Did you used to watch The Darling Buds of May… it was one of the sweetest, heart warming programmes, based on summer days on a farm.
And this programme is exactly what inspired Cressida and James’ wedding day. It’s so pretty, floral, pink and handmade.. with so much love and care put into their wedding day decor. I must also mention their amazing proposal story, read the report below, it’s so romantic!!
Thanks so much to the amazing London based wedding photographer, Lily & Frank Photography for sharing her work today, here is what she had to say about the day;
“Cressida & James had just the most beautiful day, stunning weather, gorgeous ceremony and just the most spectacular reception held at Nettlestead Place. The day began at Cressida’s parents home with gifts from James, as the weather hadn’t been so great leading up to the wedding he had thoughtfully got Cressida some pink wedge wellies! Half of me wanted a reason for them to be worn the other half of me was very grateful for a dry day! The bridesmaids had the most fabulous dresses from Two Birds bridesmaid, one dress can be worn many different ways meaning the wearer can customise the look to suit them. Genius!
Cressida just looked so beautiful and radiant, her hair tumbling round her face just set off her look perfectly, we had some beautiful locations and light to play with once we arrived at Nettlestead Place and I loved the lake images, huge thank you to James for persuading Cressida to sit on the wall! The marque which the couple, friends and family had set up the day before was filled with pink and white lanterns, with the outside adorned with stripy deckchairs. The cake was probably one of the best I’ve seen and was kept a secret from the family but it had wonderfully accurate replicas of the top table guests! The sun didn’t stop shining but as dusk fell the first dance occurred and I slipped away as they danced the night away.”
Names…. Cressida and James
Wedding Date…. 25th June 2011
The Proposal…. Was amazing! It was the middle of December and we had rented the cutest cottage in the Cotswolds. We had been out all day and been for a boozy lunch. When we got back James disappeared to run me a bath and left me snoozing by the fire. When I went up the bath was completely filled with red rose petals (and very luke warm water, although obviously I didn’t have the heart to tell him this after so much effort! So I dutifully stayed in it for ages, brrrr!! ) I was just getting out when I heard him yell to look outside and so I peered out of the window and then to my complete surprise I saw him kneeling on the ground with fairy lights all over the lawn. Grabbing my pyjamas I ran down and out of the front door. The lights spelt out “Marry me?” so without waiting for a by now very shaky looking James to speak I said or more like screamed YES!!
The Vision for the day…. Having grown up in Kent surrounded by apple orchards, hop fields and spending a considerable number of Sunday afternoons watching The darling buds of May on television as a child I think I had been suitably brain washed into thinking that nothing would may make me happier (and therefore James??!!) than a proper Kentish summer wedding with the theme following along these lines. So the Darling buds of June theme evolved, pretty, casual and yet traditional with a touch of what turned out to be Barbie’s palace in the decor!
The Planning process…. Was very haphazard initially and more down to luck than judgement, however if we could organise a wedding in 5 months I would say anyone could as neither of us are famed for our extreme organisational abilities!! Saying this we managed to book the church, venue and wedding car (which was the yellow Royals Royce used in the TV series) all on the same day. What I didn’t consider was that our lovely vicar would phone us back later after the money had been sent to various companies to say she had made a mistake and double booked and there was no one free to marry us. Help! Fortunately I have a cousin who is a vicar so the wonderful Rev. Hugh Thomas came to the rescue and definitely saved the day. After that everything started to fall into place naturally.
The Venue… Initially the plan was to have the wedding in my parent’s garden, however after looking at the slope of the lawn it was felt that we would have too many sprained ankles and tipsy trips for it to be safe. So I started googling, I came across Nettlestead Place by accident as it is not really advertised on wedding sites and their website gives no indication of how gorgeous it is. We visited when it was
snowing and muddy but it took our breath away despite this. The building is 11th century and even mentioned in the Doomsday book.
We had a marquee in the grounds with use of the ancient crypt, however as it was so hot on our wedding day no one really went inside all day. Instead after the ceremony at St. Mary’s church lamberhurst we arrived to champagne and canapés overlooking the lake on the terrace. We had booked a Jazz trio of students from the Royal College of music to play. So as people wandered around the rose gardens between the Cath Kidson bunting and Chinese lanterns we had hung around the grounds you could see people kicking off their shoes and dancing with a glass in their hands.
The Dress + Accessories….. My dress was made By Slim Chadwick of Chadwick and Co. I really had no vision initially of the kind
of dress I wanted and found it a bit overwhelming as every shop I went into seemed obsessed by only having 4 months to order a dress in for me. I just found this attitude annoying and disliked the pressure I felt they were putting on me to make up my mind; every time the shop assistants gushed oh you look amazing I became more cynical and reluctant to buy. I definitely had not found as they say “the one”.
I stumbled across Chadwick and co by accident, at the time Slim Chadwick was based in the centre of Manchester (he has now moved his business to Cheshire). He was like a breath of fresh air, calm and determined to design me exactly what I wanted. Together we looked at lots of design inspirations and put together a design which I loved and then kept tweaking until it was perfect. In the end I opted for pale ivory duchess satin made into a full skirt and traditional corset with a detachable neckline made of flouncy silk roses appliquéd by Slims team with tiny diamante sparkles. This matched a belt at the waist. It was just so pretty and unusual.
I found my veil at the York vintage wedding fair, it was a real bargain as it cost £40 and it was a cathedral length with hand embroided beads and a beautiful lace trim.
After much searching I found my something old in the form of an antique wax flower comb from www.yuliakunze.com it was exquisite and worked very well with the veil as well as following on the flower theme from the dress.
Groom’s attire… James wore a morning suit from Philip Alexander Saville Row, with a dusky pink waistcoat. He looked so handsome in it, when I walked up the aisle towards him he quite took my breath away!
The Readings + Music…. We had two bands the Royal College of Music jazz trio and Triple Scotch, a Manchester based ceilidh band.
Beautiful bridesmaids….. I had three bridesmaids, friends who I have known for ever it seems. They are the kindest most amazing girls who I love dearly. They were incredible and I don’t think I would have got to the church even vaguely on time without them. As they all lived at different ends of the country from each other and have very busy jobs I had the cunning plan of using www.twobirdsbridesmaid.co.uk for their dresses. I took the big risk of ordering 3 of their rosewater rosette dresses having only seen the dresses on the internet. One size fits everyone from a size 8 to 16. They took forever to come, about 4 months in total and left me little time to look for a replacement if they had not been suitable. When theydid arrive the girls looked fab in them and the roses at the hems completely tied in with the roses on my dress. One piece of advice to anyone thinking of ordering these, pay extra and order the bandeau top to go under them, they are quite revealing even on a size 8 without it.
The Flowers… We used Pats flowers based in Hailsham East Sussex. Pat was recommended by a friend of the family and didn’t disappoint, she really was a true legend. I had like many brides a vague idea of how I wanted the flowers to look, specifically seasonal very perfumed blooms which would tie in with the floral detail of the dresses .In the end Pat designed arrangements made of the most
beautiful full David Austin roses, sweet peas and peonies. As we walked into the marquee a wave of the most gorgeous rose scent hit us, they were just perfect! In addition to this she wired tiny spray roses to the artificial blossom trees that we used as table centrepieces. We had seen these trees in Fortnum and Masons in London and decided they would make a more relaxed alternative to using candelabra or vases and they looked truly lovely beneath the canopy of pink and white Chinese lanterns hung from the ceiling of the marquee.
The Cake… We loved the cake shopping part of wedding planning. In fact we loved it so much we ended up with 3 cakes!, Our quirky and hilariously accurate “top table” cake, a cheese cake topped with a doctor and dentist mouse and a large pork pie with “just married” baked on top. They were all a great success and we loved seeing the expressions on our parent’s faces when they saw the icing models for the first time as we had managed to keep the whole thing secret from them.
Your Photographer…. Catherine from Lily and Frank photography was great. We first met her at our engagement shoot, she is just so lovely and relaxed, but also very efficient. James and I are not the most photogenic of people and some how she took the most beautiful photographs of the day and we couldn’t be happier with them. She manage to combine exactly the right amount of formal portraiture with reportage so everyone in the family is very happy, we have a succession of gorgeous shots which demonstrate the story of the day and our parents have some formal shots to show to friends!
The Details + Decor…. As the wedding planning evolved something came over me and I became a bit of a craft Goddess, (to anyone who knows me this came as somewhat of a shock)! James and I purchased a sewing machine got over our fear of threading the thing and proceeded to knock up 100 meters of bunting and 70 lavender filled liberty cotton hearts. We also bought miniature glass bottles which we filled with whiskey and hand stamped some Alice in wonderland inspired labels. I know there is much debate about wedding favours being a frivolous waste of time; however we found that people loved them. The boys (and girls) had finished the miniature whiskeys before attempting the ceilidh which only added to their dancing abilities and all the hearts had disappeared by the end of the
In addition to this we bought a set of battered old deck chairs for next to nothing which we repainted and recovered with stripy cloth, then sprayed with gold paint our initials and wedding date. These looked lovely surrounded by the bunting overlooking the rolling hills.
One thing which was a great success was an instant Polaroid camera which was passed around the guests with a pen to write a comment underneath; we had a washing line with miniature heart clips to hang them on. The photos are now framed and in the downstairs cloakroom…
The Honeymoon… After all the frantic planning we escaped to a tiny island in the Seychelles. All I can say it was amazing !!
Memorable moments… Cliché as it is, the best part was walking down the aisle towards my gorgeous boy and seeing his face, saying our vows was so special and although the rest of the day was amazing it was that part which I will always cherish.
For three weeks before the wedding it had rained every day and it had been looking ominous all morning so when the sun came out as we were leaving the church I was delighted and also got to have the roof down on the yellow Rolls Royce which I loved.
Advice for other couples… Relax! We became a bit frantic with so much decorating and organising to do. Having a marquee was
a lot more work than we expected but worth it in the end. Our families were brilliant in helping out and I would advise any other couples to call in all the favours and get as much help with decorating and organising things as possible. Most importantly take time to enjoy, because the day you have been planning for ages flies by.
Credit where credit’s due…
Chadwick and co.
Pats Flowers Amberstone Cottage Amberstone, Hailsham, East Sussex BN27 1PG 01323 848 217
Chinese lanterns and blossom trees for sale contact [email protected]
Thanks so much to Cressida and James for sharing their amazing wedding wit us today, i cant even imagine the amount of love and effort that went into their day :-) xoxo