For those of you that live in the UK, you know that we’ve had quite an extraordinary summer of high temperatures and scorching sunshine. On one of these breathtaking August days full of light, Sophie and Christian celebrated their intimate wedding at the exclusive Prested Hall. This charming 15th century part-moated manor house in Essex gave them the perfect backdrop for the relaxing, stylish, and peaceful celebrations they knew would best reflect their identity as a couple.
This laid back outdoor wedding unfolded with lots of personal, handmade touches, and with a heart-warming focus on family and friends. They chose to let the grounds speak for themselves, adding just some subtle elements of décor in shades of muted whites and warm greens. The bridesmaids’ blush gowns echoed the fresh fruit perched atop the semi-naked cake, while clouds of fluffy gypsophila lit up the tables and chairs. We adore how authentic and pared back the day feels, and how gracefully this allows us to see the couple for who they are. Their advice is – listen to your heart, and tell your story how YOU want to, no matter what anyone else may say.
For a taste of summer full of love and light that will make you wish you were there celebrating with them, check out the stunning gallery below by Grace Elizabeth.
We got engaged on 3rd August 2015 after being together for 5 years. We were on holiday in the south of France with my family. On the second day, Christian and I went for a hike up to the nearest hilltop which had gorgeous views over a bay and he proposed! After our hike, we went back to our villa for champagne with my family. It was perfect.
We did not have a detailed vision of our wedding as we are both super laid back! The main things we both wanted were a small, intimate, family wedding and to get married outdoors. We didn’t feel pressure to have a traditional wedding and didn’t want anything too formal. We wanted our guests to feel relaxed. It was also important to us not to spend a fortune!
The Planning Process
We have been together 8 years and engaged for 3, although we didn’t set a date straight away. We booked our wedding only 10 months before the big day so everything was planned fairly quickly. The first thing we did was create a spread sheet detailing all non-negotiable things we needed/wanted. We aren’t a very fussy couple and found it easy to make decisions and organise. The first thing I bought was my dress and bridesmaid/flower girl dresses. Most big things fell into place by Easter and I was lucky enough to have nearly a month off work before the wedding to sort all the little bits!
Your Outfits & Accessories
My dress is from David’s Bridal. I initially went to try on dresses on my own as I wasn’t sure what would suit me. A lovely lady called Georgia helped me and I chose the 3rd one I tried on. I took my Mum and sisters back the week after and bought it.
My dress was a lace strapless fitted a-line gown with a sweetheart neck. It was so comfortable and relaxed. It suited our day perfectly. I also wore a veil and embellished belt both from David’s Bridal. My shoes were from ASOS.
Christian bought his suit the week before the wedding! It was a light blue slim fit suit from Burton. He also wore a navy pocket square from ASOS and navy shoes from River Island. We chose a light blue suit as it felt very summery!
My make-up was done by Emine Sami who I was introduced to by a friend. I had my trial in June and loved Emine’s style. We decided on neutral tones, with a brown smoky eye with a hint of gold tones.
My hair was done by Krystle Hill. I found Krystle on Facebook as I wanted a hair stylist local to the venue (I live 1 hour away from the venue). I had two trials with Krystle and I really didn’t know what I wanted! I tried plaits, up do’s, all sorts! In the end I went with a waved style with a flower crown. My bridesmaids had a half up half down style.
We planned our wedding budgeting as tightly as we could. We did not want to spend an enormous amount of money on a huge wedding as we are quite shy and it wouldn’t have suited us. We saved a lot of money by doing things ourselves.
We ended up spending around £9000.
Prested Hall, Feering, Colchester.
We chose this venue because it had a very relaxed feel and would suit a small wedding. We also loved the lake and the grounds and felt like the venue had plenty of character and wouldn’t need tons of decoration.
The Readings & Music
We did not have any readings during our ceremony.
We were lucky enough to have four speeches during the reception though (groom, father of the bride, father of the groom and one of our bridesmaids). We opted to have them before the wedding breakfast so that everyone could relax and enjoy their dinner. Christian did not have a best man, so instead of the best man speech, his sister Charlotte, did a best woman speech. Girl power ☺
We walked down the aisle to 1000 years by Christina Perri. We walked back down the aisle to Better Together by Jack Johnson. Our first dance song was My Girl by the Temptations.
I had 3 bridesmaids. My two sisters Emily and Hollie, and Christian’s sister Charlotte.
Their dresses were gorgeous pink floaty dresses from Warehouse. A real bargain!
I also had 4 flower girls. We had Christian’s youngest sister and our 3 nieces. They wore white dresses with petal detail from Matalan.
We began looking for a photographer local to the venue and did not really know where to start. We were lucky enough to come across the talented Grace Elizabeth. From the beginning, she made us feel relaxed, as we were slightly apprehensive about having our photographs taken. We booked her for 3-4 hours and relied on our family and friends to document the rest of the day. We have just received our photos back and we are amazed at the brilliant way she captured our day.
The Details & Décor
We did not have a theme for decoration and kept it very simple. We got married outside in the gazebo and just had simple plain white chair ties on the chairs. This looked lovely against the vibrant colours of the venue grounds and the sunny sky. We were incredibly blessed that our wedding day was 30 degrees and sunny and so most of the day and evening was spent outside by the lake – no decoration needed! On tables, we had wildflower seed packets as favours and simple rose petal and gold heart confetti. I didn’t want to go crazy with lots of different colours, themes and items, so kept it minimal. Pinterest was great for interesting detail ideas.
Two days after the wedding we went to Dubai for 11 nights. We stayed at the One and Only on The Palm and loved every minute! It is our favourite place and this time we went to see La Perle which I would thoroughly recommend.
My bridal bouquet was designed by Lizzie Fiori Bridal Design. I wanted all foliage and greenery and it was perfect!
The table centre pieces, button holes and bridesmaid bouquets were made by my sister Hollie (who has always had an interest in floristry). I ordered all the flowers wholesale from the internet and we assembled eucalyptus and gypsophila wreath rings for the tables and gypsophila bouquets for the bridesmaids. We did this the morning before the wedding and it was good fun.
Spending the morning getting ready and drinking champagne with my bridesmaids, mum and mother in law. It was really special to all be together and have that exciting experience.
My dad seeing me for the first time once I was ready and walking me down the aisle. I count myself really lucky to have had this experience with him.
Our ‘Best Woman’ speech by Christian’s sister, Charlotte. I originally met Christian through Charlotte as she was my best friend. It was very emotional and touching as she knows us both so well.
Our cake was made by Christian’s talented cousin, Danielle. We went for a 3-tier cake, with 1 layer Victoria sponge, 1 layer chocolate and 1 layer lemon drizzle. It was decorated in semi naked buttercream icing with eucalyptus and fruit.
Advice For Other Couples
It is so important to do what you really want to do. We knew we wanted a really small wedding (as we are shy and on a budget!). When it came to the day we were so glad we stuck with our guns and didn’t get swept away into doing something bigger.
Stick to your budget! It is easy to get swept away in the excitement.
Don’t be afraid to do things yourself ☺
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Emine Sami Makeup
Lizzi Fiori Floral Design
Table Flowers & Bridesmaids Bouquets
Pollie and Petals London
Thank you so much to Sophie and Christian for sharing their beautiful, intimate celebration with us! Also thanks to Grace Elizabeth for sharing these stunning images. Val Xx