I am lucky to have watermeadows at home, so we took a chance on the weather and decided to have an old fashioned style marquee set in the depths of rural Suffolk. We wanted everything to be very natural, to look as if it had sprung up from the land, so the decoration was quite rustic; lots of ivy, simple, beautiful flowers, nothing too ‘done’. We had a row of fairy lit conifer trees to break the marquee into two sections; the first for the speeches, bar & dancefloor and the second for the Wedding breakfast. The flowers on the tables were simple, low key and pretty and we added a splash of contemporary style with striking black candle sticks in clusters on each table, which pulled everything together. The tables were trestled (about 20 guests per table), configured in a bricked layout, which increased the intimacy of the marquee and enabled people to talk to lots of different people on their tables. Our theme was simple, natural, elegant and romantic. We wanted to achieve
a relaxed, late-summer feel, taking inspiration from the natural beauty of the surroundings. My dress was ivory lace and my bridesmaids were also in ivory – reflecting the simple colours of the marquee and flowers.
I absolutely loved organising our Wedding. Both Si and I wanted it to be a team effort and inclusive of our families, so we had lots of input from everyone. From music, cake, menu choices, wines, etc. My parents were unbelievable – so much thought and special details were put into the day, not to mention the hours of physical work that went into bringing our ideas to life. We got engaged at the end of January and married at the start of September so we only had 7 full months to plan the wedding. It meant we had to be super organised and very decisive, but I enjoyed working that way, there was no faffing (which is unlike me!).
Saying our vows was unbelievable, nothing prepares you for the enormity of that moment. There were so many other things I loved too; the days before as the excitement built, getting ready with my bridesmaids, the journey to the church with my Dad, the journey on the way back from church with my new husband! Simply being surrounded by all our gorgeous friends and family and the energy in the room from everyone having a happy day made it so special.
I tried on so many dresses, originally thinking I wanted something very full and traditional. However, when the other elements of the day started to come together, I soon realised a vintage lace dress would be much more in keeping with the day. I eventually found it at The Vintage Wedding Dress Company. My advice would be to remain open to a variation on what you originally dream’t you’d want. As the details of the day evolve, so will your vision of your dress. You will know when you’ve
found ‘the one’.
My husband’s morning suit, waistcoat and white shirt were all from Hackett, his tie was by Alfred Dunhill and shoes were Oxfords by Samuel Windsor.
I asked my sister Scarlett and my brother’s girlfriend Sophie to make our wedding cake. They are both brilliant bakers so it made sense to keep it in the family. They sweetly kept the whole thing a surprise from Si and I so we had no involvement in it whatsoever. We were even banned from the kitchen for two days before the wedding so that nothing would be given away. The result blew us away – a four tiered, beautifully iced cake, decorated with black lace and hand made butterflies (my favourite things – Dad had butterflies on his waistcoat to match). And it was absolutely delicious!
I wanted lots of green and white, rather than a multitude of coloured flowers, but brought variation through textures and different species of white flowers (roses, lilies, gypsophola) and occasionally soft pink. We used a brilliant Suffolk based florist, Jane Cazlet.
The bridesmaid dresses were perhaps the most challenging part – finding dresses in the right style/colours that all of the girls were happy with. Eventually my step-mother Jacqui found beautiful dresses in Zara, long ivory maxi dresses, so we decided to have the bridesmaids in the same colour as me, and it was such a good decision. As a unit we all looked like one, which had a lovely ethereal effect, perfect for the thought behind the rest of the day. My little goddaughter Lily, who was my flower girl, was in the ‘Woodnymph’ dress by I Love Gorgeous. Very sweet. The older girls had clusters of white roses in their hair and Lily had a wreath with little white rose buds and gypsophola. The key was making sure they all looked and felt gorgeous.
All of the decorations were sourced by the family, from the place settings – which were each handmade by looping stone coloured ribbon into napkin rings, adding old fashioned luggage labels for the names, and attaching everything together with white paper rose heads and white cotton ribbons. The table names (named after our cows!) were displayed on hawthorn twigs, cut fresh that morning, in little jam jars of earth. We created a bridal arch over the gateway into the field, which was decorated by Jacqui and her friends that morning with ivy, eucalyptus leaves and giant hydrangea heads. We also had a lovely surprise at the end of the night where our families & friends launched lanterns into the night sky as Si and I walked away (thank you family for organising).
There was a lot of music throughout the day. In the church we had two performances, one of ‘Pie Jesu’ by Si’s aunt who is a professional opera singer, and one of ‘Red Red Rose’ by Robert Burns, sung by a great friend. For the drinks reception we had a four piece jazz band which was perfect for toe tapping as the sun set, then a friend performed an acoustic version of our favourite song for our first dance. Then last but not least we had a band called ‘The Gifted’ that rocked the marquee for the rest of the night.
Henrietta’s Three Top Tips:
1. Stay calm and enjoy every moment. It rushes by so quickly so make sure you take a
step back with your new husband at the reception to look on and take it all in.
2. Be organised but don’t be militant to the point that you lose the sense of fun. Some
things won’t go to plan, but it just doesn’t matter, no one will notice!
3. Allow plenty of time and thought for the table plans – it really shows if you have
considered each guest’s place carefully. My cousin’s advice was to ‘imagine each table
is an individual dinner party’ and give it the same consideration.Suppliers: Dress – The Vintage Wedding Dress Company / Veil – This was my something borrowed (from my friend Plum) / Shoes – Harriet Wilde / Flowers – Jane Cazlet (for church, marquee and tables) – Hebe Flowers for bouquets / Make-up – I did my own makeup but, treated myself to lots of lovely new Bobby Brown / Hair – Richard at Avalon / Bridesmaid Dresses – Zara & I Love Gorgeous / Cake – Homemade by the very talented Scarlett Guess & Sophie Madge / Photographer – Toby Keane / Marquee – The Great Event Company / Caterers – The Running Duck Food Company