Beautifully Simple & Timeless Wedding Inspired by Italy

Old Down Estate Wedding Albert Palmer Photography

Oh my do we have a joy filled, chic and elegant celebration to share today. And what’s more is that bride Olivia is our very own real bride who has been sharing her planning story with us on these very pages. So it is a real honour to be sharing Oliver and Olivia’s (AKA “Team Olive”) wedding with you all.

On Saturday 23rd June 2018 Oliver and Olivia held their gorgeous summer nuptials at Old Down Estate in Gloucestershire. With Olivia being a wedding planner she was a total pro when it came to planning her own day, even though they had their baby in the middle of the planning, alongside her running her own wedding planning business Host Event Management. Their vision was for a simple, timeless and relaxed day, with an Italian influence, think Italian style cuisine and a magical honeymoon to Sorrento. Their colour palette and décor was chic and paired back, with green, ivory and the palest blush used throughout. There was wooden signage, elegant stationery and an abundance of stunning greenery. The staircase alone took my breath away, not to mention the semi naked cake creation and pretty tablescapes.

Then of course there were the outfits. Olivia looked effortlessly beautiful in a lace Enzoani gown, that train! Wow. Oliver chose a blue suit and dark tan shoes, with his groomsmen coordinating perfectly. Their little boy looked so cute in his shorts and bow tie combo, while the bridesmaids donned pale blue dresses named “Olivia”, it was surely meant to be.

On hand to capture their day in all it’s glory was the brilliant Albert Palmer Photography, thanks so much Albert for sharing these wonderful images with us.

Old Down Estate Wedding Albert Palmer Photography

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The Proposal

Even just thinking of this day makes me very teary! Olly’s proposal happened in what was quite honestly the most perfect way for me. We’d always talked about marriage being something we both wanted but as each holiday, birthday and valentine’s day rolled by I was starting to wonder whether it was ever going to happen. I think lots of us feel this way – don’t we ladies!

It was 5 days before Christmas 2016 and little known to me Olly had picked a ring and had asked my dad’s permission to marry his daughter. Christmas morning arrived full of natural excitement and anticipation. Now, I’ve always been a child at heart on Christmas morning, getting up at some crazy hour to open presents and trying to wake Olly up! Every year, Olly works about 80 hours during the week before the big day, as his family run business is the busiest then. So you can imagine me trying to wake him up before 9am is a no-no! This year was different though. Being 3 months pregnant, I felt exhausted and liked the idea of a lie in but Olly was super keen to start the festivities at 7am.

We eagerly opened our presents one by one, until I had two left. Olly preceded to hand me one of them, I ripped off the paper and a red photo album appeared underneath. Inside was carefully picked photos of our year featuring holidays, day trips, and life achievements with each one containing a hand written caption. He must have spent hours putting this thoughtful gift together and as I carefully turned each page in my Christmas PJ’s, I felt the tears streaming down my face, remembering all the fun times we had experienced that year. The last photo was a picture of our baby scan (which we had only attended a few days earlier) with the caption “Shall we make one more memory for 2016? Open your next present”. To be honest, I didn’t see this at all, my eyes were too blurred from the tears that appeared. Olly gave me a nudge and passed me the gift. I still at this point didn’t really have a clue what was going on. I think the pregnancy hormones had a part to play here! The gift was a bag and inside the bag was a rather large box and inside this box was a small box and inside there was a beautiful diamond ring. I gasped in disbelief and before I knew it Olly was bent down on one knee asking me to be his wife! Overwhelm rushed over me and of course I said yes!

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The Vision

We are both relaxed, county folk with a shared love for Italy. So naturally we wanted to create a day that was chilled yet effortlessly elegant and chic, just like the beautiful cities of Italy that we have visited. We both like simple details – so the Pinterest board started and we selected images that suited us and used that board as inspiration.

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The Planning Process

We got engaged in December 2016 so had 18 months to plan, which as a wedding planner myself I knew that would give us plenty of time. I also knew that with our first child being born in June 2017 that I’d need to get the main bulk of the planning sorted before we became parents and I’m so glad we did! It only got a bit stressful about 4 months before but we all rallied together to make it work. I was also planning other couples weddings too at the same time as well as being a full time mummy!

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The Venue

Old Down Estate. I had previously set this venue up back in 2011 so it was special for us both to choose this beautiful manor house with it’s contemporary interiors and Victorian exterior. The venue has the most incredible views over to the River Severn and the sunset is just gorgeous on a summer’s evening – we were lucky enough to get some fab moments basking in the golden light.

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The Readings & Music

Our ceremony was held at our local church, St Mary’s, Thornbury. We carefully selected prayers, readings and hymns with our vicar.

As guests took their seats we played a selection of songs that meant something to us such as “Stand by me”, “A Wonderful World” and “All of me”.

I walked down the aisle to “Perfect featuring Canon in D” by Paul Hankinson. This was played on the piano as I’m not a fan of the organ. We both love Ed Sheeran so to have this song featured but in a classical way was literally perfect!

We sang two hymns – “Be our chief guest lord” and “Give me joy”.

We selected two readings – “A life full of love” which my young cousins wrote and read – this brought a tear to my eye on the day.

“Corinthians 1” read by my dad. Another moving piece as that reading means a lot to us as a family.

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The Cake

A 4 tier semi naked sponge cake by Katherine Edwards of Cherish Cakes. The bottom two tiers were lemon sponge which we used for our dessert and served with raspberry coulis and gelato! The 3rd tier was Victoria sponge and the top (which we kept) was salted caramel. Absolutely delicious!

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The Flowers

The lovely Maria and Lauren from Sorori Design flowered our wedding.

The bouquets consisted of pale blush peonies and ivory roses hand tied in a whimsical style with olive leaf foliage.

We used a lot of greenery throughout the venue including olive trees, olive bunches on the pew ends, a large urn with ivory hydrangeas, foliage all along the sweeping staircase, spray rose buttonholes and corsages and low table centre pieces.

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Your Outfits & Accessories

I chose “Journey” by Enzoani purchased from Krystle Brides in Bath. A full length, fitted, mermaid style gown with lace detailing, low back, sweetheart neckline and long train. I knew from the moment I tried the gown on that it was for me. I didn’t want to take it off so I knew it was “the one”. The style suited my petite frame and the seamstress did a fabulous job of altering the gown to my proportions. We added some tiny lace straps which made it more unique to me. I wore a lace edged waist length veil to compliment the dress.

I wore my mum’s pearl necklace and pearl drop earrings from Marks & Spencer’s platinum collection.

My shoes were gold Jenny Packham heels.

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Bridesmaids

My sisters Jessica and Chloe wore “Olivia” by Debenhams. A pretty, full length bridesmaid dress in pale powder blue. I loved how the name of the gown was my own name! The girls looked gorgeous and most importantly felt comfortable.

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Groomsmen

Navy Felini 3 piece suit purchased from Slaters Menswear in Bristol. Olly was keen to go with a blue for himself and the gents. Navy gives a soft look and we knew it would go perfectly with our theme. Olly opted for an off white tie, whereas the Best Man, Father’s and Ushers went for a pale blue to match the bridesmaids accompanied with matching pocket squares. All the men wore a dark tan shoe. Our little boy Jacob totally stole the show in his cute Jo Jo Maman Bebe navy shorts with braces and a white collared shirt, complete with pale blue bow tie which we had specially made using off cuts from the bridesmaid dresses.

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The Details & Décor

Our colour scheme was green, ivory and the palest blush.

  • My lovely friend Lucy designed all our stationery. Our invitations were gold foiled and included olive branches that my mum had watercoloured. Also a large printed table plan which we put in a gold edged frame.
  • Olly made our wooden welcome sign and “strike a pose” sign.
  • We used some copper piping and Ikea white curtains to create a photo opportunity area complete with Polaroid guest book!
  • We bought cigars for the gents in the evening.
  • We bought a small terrarium from Ikea which we sprayed gold and Olly wrote our name and wedding date. We used this for cards.
  • We decanted Italian limoncello into mini bottles and added a personalised tag and rosemary as our favours.
  • We played a game of “heads or tails” during my speech to raise money for NICU at our maternity hospital.
  • We purchased gold confetti canons and had our family pop them at the end of the first dance.
  • Our DJ’s provided TV screens so our guests could upload real time selfies.
  • We designed our whole menu with head chef Chris Wicks. It was very Italian! Bread, olives and grissini to graze followed by arancini, bruschetta and prosciutto then chicken or beef with potatoes and salad and then our “Sicilian” lemon cake for dessert with gelato!
  • Golden candlesticks and glass votives looked elegant on the tables.
  • We hired cross back chairs to make the main room look different to match our theme.
  • We hired festoon lights to cover the ceilings within the house and gardens. The lights gave such a warm atmosphere at night.

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Beauty

My make-up was applied by my MUA sister Jessica. It was so special to have my sister apply my make up. She was so calm and also applied make up to my mum and sister Chloe. We all had a trial a few months before and I wore a gorgeous lipstick called “Liv it up” by Charlotte Tilbury.

I opted for an up do so my veil could sit in neatly and then I added some fresh flowers for the evening when I took the veil out. Lauren Sims from Bryant and Co did a great job.

Beauty wise, I had my eyebrows tinted and shaped, I had a lash lift, I applied a light tan from Skinny tan and had a gel manicure and pedicure.

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Your Photographer

The lovely Albert Palmer. We are so thrilled with our final images. The service from Albert was impeccable from start to finish and we have the most amazing photographs to cherish forever.

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Your Filmmaker

Justin and Alison from Vogue Wedding Films were there with us from getting ready until the dancing in the evening. Always in the background getting the moments that matter.

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Memorable Moments

For me, there were so many, the ones that really stood out though were:

Waking up at my parent’s house and opening heartfelt letters from my sisters and my husband to be.

Getting ready with my mum and sisters in the beautiful bridal suite.

Seeing my son greet me when I got to church and him walking down the aisle to his daddy.

Walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing Olly’s face.

Having a drive in the vintage car, just the two of us.

The speeches! (I did a speech too!)

Going for our “golden hour” photos.

Our first dance.

So many amazing memories of such a special day.

Old Down Estate Wedding Albert Palmer Photography

The Honeymoon

We kindly asked our guests who wish to give a gift to contribute to our honeymoon fund. We already own a home, so this felt like the right option for us. We used Prezola to collect the gifts who were great.

We knew that we would want to get away for a short break straight after the wedding so on the Monday we stayed as a family in a utterly gorgeous renovated barn which overlooked the sea and had the most incredible sunsets. We booked the property on Boutique Retreats. It was important for us to have some family time with our son and time to ourselves to process what had just happened. It was much needed after years of planning!

We used our local TUI store to help us book a wonderful honeymoon and yes, of course, we chose Italy. Sorrento to be precise. We had a wonderful time exploring Pompeii, Capri and the Amalfi Coast.

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Advice For Other Couples

Get your planning done nice and early. Book your suppliers first and the rest will follow.

Don’t get bogged down by the little details, remember that if you get to marry each other that’s all that matters!

Make sure you are really present on the day. Time flies and the day has passed you by before you know it. It really is the most surreal yet wonderful day.

Old Down Estate Wedding Albert Palmer Photography

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Just so incredibly beautiful!

Huge thanks to Oliver and Olivia for sharing their wonderful wedding here with us today xo Lou

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