Sunshine, country garden flowers and pretty vintage accessories gave Eleanor and Gareth’s spring wedding a classic English charm…
How they met
Eleanor and Gareth’s first date took place at Tery-Aki – a noodle bar in Cambridge, followed by drinks at a local bar. “I tried to teach Gareth how to use chopsticks, but ended up nearly poking his eye out!” laughs Eleanor.
Gareth asked for Eleanor’s hand in marriage while enjoying a long weekend in Paris. “We’d spent all day sightseeing, and I was exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel,” Eleanor remembers. “Gareth insisted we needed to go to see the lights on the Eiffel Tower, but I really just wanted to go out to eat and wasn’t very enthusiastic. Walking towards the tower, he was acting very odd, and I had no idea why – until we got to some gardens nearby, and he proposed. I was so surprised, as we were in the middle of doing our house up and all our attention was focused there.”
The bride’s outfit
Fate intervened in the search for Eleanor’s dream dress. “I was planning to go shopping around Cambridge, but my auntie had been poorly and I wanted her to come with me, so we decided to go to a new boutique, Nell Amore, that had just opened near where she lives,” Eleanor explains.
“I’d spent months searching for dresses, and had tried on over 50 styles, but nothing was right. I wasn’t expecting to find ‘the one’ but as soon as I saw myself in the mirror, I burst into tears of relief. It felt so special that my mum, aunt and grandma were all with me, and it turned out that years ago, the shop was a tailors where my grandad had bought his wedding suit.” The lace gown – one of the boutique owner’s designs – featured a full skirt and matching lace jacket, and Eleanor teamed it with a cathedral-length veil.
The groom’s outfit
Gareth looked dapper in traditional morning dress from Moss Bros, with a white shirt from Charles Tyrwhitt and a green gingham tie from Debenhams. “Gareth was originally planning to buy a suit as neither of us were keen on tails, but he wears a suit to work every day, so we thought he should look a bit different. In the end, the morning suit just looked right,” says Eleanor.
Eleanor chose her close friends Louise and Laura as her bridesmaids. “I found their dresses really early,” Eleanor explains. “I loved the colour, and the style was called ‘Eleanor’ – it was meant to be!” The maids wore their pretty pink BHS gowns with quirky floral shoes from Call It Spring.
Eleanor and Gareth tied the knot in a ceremony at the village church. “I walked down the aisle with my dad, although we actually set out from my parents’ front door as it was so close,” smiles Eleanor. The couple chose hymns including Lord of all Hopefulness and Make Me a Channel of Your Peace, and the ceremony featured a Bible reading and a piece written for them by Gareth’s friend – a speech writer.
With the church on her parents’ doorstep, Eleanor walked to the ceremony on her dad’s arm. “We were then planning to walk to the barn, but my mum had arranged a horse and carriage as a surprise,” says Eleanor. “It was lovely to have a bit of time on my own with Gareth before drawing up in style at our reception.”
Eleanor’s talented mum decorated the church and reception venue with flowers from her garden, including roses, ranunculus and gypsophila. “We had gypsophila hanging from the pews, and big vintage jugs full of garden flowers on the window sills,” says Eleanor. “It looked so country and pretty – just perfect.”
The party continued in the Garden Barn, just around the corner from the church. “I used to play around the barn as a child, so when it was done up as a wedding venue, I knew I had to have my reception there,” Eleanor explains. The guests dined on salmon fishcakes, followed by chicken, bacon and asparagus Wellington, with a trio of desserts. “We finished with tea and coffee served in vintage cups from my mum’s company, Village Green Vintage,” adds Eleanor.
Eleanor and Gareth chose a relaxed English country garden theme for their summer wedding. “The church and reception venue were so beautiful that they didn’t need much decoration,” says Eleanor. “Our table centres were vintage teapots filled with flowers and placed on top of mirrors, three to a table. We also used vintage cups and saucers to add detail.”
Eleanor handmade the stationery using vintage-themed patterned card with a lace punch detail. “I made five different designs of everything because I wanted a mismatched look,” she explains. “It took ages, but I saved a fortune.”
The wedding cake was a big deal for Eleanor, coming from a family of bakers. “My aunt Melanie made it for us,” Eleanor explains. “We really couldn’t decide what we wanted, so we let her choose, and when she unveiled it to us on the day, we were blown away. She had captured the essence of our wedding perfectly.” The five-tier cake featured layers of chocolate, fruit and vanilla sponge.
Reluctant dancers Eleanor and Gareth decided on Use Somebody by Kings of Leon as their first dance. “It always reminds us of when we first got together,” Eleanor explains. “We only managed about 30 seconds on our own before we made everyone else join in!”
The couple spent three days exploring Hong Kong before flying on to Bali for a relaxing break.