When starting out the wedding planning process, this couple decided to go down the dry hire route to really personalise their celebrations. Not an easy option by any means, but bride Josie was confident thanks to her event organisation skills and pulled together a really rather remarkable day indeed.
WWW readers Josie and George settled on the 30th of July 2016 for their nuptials and stumbled upon Brickendonbury House in Hertfordshire, with it’s gorgeous grounds for the pole tent marquee and stunning country views. With a vision of a whimsical, natural summer garden party style wedding, they added in a dose of luxury and elegance too. Their colour scheme was really relaxed and bright, with light tones used throughout. There were potted succulent favours, the prettiest naked cake you ever did see and an abundance of flowers. Big beautiful stems such as peonies, roses and hydrangeas were used in blush and white tones.
Josie decided from the get go that she would be a Jenny Packham bride and didn’t see look a vision in Daphne? She then accessorised her gown with a matching head piece and a Halfpenny London veil. Not to mention those spangly Jimmy Choo heels! George looked ever so dapper in his grey suit, bow tie and polka dot pocket square. What a beautiful couple.
Thanks so much to Wookie Photography for sharing these divine images.
THE PROPOSAL | George took me to Jersey for a short birthday break in November 2014. He had planned to propose by Elizabeth Castle, which you can only get to when the tide goes out. All went to plan except that the castle was closed on Mondays! So, he took the plunge and proposed outside of it instead. He had bought me a mock ring (as I am a jewellery fiend) and so we went off to NYC to choose the actual ring!
THE VISION | I wanted a very relaxed, summer garden party, with a very whimsical, natural feel. We knew we wanted a large marquee, but I didn’t want it to feel too rustic, there had to be a certain element of luxury and elegance and so I incorporated things like the huge chandeliers and cream carpet. There was no colour scheme or theme as such, it was an entirely organic process. Except, I knew that I wanted a neutral, fresh and incredibly light scheme. So, I had, yellows, white, gold, green as the base and then wanted to use really bright and fruity colours outside, which would hopefully pop in the sun!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | I planned the entire thing myself! I have previous event experience and so I knew I wanted a complete dry hire. The first step was to find a venue. Once we had this secured along with the church date, I took the most important things in turn. Although, I did actually buy my dress and shoes first before anything else! I used all of the usual tools for inspiration, Pinterest, Whimsical Wonderland, Brides magazine etc. The key thing for me, and for planning anything really, is to make sure that you go out to at least 3 suppliers for each thing that you need and I always have to meet the individuals that I will be working with as it’s quite easy (and quick) to see who you will work well with, who understands your vision and who will just rub you up the wrong way!
THE VENUE | I knew that I didn’t want another hotel ballroom or anything inside, but it was incredibly difficult to get anything which incorporated the outdoors and that was completely dry hire. After much deliberation, George and I decided to focus on Hertfordshire (where we had just bought a house) and so we chose a very dear church to us, just up the road. After hours of scanning the internet, I came across Brickendonbury House, a working site during the week (it’s actually owned by Malaysian rubber developers!) but, at the weekend they were hiring out the grounds, behind the colonial house, completely dry. Once I had walked through the back doors to the main house, with the moat in the distance and the rolling fields behind, I knew this was it. However, not everyone could see my vision! We did view it on a cold, rainy day, but I just knew that in the height of summer it would look amazing!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I knew I wanted a Jenny Packham as her designs fit my style perfectly and I knew the light and flowy fabric would go with the garden party feel. It was the Daphne and I also managed to got hold of the matching head piece. I added an underskirt to give it a bit more body and incorporated a silk mix cathedral veil was from Halfpenny London, and my shoes were Jimmy Choo (mainly chosen so that I could wear them again!) Despite the simple cut of the dress, it does have a lot of beading / embellishment and so I wanted everything else to be small and simple. I sourced citrine pear drop earrings and a small citrine necklace from the US and did my hair and make up myself as I really struggled to find someone that didn’t make me look overdone! So on the day, I took the time and along with my sister’s help, managed to put together vintage looking hair.
FINDING THE DRESS | I had trial days at Jenny Packham and at a local wedding dress shop and then eventually ordered my Daphne from a boutique in Ireland and then had it tailored at a boutique in Mayfair.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | George’s suit was from Ermenegildo Zegna and we sourced polka dot pocket squares and matching bow ties for the groom, the best man and the ushers.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | The music was wholly key to the event. George and I wanted a live band that would cover both Greek and English music and Midas Touch more than delivered. I had a jazz medley throughout the reception drinks and then after dinner, the band played a combination of the older Greek songs with a mix of new and old English songs which had the dancefloor full all night!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My bridesmaids (my sister and my friend) were amazing throughout. I didn’t want them to look too ‘bridesmaidy’ and so I sourced vintage looking tea dresses in mint green from ASOS and left them to source their own shoes (as comfortable as possible, or not!) but the only specific was the colour gold!
THE FLOWERS | I sourced a local florist and after talking to her at length about my ideas I knew she understood what I was hoping to achieve. I wanted big (peonies, hydrangeas, stocks, roses etc) neutral coloured blooms in white, peach etc. The tables were to be low level, natural looking and there was 3 or 4 vases on each table. She also wrapped the marquee poles in foliage and stocks and it just looked absolutely magical. For the reception drinks outside, I asked the florist to use really bright and bold colours which looked great in the sunshine!
THE CAKE | I didn’t want a conventional iced cake and had seen the new craze of naked cakes on Pinterest etc. and so met with a few makers but as soon as I met Lauren from French Made I knew she was going to be the one! Her cakes tasted amazing, and she made us a 4 tier cake, each tier being a different flavour. It was decorated with figs and real flowers and looked absolutely amazing.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | My photographer Amy (Wookie Photography) was absolutely amazing. The poor thing had sprained her wrist literally the night before the wedding. I was in a complete panic but she was so determined to fulfil the job she still came and brought her amazing partner (Frank) who is also a photographer as well! She is simply psychic, and completed delivered on the fine art, hazy summer’s day collection of reportage style photography which I wanted. Her work is beautiful, and the light and colours captured in the photos, not to mention some incredibly poignant moments (parents, stolen moments with George etc.) are all priceless.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | I wanted as much of a personal touch throughout as possible. I made the table plan by using a large picture frame in gold. I took out the glass, wrapped the backing in hessian and then pegged the table plans alongside instagram pictures of George and I throughout our time together. It became a bit of a talking point as everyone was trying to guess where we were in each pic! For the favours, we had a traditional Greek biscuit (‘bastichi’) in a rustic box but I also planted miniature succulents in small gold pails. I individually stamped the luggage tag place names with an ink kit, tied a hessian bow around them and on the back had a kooky stamp made that said ‘let love grow’ – a bit of a play on the succulents! Alongside the grand chandeliers, I sourced bunting in yellow and white which sat together really well. I wanted the back of the marquee to be windowed so that the guests could look out onto the fields.
THE HONEYMOON | We spent 3 weeks touring the East Coast of America, which was an absolute dream. We started off in Boston, went up to Bar Harbor (a beautiful island near the Canada border in Maine) then back down to Portland, Miami for a few days and finished off in Florida Keys. It was so much fun and we went a few months after the wedding, which was a great thing to help get over post-wedding blues!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Having my family together for the biggest party ever was so amazing for me especially as my parents are elderly. There were moments throughout the day where I would look around and everyone just looked so happy and relaxed (copious amounts of champagne could have had something to do with it!) that I just felt incredibly content, not to mention knowing that I now get to spend the rest of my life with my incredible husband!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Stick to your guns. Everyone will have a view, and will feel that it’s appropriate to tell you it!! There is no set formula for a wedding, so just do what you want and make it your day, it’s not about anyone else, and that includes guest list, venue etc. Don’t be afraid to negotiate on prices, and look for new/up and coming suppliers (a lot of mine were just starting out).
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Wookie Photography
Videographer | Storybox Films
Marquee | Herts and Essex Marquees
Caterer | Anna’s Kitchen
Cake | French Made
Flowers | Burgeon
Invites | Minted
Band | Midas Touch Band
Josie and George, thanks so much to you both for sharing your dreamy story here at WWW xo Lou