Today we share the classic English wedding of WPC couple Antonia and Craig. They wanted a day steeped in tradition, family and personal touches. Join us as we look back on their Church wedding, followed by a dramatic Cowdray House reception. Read on to hear their gorgeous engagement story, read about their favourite gifts and their advice to future couples.
Being able to visit the showroom and have an in-person appointment gave the experience such a personal touch. We could see and feel so many gorgeous items and really visualise what they could look like in our home. It was also something we tried to take our time over, and being able to revisit the showroom through our engagement was a joy.
The personalised service is second-to-none, and I loved that The Wedding Present Company had a wonderful connection to my bridal boutique, Miss Bush. It felt like a wonderfully connected family determined to deliver the best experience.
Not yet! But that's our fault for enjoying married life and not closing our list!
Craig and I have been together since 14th May 2009 (so 12 years as a couple) but as Craig quite rightly said in his Groom speech, our story started 13.5 years ago at Hurstpierpoint College, West Sussex. He tells the story differently, but we first started “speaking” after I sent him a rather embarrassing message on Facebook and slowly we got to know one another. Craig being the year above at our boarding school was quite the College gossip. We went to different Universities (Exeter and Reading) which we didn’t intentionally do but it definitely allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in university life, but long distance was difficult. Eventually, we both moved to London (me to do a Masters) and Craig to start a Graduate Scheme at Network Rail. In 2015 we bought our first flat together.
Craig’s proposal was a complete surprise, despite having been together for so long! On Good Friday 2018 he took me for the Sunrise Breakfast at Duck and Waffle, London which I had always wanted to do. He then took me for a walk through a silent St James’ Park and with a backdrop of Buckingham Palace he proposed. I was absolutely stunned and couldn’t speak. He had planned an entire day, booked us in to The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel and had a table reserved at my favourite restaurant, The Wolseley. Just to make sure my answer was a “yes” the next day Craig drove me to St Mary’s in Thakeham, West Sussex and as the sun was setting and proposed once again. He had bought a toy ring for me to keep so we could choose my engagement ring together. We both wanted a long engagement so that the wedding wouldn’t completely take over our lives and to give us an opportunity to save and plan. I also felt a little young to officially tie the knot! From engagement to wedding was going to be 2.5 years. And then, the Pandemic. We decided to push the wedding back by a year to allow for the dust to (hopefully) settle and allow us to have the day we imagined.
We always knew our day would be traditional with a Church of England wedding in a church of significance to family and us, and English Country themed wedding with whites, greens, blush pinks and a touch of blue. Very traditional and what my parents also chose 35 years ago. I always wanted a large and long wedding dress that would evoke a sense of a classic wedding and bride (without looking like a meringue or that I was trying too hard). The boys were always going to be in Morning Suits, we wanted the day to be timeless, classic and personal.
Cowdray House, Petworth, West Sussex
My dress was custom-made by Jesus Peiro from Miss Bush, Ripley. The dress was a bespoke creation of styles from Jesus Peiro and from the Miss Bush Anniversary dress. The Overtrain was also a Jesus Peiro special from the 2020 collection. My veil was a bespoke design by The Couture Veil and Sassi Holford, overseen by the Miss Bush team.
My shoes were Manolo Blahnik, Hangisi in white satin. Earrings were pearl and diamond studs from Liberty London. My Engagement Ring was by Sophie Breitmeyer, a yellow gold ring with diamonds set in to the band, central round diamond with diamond halo, platinum top setting.
The Bridal Dream Team (Nadia and Gavin)
Caper & Berry provided our food.
First Course: Beef carpaccio, House-cured fillet of beef served with anaged parmesan croquette, rocket cress, sunblush tomatoes and truffle oil. Beetroot carpaccio, Golden beetroot, roasted and thinly sliced, topped with whipped goat's curd, pickled vegetables, beetroot crumb, baby herbs, cold-pressed rapeseed oil and garlic salt
Second Course: Roasted rump and slow-cooked shoulder of lamb, served with a confit barrel potato, vibrant pea puree, asparagus spears, lamb jus, and salsa verde dressing, Buttermilk marinated halloumi pan-fried and served with a garlic and thyme potato rosti, asparagus spears, vodka spiked tomato and summer herb salsa
Dessert: Trio of wedding cake, by Emily's Mixing Bowl, Served with seasonal berries and cream.
DT8, our first dance opened with Paolo Nutini's 'Someone Like You' which the Mother of the Bride choreographed a routine to for us! As the track faded, DT8 broke in to 'Pencil Full of Lead' by Paolo Nutini and everyone raced to the dancefloor.
Though certainly not wedding planners, Erin Overend and Amber De Savary at Cowdray House were an invaluable support. Erin oversaw our whole day, and was there from 7am when I arrived at the House until the final sparkler farewell.
Putting on my dress, overtrain and veil for the first time and the first reveal to my Father. Seeing Craig's face for the first time at the top of the aisle, my veil getting slightly caught on a church grate as I walked up, my sister singing beautifully during the Signing of the Register, squeezing in to the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud with my lengthy train and veil completely covering Craig, performing the 'Dirty Dancing' lift! Our sparkler farewell in a Cowdray House Golf Buggy with 'Just Married' on the back!
Trust your suppliers – they are experts for a reason! But, if there’s something you really want or your gut is telling you to push on, listen to that feeling. Communicate what you want to your videographer and photographer. They can’t read minds and key photos could be missed.
Venue: Cowdray House
Engagement Ring: Sophie Breitmeyer
Transport: Premier Carriage
Flowers: This Floral Life
Hair & Make Up: The Bridal Dream Team
Caterer: Caper & Berry
Cake: Emily's Mixing Bowl
Photographer: Helen Abraham
Videographer: Ash Videography