Today we share the stunning autumn wedding of Stephanie and George. After a low key engagement the couple had their wedding ceremony in London, fittingly so as this is where they met, fell in love and now live. They later held their marquee wedding celebration with their family and friends in Gloucestershire. Read on to see why Steph and George were so keen to use local suppliers, their favourite wedding presents and how they paid tribute to George’s job as an Officer in The Coldstream Guards.
We loved getting the notifications of gifts purchased with the personal messages from friends and family.
We had purchased gifts for friend's weddings through The Wedding Present Company and knew they had a lovely curated list of brands.
We became engaged at Steph's parent’s house in Gloucestershire. Neither of us wanted a grand or public engagement, so it fitted us to keep it low key. It was a quiet day and I nervously carried the ring with me all morning waiting for the opportunity to ask. We had bought a picnic in the morning, but because the weather was awful we ended up inside. It was in between watching Casino Royale and England vs. Wales that I decided it was the time, (I also wanted to watch the rugby without sweating about asking!). Fortunately, we had some fizz with us to celebrate, but I was unable to enjoy the rugby straight away as we clearly had to discuss the fact that we had just agreed to marry each other. I proposed with a placeholder ‘cocktail’ ring as I wanted Steph to be involved in the ring selection - and thank God I did! We used a friend, Emily Smeaton, who was fantastic and made the experience all the better, from diamond selection to ring design. We settled on a cushion cut solitaire diamond on a knife-edge gold band.
We wanted to celebrate the English countryside but without being too kitsch or fussy. We felt that simple elegance often speaks for itself and neither of us had ambitions for anything too ‘themed’. After the challenges of the pandemic we knew it was more important than ever to use local, expert suppliers and the wonderful produce at our finger tips.
Our ceremony was at St Mary's Berkeley, in Gloucestershire, next to the ancient Berkeley Castle. The reception was held in the garden of my childhood home near the River Severn.
Sam and Emma at the Country Marquee Co. are a wonderful couple with a wonderful business. They couldn't do enough for us, and the marquee was stunning. It could be seen from far away and resembled an old fashioned ship's sail with brilliant festoon lighting.
As the wedding was in mid-October we knew that we would lose the daylight quite quickly, so creating layers of light was a priority over an abundance of flowers. We went for a simple dark green and white theme. To create depth in the marquee we used paper lanterns anywhere we could. Large, white, helium filled balloons on the banquet tables, then dark green foliage and storm lanterns for a glow enabled us to create layers of both height and light. We were keen to use the church flowers as much as possible, so they were repurposed at the entrance of the marquee.
We weren't too concerned about having a traditional or classic wedding car. The father of the bride's Land Rover was given a scrub and a few ribbons, and was the bridal carriage to and from the church.
Jo at Aqua Flowers in Cirencester understood our vision perfectly. The team created natural floral looking pillars that looked as if they were growing up the ancient doors of Berkeley Church. Inside the church we went for complimenting pedestals at the altar. All of the buttonholes and bouquets were deep green, white and pale pink which was perfect for the crisp autumn day. We are also super lucky to have a grower and floral stylist in the family. Bridesmaid and sister Eleanor, grows blooms in the family garden and works between London and Gloucestershire, styling fashion and press events. We left Jo's team to the heavy lifting on the day, but Eleanor created beautiful bouquets and wreaths around the house and garden, so we were spoiled with beautiful floral details.
Shopping for a wedding dress in the pandemic was not the most enjoyable of times. I wasn't able to take more than one person and it is not fun wearing a mask in your 'wow' moment. I had no idea what I wanted, so I took a friend's advice and tried everything and anything I liked to get a feel for what suited me. I went to several boutiques in London and Bristol and was giving up hope of finding anything I loved after around 9 months. We were recommended a small boutique in Minchinhampton in the Cotswolds called The White Room. Zoey and Alex are incredibly lovely ladies and wonderful at what they do! The selection is smaller and more curated than other boutiques I'd visited. I quickly settled on a Jesus Piero ball gown with fun bow details. I loved the weight and texture of the satin, and the low front and back was fun and elegant, but still ‘young’. I also bought my veil there on the final fitting. I don't tend to wear much jewellery generally, so I just wore some simple diamond drop earrings I borrowed from my mother. My shoes were silver block heel from Aeyde. On reflection I'm taller than I wanted to be, but I was able to walk on gravel, grass and also dance the night away!
After much persuasion my Mother's hairdresser (who I can't ever seem to get an appointment with!) kindly broke his own rule and agreed to do all of the bridal party's hair on the day. CJ is an award-winning colour stylist and the only person my Mother trusts to do her hair. The brief was to create a glamorous low bun inspired by the Spanish elegance of my dress. The rest of the party had similar low buns or bouncy blow dries. My makeup artist was another fabulous find. Phoebe made me feel a million dollars! I don't really like having my makeup done so I was a tad nervous when I went for my trial. She used all of the products I was familiar with but applied them in a way that make me look super healthy, fresh and the best version of myself. Both Phoebe and CJ were a part of the fun and stayed well after the glamour session was over!
George's existing black morning coat and houndstooth trousers fit like a glove and knew he'd be comfortable wearing them on the day. He treated himself to a waistcoat from Oliver Brown, a tie from Cordings and wore his trusted Church's Oxfords. For our actual marriage at Chelsea Old Church, London, George wore another simple old favourite, his Roderick Charles blue single breasted suit. I bought him a silk Salvatore Ferragamo tie as a wedding gift.
I wanted my four grown up bridesmaids to be sexy but still church and autumn weather appropriate. We settled on navy full length gowns from Ghost. The cut and colour of the dresses is so flattering, and they are perfect to wear to a special event in the future. Our gorgeous nephews were page boys at the church in blue knickerbockers, white shirt and long socks. The unofficial bridesmaid was Mabel, our family Labradoodle, who made friends with everyone and even had her own coordinating bow. She was a very dutiful bridesmaid and even sat behind me during the meal.
Another wonderful find was Jonathan from Big Event Catering. Jonathan's principles on ingredients and feasting were aligned with ours, so creating the menu together was fun and easy.
Canapes: Severn Vale cider glazed Gloucester Old Spot pork belly bites
Godsell’s Holy Smoked rarebit
Crispy Cotswold duck lollipops with Coaley plum sauce
Homemade pork, sage and apple or butternut squash and spinach sausage roll bites
Feta and beetroot tartlets
Mini Severn & Wye Valley hot smoked salmon fish cakes with our own chilli jam
Main: Sous vide pork fillet with crackling, potato dauphinoise, apple sauce and rainbow vegetables
Pudding: Apple and cinnamon tarte tatin, with compressed Coaley apple, salted caramel ice cream
George and I are big foodies and we knew that disco fuel would go down well so in the evening we had Hereford beef burgers in a brioche bun. We were due to have 5 bridesmaids but one was stuck in Australia. Her mother kindly made our wedding cake as a gift, and it was a lovely reminder of a close friend who was missing.
We sourced all of our own alcohol, and Jonathan's team served all day. We had Champagne for the drinks reception. For dinner we had a White Burgundy to compliment the pork and Primitivo for those who preferred red. We toasted the speeches with limoncello as we were off to Venice for the honeymoon. For the party we had all the classics: gin & tonics, a barrel or two of local beer, bottles beers, prosecco and wine.
Our photographer was another excellent local supplier. Ian Baker is a ball of energy and made the whole process fun. George and I made it clear that we weren't too comfortable about being the centre of attention for the day. He eased us through the day seamlessly and even managed to get us kissing in a field despite our hesitation! When we left for the church it was cold and grey but by the time we left the church the most beautiful golden autumn sun came out and we were lucky enough that it stayed all the way through the reception and was captured perfectly by Ian.
We were recommended Truly Medley Deeply by a few people and were lucky enough to book them at short notice. They were incredible! They have had 5 bookings and counting from our wedding alone! Everyone was consistently on the dance floor during their sets. We then had another DJ for later in the evening to keep the party going.
A friend of ours, Ishah, is a talented artist and kindly designed a beautiful and personal illustration for the invitations. We then used a local printer to apply the text and print on beautiful card.
As we had to postpone our big wedding due to Covid, we decided to get married on our original date, unsure if the October date would still stand. As we met, fell in love, and now live in London it felt right to have our marriage here. Chelsea Old Church is a special place for George's family so we chose to have an intimate ceremony of just immediate family on 15th May 2021. I wore a simple pink Ghost dress and arrived in the rain with my father in an Uber! We didn't have any church flowers, choir, or photographer, but it was still such a wonderful day. After the church we had plenty of champagne and canapes in a drawing room at The Cavalry & Guards Club. It was a very happy day with our families and although it was incredibly special we still felt like we wanted the big wedding with all of our friends and the family we couldn't invite. So it was made even more special to know that we still had the white wedding party to look forward to!
The ushers had a hilarious lunch before the ceremony and were on great form at the reception. They all had fancy dress hats and wearable table plans. In the church we had the local men's choir supporting the hymns but also singing 3 love songs. There wasn't a dry eye in the house! The vicar who conducted the blessing at the church christened myself and my 2 sisters, and our wedding was the last service before he retired so it was particularly special.
1. Try to have fun with the planning. It is a lot of hard work but keep yourselves at the centre of your decisions.
2. Don't sweat the small stuff, people won't notice anything missing beyond the essentials (food, drink and music!)
3. Get married quickly, this quickens the decision making! The tough times came from sitting on decisions for too long and overthinking it!
4. Our photographer was right when he said that investing time in the family photographs is worth it as you may not appreciate them now, but in 20 years you'll be glad you spent the extra time.
Engagement Ring : Emily Smeaton
Photographer : Ian Baker
Marquee : Country Marquee Company
Caterer : Big Event Catering
Make up artist : May Williams
Hair : CJ Hair Dressing
Bridal fashion : The White Room
Grooms Fashion : Oliver Brown
Bridesmaids Fashion : Ghost
Band : Truly Medley Deeply
Stationary : Ishah Rayson