Alana & Jack
The dreamy destination wedding day
of a wedding planner and stylist…
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHELLA, SHELL DE MAR,
When at first you don’t succeed, try and try again – this is the motto Jack swore by when it came to winning Alana’s heart. “I turned him down repeatedly every time he asked me on a date, until eventually I gave in and we went out for dinner. I kissed him but was sure he was just a friend really, and we continued to ‘non-date’ for a few months. Shortly after a trip to Barcelona, I realised I was falling in love with this man and we finally made it of official.”
Just telling us about the proposal brings all the butterflies back for Alana, so we know it’s going to be good. “It was the first anniversary of our very first non-date. We were walking through the park to meet Jack’s father when a group of singers surrounded us, performing a beautiful rendition of Eva Cassidy’s ‘Songbird’, which is my favourite. When I looked at Jack he had a look on his face that I had never seen before. He then knelt down on one knee, presented me with a beautiful diamond ring, which he’d had made in Hatton Garden, and asked me to marry him. I was completely wowed and said that of course I would! It turns out his best friend had captured the whole thing on camera, too.”
This bride found her dream dress by happy accident and, once she’d made her decision, she never looked back.
“I was visiting dressmaker Candace Gray of Betty Gets Hitched who was altering a bridesmaid dress for me. She had a selection of wedding dresses hanging up and encouraged me to try a few. The second one made me feel like a princess and when I left the studio I just couldn’t stop thinking about the Tara Keely gown, so when I returned the next day to collect the bridesmaid dresses I also purchased ‘the one’!”
The fit and flare design featured corded French lace, layers of tulle and a keyhole back. Dressmaker Candace altered the neckline to make it strapless, perfect for Alana and Jack’s destination wedding. The bride borrowed her veil from a friend and wore shoes she’d previously stepped out in as a bridesmaid.
Jack gifted her all of her wedding jewellery, which included diamond stud earrings, a Thomas Sabo ‘Infinity’ necklace and a pretty Tiffany bracelet with a little blue heart for her something blue.
Jack looked dapper in a navy Ted Baker jacket with a peacock lining, grey trousers and a grey waistcoat.
Tailor Store custom- made his shirt and McClean by Barker supplied the groom’s brown leather and navy suede shoes.
Five bridesmaids and one flower girl attended Alana. “I had always known that I wanted Tiffany blue as our colour for the day. It suited the weather in sunny France perfectly, too. The girls and I all visited a shop called Sexyher, where you try all different kinds of dresses on, choose your favourites and then have them made in whatever fabric and colour you like. I gifted them each a bracelet on the wedding morning to wear too, which featured their initials engraved onto a heart pendant.”
Having always wanted long, loose locks for her big day, Alana enlisted the help of hair extensions from Hair Rehab London, which hairdresser Vida curled and styled. A makeup artist from Elise Beauty created the natural look with stand-out smoky eyes that the bride had her heart set on.
“Because of the residency rules for marriage in France, we had a small registry ceremony in England before leaving for France. We still wanted a ceremony on the day though, so we asked one of my longest friends to conduct it and wrote the entire ceremony ourselves.”
“It was very personal and, unbeknown to us, our friend had written to each of our guests to ask for their advice for us, which then formed part of the ceremony reading too.”
Who would walk the bride down the aisle was a trickier decision, however, as she felt torn between her father and step dad. “In the end I walked down the aisle with my father and then had a dance with my step dad.”
A four-course French feast followed for the wedding breakfast, featuring duck and fois gras salad, smoked salmon, roasted leg of lamb with dauphinoise potatoes and pineapple carpaccio for dessert. “Our wedding breakfast has to be one of the best meals we have ever eaten!” the happy couple enthuse.
With a relaxed but stylish approach, Alana and Jack home-made brown card table numbers and sourced caricatures of each guest for their place settings.
Fairy lights, candles and lanterns subtly enhanced the beautiful French setting – little surprise, given that Alana is a wedding stylist and planner herself at Aisle & Style. “I also flew out a trusted co-ordinator for on the day organisation, so that everything was set up as I wished and last minute niggles which inevitably crop up – for us, it was an issue with batteries – were dealt with without me even knowing about it!”
VENUE Domaine d’Essendieras, Dordogne, France
DRESS Tara Keely at Betty Gets Hitched
BRIDESMAID DRESSES Sexyher
GROOM Ted Baker, Tailor Store and McClean by Barker
ACCESSORIES Thomas Sabo and Tiffany & Co
HAIR Vida Hairdressing
MAKEUP Elise Beauty
STYLING & PLANNING Aisle & Style
ENTERTAINMENT Dordogne Wedding Music