Vow Magazine Issue 13

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VOW Ato m i c b lo n d e


j u n e & j u ly 2 0 17

Atomic blonde

june & july 2017 / Bath, Bristol & the West / No.13


FF ry O sso her 50 ce uc £1 y ac is vo ply) h ap an ith t T&C’s



01179 349426 www.allisonjayne.com


Let’s go outside Once, and once only, I went to a wedding out in the woods; the sort of place where you rock up to a woodchip Forestry Commission-style car park, then follow cryptic arrows down winding paths into the trees. The sort of place where you’re told nothing of the ceremony spot, just “listen out for people” and “you’ll know it when you find it”. And it was good too. Bloody good. (Though thank goodness it didn’t rain.) This issue, with summer just about upon us, things have taken something of an outdoors turn. We’ve got brides wandering on clifftops, all moody-like. We’ve got blackboards pointing towards hidden treats. We’ve got somewhat incredible skirts paraded down gravel drives. And we’ve got the most rustic wedding shoot I could possibly imagine, one that’s more like playing dress-up in the woods than any wedding I’ve ever been to (yes, including the Forestry Commission car park one), and all the better for it. (Certainly, after this issue, if a wedding doesn’t include a raft and a tiny rowing boat at least somewhere along the line, I’m going to be slightly disappointed.) Please enjoy the great outdoors this summer – especially if this is the season you’re, you know, ‘doing it’ – and don’t fret about the weather too much. (Though perhaps do invest in sensible footwear.) Tents are highly waterproof these days, I’m told, and I’ve yet to see a wedding snap that included an umbrella and didn’t look incredible… Matt Bielby, editor



Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain…

64But this 48One chilly couple

pair keep safe in a glorious garden

Vow M ag a zine MATT BIELBY Editor


KATE AUTHERS Editor at Large kate.authers@mediaclash.co.uk

23 For some, being both retro and modern comes effortlessly…


20 An address to conjure with

Order of service 7 INVITATIONS

English flowers! French cakes! And more


Spend a night with the ultimate groom


Our guide to finding ‘The One’


Three cute couples rock winter weddings


Country mouse or town mouse? We’ve got great venue picks for both of you here


Classic and cool or bright and fun, we’ve two smart ways to pep up any wedding breakfast


Because boys can be beautiful too


Be as stylish on the beach as the aisle


SOPHIE SPEAKMAN Advertising Executive sophie.speakman@mediaclash.co.uk

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

Production Designer DAWN GOULD dawn.gould@mediaclash.co.uk

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: Chloe-Jasmine Whichello wears Sharon BowenDryden; picture by BrightSide Photography

Pull out the chalks and get creative!

80Happy feet! Printed on paper from a well-managed source. Ink are vegetable based; printer is certified to ISO 14001 environmental management

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find a precarious perch


The Macdonald Hotels’ Signature Collection

Perfect Weddings Macdonald Bath Spa is ideally located just outside the City Centre, set in seven acres of landscaped gardens, our sweeping drive leads you up to the stunning 18th Century Georgian property.

The stunning building has been lovingly nurtured over the decades to maintain its character and charm now offering the ideal wedding venue with the old ballroom Avon Suite perfect for a bustling celebration with �loor to ceiling windows perfect for an intimate affair with close friends and family • Beautiful landscaped gardens complete with pond, ideal for those perfect pictures • Wedding packages starting from £4000 based on 70 people • Reception drinks in the grounds • Four unique ceremony rooms to choose from small intimate ceremonies to grand celebrations including the Temple in the Gardens • Onsite Car parking • Facilities to cater from 2 to 120 For more information, or to make an appointment to view the property please contact our Wedding Co-ordinator on 01225 476892 or email specialevents.bathspa@macdonald-hotels.co.uk

M A C D O N A L D B AT H S PA H O T E L Sydney Road, Bath BA2 6JF 01225 444 424  www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk


WEARABLE ART Ensure one-of-a-kind style with CAROLE WALLER’S fabulous painterly pieces for SS17 The pressure to get dressed for a wedding, as any woman will know, is real. Do you go high fashion or high street, eccentrically outré or play it safe? Our worst nightmare in any given scenario is that another guest will be wearing the same outfit; even worse, she’ll be wearing it better. So the idea of an item that’s as unique as the person that wears it is definitely one that appeals. For the Mother of the Bride or wedding guest who has an artistic bent, or simply loves beautiful things, Carole Waller’s ‘art to wear’ will ensure you stand out in a crowd. Created by painting directly onto silk and other fabrics, each piece in her new Thread & Stone collection has its own identity and tells a unique story.

“I believe that people want to have a personal connection to their clothes, their art, the things that inspire them,” says Carole. “They want to be able to express their creativity and individuality, and my clothes let them. It’s alchemy between the garment and the wearer, and because each piece is completely unique, you won’t see someone else in the same dress as you.” Carole also creates bespoke outfits as one-off commissions, and sells gorgeous contemporary jewellery from her boutique, One Two Five Gallery on Abbey Green in Bath; indeed, it’s the city’s textures and colours that inspired the Thread & Stone collection. Absolutely no chance, then, of a double take. carolewaller.co.uk VOW | 7

I n v i tat i o n s

Snap happy j en n i fer ja n e – w ed d i n g ph oto g r a ph er

FUNNY GIRL Jennifer Jane’s a laugh a minute; “I tried to keep my answers clean and respectful,” she told us. And she did. (We only had to cut a couple out…)

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Devon-based wedding photographer JENNIFER JANE loves books, treasure hunts and her dog, Riley, plus capturing “life, love and happiness, and all the moments in between” Jen has a bone to pick with us. “I also love singing karaoke with my daughter, and going geocaching with the hubby,” she says. “You didn’t mention that.” Our bad! Jen shot her first wedding back in 2011 or thereabouts; she started

off mainly second shooting for various people, finding her style and growing in confidence. She does about 20-25 weddings a year these days, and goes out of her way to put people at ease (and sometimes, she says, to leave them in stitches). “I like to give breathing space between my weddings,” she explains, “to be on good form myself, and to allow myself the time to get the work done.” So, Jen, how should couples go about choosing a photographer? First off, they should like the work and be drawn to it. Then it’s down to rapport. Your photographer is with you all day, so you want that person to feel like your bestie. Our first meetings are

usually at my home, and cake and tea are involved. Riley, my chocolate lab, usually greets people, and will then be your best friend until you walk out the door. And, if you’re really lucky, the cats will make an appearance to swipe some cake off your plate and then sleep on your lap. Do couples vet me? Probably. But that’s a two way street, isn’t it? What does a typical package run to, and what are the variables? A full day’s photography costs £1,495, and includes my time from bride/groom prep in the morning through until first dance in the evening. It also includes a complimentary engagement shoot, as I feel it’s super important that we have a VOW | 9

I N V I TAT I O N S snap happy

How do you make sure you don't miss any vital parts of the day? I have a sheet that I ask couples to fill in about six weeks before the wedding that I use to help me. This asks questions, such as any group shots, key people, or items to photograph. Of course, you can never guarantee things, as weddings are very fluid – but I do my best! You must have shot in some gorgeous locations…? Absolutely! There are some stunning venues and locations in the South West, but it would be crass of me to start listing them all. And there are one or two places that I’d really like to shoot, and still haven’t had the pleasure of yet. It’s not wedding related – but it could be; I’d be there like a shot! – but I had the most amazing time with my family when we went on safari in Kenya. My camera never left my hand. I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of elephants and zebras walking in front of my jeep. What looks bad in photos? Ah, where do I start? I actually did a poll on a photography forum I’m a part of to


connection before the wedding. You’ll also receive all your images carefully curated and edited in my signature soft and romantic style on USB in a wooden presentation box. Prices can change if couples choose to add a second shooter or an album to their package.

answer this question. These are the ones that came top of the list, in no particular order: men in tight fitted trousers with pockets full of keys and mobile phones; red sunburn marks in low cut dresses; beautiful wedding dresses on plastic hangers; and items placed badly, such as beautiful cakes put by exit signs. How about the weather? Like, is shooting in the rain a nightmare? Not really – it just requires a bit more thought and creativity. And, actually, you do get some crazy awesome stuff with the rain and the shadows. Ever been trampled by a dancing crowd, or bridesmaids running to catch the bouquet? Luckily, no. But then a misspent youth in some of Southampton’s, Brighton’s, East Grinstead’s and East Croydon’s best nightclubs does teach you a thing or two about being nimble footed, and about how to anticipate the action. (I’m not sure it gave me any awesome dance moves, however.)

Do you have fun at weddings? The question is not so much do I manage to have fun, but why would I not have fun? Do you ever tear up on the job? Yup, every wedding. I’m a sucker for romance. It doesn’t take much, though. I’ll cry at an episode of Neighbours! What’s your favourite kind of couple to shoot? I love it when they’re relaxed and laid back, don’t take themselves too seriously, are crazy in love with each other – and think I’m pretty damn awesome! There must be standard shots that everybody wants. How do you deal with the repetition? The wicked in me is itching to say ‘ignore them’. But, in reality, these photos mean something. Invariably, though, the standard shots will be family group shots, and yes, they can be a trifle monotonous. But I just try to educate my clients as to how long they take, and whether they really want the amount they want. I can’t do any more than that. How do you get stiff posers to loosen up for their pictures? The Spanish Inquisition – no-one expects the Spanish Inquisition! What about all those trendy filters and vintage effects you see? Will those age well? They’ll probably age about as well as spot colour has. Is that still around? Finally, can you tell if a couple is going to stay together based on how they act on the day? Oh my gosh, you can’t ask me that! jenniferjanephotography.co.uk

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I n v i tat i o n s

New and notable

AMOUR ET PÂTISSERIE Pâtisserie pro ISABELLE BOIZIS loves the wedding cake tradition, and brings to it some Gallic flair Isabelle says it’s the job of the cake designer to make so many good suggestions that every couple gets to a design they’re more than happy with.

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There are few things Vow likes receiving more from the delivery man than cake, so when Isabelle Boizis of Zaza Marcelle Cakes & Pâtisserie – Bristol’s newest cake specialist, and a great contact for everything from wow-the-dinner-guests party desserts to full-on three-tier

own bespoke cake is one of the main reasons why I love what I do. Do couples know what they want, or are they more likely to have just a vague colour scheme in mind? Actually, many couples have quite a specific idea of the kind of cake they want, either because they’ve seen designs they like on the internet, or they’ve come across cakes I’ve made before. Others only have the vaguest details in mind – like the colour scheme, or a detail from the invitations they want to reproduce – and some are totally open to suggestions. And are there any trends in cake design you’ve noticed lately? Funnily enough, I can see two clear trends at the moment. One is for simple cakes with clean lines and very little decoration, and the second goes the other way, and features a profusion of details: fresh flowers, meringue kisses, drips on the side, chocolate chunks, and so on. Personally, I quite like both. I try to keep my wedding cakes quite tall in term of tiers, and always with some intricate details – but I usually keep them structurally quite simple, too. Fresh flowers are seen on a lot of wedding cakes these days, which is a good thing because they look gorgeous – and using them is also a great money-saving tip. After all, the alternative – sugar flowers – are the most time-consuming elements you can add to a cake.

wedding cake extravaganzas – sent us a few delicious samples one spring day, we had to know more. Turns out, Isabelle created Zaza Marcelle – the Zaza bit is her nickname, the Marcelle a tribute to her gran – with the idea of bringing together her French pâtisserie background and the art of cake design. “Back in France, I graduated from Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Pâtisserie in Yssingeaux, and later worked there for a while. It’s a famous pâtisserie school, and gave me a great grounding. It’s my passion for wedding cakes that made me really want to move to England, though.” Isabelle worked with and learnt from Michel Belin, a renowned chocolatier,

and won bronze in a national croquembouche contest, then came to England, initially getting a job at a French pâtisserie in London. But it was when she moved to Bristol and worked alongside the person she calls “the most skilled cake designer I know” – Anna Tyler, who was then opening her Clifton shop, Anna Cake Couture – that things really took off. “I designed Anna’s patisserie range for the shop,” Isabelle says, “and it’s thanks to her that I discovered more of the art of wedding cakes. Each piece is a unique work of art, and it’s rare to make the same cake twice, as each couple has their own tastes. Working closely with a happy couple to help them design their

Finally, what flavours are in? I’d say Victoria sponge, lemon and chocolate are the top three traditional flavours, and I’d suggest couples have one of these as their biggest tier. This said, people also want to be a bit more adventurous these days, and many are willing to try something a bit different. That’s why I offer flavours like almond and raspberry sponge with lemon filling, or chocolate with homemade hazelnut praline, or lime and coconut. My couples get to try five different flavours during their consultation and, so far, they’ve been asking me to use two of the classic flavours, plus one that’s more of a wild card. Taste buds are evolving towards something a little more groovy! zazamarcelle.co.uk VOW | 13

I n v i tat i o n s

FRESH AND WILD Ella Sparks has recently moved Flowers of Bath to a new Lansdown Road location – and it’s always busy when we pass by, steep walk up the hill from town or no…

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Florist Ella Sparks relocated her family business, FLOWERS OF BATH, from her studio in Bathford to the corner of Belvedere on Lansdown Road in Bath late last year, and business, as we experience for ourselves, is blooming With a flowers sign lit up in lights and an entire wall of glass vases, filled with seasonal flowers from peonies to roses of every colour, intensely scented stocks, tulips, lilies, vast swathes of foliage and



Flower power

more, Flowers of Bath is every bit the contemporary florists. Though owner Ella Sparks can often be found making up bouquets for passing Bathonians – of which there are many – she actually specialises in bespoke weddings and event work. She admits she loves creating the wild, natural and English-grown flower look so popular in the world of weddings right now, and can happily cater for everything from the traditional to the supremely contemporary.

Have you noticed any changes in the style of bouquet? Traditionally, the bridal bouquet was trailing, but the majority of bouquets recently have been in the posie style. Brides are now getting back into trailing bouquets, though, so it’s doing the full circle – except they’re far more wild now, rather than being formal. How important is it, do you think, to go for seasonal blooms? I can’t state strongly enough how important it is to ensure that your wedding flowers are in season, and therefore at their best quality at that time of year. Don’t go for peonies if it’s December, for example, as the heads will be tiny and they’ll be triple the price. With summer practically here, the most seasonal and gorgeous flowers available through the coming months include delphiniums, hydrangeas, peonies and lilac, not forgetting the never-ending varieties of roses. My favourite has to be the aptly-named ‘wedding rose’, which is the most perfect-


So, Ella, can you tell us what’s particularly on trend right now? The most on trend colour palettes for wedding flowers for SS17 are definitely pastels and antique tones of ivory, soft pinks and dusky purples, with lots of seasonal and textured foliage. The colour combination together is so lovely, and the wild, handpicked-from-a-typicalEnglish-country-garden look is still a big trend, and something that we’ll be creating lots of over the coming months. I’ve also got a lot of weddings this year using just white, green and pale peach, which looks beautiful.

looking ivory rose with a slightly blush and ruffled centre – just the flower to incorporate into your wedding day. Are your suppliers local, too? I’ve just started working with a local supplier who grows in Keynsham, so I have a lot of English-grown flowers now, which is amazing, as they’re so long lasting. I had some tulips last week that had been in here for three weeks and still looked incredible! It makes such a difference to work with local suppliers. How else can people incorporate blooms into their weddings? Candelabras always look stunning, especially in venues with high ceilings.

We also love creating big archways in churches – it’s good to ask for freestanding arches, and then they can be taken to the reception too. We’re still making a lot of floral headbands for flower girls and younger bridesmaids, while brides are opting for more individual flowers that hairdressers are wiring in. This gives them flexibility with how they look and how they want them to sit in the hair, especially if they have a veil to contend with. Anything unusual that you do? Bringing dogs to weddings seems to be getting really popular, funnily enough, so we’ve been making lots of floral halos for them, too! VOW | 1 5

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Finally, tell us about a particularly memorable recent wedding… It’s always such a pleasure to meet with a couple who have real vision for their wedding day. We recently created the most beautiful arrangements for a wedding held at Orchardleigh, Frome, where each table had a large display of twisted hazel in a tall cylindrical clear vase with small glass tea-light bubble holders hanging from the branches. It looked absolutely gorgeous in the evening when all lit up, and made the venue look so romantic and magical. Each vase had a large floral wreath around the base filled with a beautiful assortment of soft pastel roses, hydrangeas and eucalyptus. Along the fireplaces, we created large garlands of fresh flowers and seasonal foliage to match the bride’s bouquet, with multiple pillar candles at different heights dotted between the garlands. Inside the reception venue, we dressed the pillars with foliage garlands from top to bottom and added pastel roses throughout the garland which made the room gorgeous. Overall, the wedding consisted of just over 4,000 roses and 500 hydrangeas! flowersofbath.co.uk


A bit on the practicalities: what do people need to budget, and how much notice do you need? Book the florists a year to 15 months ahead of the wedding. I’ve got so many booked in for the end of 2018, it’s crazy, but at least you’ve got the date secured. Budget really depends on the content, so all the prices and flowers I do are bespoke, as I’d rather a couple get exactly the flowers and style they want. I offer each couple a complimentary wedding consultation either at our new shop premises on Lansdown Road (which of course, always involves tea, coffee and cake) or in the comfort of their own home to talk through their requirements. Personally, I think it’s really important to meet a couple before their wedding day so I can understand exactly what they’d like and put their mind at ease that their wedding flowers will be exactly as envisioned. It’s always lovely to incorporate little things to make it extra special and personal to them.


I N V I TAT I O N S flower power

GoldHandmade & Platinum Studio and Bespoke Jewellery

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

I n v i tat i o n s

The wedding planner NOT SO GRIZZLY Two animals you ideally want outside your tent, not inside it, team up to provide a full-on glamping experience… Bristol-based Bears and Butterflies has been going for a couple of years now, and offers assorted glamping opportunities in canvas bell tents with cute bear-based package names (Atlas Bear gives you high-end festival-style accommodation; Eurasian Bear is more your fullon glamping; Kodiak Bear is for changing in, not sleeping in). They’ve got a really well thought out offer too, including butterfly-named accessory options (Monarch, Red Admiral et al) containing everything from bunting to ear plugs! bearsandbutterflies.co.uk

ROVER’S RETURN Amazing sci-fi outdoor lighting options with real French flair Fans of oddball ’60s TV may just remember The Prisoner, and the giant sentient balloon called Rover that acted as guard dog, preventing permanently scowling ex-spy Number Six from leaving his idyllic but enforced retirement village. Now you can recreate such scenes, thanks to the Airstar Crystal DW, an all-in-one quiet, dimmable and flickerfree LED lighting balloon. The French makers promise each one can offer luminous flux of 50,000 lumens, creating efficient (not to mention shadow and glare-free) lighting for areas up to 2000 square metres. These guys have a background in movie lighting (Titanic, Pirates, stuff like that), so will be able to do your outdoor reception proud. And should a drunk uncle wander into the bushes? Send Rover here to fetch him back. airstar-light.com 18 | VOW

Exchange your Vows at The Holburne Museum If you are looking for a unique venue in Bath for your special day, the Holburne Museum can provide history, elegance and atmosphere for the most memorable day of your life. We will tailor our packages to meet your needs and budget. From simple ceremonies to lavish receptions. Get 10% off weekday ceremonies when you quote HMW17.

For more information please contact us on Privatehire@holburne.org or 01225 388569 WWW.HOLBURNE.ORG

S TA G S & H E N S new t wists on your l ast night out

Welcome to S the house of fun

o entwined is the city of Bath with the polite society of Jane Austen, that local property specialist Bath Boutique Stays has named its latest acquisition – a five-storey Regency townhouse on London Road – after every girl’s favourite wet-shirted romantic hero. Mr Darcy’s Abode is the newest addition to a growing portfolio, which includes four other central Bath townhouses. We caught up with one half of the husband-and-wife team behind this muchloved local business, Marcus Whittington, for the lowdown.

Combining Bath’s Georgian architecture with Instagrammable interiors, Bath Boutique Stays has created a new hen house perfect for both down time and debauchery 2 0 | VOW

So, Marcus, tell us a little about Mr Darcy's… We were tipped off that it was for sale, and knew instantly that this was the perfect property for us. A painstaking 12-month sensitive restoration under the supervision of the city's conservation officers and our trusted designers has created the perfect Bath hen house. All our properties follow a trusted formula, yet they’re all completely unique as they’re listed buildings, sensitively

b at h b o u t i q u e s tay s

PictureS BY Paolo Ferla Photography

inch smart TV with Bluetooth capabilities, that’s perfect both for our hens’ social media use, and for groups who like to party late into the night. Tell us a bit about the décor and your inspirations… We like to restore, neutralise to show the space, then add back the glamour. Designing bespoke lighting is always a big favourite of ours and emphasises these beautiful buildings’ features. We’ve used hand-created wallpapers and silk cushions by local artist Louise at Lux & Bloom, and have a wonderful grey goose feather lampshade from Graham and Green, which hangs in a central stairwell. We’ve also got a truly delightful art collection from our specialist, Jess from Modern Art Buyer. Did you discover any unexpected historical finds during the renovation process? We found old French coins – indicating some well-travelled individuals once frequented here – and there were some great original wallpapers we have preserved, and which adorn the walls alongside more contemporary objects. There was a trap door too, which exposed a whole new room! Perhaps my favourite features are the wonky door frames and passageways that have been that way for hundreds of years, and there are many original Georgian fireplaces, too. While we have a passion for restoration and furnishing, it’s ultimately our guests’ needs that matter. We always welcome feedback comments, and they’ve actually helped drive and shape this new property.

restored by us. Blending original features and contemporary styling we offer ‘home from home’ comfort for groups visiting the city. Rainwater showers, complimentary organic Cowshed toiletries, our own-blend coffees, high speed Wi-Fi and Netflix movies for girlie nights in are all standard elements our hens should expect when they arrive. Visit Bath recently said you own the city’s best properties for hen groups – congrats! – but what are the particular selling points of this one? There’s a bespoke four-metre olive wood dining table with wonderful lighting for intimate dinner with friends; beautiful bedrooms with crisp linen sheets and restored sash windows providing stunning natural light; and it’s just a 7-minute walk to the city centre. It also shares the generous proportions Georgian homes do so well. Our ‘Turn on for Mr Darcy’ lamps always prove popular, and we’ve also got an underground lounge ‘chillax’ area, with a 50-

Finally, Bath is often described as the hen party capital of the country, if not the world. What can Bath Boutique Stays contribute to the experience? Bath is a safe walking city, littered with fabulous independent businesses, as well as must-visit sights and experiences – like the famous Thermae Bath Spa. The city’s won Purple Flag accreditation for a fourth year – that’s like Blue Flag for beaches, but for cities instead – and was actually one of the first UK cities to receive this standard. Amongst other things, it demands excellence in the management and safety of its evening economy, a key factor for hen groups. We’ve added extra security measures – such as key coded entry to properties, so there’s no inconvenience with lost keys – ensuring your group has a safe and totally relaxed Bath experience. We also offer unique spa packages utilising the best of local indie businesses – cafés, restaurants, nightclubs and those offering hen activities – so you can rely on our local knowledge and get on with giving the bride-to-be a fabulous time. Also, with our close connections to Bath Rugby players, some have been known to occasionally turn up and assist us with a hen group check in! bathboutiquestays.co.uk

Mr Darcy’s Abode is available for priority reservations online for up to 20 hens. Two-night weekend stays start at £89pp (weekdays are discounted by 50%). Spa packages can be added from £79pp. Quote ‘Vow’ for a fridge of chilled Prosecco on arrival! VOW | 2 1

Bespoke Flowers for Weddings Bristol, Bath and beyond www.tillytomlinsonowers.co.uk 0117 9041141

THE BR IDE i do, i do, i do

C r e at i v e T ri c i a D ’ C o s t a

W o r d s K ate A u ther s

Bold is beautiful P h o t o g r a p h y A n et a & P eter T u m i l o w i c z at bri g ht s ide ph o t o g r a ph y

Referencing everything from Paris haute couture to Pantone’s colour of the year and the strength of the modern day bride, comes a beguiling and beautifully feminine photoshoot, starring Chloe-Jasmine Whichello

photography by Aneta & Peter Tumilowicz at brightside photography

THE BR ID E : bold i s be autifu l

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THE BR ID E : bold i s be autifu l

photography by Aneta & Peter Tumilowicz at brightside photography

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THE BR ID E : bold i s be autifu l



ith the perfect ‘career-girl’ bride in place, it was design doyenne Sharon BowenDryden’s distinctive and innovative bridalwear which helped steer the team away from tradition and bring the high fashion haute couture element to the day. Breathtaking silhouettes from long flowing full-skirted gowns to translucent gossamer silks and tulles strewn with crystals, beading and delicate appliqué flower detailing in a dreamy barely-there palette, were off-set beautifully by the red-bricked Grade-I mansion, Chicheley Hall, while Aneta and Peter of BrightSide Photography interpreted Tricia’s vision in effortlessly chic style. Bold colours such as Pantone’s colour of the year, greenery, and dramatic outfit choices combined with femininity and softer colours, which were echoed in everything from the exquisite cakes and macarons adorned with sugarwork flowers from the talented Lindsay Pemberton at Joyful Tiers to the glorious flowers. These came in the form of fabulous flower arch, floral crown and blousy bouquets by Lizzy Jones at The Flower Story, who stuck to a peaches and cream colour palette, offset with plenty of foliage. Tricia did the hair and make-up herself, again taking her cue from Dior to create “fresh glowing skin, beautiful brows and rose petal kissed lips, with flowing, natural hair with texture and softness around the face,” she says. She also had very clear ideas that this was a shoot to focus on the bride and who she is. “Her days are busy with work, family, friends, nieces, nephews and godchildren but for this one day – her day – she chooses to be fearless, she chooses to be bold, and she chooses to be queen for the day,” imagines Tricia. We can’t help but think even Dior would approve. 2 8 | VOW

photography by Aneta & Peter Tumilowicz at brightside photography

aria Grazia Chiuri’s masterful first couture collection for Christina Dior sent a bolt through the fashion industry when it was unveiled in Paris in January. Billed as pure escapism and able to transport viewers to fantasy lands, Dior’s first female couturier proved she’s not afraid to make political statements, or wear her heart on her sleeve, and it’s this bold new attitude – also seen at Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana – that got the fashion press talking and bridal hair and make-up specialist Tricia D’Costa thinking, about a wedding shoot focusing on celebrating femininity and the strength of the modern bride. “As the first female to take the creative helm at Dior, Chiuri’s mission was to bring femininity back, with heavy references to Dior’s early aspirations in celebrating strong women through his silhouettes, designs and choice of fabrics,” says Tricia, clearly taken with the feminist ideas behind the collection. “We wanted the inspiration for this shoot to centre around a strong yet feminine woman, who isn’t afraid to be bold with her bridal choices,” she explains. Enter the always glamorous, wonderfully eccentric singer and model, and often West Country local, Chloe-Jasmine Whichello, who, looking at the photos, appears to be made for the part. “The emphasis on this bride was poise and elegance, radiating an inner confidence,” says Tricia.

Haute stuff Raising the bridal bar in chic style were. . . Creative and hair and make-up: Tricia D’Costa: www.triciadcosta.co.uk Photography: Aneta & Peter Tumilowicz at BrightSide Photography; brightsidephotography.co.uk Venue: Chicheley Hall; chicheleymiltonkeynes.co.uk/partner/chicheley-hall Dresses: Sharon Bowen-Dryden (available at Carina Baverstock Couture); bowendryden.co.uk Flowers and flower arch: Lizzie Jones at The Flower Story; theflowerstory.co.uk Event styling: Gemma Lander at The White Emporium; thewhiteemporium.co.uk Cakes: Lindsay Pemberton at Joyful Tiers; joyfultiers.co.uk Accessories: Clementine Clayton at Miss Clemmie; missclemmie.co.uk Model: Chloe-Jasmine Whichello; chloejasmine.com

the bride

WORDS by Cl arissa Picot ph oto g r a ph y by l u c y t u r n b U l l

Once upon a time in the

West We love a playful wedding, and we adore a bit of dress-up. Virgin white gowns and English country garden chic are glorious, no question, but every so often we want to let down our hair and go skip through the woods‌

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photography by lucy turnbull

THE BRIDE: once upon a time in the west

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

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photography by lucy turnbull


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once upon a time in the west


here was no Hawkeye from The Last of the Mohicans, few Merry Men, and little sign of Legolas from the Woodland Realm at this super fun and relaxed wedding shoot, but we got the feeling that there easily could have been. Take it to the woods, and your imagination can’t help but spring into life. “When I design and style a wedding for clients, it’s led by their personalities,” says Elle Winsor Grime of Inspire Hire, who created this summery, none-more-rustic shoot. “I’m inspired by their love story, and by their choice of venue. Cornish Tipi Weddings lends itself to all types of do, but clients who choose it long for a relaxed and fun day, one that’s less about formality and ritual and more about beautiful surroundings. Oh, and a really good party, of course!” Of course! Though it may not look it, this is actually a permanent venue: 16 acres of wooded valley with rivers and lakes near the north Cornish coast, not far from Padstow. There’s a fully licensed willow-andcanvas wedding pavilion near a brook and surrounded by oak and ash trees, plus plenty of wildflowers and hidden glades, tipis to sleep in and big tents for the grub. It’s a little bit festival, a little bit eco, a little bit Lothlórien, and a lot like Kevin Costner marrying Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio under the greenwood. Who would it suit? Anyone with a rich fantasy life, we reckon: they’ve done plenty of Wild West themed weddings here, like this one, but they’ve gone full-on Bollywood or Alice in Wonderland too. “Couples are often afraid to break away from ‘what people normally do’,” Elle says. “But not here! With this shoot we wanted to showcase the idea that you can plan a wedding in any style you like, and you don’t have to go with the crowd. I particularly loved styling the clothing. All the bridesmaids outfits – and, indeed, the ‘wedding dresses’ – are either vintage finds or high street purchases, so it’s certainly possible to make a memorable impact while keeping costs low. If you don’t feel that a traditional wedding dress suits you – or you long for bridesmaids who look relaxed and a tiny bit Boho – then do your own thing. Go instead for fabulous vintage floral dresses, say. There’s no need to stick to the wedding rules if you don’t want to.” At Cornish Tipi Weddings the pavilion is big enough to seat 50 inside and plenty more outside on wooden decking; it really is a space to encourage the imagination to take flight. Alternatively, do the legal stuff elsewhere, and just have a blessing in the great outdoors itself, which opens up even more scenic possibilities. “What could be nicer,” Elle says, “than saying your ‘I dos’ on a raft on a beautiful lake, surrounded by the sounds of the forest?”


or Elle, once you start going down this forest fantasy route, all sorts of wedding possibilities open up. “Gone are the days when you had to stick to boring old roast beef for the wedding breakfast,” she says. “Be more imaginative with your menu choices, and go for something that suits you and the venue, and will be great fun for your guests.” In this instance, that might mean a good old-fashioned cowboy barbecue around the camp fire. “But don’t leave it there,” says Elle. “Think about creating a truly immersive guest experience. How about teaming spicy tacos with beers? Then moving on to some serious dude food?” Sounds good to us – if a little messy. Luckily, the sort of outfits Elle has in mind are forgiving of the odd spot of spilt barbecue sauce. “I love the way everyone looks here,” Elle says. “After all, it’s hard to plan an inspirational shoot at a tipi venue and not include some Frontier inspiration. Throughout the day, I found myself

coming up with new ways to bring the Wild West to Cornwall – the Wild West Country, if you like – and the idea of mixing very English vintage with cowgirl chic seemed endlessly rewarding. With this in mind, our girls – and boys! – donned cowboy boots, which are super-stylish and practical for an outdoor wedding. It’s also why our dreamcatchers are made of vintage lace doilies and embroidery hoops, and our seasonal Cornish blooms are teamed with cactuses and cattle horns for the most whimsical, romantic look.”

Wildest Dreams Channeling their inner Pocahontas were… Styling, design and hire: Elle Winsor Grime;

inspire-hire.co.uk Venue: Cornish Tipi Weddings; cornishtipiweddings.co.uk Jewellery: Sarah Drew; sarahdrew.com Flowers: Lou Label Floral Design;

loulabelfloraldesign.co.uk Clothing: Enjoy Clothing; enjoyclothing.co.uk Hair and make-up: Weddings by Neila; weddingsbyneila.co.uk Hats: Holly Young Boutique; hollyyoungboutique.com Models: Ione Kutz, Tom Richardson, Amy Osborne, Tatum Triggs Photography: Lucy Turnbull; lucyturnbull.co.uk

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the Bride

W O R D S b y K at e A u t h e r s

Frock Stars From laid-back cool girl vibes, to luxury bohemia and French charm mixed with British elegance, we ask five bridal boutique owners to pick their standout dress of the season, and tell us how they’d style it. . .

The cool girl bride Top pick: Delphine Manivet’s Hyppolite dress Chosen by: Lauren Crispin, director at The Mews, Clifton

“To get a cool girl, effortless vibe, brides need to break the mould of traditional bridal looks,” thinks Lauren Crispin at The Mews Bridal. “Balance the scale between tradition and modernism. Delphine Manivet does this so well! For her, it’s about luxe fabrication, and fit is everything. For example, her dress Hyppolite is elegant in its simplicity, but always highlights a girl’s natural beauty. What could be more effortless than that? “I would style this bridal look with very simple additions: no necklace, just a nice pair of earrings and perhaps a long simple veil (if veils are your thing!). Regarding the shoe department, opt for a closed toe shoe and go for something you’ll wear again. I love gold with this dress, as it works so well with the ivory tone of the silk. The shoe designer Sezane is a real Mews favourite. “The key thing is: don’t overdo your bridal look, or have too many accessories. Your guests want to see you; all the extras are just distractions.” themewsclifton.co.uk

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THE BOHEMIAN BRIDE TOP PICK: Temperley London’s Zaida dress CHOSEN BY: Carina Baverstock and Lucy Hayward-Rodgers, directors of Carina Baverstock Couture, Bradford on Avon

“We love the way designers such as Alice Temperley have allowed brides to have the freedom to express themselves,” explain Carina Baverstock and Lucy Hayward-Rodgers, at Carina Baverstock Couture. “Whilst showing off the figure, this ivory gown also has fluid movement and conveys luxury bohemia with its three-quarter length sleeves and delicate embroidery – it’s so cool. “As for styling, flower crowns are so popular right now, and we love the exaggerated and almost theatrical proportions of this one, styled with Zaida.” carinabcouture.com

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the Bride

The vintageinspired bride Top pick: Fair Phantom from the Blue

Ribbon collection Chosen by: Tracey Salt, designer and

owner at Chanticleer, Cheltenham

“This dress is a collaboration of three pieces – a corseted bodice, drape satin skirt and delicate lace jacket – and as such is utterly unique, combining French charm with British elegance,” thinks Tracey Salt at Chanticleer. “The timeless soft lace contrasts perfectly with the simple yet sophisticated peplum style of the gown. “I think the styling would depend on the type of bride, but for me, personally, a simple chignon hair style with some pearl pins added would be all it requires – and, maybe, the little lace gloves and parasol too!” chanticleerbrides.co.uk

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Picture BY Michelle Huggleston Photography

The princess bride Top pick: Hayley Paige’s Bijou gown Chosen by: Ellie Rose Witton, owner at

Ellie Rose Bridal, Bath

“One of the stand out qualities of this Hayley Paige gown [right] is the colour,” thinks Ellie Rose Witton of Ellie Rose Bridal. “It’s called humming bird blue, which in itself is dreamy, and it also has gorgeous lace and back detail too. The lace work is light and feminine, which makes the gown very elegant and chic, and the delicate criss-cross open lace-up back is the ultimate sexy sophisticated feature – I was blown away when I first saw it! With textured skirts being very on trend this season, Bijou offers this sort of fun texture, but with no overwhelming weight or feeling like you’re taking up the whole dance floor. There’s also the option to customise the back to a full lace panel, or to opt for the skirt in a more classical ivory shade. “I would style this dress with a single tier, train-length veil edged with clear crystals and pair it with a bridal vine headpiece with crystals to match the veil, plus soft blue flowers woven through to complement the dress. For jewellery, I would suggest drop pedant earrings with sliver and opal tones and a matching bracelet.” ellierosebridal.co.uk

The art deco bride Top pick: Helen Rhiannon’s Olivia dress Chosen by: Rachel Burgess, owner of Rachel Burgess

Bridal Boutique, Penarth

“The beautiful handmade Olivia gown by Helen Rhiannon Designer Label [left] has only just joined the boutique, and is already getting lots of attention,” says Rachel Burgess of her eponymous shop, Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique. “Olivia is such a romantic dress with its sweetheart neckline and silky satin flowing from the waist to the floor with a stunning train. The beaded tulle has a very striking pattern with its warm beaded tones and art deco vibe. The bodice is fully boned and lined, and has two gorgeous beaded straps which fasten on the front and flow to the centre back of the dress. Olivia also has very subtle pockets, which instantly make the dress more comfortable to wear. “This simplistic yet elegant dress is complemented with a stunning beaded cape, edged with a pearl and beaded finish which is delicately hand-sewn on, and paired with a simple double-sided satin ribbon which adorns the waist to complete the look.” rachelburgessbridalboutique.com


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 O L I V I A B O S S E R T


Cardiff’s Amy Mair is surely one of our most talented new wedding dress designers. But not for her the pretty off-whites of your standard bridal boutique… 3 0 | VOW



he world is full of famous wedding dress designers – your Caroline Herreras, your Jenny Packhams – and we interview some of them in the pages of Vow. But every so often we like to celebrate local talent we think has potential too. One such is Cardiff’s Amy Mair, whose gowns tend to be bold yet pretty, and whose love of travel and nature shines through in her work. Amy was a keen artist at school, so something creative was always on the cards. “I loved to paint landscapes and seascapes,” she says, “and, having always enjoyed textiles and garment design, took an art foundation course, then a fashion degree. That was actually quite a difficult decision, though, as everyone thought I was better at fine art than fashion. But it was something I was determined to become good at, and I was willing to work hard.” Amy has been designing her own collections for two or three years now, which you can find at her own boutique in Cardiff’s Castle Arcade, or at places like Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique in Penarth. Though she feels she’s still finding her feet, her latest collection is the most mature, striking and wearable yet. What’s your signature style, Amy? I don’t think I’ve found it yet, to be honest, though there is a distinctive look to my gowns. I love experimenting with colours and exotic influences, and my current collection has a very Mediterranean look, with strong echoes of the Italian and Spanish countryside. Right now I like to think my gowns are elegant yet innovative; they’re certainly non-traditional. They’re for the more daring bride who has a taste for luxury and the softer side of glamour. You do ready-to-wear collections as well as bespoke gowns, and you’ve recently launched a very romantic haute couture collection too, haven’t you? Yes: it’s made up of spotlight-worthy gowns with some serious glamour. I like to think this is alternative bridal fashion at its most elegant, and slightly daring in its use of colours and textures. I’ve taken my influences from the botanical world, so there are plenty of Spanish prints featuring romantic blooms. I’ve been inspired by the wonderfully rich charm of Moroccan interior decoration, too. It’s all very vibrant, but toned down slightly by the use of classic silhouettes and subtle hints of a more traditional bridal feel. Sounds intriguing! Tell us about each of the gowns… The collection’s called Arctic Fox, and the gowns tend to mix tones of slate and platinum with softer gold and creams, as well as summer flowers and vibrant fruit tones. The Flora gown is the one with pink and red flowers on it, and was inspired by summers in Italy and Spain. The fabric is hand-painted organza, and it has a silhouette that flatters both bride and fabric magnificently. Then there are the Karima and Aya gowns, which feature plenty of heavy decorative beadwork and encrustations of crystal and pearls. These ones use luxurious fabrics, such as satin-backed crepe and hand-painted organza, which are combined with heavily hand-embellished beadwork. The focus of the silhouette is on the intricacy of the bodice shaping and corsetry, and the graceful movements of a flowing silhouette. Meanwhile, gowns like Nour feature full skirts, which were influenced by the curves of Moroccan architecture. VOW | 41

The bride: A MY M AIR

What are the most important aspects of a wedding dress? Is it a single memorable detail, maybe? I think fit, intricacy of detail and quality of manufacture are all important. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a fitted gown or bias cut or whatever; it still needs to be well thought out and meticulously crafted. Interestingly enough, I find that a single distinctive detail can be overwhelming for many brides, even to the point of detracting from their personality. What’s more important is the overall effect: the drapery, the tone and the pairing of textures and details. When designing dresses, do you have a muse in mind? There are certainly models and actresses that I follow on Instagram, of course, and in a sense they are my muses – but only subconsciously. Any woman who dresses the way that she wants to, and is bold enough to start her own trends, is inspirational to me. I love to see women being themselves and embracing their bodies. Tell us a bit about the business, and how you work… I try to keep complete focus on my brides: I do everything from consult with them to making the gowns. Yes, there’s a certain amount I trust my trainees and seamstresses with, but I still like to stay intimately involved. And the one thing I keep totally to myself is each new collection. The design process is very personal, and I like to think I have the taste and ability to be innovative within the confines of the industry. I love working with new fabrics, and always try to create show-stopping pieces, rather than ones that blend in. It seems like you’re not scared of using colour… There shouldn’t be many restrictions on wedding dresses, to my mind. After all, if the fashion world didn’t push new fabrics, styles and approaches, nothing would ever change. So yes, I do use a lot of colour – and it’s something that leaves me open to comments. But that’s fine, and it’s so important that I stay true to myself. What’s the big mistake brides make dress shopping? I would encourage each bride to listen to her heart, not wait on family or friends for approval. You want a gown that makes you hold yourself differently. Try not to conform to a season’s trends, and pick a dress that makes you keep looking at yourself in the mirror!

Diff’rent strokes Helping present Amy Mair’s colourful take on the wedding gown for us were… Photographer: Olivia Bossert; oliviabossert.com Hair and make-up: Make Up By Ione;

makeupbyione.co.uk Table styling and props: Box And Cox Vintage Hire;

boxandcoxvintage.co.uk Flowers: This Rugged Coast; this rugged coast.com Model: Sylvia Canorea Botet

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C r e at i v e b y L i z B a k er & B eth R a l p h P h o t o g r a p h y b y L i z B a k er p hoto g r a p h y W o r d s b y K ate A u ther s

Rustic luxe Natural beauty, timeless style and bringing the outside in were key inspirations for this fine art photoshoot in an old English orangery

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The bride: rustic luxe


here’s something dreamily romantic and timeless about a quintessentially English country wedding, and at Dillington House, a wisteria-clad 16th-century manor house in the heart of Somerset, once home to former prime minister, Lord Frederick North, you’ll find an idyllic setting overlooking the surrounding rolling countryside. It was its light-filled early Victorian orangery which caught the eye of our creative duo here, photographer Liz Baker and stylist and stationer Beth Ralph. “Dillington House has a small but perfectly formed orangery with local hamstone walls, blue lias flagstone floors and full-height windows to bathe your wedding in light,” explains Liz, “and the warmth of the hamstone comes across in these pictures. We wanted to reflect the warm pastels juxtaposed against the moody blue floor tones throughout every detail, from the silk ribbons to the cutlery.” Inspired by the elements, their aim was to bring the outside, with all its wildness, in – but without sacrificing elegance. “Soft florals and foliage of silver-sided leaves and greenery were echoed in the pewter tableware and cake icing, while hand-dyed artisan silk table runners kept the look soft,” says Liz. “We loved the beautiful old windows of the orangery, so incorporated more glass and light, adding hurricane lamps, candles and Perspex in the stationery. “Foraged branches, Japanese lilac blooms and strewn petals aimed to capture fleeting moments when the wind moves the leaves

Foraged branches, Japanese lilac blooms and strewn petals aimed to capture fleeting moments when the wind moves the leaves or a petal falls to the ground

or a petal falls to the ground. The warmth of the stone, vintage props, a mantilla veil and fruit-laden evening table also lent this photoshoot a summery, Mediterranean feel.”


iz launched her photography business late last year, and shoots on professional film stocks to produce the sort of painterly colours and tones that can only be achieved with film. It’s an olde-worlde style that matches the beauty and history of a wedding venue like Dillington House perfectly. The multi-talented Beth Ralph at Apple and Bramble Events was delighted to be involved in Liz’s fine art photoshoot, and brought creative florist Jacalyn Arscott from Cottage Flowers into the fold, having worked with her before. “Beth and Jacalyn had been longing to create something for a while,” says Liz. “Sharing ideas, they planned the finer details 4 6 | VOW

and invited more suppliers on board. Leanne at Baking Chick was quick to lend her support and, despite a sporting injury, managed to produce a blush and silver tiered marble cake with exquisite handmade sugar flowers.” And what about our beautiful brown-eyed bride? “We were delighted to feature two of Sassi Holford’s 2017 designs,” says Liz. “The first is a delicate lace and tulle creation just perfect for the fine art bride, and the second a simple and stylish backless dress with a nod to 1950’s fashion. Shoes and veils were also supplied by Kristine and the team at Sassi Holford’s Taunton boutique, while local makeup artist Laura Le Page and hair stylist Rosanne Derryman worked to produce a natural, elegant look.” The rustic luxe accessories were created by Alison Morris at Border Cottage Flowers, who’s recently turned her hand to dying silk runners and ribbons with her own plants and flowers. The lovely reclaimed furniture came from Virginia’s Vintage Hire and the models were friends of the creative team. “Creating this look was simple and fun,” says Liz. “There are plenty of florists who would be delighted to be asked to dress a floral arch like ours, and we’d encourage any creative brides to set their wedding scene in as natural a way as possible, using simple, romantic decor. Let your tablescape be inspired by whichever season of the year your wedding falls in, with foliage and fruit to reflect that.”

A clock-work orangery Ensuring this naturally beautiful photoshoot went as seamlessly as it looks were… Photographer: Liz Baker Photography;

lizbakerphotography.co.uk Concept & Direction: Liz Baker & Beth Ralph Styling: Beth Ralph & Jacalyn Arscott Stationery: Beth Ralph for Apple and Bramble Events;

appleandbramble.co.uk Florals: Jacalyn Arscott for Cottage Flowers; cottageflowersandmore.co.uk Dresses & Accessories: Sassi Holford; sassiholford.com Rentals: Virginia’s Vintage Hire; virginiasvintagehire.co.uk Venue: Dillington House; weddingvenueinsomerset.com Cakes: Baking Chick; bakingchick.co.uk Make-up: Laura Le Page; lauralepagebridalmakeup.com Hair: Rosanne Derryman; bridalhairbyrosanne.co.uk Silks: Alison at Border Cottage; bordercottageflowers.co.uk Suits: Harrimans; harrimansmenswear.co.uk Film Lab: Exposure Film Lab; exposurefilmlab.com

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

p h o t o g r a p h y b y O livi a B o s s ert

the edge of love On the wild and woolly rim of Cornwall, our runaway bride and groom declare their forbidden love to the sheep and the seagulls‌

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pictures by LUCY TURNBILL

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pictures by olivia bossert

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

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th e B r i d e : th e e d g e o f lov e



livia was impressed by her small team for this shoot – and not just for their willingness to put up with inhospitable conditions. “Thanks to the power of social media, people who share the same ideals and approach are not hard to find, and everyone involved is now a close friend. Make-up and hair was done by my great pal Make Up By Ione. We were aiming for a soft, romantic look – but also a practical one, as we knew it would be windy on the cliffs. Ione created such a good up-do for Jess’s hair that I’d recommend it to any bride looking to get married somewhere windswept, if she doesn’t want hair flying around!” 52 | VOW

The bride’s wedding dress came from the talented Ailsa Munro – “she’s an up-and-coming bespoke designer right here in Cornwall,” Olivia says – while Charlotte at Grace Baskerville supplied the jewellery. “She spends her days scouring the beaches for sea glass, which she uses to create her pieces,” Olivia says, “meaning each one is unique and holds a special story. She’s an incredible craftswoman, and so helpful, caring and organised.” Then there were the flowers, from Ruby Alice Floral Design of Goldsithney, Cornwall. “The flowers in Jess’s hair reinforce my fictional couple’s love of the outdoors,” Olivia says, “and Alice also gave us two incredible bouquets to play with. They had a very rustic feel, and smelled incredible!” Also helping out were By Moon and Tide, who created some highly romantic bespoke stationery – “My favourite quote from the set is, ‘You are the moon, my love, and I the sea’,” says Olivia – as well as models Jess and Jo, who had never met before, but, says Olivia, “did an exceptional job portraying the story I had in my head. And remember, they had to brave the cold, too – we were all wrapped up in our coats and scarves!” Ah yes, about that. Can you really imagine a bride and groom braving the cliffs like this, no matter how romantic it may look? “Of course! It may be fiction, but this shoot could very well be a real wedding,” Olivia says. “More and more people are becoming open to the idea that it need not be an enormous party, but can be a much more intimate event instead, centred entirely on the love between two people. For a couple who are not very interested in big parties, and want to celebrate their love in a more intimate way, a clifftop, beach, forest, or moorland elopement ceremony could be the perfect thing. I have yet to photograph a real wedding of this nature, but I’m desperate to – which is why I took matters into my own hands and created my own!”

Written on the wind Wrapping up nice and warm against the weather were… Photography: Olivia Bossert Photography;

oliviabossert.com Flowers: Ruby Alice Floral Design;

rubyalicedesign.co.uk Dress: Ailsa Munro; ailsamunrodressmaker.com Rings: Grace Baskerville; etsy.com/shop/gracebaskerville; @ gracebaskervillejewellery Hair and make-up: Make Up by Ione; makeupbyione.com Stationery: By Moon and Tide; bymoonandtide.com

pictures by olivia bossert

ne of the great images of romantic fiction is of the woman standing on a beach or cliff, windswept and gorgeous and looking out to sea; sometimes there’s a man physically there, sometimes not, but he’s always on her mind. From Meryl Streep’s Sarah Woodruff in The French Lieutenant’s Woman at Lyme Regis to Eleanor Tomlinson’s Demelza on the Cornish coast in just about every episode of Poldark we’ve seen, it’s a potent image. Fancy recreating it? We can think of few better venues than Carn Galver, near Zennor, at almost the furthest tip of Cornwall. “It’s a rugged, windy, unpopulated place,” says photographer Olivia Bossert, who put together this shoot, “which few people seem to venture to. When I stumbled across this spot during a day out with my boyfriend, I knew I needed to produce a shoot here.” The memory of Carn Galver never left Olivia, and she eventually pulled together an amazing team for the job. They all rocked up on a windy, cold, but thankfully dry day in February; this is the sort of location that looks stunning in any weather. “Boulders of all shapes and sizes – some as big as a man – are scattered along the cliffs,” Olivia says. “The name actually means ‘rock pile at the lookout place’. You can see the outlines of an old mining village, and the remains of the old mine’s engine house. The broken walls remind you that people used to live and work here, no matter how inhospitable it must sometimes have been.” Though it’s a bit of a drive, getting to Carn Galver is fairly easy. “Happily there’s a small car park,” Olivia says, “so we left the cars and made our way across the fields to the cliff edge. Part of what makes being a photographer in Cornwall so wonderful is the easy access we have to incredible locations like this.” You can’t look at these images without thinking ‘Poldark’, of course, and Olivia – being a huge romantic at heart – dreamed up an entire backstory for her couple. “I love the idea that they might be runaways,” she says, “desperately in love, and with hearts filled with adventure. There’s definitely an element of the forbidden going on here, which harks back to my adoration of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a theme that reoccurs in my editorial work. Perhaps these two have families that hate each other, but their love for each other – and for the land – leads them to elope on the cliffs and never look back? Clearly, my version of Romeo and Juliet has a happy ending.” Hey, it’s your shoot, Olivia. Rewrite the classics as you wish!

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

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Gieves & Hawkes’ celebrated Bentley driving jacket: a bit too snug for most weddings, perhaps, but a possible source of inspiration for the country groom going bespoke…?


Kings of Summer We’ve always wanted a suit from Savile Row legend GIEVES & HAWKES, and especially a bespoke example made just for us. And guess what? Getting married makes for the perfect excuse…


ew tailors – even on London’s celebrated Savile Row – have quite the reach of and history of Gieves & Hawkes, founded in 1771, heaving with famous customers and Royal Warrants, and boasting just the best address: No.1 Savile Row. When an outfit has made bespoke suits for Nelson and Wellington, Chaplin and Churchill, it’ll surely take creating your perfect wedding suit in its stride – and the whole process is easier than you may think, especially as Gieves has a store right in the centre of Bath, just waiting to see you right. This lot began as two separate companies in the late 19th century (Hawkes came first, by 13 years) and only actually merged as recently as 1974; throughout these twin histories, though, it’s had a tradition of innovation. Gieves & Hawkes were early pioneers of the Savile Row ready-to-wear suit, for one thing, and their assorted recent year collaborations – like last summer’s one with Orlebar Brown, say – tend to inject new excitement into what they do. One of Gieves’ top guys is head cutter Davide Taub, and he undertakes an annual challenge to create a single new, unique, VOW | 5 5

and often show-stopping piece of menswear in collaboration with an unexpected non-fashion brand. These challenges began with a celebrated Bentley driving jacket a few years ago, which caused a stir. “It was inspired by speed and style,” says Gieves & Hawkes’ Tim Ardron, Bespoke and Private Tailoring Sales Manager, “as well as perfectly aligned form and function, much as a Bentley does itself.” So much of a stir, in fact, that it had a huge impact on what bespoke customers ordered the following year. “As bespoke is made by hand, from scratch, no two orders are the same,” Tim explains. “Instead, each individual customer will bring their own preferences to a particular style, and make it their own. And recently, many of them have been asking for a variation on the Bentley piece.” Last summer, as a follow-up, Davide created a yachting blazer for British boat builder Camper & Nicholsons, then HRH The Prince of Wales’s Campaign for Wool invited him to create an overcoat for Wool Week. This year, to celebrate London Craft Week, Davide was commissioned by The Beaumont Hotel to create an Alpine walking jacket for their fictional hero, Jimmy Beaumont, 5 6 | VOW

to wear on the slopes. “It’s all key to showing people how versatile bespoke can be,” Tim says. “The ultimate expression of men’s style.” Not that you have to go bespoke, and there are plenty of tempting options in the SS17 ready to wear collection, which you can see above, too. How, then, should we go about buying a wedding suit? So, Tim, what’s the feel for this summer?

Grooms are definitely falling into two camps. There are those who want to follow formal rules closely, and those who want to wear something more relaxed. Morning dress or a three-piece suit are still the popular options, but guys are becoming more aware of what’s available and are putting their own look together from separates. Private tailoring (which gives you a suit customised to your fit and style) is one of our biggest categories, and with this service you can really personalise your look. For example, you could have a very elegant navy suit made up with a shockingly bright lining that only you (and your other half!) know about. Details such as this take your wedding suit to another level of personalisation. This summer, pastel

THE groom

shades have come to the fore, so people aren’t just getting married in navy or grey. We have a fantastic dark pomegranate suit that would be perfect for a casual summer wedding, for instance. Many of us don’t usually go for private tailoring or bespoke, but are happy to push the boat out for our weddings. What sort of suits should we be picking?

Bespoke is an incredibly personal experience: the client is effectively the designer, as the garments are made by hand, completely from scratch. First-timers are generally encouraged to order the ultimate expression of something they would already be comfortable in, such as a navy wool two-piece. It’s tempting to go wild, but the reality is that – given the investment in time and money – you’re going to want something you will treasure for a long time. A shouty polka-dot fabric might be great now, but will you want to wear it again and again? Savile Row details – such as a roped shoulder, where the head of the sleeve sits proud of the shoulder line, a high arm hole (which helps define the line) and strong, waisted silhouette (to enhance the chest

and shoulders) – are details worth considering, as they elevate the suit into the realm of what is internationally recognised as Savile Row. So, we were thinking a two button single-breasted suit is probably safest. But what other styles work well?

What suits you in your day-to-day life is going to be the best base to build on – this isn’t a time to experiment too much. If you never wear double breasted (which doesn’t suit short or heavy builds), then now is not the time to start. You want to look your best on your big day. Generally speaking, two button single-breasted is the most universally flattering style, with either peak or notch lapels. Shawl collars are best suited to evening wear, as they lengthen the torso and add a bit of Hollywood glamour. The best advice is to try on different styles and see for yourself. If you ask yourself ‘Do I look good in this?’ you probably don’t – you will know when you’ve found a style that suits you. And if you need guidance, just go into a store you trust and ask. gievesandhawkes.com

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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



Beautiful, historic, intimate and truly romantic… the perfect exclusive and secluded venue for your wedding, birthday party or any other celebration or occasion.

A stunning 14th Century Castle where dreams come true…

• Licensed for Civil Ceremonies • Self Arranged or use our experienced team • Blessing Services and Renewal of Vows in the 6th Century Chapel • Wonderful landscaped gardens and riverside setting • Bed and Breakfast Accommodation

Bickleigh, Near Tiverton, Devon EX16 8RP • Tel: 01884 855363 • Email: info@bickleighcastle.com



Amy Courtman & Christian Hatcher


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Picture by matthew lawrence

Stand under my umbrella

my and Christian met through work ages before they got together, but it wasn’t until 2012 that they became close; their first date started with the beasts at London Zoo, continued to dinner at the Café Rouge in Hampstead, and ended with a kiss. “Best date ever,” says Amy. The proposal came on holiday in Malta – a beautiful sea view the backdrop – in September 2015, and from there on the wedding took a year to organise, with big things like the venue, flowers and photographer coming easily and (as is so often the way) the minor stuff causing all the trouble. Like, what should the bridesmaids wear? How shall we decorate the tables? And what about the invitations – and the dreaded table plan? Guys, we feel your pain. These two live in a small village in Bedfordshire, but it’s easy to see why they fell in love with their venue, the Upper Gate House at


Dartington Hall, near Totnes in Devon. “It’s stunning, with a lovely atmosphere,” says Amy, “and we could immediately see ourselves having the best time there.” Amy tried on plenty of dresses in different styles – “I tried to go into it with an open mind,” she says – but became quite dejected when she couldn’t find anything she liked. “Though I had a modest budget, I tried not to look at the price before I tried anything on,” she says. “After all, like most brides I was willing to go over budget for ‘The One’! I saw a few dresses from the 2016 True Bride collection that looked pretty, so I found a shop in Oxfordshire that stocked some of them and tried on a couple. But, once again, they didn’t feel right. Just before I stepped into the dress I finally chose, though, I felt strangely excited. It just slipped on, and I immediately felt elegant and glamorous. When I didn’t want to take it off, I just knew.” The rest of her look followed the dress, with her hair curled and put up with a hairband she’d had designed by Crystal Heirlooms to match. Her flowers were pink calla lilies, with white freesias, white double lisianthus and bear grass by H Watts Florist in Plymouth. “My hairdresser was a family friend,” Amy says, “while mum bought me silver jewellery and pearl earrings to wear, which I put together with a vintage pearl bracelet that belonged to my great aunt. My make-up I did myself, as I’d had a make-up trial and didn’t really recognise myself!” Meanwhile, Amy’s bridesmaids – her sister, Louise Rhodes; the groom’s sister, Victoria Hatcher; and friends Rachael Black and Lizzie Darby – all wore dresses from NABBD in Wimbledon. “We had two different designs – one halter neck and one off the shoulder – as they couldn’t agree on one!”


cross the aisle, a lucky Christian found morning suits at Moss Bros in exactly the French blue he wanted, which worked well for best man Chris Sinden and the ushers too, as they lived all over and so could easily get measured up in their local branches. At the reception were more H Watts flowers – “we had white lilies for the ceremony room, plus more flowers including some in tall vases on the tables” – while Amy’s sister and mum got stuck into making the cake. “It was a chocolate brownie cake with white icing, cigarillos and pink calla lily sugar decorations to match the bouquets,” Amy says. Amy has three favourite photos from the day. “In one, we’re at the top of the aisle just after we’d got married, and were about to walk out. We’re both laughing, and I remember being incredibly happy. There’s also an amazing photo where everyone is doing sparklers, just after the confetti, and they all look like they’re having a great time. And the last one is outside, in the private gardens. We’re under an umbrella sharing a kiss, a moment we had to ourselves in the middle of all the madness.” Getting little moments to yourself is notoriously difficult at most weddings, and these guys got – almost inevitably – swept along by the day’s relentless march of events. “We really should have scheduled 10 minutes to ourselves,” Amy says now. “The most frustrating part of the whole process is trying to please everyone, and there was a stage where I felt we were doing things just to please our families.” Once they got past that, though, it was a day full of memorable moments. 6 0 | VOW

“When the doors opened into the ceremony room,” Amy says, “and I heard the music we’d chosen, and saw the smiling faces of my friends and family, I got overwhelmed with happiness and love. Rather more of a worry were the singing waiters we’d ordered. I was nervous about how people would react, but they went down brilliantly – and started the evening off with a bang.” The guys probably bought too much booze – “we’d quite a bit left over, and it was one of the most expensive parts of the wedding,” Amy says – and she still cringes when she remembers how, when they first walked into the Great Hall and everyone started clapping, Christian stood on the train of her dress, forcing her to an abrupt stop. “Our first dance was awkward too,” she says. “We didn’t practice at all.” At least there were no bridezilla moments, though. Well, except for maybe a small one. “I found I became very precious about my dress,” Amy says, “and how it had to be transported and stored. My parents brought it to the venue in the end, but I gave them very particular instructions on how to do so!”

a my & Christian If you fancy a touch of the medieval banquet, Dartington Hall is your place; sparklers make for such an amazing photo, we’re surprised everyone doesn’t do it PictureS by matthew lawrence

Marriage Guidance Who? Amy Courtman and Christian Hatcher When? 10 December 2016 Where? Upper Gate House, Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon; dartington.org Reception: Great Hall, Dartington Hall; dartington.org Dress by: True Bride; truebride.co.uk Hairband: Crystal Heirlooms; crystal-heirlooms.co.uk Bridesmaid dresses: NABBD, Wimbledon; nabbd.co.uk Men’s suits: Moss Bros; moss.co.uk Flowers: H Watts Florist, Plymouth; hwattsflorist.co.uk Photography: Matthew Lawrence; matthewlawrencephotos.co.uk VOW | 61


Simple things Kate Collins & Ashe Palmer


lenty of us meet our partners-to-be at university, but though both Kate and Ashe went to Bath Spa they managed to miss each other. Fate was unwilling to be denied, however, and had them bump into each other a few years later on a night out. Their first date was at crazy golf in the city – good call, and we think we know the one; it’s but five minutes’ walk from Vow Towers – and Ashe finally got around to proposing to Kate on Christmas morning, 2015. Since they planned to get married eleven months later, a wintery theme seemed natural. The guys seem to have taken most of the organising in their stride – “it only took us a few months,” Kate says, “and the venue and dress were all sorted a month after we got engaged” – but then fussed around over the finer details. Like, who should sit next to who on the table plan? “It kept changing,” Kate admits, “and continued to change even on the big day.” Though the guys live in Arlington, near Barnstaple in Devon – pretty much within hopping distance of the wallabies at Exmoor Zoo – they knew they wanted to get married close to Bath, and found the perfect venue at nearby St Peter’s Church, attached to Dyrham Park, the baroque 17th century National Trust mansion. “Ashe and I actually lived there for a while,” says Kate, “as it’s where I worked for the last five years. It remains very special to us.”


or the reception, they chose The Great Tythe Barn in Tetbury – about half an hour to the south – simply because, says Kate, “it’s so beautiful, and the team there made us feel really comfortable from the off. It has great accommodation on site, too, which was a bonus – and the barn itself doesn’t need lots of decoration, as it’s such a striking space in itself.” Kate got her dress from Prudence Gowns in Plymouth. She chose a number by Maggie Sottero, who tends to offer ethereal, classic designs with a little bit of shimmer and something of an international feel; thank for this the slightly bizarre fact that the Maggie S design operation is split between Sydney, Australia and Salt Lake City, Utah, we reckon. “It’s called Verina,” Kate says, “and I saw it online and instantly fell in love with it, so went to a shop in my home town where they stock it – and luckily I fell in love with it all over again!” Kate’s hair and make-up artists were local, and recommended to her by a friend who’d got married the year before. “Hannah Pannell did my hair, and was really accommodating and totally understood what I wanted,” she says, “while Tracy Pallari, who handled make-up, was very patient with me. I’m not

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usually one for tons of slap, but she did an amazing job with me, my mum and my bridesmaids.” Kate had four of her girls alongside her – her two sisters, Jen Ashbee and Stef Collins, and her two best friends from home, Kirsty Golden and Alice Thornberry, all wearing Coast dresses in a choice of colours and styles – while groom Ashe, resplendent in a hired outfit from Moss Bros in Bath, was accompanied by best man JJ Spencer, one of his closest friends from home. Flowers were arranged by Chris Priddis, a volunteer at Dyrham Park who used to be a florist. “She used white roses and gypsophila, very simple but stunning,” Kate says, “while we kept it simple with the cake too, going for a chocolate number from M&S. The cake toppers were knitted by another colleague at Dyrham Park, and were fab. We had our cats in knitted form at the bottom of the cake, too!” One cat, Lola, even appears in perhaps Kate’s favourite wedding photo. “Though I love the one of us holding a heart-shaped umbrella outside the barn,” she says, “I also adore the picture of Lola inspecting my wedding dress in the morning!”

K At e & A s h E

Simple white roses and gypsophila make a gorgeous floral combo; and everyone should try and incorporate their cats into the big day PictureS by Rob Auckland

Marriage Guidance Who? Kate Collins and Ashe Palmer When? 19 December 2016 Where? St Peter’s Church, Dyrham; wickbenefice.net/dyrham Reception: The Great Tythe Barn, Tetbury; gtb.co.uk Dress by: Maggie Sottero at Prudence Gowns, Plymouth; prudencegowns.com Hair: Hannah Pannell; facebook.com/Hannah-Pannell-Hair Make-up: Tracy Pallari; tracypallari.com Photography: Rob Auckland; robertaucklandweddingphotography. co.uk

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Mill and grace Laura Chesham & Ross Bruce


ristol pair Laura and Ross first met when Ross was a chef and Laura a waitress at a pub in Skenfrith, a small village just inside Wales. “We were friends but lost touch,” Laura says. “Then, a couple of years later, we got back in contact over MSN Messenger. It turned out Ross was working at The Felin Fach Griffin, near Brecon.” Laura went to see him, and they watched Slumdog Millionaire in his flat, drinking coffee. Might things go somewhere? We like to think the fact that Ross had thought to buy Laura a book he’d been telling her about during late night MSN chats – Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts – might have swung it. 6 4 | VOW

“Ross proposed just before Christmas on Clifton Suspension Bridge,” Laura now says. “We were looking towards south Bristol – and particularly Bedminster, where we live – and I was so surprised I didn’t say anything; I just hugged Ross, so he had to double check that it was a yes!” Happily, it was. This was in 2015, and only weeks later they decided they’d get married the following Christmas. “We had to work the date around school holidays, as Ross is now a teacher,” Laura says. “We were both very keen on a winter wedding, though.” The easiest thing to organise was the band, The Zuzu Men. “We knew they’d be brilliant, and didn’t let us down,” Laura says.

L AU R A & ROSS Laura looks a picture in her champagne gown, of course, but it’s Ross’s hair we’re most impressed by: how did he keep it so spiky and wear a hat?

PictureS by Joab Woodger-Smith

“They learnt our first dance, ‘Something Like Happiness’ by The Maccabees, and it was unforgettable.” Much more difficult to get sorted were the groomsmen’s jackets. “Ross had always wanted them to wear velvet, so we decided we were going to buy rather than hire suits,” Laura explains. “There were plenty of velvet jackets in the shops at the time, but with the groomsmen all living in different places and being different sizes, picking one was a nightmare.” The guys couldn’t decide whether they wanted a church wedding either, but when they went to a couple of services at the Church of St Luke and St Andrew in Priston, they were sold. “The whole congregation was so interested in our wedding,” Laura says, “and we felt similarly taken with our reception venue, The Watermill at Prison Mill nearby. We were very particular about what we wanted – nothing ordinary – and The Watermill was the third place we looked at. Peter, who showed us around, wasn’t pushy in the slightest, and we both walked away knowing that they’d make our wedding really special. And they did.” VOW | 6 5



aura’s dress came from Clifton Brides in Bristol – she didn’t know the style she wanted, just that it couldn’t be ‘poofy’ and she probably didn’t want lace – and with this one it was the double-whammy of colour and back detail that swung it. “I loved the champagne shade,” Laura says, “and the cowl back with its strings of beads. It also had a vintage feel, which I knew Ross would like.” Because of the detail on the dress, Laura chose minimal jewellery – just diamond studs (a 30th birthday present from her parents) and a Swarovski crystal bracelet from Liberty in Love – while make-up artist Elle Hitchens (“a really calming presence,” Laura says) and hairdresser Hayley Bolton completed her look. “Hayley was recommended by a friend,” Laura says, “and was a total star. She did whatever I asked – even though it involved an awful lot of plaiting!” Across the aisle, Ross wore a navy polka dot jacket, a shirt with gold collar stud and black velvet trousers – very snazzy – while his pocket square was gold crushed velvet. He topped it all off with a navy felt fedora. “Ross didn’t really have one best man, but three groomsmen,” Laura says. “The one who made the most brilliant speech, Darryl, has known Ross since they were only two.” Yes yes yes, but what did they wear? After all, we heard about the velvet jacket issues earlier… “The final winner was a navy velvet number paired with charcoal trousers,” says Laura. “They also had charcoal silk bow ties and pocket squares handmade by one of Ross’s colleagues, Marina.” Laura’s bridesmaid – sister Niki – wore a Coppelia ballet dress by Needle & Thread, while flower girl Penny had a Monsoon number with a tulle skirt, very similar to Niki’s. Elsewhere, flowers were by Tilly Tomlinson Flowers in Bristol – “we had anemones, ranunculus, scabious, rosemary, viburnum tinus steel berries, waxflower, olive foliage, succulents, eucalyptus, white astrantia, myrtle and roses,” Laura says, “plus lots of pine cones, as it was Christmas.” A brave baker called Stella Cutts – she works at the celebrated Mark’s Bread in Southville, Bristol – took on wedding cake duties; we call her brave because, not only was the job at short notice, but though she’d made loads of cakes before, none were actually wedding cakes. “Ross was going to make it himself, but three weeks before he chickened out,” Laura says. “Stella did an amazing job, though, and is actually in the process of setting up her own cake business.”


hat else? Well, Joab Woodger-Smith took the photos. “They completely blew us away,” says Laura. “We weren’t expecting quite so many of them to be so fantastic – particularly the ones of me, as I’ve spent my entire life being un-photogenic – but if we had to pick particular favourites I’d say the series under the tree outside the church. The light is amazing – and Ross had his entire face painted like a tiger, so it was very glittery!” A strange little detail, you might think, but the day had more of them. “Oh, we overthought everything,” Ross chips in. “So much so that the following day, when everything from The Watermill had been brought back to our house, we asked ourselves whether guests 6 6 | VOW

had noticed some of the details. Like, I’d made fudge for the favours, and in the boxes we’d printed a recipe for it – but I’m not sure a single guest even realised.” Another thing they perhaps overthought was the table plan. “We spent ages trying to configure it so everyone was sitting with at least one couple they knew,” Ross laughs. “In the end, though, it really didn’t matter!” Winter wedding are often indoor affairs – nothing wrong with that, of course – but these guys were lucky with the weather, getting the heavy frost Ross had wished for early doors, followed by bright sunshine and a clear blue sky. It meant, of course, that they could have lots of photos outside. Laura had actually slept at The Pig near Bath the night before, and it turned out Sue Perkins – of Great British Bake Off fame – was also staying. As Laura and her dad were leaving for the church, Sue gave her a little thumbs up. Aw! “Then, in Ross’s speech, he said the two of us are like ‘baked beans and peanut butter’,” Laura laughs. “You wouldn’t think they’d go together – but actually, they’re a pretty good match!”

L AU R A & ROSS The cake (below) looks mighty impressive for a first try, we reckon; meanwhile, we wouldn’t normally recommend playing with fire, but we totally do in this instance‌ PictureS by Joab Woodger-Smith

Marriage Guidance Who? Laura Chesham and Ross Bruce When? 28 December 2016 Where? Church of St Luke and St Andrew, Priston, near Bath; priston.org.uk/churchmain Reception: The Watermill, Priston Mill; pristonmill.co.uk Dress by: Clifton Brides; cliftonbrides.co.uk Hair: Hayley Bolton; facebook.com/hayley.bolton Make-up: Elle Hitchens; ellehitchens.co.uk Flowers: Tilly Tomlinson Flowers; tillytomlinsonflowers.co.uk Cake: Stella Cutts; morusbakes.com Band: The Zuzu Men; thezuzumen.com Photography: Joab Woodger-Smith; joabsmithphotography.co.uk

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THE VENUE Swank hotels, sex y spaces & picturesque part y spots

Picture by Tasha Park

Luxe in the city Fusing two former bank buildings behind a spectacular Victorian façade, the new Bristol harbour Hotel contains one of the most impressive event spaces we’ve seen. . .


hen The Times’ Cool Hotel Guide says, “something rather remarkable has happened in Bristol…” of the new Bristol Harbour Hotel, readers tend to take note. And so they should; this is a hotel leading the way in city luxury, while also offering an abundance of character and detail to woo prospective couples seeking a venue with wow factor. “We have lovingly restored the former Lloyds and Midland Bank buildings to create a unique hotel, spa and event venue,” says the Harbour’s Anna O’Shea, “offering the impressive addition of The Gold Bar and The Jetty restaurant. The Corn Street area of Bristol is steeped in history, and we feel lucky to be situated in such a beautiful part of the city.” Indeed, Anna. But first, tell us about The Sansovino Hall, the incredible events space you now have in what was, we believe, the old Lloyds? VOW | 69

“Renowned architect William Bruce Gingell was behind the remarkable design of the former Lloyds Bank, which was inspired by Jacopo Sansovino’s 16thcentury Library of St Mark in the Piazzetta, Venice,” says Anna. “This grand room boasts a magnificent skylight and an opulent detailed ceiling, providing a spectacular backdrop to seat 50-300 guests. “And we are also now opening our second event space, The Vaults. This beautiful room has been created in the original banking vaults of the hotel, and provides a unique backdrop for smaller wedding parties of 10-50 guests, though it can also be used for an informal drinks reception for up to 80. “It’s a magical space. Walk down a candle-lit staircase into the former vaults of Lloyds Bank and you enter into a bright event area, with lights on independent dimmers, which help create a lovely atmospheric feeling for more intimate or evening events. The room features beautiful Italian-designed iridescent marble wallpaper, and now has an amazing Sonos sound system, should background music be required. We also have the option of dividing the second section, to create a catering area.” With 42 bedrooms – suites feature free-standing baths with city views – a restaurant and a sybaritic spa in the basement, Bristol Harbour Hotel has all of your guest needs covered, too. 70 | VOW

Picture by Tasha Park

Picture by Andrew Limb Photography

Picture by Andrew Limb Photography

The venue


There’s something of the movie set to the Harbour’s vast Sansovino Hall, with its cool lighting, tall pillars and oh-so-distant ceilings

take on how they are used in weddings and parties. It seems to be a case of the bigger the better, sometimes featuring gilt gold, which looks amazing in photos. “We’re lucky that our event spaces don’t need much enhancement, but equally can take tall elaborate table centre pieces or full sequin table cloths. The Sansovino Hall has hosted large light letters and had images projected onto its walls, while intimate candlelight and lanterns work beautifully in The Vaults. I also really like the open photo booth with bespoke backdrops idea, which means guests can interact with all the posing taking place during the count downs, perhaps by waving props around!” Finally, any tips for memorable photo backdrops around here, other than the events spaces themselves? “As a city centre venue, we still have so much to offer on our doorstep regarding photo opportunities, and have a range of photographers we can recommend who can make the most of our beautiful building and interior, or the unique streets filled with graffiti art, St Nick’s Market and Castle Park, which will be launching a new design feature this June.” bristol-harbour-hotel.co.uk/ • Packages start at £70 per person, which includes room hire, the wedding breakfast and evening reception, food and beverage options. Bespoke packages are also available. Picture by Tasha Park

Picture by Andrew Limb Photography

What, though, can Anna tell us about the wedding nitty gritty? “Set-up and access to any venue is vital,” she says, “and is something to be aware of when coordinating external suppliers. We’re able to provide access straight to the entrance door of the Sansovino’s foyer, which eases set-up times. We can support the bride and groom with little impact on them, so they can look on and enjoy the splendour of everything coming together. We’re also located in such a vibrant part of the city that many suppliers can walk here to drop off, such as florists, cheese cake providers, and so on. “The support of good staff can really add to a wedding day’s success, and the pure friendliness, care and attention to detail we offer means the bride and groom can just take in every special moment of their day with family and friends. For example, we have an extensive cocktail menu in our Gold Bar, but have been known to shake up a few new bespoke cocktails on the night in honour of Uncle Bob, or whoever! We also like to keep one step ahead of timings, so if there’s a hold up, we can easily coordinate behind the scenes so the celebrations continue without a hitch.” And can Anna tell us about any trends or features that work particularly well with such a venue? “I love the way balloon displays have evolved over the last few years, and we are seeing a totally new

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07591 527267 07831 949292 Twitter @catering_smoke Facebook Smoke Catering Instagram Smoke.Catering

Born in Texas, raised in Bristol. This is Smoke Catering, an authentic Texan BBQ catering company created by Robin and Claire Dacey from Somerset. The pair, together with their 12ft smoker, cater to weddings both big and small, from formal sit down table service to the more casual street food style, always with an element of ‘Southern rustic’ with hand crafted wooden serving bowls and chopping boards atop hessian table cloths. The nine-hour smoked beef brisket is a particular favourite of theirs – it’s so juicy and buttery it practically melts in your mouth under a light crispy crunch from their spiced rub. All their food is homemade; from the rubs and pickles to the barbecue sauce and all the sides. Smoke Catering can travel all over the south west, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and towards London and can comfortably cater for numbers up to 200.

www.s m o k ecat er i n g.c o m

BATH’S FINEST BESPOKE TAILORING, DRESSMAKING AND ALTERATIONS SERVICE At City Tailors, Bath we cater for all types of tailoring and alterations of the highest quality across Bath, Bristol and the South West. Male or female, whether you are looking to have a bespoke handmade suit, an item made to measure, or alterations and repairs our skilled and experienced tailors and dressmakers based here in Bath can assist. We offer everything from a complete bespoke tailoring service to alterations, repairs and re-styling.

25 Milsom Street, Bath, BA1 1DG T: 01225 920 263 info@citytailors.co.uk www.citytailors.co.uk

THE Venue

Manor from heaven With its Cotswold stone façade, 300-year-old Mulberry tree and secret garden, the Manor House Hotel in Moretonin-Marsh on the historic Fosse Way is a High Street venue oozing historic character and charm


f you’ve always dreamed of a Cotswold wedding, the Manor House Hotel’s chocolate box looks, 16th-century charm and easy location on Moreton-in-Marsh High Street – it sits alongside pretty tea rooms and boutiques – ticks a lot of boxes. Add into the mix that it won Condé Nast Johansens ‘Best Luxury Value’ Award for 2017 and has a perfectly-manicured ‘secret’ walled garden, and it starts looking like a venue cert. We caught up with wedding coordinator Tom Gibbons to find out more. Our first question: tell us all about your secret garden! “Our garden is one of a kind,” says Tom. “From the front of the hotel, you wouldn’t have any idea that such a beautiful space lies out back! It is manicured to perfection, with church views and a thatchedroof summer house that is extremely popular for weddings, whether used for the ceremony or as part VOW | 7 3

THE VENUE: m anor house hotel

of the entertainment afterwards. Of course, we’ve plenty of great indoor spaces too.” Indeed, details like open log fireplaces and arched windows make the inside seem similarly special; the place has an effortlessly stylish feel, personally designed by owner Pamela Horton. “Wedding parties benefit from a whole wing of the hotel being reserved exclusively for them,” explains Tom. “We’ve a collection of neutrally-decorated rooms to celebrate in, with direct access to the garden via the upper terrace – also yours for the day! Whether you’re looking to get married outside or inside, we’re licensed for civil ceremonies of up to 120 guests, and 135 for the evening reception. What’s more, there’s no need to arrange for carriages

at midnight, as we have 35 bedrooms for guests to stay the night.” And how does the Manor House make sure everything runs smoothly on the day? “Our main priority is to take as much off your hands as we can, so that you can relax and enjoy it,” says Tom. “We also try to prepare for all eventualities. If you would love an outside ceremony but can’t trust the Great British weather, we have the facilities to set up an indoor and outdoor ceremony at the same time, cutting out the risk-factor.” Tom’s been in the wedding coordinating business for 10 years now, so what tips can he offer couples that they may not have thought of? “I always advise couples to invest in the drinks reception,” he says, “as it’s the part 74 | VOW

of the day where guests may have little to do. If there are drinks flowing and plenty of canapés on the go, though, you know that they’re being looked after! And, if I was getting married myself soon, I would definitely opt for a garden party feel, filling the lawn with outdoor games for the kids (and, doubtless, some adults) to enjoy. I’d have a jazz band in the summer house, and decorate it all with traditional bunting. I’d also continue this theme inside as a plan B. Hey, it’s England, and you have to be ready for rain!” cotswold-inns-hotels.co.uk/the-manorhouse-hotel/weddings/ • Packages can be built around your budget, but a summer wedding for 50 guests starts from £3,999.


Nestled amidst 500 acres of parkland and lakes, Orchardleigh Estate offers two exclusive use wedding venues, Orchardleigh House and The Walled Garden, as well as an idyllic island Church and plenty of luxurious accommodation. The enchanting array of backdrops make Orchardleigh Estate a truly magical and unique setting to hold your entire wedding day; from the wedding ceremony, through to the reception drinks, wedding breakfast and evening celebrations.

Orchardleigh Estate, Frome, Somerset BA11 2PB  01373 472550  info@orchardleigh.net  www.orchardleigh.net

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WORDS by Cl arissa Picot P h o t o g r a p h y b y L u c y H e at h

Green room What makes a simple wedding breakfast sing? Plenty of flowers, says helen howells of Pudding Bridge, plus endless pretty little details…


orgeously relaxed and low-key, combining the rustic and the luxe in just-so amounts, this styled wedding breakfast shoot by Helen Howells and her team is the perfect inspiration for an early summer wedding. Helen trained as a fashion designer but has mostly worked in events, and after 15 years arranging dos big and small started to see a gap in the market. The big issue: time and again, she was finding it hard to buy or hire specialist linen. “I adore decorative detail,” Helen says, “so I thought I might be able to provide a solution. We launched Pudding Bridge in May 2013, initially just to supply linen and other details for couples to hire. Everything is high quality, and designed and made in our studio just outside Bath. These days we offer wedding planning too, and we especially love a timeless and contemporary country house ceremony.” You've won a fair few Wedding Industry Awards (well done!), so what’s been swinging it for you? Winning at The Wedding Industry Awards for three years regionally, and twice nationally, has been absolutely amazing. I’m so passionate about each client’s wedding day that I always go the extra mile to make sure that their experience is fantastic. I hope the award wins were because people recognised that. So when couples come to you, what are they after? Some of my wedding planning couples like me to arrange every element, while others just need a helping hand for the final stretch. I like to be flexible – no two weddings are the same, after all! – and I think my unusual background in both decorative details and event planning helps with both. After all, a wedding needs to run smoothly – and needs to be pretty too!

With the linen and chair decorations, couples often need advice on what will work in their space, how much they might need, and how to maximise impact while sticking to a budget. Tell us a bit about this particular shoot… It took place in November at Widbrook Grange, the Georgian model farm turned hotel and restaurant in Bradford on Avon, on a gorgeous bright day – essential, as Lucy is a natural light photographer. We used a combination of conservatories and outdoor spaces to really reflect my style. If we were to take two words away from this shoot, they would be ‘cream silk’. Absolutely! With my background, I naturally wanted to incorporate gorgeous fabric, and really fell in love with the sheer fluidity of this cream silk. I paired it with metallic tones and a green foliage garland: the perfect match. Metallics, yes, and sparkly details too… Take a look at the Pudding Bridge website, and it should be obvious that I love a little bit of sparkle anyway – but it especially suits weddings. It adds an extra element to any table, and ensures that there’s something that catches the eye. This time out, though, I wanted the scheme to have a contemporary feel, so added extra texture through the glassware and crockery. What aspects could you apply to a real-life wedding? All of it! I often see photo shoots that look amazing, but would be so hard to recreate – this isn’t one of them. The garland is a similar shade of green to the one recently named Pantone colour of the year, giving a perfect nod to current trends while remaining timeless too. Adding special glasses is another easy win; although they cost a little more, they really add luxury to your table. And doing something different with your napkins is the easiest win of all! Here I laid them between the plates, but folding them in a unique way would be good too.

Spilt silk For these guys, the maths (50% luxury + 50% rustic = result) is easy-peasy… Stylist: Pudding Bridge; puddingbridge.co.uk Venue: Widbrook Grange; widbrookgrange.co.uk Shoes: Charlotte Mills; charlottemills.com Florist: Foxy Buds; foxybuds.co.uk Stationery: de Winton Paper Co; dewintonpaperco.com Photography: Capture by Lucy; capturebylucy.com

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W O R D S b y w e n d y ly n e Ph oto g r a ph y by S i o b h a n A my

In living colour Ever so slightly bored of ultra-tasteful weddings in shades of blush pink and ivory? Elizabeth Wong has the antidote, and then some…


he rich brights of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – or perhaps Bertie Bassett’s house – are a rare sighting in Vow Magazine, so it’s quite refreshing to see a piece of fun, modern wedding styling like this one by Bristol-based Elizabeth Wong. “I really went for it with the idea of making the colours pop,” says Liz. “It’s all primaries and pink mixed with bold, graphic black and white, a combination that was so much fun after the usual pale, pastel colour palette that

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L e t ’ s pa r t y

we in the wedding industry use so much. I really like how the monochrome striped table runners are working so hard here to give a sleek and stylish sense of class to the shoot.” This meant Liz could go wild with her bright colours, while the almost masculine feel of the venue itself – Bristol’s Cox & Baloney Tea Room and Bar, with its natural wooden tables and coloured brickwork – similarly kept the shoot grounded. “I really like the way the modern, clean-cut glass tea light holders and glass candlesticks create an of-the-moment look which works perfectly with the wild, vintage bouquet and flowers,” Liz says. “We had anemones, ranunculus, muscari, clematis and roses, which florist Megan had a great time choosing. She started out on the day loving a very limited red and pink palette, but soon started adding blues, purples and yellows for extra splashes of colour.” Meanwhile, Liz had some white calligraphy decals made by Nineteen, Clevedon’s artisan home and furniture outfit, so she could create the acrylic menus and place names. “This was perhaps my favourite part of the shoot,” she says. “I’d seen this done before, and it’s an up-and-coming trend. They certainly add sophistication and elegance to a table, and the white calligraphy contrasts perfectly with the wood and black napkins. I also had some calligraphy decals made for the Mr and Mrs chairs, and loved the idea of incorporating colourful balloons in and around the wreaths.” Other details – these ones really taking the shoot into Liquorice Allsorts territory – included the drip cake by Sam

at Bristol’s Cakesmiths, which combined contemporary monochrome stripes with beautiful sugarwork flowers, and the sparkly lollipops used as favours. “Each one was a different flavour,” Liz says. “We used them to finish off each place setting, and they’re such a lovely addition to any wedding.”

Do the bright thing Slipping on the shades for this shoot were… Stylist: Elizabeth Weddings; elizabethweddings.co.uk Photographer: Siobhan Amy Photography;

siobhanamyphotography.com Venue: Cox & Baloney Tea Room and Bar;

coxandbaloneytearooms.com Flowers: Megan Lily Flowers; meganlilyflowers.co.uk Balloon wreaths: Riot Balloons; riotballoons.co.uk Cake: Cakesmiths; cake-smiths.co.uk Decals: Nineteen; 19alexandraroad.co.uk Favours: The Little Lollipop Shop; littlelollipopshop.co.uk VOW | 79


Bill Skinner Honey Bee gold pendant, £60, from Amulet Boutique, 39a Cotham Hill, Bristol; amuletboutique.co.uk

Biba off the shoulder blouse, £59, from House of Fraser, Regent Arcade, 32-48 Promenade, Cheltenham; houseoffraser.co.uk

Eugenia Kim ‘Lillian’ pompom trilby hat, £300, from Harvey Nichols, 27 Philadelphia Street, Quakers Friars, Bristol; harveynichols.com

Baggu stripe cobalt duck bag, £29, from Found, 17 Argyle Street, Bath; foundbath.co.uk

Shore leave Get honeymoon ready with primary brights, sailor stripes and accessories packed with sunshiney pizzazz. . .

Mara Hoffman colour block reversible swimsuit, £270, from Harvey Nichols; harveynichols.com

Tallulah wide-leg jumpsuit, £138, from Anthropology, 1-4 New Bond Street, Bath; anthropologie.com

Classic navy blue sunglasses £455 and Crystal sunglasses £310, from Cutler and Gross, 9 Bridge Street, Bath; cutlerandgross.com

Marsden silver mirror leather sandal, £95, from Ted & Muffy, 33 Milsom Street, Bath; tedandmuffy.com

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Basil & Neroli Cologne, £88 (100ml), from Jo Malone, 6-7 Old Bond Street, Bath; jomalone.co.uk

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Bl ack boar ds Chalk this way


Traditions we love

Do the write thing Loads of us have worked at gastro pubs at some point or other, which is perhaps why blackboards – or chalk boards, if you’re being all American – have become such a wedding staple in recent years. We’ve learnt the skills needed for charming, funny menu presentation, after all, and it’s just a short hop, skip and a jump from there to creating low-key, handmade signposts for church confetti arrangements, reception event timings, wedding breakfast seating

charts, preferred photo sharing hashtags, comedy quotes from guests, fave snippets of love poems, inspirational messages (as above!), or simply to let visitors know they’ve arrived at the right place. Best of all, we’ve even seen giant blackboards used as a backdrop for the ceremony or the top table, with big comedy arrows pointing at the bride and groom and telling you quirky little facts about them. Hey, keep ’em entertained, that’s our motto…

Next up: Vow #14 is out from 28 July, and will be packed with summery happiness for a real festival vibe… 8 2 | VOW

Haute bride: amazing wedding gowns rocked by Chloe-Jasmine Whichello

Plus! Moroccan skirts, American beer, French patisserie, and the Spanish Inquisition. (We didn’t expect that!)

R aft’s big score: don’t worry, we didn’t make them swim there

Come back to yours, Mr Darcy? Don’t mind if we do

The South West’s new wedding bible

World’s brightest wedding breakfast (it wasn’t styled by Bertie Bassett, but it could have been)