Friday 25 October 2013

A Secret Garden Wedding with a Woodland & Travel Theme

Regular readers of this wedding blog will knew there's nothing I like more than a Real Bride Submission. The lovely Kelly read Before the Big Day while planning her wedding, and I'm thrilled to feature all her incredible wedding ideas. Like me, she hosted her wedding in a secret garden, and chose a mixture of themes for her decorations and props, and a colourful palette. There's so many exciting stealworthy ideas in the reception pictures {hot air balloons, pinecone place markers and Tizer bottles!!}, but first feast your eyes on Kelly and Pete's stunning wedding ceremony. I love the hay-bales and natural wedding arch, Kelly's colourful bridesmaids and the festival-style silk banners - plus giant balloons {yippee!}. Kelly has the most incredible wedding dress story - be sure to read her answers to the Before the Big Day Brides' Questionnaire, and enjoy Richard Galloway's stunning wedding photographs.

We got married in the beautiful Secret Garden at Wasing Park in Berkshire. It was a bright and sunny May Day. I liked the idea of a secret garden full of surprise and intrigue, and Wasing Park was the perfect venue. We kept areas hidden so as to surprise our guests with each stage of the wedding.

We had a combination of decorations and themes - a travel theme, a secret woodland theme, and a night theme of fire. We also wanted plenty of colour to give the feel of a fiesta, but a country garden version.

The story of my wedding dress is amazing but true. My first love and now very dear and fabulous friend is now head of menswear design at fashion house Bottega Veneta based out of Milan. He knew as my mummy was no longer with us, that I would want some support with this very important task. I was so grateful for his expertise, time and guidance - he turned a situation that could have been quite sad and difficult, into a very special experience, and for this I will forever be in his debt.

We started of by going to Harrods and Harvey Nichols so as I could try on lots of gowns, and from this impression he sketched a dress that would be suitable for my body shape, and would make me feel and look a million dollars. From this point we found a talented dress maker {Charlotte from What Mother Made}, and Greg flew over from Milan for every fitting! I was a very lucky girl indeed.

I was also a exceptionally lucky to have shoes especially made for me from this seasons collection from Bottega Veneta, but in cream leather to match my dress. 

I bought my veil from Caroline Castigliano. It was very long, and we used the lace from the dress to create a trim for the veil. I had fresh flowers in my hair and borrowed a stunning crystal leaf tiara from my sister-in-law, so my accessories all tied in with the secret woodland theme.

I had two bridesmaids, my sister and goddaughter, and I allowed them to freestyle and choose their own dresses. One wore a royal blue shoulder-less cocktail dress, and the other wore a bright raspberry cocktail dress. 

Even though the colours didn't match, they worked perfectly, as they had identical bouquets, which tied the outfits together with panache. I wanted to have plenty of colours, and the bridesmaids' dresses felt like a right fit. 

I had also two flower girls who had cute silk dresses teamed with sunflower headbands, and two pageboys, who were suited and booted in waistcoats and cravats.

Pete chose to support a new tailor in Surrey. He went for a classic black tail suit, in very fine silk. His best men rocked the same outfits, but with a shorter jacket. He had the option to change to the shorter jacket in the evening, but kept his tails on. 

Pete and his best men all wore white ties and looked very dapper. He had two best men, one of whom is a barber, so they all wore very sharp haircuts!

Sadly my mother is no longer with us, and I was keen to remember her on my big day. When she got married she wasn't allowed to walk down the aisle to the Hawaiian wedding march, so I was determined I would instead, and so we hired a Dixie jazz band to play me down the aisle.

Our wedding ceremony was outdoors and overlooking fields, so I was keen to reflect the natural world in our decorations. We had hay-bales for pews, and I asked our florist, Yolanda Chiaramello to create an arch to walk through, on my way down the aisle. Yolanda met the brief perfectly by choosing beautiful willow, ivy and wild flowers that impressed our guests, and fitted the surroundings perfectly. 

Working with our incredible humanist celebrant Zena Birch made our planning somewhat magical. Zena met with us regularly to talk through our intentions, and the ceremony. We individually wrote letters to her, and she used these {amongst other elements} to create our bespoke ceremony. 

Zena came up with the idea of playing pass-the-parcel with our rings, and even sent our final written ceremony to us the week before our wedding day. This - the most important part of our planning - was very, very special and heartfelt, all thanks to Zena.

Our photographer was Richard Galloway. He is an old friend and a professional wedding photographer. We felt we couldn't have made a better decision, as he knew us, and knew that we were planning something fun and curious. 

Richard's style is reportage, and we wanted more natural shots than traditional posed wedding photographs, so he was the perfect fit.

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