds were infused beautifully in the attire, Luke wore a red velvet jacket and the bridesmaids wore jewel tone jumpsuits and the flowers were interspersed with luxe red roses. A touch of cool was added to their décor with lots of fluffy pampas grass and really cool painted perspex signage, the result was a very classic yet modern style. I also must shout out about Megan’s amazing sparkly dress, she looked stunning!
We got engaged in Reykjavik, Iceland in November 2017 whilst on the most amazing trip. Luke waited until the very last day and proposed in front of Gullfoss waterfall, with no one around and had led me to believe we were having a self-timer photo but then dropped to one knee and had the whole thing on video! It was truly amazing, and I couldn’t have planned it better myself.
I always wanted a winter classic wedding. My vision was always fresh, elegant and regal, it was in the later months of my planning that I decided to incorporate contemporary elements of pampas. I wanted everything to look fresh and decadent, with hints of art deco. We went for black tie dress code – if you can’t wear black tie for your wedding then when can you!? Every single guest adhered to the black-tie dress code, I was blown away by how stunning all our guests looked, everyone looked so dapper!
The Planning Process
I was very ‘full steam ahead’ from the get go with planning, I’m very obsessive about details and very known for being super organised; let’s just say I had an excel file with over 30 tabs! I really enjoyed wedding planning and didn’t let it stress me, those last couple of weeks become a bit of a panic but in the final week I remember just thinking ‘I’m just ready for it now!’. Luke very much sat back and let me do what I wanted, he literally just turned up and was seeing everything for the first time on the day, I wanted it all to be surprise for him. The only wedding planning Luke took part in was the food tasting – typical! Budget was £30k.
Luke went for a luxe berry coloured velvet tux with matching bow tie from Dobell’s.
The groomsmen and Fathers had matching berry Dobell bow ties and hired their suits from a local suit shop, Black Tie. My Dad bought all the groomsmen and ushers matching socks which was such a cute special touch.
1 month after our engagement we had a weekend away between Christmas and New year and said to each other ‘Let’s get married this time of year, when no one knows what day it is, and everyone is in merry spirit’ this time in December just felt so perfect. The following January we started to explore venues in and around the Cotswolds. We had plans to see several venues in one day and Elmore court popped up whilst I was on a search, so last minute we booked to visit between venues.
Elmore Court took our breath away, the history and story made it so endearing and the exclusivity was everything we wanted, a huge mansion, just for us!?. There were 16 bedrooms, for our closest family and friends to stay in after the wedding, each room with its own quirky character but all so grand. After a full tour and history lesson of the main house we were taken to the Gillyflower – the ‘party room’ and our wedding planner Kat asked what our favourite song was, then played it (Coldplay – sky full of stars) on the PA system, I burst into tears with pure happiness, knowing this venue was ‘the one’. We booked the venue that week and I instantly began planning.
Nicola Bunn Hair did my hair, I went for a sleek back, chignon bun. My makeup was by the fabulous Suzie Gee, I chose classic 1920’s-esc with light smoked eyes and winged eyeliner, which lasted all day!
Your Outfits & Accessories
After visiting around 5 wedding dress shops, trying over 20 gowns and still finding nothing, I went back to my trusty Pinterest board and began the hunt for the first gorgeous dress I ever ‘pinned’ to my Pinterest board. It was a stunning, art deco style, heavily embellished sleeved gown by Justin Alexander, the Signature collection, style 9894. It was the dress I always had in my head and was always searching for, shop after shop. I travelled 70 miles to Newcastle-Under-Lyme to get my hands on the Justin Alexander gown, the girls at the shop were simply amazing and they even gifted me the matching veil and a Katie Loxton personalised ‘bride’ clutch bag.
I always loved the idea of having classic ivory Manolo Blahnik heels for my wedding day, but I couldn’t justify the cost, knowing I would never wear them again. So, when Marks & Spencer did a limited-edition range of bridal shoes I was so chuffed to get my hands on the Manolo Blahnik look-alike’s. I wore Jon Richards teardrop earrings with a matching Jon Richard’s hair broach to sit above my veil.
My decision on flowers changed so drastically between booking my florist, Simply Flowers, to the wedding day. I eventually went for rich berry and red roses, eucalyptus, anemones with infused dry flowers and pampas.
We had a gold moon arch, decorated in our themed florals, it framed the ceremony room so beautifully. We then had this transported to the Gillyflower where the wedding breakfast was held, placed behind the top table.
My florist, Jo, hung a large bunch of mistletoe from the ceiling light in the ceremony room, which was a lovely Christmas touch and so nice to see photos of our guests kissing under the mistletoe.
For my bridesmaids, I was always fixed on a more contemporary, different look, so when I found the Coast ‘Josie’ jumpsuits in berry and all my 5 bridesmaids loved them, I was so delighted. They were a rich satin with a palazzo leg, perfect for dancing.
My flower girls wore ivory pleated dresses with an intricate lace back, paired with ivory satin and pearl shoes with a low heel, both from Roco clothing.
The Readings & Music
We hired Ardeton string quartet for our entrance, ceremony and drinks reception music, nothing can describe the feeling of hearing your favourite song played on the strings, as you’re about to walk down the aisle.
Our 8-year-old daughter, Aiva Rae read the most beautiful poem she had written, it was a real touching moment to see her exclaiming such lovely words with great confidence in front of all our family and friends.
Photography was always the top of my priority list when wedding planning. The second I was engaged I trawled through Instagram and all the wedding blog websites on the hunt for the fresh, classic style I wanted. I found Jessica Raphael on Instagram and had seen she had photographed at Elmore Court; her style was everything I had been looking for and I even booked her before we had confirmed our wedding venue! Jess is not only insanely talented behind the camera, she is so fun and lovely, she made us feel so at ease and had us belly laughing all day.
Our amazing photographer Jess’ husband is a videographer, so it made sense to book them as a pair for our wedding. Rob was just as incredible as Jess, their style was superbly aligned, and they worked like a match made in heaven, no wonder they’re married! Rob got a 1 minute ‘preview’ back to us in 24 hours which was just amazing and then within 1 month we had our full, 30-minute video back, which we will cherish forever and admittedly I have watched it repeatedly!
We found a local supplier ‘Kiss me Cake’ to make our wedding cake. We had a simple, crisp, white 3 tier decorated with gold and berry trimming along the bottom and edible roses on the top. We chose 3 flavours; Champagne and strawberry, Sicilian lemon and Chocolate fudge. The cake tasted as amazing as it looked!
The Details & Décor
I knew I wanted a classic, elegant winter wedding, with floods of candlelight. I came across ‘Wedding Creations’ a nearby styling service and after meeting with Lauradana, I knew she would help style the wedding of my dreams. We began to Pinterest, collate mood boards and share ideas with each other. I started collecting empty champagne bottles from special occasions; our engagement, moving home, birthdays and anniversaries, which I had planned to put candles and pampas in. I wanted an ‘unplugged ceremony’ so we weren’t greeted with a flood of iPhones, Lauradana custom made us a beautiful Perspex welcome sign hanging from a copper frame saying ‘Eyes up, phones down, hearts open’ which was the perfect way to tell our guests to keep their phones away, in the most loving way! Lauradana also custom made our Perspex table plan, in-fitting with the theme.
We had gold candelabras scattered everywhere for that decadent look and white subtle lace table runners on the banquet tables, with the odd pine cone scattered along.
I treated myself to a Jo Malone ‘wedding scent’, for our candles I chose pomegranate noir and for my wedding perfume I decided to fragrance layer pomegranate noir with peony blush suede. I chose laser etch personalised place settings which I sourced on Etsy and Hotel Chocolat mini crackers as wedding favours.
I also found my stationer – The invitation Emporium, on Etsy, we went for crisp. classic white and gold foil for our order of the day, cake and shot table sign, then for our table numbers we incorporated some of the berry colour to match the bridesmaids.
For our honeymoon we’re travelling around Vietnam for 2 weeks and stopping off in Dubai on the way back for 3 days – we can’t wait! We decided to wait a couple of months after the wedding to go on our honeymoon, so we have something to look forward to! After the wedding we spent another week in the Cotswolds with both our families, which made the perfect ‘minimoon’.
Walking down the aisle is such a surreal experience, it was really nerve wracking but equally exciting, I will always remember that butterfly feeling in my tummy just before my Dad and I walked into the ceremony room. Getting to the top of the aisle, seeing Luke for the first time and his tearful reaction is a special moment I will cherish forever.
One of the best moments for me was when the singing waiters broke into song. I had booked Bravo singing waiters but didn’t tell a soul, so it would be a surprise for everyone. The waiters had been serving us all day, having a laugh and a joke and making themselves known, which is what made it all the more shocking when one waiter staged a fall with a tray, the breaking out into ‘That’s Amore’. Every single guest had their hands in the air, dancing and having the best time. Looking across to see our Grandparents singing and waving their hands – that moment will stay with me forever and I can honestly say booking Bravo singing waiters was my best wedding decision ever!
Advice For Other Couples
Decide what your most important elements are and don’t cut back on those. Everything else is about compromise and being savvy, otherwise everything snow balls and you spend more than necessary. For me, photography, venue and entertainment were most important and what we spent most of our wedding fund on – I don’t regret a single penny. I was so savvy with everything else, I was collecting things for the wedding over 18 months in advance, getting as much as I could in the sales, making use of things that are free! We also chose to bring our own wine which saved us a fortune and meant we had enough alcohol for a bottle of wine and prosecco per person – It was so nice to know we had our guests covered on the drink front.
My most important advice it to not sweat the small stuff, ultimately you just want you and your guests to have the best time, the little details are a bonus, not the be all and end all!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Jessica Raphael Photography
Nicola Bunn Hair
Oh so romantic! If you haven’t considered a Christmas wedding then I do hope this wedding has swayed you.
Megan and Luke, thank you both so much for sharing your divine wedding story with us xo Lou