April & Sean
It’s all about the atmosphere at this beach winter wedding in romantic burgundy hues
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Livvy Hukins, livvy-hukins.co.uk
Nine years to the day after the fateful evening that first brought them together, April and Sean were standing at the altar, ready to tie the knot. But how did they get there?
“We spent time living in Shanghai and travelling around Asia after university. It was in Japan that Sean proposed, at the top of a temple in Kyoto during the cherry blossom festival, with no one else around. It was perfect, I’m very lucky.”
“I’d tried on lots of dresses that felt lovely, but I felt like I was dressing up. The most important thing is to feel like yourself.”
“I saw a dress in a magazine from a designer that was new to me. My local stockist was only 50 minutes away and I had nothing planned for the day, so I jumped in the car. The very dress I’d seen was there, in my size, and it fit like a glove when I tried it on.”
The ‘Rosemary’ gown by Claire Pettibone featured a backless, mermaid silhouette in ivory Chantilly lace. “The ivory over-layer paired with the white silk lining created a champagne-like effect. I wanted a cleaner neckline, so I had some of the shoulder lace removed, which suited Sean too. He prefers an unfussy look.”
In a twist on tradition, Sean joined his bride in her search for accessories. “We visited the Ivory & Co showroom together.”
“I wanted a headpiece but with it being more unusual, I didn’t want Sean to hate the look I chose when I walked down the aisle. We had a lovely, Champagne-filled afternoon choosing a design we both liked.”
“It was the most fun part of planning for me, because it was time for just the two of us to enjoy.”
April also added Ivory & Co earrings and a two-tier, cathedral-length veil from Tiffany’s Wardrobe, Nantwich. “The more traditional veil helped to balance the modern sexiness of my gown. I couldn’t recommend this shop enough, I was made to feel so special as a bride.”
Sean and his ushers selected blue linen Hammond & Co suits from Debenhams, teamed with oxblood coloured ties and pocket squares. “All I can remember is his smile, when he turned to look at me walking down the aisle,” the bride reminisces.
The three bridesmaids each wore different dresses from ASOS.
“My bridesmaid dresses matched in colour, but had a casual, mismatched style.”
“For a modern take on bridesmaid posies, I gave the girls glittery gold clutch bags and a floral corsage instead. I absolutely loved them!”
The bride’s good friend, who runs Headstrong Hairdressers in Bedfordshire, took care of her lovely locks. “Katie did an amazing job and it meant so much to have a friend with us getting ready. I did my own makeup because I felt it suited me better.” April used Giorgio Armani and Clinique foundation, the Smashbox ‘ShapeMatters’ palette and Bobbi Brown blush.
“We married at my family church, where my parents also exchanged vows. My mum gave a traditional reading and our friend Adam quoted Albert Einstein: ‘when a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. That’s relativity’. We felt this reading suited us both to a tee – short, simple and straight to the point.”
Theming their menu around fish, the couple served oyster shots for canapés, which proved to be an excellent conversation starter, with lobster thermidor for the main course. “I didn’t want our four-tier wedding cake, made by my mother-in-law, to be wasted, so for dessert we had a trio of cake served like afternoon tea.”
Flavours included wasabi and bitter chocolate, sticky toffee, salted caramel and Limoncello and thyme. The couple also served fruitcake in the evening, alongside pizzas and a decadent cheese board.
April and Sean opted to focus on atmosphere rather than theme for their beach winter wedding.
“We added tea lights and flowers to Mason jars, which were dipped in gold glitter or wrapped in hessian. Candles decorated the cake table, which was made from barrels and our florist, Helen from Blubelle Creative, took care of the lighting, ceiling and staircase decoration. I’m very particular when it comes to flowers and Helen did an amazing job. The hanging arrangement over the fireplace, behind the top table, was my favourite. We also had foliage and rose table runners, entwined with fairy lights, which looked very romantic.”
The couple partied with their guests to the sound of steel drums, a live band and DJ sets!
“We chose ‘Because You’re Gorgeous’ by BabyBird for a playful first dance that would make us laugh. Slow dancing to ballads just isn’t our style!”
Sean and April jetted off to Israel for their honeymoon. “The food is to die for, the country is beautiful and there’s so much heritage to uncover. We flew into Tel Aviv before travelling on to Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee and Nazareth… I would recommend it as a honeymoon destination to anyone.”
CEREMONY St Stephens Church, Canterbury
RECEPTION VENUE The Lobster Shack, East Quay Venue, Whitstable
DRESS Claire Pettibone
BRIDESMAID DRESSES ASOS
GROOM Hammond & Co at Debenhams
ACCESSORIES Ivory & Co, Tiffany’s Wardrobe
HAIR Headstrong Hairdressers, Bedfordshire
CATERING The Lobster Shack
FLOWERS Blubelle Creative
ENTERTAINMENT Haysden String Quartet, The Merry Makers, Teenage Kicks Band, DJ Trix