From the bride:
What was the theme of your day?
Romantic is the best way to describe it I think. Our dream was to always get married in nature, but because we live in the city and had so many overseas guests, we had to find a space close by and literally turn it into an overgrown rose garden. The décor was all very soft, feminine and dreamy, with a combination of salvaged wood and industrial style furniture.
What did you want in your dress?
As a stylist I knew this would be the hardest thing for me as I am always seeing new things and changing my mind. I always knew I didn’t want anything over the top, but something sexy and simple. I looked at all the couture bridal houses but couldn’t find anything I liked so I decided to have something made. I originally tried a designer in Australia, but it was too hard to do from New York. I then had another seamstress here do something, but it didn’t work out either and we turned it into something I could use for a shoot. Literally weeks before the wedding I still had no dress, I searched everywhere, and finally came across a vintage couture gown on an online auction which I fought for, bought it and had it shipped from the UK. I had only seen it in photos and knew it would only arrive a week before the wedding, so the obsessive stylist in me thought it would be safe to have a backup, so I pulled a favour with a design friend and flew to LA to meet with Michael Costello and we literally created a dress on the spot, and I flew out that night and had the dress sent to me a few days later. Both dresses arrived the week before the wedding, and as luck would have it, they were both perfect. So different but exactly what I wanted to wear, so I ended up wearing both. The Elie Saab was completely beaded, cap sleeved with sheer panels on the chest and waist and a completely open back, long and slim fitted, and the Michael Costello was white super low cut, and low back with a big flowing skirt with a long train, which was made up of almost 15 yards of fabric. I wore the couture for the ceremony, with my custom headpiece and Reem Acra veil and then the Costello for the party with huge crystal Balmain earrings.
Tell us about all your details!
The Venue: We literally attempted about 100 different venues, cities and countries before we found this one. Between me, Oli and my family, we all wanted to have it in different places, which confused things a lot. Oli wanted a tropical island, my family wanted Australia, and I wanted somewhere outside New York, like the Hamptons or Woodstock. We finally all agreed on New York, and my mum flew over and we went hunting for a venue. We had exhausted every option when suddenly the night before she left we found The Foundry. We took one look at it and knew it was the place. It was perfect, the combination of a raw space with lots of greenery – it was an architectural gem. It had different spaces so we could hold the whole wedding in one place. Then it was just about finding a date to do it on, as the venue is booked years in advance. We went on hold for a few dates and waited a few weeks till something opened up, and the rest fell into place.
Bridesmaids Dresses: I fell in love with a Emillo Pucci runway look almost a year ago, and decided I wanted the bridesmaids to look sexy, trendy and in that style. I ended up having a Parsons graduate custom make the dresses for me. They were probably the most work out of everything and there were a few trial and errors to get them right, plus all my bridesmaids lived on opposite ends of the globe, so we made them all made by measurement and then altered the week of the wedding. They wore cropped cap sleeve tops and a full skirt in like a light beige geometric floral fabric. They then all changed into black Reformation low back dresses for the party.
Accessories: I picked my accessories months before I even knew what dress I was wearing. I got a custom floral headpiece made by a designer in the UK (inspired by a Zuhair Murad show) and it was made of porcelain flowers and crowned around the back of the head, open at the front. I got my cathedral lace veil made by Reem Acra. The Balmain earrings I bought assuming to wear at the rehearsal dinner, but loved them so much I ended up saving them for the actual wedding day.
The men: Oliver wore a Givenchy black slim cut tuxedo and custom star collar tips, with a Gucci white modern shirt, white bowtie and black Lanvin shoes. The Groomsmen all worn black Calvin Klein tuxedos and black bowties. I wanted all the boys to look sharp and dapper, and there were so many of them, I knew that the safest option was a black tux.
Hair & Makeup: My hair was styled loosely in a massive french braid. My hair stylist was Ryan Mitchell, the best editorial hair stylist I know. An Aussie boy in New York and he was incredible. I don’t know anyone else who could have done such a perfect job for me. He did my hair for all the events that week and killed it. My colourist was Ryal Pearl (also a legend colourist) and they both work at Cutler Salon on West Broadway. Another incredible Australian in New York is makeup artist Stoj Bulic. I had worked with her many times before and knew she was the one to use on my big day.
Favours: We had a lot of overseas guests (108 to be exact), so we wanted something iconic and New York based. We gave a gorgeous Coffee table book called ‘Humans of New York’, and cookies from Dean & Deluca in different shapes of New York landmarks. We also put in a custom note to each of the guests and recommendations of restaurants, shops and place to see in New York.
What was your favourite moment?
Holding mum and dads hand down the aisle, and the butterflies and tears that came as I got in front of Oli under the chuppah.
Any advice for planning brides?
Make sure you have a good wedding planner who is organised, experienced and aggressive in the planning process. It makes the world of difference.
And don’t drink too much, you want to remember the night!
From the bride: My husband and I hate the idea of weddings! We feel weddings can be stuffy and are quite often only a reflection of the bride and her childhood dreams. It was so important to us that we remained ‘us’ and didn’t feel the need to go overboard with what we were wearing and decorations. I, as the bride felt that it was our special day – not just mine- and it was a priority of mine to make sure the Groom was part of the planning and everything that went on! The main aim of our day was more about our guests rather than us. We wanted the day to be relaxed and easy going and we set the dress code as smart casual to encourage this.
Tell us about your dress
The dress was a Lou Lou dress – a 50’s length Taffeta dress with ruched sash and lace bolero. After a lot of consideration I chose the Lou Lou dress, but still wasn’t quite sure it was THE dress like I was told I would feel. As the months passed though, everything seemed to slot in place around the dress – and it all felt perfect. I got over what I should wear and accepted what I thought felt like me. Looking back at the photos now, I am so happy!!! I cannot imagine ever getting married in a different dress and in hindsight, it was THE dress. I chose a birdcage veil to compliment this (I felt a long veil was too traditional for me) from Emmerling.
I knew right from the start that I wanted purple shoes, and wanted to break the mould of ivory especially when I knew they would be on show. I bought some VERY cheap peep toe shoes from New Look and thought they looked great. I changed on the evening into Converse, no bride should suffer in pain too long and if the Groomsmen can be comfortable, so can I!!
I struggled with jewellery. I’ve never really worn nice jewellery and have normally opted for fashion jewellery, so when trying on beautiful pearls and the like it just didn’t feel right. Instead, I opted for a more fun alternative and had some plastic purple earring personalised to say Scott!
Make up was important to me – because I never normally wear it so I didn’t want to be out of my comfort zone and feel like a clown! Similarly, after issues with my hairdresser I just thought ‘what the heck’ and I just didn’t have it done!
Tell us about your details
Budget meant that we could not be extravagant with the details (not that we wanted to be).
Who needs flowers? The decision to not have flowers was a twofold one. The budget really couldn’t stretch to allow for extravagant displays (that die within a few days) and I’ve never been a flower person. Don’t get me wrong, I love a pretty bunch of flowers as much as the next girl but I wouldn’t say it defines me as a person or my husband. So I had the dilemma of what could replace the flower bouquets and came up with the ideas of buttons. After searching the internet for a way to turn buttons into a bouquet, I came across an idea and bought job lots of floristry wire, buttons (from ebay sellers) and ribbon and gave it a go. I even managed to fashion a buttonhole of buttons for my dad and husband with ‘I love you’ buttons and music themed buttons to personalise them.
Making the bouquets was time consuming, but we roped in friends and family and by the time they were finished they looked really effective. For the 4 bouquets it cost no more than £50 altogether, because we had generous friends and family donating old and new buttons to the cause. Once they were complete, it was nice to reflect on where all the buttons had come from – in particular, I purposely used some buttons of my husband’s Nan that had passed away the year before so that we knew a part of her was involved in our special day.
We had agreed that we would not have matching this and matching that and went for each table having different decorations on them. After months of trawling charity shops, bargain stores and sales we came up with a collection of items that we scattered on the tables.
The best idea I think we had was the place settings/favours. We worried we would not be able to pay for guests to have a favour due to the limited budget. After a holiday to Cornwall, we discovered a disused slate quarry that we ‘borrowed’ a lot of slate from. Me, my husband, usher and bridesmaid carried rather heavy bags for miles and found ourselves bruised and aching – all for a good cause. My husband then used a friend’s factory to cut each piece of slate into a heart which we then decorated with buttons and wrote their name on with chalk. These 50 favours cost us £5 altogether! Bargain!
A huge hit with the guests was the sweet table that we had in the reception room. It looked fantastic and they provided fresh popcorn and candyfloss – we had a lot of hyper guests by the evening!
We bought cheap handkerchiefs from Primark, and rolled them with ribbon and added a label reading ‘for happy tears’ on chairs in the ceremony room.
The table plan was a large chalkboard which was reduced in price because it was broken on the bottom corner and we wrote this ourselves.
We decided to pot lavender in different objects for the tables – teapots, sugar canisters, kilner jars, milk jugs.
We provided laminated speech bubbles and thought bubbles on sticks to our guests for them to write messages on. This got inappropriate very quickly, but produced some hilarious photos!
Your favourite part of the day
There are too many! Other than ones I’ve already mentioned, the groom and 5 friends played a few songs in the garden of Somerford Hall with varying instruments, while guests watched on picnic blankets. This reflected our relaxed day perfectly, and created a great vibe for the rest of the day.
The speeches! I think I might even be brave enough to say that no one was bored during the speeches! Some speeches were emotional and we also had a poem from the father of the bride and a little ‘skit’ with props and instruments from our close friends.
Any advice for our planning brides?
Do not feel you have to follow the rest of the crowd! Make the day yours and do not compromise. If you don’t think you can afford the wedding of your dreams – believe me, with a little clever DIY, you can!