Having got married abroad ourselves, Olivier and I are huge fans of destination weddings, which is why our début real wedding posts have centred around tropical weddings on sunny isles. However there is a certain charm about a quintessential English wedding and we are thrilled to share this gorgeous wedding set in a stately home in Hampshire.
Nicola met David when she worked in recruitment and he was working as a head chef. She made a sales call to him to see if he needed catering staff – and from that he got staff and a wife! We were delighted when they agreed to share their special day with us. I adore the blush-pink roses and vintage details and dreamy lace wedding dress designed by the bride herself.
What was your inspiration for the big day?
Nicola: Our inspiration came from our love of tea. We wanted a relaxed affair but still wanted to include the traditional formalities of a wedding. We decided to have an afternoon tea party, working with a colour palette of mocha brown and sage green. We named our tables after different teas and had famous quotes from historic tea drinkers displayed on each one. The one on the top table was from Jean Luc Pickard in memory of my late father’s love of Star Trek.
We were also lucky enough to have so many friends and family involved in our day. Our marquee was gifted by my husband’s cousin; the stationery was all handmade by my mum; my dress was made by a university friend; the cake was made by a work colleague; the bridesmaids’ jewellery made by another friend and our vintage crockery was collected by everyone!
Which bridal style described you best?
Nicola: Vintage glamour meets shabby chic. I got in the vintage glamour with the dress I designed and had made for me, while my husband brought in the shabby chic with his carefully restored vintage Land Rover.
How did you choose your venue?
Nicola: We have both always worked in the hospitality industry and between us have worked in many of the wedding venues within a very wide radius of our home town. We spied Rownhams House on an internet search a few days after getting engaged. The owner invited us to come and visit and the deal was sealed on first look. The owners, Roger and Penny, were so accommodating. We could bring in our own suppliers, the decor was beautiful and the combination of different rooms and grounds fitted our needs perfectly. We have remained friends with Roger and Penny and are planning afternoon tea get-together soon.
What advice would you offer to other brides planning their weddings? Is there anything you would have done differently?
Nicola: Since the big day I have officially set up my own wedding planning business so I’m surrounded by wedding inspiration every day. However, I can honestly say I wouldn’t go back and change a thing. It was a perfect day for us. The one piece of advice I would give to other couples is that things won’t always go to plan – and small things will go wrong on the day – but remember to keep it all in perspective. The day will be perfect for you, whatever happens!
Do you have any tips for choosing accessories?
Nicola: Make your first visit Olivier Laudus! I had spied my Ella cuff in a number of magazines and knew it was the one. It fitted perfectly with my dress, shoes and tiara, and looked beautiful. I loved the fact that so many pieces of the Olivier Laudus range worked well together. It was fate that the earrings I picked to fit with the cuff were called Sandra which is my mum’s name…
What was your favourite moment of the whole day?
Nicola: Our ceremony obviously meant so much to both of us, but there are a couple of other moments that stood out for me. The first was sitting down to our delicious afternoon tea wedding breakfast. We laughed and cried at the speeches and drunk glasses of bubbly. I remember looking round and seeing all our guests tuck into tea and cake as they laughed and chatted. I knew then we had pulled off a great day.
The second came at the end of the night. We had returned back to the hotel with the last ‘men’ standing, our best man and my unofficial ‘best woman’. We were full from the yummy evening barbecue, slightly tipsy and all had aching feet but we stayed up for one last drink to reminisce about the day.
I also loved the fact our flowers were stunning. I had picked out the Hypnosis and Amnesia roses from a magazine for their slightly brown tones. I didn’t know what to expect but our florist was simply amazing, the arrangements took my breath away.
The finer details
Wedding date: 11 June 2011
Dress: Designed by the Bride and handmade
Location: Rownhams House, Southampton, Hampshire
Photographer: Geoff Roberts at Amazing Weddings