Their day really was the epitome of elegant, chic and paired back vibes. The beach setting was just breathtakingly beautiful and I love that both Natalie and Anthony used the beach pre-wedding for a run and swim respectively. Doesn’t it just sound so chilled and idyllic? Their outfit choices were really fabulous. Natalie wore a lace Phase Eight gown with their wedding date and initials embroidered into it, a really wonderful touch. Meanwhile Anthony chose a sharp suit, green knitted tie and Oxblood loafers, didn’t they both look amazing?
Their decorations were kept low key and refined in equal measure. They had a handwritten table plan, handmade cereamic tile place names, 3D printed vases filled with seasonal blooms and festoon lights intertwined in the beams of the reception room.
Thanks ever so much to Charlotte Razzell Photography for sharing with us these sublime images today.
Anthony told both sets of parents he was planning on proposing but hadn’t decided on when. Two weeks later, Sunday 2nd December 2018, he got down on one knee in our living room. It was a beautiful, crisp blue sky winter day and we celebrated putting up our Christmas tree (and crying!).
The proposal was completely unexpected, and I kept on saying ‘Are you sure!?’ when I saw the beautiful Anna Sheffield black diamond ring. The beauty in the design of this ring brings me happiness everyday, and the memory of that little bubble that we had in our own home.
Our day reflected us as a couple and just another two people in love with their futures together ahead. We didn’t want to over-style, over-spend, or let the wedding get bigger than us and made many ‘un-traditional’ decisions, as we celebrated with our closest friends and family.
The Planning Process
We married within 9 months of being engaged and both found various challenges with planning between the day to day. Anthony also had an accident two months before the wedding cutting the tendons in his left hand which made ring shopping in a cast rather challenging!
Every couple needs to approach wedding planning in their own way and my only advice would be, just be you. This is not a time to think you are going to overhaul how you work together, don’t put that added pressure on yourselves. The wedding is part of the relationship together, and before that day needs just as much attention and time to switch off.
I found various blogs and podcasts reassuring, but our friends and families were the ones who gave the biggest support, all their questions helped us work out what we wanted and actually didn’t want. It also allowed them to get used to some of our ‘un-traditional’ choices.
Ultimately, it was about finding the balance against our mortgage on our new home in London and saving for the future. We wanted to fund the wedding ourselves, and keeping costs within our means helped centre many of our decisions with a final bill of just over £10k.
Thorpeness Country Club, Suffolk
It was a quick decision to choose venues in Suffolk, where we both grew up and met in High School.
We looked at 3 venues and this one was always going to be a strong contender with the sea view. The moment we walked in it was a natural fit. It’s also the village next to my parents and therefore holds so many memories. Lorraine, the location events manager, was so incredibly calm and down to earth which was so important for helping us keep the planning in perspective. I really felt like we had a friend on our side.
We knew that both Lorraine and our Chef would help us build a celebration that would be reflective of the parties we would host in our own home.
The Readings & Music
We wrote our own short vows for the ceremony and asked both our mothers to give speeches, which they did beautifully. I loved reading our own vows as it really gave us a personalised moment together. It felt like it was just the two of us in the room.
‘That Still And Settled Place’ by Edward Monkton
An extract from ‘The Little Price’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Our music was rather different.
We were both nervous about being too emotional during the ceremony and wanted to have a piece of music that had great memories and made us happy. We chose ‘Everlasting Light’ by The Black Keys. Our first dance song was ‘This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)’ by Natalie Cole which reflected how we finished our vows as ‘I take you as my husband/wife, as I vow to you my everlasting promise of love’. Rather smushy but the best.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Every bride should try on a wedding dress in a specialist boutique, and make the most of these special moments with loved ones. However, for myself the wedding was not about the dress. My Phase Eight bridal dress was bought online from John Lewis. Trying the dress on at home in my room was a special memory just for me. I also tried a few second hand online shops but Phase Eight was the winner for a timeless, classic style.
Reducing the budget on my dress was also important to spend the money on my shoes (Loeffler Randall) and tailoring. I also had an idea for a friend to help me with additional embroidery to tailor the dress especially for me. After cutting out the train and re-fitting the bodice Hannah re-embroided areas of the dress to add depth of colour, texture and detail, also helping to re-cover seams and finally adding the beautiful touch of our wedding date to my sleeve and our initials on my back. Hannah was a really important part of my wedding experience. We have to accept that so many brides go through the mental and physical challenges of body shape and beauty during the wedding planning process, and Hannah helped me build this relationship and be comfortable on the day.
Being a Menswear buyer I was very excited about the decisions made with Anthony’s suit and again have such special memories of us shopping for this together, just the two of us.
Wearing a suit everyday to office he wanted to be more relaxed and not feel like he was going to work so we headed straight to Trunk on Chiltern Street, Marylebone for a Boglioli suit. Anthony styled the beautiful Italian tailoring with a Hackett white shirt, silk knitted green tie and a pair of beautiful Oxblood leather loafers from Cheaney (handmade in the UK). Our Best Man and Father of the Groom shared the same tie and pocket square from TM Lewin.
Two hours before the ceremony, after a brisk run along the beach, one of my closet friends came over to blow-dry and assemble my hair. We had never done this before or even tried a practice run, but our friendship and laughter got it done in one go and I could not have been more proud of ourselves! My sister arrived shortly after so we could do our make-up together before our parents arrived. We both had booked in to a Charlotte Tilbury make-up sessions in Covent Garden to update our old products but otherwise used our tried and tested methods that made us comfortable.
Anthony spent the morning with the boys playing tennis and a quick dip in the refreshing North Sea. I kept seeing him walking around the village as I was getting ready.
We chose not to have bridesmaids but did surprise two of our closest girlfriends with corsages on the wedding morning to say thank you for all of their support over the years of our friendship together and keeping me sane over the last 9 months since we got engaged. My family walked me to the venue from our cottage, with my sister holding my hand as I walked down the aisle.
We kept our bridal party small with only a best man, who has been a close friend of us both from school. Joe kept us laughing throughout the day and cried more than either of us during the ceremony. (Charlotte caught some wonderful photos of this!)
We tasked another close friend as point of contact for the venue staff, and Kez also introduced our speeches and organised our music through the ceremony and reception.
The Details & Décor
Our venue, amazing blue-sky weather and beautiful guests did most of the hard work for our décor. We simplified as much as we could with the details and decoration, partly budget but also personal taste.
We worked directly with the wholesale team at Triangle Nurseries, Woodbridge, to buy our own choices of seasonal flowers that we collected and arranged ourselves the day before. Our house looked amazing filled with all the colours and scents. The lovely floristry team also made our bridal flowers of hairpieces, corsages and buttonholes. My Mum and Ouma (South African grandmother) made a huge gypsophila garland to hang across the bar, dancing and singing along to ABBA songs at the top of their voices throughout.
I loved choosing our flowers, as our table planning was a special and focal point of our reception. I handmade ceramic name place tiles for all of our guests, and sewed the linen napkins but was upstaged by my ceramic artist dad by 3-d printing over 50 vases for the table flowers.
We replaced cake with my gluten-free chocolate brownies to serve with fruits for pudding. The ratio of 3:1 went down well.
During our first Skype chat with Charlotte Razzell I knew she was going to capture our day perfectly from her natural photography style and wonderfully cheerful and calm character.
Charlotte really understood our relaxed brief, both being anxious about having our photo taken and not having many of the typical formalities of the day’s events. Charlotte helped us, and our guests, feel comfortable throughout the day and has given us the greatest gift capturing these memories so beautifully.
For both of us, nothing can come close to sharing our vows together.
Advice For Other Couples
- Do a speech if you are a bride, this day is about the two of you, enjoy your voice.
- Be honest with each other and yourself when planning. A wedding is a big deal and can have different, surprising, stressful points, yet it is one day and working together on a new married life is so much more important.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Charlotte Razzell Photography
Thorpeness Country Club
Oh so romantic.
Natalie and Anthony thank you ever so much for sharing your darling wedding celebrations with us xo Lou