By Louise Baltruschat Hollis
Gracious me. Was there ever a more glamorous vintage rock n’ roll inspired wedding? I think not. Today’s real wedding oozes style, sophistication and splendour from beginning to end.
WWW readers Iain and Danielle were wed at the stunning Knighton House in Dorset on the 2nd September 2017. The venue fitted their vision of a Georgian period house perfectly and also enabled them to tie the knot outdoors against the incredible surrounding countryside.
One of the main inspirations for their wedding came from their romantic Japanese proposal. Cherry blossom touches were used throughout and it made for a really special atmosphere. The 1950s vibes continued into the outfits and I must say Danielle’s dress is a firm favourite of mine after seeing the polka dot fabric, delicate sleeves and fun bow on the back. Then there were the gents in formal black suits and velvet bow ties, which looked so luxe. I just have to mention the bridesmaids outfits too as their prom dresses and vintage hair dos were just the best!
I could go on and on, but instead I will leave you with these sensational images by Paul Underhill (thanks Paul) and accompanying report from the couple themselves.
THE PROPOSAL | I proposed to Danielle whilst we were on a trip to Japan in March 2016. We were traveling with four friends, all of whom knew that I was planning on popping the question at some point throughout the holiday. Whilst I had no idea when or where I’d do it, I knew that the perfect moment was bound to arise given that we were exploring such a beautiful country.
I had the ring in my camera bag for an entire week whilst we were walking the streets of Tokyo and trying to cram in everything that it had to offer. It was amazing but so busy and fast-paced that I really didn’t feel comfortable getting down on one knee.
It wasn’t until the latter part of our trip that we began to visit picturesque shrines, temples, mountains and just generally more appropriate places in which to ask someone to marry you!
Having bottled it about five times already, I eventually plucked up the courage to propose whilst on a trip to the beautiful Miyajima Island in western Japan. We were on a cliff top in front of a traditional Japanese temple and it felt like the perfect moment that I’d been waiting for.
We’d had a great day, the sun was shining, cherry blossoms were in full bloom and I just went for it! I’d rehearsed the moment countless times in my head but it came out nervous and awkward just like I knew it would. Even so, I got the answer that I was looking for and our engagement was the perfect end to the perfect holiday.
THE VISION | Danielle has always loved the idea of a vintage style wedding. She and her friends go to a lot of themed events and adore vintage clothing. She particularly likes 1950’s style and we both felt that the bright colours from this era were perfectly suited to our wedding. The 50’s idea was something that we wanted to represent through our outfits, decor and rock ’n’ roll music.
We both liked the idea of getting married in a Georgian period venue. They all have so much character and look so elegant in photographs. It was important to us both that the venue was unique as we wanted to create a point of difference from any wedding we had been to before.
More than anything, we wanted to have fun with our friends and family. It’s very rare that you get to share a room with all of the people that you care about so we wanted to make the most of it. It was important that the day was upbeat and that everyone felt included.
We’ve always admired the beauty and quirkiness of Japan and after my proposal this was a theme that we wanted to acknowledge. We especially wanted to incorporate the cherry blossoms that were ever present during our trip and this was the main inspiration behind our colour scheme.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Planning appeared to start about ten seconds after our engagement! We tried to be as organised as possible when it came to this process although we first needed to decide where the wedding would take place. I’m from Dorset and Danielle is from London so we had to make a choice between these two geographic locations. Having viewed venues in both areas, we eventually ended up making our decision based purely on how much we loved Knighton House.
Danielle likes to get things done whereas I tend to leave things until the last minute. We booked Knighton House fifteen months in advance and only once this was done were we truly able to start planning how we’d use the space. Having the date in the diary also meant that we were able to start work on a guest list and send out save the dates, which we had printed from Papier.
Danielle stressed the importance of booking suppliers well in advance as people definitely get booked up (especially for Saturdays). We made sure that our photographer, photo booth and band were locked in with plenty of time to spare and it was great to know that this was taken care of. We worked closely with our wedding coordinator (Lucy) who was totally across everything and would let us know when we needed to do anything pressing or important. We never once felt completely overwhelmed with it all and our meetings with Lucy were very helpful. We discussed every last detail and timing which was all written up in a concise summary. This served as a pretty good checklist to ensure that we hadn’t forgotten anything.
THE VENUE | Danielle’s mum found Knighton House on the internet and it seemed to offer everything that we were looking for in a venue. We considered so many places that looked great from the outside but felt a little underwhelming once you set foot through the door. Knighton House was a clear exception due to the fact that the Georgian period style remains consistent inside and out. Original features such as the stunning fireplaces have been lovingly restored and the traditional colour palette is present throughout.
We were shown around the venue by Lucy Hinks who was the best wedding planner that we could have asked for. Lucy is responsible for transforming Knighton House from girls private school to fully functioning wedding venue whenever there is a break in term. We really enjoyed our initial meeting with Lucy as she was so lovely and clearly very passionate about what she does. She and Danielle seemed to share the exact same ideas about what makes a great wedding which was certainly reassuring.
We liked the fact that Knighton House was so versatile and more or less a blank canvas. The venue can host both indoor and outdoor ceremonies and we were able to make this decision on the same week as the wedding having studied the latest forecast. We knew that we wanted to get married outside on the terrace as the surrounding views and building look stunning, especially with the red autumn leaves.
The Knighton House catering team prepared our wedding breakfast, evening buffet and canapés, all of which were amazing. There were so many options for us to choose from and each guest was able to pick their own starter, main and desert. The chef’s were also able to cater for those with special dietary requirements such as gluten and dairy free which was very helpful.
We’re so happy with how Knighton House looked on the day and the way in which Lucy and her team organised everything so perfectly. The whole day flowed exactly how we wanted it to and everything looked great in the photo’s thanks to the natural light that floods into each room. We’d urge couples not to be put off by the fact that the buildings main purpose is a school as any evidence of this is completely erased when the venue undergoes its elegant transformation.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was a 1962 Nottingham Lace dress designed by Alexandrine. This was purchased through Story of my Dress. For the ceremony I wore a veil by Story Of My Dress along with a custom cherry blossom hair piece which was made by my friend Paulina. During the evening I swapped this out for a hair piece designed by Eden B Studio.
My shoes were glitter pumps designed by French Sole.
FINDING THE DRESS | I knew that I wanted a vintage or vintage inspired dress but didn’t want it to break the bank. After some research, I eventually found Story of my Dress online and knew that I had to book an appointment.
Every dress in the boutique was stunning. I tried on three before completely falling in love with the fourth. I especially liked the polka dots.
Cara who owns the business was lovely and I knew that I was in good hands as she’s clearly so passionate about dresses. Cara helped me through the entire process and made all the alterations so easy and enjoyable. Buying the dress was certainly a highlight of planning as I felt that once I had it, the theme of the wedding fell into place.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | All members of the groom’s party were dressed in the same attire from Marks and Spencer. We wanted a simple, 1950’s inspired look but with modern tailoring. ‘Modern Slim’ is a relatively new cut for Marks and Spencer but it seemed to tick all the boxes at a reasonable price.
The pleated dinner shirts and velvet bow ties really brought the whole outfit together and helped us to achieve the classic vintage look.
I appreciate a good quality pair of shoes and use any wedding as an excuse to buy a new pair of Grenson brogues. We had just watched La La Land and I toyed with the idea of wearing black and white jazz brogues like Ryan Gosling but decided that I wasn’t cool enough to pull them off so settled for plain black.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We really liked the fact that Knighton House was licensed for both indoor and outdoor ceremonies and so got married out on the terrace. We got lucky with the weather and our guests were able to enjoy the warm sunshine as they watched from the lawn.
We wanted to keep the ceremony fairly short and sweet so chose not to have any readings however Danielle and her bridesmaids walked down the aisle to ‘When I Fall In Love’ by Nat King Cole. Danielle has always wanted this to be her aisle song as she remembers it being her nan’s favourite.
I had been working in Manchester on a TV show at the start of the year and found myself listening to a lot of Oasis whilst I was up there. I’d play their albums in our flat and Danielle said that she liked the track ‘She’s Electric’. For whatever reason this became our exit song and it actually kicked off the upbeat cocktail hour playlist pretty nicely, which was full of 50’s rock ‘n’ roll, 80’s classics and modern pop hits. I tried to cater for everyone’s tastes whilst not ignoring my own guilty pleasures.
It took us ages to figure out a first dance song and we only made our final decision days before the wedding. I don’t think any one song defines us as a couple and we were keen to avoid anything too slow or soppy as we wanted the wedding to be a fun party for all. Danielle had been suggesting ‘Teenage Dream’ by Katy Perry for weeks so we just went with it as we were running out of time! We don’t take ourselves too seriously and all our guests seemed to have fun joining in with us, which was great and exactly what we wanted. I ended up on the floor quite a few times as can be seen from the photos.
We hired a band called Get On Up to provide the rest of the evening’s entertainment. These guys were really cool and super talented. They had such an extensive repertoire of songs for us to pick from and played a great mix of tracks that had everyone dancing non stop. They definitely brought the party and were very professional from beginning to end.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had three friends as well as Iain’s sister as my bridesmaids (Fran as Maid of Honour, Kelly, Aimee and Sarah).
It was important to me that the girls looked stylish but I also wanted them all to feel comfortable throughout the day so I chose a 50’s inspired blush pink dress from ASOS. The pink was an attempt to continue the Japanese cherry blossom theme.
They all wore silver heeled shoes from Marks and Spencer as well as a hair piece from Alternate Normality.
THE FLOWERS | A cherry blossom theme was our plan however we knew that they weren’t in season so left it in the capable hands of Elizabeth Morgan who came up with some great alternatives. We weren’t that knowledgeable or sure what we wanted but Lizzy took into account our budget and colour palette and was able to show us examples from an extensive portfolio of work. She and Lucy have worked together before on weddings and are a great team who both share the same enthusiasm for Knighton House and making the venue look great. Lucy suggested using cake stands and tea cups for the table arrangements which were combined with flowers and candles. The combination of both was so simple yet really effective. Lizzy knows the venue so we had no problem giving her free reign. She created stunning arrangements which complemented the fireplaces and sweeping staircases beautifully.
THE CAKE | My mum’s friend Alison Willis made and hand delivered our wonderful wedding cake. We wanted something really simple, which also incorporated our Japanese theme. Alison made alternating layers of lemon and chocolate sponge (two of our favourite flavours) covered in white icing. She clearly put a lot of effort into making the intricate cherry blossoms, which made the cake look so elegant. The four tiers were more than enough for all of our guests, all of whom seemed to really enjoy it.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Paul Underhill. There are so many wedding photographers out there but Paul’s work stood out by a mile. He definitely has his own unique style and an undeniable passion for capturing your wedding story. Everything looks so cinematic. The use of light, tone and composition definitely give the shots a certain edge.
Paul’s a really nice guy and he offered to meet us for a little practice shoot, which took place around Bournemouth. We’d highly recommend doing this if your photographer offers it as it really does help you get used to being in front of the camera. We were probably a little awkward at first but Paul’s friendly and relaxed demeanour soon put us at ease and allowed us to be ourselves. Paul made an effort to get to know us which was great as he was able to make the shoot more personal.
We received around 800 shots of pure gold and Paul turned everything around well within his specified time frame. We were really impressed with how much Paul was able to document and we could see how hard he was working to capture every special moment and significant detail on the day. He was great with our guests and very professional from the moment we booked him. Highly recommended!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We continued the 50’s theme by hiring a beautiful 1950’s Pontiac Convertible from Premier Carriage Wedding Cars. All bridesmaids travelled from hotel to venue in this before it returned to collect Danielle and her dad. The car looked great parked out in front of the venue and we made sure to get some photos inside it. Old cars like this are so cool and essential to conveying a vintage theme.
Knighton House do not have a bar as part of the venue so we hired The Vintage Bar Company to provide a vintage van bar. They call the 1979 Renault ‘Esta’ and it came stocked full of enough beers, wines and spirits for everyone. We were able to park this right outside the door so guests didn’t have far to walk in order to purchase a beverage. The friendly staff were very efficient at serving drinks quickly and keeping queuing times down to a minimum. We chose their drinks package, which also meant that all table wines and prosecco for toasting were provided.
We hired a photo booth from The Photo Booth Guys who were awesome. The attendant seemed really happy to be there and encouraged our guests to get involved with the picture taking. He even made us our own album for us to take away that night. They had a great backdrop, some really cool props and were also able to shoot ‘Boomerangs’ and ‘GIF’s’.
Lucy (wedding planner) rather conveniently owns an amazing vintage china and tableware hire business called Forget Me Not Vintage. We hired all our china for the wedding breakfast from Lucy and she was also able to provide tea cups for our tea and coffee service.
Danielle used her nan’s vintage Wren case to contain any cards and we also dressed this with a parasol, which was simple but effective. Our favours continued the Japanese theme. We enclosed a National Lottery scratch card inside cherry blossom money envelopes (only two people out of 80 won £5). We also included special Japanese Kit Kat chocolate bars (from the Japan Centre in London), which were all really funky flavours such as Green Tea and Sakura. In addition to this we also typed out fortunes which were personalised to each guest. Most of these were amusing or motivational quotes from movies and TV shows that we like. There was a lot of wisdom from David Brent and Alan Partridge thrown in there.
Danielle wanted a photo which featured the bridal party posing with Japanese parasols. These were relatively inexpensive and purchased from eBay. It was a great nod to our engagement in Japan and made for a lovely shot. We think that simple props are a great way of adding colour and make for a more personal photo.
We chose to present our table plan on an old vintage mirror. Names were stuck on and it made for a really nice feature.
THE HONEYMOON | We both love travelling in America and took a trip to the state of California for our honeymoon. We spent the first week relaxing in the city of Palm Springs, which is located 100 miles east of LA out in the Californian desert.
The close proximity to Hollywood, gorgeous weather and lavish hotels made Palm Springs an attractive destination for movie stars during the 50’s and 60’s. The area still feels glamorous to this day thanks to its mid-century architecture, vintage cars and fashionable boutiques.It was the perfect location as we were able to enjoy some much needed chill out time as well as explore nearby mountains, national parks and cities such as San Diego.
We spent the latter part of our Honeymoon in LA which was way more fast-paced and a lot of fun. The city is so huge that we barely scratched the surface but we did manage to check out the ‘Hollywood’ sign, Venice Beach and Disneyland California (we’re both big kids at heart!).
We stayed in Santa Monica with Danielle’s friend and maid of honour Fran who treated us to brunch at The Beverly Hills Hotel for our wedding present. It was amazing!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Seeing Danielle in her dress for the first time is something that I’ll never forget, she looked incredible!
The speeches were all really good. Danielle’s Dad, Terry seemed to really enjoy the improv and my best man, Rich had a lot of ammunition against me which was embarrassing. I was nervous for mine but actually remember rather enjoying myself whilst I was up there. Everyone laughed at something that wasn’t even meant to be a joke which helped to put me at ease.
We love nights out with our friends and were keen to achieve a party atmosphere in the evening. We had so much fun during this part of the day and are pretty sure that our guests did too. There were some crazy dance moves as our wedding band played hit after hit.
The last thing we remember is getting back to Blandford town centre. There was a several of us who were looking to continue the party. Danielle was wandering the streets in her wedding dress and one of our bridesmaids was dressed in pyjamas. I can’t remember why we were out so late but there’s an amazing photo of Danielle sat in a kebab shop in her dress.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | No matter how much or little you spend, its your friends and family that make the day special. People say that all the time because it’s true. You’ll drink, dance and laugh surrounded by great company and that’s what you’ll remember when all is said and done. Nothing else is really that important so long as you have a venue and someone to marry you. We arrived on the morning of the wedding to find that all the helium had leaked out of our balloons! It didn’t bother me as I was with my friends and it was too late to do anything about it anyway! We had planned to have these floating on the ceiling above the dance floor but everyone just ended up kicking them around instead which, if anything was more fun!
Try and get everything done a week in advance so that you can chill out pre wedding. Being organised, Danielle had all the important things taken care of and was relatively relaxed. I spent the last week panicking about little things that didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Knighton House wedding photographer Paul Underhill
Venue | Knighton House
Dress | Story of my Dress
Hair | Kam Hair
Make Up | Aimee Louise Faulkner Makeup
Band | Get On Up
Flowers | Elizabeth Morgan Flowers
Cake | Alison Willis 01300345443
Car | Premier Carriage Cars
Bar | The Vintage Bar Company
Photo Booth | The Photo Booth Guys
Tableware | Forget Me Not Vintage
Catering | Knighton House Weddings
Pure perfection. I just loved it all.
Huge thanks goes to Iain and Danielle for sharing their utterly beautiful nuptials with us, such a delight xo Lou
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The photos are stunning!Loving the candid shots!
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Wow! Loving this! The bride’s dress is amazing!
That rockabilly look is great, all rounded off by the bridesmaids cool hair and that rocking black car!
awesome photoshoot, the couple looks great in the wedding car.