Thursday 8 May 2014

A Castle Wedding with a Simple, Elegant Theme

If you want to feel like a princess on your big day, then you're going to need to hire a castle for your wedding venue. Luckily there are plenty of venues in the UK to tick your castle-box - not least the dramatic Hedingham Castle in Essex hired by gorgeous bride and groom, Liz and Mike. Liz wholeheartedly adopted the regal feel for her wedding style, wearing a beautiful, champagne gown from Allure Bridal, teamed with a divine, sparkly tiara by Andrew Prince. Sparkly emerald cut diamond earrings, plus an art deco design wedding ring completed her elegant look. Mike lived up to his bride's style, with a smart grey morning suit and dove-grey waistcoat. The whole ceremony was beautifully pictured by Kristian Leven, enjoy his shots - many more to come later today, including all the detail photographs from the elegant, ivory and platinum themed reception.

We got married on Friday 5 April, 2013 at Hedingham Castle in Essex. We had our ceremony in the castle itself before going over to the Georgian house and marquee for our reception.
The first part of my outfit I bought was my tiara. It was made by Andrew Prince in London who I went to see after seeing some of his pieces in a bridal magazine. His shop was being refurbished when we went, but he set me up with a Snow-White style mirror and a cabinet overflowing with tiaras and jewellery. The young girl in me who had dreamed of being a Disney princess was in her element!

I chose a tiara that had emerald cut accents that coordinated with my engagement ring {an emerald cut diamond solitaire}. It was more expensive than I had budgeted for, but I had to have it. It was as close to a real diamond tiara as you could get {Andrew makes the tiaras for Downton Abbey, that’s how good they are!}, and I couldn't get married in anything else. My mum bought it for me as a birthday present on the condition it became a family heirloom, and is now kept in a safe so that I don't wear it out. The moment my tiara went on was the moment I became a Bride and everything fell in to place for me. All the nerves disappeared and I just felt incredible.

My dress was by Allure Bridal and I bought it and my veil {which happened to be called 'Monaco' which is where my husband proposed!} from The Tailor's Cat in Cambridge. I had been to shops in London initially, and thought I found a dress in Pronovias but as we left my mum said 'you looked so sweet', at which point we stopped and stared at each other - I did not want to look sweet on my wedding day. So we started looking closer to home and tried The Tailor's Cat as I had always admired their window displays.

I didn’t think I would like it as it was a champagne colour, but fell in love. I had a sparkly applique removed as I was not into the glitzy dresses, but my mum persuaded me to keep the diamante buttons that went down the back and I am glad I did. I had originally wanted a very long veil but this didn’t really work with my dress so settled on a fingertip, very fine veil, with a scalloped lace edged that mirrored the edging on my dress beautifully.

I also bought myself a pair of emerald cut diamond earrings. They are the most frivolous thing I have ever bought and they took me six months to pay off but I am so glad I did. They went perfectly with my engagement ring and tiara, and they are something I can wear again for future special occasions and remember my wedding day. They were sourced for me by Preston and Duckworth in Bury St Edmunds. 

I found the Hedingham Castle online quite some time before I was even engaged. Neither my husband or I are religious, and while we did not want to get married in a church we still wanted a venue that had a certain kind of atmosphere and grandeur. The castle was perfect; not only beautiful but filled with history. Queen Elizabeth I once banqueted there, and being an Elizabeth myself I rather liked this. When we went to visit we stood alone in the castle and looked at each other. We knew it was where we would say our vows.

We also wanted a venue where we could do everything all in one place and we loved the house and marquee. I always felt I would rather spend money on a place that was already beautiful, and not have to do much to it. My track history with DIY projects meant that the kinds of beautiful things you see on Pinterest and Martha Stewart Weddings would have been a disaster in my hands. Hedingham was a place where we felt relaxed and new we could enjoy having a wonderful day with all our friends and family.

My Maid of Honor had a dress from Dessy. I wanted to use Dessy as they use Pantone colours and you can order other accessories to match {like the men's ties}. I found a style I liked online but we had to travel all the way to Colchester to try it on. 

Thankfully my Maid of Honour, Bekkie loved the gown {and looked incredible in it} so we ordered it right away. I also bought Bekkie a pearl and diamante comb from Glitzy Secrets, and a silver and pearl friendship necklace by Dogeared Jewellery, which came with a lovely poem.

I walked up the aisle to English Rose by the Jam {Mike's choice} and we walked back down to How Sweet it is to be Loved by You - a song that reminds us of one particularly happy date night when I was at Uni.

Our wedding rings were from Cellini Jewellers in Cambridge. Mine was a bespoke design by Paula Andrews to fit around my engagement ring. It's an art deco, fan design and I love having something unique and a little bit different.

All the suits were hired from Golding of Newmarket. Mike knew he wanted a grey morning suit which wasn’t hard to find, but we had our hearts set on dove grey double-breasted waist coats and these were a bit trickier. Golding were so friendly and helpful, and they got us the waistcoats we wanted from their other shop, and advised us on what would suit the two dads better.

We got the ties from Dessy {the best men and dads wore platinum, and Mike had ivory to coordinate with me). Mike bought his best men jazzy socks and pants as gifts from Ralph Lauren, so he could secretly wear something a bit less traditional.

During our wedding ceremony, we lit a unity candle ceremony - something I have always wanted to do, as I love the symbolism, and it allowed us to get both our mums involved in part of the ceremony. I wrote the words myself and a close friend of ours read them while we lit the candles. Finally, we were very lucky to have a relative conduct our wedding ceremony. This meant we got to meet her to discuss our ceremony in more detail a few weeks ahead of time. She also gave us some more suggestions for our vows, so we could really tailor our ceremony to us.

My hair was done by the incredible Kia White, an independent hairdresser who stood in last minute when my hairdresser had to pull out. We had the trial only a few days before the wedding, and I gave her a bunch of photographs that she managed to translate into the perfect hairstyle, that made me feel like a queen.
My makeup was done by Grace of Grace Lola Makeup. Grace is a very close friend of mine, who just happens to have studied makeup artistry at the University of the Arts London. It was lovely to have someone I knew so well with me on the day, but even if I hadn't been lucky enough to know a talented lady like Grace, a professional makeup artist would still have been a must, to make sure I felt my best all day.

We were very lucky to discover our photographer Kristian Leven through a very good friend of ours. I had been struggling to find a photographer that took the sort of photographs that we were after. Neither Mike or I are naturals in front of the camera, and knew we would look ridiculous in lots of posed shots. We also wanted our photos to be unique and not just the same as a lot of other people's weddings but with different faces. My friend Grace, who did my makeup, told me her sister was dating a photographer and I should look at his website; it was perfect.

Kristian really captures the love and happiness that is individual to each wedding he goes to and his photos tell a story just as it happens, not how it was engineered. We made an appointment to see him in London, and I took my cheque-book to pay the deposit, I was not going to miss out on booking this guy! 

On the day Kristian was lovely to have around and really put me at ease while he took the 'getting ready' shots. I have no idea how Kristian got some of the photos he did as it didn't even seem like he was there most of the time, he was so inconspicuous! Our package included all our gorgeous images on a USB and I now have as many of them as I can get away with around the house.

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