I think we’re featuring one of the most stylish, lively and beautiful winter weddings ever here on Whimsical Wonderland Weddings today. Hooray!
WWW readers Alex and Andy tied the knot on the 24th February 2018 at the stunning Voewood in Norfolk. They hired the arts and crafts house for a weekend-long party with their faves and what a party it was. There were super stunning florals by FairyNuff Flowers, a custom made dress of dreams by Emma Beaumont Atelier and a delicious menu by Florentina Catering. I really love the velvet berry tones used to bring everything together, with deep red and pink roses and a burgundy knitted silk tie for groom Andy.
After a proposal on a ski trip, the pair incorporated a nod to the slopes in their décor and then headed off for a ski holiday post wedding. It’s touches like that which really make a day so personal and special.
You’re totally going to adore this artistic and raucous celebration, which was captured so beautifully too by Luis Holden (thanks Luis for sharing your images with us!).
THE PROPOSAL | Andy had decided that he was going to propose a year before he actually did – whilst on a ski trip for Alex’s 30th birthday. We both really love being in the mountains, Alex having taught Andy to ski several years before. Andy knew that would be the perfect place to propose – so he had to wait until the next ski trip the following year to actually do it! Andy’s best man Tom kept the ring for almost four months beforehand so that Alex wouldn’t find it, and in January 2017 Andy nervously sneaked the ring through airport security on the way to Chamonix in the French Alps. On our first day skiing, with beautiful blue skies and amazing scenery, Andy found the perfect spot with views of the entire valley and the mountain range beyond. He feigned an uncomfortable boot and got down on one knee to produce the ring, to Alex’s tears, laughter and expletives! We spent the rest of the day in our happy engagement bubble before going back to the apartment to call our families, and that evening went to celebrate with fondue and champagne.
THE VISION | Our main objective was just to throw an awesome party. We wanted the day to be very relaxed and fun for our friends and family, and to make sure there was plenty of food, drink, music and laughter. We had been to so many weddings over the last few years that we were able to cherry-pick all of the best bits for ours! We decided to have it in the winter so that we didn’t have to worry about the weather (and so that we could go skiing after…!) and envisioned a really cosy, fun, weekend-long house party with all of our favourite people.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We started planning almost immediately after getting engaged, whilst still in the mountains. Alex went for a post-ski shower and came back to find that Andy (in a groomzilla moment) had already put together an invite list and table plan! We were both so excited about the planning and found the whole process a real pleasure –Alex’s decisiveness and Andy’s spreadsheet prowess proved a winning combination. We booked all the big things straight away – venue, caterer, DJ… and then took our time over the little details. We are both very into food so that was a real focus for us – our caterers Florentina were recommended by Voewood and the tasting convinced us – they did all of our favourites including a pork belly main, sticky toffee dessert and wood-fired pizzas for later in the evening. We struck lucky in the planning process because our catering manager, Annabelle, was unbelievably organised and we felt like we were getting a wedding planner thrown in for free. We’d love to plan it all over again.
BUDGET | Around £25,000. We wanted to keep it lower but budgets always overrun… We were careful to spend on the really important things to us (the food, flowers, photographer and the dress), and tightly budgeted on other areas (like making the seating plan, table names, decorations etc ourselves).
THE VENUE | Voewood, on the North Norfolk coast, a beautifully restored arts and crafts era house full of amazing quirky art and memorabilia. Alex had visited a few years before and on getting engaged took Andy for a viewing weekend, where he instantly fell in love with it too. The house is such a vibrant and unique place with a real party vibe and rock and roll spirit. We hired it for the entire weekend and held all of the celebrations in the main hall. Our guests had free rein to explore, and so many commented on how magical the house was. It was dry hire, so we sourced all of our suppliers with recommendations from the great team at Voewood. The house really made our wedding what it was – it was the perfect location.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Alex’s dress was designed and handmade by Emma Beaumont Atelier. The red velvet heels were ASOS and earrings were Liberty In Love Cosmopolitan Crystal Drop earrings, bought by Alex’s mum as a birthday gift before the wedding.
FINDING THE DRESS | Alex’s inspiration for the dress came when her bridesmaid Jenny sent her a picture of a dress that she had found on Instagram. Alex contacted the designer, the hugely talented Emma Beaumont (despite the fact that she was at the other end of the country!) and arranged to go up to Emma’s Knutsford studio to discuss the design. They went through some initial ideas and fabrics and the design evolved into the final version. Alex wanted something unique and, because Voewood is an arts and crafts house, we were inspired by William Morris when it came to the type of lace used in the top half of the dress. There were three more fittings (including the toile) in Knightsbridge. Alex didn’t look at or try on any other dresses, and felt so lucky to be able to design something that suited her but had that “wow” factor!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Andy wore a three-piece blue wool suit from Suit Supply, tailored to fit, brogues from Ted Baker, a burgundy knitted silk tie from TM Lewin and a matching pocket square made by his mum. Andy gave his best man and groomsmen matching ties, pocket squares and personalised tie pins. The dads both had ties in pale grey tweed to match the bridesmaid dresses.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Alex walked up the aisle to a Jasmine Thompson acoustic version of “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit (and Andy shed a little tear). We chose three readings, a “Love Is” poem, “I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)” by EE Cummings, and an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, all read by family members. The readings all really resonated with us and reflected our feelings about our love and how we hope our relationship will deepen over the years. After we were announced husband and wife, we walked back down the aisle to House of Pain’s Jump Around!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Alex’s bridesmaids were her best friends Lucy and Jenny, friend-since-birth Kate and her god-daughter Lucy (Alex was bridesmaid at Lucy’s mum’s wedding at the age of 8, so it was lovely to come full circle 26 years later!). Alex’s sister Charlotte returned the favour nine months after her own wedding, as Alex’s beautiful maid of honour. The bridesmaids wore pale grey chiffon layered dresses from ASOS Bridesmaid (which were great value!), and matching necklaces from Orelia. Alex gifted the bridesmaids (and her mum) matching silk floral pyjamas from the Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley range at M&S to wear during the preparations on the morning of the wedding.
THE FLOWERS | The gorgeous flowers were by FairyNuff Flowers. The wonderful Steph is based in Hampton Hill, near our home in Surrey. She had done the flowers at the weddings of two of Alex’s friends in London, and having scoured her Instagram photos for several hours, we became convinced that Steph was the only possible option! We convinced her to travel to Norfolk for the weekend and she brought her lovely husband for a below-freezing mini-break near the coast! We wanted a winter-appropriate, velvety colour palette with lovely fluffy petals, so Steph chose to include Bridal Piano, Red Piano and Kate David Austin roses, Bombastic spray roses, burgundy and blush pink ranunculus and some beautiful early peonies, accentuated with eucalyptus, for the bridal and bridesmaid bouquets. Steph recommended some mismatched mercury vases laid out down the middle of our banquet tables, which looked beautiful, and added some votive candles and some huge vases for our bouquets on the top table during dinner.
THE CAKE | The cake was a three-tier salted caramel chocolate naked cake from Waitrose. We had originally decided not to have a cake or any unnecessary cake-cutting that would interrupt the party! But Alex’s mum panic-bought one at the last minute and it turned out to be delicious and a great addition to the day. Kate very artistically arranged some berries and physalis around the tiers to make it look a bit more sexy and professional…!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | The genius Luis Holden. Luis was the photographer at Alex’s sister’s wedding in May 2017 and, having seen his work previously, we thought his photos were beautifully natural. We met with Luis a couple of times before the wedding to discuss the sort of vibe that we wanted, and he came to Voewood on the Friday beforehand and storyboarded some interesting locations. He was so enthusiastic about the venue (he said it was his favourite venue in Norfolk!) and was so easy to get on with. On the day he was incredibly unobtrusive but managed to capture some really amazing moments. He was just another guest at our wedding – he really got involved and stayed until the bitter end, even participating in a Jagerbomb and getting on the other side of the camera for a few snaps. You can tell he loves a party and so do we, so it was a great match! We love the energy and style of his photos and he perfectly captured the day and our friends and family – there are smiles and laughter radiating from every single photo.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | The house didn’t need a huge amount of additional decoration as the art and décor speaks for itself. We strung some warm white festoon lighting across the main hall ceiling from the mezzanine level to the fireplace, and added some white fluffy pompoms at random to tie in with the flowers and add a wintry atmosphere. The flowers were the key to the décor and really offset the original features – the colour palette and the vases that Steph used added that something special and looked so vibrant in the main hall. We added some other key touches – we designed the seating plan in the same style as our menus, minimal black and white with a snowflake motif. Our place holder cards and wine labels were also personalised with the same logo. Andy created some brilliant table names using graphic versions of photos taken of us in the mountains – designed on Adobe Spark and printed on card – and each table was named after a ski resort that we have visited during our relationship.
THE HONEYMOON | We stayed for a couple of days with Alex’s family in Norfolk to recover from the festivities, then in keeping with the proposal and coming full circle, headed off to the Three Valleys for a “boutique” ski holiday. We stayed at the La Bouitte chalet in a little hamlet called St Marcel, and treated ourselves to the amazing spa and three-Michelin-starred restaurant! The bubbles flowed and we experienced some incredible sun, snow and minus-20 temperatures. Our “main” honeymoon will be a mini-safari at the Sanctuary Makanyane lodge in South Africa, followed by a relaxing week in Mauritius, later on this year. We’ve still got this to look forward to in November!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | For us, our ceremony was the most beautiful and the most meaningful part of our wedding. We decided to have a humanist ceremony as it focused on people rather than religion, and was personal to our relationship. Our celebrant worked really hard to make sure that the ceremony was really tailored to how we feel about each other. The weather was also pretty memorable – minus temperatures before the Beast from the East swept in meant that outdoor photographs were a struggle but we pulled through! Our absolute favourite part of the wedding was a brilliant drum and bass set at the end of the night from our Disco Wed DJ Paddy – everyone, including the mums, were going crazy on the dancefloor. Lastly, we had a special moment when everyone had left and the house was shut up – we went round turning the lights off and found ourselves alone in the main hall in the moonlight – we had a little dance and cuddle and talked about how amazing the day had been.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Number one, the planning doesn’t have to be stressful as long as you don’t get too deeply mired in Pinterest – too much information overload can complicate things so go with your gut decisions and stick with it! Number two, you won’t ever please everybody, so don’t try! Just go with things that are going to make you happy as a couple on the day. Number three (we were given this advice before the big day), try to take some time out every so often during the day to spend time together, and also to look around and take it all in. So many people say that the day went really quickly or that they can’t remember it but we found that doing this meant that we remember every part of the day really clearly (pro tip – don’t drink too much too early either!).
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Luis Holden
Venue | Voewood
Catering | Florentina Catering – the lovely Annabelle (catering/event manager) and Jake (chef owner)
Bar | Frizzante Bar
Wedding breakfast wine from Chris | Reno Wine in Wymondham
DJ | Disco Wed – the lovely Paddy
Florist | Steph at FairyNuff Flowers
Dress | Emma Beaumont Atelier
Makeup | The AMAZING Melissa Abel
Hair | Flamingo Amy
Bridesmaid dresses | ASOS
Groom suit | Suit Supply
Gorgeous letterpress invitations, menus and table settings | Blush
Celebrant | Mags Allison at Humanists UK
Alex and Andy, I cannot thank you both enough for sharing your utterly wonderful wedding day with us xo Lou