Be prepared to be blown away by today’s couple and their utterly perfect countryside nuptials.
Anna and Philipp were marred on the 25th July 2014 at Highcliffe Castle followed by a marquee reception at Barton Stables in the New Forest. Living in Paris they planned their wedding with the help of their family who also crafted some wonderful touches. Every choice was so meaningful which made for a really special day.
Anna is a designer for French fashion house Balmain, who offered to make her dress. Anna designed the most exquisite gown; elegant, minimal, low backed and embellished in glass beads. Incredible. Let’s not forget Philipp too who looked very dashing in a custom made Cad and the Dandy suit while the bridesmaids were pretty in blue frocks.
Huge thanks to the totally amazing Peppermint Love Photography for sharing these photographs with us.
THE PROPOSAL | I knew Philipp was planning a little surprise when he asked me to take a day off work but wouldn’t tell me why. We had just bought our first apartment together in Paris, so I assumed we were going somewhere to celebrate that. On the Saturday morning we went and picked up a sports car Philipp had hired but I had no idea where we were going. After a couple of hours we arrived in Champagne where we toured two vineyards, and tasted some of their champagne! Afterwards we drove to a little 5 star hotel where we stayed the night and Philipp proposed to me in our room, which was very intimate, I was completely shocked but of course I said yes!
THE VISION | Having decided on our location for the reception we knew we wanted a rural relaxed wedding that still felt elegant and very personal. We didn’t want it to feel too themed so we didn’t really have a colour story and we just chose details we liked and mixed it all together. The most important thing for us was to have a big party with great food and wine where we could dance until late surrounded by our friends and family.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | As we live in Paris we had to be quite organised and pack in as much planning and researching for suppliers each time we were in the UK. I was lucky that my parents were really helpful too and they managed extra meetings with caterers and the marquee company when we couldn’t be there. I loved the planning and researching and used blogs and Pinterest for researching and creating mood boards. We wanted to make everything as personal as possible and keep our budget down so we made as many of the details ourselves and we asked favours from our family.
THE VENUE | Philipp is Italian and we live in Paris so all our friends and family were quite surprised when we said we wanted to get married in England. I grew up horse riding in the New Forest and learnt to ride at Barton stables. My parents brought the stables and land a few years ago and my mother still rides my childhood horse, so the fields held a lot of happy memories for me. Once we had decided on having our reception in the fields with a marquee, we didn’t need to spend much time deciding on the venue for our ceremony. We knew we wanted a civil ceremony and I grew up a 5-minute walk from Highcliffe Castle, which is just beautiful so it was an easy decision.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I’m a designer for the French fashion house Balmain, and when they heard I was engaged they offered to make my dress. Being able to design the dress myself was an amazing experience. I knew I wanted to keep my style for the day modern and elegant and true to me, so I decided to keep accessories minimal. I didn’t have any hair accessories. My shoes were from Stella Luna in Paris. My pearl earrings were my wedding present from Philipp and I wore a simple gold antique bracelet, which had belonged to Philipp’s grandmother.
FINDING THE DRESS | I went to a couple of dress shops in Paris to get inspiration and try to get an idea of what I liked, however I couldn’t find anything that felt right for me. I did a lot of research and eventually came up with the design, which I chose for the simplicity of the shape. As the shape was so simple I wanted the fabric to be more special, I work in textiles and embroidery so decided on embroidering the dress entirely in glass beads.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | We tried looking in a lot of suit shops in London, but we found it really difficult to find anything that fitted Philipp properly. I did some research on the Internet and came across ‘Cad and the Dandy’ a tailor on Saville row in London, which was really reasonably priced for making tailor made suits. We went to see them and it was really good fun, they took all the measurements and then we were able to choose the fabric, lining and details. It ended up only being slightly more expensive then some suits we had seen on the high street, but the extra cost was worth it. They were really accommodating and Philipp had about 3 fittings to make sure it was perfect. His shirt was from Printemps, his tie was from Maison de la cravat in Paris and his shoes were Manfield. I had gold cufflinks made with his initials engraved for Philipp as our wedding gift.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | My cousin is a pianist so we asked him to play as our guests arrived at the castle. I walked in to Eric Satie Gymnopédie no.1. We had 2 readings during the ceremony. The first was a poem my brother chose called ‘Fate’ by Carolyn Wells, which seemed like it was written for us. Philipp’s cousin did the second reading, which was light hearted and funny, he gave us his advice on the secret to marriage including some Woody Allen quotes! Our first dance was ‘Sun’ by Two Door Cinema Club. In the evening we had a great live band called Jimmy’s House Band who played a good mix of old classics and newer ones too, they had everyone dancing. To fill in when the band weren’t playing one of our friends made an awesome playlist and did some djing!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had my three best friends Ellen, Holly and Dorothée as my bridesmaids. I knew I didn’t want them to be matching and liked the idea that they all wore different shades of blue. I found their dresses by Jenny Yoo online from BHLDN. They were great as they were convertible so each of the girls got to choose how to style their dress and look unique.
THE FLOWERS | The lovely and talented Katie Mawson Floral Design created my bouquet, the bridesmaid’s bouquets and all the buttonholes. Katie was great, as she understood straight away the style I wanted, she even decorated our marquee with Italian ivy, which I loved as it really, brought together the rustic/elegant feel of the wedding. My Auntie Chris did a great job with all our flowers for the tables, I wanted it to look like they had just been cut from the fields.
THE CAKE | My Aunt Sue is a very talented cake maker, so we were lucky that we didn’t have to look far. We had a three-tiered cake with carrot, lemon and fruitcake. I wanted a simple decoration, so it was roughly iced with some pretty hand made iced flowers and rosemary.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We researched online and when we came across Kasia Nowak at Peppermint Love Photography we knew we’d found our photographer. Her work just stood out from the rest. Kasia has a real talent for capturing those beautiful moments, the mood and all the details! We felt so at ease from the moment we met her and I think that came across in the photos of the day.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | I used Pinterest a lot for researching and finding ideas. I loved thinking about the details and making as much as possible ourselves made it much more fun and personal. We designed our wedding invites, and even personalised our stamps with our emblem. For our favours my Mum made Sloe gin and we bottled it in mini glass bottles brought from the Internet. My Dad made our chalkboards for the signs and the seating plan and I hand wrote them. It was a little difficult being able to prepare all our decorations before hand as we live so far away but luckily we arrived the week before so we had a very busy last week! The day before the wedding lots of our family and friends came to help us set up and decorate the marquee. For our wedding bands ring we visited a goldsmith in my hometown. I had inherited my great grandmother’s ring but I wanted it thinned and for Philipp’s ring they melted down a gold bracelet, which had belonged to Philipp’s grandmother to create his. This was a big saving and again made our wedding bands unique.
THE HONEYMOON | Just after our wedding we had a 4-day mini moon in Lisbon, as my cousin was getting married the following weekend. We love travelling and knew that this was our chance to go somewhere more exotic so decided to go to Vietnam for 2 weeks in October. It was an amazing travel, our first week was quite adventurous, we did a cruise of Halong Bay, kayaking, trekking in the mountains and then staying in the home of a traditional Vietnamese rice farming family. For the second week we decided to relax so we stayed close to Hoi An in a beautiful fishing village by the sea, we did cooking classes and even visited the tailors to make some unique souvenirs.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The whole day was amazing! I will never forget the moment we said our vows. We loved having all our friends and family together in one place just for us, it was such a special feeling. The dancing at the end of the night finished off a perfect day.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | I would advise trying to create as much of the details for the day yourselves or asking friends and family to help, it keeps the budget down but it also makes it much more personal, plus the day will go so quickly that you should try and enjoy the planning as much as possible. Most importantly don’t forget to take 5 minutes out for the two of you to take it all in and enjoy the moment.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT DUE |
Venue | Highcliffe Castle and Barton stables
Catering | Beales Gourmet
Flowers | Katie Mawson Floral Design
Photographer | Peppermint Love Photography
Grooms suit | Cad and the Dandy
Band | Jimmy’s House Band
Cake | My Aunt Sue
Hair | Erica at Tony Hair
Wedding Rings | Keith Bryant Goldsmiths – 69 Bargates, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 1QE
Bridesmaids | Jenny Yoo from BHLDN
Wow. How beautiful did Anna look? Such a happy and loving day.
Thanks so so much to Anna and Philipp for sharing their amazing story with us xo Lou