RACHAEL & JOHN
For our first official date, John took me to West Midlands Safari Park! We sat under an umbrella and watched a seal show in the pouring rain. I loved every minute of that day.
John surprised me with a birthday weekend in Venice, and then surprised me again by proposing while we were on a gondola beneath the Rialto Bridge! He’d designed the ring himself with the perfect mix of vintage and modern style – it was exactly what I would have chosen myself. I was the happiest girl in the world when we came out the other side of that bridge!
My ‘Grenada’ dress was from the Victoria Jane Collection by Ronald Joyce.
“I found my stunning princess dress in Ivory & Lace Bridal, Toddington and fell in love with the intricate beading and pearls and the unusual neckline.”
I had never seen anything like it!
I teamed my dress with a cathedral-length veil and a tiara from Matthew Williamson at Debenhams, only adding silver drop earrings that I already owned. During the day I had the most fantastic handmade shoes from a Turkish designer, Rana Oztok, with a gondola painted on one side, a pumpkin Cinderella carriage on the other, the words ‘Happy Ever After’ and our names printed on them, too.
I swapped into satin ballet shoes for the evening and my bag came from Vintage Styler after spotting it in Wedding Ideas!
John hired his suit from Suitors in Buckingham – it was a lovely pale grey with a matching waistcoat and dusky pink cravat. He added Kurt Geiger shoes to finish his tall, dark and handsome look!
“My four bridesmaids wore full-length, dusky pink chiffon dresses from Light in the Box that we had altered by a local seamstress. I loved the necklines and tiny trains on their gowns.”
We added champagne peep-toe shoes and gold hair accessories. I also had two flower girls who wore ivory bridesmaid dresses with dusky pink petals in the net of the skirt.
Gemma Kimmings did my bridal hair and makeup, using mainly MAC and Bobby Brown products. She also introduced me to Dr Paw Paw lip balm – perfect to keep your lips from getting dry on the day!
“We chose a Venetian theme in a nod to our proposal with a glamorous gold and dusky pink colour scheme.”
“We had our own bespoke flag on top of Chicheley Hall for the day!”
It came from flagpoles.co.uk and pictured John and I by the Rialto Bridge as well as our married names. I also added gold Venetian masks to each table, used gold framed photos of Venice for the table names and added dusky pink satin bows to the chairs from rainbowchaircovers.co.uk.
Field Gate Flowers supplied our church blooms, table centres and buttonholes. I had a beautiful teardrop bouquet and the flowers were all dusky pink with a gold ribbon around the vases.
My uncle designed our invitations and Orange Blossom Design, who I’d found in Wedding Ideas, created them for us – they were a stunning pink and gold pocketfold design with a gondola boat and personalised seal.
One of my very talented bridesmaids, Jessica Westoby, made our three-tier cake, featuring a black forest gateau, raspberry and white chocolate, and ginger layers.
She added a Venetian mask to the side and a gondola to the top!
The Simon Faulkner Band played live music and DJ’d during the evening, playing piano for us during our wedding breakfast, too!
C E R E M O N Y St John the Baptist Church, Hartwell, Northamptonshire
R E C E P T I O N V E N U E Chicheley Hall, Buckinghamshire
D R E S S Ronald Joyce at Ivory & Lace Bridal, Toddington
B R I D E S M A I D D R E S S E S Light in the Box
G R O O M Suitors
A C C E S S O R I E S Vintage Styler, Debenhams and Rana Oztok
S T A T I O N E R Y Orange Blossom Design
F L O W E R S Field Gate Flowers
P H O T O G R A P H E R Liam Smith Photography