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VOW W i l d b lu eb el l s FEB R UA RY & M A R CH 2 0 17

M AG A ZINE IT STARTS WITH A QUESTION…

Wild bluebells

FEBRUARY & MARCH 2017 / Bath, Bristol & the West / No.11


LUXURY BRIDAL WEAR BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Charlie Brear

Naomi Neoh

Jesus Peiro

Anna Campbell

7A SILVER STREET BRADFORD ON AVON NR. BATH 01225 309309 www.perfectdaybridal.net

BA15 1JY


BY APPOINTMENT

SOUTH WEST LEADING STOCKIST Catherine Deane | Willowby | Mikaella | Benjamin Roberts 7 SILVER STREET | BRADFORD ON AVON | NR BATH | BA15 1JY 01225 867600 | www.flossyandwillow.uk


THE PROPOSAL EDITOR'S LETTER

Rain on youR wedding day

Matt BielBy, editor

picture by tom smith

Here at Vow we love a spring wedding – marriage is about starting a new life together, after all, so when better than at the pointy end of the year? – but they have their risks. Chief amongst them – as we’re constantly reminded by old misery guts Alanis Morissette – is rain on your wedding day. But never fear. A little moisture never ruined anything. For one thing, the pictures will be fun – full of colourful wellies and umbrellas and giggles, sure, but with a usefully diffused light that can be ultra-flattering, and perhaps a moody background cloudscape, too. For another thing, think of the symbolism: after all, various cultures – Chinese, Indian, Italian – have put it about that a rainy wedding is a lucky one. We’re not sure exactly why, except perhaps that it’s cleansing, and so washes away the sadness of the past, or maybe that it symbolises fertility (in a ‘water helps plants grow’ sort of a way). “But surely rain could equally represent tears,” you could counter, to which we’d swiftly come back with: “Yes, the tears of the past. These happy raindrops represent the last tears the happy couple will ever shed.” And if you’ll buy that, then you might also go for this one: you’re tying a knot today, and a knot that gets wet is harder to undo than a dry one, so a wet wedding is also a wedding that will never unravel. Thank Hindu tradition for that last one and, as it happens, we have our first real-life Hindu wedding elsewhere this issue, too. And no, it didn’t rain on their big day. But we’re saying that can be good lucky, too…


CONTENTS

46

I know because I saw it (I simply can’t ignore it)

9Flipping your fins you don’t get too far…

14Face of an angel

Vow M ag a zine MATT BIELBY Editor

matt.bielby@mediaclash.co.uk

MATT WILLIAMS Art Director SOPHIE SPEAKMAN Advertising Executive

56Put your best

foot forward

Order of service 9 INVITATIONS

Day-to-night make-up tips; award-winning wedding photography; local dress designers with an amphibian touch; and (as Sebastian the crab says), “the fish on land ain’t happy, they sad ’cause they in their bowl”…

21 THE BRIDE

In a bumper Bride section we explore conservatories and woodsheds, ride horses and pick bluebells, and meet top flower girl gown designer Nicki Macfarlane. Hey, her gowns almost eclipsed a rather celebrated derriere for column inches six years ago, and there aren’t many who can say that…

76 THE VENUE

What’s the prettiest village in England? We think we know, and we think we know the best place there to host your reception, too. Plus! Ugly ducklings!

79 LET’S PARTY

Love the convenience and size, but bored of the same old marquee interiors? Then we think we might just have a solution for you…

82 TRADITIONS WE LOVE

sophie.speakman@mediaclash.co.uk

Production and Distribution Manager SARAH KINGSTON sarah.kingston@mediaclash.co.uk

Deputy Production Manager CHRISTINA WEST christina.west@mediaclash.co.uk

Marketing KATE AUTHERS @KAuthers

Chief Executive JANE INGHAM jane.ingham@mediaclash.co.uk

Vow Magazine, MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 www.mediaclash.co.uk © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. On the cover: pic by Lucy Turnbull; lucyturnbull.co.uk

They’re tiny. They’re adorable. They might trip you up – but they’re totally worth it. Yes, it’s time to celebrate the flower girl…

Printed on paper from a well-managed source. Ink are vegetable based; printer is certified to ISO 14001 environmental management

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PICTURES (CLOCKWISE) BY JOHN BARWOOD, S61 PHOTOGRAPHY, LUCY TURNBULL, MIMOSA PHOTOGRAPHY, TOM ARCHER

65

Three days of grace


ASHTON COURT MANSION

LATE AVAILABILITY WEDDINGS Book your wedding within the next 6 months and take advantage of our ‘whirlwind wedding offer’, with all inclusive packages starting from just £62.50 per person Contact the team for more details

A SH TO N CO U RT MA N SI O N ASHTON COURT E STAT E | L O N G A SH TO N | B R I STO L | B S4 1 9 J N | T E L : 0 1 1 7 9 6 3 3438 www2 . b r i st ol . gov. uk / nav / a sh t on- c ourt - m a nsi on


Invitation s HELPING YOU WIN YOUR RACE TO THE ALTAR

PICTURE BY JOHN BARWOOD; STYLING: SUE FYFE-WILLIAMS; MODELS: LEELAH & JAFFY CARR-BOND; HAIR: LUKAS SZEJKA AT BRISTOL STYLE COLLECTIVE; MAKE-UP: JENNY DAVIES

WEDDING SPLASHERS Milliners’ Guild goes all The Little Mermaid for its new ‘under the sea’-themed hat ’n’ crown collection, DAUGHTERS OF NEPTUNE… Bristol’s Milliners’ Guild has gone all nautical for its SS17 collection by local milliner Ani Stafford-Townsend, a dramatic and highly sculptural group of seaweed-influenced and pearlembellished crowns in gold and silver, plus sea anemone-styled hatinators and large-brimmed hats. It’s all perfect for the more adventurous brides – and Mothers of the Brides. The shot above stars local modelling sisters Leela and Yasmin Carr-Bond as Neptune’s rather glamorous spawn – yes, they’re twins – and was captured by photographer John Barwood at Yellow Duck Interiors, Milliners’ Guild’s neighbours on Clifton’s Alma Vale Road.

“The collection takes its imagery from the spirals, curves, and swirls of the maritime world,” Ani says. “Aquas and coral shades are set to be the major colours of the season, and Daughters of Neptune places these in their natural setting. You’ll see references to coral, sea anemone, squid, octopuses and more, with pieces start at £65 going up to £940.” Indeed, the great thing is that – with two of the most popular mermaid crowns, the Seaweed Pearl in gold and the Seaweed Reef in gold and silver toned wire, at £240 and £495 – you don’t need to be aquatic royalty to wear them. millinersguild.com VOW | 9


I n v i tat i o n s

Snap happy L au r a Ba b b – w ed d i n g ph oto g r a ph er

THE REAL WORLD LAURA BABB isn’t just your

Laura loves to capture the dance floor at Jewish weddings, but, she says, “they’re always a little terrifying, because of all the fast-moving dancing.”

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everyday wedding photographer, but is something of a pillar of the industry, running festivals and workshops for her colleagues while her work gains recognition far and wide…

Laura’s first wedding – coming up to six years ago now – was for a friend, and she’s just been booked to shoot that chap’s sister's wedding this year. “It’s quite amazing, really, given the quality of

my pictures at that first shoot,” she now laughs. “Oh, they were okay, I suppose – but, like any new photographer, I hadn’t really developed a style back then, and my technical skills have certainly come on a long way since.” So, Laura, how many weddings do you do a year now? Last year I did 35, a bit of a reduction on previous years. The thing is, I now run SNAP Photography Festival – a week long event and workshop for wedding photographers – as well as a one day conference called SUMMIT, so they keep me pretty busy. This year, I’m aiming to photograph around 30 weddings, which is a manageable number.


You were recently recognised by a well-known American photography magazine. Tell us about that. Every year, Rangefinder Magazine in New York publishes a list of 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography from across the world. Industry experts are invited to nominate, and then around 200 photographers are asked to submit a portfolio of images and answer some questions. I was lucky enough to be selected as a winner this year, which is a huge honour. The standard of the competition is phenomenal, and for the past several years the winners have all been people I admire hugely or who’ve personally inspired me, so to be amongst them is an incredible feeling.  

What’s your first meeting with a couple like, and do they vet you? Vetting is often a two way process. It’s important that we gel, and that what the couple are looking for is closely aligned with my approach. I work in a creative documentary style, and the story of the day – and representing it in an authentic way – is hugely important to me. I love to capture real life as it happens, so if a couple are looking for a fine art approach with lots of staged elements I won’t be a very good fit for them.  How do you make sure you don’t miss any vital parts of the day? Through a combination of thorough planning and a good understanding VOW | 11


I N V I TAT I O N S snap happy

You must have shot in some gorgeous locations…? I've been really lucky to have worked all over the UK, as well as in Spain, Tobago and Ireland last year. I love to travel, and to explore a new location with my camera is a dream. What looks bad in photos? A sea of iPhones! I don’t really care about guests taking their own pictures at weddings, and totally understand why they want to – but I always think it’s a terrible shame for the couple to have the smiling faces of their guests obstructed by phones and cameras. Do you manage to have fun? Yes! A lot of photographers will party with their clients after they’ve stopped working, but I’m always too exhausted by that point. I do love my job, though, and

PICTURES BY LAURA BABB

of the way a wedding day usually flows. There are some exceptions to this, naturally – I photographed my first Hindu wedding last year and I didn’t have prior knowledge of the key parts, so I did a lot of research and went over everything with my couple to make sure I knew what was important to them. Once you have an overview of the way things will run, the rest is largely instinctual. As a photographer, you read the crowd – its mood and body language – and that helps you anticipate the moments you’ll need to capture.

getting to be a part of the happiest day of someone’s life every weekend is fab. Do you ever tear up on the job? Again, frequently. I had two very emotional weddings just the other weekend, in fact. One bride fought cancer and went on to have a baby in spite of the odds against it, and the other had re-arranged her wedding date because she had an aneurism on the previous one. Hearing the speeches from family members and new husbands, and realising how grateful they are to be there, gets me every time. There are standard shots that everybody wants. How do you deal with the repetition? Well, the family group shots would be the obvious example. I must confess, they’re not the most creatively inspiring part of the day for me – and they’re not always the most fun part for my couples, either! – but you can’t get away from the fact that they’re some of the most important pictures I'll take.

Ultimately, my job is just to capture the stuff that needs to be captured, irrespective of my own feelings about it. I always tell myself that the group shots will only grow in importance over time. What’s your favourite kind of couple to shoot? Any who throw themselves into their wedding day with wild abandon, and enjoy every minute. Couples who don’t care if it rains, and are prepared to trek through muddy fields in their wedding outfits to get amazing shots. Couples who are happy. How do you get stiff posers to loosen up? I’m not really into posing couples at all. My focus is always on natural engagement between them, so I’ll give them prompts and things to talk about, which gets them to focus on each other rather than my camera. What kind of wedding photos annoy you? It’s all so subjective, and there is a photographer and photographic style for everyone. If people choose styles and types of photographs that aren’t to my taste, they aren't the right client for me. What will date a couple’s pictures? Hairstyles, decor, architecture and fashion all date images. There really is no way of having a completely timeless image. I used to process my work with more of a vintage feel, but have since progressed towards punchy, colourful and clean images, because that’s what I like to look at. And I definitely think they’ll age better too, but that’s not to say they won’t date. Everyone’s images will look ‘of their time’ in ten years! babbphoto.com

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Come and see us at one of our

WEDDING OPEN DAYS

26 February • 11am and 3pm or our

WEDDING FAIR

23 April • 11am and 3pm

Dartington Hall combines medieval grandeur, natural beauty, exceptional food and comfortable accommodation, and our experienced team are committed to making your wedding the most special day of your lives. Our award-winning venue can host weddings of all shapes and sizes, with flexible packages allowing you to create the wedding you want. We also welcome and cater for civil weddings.

Contact our experienced Wedding Coordinator on 01803 847145 or email; bookings@dartingtonhall.com

www.dartingtonhall.com


I n v i tat i o n s

Ask the expert

THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL Commercial make-up artist ALEX FIA also turns her hand to wedding work for lucky West Country brides…

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Once upon a time, back in her native Slovakia, Alex Fia specialised in a very different sort of make-up, working in the theatre. Now, based in Bristol and with a son right in the middle of the ‘terrible twos’, theatrical work is but a hobby. Her main gig is as one of the region’s top commercial make-up artists, regularly contributing to TV ads and press campaigns for clients like Adidas and Specsavers, Neal’s Yard and Peugeot, while squeezing in wedding work across Bristol, Bath and much of Somerset every other weekend. “I love it when I get to work with both the bride and the rest of her bridal party,” Alex says. “Last year at one wedding I did the bride, plus twelve

others, mostly bridesmaids but also the Mother of the Bride. Okay, so I had an assistant that day, but it was still incredibly frantic – though lots of fun.” Since Alex likes to do a trial session well in advance – “they’re sometimes quite extensive, taking up to three hours, as we experiment together with lots of different looks,” she says – she always knows exactly what she’ll need, and the approach she’s going to take, on the day. “Since I’m so prepared, the bride’s makeup generally takes a relaxed, stress-free hour or so, while for the bridesmaids it’s more like 45 minutes. I love the variety of all the faces, with their various skin tones and all the different approaches they might need. I’ve a huge make-up kit, and


generally aim to make everyone look flawless, natural and glowing – the very best version of themselves. Of course, if a bride has a very distinctive make-up style she loves, I’ll keep that in mind. I love to be led by the client.” Alex generally tries to keep a good balance between strong lips and strong eyes in her wedding work, but recommends a natural bias towards the eyes in most instances. “After all, the bride will be drinking so many toasts, and kissing so many people, that it’s unlikely even the strongest lip make-up could last all day,” she says, “but waterproof eye make-up means her eyes have a fighting chance – even if she is crying a lot! I use only the best high end brands – I’m a Mac Pro make-up artist, with training in the latest MAC bridal looks, so I tend to use a lot of their products, but I also use Chanel and others. I’ve been particularly impressed with a new waterproof Tom Ford concealer, for instance.” Because she tends to work close to home, Alex sometimes does the bride’s make-up twice, once in the morning and then returning later to contribute a slightly different evening look, a version of which can be seen to the left here. “For day, I like to keep it very light, soft and fragile,” she says, “and then, in the evening, it’s much more intense, with dramatic eyes and darker lips.” alexfia.com

get fresh Must-have beauty products for perfect wedding snaps, as picked by Alex Fia Alex’s kit contains products by MAC, Chanel, Tom Ford, Guerlain, Estée Lauder, Dior, Nars and Bobbi Brown. Here are some of her current favourites… Guerlain L'Or Radiance Face Primer Alex: This is a 24-carat gold radiance

concentrate, for a brilliantly even finish under make-up.

Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer Alex: A fantastic breathable foundation

with a natural radiant finish. It’s resistant to heat, humidity and water, while maintaining an even complexion.

Guerlain Meteorites Pearls finishing powder Alex: A beautifully fragranced illuminating

powder for an endless glow.

Soleil Tan de Chanel Alex: You can’t beat this incredible velvety

bronzing make-up base. It leaves skin with a beautifully sun-bathed look. Photography:

S61 @s61_photography Model: Renie Charlton, Gingersnap models

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I n v i tat i o n s

New and notable

FFROG PRINCESS RACHEL BURGESS BRIDAL BOUTIQUE of Penarth is packed with

original dresses from local designers, but one of the stars is Angharad Mullooly’s Ffrog collection – and she’s just added eight new pieces…

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Here at Vow we naturally get very exited about the latest offerings from Britain’s major wedding gown designers, the likes of Jenny Packham or Suzanne Neville. But there’s something thrilling about discovering a smaller, more local talent too, such as Welsh designer Angharad Mullooly. Her Ffrog collection is available exclusively at Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique in the seaside town of Penarth, a store that offers an eclectic, non-traditional range of handmade gowns from new Welsh talent, as well as great vintage pieces. The first Ffrog dresses surfaced in 2015, but now – to celebrate the boutique’s fourth birthday – Angharad has added eight new pieces, with prices


PictureS by jon turtle

in the £1,100-£1,600 bracket. There are three dresses, plus a selection of mixand-match separates in porcelain ivory. The full-length Meredith dress is especially romantic in feel, for instance, fitted at the waist and with simple shoestring straps and a hint of sweetheart neckline, while Heledd has a 1930s vibe and is overlaid with vintage lace. Last up is the simple, Boho-style Alaw, with its matt satin base, epodes shoulders, overlapping top and straight skirt. And then there are the skirts. Haf is a floral tulle option – perfect for summer and, indeed, that’s what its name means – while Eira is Welsh for ‘snow’, and features two floating layers of tulle over a satin underskirt. Then there’s the Una bodice top, which is boned, corsetinspired, and can be worn with either. “Alternatively,” says Rachel Burgess, “you can pair the skirts with the last two new pieces: a clean crisp cami, or a simple princess satin top that tucks into the skirt and is set off with crystal appliqué motifs at the shoulder.” Angharad herself has a background running a high-end alterations business in South Wales – wedding dress fittings a speciality – so it was a natural step to create her own gowns. She’s quite able, she tells us, to work supportively with all body shapes. “‘Ffrog’ is a Welsh word for ‘frock’,” she says, “but I love the English language play on words in the name too, and the idea that you need to kiss a lot of frogs to find ‘the one’. That’s true with potential husbands, and it’s also true with dresses. As ever with me, the new collection takes inspiration from French wedding couture. I adore the relaxed, whimsical gowns the French designers make, and – as ballet is another passion of mine – I’ve played around with the soft tulles and alluring silhouettes of ballerina dresses, too.” So how does she hope people react to her new pieces? “I just want brides to feel beautiful in my designs,” Angharad says. “I believe true beauty glows from within, when a bride is comfortable and confident.” rachelburgessbridalboutique.com VOW | 17


I n v i tat i o n s

The wedding planner

PURE COUNTRY One Somerset couple spent ten months building their perfect wedding venue, and now it can also be yours… This is The Barn at Cott Farm, a new rustic wedding venue built by Rebecca and Oliver Seyfried on his parents’ free-range egg farm near Yeovil – initially for their own nuptials, but now being hired out to other couples for festival-style dos. “We’re super-flexible,” Becca says, “and guests can camp overnight – we’ve got luxury furnished bell tents to hire – while exclusive rent is for a whole long weekend, from Friday to Monday.” cottfarmwedding.co.uk

CRAFT’S BIG SCORE Crocheted wedding accessories for the handmade bride

ELLA ENCHANTED Ella Rosa gowns are brilliantly cut and most temptingly priced, and are now available from Gloucester’s Linda Gray Bridalwear Gloucester’s Linda Gray Bridalwear has always been a great spot for finding glamorous bridal gowns at reasonable prices, and the Ella Rosa range they currently stock is a great example: the designs tend to be classic and timeless, with a good comfortable cut, plenty of structure and flattering silhouettes. These are actually American dresses from a parent company rather clunky named Private Label by G, who are best known for their long established, often heavily-beaded Kenneth Winston main line – though, increasingly, the softly elegant Ella Rosa gowns are starting to come out from KW’s shadow. If you’re the type that thinks ‘less is more’ – both in terms of streamlined style, and the amount you’re asked to invest – they’re well worth checking out. lindagraybridal.co.uk; ellarosabridal.com 18 | VOW

For the more crafty bride, the new range of colourful, playful, romantic crocheted wedding accessories from designer-makers To Be Adorned may be just the thing; it includes delicate beaded wedding garters, floral hair combs and headbands and ring bearer pillows. “They’re all hand-made by me in south Bristol,” says designer Rebecca Parker. “Some are wedding-focused, and some are just for feeling a little bit fabulous!” tobeadornedshop.etsy.com


A truly unique wedding venue in the heart of Clifton Village, licensed to carry out weddings and civil partnerships in the most breathtaking surroundings. Fine dining prepared in house for you by our Resident Chef, with free Wedding Menu Tasting for the Bride and Groom. Wedding parties of between 20 and 100 guests can be arranged in our exquisite rooms.

MAKE YOUR HEN PARTY A MEMORABLE ONE. Bespoke Wedding Service Luxurious Heritage Interiors Dedicated Events Team Exceptional Service Guaranteed Exclusively Yours Ceremony Only Options Available For further information or for a copy of our Wedding Brochure, please get in touch. Tel: 0117 9745039 - Fax: 0117 9743910 Email: sarah.davidson@thecliftonclub.co.uk

www.thecliftonclub.co.uk

T @CliftonClub f Clifton Club Weddings The Clifton Club, 22 The Mall, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4DS

Stylish accommodation in the heart of Bath, with relaxing spa packages and award winning restaurants and bars to sample. A perfect city for a perfect party.

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YOU’RE WELCOME


THE BR IDE i do, i do, i do

W O R D S b y PA U L M A R L A N D

p h o t o g r a p h y b y L i z z ie C hurchill

lost girls Tucked away on the south coast of Cornwall hides The Lost Gardens of Heligan, 200 acres of once-abandoned pleasure grounds and tropical jungles, where brides can melt away into another world‌

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dresses by lavender rose

THE BRIDE: Heligan

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cl aire pettibone

DRESSES: (Previous page) pearle (LEFT) cora (THIS PAGE) asscher

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THE BRIDE

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THE BRIDE: Heligan

dresses by lavender rose

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THE BRIDE: Heligan

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Ghosts in the Hel Treading lightly through all this history were… Photographer: Lizzie Churchill; lizziechurchill.com Location: The Lost Gardens of Heligan; heligan.com Hair: Alice Jane Hair Design; alicejanehair.com Make-up: Katarina Lategan Makeup;

makeupbykatarina.co.uk; Orchard Makeup & Beauty; cornwallmakeupartist.co.uk Headpieces: Holly Young Headwear; hollyyoungboutique.com Dresses: Lavender Rose; lavender-rose.co.uk Flowers: The Flower Studio, Falmouth; facebook.com/theflowerstudiofalmouth Jewellery: Sadie Jewellery; facebook.com/sadiejewellery Stylist: Jo Chatterley Models: Maisie Tooley, Poppy Guy, Chloe Netherton, Chloe Drew

photos by lizzie churchill

ome venues have a magical vibe built in, but few are quite as special as the Lost Gardens of Heligan near St. Austell in Cornwall, 200 acres of historic gardens that were for many decades abandoned under a tangle of weeds, until a chance rediscovery – and the eventual restoration of a major country estate. “From the moment I saw it, I’ve wanted to shoot a bridal editorial here,” says Cornwall-based wedding photographer Lizzie Churchill who, when she’s not capturing lucky local brides and grooms, spends her time running around the cliff tops and beaches of her spectacular county, exploring each nook and cranny. “Heligan is particularly special, though, with the most stunning walled gardens and greenhouses,” she says, “and looks – to my mind – especially fine on a crisp early summer morning or a lazy late summer evening, where time seems to float slowly by.” For this photo shoot, Lizzie got together four different models with very different looks and skin tones. The overall feel – thanks to stylist Jo Chatterley – was a luxury take on Boho, with quirky details and, says Lizzie, “peachy tones with a hint of metallic.” This was a March shoot – always a risk – but the gang lucked out with glorious weather, bright and cold, while, says Lizzie, “the sun remained low enough in the sky that I could create beautiful images with gorgeous soft spring light. Luckily we'd had a mild start to the year, which meant the gardens had started blossoming early, and we had plenty of colour surrounding us. ” This shoot came about when Lizzie and a hairdresser friend – Alice Hearle, who’d at that point recently gone freelance as Alice Jane Hair Design – started chatting about building up a portfolio of bridal hair styling for her new business. “It just grew from there,” says Lizzie. “Next came the makeup artist, and then I gathered together plenty of mood boards and brought aboard all of the other help we’d need: a suitable dress shop, a florist, a jeweller, a millinery designer and a few models, so that we had all the possible styling angles covered. Each of the suppliers are people I already knew, and wanted to help showcase through my editorial. We’re all small business owners who’ve started from scratch, and I’m always inclined to help and support local talent.”

eligan was for over 400 years the seat of the Tremayne family – a selection of local landed gentry, tin miners and MPs – and four successive generations are credited with creating the Gardens, starting with a chap called Henry, who toured all the great spreads of southern England – Blenheim, Stowe, Hestercombe and so on – in 1785 for inspiration, and then commissioned an updated estate plan, including what are now the Northern Gardens, the Mellon Yard and the Flower Garden, all protected by shelter beds of conifers. His son John then took over, commissioning the ornamental planting along the Long Drive and what is now the tropical-themed Jungle, and so it went on – right up until WW1, when all the young gardeners went off to war, and the whole place fell into neglect. Now, though, one of Europe’s most ambitious garden restoration project is well underway, with enough completed – they’re in their third decade of work, after all! – for the grounds to be opened for weddings at last. “In fact, perhaps the best part of shooting at Heligan,” Lizzie says, “was knowing that they’d just started taking on bookings for weddings, so that real life brides could recreate some of what we were doing here.” Indeed, three intimate sites across the gardens are now licensed for bijoux civil ceremonies catering for up to 30 guests – the historic Melon Yard, the romantic Italian Garden and the ancient Cob Room in the Steward’s House – and, with each, the photo opportunities are to die for. “The idea that you could actually get married in the stunning walled gardens you can see in these pictures, then sip on Champagne while walking through the sensory delight that is all the orchards, gardens and greenhouses surrounding your ceremony is very special,” Lizzie says. “In fact, I’m finding it quite hard to think of a more romantic setting.”


Words by Wendy Lyne Photography by Lucy Turnbull

THE BRIDE

Flower The Sweetest

Anne Bronte – youngest of the famous Haworth sisters – loved a bluebell, and so did big sister Emily. And now, so do we…

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THE BRIDE

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pictures by lucy turnbull


suzanne neville (opening spread); suzanne laure neville de sagazan (opening (opposite) spread); laure de sagazan (opposite)

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the Bride: the sweetest flower

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hotographer Lucy Turnbull is the other key person here, and tends to make glorious use of landscape, trees and weathered rock or wall backgrounds in many of her wedding shoots, whether she’s working on the Italian Cilento coast or a windswept beach much closer to home. She actually picked a close-up of this model in a bluebell crown, looking out at you through some foliage, as one of her six favourite frames she took last year. “This was, perhaps surprisingly, the first time I’d ever worked with a professional model,” she says. “Yeah, that is surprising. In fact, the whole shoot was rather unlike anything I’d done before, and my personal challenge was to find a way – in my chunky, clunky, kinda awkward fashion – to ‘unmodel’ the model. I wanted to find the her in her face. And to give her images that were a touch raw and totally un-bloody-airbrushed. In that, I’d definitely call it a success.” Us too, Lucy! In fact, we love all the details here, from some woodland eating possibility set-ups to the glorious Bristol car they had on hand, and even managed to get into some shots. “I didn’t know what it was,” says Elle, “but it sure was beautiful.” Blues, greens and purples abound – anyone who ever tells you that “blue and green should never be seen” has clearly never stepped outside – and a laid-back messiness was encouraged. Most of all, though, we love the fresh spring feel. If you ever felt the need to make the argument that spring is the greatest of all the seasons, the evidence you’d need is right here.

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Like fairy gifts Enjoying sunny days of merriment were… Styling, concept and floral design:

Elle Winsor-Grime at Inspire Hire; inspire-hire.co.uk Décor and Prop Hire Hire: Inspire Hire; inspire-hire.co.uk Stationery: Hiphip Hooray; hiphiphorray.com Cake: Pink Elephant Cake Co; pinkelephantcake.co.uk Hair: Gold Bird Hair; Instagram @joanneinnis Make-up: Tamsyn Siddiqui; cornwallweddingmake-up.co.uk Dress: Naomi Neo at The Bridal House of Cornwall; thebridalhouseofcornwall.co.uk Shoes: The Bridal House of Cornwall; thebridalhouseofcornwall.co.uk Additional dress: April Bailey Bespoke; aprilbaileybespoke.co.uk Tutu skirt: Mrs W Tutus; mrswtutus.co.uk Accessories: Sarah Drew; sarahdrew.com Venue: Bocconoc House & Estate; boconnoc.com Photographer: Lucy Turnbull; lucyturnbull.co.uk

picture by lucy turnbull

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nne Bronte praised their “fine and subtle spirit” in her poem about bluebells, while sister Emily’s similar offering waxed lyrical about their “mightiest power, to soothe my spirit’s care.” (Whether oldest sister Charlotte – of Wuthering Heights fame – had anything particular to say about the bluebell’s spiritual qualities we can’t quite recall.) There were certainly bluebells aplenty, though, at this particularly charming springtime shoot at Bocconoc House and Estate in south east Cornwall. It’s quite near Bodmin, but hidden down two miles of private roads, which makes for the most spectacularly secluded wedding venue, capable of handling up to 240 guests. There’s a deer park here and glorious flowers – as you can see – and occasionally film crews will show up to shoot everything from Rosamund Pilcher adaptations to the early ’90s film version of The Three Musketeers. (That’s the one with Kiefer Sutherland and Charlie Sheen – don’t bother.) Also turning up at Bocconoc occasionally is Elle WinsorGrime of Inspire Hire, who put together this lovely, fresh-feeling shoot with the help of two local dress experts – The Bridal House of Cornwall, who contributed a Naomi Neo number, and April Bailey, who once ran a bridal boutique before moving to Cornwall, and comes from a long line of seamstresses. These days she specialises in bridal alternations and bespoke bridal accessories. And adding a touch of quirkiness: a tutu, from UK handmade tutu specialist Kate Winchurch of Mrs W Tutus.


Ellie Rose Bridal Ti Adora by Alvina Valenta Hayley Paige Occasions Blush by Hayley Paige Hayley Paige

7 Margaret’s Buildings, Bath BA1 2LP | 01225 443 988 | info@ellierosebridal.co.uk | www.ellierosebridal.co.uk |

GoldHandmade & Platinum Studio and Bespoke Jewellery

We specialise in bespoke and perfectly matched engagement and wedding rings. Hand made with love at our Bath studio and workshop. 19 Northumberland Place, Bath BA1 5AR I Tel: 01225 462 300 www.goldandplatinumstudio.co.uk I Email: mike@goldandplatinumstudio.co.uk


Photo credit: Laura Power Photography

A BLOSSOMING ROMANCE Flourish in unique splendor, where sophistication romances relaxation to create the ultimate home from home for family and friends on your wedding day. Take comfort in our warm ambiance as we help you to begin your story here at Berwick Lodge. Call us now to start your story. Berwick Lodge, Berwick Drive, Bristol BS10 7TD Tel: 0117 958 1590 www.berwicklodge.co.uk


SILVER LADIES W O R D S b y C l a r i s s a P i co t

p h o t o g r a p h y b y To m S m i t h

West Country models, West Country dresses, a West Country location – and West Country weather! – come together gloriously for a shoot that looks as special indoors as out…

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dresses by jessica charleston

THE BRIDE

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cl air s ielv pe r t tlia bd oin ee s

DRESSES: (Previous page) pearle (LEFT) cora (THIS PAGE) asscher

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dresses by jessica charleston

THE BRIDE

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THE BRIDE

“W

e were after an iconic couture feel here,” says wedding hair specialist Mary K Roberton, who put together this shoot, “but with an alternative twist, too. We shot in both colour and black-and-white – I love the timeless feel that gives – and we kept both hair and make-up minimalist and natural, aiming to really bring out the natural beauty of our models.” For Mary, the first step is always to secure the right snapper, and in the rather good Tom Smith she found her man. “Oh, he’s a wonderfully creative fashion and wedding photographer,” she says, “and has many clients in the music world, as I do. When he came recommended, I jumped at the chance to work with him.” A dress designer whose style worked with the concept was needed too, and Bath-based Jessica Charleston – very inventive, and a familiar figure in the pages – had just the right aesthetic, offering the couture-with-a-twist feel that Mary was looking for. To fill those dresses? Models from Gingersnap, the Bristol agency, who not only let Mary cast some amazing girls, but also supplied the make-up artist, Grace Kingsley. Mary visited the Vintage Market that runs in Bath’s Green Park on Sundays for the old lace she used in their hair, while flowers were from the florist on the same city’s Milsom Street. he team looked into so many locations,” Mary says, “and was really after somewhere opulent and grand, with incredible interiors and wonderful grounds. You can imagine how delighted I was when Ston Easton Park, the glorious country house hotel at Wells, said they were happy to have us. They gave us one of their beautiful rooms for the day, with a most impressive chandelier and fireplace, and the biggest windows.”

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Mary is probably (how should we put this?) used to demanding co-workers, as, when she’s not contributing to weddings, you’ll often find her doing the hair of music stars – think everyone from Ellie Goulding to Pixie Lott – and working with big name clients ranging from Elle to Topshop. So did anything go wrong? “Not really. This being England we had rain, but the grounds of Ston Easton are so outrageously stunning they look good whatever the weather, and there was a dry window or two when we could all just rush outside and go for it. A slightly overcast day can actually offer great lighting opportunities, so I’d suggest no bride gets too downhearted when there are clouds on her wedding day.” It was all a joy, then? “Oh, with so many top professionals on hand and such a great location, we couldn’t really go wrong. It actually turned out to be quite a calming experience, and not frantic at all.”

Romancing the Ston These hands held in black and white belong to… Dresses: Jessica Charleston; jessicacharleston.co.uk Photography: Tom Smith Photography;

tomsmithphotography.co.uk Hair: Mary K Roberton; marykroberton.com Make-up: Grace Kingsley; gracekingsleymakeupartist.com Models: Gingersnap Model Agency; gingersnap.co.uk


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Let your imagination run wild, you want to arrive by helicopter? Bring the fun of the fair? Launch a hot air balloon? …no problem!

Woodlands Castle, Ruishton, Taunton, Somerset TA3 5LU • info@woodlandscastle.co.uk • 01823 444955 www.woodlandscastle.co.uk

Bickleigh

Castle

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W O R D S b y Pa u l M a r l a n d

Ph oto g r a ph y by S i o b h a n A my

Dreaming as the days go by Why is a raven like a writing desk? Expect no reasonable answer here – there isn’t one – but prepare yourself for a moody, magical winter’s walk through the woods where our Alice-like bride seems like she might just stumble across… well, virtually anything

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DRESSES: (LEFT

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THE BRIDE: alice

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nce the Queen of Hearts got into such a tizzy over the mere loss of some tarts, imagine how riled she’d become if anyone made off with the mighty, baroque confectionary creation from Bristol’s Chocolate Delores Cakes you see here. It’s but one of the stars of this moody photoshoot put together by Liz Wong of Elizabeth Weddings and a host of West Country talent, and based around Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, that creepiest and most inventive of childrens’ books. “The core idea of the shoot was definitely Alice,” says Liz, “but, instead of completely theming things, in the end I just took various elements and colours from the book and combined them with other, more traditional, fairytale images. The most obvious Alice references are in the teacups, the pale blue colour of Alice’s dress, the keys and the White Rabbit's pocket watch. I thought the deep red and pale blues we used contrasted really well together, and created a moody colour palette – kind of wintry, yes, but with the warming yet vaguely foreboding richness of the deep red, which makes you think of blood and deep-held passions.” Though there are indoor scenes in Alice – the curious hall with the locked doors of many sizes, the famous courtroom sequence – it's basically an outdoor story, dreamed by a bored and drowsy little girl on a summer riverbank, and so the woodland trails at the Victorian Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol made for the perfect venue. “The weather on the day wasn’t great,” Liz says, “but in a way that only helped add to the atmosphere. And anyway, we managed to dodge the worst of the showers!”

T

o the best of our knowledge, Arnos Vale has never seen a flood of tears so mighty it could sweep away French mice on the rising waters, but there’s certainly plenty of the sort of atmosphere here that makes you think anything’s possible. A garden cemetry in the heart of Bristol, there are 45 acres here of nature trails and winding walks, plus quirky architecture to die for. It’s the sort of place where you always seem to stumble across something new. Flowers were provided by Megan Lily Flowers – a specialist in the more informal side of floristry, Meg works from a lovely little flower shed at the bottom of her garden, while her background in theatre design surely helped with this shoot’s dramatic elements – in a very strict colour scheme that ties in perfectly with the mood of the shoot. Meanwhile, Linda Thomas Eco Design – a local luxury upcycling outfit familiar to regular Vow readers – provided the dress. “For me, one of the most effective parts of the shoot was the way we contrasted deep red petals, which we scattered on the ground, with Alice’s pale blue dress and the dark woods,” Liz says. By ‘Alice’, she of course means ‘Rachel Harvey’, who’s surely Bristol’s favourite wedding gown model. “The petals drag in another fairytale theme – the idea of Hansel and Gretel on a walk in the woods, with their foolish trail of breadcrumbs – too,” Liz continues, “and that we have gravestones in shot only adds to the feeling of magic and, yes, mild foreboding.” Indeed, despite the fact that her dress colour is all wrong, we’re getting more than a hint of Little Red Riding Hood, too… “Perhaps yes,“ says Liz, “but more deliberate was the reference 4 4 | VOW

we make to the Alice sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. I loved the idea of incorporating an ornate gold mirror, then showing Alice’s reflection in the frame. Our photographer, Siobhan Amy, captured that perfectly, I thought.” Indeed, if Tweedledum and Tweedledee – or, yet worse, a galumphing Jabberwock – we’re suddenly to loom up behind her, we wouldn’t be totally surprised…

Off with their heads! Who stole the tarts? We rather suspect this little lot… Design, styling and coordination: Liz Wong

at Elizabeth Weddings; elizabethweddings.co.uk Photographer: Siobhan Amy Photography;

siobhanamyphotography.com Venue: Arnos Vale Cemetery; arnosvale.org.uk Flowers: Megan Lily Flowers; meganlilyflowers.co.uk Chair sashes: The Vintage Sash Company; vintagesashcompany.co.uk Cake: Chocolate Delores Cakes; chocolatedelorescakesbristol.co.uk Dress: Linda Thomas Eco Design; lindathomasecodesign.co.uk Hair and make-up: Emily Gibson Model: Rachel Harvey


R i m e arodak y

dresses

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SOFT

THE BRIDE

FLAMES A woman has to live her life, wrote DH Lawrence, or live to repent not having lived it. Both VOW | 4 5 Elle Windor-Grime and our versions of Constance and Oliver would seem to agree...


pictures by LUCY TURNBILL

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pictures by LUCY TURNBuLL


suzanne neville (opening spread); suzanne laure neville de sagazan (opening (opposite) spread); laure de sagazan (opposite)

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the Bride: soft fl a mes

pictures by LUCY TURNBulL

O

“B

oconnoc Estate in Cornwall is a favourite venue of mine,” says Elle Winsor-Grime of Inspire Hire, the cool wedding and event hire covering Cornwall and the South West. “It heaves with atmosphere that changes from season to season, and I especially love arriving in the autumn. You come down a sweeping driveway as ruby red and fire orange leaves flutter to the ground from the old trees, while the streams are surrounded by flaming ferns that turn from luscious green to burnished gold and copper.” This late autumn shoot has a real Lady Chatterley’s Lover feel, and follows our bride, Sarah, from her stately bedroom to a secret tryst with her lover down at the woodshed. Once she’s made her escape across the formal lawns and into the woods, they cling together against the chill of the autumn air. “There’s a lovely moss-covered Celtic cross on the estate, by the banks of a beautiful stream, and I’ve always thought it would make such a beautiful spot for a wedding ceremony or blessing,” Elle says. “For this shoot I imagined our couple getting secretly married to the sound of bird song and the babbling brook. Then, as the sun sets, they dine under the shadow of the ancient woodland in flickering candlelight, lovingly gazing at one another and at the happy result of their love – baby Archer.”

kay, so things didn’t happen quite that quickly in real life, but Tom, Sarah and baby Archer (just out of shot on these pages, but he was there) are a genuine family – indeed, Tom is a Forest School teacher, which gave Elle the inspiration for her DH Lawrence-inspired plot. “We were due to do a maternity shoot,” she says, “but Archer arrived early!” Though directly inspired by her cast, Elle’s bigger theme here was the idea that you can tailor a wedding ceremony to your own style and needs, and that conventional elegance is by no means the only way to go. “I hope what we did here helps illustrate how non-traditional couples and families can create stylish and individual celebrations of their love, whatever the time of year,” she says. “As a stylist, so many of my couples use words such as ‘personal’ and ‘individual’ when trying to describe how they’d like their wedding day to look and feel, but I suspect few of them actually had something as individual as this in mind. “We love to work with our couples to make sure their day is well and truly about them, though, and some interesting ways to do that are illustrated here. So, if you don’t feel a regular white wedding dress is quite you, why not have a black one? And if you want hearty soup and apple pie for your wedding breakfast, whyever not? I particularly like the way we’ve used dark, rich, warm colours here instead of pretty pastels – hell, yes! – and that pancake wedding cake is just the epitome of cool.” And the Celtic cross? It could host more than just a wedding, we reckon. How about a naming ceremony for Archer…?

SOMETHING’S IN THE WOODSHED We can hear it breathing (it’s such an eerie feeling) Design, florals and hire: Elle Windor-Grime at

Inspire Hire; inspire-hire.co.uk Photography: Lucy Turnbull Photography;

lucyturnbull.co.uk Hair: Joanne at Gold Bird Hair Design; facebook.com/goldbirdhairdesign Make-up: Tamsin Siddigui; cornwallweddingmake-up.co.uk Gown: The Bridal House of Cornwall; thebridalhouseofcornwall.co.uk Accessories: Sarah Drew Jewellery; sarahdrew.com Venue: Boconnoc Estate; boconnoc.com Blankets: Atlantic Blankets; atlanticblankets.com Celtic sheepskin: Celtic & Co; celticandco.com Men’s clothing: Moss Bros, Truro; moss.co.uk Watch a video of this shoot at:

vimeo.com/baxterandtedfilms/darkromance

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Weddings at the Centurion Hotel At the Centurion Hotel we are here to help make your Wedding Day dreams come true. We can tailor a bespoke package to suit your needs and our dedicated and professional team will be able to help you every step of the way, whether it is a small intimate gathering or a large celebration.

Glass Slipper Package Civil Ceremony room Wedding Breakfast (3 course menu for 50 guests) Drinks package Evening buffet (100 guests) Bridal Suite for the night of the Wedding Wedding dress Groom suit hire

Photographer Wedding car Wedding cake Flowers Balloons Place setting and table plan DJ (for evening reception) Chair covers with sash Optional bolt on Honeymoon

Total Cost for the package £6,000

The perfect package for the perfect price

Glass Slipper Deluxe Package 65 × day guests included Gold drinks package 3 Course Wedding Breakfast 100 × evening guests – butties or pasties Bridal Suite for the night of the Wedding No extra venue hire Chair covers and sash Printing of place cards and table plan Photography Coverage from brides preparations to the first dance. 10×10” 30 page album of your choice Copyright to all edited Hi Res images put onto Disc/USB Private online gallery for photos to be viewed by guests Funky nights evening photos to include 50 8x6” mounted free prints

Total cost for the package £9,975

Flowers 2 × Column pedestal arrangements 1 × Cascading waterfall arrangement 6 × Bespoke table centres 1 × Bridal bouquet 6 × Buttonholes 2 × Corsages

Solitaire Brides Bridal dress (to keep) and groom suit hire

Wedding Car Elite Balloons Disco and DJ 3 Tier Cake £500 towards a honeymoon specialist

Charlton Lane | Midsomer Norton | Nr BATH | Somerset | BA3 4BD www.centurionhotel.co.uk | E: enquiries@centurionhotel.co.uk T: (0)1761 417711 | F: (0)1761 418357 | Club Tel: (0)1761 412214


THE BRIDE

W O R D S b y W e n d y Ly n e

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Channeling quite a lot of The Railway Children – and perhaps a tiny hint of Downton Abbey (but a junior, Bugsy Malone-style version) – comes the latest range of flower girls dresses from the amazing Nicki Macfarlane…

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THE BRIDE

Flower girls add romance to the day, yes, but they also add fun. In my experience, little girls always adore wearing something pretty and feminine, so it’s happy faces all round

So, Nicki, what is it about flower girl dresses that you love – and what makes a good one? I just think there’s something magical about little girls in frothy dresses, and there’s no better opportunity to persuade them to wear one than at a wedding. Flower girls add romance to the day, yes, but they also add fun. In my experience, little girls always adore wearing something pretty and feminine, so it’s happy faces all round. You love a giant bow, don’t you? They’ve certainly become part of our trademark look, as we’ve used them since we started. We originally introduced them because we were conscious of the importance of back detail during the ceremony, but now they’ve become almost an essential for many of our clients. Not all your flower girl dresses feature them, though… Okay, so they don’t feature in all of our designs, but they’re certainly there in a lot of them. I suppose they are dramatic and glamorous VOW | 5 3

DRESSES this spread: aVA (in white), clementine, florence

A

wedding’s about more than just ‘the dress’ – though sometimes it doesn’t feel like that, perhaps – and other members of the wedding party will want to get dolled up too. But while Mothers of the Bride sometimes outspend their daughters, and adult bridesmaids may well be happy with something nice from Monsoon or Coast, woe betide you if you mess up with potentially the fussiest group of the bunch: the flower girls. Making picking something gorgeous for them easy is Carina Baverstock Couture in Bradford on Avon, which currently stocks gorgeous flower girl dresses from Nicki Macfarlane, whose own boutique is on Langton Street in London’s Chelsea, and whose work you might remember from a certain royal wedding. (Yes, that’s right: the Duchess of Cambridge’s flower girls all wore her dresses.) Nicki’s been making amazing frocks for little girls for over 30 years, and her SS2017 collection – seen here in a vaguely Jenny Agutter-inspired shoot at Buck Railway Centre near Aylesbury, home to all sorts of steam trains and period platform details – is bound to contain something to suit every wedding. We caught up with Nicki to find out more…


but, in a more practical sense, they’re also a good way of introducing a useful second colour to the outfit. Should a flower girl dresses match, or perhaps reflect, the look of the bride, or the adult bridesmaids? Or is it more or less safe to go your own way with them? The most successful dresses for flower girls complement the bride – but are not too similar to her gown. It certainly works well to have some sort of stylistic link between them, though – either through the use of certain fabrics, or through the silhouette. But you’ve got to remember that the bride is always the star of the show, and the flower girls can’t possibly upstage her. Still, I know one or two small girls who’d disagree with me… Of course, little kids are notoriously fickle, and even if you pick the most gorgeous dresses for them, there’s always a chance that one of them will hate it, surely…? Which is why I’d always suggests that a bride offers a choice of styles to the flower girls. In fact, I’d advise her to make a shortlist of two – and possibly even three – dresses that she loves, and then offer them to the flower girls, hopefully heading off the possibility of a standoff or tantrum. (The same trick is probably a good idea with adult bridesmaids, too…)

The most successful dresses for flower girls complement the bride – but are not too similar to her gown. It certainly works well to have some sort of stylistic link between them... through the use of certain fabrics or through the silhouette

Finally, what’s been your biggest hit dress so far, and why did it work so well? Grace has been a long-time favourite. With its soft lace and twirling circle skirt, it’s the perfect suits-all flower girl dress. But also very popular is Mirabelle in organza, which is a very cloud-like dress, and perfect for summer weddings with its dipped back. This season, however, Petra looks like being the front runner. Again, it’s a dress that’s traditionally pretty, but uses a lovely 3D fabric to give it a bit of a twist. nickimacfarlane.com; carinabcouture.com 5 4 | VOW

Dresses (clockwise): Mirabelle & Peony, Georgina, Isador

N I C K I M a C FA R L A N E


a e s AND L MARL U A P y b Y WORDS S BAILE y CHRI b y h p gr a Ph oto

r s summe a s ie k s e r in th ws twitte tumn to winter, at o ll a w s g au Gatherin , and then imilarly gathering n m u t u a s o turns t k, where r a P eir skills‌ r h t e e e D ic t c ’s a n rs pr Devo otographe h p g in d d we


n o s a of mists


t h e B r i d e : d e e r pa r k

T T

PHOTOGRAPHY BY mimosa photography

he poet John Keats loved the autumn – a season to “to bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,” he wrote – but we think photographers love it even more. All that colour! And all that beautifully subtle melancholy, the year not yet over – not by a long shot – but undeniably no longer young. This shoot was actually organised by Amber McCarthy of South Devon’s Liberty Pearl Photography as a workshop for a handful photographers, who all rocked up Deer Park Country House at Honiton on a bright, cold day in November to practice their skills. One of the big draws was that the hotel had arranged for a snow machine. “Deer Park is a beautiful 18th century mansion that’s been turned into a boutique hotel,” Amber says. “It sits in 80 acres of glorious grounds, including an elegant Italian garden, and there’s stunning woodland with a beautiful thatched tree house. All that variety meant we could shoot in two different styles.” First up there would be a luxury winter wonderland feel – “all silver, cotton candy and crystals,” says Amber – and then the second set-up would be warmer and more relaxed, with a rustic autumnal woodland vibe. “I chose local luxury suppliers to contribute,” Amber continues, “and asked them to think in terms of simple, elegant style. From the stunning geode cake to the exquisite stationery, they all contributed to the wintry feel.” he pictures you see here aren’t Amber’s, however, but rather those of one of the other photographers who attended the day, Meg Hope of Mimosa Photography, who mixes her wedding work with live music photography. “The thing I enjoyed most about the shoot was the combination of colours,” says Meg, “from the whites and rustic greys to the hints of silver and occasional surviving green florals, as well as the warm autumn tones. This was my first styled shoot, and it not only helped me expand my portfolio, but allowed me to experiment in a way that

I just don’t to do at one of my real weddings. I’m more used to the pressures of an actual wedding day, where most of the time you stick to what you know will work well, so this was a breath of fresh air. It taught me everything from using natural winter light to its best advantage, to the best ways to present and photograph wedding stationery.” And her favourite bit of the day? “Probably one shot I took of the bride and groom sitting on their swing seat. I took this image through the autumn trees, and the beautiful colours made a natural frame.”

let it snow Wading their way through the deeper drifts were… Photography: Meg Hope, Mimosa Photography; mimosaphotography.uk Venue: Deer Park Hotel; deerparkcountryhotel.co.uk Styling: Liberty Pearl Photography; libertypearlphotography.com Silver wedding dress: Phase Eight; phase-eight.com White wedding dress: Ellis Bridal; ellisbridals.co.uk Groom’s suit: Hawkes Exeter; jonathanhawkes.co.uk Make-up: Genevieve Satha Makeup; genevievesatha.co.uk Hair: Devon Wedding Hair; devonweddinghair.co.uk Hair accessories: Lucky Sixpence; theluckysixpence.co.uk

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Linda Gray Bridalwear

Gloucester’s Multi Award winning Bridal Boutique Affordable Luxury & Exceptional Customer service Westgate Retail Park, The Island, Gloucester, GL1 2RU 01452 418880 • Linda Gray Bridalwear Gloucester

ALISON MILES co u t u r e

Contemporary and Traditional Wedding Gowns individually designed and made to measure in the most beautiful silks Bespoke Vintage Brooch Bouquets Enquiries/appointments 01225 336805 Email: alison@alisonmiles.co.uk www.alisonmiles.com


W O R D S b y C l a r i s s a P i co t

PONY CLUB

p h o t o g r a p h y b y A m y L at h r op e - R e i d

Who do I prefer, my husband or my horse? For some women this can be quite the question, but thanks to photographer Amy Lathrope-Reid you no longer have to choose‌

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the Bride: PONY CLUB

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PICTURE BY Amy Lathrope-Reid

S

ince many of us love our pets more than – whisper it – some of the people in our lives, and few pets are quite so adored or as photogenic as the horse, it’s perhaps little surprise that a small (but growing) minority of brides are doing their best to incorporate their equine best pals into their wedding plans. Even if it is only in the form of a wedding-themed photoshoot beforehand. Perfectly positioned to help out is horsewoman and photographer Amy Lathrope-Reid, whose career as a equine specialist has recently expanded to take in bridal commissions, too. “I’ve been lucky enough to shoot a couple of weddings where the couple have brought their horses along,” Amy says, “and I love getting a booking like that – and want to encourage more. There is just something magical about a bride and her horse.” Amy first got into equine photography around 10 years ago, when her husband bought her a camera as a Christmas present. “I used to practice on lots of different things,” she says, “but my main focus became my sister and her horse, Indy. I’d been shooting them for a couple of years when suddenly, in a freak accident, she lost him – so I decided to set up Indy Equine Photography in his memory, shooting other horse owners and providing them with timeless images of their best friends.” Indeed, Amy has two horses of her own, a retired Shire cross named Benny, and a Friesian called Shima, who she rides regularly. He stars in this shoot, along with some of the special tack Amy’s bought him as, she says, “it goes so well with the outfits.” hey shot everything at Old Down Manor at Tockington near Bristol, which boasts 66 acres of beautiful grounds – including a tree-lined avenue. Amy knew about it because she's shot a couple of weddings there before. “The day before the shoot we’d enjoyed stunning sunshine,” she says, “and I'd gotten my hopes up for more, but I was so wrong as the rain didn’t stop – though, oddly enough, it remained a very humid 26 degrees. We were lucky enough to be mostly under the tree canopy, though, which meant we stayed fairly dry. Luckily,

our model, Lydia Cooke, blew me away with her ability to show the bond between horse and owner – I'd been so worried that this might not come across.” Lydia’s make-up was by Leah Jane Hooper at Studio 60, while Faye Harvey at F L 21 contributed hair styling, Maria Wilcox at Sorori Design Floral did the flowers, and Sacha Allen at Natural World Jewels came up with some perfect bespoke jewellery. “I'd previously photographed Sacha with her own horse – as well as her actual wedding day – so I knew what her jewellery is like,” Amy says. And did Shima enjoy the day? “I can honestly say that I’ve met my soulmate in him,” Amy says. “He took it all in his stride – even when the office girls came out to see him. He loved all the cuddles!”

With flowers in your hair Thankful that Shima is a patient beast are… Photographer: Amy Lathrope-Reid at Indy Wedding Photography; indyweddingphotography.co.uk (Check out her equine photography at indyequinephotography.co.uk) Model: Lydia Cooke; facebook.com/lydiacookemodelling Hair stylist: Faye Harvey at F L 21; facebook.com/FLtwentyone Make-up: Leah Jane Hooper at Studio 60 Beauty Room; facebook.com/Studio60beautyroom Jewellery: Sacha Allen at Natural World Jewels; naturalworldjewels.com Flowers: Maria Wilcox at Sorori Design Floral; sororidesign.co.uk Venue: Old Down Manor & Estate; olddownestate.co.uk


Clifton Brides

DESIGNER BRIDALWEAR

AWARD WINNING BOUTIQUE. STYLISH AFFORDABLE GOWNS.

186 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2XU f Tel: 01179 237928 www.cliftonbrides.co.uk


Engagement, Wedding and Eternity rings Design • Commissions Workshop on premises • Wedding Rings

Tel: 01225 309039 www.ortonjewellery.co.uk 6-7 Market Street, Bradford on Avon, BA15 1LH Open: Tuesday - Saturday 10-5pm or by appointment!

Reach the best in the west Affluent, active and influential and just a call away

Creative & individual flowers for your special day

From her chic boutique florist in the heart of Clifton Village, Lisa and her creative team will design gorgeous wedding flowers to enhance your perfect day – from beautiful bridal bouquets to fabulous floral decorations.

Bristol 0117 9732440 1 Waterloo Street, Clifton Village, Bristol BS8 4BT email: lisa@lisa-elliott.co.uk www.lisa-elliott.co.uk

Sophie Speakman 01225 475800


J UST M AR R IED REAL-LIFE WEST COUNTRY WEDDINGS

Nisha Patel & Hershvardhan Narola

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Picture by tom archer

True colours

his wedding, you may have noticed, is rather more colourful than most we run in Vow – and all the better for it. The whole event was rather longer-lasting too. Thank the fact that this was a traditional Hindu do, lasting three days and multiple ceremonies, but in a perhaps unexpected location: Orchardleigh Estate in Frome, big enough to host all of it. “On day one we held a morning pre-wedding Hindu ceremony in the main house, followed by a music night in the same location,” says bride Nisha, “then on the second day we had the actual Hindu wedding in the Italian Garden in the morning, followed by a formal English-style reception in The Orangery in the evening. Each event had its own colour and decoration theme.” Another surprise? Nisha and groom Hershvardhan actually live in America, dividing their life together in enviable fashion between


JUST M ARRIED

New York City and more rural Virginia, close to family. “We both love New York,” Nisha says, “so we tend to stay there for at least two weeks each month, then the other two we spend in Virginia.” Nice! So what brought them to England? “It was Orchardleigh, really. It had everything we wanted for our wedding and guests, with enough accommodation within the estate, a wide variety of places for pictures, ceremonies, and celebrations, and the magnificent feel of a fairy-tale wedding.”

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he guys met in September 2015 through their families at Hersh’s brother’s house in Fairfax, Virginia, then Hersh took Nisha out for dinner in Arlington, at the Kapnos Taverna restaurant. By December – with Nisha actually living in Australia at the time! – Hersh was secretly taking his family to her sister’s house in Virginia to ask for her hand before proposing, and with everyone blessing the match Hersh got his family’s help to pick a beautiful ring.

“He then flew to Australia in January,” Nisha says, “and actually proposed to me on my birthday.” By February they’d started their wedding planning – not easy, we’re guessing, with so many continents involved – but within five months they’d more or less got it sussed. “It’s never easy planning a destination wedding, where the bride and groom come from two different countries and the wedding is in an entirely different one,” Nisha says, “but some elements came easily, not least the cake, clothes, jewellery and shoes. We had some known and trusted suppliers in India where we could get many of these custom made, and we saved money in other areas, too. The cake, for instance, was coming up as very expensive, so we simply bought a good-looking, tasty one from Marks and Spencer, which was just £100.”

6 6 | VOW


Nisha & Hersh

The sun shone on Orchardleigh at the evening reception on Day 1 (main pic), and there were still two more days – and plenty more outfits – to go! PictureS by tom archer

VOW | 67


JUST M ARRIED: Nisha & Hersh

Marriage Guidance Who? Nisha Pate and Hershvardhan Narola When: 6 July 2016 Where? Orchardleigh Estate, Frome; orchardleigh.net Reception: Orchardleigh Estate; orchardleigh.net Hair and make-up: Joshiv Beauty; joshivbeauty.com Photography: Tom Archer; tomarcherphoto.co.uk 6 8 | VOW

PictureS by tom archer

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eing so far from Orchardleigh, the guys struggled with things like DJs and flower arrangements, but came up with some nifty solutions. “We had silk artificial flowers custom-made in India,” Nisha says, “and when they turned up, with the decorative drapes, everything was pre-made so all we needed was help to put them onto the pillars and walls.” Nisha had two dresses made in India – a wedding dress from designers Shyamal & Bhumika, and a reception dress from designers Pavan & Pranav, both chosen in a doubtless frantic day shopping in Mumbai – while a third dress, to be worn at the music party the night before the actual ceremony, was by a designer called Sabyasachi and was also picked in Mumbai. “All together, it took me two days to do the shopping for dresses and jewellery,” Nisha says, “but it then took about a month to find a good hair and make-up artist. I hunted around online while I was working in Australia, and eventually found Joshiv Beauty, who are lovely people, arrived on time, and their prices were reasonable. I had different hair and make-up for the wedding and reception ceremonies, all selected according to the colour and style of my outfits. For the pre-wedding events, I got ready myself – although I did go to the Joshiv Studio for a hair and make-up trial three weeks before the wedding day.” Hersh, meanwhile, wore a wedding outfit by designers Shyamal & Bhumika of Ahmedabad, India with accessories bought there or custom made to coordinate with Nisha’s outfit, while his reception clobber was custom made by Knot Standard of New York and his look for the music party was by Manish Malhotra of Mumbai. “We didn’t want bridesmaids or groomsmen, because we only had close family and friends attending and wanted to honor our relationship with everyone there,” Nisha says. “These people have supported and loved us throughout our lives, and we wanted them all to feel equally special.” There was no bouquet, either – “all the quotes I got from Somerset fresh flower decorators were outside our budget,” Nisha says, “so when I flew to India in June 2015 I looked up artificial flowers, and met with one company who understood the style I wanted” – and, instead of giving names or numbers to each table at the reception, they decided to print the names of places the couple had visited together on chocolate Champagne bottles. “We had one of our family members transport these bottles to the estate a day before the wedding, but because there was so much going on we forgot to take them out of the car. Of course, by the time we’d remembered them they’d melted in the sun!” Well aware of the UK’s famously unpredictable weather, Nisha and Hersh had come up with endless back-up plans – “with Plan A, most things took place outdoors, and with Plan B we’d move everything inside” – but none of that was necessary. “Both days were bright and sunny,” says Nisha, “so we didn’t need Plan B at all.”


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JUST M ARRIED

Lavender girl Kim Page & Kevin Magner

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ith so many of us getting married in our 30s or later, it’s striking and refreshing to come across a bride and groom closer in age to our parents when they tied the knot: Kevin here is 26, and bride Kim just 21. The guys live in Royal Wootton Bassett, and met just over four years ago at a Christian holiday camp in West Sussex. Since they lived quite far apart back then, their first date was more of a full day thing than a night out, with Kev visiting Kim at her house and taking her for a walk through woods in the morning, followed by an afternoon of board and card games. “We also went for dinner with my parents,” Kim says, “which, with hindsight, may have been a bit full-on for a first date!” By the summer of 2015 Kev had proposed, and they leapt straight into wedding planning, getting the basics done in a few months, then taking a year to make sure they’d thought about all the details. “Choosing venues and colour schemes were fairly simple,” Kim now says, “but much trickier was the table plan, trying to figure out who would get on well with who. Deciding on the songs for the ceremony was hard too, as we have quite different musical tastes.” That venue, by the way, was Pip n Jay Church – the church they were a part of when they got engaged – while Clifton College worked well for the reception, as it wasn’t too far and was large enough to fit all their guests. “The building is stunning,” Kim says. “It was important to us to have a good outdoor space too, as we love being outside – not that it mattered, as it rained most of the day! We’d spent ages thinking of great games to play outside, too – and hardly any time planning indoor alternatives!” Kim found her gown at The Bridal Room in Horsell, Woking on a shopping trip with one of her bridesmaids and her mum – “it was the only dress that made us all tear up, so I knew it was the one!” – and she paired it with a slightly messy up-do by Hobbs in Bristol and minimal jewellery. “I’m not an extravagant or formal person,” she says, “and anyway, I didn’t want to distract from my stunning dress. My make-up was done by my sister-in-law – she was one of my bridesmaids, too – as she’s an amazing beauty blogger, and I knew she’d make me feel comfortable.” Across the aisle, Kev and his three best men – childhood friend Rich, uni pal Tom and little brother Peter – had gone suit shopping together, and found something suitable at Next. The five bridesmaids, meanwhile, were in a complementary dusky purple with open backs, high necks, and silver sandals. Anna Harcourt supplied some spectacular flowers – “I love the smell of lavender,” Kim says, “so there was plenty of that” – while The Local Bakehouse, makers of “the best vegan cakes in Bristol”, 70 | VOW

provided a spectacular vegan and gluten free cake in three different flavours that everyone could enjoy, including Kim.

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hough the saying of their vows was the most memorable moment of the day, the reception was full of incident too, from a romantic first dance to the father of the bride’s speech featuring a surprise bagpipe player, bringing back, says Kev, “embarrassing memories from Kim’s 15th birthday!” The guys had two bands play at the reception in the evening, one of them formed of friends from church and the other of Kim’s family. “Amazingly,” she says, “both were put together especially for our wedding. Because we had so many friends and family involved, we actually managed to come in under budget, too!” Two pictures taken by Jennifer Jane sum up the day. “One is the first dance photo, just because of the joy on everyone’s faces,” Kim says, “and the other is of us coming back down the aisle after the ceremony, with Kev dancing to the music. Why? Because I’d predicted that he’d adopt that exact stance after he’d married me!”


KIM & KEVIN

Perhaps Kim and Kevin should have brought along some of their first date board games to entertain guests during the rain. KerPlunk, anyone? PictureS by jennifer jane photography

Marriage Guidance Who? Kim Page and Kevin Magner When: 20 August 2016 Where? Pip n Jay Church, Bristol; pipnjay.org Reception: Clifton College, Bristol; cliftoncollege.com Dress: The Bridal Room, Horsell; thebridal-room.co.uk Catering: Clifton College; cliftoncollege.com Cake: The Local Bakehouse; thelocalbakehouse.com Flowers: Anna Harcourt; harcourtflowers.com Hair: Hobbs Hairdressing; hobbs-style.co.uk Photography: Jennifer Jane Photography; jenniferjanephotography.co.uk

VOW | 7 1


JUST M ARRIED

You’ve got me on my knees Layla Todd & Thomas Renshaw

7 2 | VOW

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rislington couple Layla and Tom met at work – traditional! – where she was a trainee solicitor and Tom worked in facilities (though he’s since gone into the law too). “Tom used to work late and on weekends with me,” says Layla, innocently. “I just thought he had a lot of work on!” On a first date at Bristol’s Christmas Market, Layla burnt her mouth on Tom’s bratwurst – “that’s not a double entendre,” she protests, unconvincingly – and then they went to see Thor at the cinema. “I spent the whole film in pain,” she says, “as an ulcer grew in my mouth!” Tom proposed on the couple’s first trip abroad together – well, it was Florence, so the romantic bug is almost bound to bite – when the pair snuck onto their hotel’s locked-up roof terrace with some cold pizza. “It was so beautiful,” Layla says, “as the Duomo was just behind us.” Thinking – and it’s not a bad idea – that the less time you have to sort a wedding, the less money you’ll be able to spend, Layla and Tom organised everything in six months, booking the venue, No 4


L ay l a & T o m

If a guy’s constantly working late with you, he might have an ulterior motive. Just sayin’… PictureS by brad wakefield

Clifton Village in Bristol, after just two short meetings with Mika and Monica there. “We were a bit on edge about how easy it was,” Layla says, “but we needn’t have worried. The venue is so lovely, everything ran smoothly – and the food was delicious. We wanted somewhere small and intimate, as my mother’s family are all in Morocco and so weren’t able to attend, and it was just going to be immediate family at the ceremony. We went for a theme that mixed classic English with traditional Moroccan in tribute, though. The reception was there too, and we invited our favourite people for a wonderful party in the evening.” For her dress, Layla went to one of the area’s top boutiques – Flossy & Willow in Bradford on Avon – where she picked something with the help of her soon-to-be mother-in-law and sister-in-law. “It was the only dress that bought tears to their eyes, so I knew it was the one,” Layla says. “Then I got a veil to go with it from St Peter’s Hospice charity shop in Westbury on Trym for £9.99, which I wore with hair by Stacey Jade and make-up by Elle Hitchens. They were amazing, two of the most lovely women you could hope to meet.” VOW | 7 3


L ay l a & T o m

Mum, meanwhile, was in Morocco having a traditional dress made for her too, to be worn on the evening of the wedding, and Tom was… well, he was pretty much everywhere, looking for a suit. “Apparently he isn’t made for fancy suits,” says Layla. “Topman came to the rescue in the end – it was the only suit his bum fit into!” The rest of the wedding party was kept small, with no bridesmaids – “my mum effectively played that role; she’s my hero” – and just Tom’s big brother Jonny as best man. “They’re incredibly close, those two,” says Layla. “It’s lovely!” One highlight saw Layla’s uncle’s band playing ‘Layla’ by Eric Clapton – what else? – while the bride and her mum did a quick change into their Moroccan dresses (remember those?), then came out to dance about to some traditional North African music. Another hero was Tom’s mum, who had Layla’s back, remembering everything that the bride had forgotten about or skipped over. “In general, though, I wish we hadn’t worried so much that it wasn’t going to plan. Lots of things did go ‘wrong’, I suppose, but it didn’t matter because it all added up to make our wedding day. Everyone was surprised by how laid back I was!”

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hough the guys didn’t splurge at any point – “we were very restrained, and the wedding was a total bargain” – that doesn’t mean that they skimped on flowers and cakes. “We had three cakes,” Layla says, “including six tiers of cheese from the Arch House Deli. We also had a vegan and gluten free cake by Jack Bakes, and a surprise cake made by a dear friend! They were all delicious, and whenever we mention the wedding these days the main response we get is, ‘Oh, the cakes were so good!’” Flowers, meanwhile, were from Scentiments in Tetbury. “I wanted burgundy and peach colours,” Layla says, “and, gosh, did the florist do an amazing job! I had roses, thistles, snap dragons, and chocolate scented daisies. The best thing was that I just told them the colour theme and that I wanted it to look natural, and they took it from there. The flowers on the fireplace were especially incredible. In fact, I forgot to look at Tom when I walked down the aisle because the flowers were so breathtaking.” Aw. What else went well? “Well, we love all the photos. Brad Wakefield was a superstar, and did everything we wanted – including walking to and from Clifton Suspension Bridge several times! – and contributed some great ideas! We love the one in front of the bridge where you can see the rain, and the ones in front of the Rock Garage. Brad had mentioned that there was a door he wanted to use, and we were happy to play along. I’m so glad we did, because they’re lovely – and make us look far cooler than we actually are!” Stop it. You'll get us welling up. What else? “My taxi didn’t arrive to pick me up, so Brad knocked on so many doors to see if someone would take me. In the end, Tom’s dad came to get me – though the wedding did start 45 minutes late!” Oh, come on. Brad’s not perfect. He must have messed up a bit? “Well, when we walked down the grass from the Suspension Bridge I did ask him to pick up my dress as it was dragging on the floor and, unfortunately, he picked it up so high that everyone on the bridge saw my bottom! There was a big cheer, but this just distracted Tom, who continued to hold it up high, despite me shouting and shouting at him to let it go!” 74 | VOW

Marriage Guidance Who? Layla Todd and Thomas Renshaw When: 25 September 2016 Where? No 4 Clifton Village, Bristol; no4cliftonvillage.co.uk Reception: No 4 Clifton Village; no4cliftonvillage.co.uk Dress by: Flossy & Willow, Bradford on Avon; flossyandwillow.uk Veil: St Peter’s Hospice, Westbury on Trym; stpetershospice.org.uk Cake: Jack Bakes; jack-bakes.uk Cheese cake: Arch House Deli; archhousedeli.com Flowers: Scentiments, Tetbury; tetburyflorists.co.uk Photographer: Brad Wakefield; bradwakefield.com


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THE V EN U E : BIRTSMORTON CO U RT

THE VENUE

Swank hotels, sexy spaces & picturesque part y spots

Swan in love Bibury is one of the most beautiful villages in the country, and The Swan Hotel sits in perhaps its loveliest spot. It is, of course, a wedding location to die for…

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hat’s the prettiest village in England? Some say Castle Combe, star of the films War Horse and Doctor Dolittle. Others lean towards Polperro in Cornwall, or Lustleigh in Devon. But amongst the leading contenders is Bibury near Cirencester, once loved by Arts and Crafts movement founder William Morris. 76 | VOW

“We’re very lucky to be part of it,” says Lydia Taylor of The Swan Hotel, a Cotswold Inns & Hotels property in a lovely riverside spot. “We’ve a stunning position in the heart of Bibury, and the village is just as welcoming as one would expect.” The Swan was built in the 17th century as a coaching inn, complete with stabling and a taproom, and much of that

period character remains. “The décor is definitely sympathetic to the history,” Lydia says, “perfectly blending traditional Cotswold charm with contemporary style, though over the years the hotel has been extended, giving us our Brasserie restaurant and Signet Room – which is where many weddings take place.” Maximum capacity for a ceremony and wedding breakfast is 110, though this can be extended to 150 for an evening reception. When assessing a venue, Lydia reckons you should make sure there’s the potential for entertainment during those pesky ‘empty gaps’ in the day. “Getting in a photo booth and props is always fun,” she says, “but we particularly love to organise a plastic duck race on the


t h e s wa n h ot e l

Photography by Jane & Oli at Cotswold Weddings

river. It’s also important to make sure things are organised but flexible – so there’s time to squeeze in unexpected events, even if it’s just extra time in the garden to take photos of the swans swimming by. It’s good to make sure the bar is handy for the evening reception room, too. Otherwise, you’ll find some guests spend the whole evening propping it up, instead of mingling – and getting their dancing shoes on!” One recent wedding included singing waiters, arranged by the groom but a total surprise to the bride, and Lydia is a big fan. “During the meal they blended in with our staff perfectly, before suddenly bursting into song,” she says. “It was a magical moment, and everyone was soon on their feet, waving napkins in the air.”

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o what’s popular at the moment? At The Swan, vintage-style weddings are still in – “a very good thing, as I love them,” Lydia says – with wooden chairs instead of chair covers, naked cakes rather than iced ones, and everyone dining on long tables. “Ideally the décor will then reflect this theme, with lots of lace, hessian and meadow flowers,” Lydia says. “The only real problems we ever get are the bride or groom forgetting something vital that they need, be it cufflinks or shoes, and we keep seeing helpful ushers making mad dashes to the shops to save the day!” Though packages vary hugely, a typical summer wedding for 60 guests would come in at around £5,500.

With secluded private gardens reached by an old stone bridge and water everywhere – The Swan has the river Coln on one side and a stream on the other – this place is not short of picturesque backdrops for photos, especially if you venture out into Bibury to take advantage of the wooden bridge or the Arlington Row cottages, which date back to 1380. Time to put your money where your mouth is, Lydia. If you were getting married soon, how would you tailor the venue? “Oh, I’d simply hire as much entertainment as possible,” Lydia says, “from live music to magicians.” And singing waiters? “Oh, why not? I’d have them too!” cotswold-inns-hotels.co.uk/the-swan-hotel VOW | 7 7


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LET’ S PART Y FOOD / MUSIC / CAKES / DRINKS / FUN

Moonstruck Think you know what a marquee interior looks like? Simon Gerrard’s event decoration company, Crescent Moon, will make you think again…

good atmosphere might be created,” he says, “and how easily it can all be lost if certain rules aren’t followed. I still use these same ideas when discussing interiors today.”

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So, tell us what you offer for brides and grooms. Our clients are usually after an interior that has a design element, and looks elegant, modern, intelligent, warm and inviting. I do have a stockroom of interiors I use a lot, but I’m not limited by that. Basically, I offer a design service, helping couples create an event that expresses their ideas.

rome-based event design specialists Crescent Moon – marquee and venue decoration a speciality – use clever lighting, props, marquee overlays and more to create some of the most spectacular wedding receptions you’ve ever seen. Founder Simon Gerrard learned his trade while touring with Bristol band The Moonflowers. “After graduating from the University of Bristol in 1992, I studied set design and lighting,” he says, “and with The Moonflowers I soon realised that the more set design I did, the fewer lights I would have to set up and de-rig at each gig. Not only that, but the effects would be more unique and memorable for the audience, too. After that, dance music became the big thing, and – for me – working for clubs started to overtake working for bands.” Simon naturally moved into London night club design, and by the mid to late ’90s was designing club interiors for perhaps a dozen different promoters. “I enjoyed thinking about how a

So do brides and grooms come to you knowing what they want, or do you get a free rein? Some clients have a very clear idea, while others want showing lots of elements to help them find their way. Not everyone can visualise a 3D space, and what they want it to look like. This week, for instance, I’m helping create an early 1960s-themed party for one lady’s 21st birthday. She wants pattern, but wants it to be elegant and feminine, too – and not at all like Austin Powers! About 50 percent of our work these days is weddings, with the rest divided between private parties and corporate or university events. I’m happy to work on any sized brief. VOW | 79


l e t ’ s Pa r t y: C r e s c e n t m o o n

How often do you decorate marquees, and how often is it an existing building? Most of my summer work is in marquees all around the UK, as they’re very versatile. Although the marquee companies themselves only offer a limited range of interiors, there really is no limit to what can be achieved. They can be split level, the walls can be up to 4m tall, or the ceilings can be flat. Really, the outside and inside of a marquee don’t need to look anything like one another – unless you want them to. Fixed venues, on the other hand, are much more limited, and I always have to do a site visit and think very carefully about how to bring out the best features of the each one, enhancing the venue interior rather than working against it. It’s unlikely that we would ever cover a whole building interior with broughtin interior design elements, although we did once install a marquee frame within a large hotel reception room to help re-create a nightclub in Dubai, where the couple had met. If you had to describe your style, what would you say? I certainly think it has a theatrical element – decorative, but also smart. A few years ago – when everything had to be flat and white and minimal – we were happy to provide that, but I personally prefer interiors with more character and interest. And how about the cost? With a typical complete interior provided from stock, it would be between £4,000 and £8,000, but something bespoke with 8 0 | VOW

a number of different areas can be anything from £10,000 to £15,000. Most people use us for stock items, of course. We’ve started hiring realistic cherry blossom trees, for instance, which give a great effect, but our printed marquee interiors, crystal chandeliers and furniture islands all offer bang for the buck. Tell us about some memorable weddings you’ve done. One of the most unusual was for a couple whose surnames were Trotter and Gammon. They were great fun, and the coincidence in their surnames led them to create a printed marquee interior of flying piglets. Everyone thought it was hilarious, and it actually looked really good – and created a super atmosphere. Another that springs to mind is a very elegant 1920s-themed wedding I did in Jersey, where we hired some giant original crystal chandeliers and original bronze palm trees. It was gorgeous. So if we were to give you a totally free hand designing our wedding venue this summer, what would you do? There’s a ‘nature’ theme in the air at the moment, but one with added elegance – not shabby chic. This year’s Pantone Colour of the Year is called Greenery, and is a sort of apple green hue, which ties in. Our pale pink blossom trees look especially lovely when termed with this in roof drapes or furniture, while our crystal chandeliers look surprisingly good with a nature theme too. Some people even hang them in the trees outside! crescent-moon.co.uk


Set amid 11 acres of tranquil gardens, Widbrook Grange is the idyllic country farmhouse wedding venue.

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Wedding Fayre – Sunday 5th March, 1pm-4pm Widbrook Grange Hotel, Trowbridge Road, Bradford on Avon BA15 1UH 01225 864750 | stay@widbrookgrange.co.uk |

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The Sweet Tricycle adds that special touch to any event, providing Sweets, Prosecco, Pimms and Hot Chocolate. For all enquires please contact Helen on 07951 205409 / helen@thesweettricycle.co.uk

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FLOWER GIR LS Cute is as cute does

Picture by Nicki macfarlane

Traditions we love

Little darlings Is there a better role at a wedding than being a flower girl? Okay, so the dresses aren’t always the best – they can be itchy and uncomfortable, especially if you’re more used to dungarees, and borderline hideous at times – and your job can soon pall, especially if you’re expected to stand still for an hour. But think of the upsides. For one thing, you’ll look cute as a bug’s ear – especially if your bride knows what she’s doing, and you luck out on something like this

rather fine Nicki Macfarlane number – and if anyone has a chance of upstaging the bride, it’s you. And your jobs – scattering rose petals down the bridal path, or blowing bubbles – are hardly strenuous. But, best of all, your main task is simply to be adorable. Even if you cry, look lost, drop your petal basket or just sit down randomly in the aisle, you’ll definitely get away with it. As long as you look pretty and precious, the day is yours…

Next up: Spring has sprung! And, from 24 March, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love… 8 2 | VOW


52 Southside St, The Barbican, Plymouth PL1 2LB | 01752 228 451 | www.samcoxbridalwear.co.uk


Land of the lost: Heligan’s gardens reborn

Nicki Macfarlane: flower girl designer to the stars

Plus! Alice stalks the cemetery, our first Hindu wedding, and a favourite spot for watching ducklings… The South West’s new wedding bible

Crescent Moon: the marquee, redefined Ain’t nothing in the woodshed (except maybe some wood)

Profile for MediaClash

Vow Magazine - issue 11  

Vow Magazine - issue 11  

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