Zoe & Ben
Leafy botanicals, white blooms and collected copper finds make for a modern marquee wedding
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Samantha Pells Photography,
With surprising his bride-to-be the ultimate objective, groom Ben didn’t pop the question over a romantic week in Paris. Instead, he waited until they had returned home. “I was cooking dinner when Ben asked me to go out and look in the glove compartment of my new car. Inside was a ring box and, back in the house, Ben asked me to marry him. Dinner was ruined but it was so worth it. He wanted to take me by complete surprise and he certainly did!”
Bride Zoe approached wedding dress shopping with an equally well-planned approach.
“I knew I didn’t want anything strapless or lacy and that a low back was key.”
“About 30 dresses into the search, we found Maggie Sottero’s Ettia design at Mathilda Rose Bridal Boutique, Cuckfield. The two-piece had a Gatsby edge with a beaded top layer and satin slip. It felt so light and comfortable to wear, I was beaming from ear to ear when I tried it on.”
The theme of keeping her look comfortable, as well as stunning, guided Zoe’s accessory choices.
“I chose white block heels from Kurt Geiger to ensure I could walk on grass with ease and also picked up a pair of dusky pink lower heels for dancing in.”
A silk tulle, cathedral-length veil, also from Mathilda Rose Bridal Boutique; an Ivy and Pearl hair slide, and a rose gold Monica Vinader earrings and bracelet combo completed the bride’s big day style.
“Ben hired his navy blue suit and double-breasted grey waistcoat from Dickies of Crawley. He accessorised with a dusky pink tie, while his groomsmen wore navy and white spotted ties instead. Ben didn’t turn around while I walked down the aisle, which was probably for the best or I might have burst into tears!” says Zoe.
“When I got to the end of the aisle, he mouthed ‘you look amazing’ and I felt so lucky to be marrying him.”
Copper was this couple’s colour scheme of choice, so as soon as the bride stumbled upon bridesmaid dresses in the shade, she snapped them up! “Luckily, I’d ordered a selection of sizes because one of my bridesmaids fell pregnant. The girls wore their own shoes and jewellery.
I was also joined by a flower girl and pageboy, who looked adorable in a Monsoon dress and a Marks & Spencer suit.” Stephanie Coleman Makeup and Nicola from Tea & Trim took care of the bridal party’s beauty and hair styling.
“We married in a religious ceremony at St Nicholas Church in West Sussex and I walked down the aisle with my father to Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D’. My sister-in-law delivered her reading of 1 Corinthians 13 beautifully, despite her nerves, and we sang three hymns during the service. Standing side by side with Ben after all that anticipation felt amazing!”
Swapping a starter for contemporary canapés, served as guests mingled at their reception venue – The Wild Garden on the Hyde Estate – the couple kicked off their party with a feast. Guests then sat down to a main course of rolled leg of lamb, infused with za’atar, garlic and preserved lemons.
“Our caterers, The Naked Food Company, dressed the dishes with edible purple flowers, which looked amazing! Everything was also gluten free, because I’m a coeliac,” explains the bride. Dark chocolate and hazelnut brownies, served with bourbon ice cream, toasted hazelnut praline and salted caramel sauce, offered a foodie twist on the dessert favourite.
“We styled our wedding with a focus on copper and greenery, with just a few hints of blush.”
“I spent months compiling ideas for what I wanted to achieve with the help of Pinterest and my monthly issues of Wedding Ideas,” Zoe laughs. Peachy Prints UK created copper-foiled stationery to suggest the theme with the invitations.
“I collected candles, votives and vases from the moment we got engaged. I sprayed lots of them copper and silver and bought decorations from The Wedding Of My Dreams. We wanted long tables in the marquee with an uncluttered, fresh look.”
The best flowers ever were guaranteed for Zoe and Ben because the groom’s mum is the florist behind Felicity Perry Flowers.
“We had a green and white theme with eucalyptus, peonies, avalanche and countdown roses.”
“I wanted my bouquet to be informal and free-formed but not too messy either. The marquee looked so elegant filled with flowers.”
The cake was lower on this couple’s priority list. A gluten-free, two-tier creation, baked by their caterers, was the perfect choice, with tasty salted caramel and vanilla layers.
Having first met at a gig Ben was playing at, music was one way the couple wanted to make their wedding magical. “An acoustic duo played piano and sang at the drinks reception and in the evening Ben’s old band played for us – even Ben got up to do a 45-minute set! We gifted guests CDs with our favourite songs and wedding playlist on to remind them of our special day, too.
Thailand’s turquoise shores tempted Ben and Zoe for their honeymoon, booked with Hayes & Jarvis.
CEREMONY St Nicholas Church, West Sussex
RECEPTION VENUE The Wild Garden, Hyde Estate, West Sussex
DRESS Maggie Sottero at Mathilda Rose Bridal Boutique, Cuckfield
BRIDESMAID DRESSES ASOS, Monsoon
GROOM Dickies of Crawley
ACCESSORIES Mathilda Rose Bridal Boutique, Ivy and Pearl Bride, Monica Vinader, Kurt Geiger
HAIR Tea & Trim
MAKEUP Stephanie Coleman Makeup
CATERING The Naked Food Company
INVITATIONS Peachy Prints UK
FLOWERS Felicity Perry Flowers
DÉCOR The Wedding Of My Dreams
HONEYMOON Hayes & Jarvis