Nicola & Oliver
Handmade and heaps of fun, this country autumn wedding celebrates the season in style
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Noel Hibbert, Cotswold Pictures, cotswoldpictures.co.uk
While family and friends felt almost certain Oliver would pop the question during a four-week road trip through the USA with Nicola, the big moment came much closer to home. “We were walking the dogs on the beach in Burton Bradstock. It was almost deserted and just as the sun set over the sea, Oliver pulled out a ring! He chose the stunning white gold band with a pear-shaped diamond, surrounded by a halo of diamonds, himself.”
It was also in the southwest that the bride discovered her Louise Bentley wedding dress, at Kate Walker Bridal in Honiton, although she didn’t buy it on the spot. “Kate herself is an amazing wedding dress designer, so the service was outstanding and she took care of all the alterations at the boutique. I knew it was the right dress as soon as I tried it, but it was my first boutique visit and I wanted to see what else was out there at different price points.”
“Six boutiques later, I was still comparing everything to the ‘Lavinia’ dress, so I went back for it!”
The ivory, silk chiffon, pleated dress featured corded lace appliqués on the bodice to create a vintage feel. “I had the illusion back altered, swapping the zip for buttons. The dress was completely different to what I thought I would wear, but it was so light and comfortable. It literally floated along the ground!”
Nicola added a Joyce Jackson double layer, lace-edged veil, Rainbow Club shoes and a bespoke Susan York hairpiece to accessorise.
“My mum gifted me my earrings for my something new, which complemented the shape of my engagement ring.”
“Being a traditionalist, Oliver wanted to wear a morning suit, but I’ve never liked the double-breasted waistcoats they come with. Instead, he chose a Next Tweed waistcoat with a black tailcoat and grey pinstripe trousers. He paired the ensemble with a burgundy pheasant shooting tie – it really suited him!” Yeovil-based gentlemen’s outfitters, Frederick Mabb supplied the suit.
Four bridesmaids joined Nicola to walk down the aisle at the couple’s local church. “I chose a teal green colour for the bridesmaid dresses as an alternative to the typical burgundy shades often seen at an autumn wedding, which I was keen to include in my flowers instead.”
After debating where to exchange their vows, with the bride being Catholic and the groom Protestant, the couple finally agreed on their local church. “We chose the poem ‘What is marriage?’ by Joanna Miller and Colossians 3: 12-17 for our ceremony readings. My bridesmaid and Oliver’s best man played a stunning clarinet and saxophone duet of Christina Perri’s ‘A Thousand Years’ too.”
“Having a village wedding was important to us.”
“Rather than host our wedding at home on the farm, we chose our local pub – the food is excellent and it’s at the heart of our social lives.” Locally sourced, farmhouse-style food delighted guests. The evening banquet followed a similar theme, as guests tucked into a ploughman’s feast of cheese, biscuits, chutneys, cold meats, scotch eggs and roast potatoes.
“We knew from the start that we wanted a country autumn wedding with a shooting and harvest theme.”
“It captures us perfectly and what we love about the season.” This began with the stationery, designed for the couple by Sally Harflett.
Decorating the marquee, the couple created a disco ball from shot gun cartridges and pheasant feathers for a striking central statement, adding reams of bunting and hessian table runners too.
“We chose a special autumn forest scene table runner for the top table and handmade wooden tea light holders from wood felled on the farm. Mismatched bronze, copper and gold tea lights enhanced the warm atmosphere of our country autumn wedding, bought from The Wedding Of My Dreams.
Our tables were named after gundog breeds, so I bought iron silhouettes of each dog to use as our table signs. I bought Wedding Ideas religiously throughout our engagement; it’s where the idea for our wooden crate table centres came from!”
The groom’s mother created the church flowers with the help of other ladies in the village. Bramble & Wild, based in Frome, took care of the bouquets. “They adopted my autumnal, hedgerow, harvest festival style brief perfectly.”
“I wanted seasonal, British flowers in rich hues with plenty of foliage.”
Dahlias, rose hips, garden roses, blackberries and cosmos featured in the bouquets. Wooden crates and milk churns were also dressed with flowers and pheasant feathers.
Oliver’s mum also created the incredible cake, displayed on a custom-made cake stand that Oliver created.
“We made small jars of farmhouse chutney for the wedding favours. Guests enjoyed them with their ploughman’s buffet in the evening.”
As the evening drew on, the band Triple Threat UK took to the stage to sing, play and beat box! “We also had a big bonfire with blankets to snuggle up under!”
CEREMONY St Andrew’s Church, Dorset
RECEPTION VENUE The Rose and Crown, Dorset
DRESS Louise Bentley at Kate Walker Bridal, Honiton
BRIDESMAID DRESSES Coast
GROOM Frederick Mabb, Next
ACCESSORIES Joyce Jackson, Rainbow Club, Susan York
STATIONERY Sally Harflett
FLOWERS Bramble & Wild
DÉCOR The Wedding Of My Dreams
ENTERTAINMENT Triple Threat UK
HONEYMOON Imagine Africa