Light & Airy Modern Meets Vintage Castle Wedding

Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography

Oh boy are we in for a real treat today lovely readers. Let me introduce you to WWW readers Louise and Ed who were wed on the 14th April 2018 at the stunning Highcliffe Castle followed by a reception at Brockenhurst Village Hall in Dorset. Their day screams style, sophistication and creativity.

They chose their venues as a real contrast to one another, the castle was light, airy and filled with history. With the village hall ripe for transformation into a cosy and romantic space to celebrate. I love the fusion of modern and vintage styles in their wedding too, which also had an international, travel flair to represent their jet setting careers. Louise’s gown was a show stopper, an original vintage 1940s couture gown from Paris no less, and covered with delicate silver sequins, it looked incredible on her. To tie in with the timeless feel, Ed and his groomsmen wore classic tuxedos and black bow ties. Very dapper!

There are so many touches and elements that make their day so personal. The sign a tablecloth guest book made by Louise’s great grandmother, which her Mum then embroidered, is one of the loveliest guest book ideas I have heard for a long time. Then there was the bring a Christmas Tree decoration gift idea for guests, so sentimental! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better they hired sumo suits as Ed is the sumo-suit 100m world record holder and they had laser quest to entertain all in the evening. Brilliant.

These seriously beautiful captures come from Bowtie and Belle Photography, you are going to love the first look, sunset portraits and sparkler kiss shots. We are so thankful to be sharing these images with you.

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The Proposal

We are childhood sweethearts and have been together for thirteen years so we both knew marriage was on the cards. It was a joint decision that we both wanted to take the next step…. so we bought a ring together from an antique jeweller in our hometown that we’ve known for years. Then a few months later when we were living in Thailand we spent the day on a beautiful private beach and Ed got down on one knee at sunset to propose. It was totally private, magical, and perfect!

Bride Bridal Shoes Blue Pom Pom Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography

The Vision

Our number one goal was to not do anything other people had done! We wanted things to be totally unique and our guests to be constantly entertained with activities and personal touches. The plan was to have a very light, airy, and bright ceremony (big windows, minimal decoration), and then a cosy, candlelit and flower rich reception.

Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography

The Planning Process

We travel full time so were abroad for most of our 16 month engagement. On the few occasions we were in the UK we made sure to pack in appointments with tailors, venues, suppliers, etc. It’s amazing how much you can organise online though, and Amazon delivery played a big part in everything!

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The Venue

Our ceremony was at the Grade I listed Highcliffe Castle. We immediately fell in love with the floor to ceiling windows and the simple elegance. It’s rare to find something with so much history that isn’t heavily guided with wood panelling or oil paintings. It was stunning!

Then we had the reception at Brockenhurst Village Hall. We wanted a totally blank space that would let us get creative so doing a village hall “transformation” project was perfect. They were really wonderful hosts and totally accommodating of all our wild ideas. It also meant we had several rooms to play with so could have a separate space for the bar, welcome reception, and a whole room for laser quest (yes!).

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Your Outfits & Accessories

I am well known for loving second hand shopping and my entire wardrobe is thrifted. Of course my wedding day was going to be no different! So my dress is a vintage one of a kind couture from Paris. It’s dated at around the 1940s and I got it in a beautiful little vintage shop in Bath called Vintage to Vogue. I had some restorations done by ChantelleSophia who also made me a custom cathedral length veil absolutely covered in glitter! Totally what magpie princess dreams are made of.

My shoes were some little silver beauties from New Look, and my friend is an accessories designer so made me some clip on blue pompoms to make them totally unique.

Finally, my earrings were from a vintage shop in Brisbane from when we were living there, and my Godmother loaned me her diamond bracelet for the day. I also wore a simple diamond necklace from my Grandma (a Christmas gift which I wear everyday), and a christening bracelet my Granddad made for me with my name engraved on it (he was a jeweller).

Groom Suit Tuxedo Black Bow Tie Groomsmen Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography

The Readings & Music

We chose one of our closest joint childhood friends to do the reading at our wedding. She chose the piece so it was a surprise for us and was beautiful. It was The Promise of Marriage by by Bettie Meeks.

Our entry aisle music was a friend playing Still Into You (by Paramore) on the piano and singing, and our exit was to First Date (by Blink 182). We met at fifteen so these songs take us right back to those amazing years. We signed the register to You Got The Love (by Florence and the Machine) – who we’ve seen several times in concert together.

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Groomsmen

We wanted the clothes to be totally timeless, and fit with the vintage feel of the dress. So we got the Groomsmens’ suits made when we were in Bali which meant everyone had matching custom tuxedos. They looked so smart in their black bowties – all the James Bond vibes.

Groom Suit Tuxedo Black Bow Tie Groomsmen Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography Bouquets Bride Bridal Bridesmaid Greenery Foliage Red Pink Rose Poppy Tulip Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography

Bridesmaids

All my bridesmaids are beautiful and unique and so I wanted them to feel like themselves on the day. So… I let them choose their own dresses! I set a colour palette of rich royal colours (navy, burgundy, emerald green, red, deep purple, etc) and they choose a colour each. The only criteria was to have the dress full length so they stood out from the guests. I think they all looked amazing and it perfectly matched the colour palette of the flowers. The dresses are from ASOS, House of Fraser, Vera Wang White, and Monsoon.

Bridesmaid Dresses Dress Long Maxi Jewel Gem Red Purple Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography

Your Photographer

The photographer was definitely the supplier we searched the longest for – we wanted a very light and airy style which is quite rare at the moment. As soon as we laid eyes on Bowtie and Belle it was love! Their style was exactly what we wanted… plus they are also childhood sweethearts so it felt like it was meant to be. On the day we did a “First Look” shoot before the ceremony which was so wonderful as it gave us a chance to have a private moment and calm our nerves just the two of us. Then we did some very quick photos at the Castle, and a longer shoot at sunset. Of course there was also a sparkler tunnel later in the evening too!

Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography

Vintage Couture Dress Gown Bride Bridal Paris Strapless Sequin Embellished Veil Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography

Beauty

I’ve known Fiona (of FLC Hair and Makeup) for years so I always knew she’d be the one to do my wedding make up. We worked together on coming up with a simple and classic hair style that would be both modern and timeless. A twisted ponytail was the perfect solution because it stayed all day but showed off my signature blonde hair more than an up-do. She kept my make up glamorous but understated with the main focus on the eyes. She’s such a dream to work with and always keeps everyone calm and chatting on the day!

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The Flowers

Clair Lythgoe did an amazing job with our flowers. We wanted to have mostly greenery, but then drop in deep rich colours to match the bridesmaids. She made a stunning bridal bouquet full of colour, and green ones for the bridesmaids to tie together their mismatched dresses. Then the tables had greenery runners with coloured flowers dotted along in brass geometric terrariums, lanterns and candlesticks. We also made some DIY geometric candelabras to hang from the ceiling and Clair draped them with greenery for a forest canopy effect.

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The Cake

We actually had three cakes…

Ed’s Mum made our wedding cake which was an amazing three tier creation covered with fresh flowers to match the bouquets. She worked so hard on it and it looked incredible on the day.

Then we also had a Norwegian wedding cake called a Kransekake from Louise’s Norwegian Granny.

Finally, we had a pair of giant Colin/Connie the Caterpillars dressed as a bride and groom… for more teenage nostalgia!

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The Details & Décor

This is where we really got carried away – with lots of fun personalised touches throughout the venue. Of course we had a sweet bar (stocked from Makro), and our photobooth was a spring coloured flower wall. We framed our family wedding photos, and scattered fun photos of our relationship throughout the venue. Rather than a traditional guest book we asked people to sign a tablecloth made by Louise’s great grandmother, and then her Mum has embroidered over all the names in the wedding colours. Instead of gifts we asked everyone to bring a Christmas Tree decoration that will remind us of them, and Ed’s Dad made us a giant wooden Christmas tree to hang them on! It has been so fun looking through all of them after the wedding and they’ll be an annual part of our life forever now. Most of the rest of our details were games…. we hired sumo suits because Ed is the sumo-suit 100m world record holder (seriously!), and had laser quest in the evening. Then we also had a “draw yourself” wall, and a personalised “Where’s Wedding Wally” poster starring all our family members. The theme being a balance of brass antique candelabras and sumo suits pretty much sums us up as a couple!

Marquee Foliage Greenery Runner Swag Table Pink Flowers Candles Napkins Place Setting Names Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle PhotographyMarquee Decor Tables Candelabras Candlesticks Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography Highcliffe Castle Wedding Marquee Hoops Hanging Suspended Greenery Foliage Decor Geometric Brass Candlesticks Candelabras Bowtie and Belle PhotographyHighcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle PhotographyHighcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle PhotographyHighcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography

The Honeymoon

We are both self employed so we travel full time with our work anyway. We decided to invite some of our closest friends to come join us for a while instead of doing a traditional honeymoon. Everyone traveled so far from all of the world to celebrate with us and we wanted to extend the reunion! We went to Kiev, Georgia and Amsterdam all travelling together.

Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography

Memorable Moments

Too many to count!

We had a two seater car so I loved driving to the ceremony with just me and Dad, and then driving away just us two newlyweds. Personally we much preferred that than having a driver.

I also loved getting a moment of peace and reflection at our sunset shoot – we went out into the beautiful New Forest after dinner and took a moment to enjoy the view and breathe in the magic.

Finally, we’d planned our last song and got everyone in a huge circle on the dancefloor. It was so overwhelming to look around at all the faces of our favourite people and have a huge sing along together. We danced as a couple in the middle and at the end everyone came crashing in on us in a giant group hug. Couldn’t have been a happier feeling. Of course I just sobbed with joy through it all!

First Dance Vintage Couture Dress Gown Bride Bridal Paris Strapless Sequin Embellished Veil Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle PhotographyFirst Dance Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography First Dance Sparkler Send Off Exit Kiss Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography Sparkler Send Off Exit Kiss Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography

Advice For Other Couples

Put a little notebook in your bag – you’re going to want to write down some favourite moments because the day will go by in such a flash!

Also – don’t be afraid to ask for help. During the build up, and on the day, everyone was keen to have a job so don’t feel embarrassed about asking for things. We had so many people unexpectedly turn up the day before and the day after to dress and clear the venue. Also on the night – if I spotted something that looked like it was about to get broken, or anything that needed to be changed I just politely asked the nearest person. Everyone was more than happy to do a little task.

And finally (for the brides) – walk down the aisle slowly…. try not to feel rushed or nervous, just soak in the moment and all the love around you. You only get to do it once so enjoy it!

Sparkler Send Off Exit Highcliffe Castle Wedding Bowtie and Belle Photography

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Photographer
Bowtie and Belle Photography

Venue Styling
Linen and Lace

Flowers
Clair Lythgoe

Marquee & Chairs
Quality Marquee Hire

Catering
Vineys Catering

Pianist
Michael G Moore

Reception Venue
Brockenhurst Village Hall

Dress Restoration & Custom Veil
Chantelle Sophia

Ceremony Venue
Highcliffe Castle

Napkins
365 Linen Hire

Hair & Make Up
Fiona Lucy Clark

Flower Wall
Sugar Rush

Videographer
Global Fire Creative

Photo Booth Photographer
Jessica Photography

Sumo Suits & Laser Quest
Castle Mania

Dress
Vintage To Vogue

Oh so beautiful. Louise and Ed thank you ever so much for sharing your magical wedding story with us xo Lou

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