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Wedding Daisy

april & May 2018 / Bath, Bristol & the West / No.18



FEEL THE FEAR (AND DO IT ANYWAY) There are, of course, plenty of reasons not to get married. Either he’ll let himself go, or you will. The wedding day will cost a fortune. And perhaps you don’t really believe in the institution anyway – just see it as a load of paperwork, irrelevant to your love – or you’re worried about the death of spontaneity that can come with a certificate. Or maybe you’re one of those people who is more afraid of a life of constant compromise, both of you settling for the acceptable option rather than what you really want. What else? Well, there’s the classic fear that inventive sex will soon drain down the plughole like dirty, lukewarm bathwater, of course. And that risk-taking will be another victim. (Start a company? What, with you relying on my income too?) And then there’s the simple fact that, with so many marriages ending badly, it’s easy to say, ‘What’s

the point?’ Heck, nobody’s quite the same person they were ten years ago, so who’s to say the two of you will even like each other a decade from now? Lots of reasons not to, then. Miserable, reductive reasons you and me – since we’re here, in the pages of Vow – can dismiss out of hand in the name of love. Hurrah! One reason to fear marriage that I do have sympathy with, however, is the momentouslooking task of organising the damn thing. All those suppliers, all those people to please, all those decisions to be made. I think about this all the time, of course – the main reason Vow exists is to take the fear and mystique out of it all – but especially this month. And why? Because this month we’re hosting VOW Live, our first ever wedding show, and putting it together has been not unlike organising an actual wedding. Like a wedding, it’s been worth it, though. Come along, on Sunday 29 April to Bristol’s Harbourside, and see for yourself. It’ll be fun, I promise, and I guarantee not to sit you next to someone you won’t like… MATT BIELBY, editor


62A touch of pink

58Scandi neutrals and giant rugs

27Perhaps it’s the cold


Vow M ag a zine MATT BIELBY Editor


MATT WILLIAMS Art Director LISA RODD Account Manager

40 Colour me happy

Order of service 7 INVITATIONS

Our first ever divorce party, plenty more on VOW Live, and wedding flowers inspired by the inevitable collapse of human civilization, just like in a JG Ballard novel. (We jest – but only slightly.)Plus, a brilliant bridal makeup artist who can turn you into Beauty or the Beast: you decide!


In a bumper Bride section, we pose with deer skulls and sheepskin rugs, make tablecloths out of old clothes, explore the extremes of bright colour and Scandi taupes, and meet Pearl Lowe, the rock chick’s rock chick, now turned West Country bridal gown designer.


Fancy getting married on the very spot where Olivia Coleman, Miranda Richardson and Naomie Harris once stood? At Bristol Old Vic, you just could…


Ready to fall ‘turtley’ in love with a beach honeymoon? The Seychelles have ‘tortoise’ all we know…


Just one word: booze. Little else can make a wedding like this stuff can – or ruin it, too!


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

Production Designer GEMMA SCRINE gemma.scrine@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: Daisy Lowe wears Pearl Lowe – and this dress, Cherry, is made in the West Country too!


One of this issue’s real life couples enjoyed a first date at Maccy D’s. (The only way is up, we’re just saying.) 4 | VOW

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


that’s turned this bride blue?

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 ceremonies when you quote HMW18.

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

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

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

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

Total Cost for the package £6,000

The perfect package for the perfect price

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

Total cost for the package £9,975

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

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

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

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


GET GARTER Bridal garters date back to the days when guests would undress the bride and groom, stealing bits of her clothing as a souvenir while they did so. (Luckily, perhaps, that part of the tradition has died out…) Who doesn’t like a bridal garter? (Certainly not the groom.) These particular sexy little numbers are crocheted in a silk/ alpaca blend that feels great on the skin, are finished with tiny beads and colour co-ordinating satin or velvet ribbon, and come in six different jewel shades – blue, pink, red, purple, green and teal – to match pretty much any wedding theme. They’re handmade by Becca Parker, the Bristol-based designermaker behind quirky accessories brand To Be Adorned, with each one being slightly different to all the others. “They’re perfect for brides looking to honour tradition or add a cheeky flash of colour to their wedding look,” Becca says,

“and if you want to swap the beads for pearls, order a custom size, or go for a specific colour or material to match your bridal scheme, then I can do you a totally bespoke version too.” Bridal garters aren’t just a modern bit of fun, but are one of the oldest wedding traditions there is, dating back to the 10th century or earlier when the wedding party would rip the kit off the bride and groom, stealing bits of their clobber for luck as they did so, and though it was once de rigour to toss the garter like a bridal bouquet, most now don’t bother. After all, wouldn’t it be more fun to get the groom to take if off with his teeth…? tobeadornedshop.etsy.com VOW | 7

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Snap happy J i m J o h n s o n – w e d d i n g ph oto g r a ph e r

LUCKY JIM We meet many wedding snappers here at Vow, but Jim’s the only one to tell us about shooting a divorce. It sounds amazing, to be fair, but we really don’t want it to become the norm…

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Dorset-based JIM JOHNSON operates as ‘Photosbyjim’ and works across the West Country and beyond…

These days Jim shoots 20 or 25 wedding a year – “I once did 30 but, to be honest, that’s about as many as is practical before my creativity and enthusiasm begin to wane” – and balances these with portraits, commercial work and creative shoots, all of which, he says, “keep me happy, and help me stay fresh in wedding season.”

Some years ago, back when film was the only option, Jim Johnson auditioned for a job assisting a top-notch photographer in London. “I was given a single roll of 36 exposures,” he remembers, “and was told, ‘Show me what you can do’. Well, I must have done okay, because I got the job – and more film!”

So, Jim, how should couples set about choosing a photographer? Initially it should be your work that does the talking, but after that – and providing the price point is okay – it boils down to personality. The photographer is usually the only wedding supplier who is with the bride and groom throughout

the day, so it’s really important that they get on. I tend to advise my couples that they should like a photographer enough to invite them to the wedding – because, in essence, that’s what they’re doing! What does a typical package cost? A full day’s cover costs £975, and includes my time from the bridal preparations through to the first dance, and quite often beyond. Full size, colour corrected and print ready images are presented on a USB, together with an unlimited reproduction and printing licence. In addition, every couple gets a pre-wed photo shoot and a choice of their favourite image presented in a framed mount, ready for their family and friends to sign. I also offer albums, books, and prints on a variety of media – including canvas, acrylic, aluminium, and even wood! – as optional extras. How do you make sure you don’t miss any vital parts of the day? Communication and planning are key. I meet my clients beforehand at all the places we’ll be at on the day, then go through with them what they want, and what the environmental or time considerations are that we all need to know about. It’s essential that expectations are managed realistically and responsibilities shared. I also ask for examples of images they like, as this helps create a good understanding. On the day I bring back-up cameras, lenses and lights, so I’m covered against equipment failure, and can shoot better indoors if the weather turns inclement. You must have shot in some gorgeous locations…? Loads! I’ve been fortunate enough to shoot weddings in castles, stately homes, five-star hotels, and marquees in a variety of fields and gardens as far afield as Gambia, Austria, Ireland and Wales. But although I’ve also shot weddings in Yorkshire, Kent, Merseyside, Surrey and London, the majority of my work is in the West Country – no bad thing, as there are so many lovely venues here. My favourite is Athelhampton House, a 15th century country manor house and gardens near Dorchester. The VOW | 9

s n a p h a p p y: j i m j o h n s o n

house and gardens are so photogenic, providing a wide variety of opportunities which continually change with the seasons. That said, the most overlooked factor which helps make a good venue great is the service and support of the staff. When they understand what both their clients and the photographer require, you have the perfect recipe. What looks bad in photos? Apart from me, you mean? It’s either people who look uncomfortable in front of the camera, chaps who have massive phones wedged into their tight trouser pockets, unsightly and distracting backgrounds, or guests looking everywhere other than at the 10 | VOW

camera in group shots. People texting and so on at key moments throughout the day – especially during the service or speeches – is pretty bad too. I often find that being friendly and polite goes a long way towards getting people on board, so you get the best shots possible. How about the weather? Personally, I’d take a sky with drama woven into it over a blue, sunny one any day! However, we don’t always get what we want, so we need to be prepared for any eventuality and know how to get the best out of it. Albert Einstein used to call photographers ‘light monkeys’ because we paint with light, and a good understanding of how light works, both

ambient and flash, is the hallmark of any competent photographer. It certainly goes a long way towards helping us deal with whatever the weather throws at us. Ever been trampled by bridesmaids running to catch the bouquet? Not yet. But I nearly got knocked down by a bus once, whilst doing group shots outside the Guildhall in Bath. I’ll never ask a groomsman to keep an eye on the traffic for me again! Do you have fun at weddings? All the time. It’s impossible not to get caught up in the emotion of the day, and if 60 or 80 people are having a fantastic time, how can you not?

Do you ever tear up on the job? No. In fact, I think I’m might be missing a sentimental gene! That’s not to say I don’t understand sentimental moments, though; it’s more that I’m too busy focusing – no pun intended – on getting the shot. Besides, it wouldn’t do to get teary eyed at a key moment – I might miss the shot because I couldn’t see! How do you deal with the standard pictures everybody wants? There’s really very little repetition, as most couples will influence the nature and style of their shots through their personalities, and the value they place on them. Some couples will go for very formal and traditional group shots, say, whereas others will take a looser, less formal approach – or might even opt for something completely different, to reflect a passion or interest they share. I’ve sometimes been asked to replicate posters from films, famous moments from TV programmes, covers from magazines, even famous paintings! How do you get folk to loosen up? I tend to meet up with the couple beforehand and go through a range of different ways they can stand, either together or alone, which – with a little practise – look natural and authentic. What kind of photos annoy you? Those that have been badly composed when a better option was clearly possible, as well as badly lit or poorly exposed images where a more thorough understanding of camera basics would have delivered something better. Finally, tell us about an unusual wedding or event you’ve shot… Well, I once did a divorce for a couple who were both over 70, and it was so enjoyable. Both the wife and husband still loved each other, but were no longer ‘in love’, so they decided to go their separate ways by having a divorce celebration-cum-party – just think, a wedding but in reverse. Six months later I shot the bride as she married her childhood sweetheart, and the ex and his family all attended! photosbyjim.co.uk VOW | 11

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creating monsters and aliens for films and TV, but the Bristol-based makeup artist now brings her vast range of skills to lucky West Country brides

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“I’ve always had a real passion for makeup,” Sarah Martell says, “even before choosing to study it at uni. Through my teenage years I’d constantly experiment on myself and friends, using all the different products and desperate to perfect my technique. It wasn’t until university, though, that I really threw myself into the industry. I studied Hair and Makeup for Film and TV for three years at the London College of Fashion, where I absolutely fell in love with the process of making prosthetics – I couldn’t get enough of creating characters for the big screen!” It gives Sarah a range and a creative flair you don’t always get with makeup artists, and though she adores helping

Picture by richard crossley Picture by richard crossley

brides and their bridal parties enhance their natural beauty on a wedding day, she also does plenty of often edgier fashion work, plus jobs for stage and screen productions. “And Halloween is my favourite time of the year,” she says. Sarah’s been doing bridal makeup for just over a year now, while keeping the creative sides of her business going too. “And I absolutely love it,” she says. “The fact that you get to be such an integral part of a bride’s planning process is very rewarding, and I mean to make each client feel as comfortable and confident in her own skin as possible. I customise her look to her exact needs.” For wedding makeup Sarah generally likes a ‘less is more’ approach,

one that ensures the bride – while looking amazing – still feels like herself. “But that doesn’t mean it should be the same as her day-to-day makeup,” she says. “It needs to be clearly different – and better. If she doesn’t wear any makeup normally, a touch of colour on the eye or the lip can really make a difference, especially in the photos. If she wears lots of makeup every day, I’d go the other way. In fact, I think dialling it back a few notches can really bring out the purity of a woman's features. And a touch of elegance is essential for a special occasion like this!” Sarah is a part-time makeup artist for Laura Mercier – the celebrated makeup superstar who once worked with

Madonna, and now runs a well-known cosmetics line, designed of women of all ages – and she embraces her philosophy. “Her idea that ‘what makes you unique, makes you beautiful’ aligns with my belief in women embracing their natural beauty,” she says, “and I’m very versatile when it comes to working with ages, skin colours and skin types. Every woman deserves to look and feel their best, and through my skills and friendly customer service I feel I really do deliver an inclusive and valuable experience.” So, what facial features would Sarah look to enhance most though her wedding makeup? “There’s no definite answer to that! It all depends on the individual. So I ask myself, what imperfections can we work on? What features can we enhance? When I first meet with a new client, I try to find out as much as I can about her wedding plans to help me customise her look flawlessly. What’s the theme? What colours is she using? What’s her dress like, and her hair? If she’s a regular client of mine, of course, it doesn’t take long to find the perfect solution, but with a brand new one it can take a little longer. Usually the bride already has plenty of ideas she’s found in magazines and online, which makes my job easier.” Sarah uses high end brands – Laura Mercier, Tom Ford, Becca Cosmetics – to ensure it stays on through rain, wind, sweat, tears, the lot. “My favourite product I love to use is Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder, which seals the makeup through day and night,” she says. “I absolutely love its rich and creamy texture, which makes the skin super smooth to the touch.” Sarah will always do an extensive makeup trial long before the day, where she works out exactly what the bride’s perfect look should be – “it normally takes an hour or so longer than the makeup will on the day,” she says – but she doesn’t need much equipment to get the job done, just her kit, brushes, and a portable ring light so she can see everything properly. “When it comes to the bride’s skin,” she says, “I always recommend that she takes especially good care of it, especially in the weeks leading up to her big day – VOW | 13

a s k t h e e x p e r t: s a r a h m a r t e l l


hydration is always key! Depending on what skin type she has, I’ll offer advice on a tailored routine which I incorporate into her makeup trial, to prep her skin before I apply anything. My favourite brands for this are Tropic Skincare and, of course, Laura Mercier’s range; the quality is amazing, and it’s all completely cruelty-free. My biggest struggles, as you might expect, are when doing large-scale bridal parties by myself, so – though I do love a challenge! – I usually bring along another makeup artist to help out, one who I know has the same general approach as me.” So, Sarah, what do brides generally get and not get about what you do? “I would love them to realise I’m a makeup artist, not a plastic surgeon,” she says. “I sometimes have clients come in asking to look like certain celebrities, but if they don’t have a similar face shape, bone structure or facial features, it simply cannot be done – at least, not without using far more makeup than necessary. What I do, instead, is simply work on their imperfections and enhance their best features.” There is one time of the year when Sarah definitely uses more makeup than strictly necessary, however – Halloween! “As my background is actually in prosthetics, I do a lot of Halloween makeup for clients, and I tend to get some very strange enquiries about different character looks! Of course, I’ll


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need time to buy the right materials and prep any prosthetic pieces needed but, at the end of the day, my clients always leave looking and feeling fantastic.” But leaving the monsters, witches and aliens aside for a moment, what looks best suit a modern bride? “Of all the makeup trends flying around at the moment, it’s the classic looks that really stand out for me: a subtle smoky eye, a gorgeous red lip, or luxurious, natural glowing skin. The colour scheme will depend upon the bride’s skin tones and eye colour, of course, and on the colour scheme of the wedding and the time of year. My personal favourite season is autumn, which allows me to use browns and

golds. They always look gorgeous for an alternative smoky eye to the classic blacks and greys. Some makeup trends aren’t necessarily appropriate for walking down the aisle – too much contouring and highlighting, say, or big chunky ‘Instagram’ brows are a couple that come to mind! – but generally, when your skin and eyebrows stop looking like real skin and hair and start looking more like a Photoshop edited photograph, that’s when it’s time to put the brush down and take a step back.” Good advice! “Well, it usually takes more skill to hold back than to go all in – and that’s where I come in!” sarahmartell.com

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Flower power

Bristol-based florist Hayley Watchorn describes her work as ‘natural and luxurious’, which says it all. As WILDERNESS FLOWERS, she brings a creative freshness to weddings

way you’ll know if you can work together, and be sure that your individual visions for the day are properly aligned. Also, check their availability for your wedding date as soon as possible – and make sure they can travel to the venue. There’s no point getting too excited about it all when logistics are against you!

So, Hayley, how do most of your couples find you? I suppose I get most of my enquiries through Instagram. It’s a great place to discover a wide variety of florists, and get to understand their natural styles. But once you’ve found one you like, I’d strongly advise you to meet them in person, rather than just over email. That

What’s really on trend with wedding flowers these days…? I guess the natural, garden-style arrangements are still most popular – at least, that’s what I’m busy with, which is great as it’s what I love to create. Botanicals are big too, as is using apothecary bottles and artisanal ceramics vessels. Purple is trending VOW | 1 5



“The most important thing is always that couples find the right style of florist for them,” Hayley Watchorn says. “Luckily, though, we have so many talented florists locally – both shop-based and weddingonly – that couples are spoilt for choice. It’s really about finding the right one to match your style and your aspirations.”


F L O W E R P O W E r : h ay l e y w at c h o r n

in the magazines at the moment, but I’m not seeing it come through in any requests from couples as yet. I have, though, had many enquiries from clients who want lots of colour in their arrangements – they want everything really vibrant and celebratory. Either that, or classic white and green. What do you tell brides who are dead set against certain flowers? Much of my work is based around what is seasonal and locally grown, so I tend to work with varieties that will be at their best at the time. So far, all my clients have been very relaxed and open to my suggestions, though I’d of course respect their requests if they hate one variety. 16 | VOW

Do you avoid certain blooms for weddings? And, if so, why? I judge the right flower for the right occasion. For example, if it’s going to be a hot day I will lean on a reliable rose, as wilting would be a concern for more delicate blooms. I always consider scent, too. I want my arrangements to smell as good as they look. Alliums and gypsophila can have a slightly unpleasant odour when used in volume, so I would advise you to use them sparingly. How can you be sure arrangements will photograph well? You can’t capture the movement of a flower or its scent in an image but, generally, if the arrangements look

good in real life, they’ll photograph well. My previous experiences as an art director and designer have taught me the fundamentals of composition and colour, so I hope that comes through. How much do brides and grooms get directly involved? I love hearing about client’s favourites, and try my best to incorporate them into my designs. People love peonies, and ranunculus are being requested more and more. Most clients are more passionate about colour-scheme, though. What sort of costs are we talking? They can vary considerably, so the best thing to do is chat with your preferred

florist and trust that they’re giving you an honest and best value price. In addition to planning the designs, it takes two to three days to prepare for any event, from buying the flowers in advance so we can condition them to guarantee that they’ll open perfectly on the day, to creating arrangements ahead of time, and even the take-down/ collection after the event. The flowers themselves are only part of the final cost.

Picture BY michelle waspe Picture BY wilderness flowers

Tell us about one incredibly impressive wedding you’ve done. For sheer originality, I’d have to go with a couple called Leonie and Leo, who had a Mexicana-style wedding last year. It was brimming with hot summer colour, with peonies popping, and Leonie had designed an interior experience to match. I think the collaboration and trust between us helped with how successful it was. What really inspires you creatively? I love Constance Spry, the famous English florist and author from the mid-20th century, and feel that her natural approach to arrangements really embodies the way flowers should be seen: very natural, and not too overengineered. The traditional Dutch flower paintings of the 17th century inspire me in terms of meaning, colour and composition, and I also draw a lot from walking around abandoned environments to study how flora takes over when we’ve gone – hence my name, Wilderness Flowers. I love that plant life takes root where you may least expect it. Finally, tell us about one of the boldest flower arrangements you’ve recently created… I’m currently designing a grand, natural arrangement in a beautiful Victorian orangery. The arrangement will appear to look as if it’s invading from the garden, as wild white summer flowers, fresh greens and foliage spread across the floor and around the beautiful wooden windows that will frame the couple during their vows. It’s such an exciting project, and I can’t wait to see the finished thing! wildernessflowers.com VOW | 17

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LET’S GET THE PARTY STARTED! Awe-inspiring and utterly inspirational, VOW LIVE is gearing up to be the year’s best wedding fair (with more than a little bit of party sparkle thrown in)

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Time’s rushing by fast, people, as it always does when you’re planning a wedding and the caterer just cancelled, the dress doesn’t fit, and you still haven’t worked out a table plan to keep fights to a minimum and bonhomie to the max. And it’s just the same when adding the finishing touches to your first ever wedding event – which is, as we’re sure you’re aware, VOW Live at the Lloyds Amphitheatre on Bristol’s dockside at the end of April. Not that we’ve had anyone let us down yet, nor – to labour a point – that we can’t fit into our ‘dress’ (actually the biggest marquee you’ve ever seen, though yes, it is rather bursting at the seams). Instead, excitement for – and involvement with – VOW Live is


V o w L i v e – S u n d ay A p r i l 2 9, 10a m -4pm

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VOW VERITAS Just the facts, ma’am WHAT? VOW Live, the South West’s freshest wedding event. Think half party, half show. WHEN? Sunday April 29, from 10am. WHERE? An enormous, uber-glam marquee at Lloyd’s Amphitheatre on Bristol’s Harbourside. (Biggest ever marquee in the city, fact fans!) WHAT’S HAPPENING? Exhibitors, fashion shows, VOW Voices talks, crafting workshops, special offers, food, music, drink, more… WHY SHOULD I GO? For wedding inspo, for fun, to meet great suppliers, and to share the wedding build-up with family and friends… HOW MUCH? Standard price just £5; group tickets £10 for four people. (For bigger groups, please ask.) WHAT DO I GET? All ticket holders receive access to all the VOW Voices talks and Catwalk shows, a cool goody bag, and some amazing exclusive show offers from our exhibitors. VIP OPTION? Yes, indeed! Treat yourselves to a VOW Live VIP package that adds all sorts of treats to the regular experience, including a glass of Champagne on arrival, a Royal Crescent cream tea, and access to the very best seats at both the VOW Voices sessions and the Catwalk shows. Price £45 – but check out page 25 this issue for a very tempting special offer! For all the latest on our exhibitors, special features and ticket availability, please go to vowlive.co.uk or check us out at @vowmag on social.

proving to be better than we could have imagined. (And we could have imagined quite a lot.) Here’s how it’s going down…

THE BEST-EST BACKERS VOW Live is supported by many of the biggest venues in the South West, from Berwick Lodge to Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa, Electric Daisy Flower Farm to Deer Park Hotel, Clifton Marquee Company to Bath’s world-renowned Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa – which will be serving its famous afternoon teas during the event, too!


We’ve oodles of inspirational VOW Voices talks running throughout the day, giving you the chance to listen to the West Country’s leading wedding experts as they share top tips and cool ideas. It’s almost unheard of for anyone to get quite this many inspirational know-it-alls under one roof, but we’ve done it, including the beauty experts at Little LAB, the Electric Daisy flower people, stylist extraordinaire The Little Wedding Helper, fitness guru Moovit, top local jeweller Nicholas Wylde, and all those clever gift list experts at Prezola. VOW | 19


Fancy being ‘frow’ at one of VOW Live’s show-stopping highlights, taking in this season’s looks (and next’s) from just inches away, all while channeling your inner Anna Wintour? Then here’s your chance, as wedding dresses by everyone from Sassi Holford to Heartfelt Vintage, groom’s gear by Gieves and Hawkes, and guest wear from all the top Cabot Circus brands, including including Ted Baker, Reiss, River Island and pre-owned designer label experts Pandora, parade before you. Plus, we’ll have honeymoon clobber by everyone from Animal to Fred Perry, and – hello, grooms! – lingerie from Boux Avenue. Something 2 0 | VOW

for every taste, then (and that’s just the models, all from major London/Bristol agency Gingersnap). The VOW Catwalk is sponsored by Nicholas Wylde Jewellers, who’ll be showcasing their exquisite jewellery both on the models and at a stand alongside, where you can get up close and personal with some of their very best work. Plus, ‘Wylde Summer of Love’ – an amazing competition to win a romantic stay in Bristol, along with a £500 diamond necklace and a Champagne balloon ride for two – will be launched at VOW Live.

THE BEST-EST EXHIBITORS Everyone who’s anyone is going to be at VOW Live, with more exhibitors being


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Picture BY evoke pictures

added all the time. But for starters, and in no particular order, try this little lot. (Oh, okay – it’s alphabetical.) Atelier 19 Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa Berwick Lodge The Cake Architect Caro Hutchings Claire Hill Clare Lloyd CJ Prop Hire Clifton Marquee Company Crossville Motors Deer Park Hotel Electric Daisy Flower Farm Evoke Pictures Picture BY liberty pearl photography

Introducing Prezola Top sponsor, top people Our headline sponsor at VOW Live is none other than Prezola, the ‘modern wedding gift list’ people, who’ve been reinventing the way we buy wedding presents for some years now. We’re big fans: Prezola makes buying easy and fun, and their range – and the quality of everything they sell – really is quite astounding. They’re

hands-on too, and have been working with us closely to make sure VOW Live is a truly fabulous event. Come see them at the show to check out their gift recommendations, enjoy special offers, and get tips on some great ways to style your wedding tables. prezola.com

Fosters Catering The Gin Hive Hey Jules Hotel Du Vin Linda Thomas Eco Design The Little Wedding Helper Nicholas Wylde Prezola Queen & Whippet Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique Ruth Garner Photography The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa The Sweet Tricycle Fancy joining them? There’s still time. Quick! Contact show supremo Steph Dodd on 01225 475860, or email her at events@mediaclash.co.uk now! VOW | 2 1

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FLOWER FAIRIES Confetti has never been more magical You can’t have a flower girl without giving her a few flowers to play with – well, you could, but it would be a little cruel – so the guys at Shropshire Petals have come up with some cool new Flower Girl Wands that will turn yours from mere poppets into the living embodiments of Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, Cinderella’s bumbling fairy godmothers. They come in plenty of different confetti colours – like blue, burgundy, rose and lavender, and one with the slightly vague description of ‘country garden’ – and are plenty glittery. From just £3.50 each they won’t break the bank, either. shropshirepetals.com

RING AWAKENING At Anne Morgan Jewellery you’ll be spoilt for choice this spring Need a wedding or engagement ring? Then a new exhibition at Anne Morgan Jewellery, the award-winning shop and gallery at Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, might be just the thing. The show runs until 30 April, and on display will be high-end work from many of the UK’s most celebrated indie jewellery designers, including Daphne Krinos, Emily Thatcher, Ching Chin, Hannah 2 2 | VOW

Bedford, Hannah Louise Lamb, Jacks Turner, Jane Macintosh, Kate Hodgson, Mark Veevers, Sarah Pulvertaft, Sue Lane and Sylvaine Frouin. annemorgan.co.uk

HOUSES OF FUN Two great local wedding venues are putting their best feet forward A couple of Vow’s favourite venues are upping their game this month. First up, Clevedon Hall, not far from Bristol at Clevedon Bay, has created a new online 3D tour, allowing you to explore this Grade II* listed mansion – including the grounds, the events spaces and all 25 bedrooms – from the comfort of your tablet or phone. Even better, one version of the tour shows it all decked out for a wedding, too. Would your ceremony be better in their Great Hall or Grand Library, or perhaps the refurbished Orangery? This clever bit of tech helps you make a call before you even visit. Meanwhile, Hestercombe near Taunton is getting all dressed up in time for its Wedding Open Day on Sunday, 22 April. There’ll be plenty of exhibitors on hand, and you’ll be able to see the venue dressed up for nuptials, plus wander up to the romantic Temple Arbour or explore the Edwardian Orangery decorated with flowers, like the happy pair above. Drinks and canapés will be served in the House between 12-2pm. clevedonhall.co.uk; hestercombe.com





BLUE Striding these unforgiving cliff paths like a true Daphne Du Maurier heroine, model Amber reminds us why a cool, dusty blue was once the colour of more than just Disney princesses, but any elegant bride…



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Gemma Milly, who designs beautiful fine art stationery, made wedding invites too,” Darima says. “In pale blue with plenty of natural colours and textures, they accentuated the day’s organic feel.”


efore anyone even got to the coast, however, the day started at the cosy studio of makeup artist and hair stylist Fiona Clark, where model Amber was transformed. “Her look was designed to be totally organic,” Fiona says, “using FLC’s signature ‘barely there’ makeup techniques to create a flawless finish. Flushes of peach to accent the cheeks were paired with berry bitten lips to bring things an effortless high fashion feel. Then there’s the bohemian hair in up-or-down aspects, the epitome of wild and free romance. This look is going to be a huge trend in 2018, I’m saying.” Elsewhere, the pretty cakes and watercolour seashells cookies were created by Emma Wood of Fancie Buns, while florist for the day was Emma Wicher of Martha and the Meadow in Shillingstone, who created the bouquet and table arrangements seen on the stony beach. “I wanted to give a more textural feel to the flowers,” Emma says, “using pampas grass, dried textures and eucalyptus buds to complement both the dress and darker grey stones of the bay. A large statement bouquet was key to creating drama here, while we kept the rest of our styling simple, using very minimal and organic crockery and vessels for the flowers, plus antique accents delivered by the cutlery and candlesticks. I wanted to prove that coastal weddings and elopements can still be stunning after summer has gone. Indeed, if anything they can be a little more dramatic.” For Darima, meanwhile, the whole thing was a success. “I really want to encourage West Country brides to consider a winter wedding on our spectacular coastal cliffs,” she says. “Or at least an associated winter photoshoot. Yes, I’ve shot plenty of other seaside weddings, but never in such a remote spot surrounded so much nature – so I hope to meet a couple willing to try it soon!”



e love a rocky and weather-beaten West Country cliff here at Vow – doesn’t matter if it’s Devon, Cornwall, Dorset or even Somerset, we’re not fussy – and we like one even better when there’s a bride scampering along it, bold and shawl-wrapped and looking wistfully out to sea while hanging firmly to her bouquet lest it get swept up in a sudden gust and dashed to the rocks below. (We think it’s all the TV and films we’ve watched: Jamaica Inn and Poldark and The French Lieutenant’s Woman.) Someone else who likes a plucky beauty set against a big, wild, rain-lashed landscape is Blackmore Vale, Dorset-based wedding photographer Darima Frampton, who describes herself as a a ‘photographer/dreamer’ and was actually born in a yet-colder and more windswept Siberia, before a life journey through Mongolia and Bulgaria brought her here. “We chose Kimmeridge Bay on the Dorset coast for this shoot, as it would give us a rugged dark shale backdrop,” Darima says. “It also meant we could exploit the famously beautiful Durdle Door, with its stunning white cliffs, for some impact imagery. To my disappointment, though, the day started with a incredibly bright and unseasonal sunrise – a strong sun really goes against my photographic style! – but by the time we actually arrived at the bay, the most beautiful thin layer of soft clouds had covered the skies. I especially love the coastal scenery during the colder months, with its moody grey atmosphere, rising tides and blustery beaches, and the cloud cover gave us a gentle, rosy light which – coupled with just the perfect amount of coastal wind – allowed us to get exactly the shots we wanted, with floating dress fabric and windswept hair.” As you can see, Kimmeridge Bay is a pretty magical place whatever the weather, bringing a touch of the ethereal to proceedings. “We were surrounded by stunning grey cliffs,” Darima says, “and there’s a stony path that leads straight into the sea, where sky and water meet. To me, blue tones always invoke calmness, romantic feelings, and a touch of nostalgia – it’s such a gentle, soft and beautiful colour, and can be introduced into wedding styling in so many ways. If I were to marry again, I’d love to have dress made in these dusty blue shades.” It’s not such a strange idea, either: before Queen Victoria’s all-white wedding in 1840, pretty much any colour of wedding dress went, with blue – as rocked by Snow White, Alice, Belle, Dorothy, Cinderella, the Virgin Mary et al – the most popular of them all. These days blue wedding dresses are rather the exception, however, and for this shoot Darima soon became enamoured with the idea of getting a bespoke dress made especially. “Luckily,” she says, “I knew exactly who I wanted to help make this happen.” The woman she had in mind was local designer Kimberley Stone, who even hand-dyed the fabrics in the perfect shades. “The finished dress consists of v-shaped lace top and tulle skirt,” Darima says. “We used a delicate gold head crown from Bridgette of Nancy & Flo in Bournemouth, too. I fell in love with this the first time I saw it. It has delicate gold leaves and dusty blue beads in the design, which gave just the romantic, dreamy look we were after.” Darima also used a few pieces from Lucy of local china, tableware and accessory hire outfit Forget-me-not Vintage to add a touch of old-school elegance to the ultra minimal styling. “And

Cliff notes Constantly sweeping wind-tossed hair back from in front of their faces were… Photography and organisation:

Darima Frampton Photography; darimaframpton.com Flowers and styling: Emma Wicher, Martha and the Meadow; marthaandthemeadow.com Dress: Kimberley Stone; facebook.com/ kimberleystonedesign Makeup and hair: Fiona Clark; fionalucyclark.co.uk Cake: Fancie Buns; fanciebuns.co.uk Vintage accessories: Lucy Hinks, Forget-me-not Vintage; forget-me-not-vintage.co.uk Wedding stationery: Gemma Milly; gemmamilly.com Hair flower crown: Nancy & Flo; nancyandflo.com Model: Amber

Dress: Audrey Bridal £399; picture by pearl lowe/fuse communications

W o r d s b y m at t b i e l b y

pearl ,

interr - upted Ten years ago, Pearl Lowe – designer, singer, one time wild child – was designing bespoke dresses that sold in the poshest London stores. Now, well away from Primrose Hill and safely ensconced in rural Somerset, she’s back doing womenswear for the first time in years, including a chic little bridal collection…

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THE BRIDE: pe arl lowe



the biological daughter of her friend, the Bush singer Gavin Rossdale, and not of the presumed father at all. That story came out in 2004, around when Pearl’s life started changing radically. She and Danny moved out of London the following year, first to Hampshire – “it was good and healing, as I’d had a rough time in London” – and later to the West Country. “We couldn’t find a house to buy in Hampshire,” she says, “but anyway, we didn’t fit in. Everyone else worked in the City. But then my best friend suggested we look at Wiltshire, and the house we liked actually said ‘Frome’, so it was Somerset really. We drove down and it was so far, I nearly told Danny to turn around and go back, but when we got there the house was good, and the school was good, and we fell in love with it all. The clincher was when the headmaster said, ‘Before you decide, why not check out Babington House?’, and that sold us. We’ve been down here nearly ten years now, and I’ve been sober for 13. Not from drink, you understand.” And with that she smiles. “I never had a problem with drink.” picture by caroline true

hen Pearl Lowe was young, her mum ran a designer boutique in London’s Covent Garden; from age twelve, or thereabouts, Pearl would work there as a Saturday girl. “One day I asked her if I could design a range of jumpers we could sell and, amazingly, mum said yes,” she says. “I can still remember them hanging up in the shop, and the pride I felt.” And did anyone buy them and wear them? “Well, I did!” She was always a bit of a rebel, the young Pearl, and a style leader; she’d cut up her clothes, customise things, wear styles even before they’d hit the catwalks – and a year later she says she’d see girls wearing the same thing, but by then she’d have moved on. “But take fashion seriously as a career? No, I never saw myself doing that.” She pauses. “Not back then.” Instead she got into music and all that comes with it, singing with indie bands Powder and Lodger in the ’90s, but she resists that world now. Her husband, Danny Goffey of Supergrass, often asks her to contribute to his records, but she puts him off. “I was never known for my amazing voice anyway,” Pearl says, “and I’m not such a good lyricist either. I’m more a performer, someone who comes alive on stage – and that lifestyle’s not on the cards at the moment. And anyway, I just don’t have the time.”

I didn’t want to do music anymore – it made me miserable and anxious, all those days with a load of boys on a smelly bus

he doesn’t have the time because she’s suddenly very busy again, her children’s line, Petite Pearl Lowe, going great guns at places like Harrods, and her more recent womenswear collection now spawning a handful of wedding dresses, of which more in a moment. None of them are black – as was the gown she wore to her own wedding at Babington House in 2008 – but she’ll happily do you a noir version (or one in red, midnight blue, whatever you like). As she says, “It’s all about wearing what you want.” Pearl’s London years are well documented, not least by herself in her compelling 2007 autobiography All That Glitters: Living On The Dark Side Of Rock & Roll. She was a key part of a North London set that included Kate Moss, Sadie Frost, Jude Law; sex and drug stories revolved around her, and she revolved around them, and life was doubtless fun at times but hardly healthy. In the tabloid world, she’s perhaps best remembered for the fact that her oldest daughter – the model Daisy Lowe, cover star of this issue of Vow – turned out to be


ack in 2001, Pearl was doing up a house in London for Alan McGee of Creation Records, champion of Oasis and The Libertines. But she couldn’t find any curtains she liked, so made up some lace ones – and, when all her friends saw them, they wanted lace curtains too. “It felt really good,” she says. “I didn’t want to do music anymore – it made me miserable and anxious, all those days with a load of boys on a smelly bus – and I needed something else beyond being home with the children. I felt I’d got my career back.” The lace curtain thing had taken off like crazy – “beyond anything I’d dreamed,” Pearl says – and set her on an interior design path that continues, in the background, to this day. “But I work on people’s houses quietly,” she says, “and often sign NDAs. My clients are well known, and like people to think they did it themselves!” A return to fashion followed. “I’d had a baby,” Pearl says, “and found I had nothing to wear, so I started making my own clothes again.” Before she knew it she was being asked to make more, and was selling bespoke lace dresses in places like Liberty. Up next was meant to have been a collaboration with Topshop, but then came one of those chance meetings and sudden swerves that seem to typify Pearl’s life and career. “I was doing a travel review in Greece for Grazia magazine,“ she says, “and, out of the blue, got a call

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Dress (far left): Marilyn Bridal ÂŁ349; dress: Cherry Bridal ÂŁ299; pictures by pearl lowe/fuse communications

THE BRIDE: pe arl lowe

1930s and ’40s, so the inspiration comes from them. A little from the ’70s too – but the patterns, not the prints.” And she shudders quietly. After a slowish start the womenswear exploded at Christmas, which has inspired her this year to experiment with different cuts (most of Pearl’s frocks are mid-length), materials and colours. “If there’s one thing I know it’s that if I put a dress on and love it,” Pearl says, “then everyone else will too. Too many of us can’t wear designer any more because you have to be a size four, and the cost is ridiculous. Just the other day, Daisy was saying to me, ‘Mum, when did everything at Gucci and Chloe suddenly get to be £2,500?’ And it’s disgusting, in a way – that’s the price of a perfectly useable old car. Really, it’s become vulgar to spend so much on one dress.” People have been complaining about how expensive wedding dresses have become for years too, of course, and Pearl’s initial three-piece bridal line – yes, I told you we’d get to them eventually – is more than affordable, with nothing over £400, unless you splash out for fancier fabrics. “The Audrey is a pretty, short button-down shirt dress, and quite demure,” Pearl says. “I love shirt dresses, and it comes with short sleeves as many brides like to cover their arms. In crepe it’s £399 and in silk it’s £499. You can wear it with a jacket, or with something under it; it’s very versatile.” Cherry – the dress on our cover – is a sexy lace number, but surprisingly flattering too. “You’d normally have it with a little slip dress under it,” Pearl says. “You’d only wear it as Daisy is if you’re very bold – and Daisy’s age!” That comes in at £299, or for 50 quid more you could pick up a Marilyn, nipped in at the waist and A-line to the knee in a 1940s style. “To be honest,” Pearl says, “I don’t exactly know where the bridal line is going, but I do know that I’m loving it – and that there’s a market, because these styles are so wearable for so many people.” So you’ll stick with it, yes? “What I can say is when I was a singer I got slated all the time, and it doesn’t help that I’m a really sensitive person. And the nearest I ever had to a nine-to-five job was working for Peacocks, which got to me in the end. I’m just not geared up for that sort of thing.” So what you’re saying is, you’ll keep doing wedding gowns as long as people like them, and you don’t get bored? “I think so! I’ve learned that I need to be able to go in lots of different directions to feel fulfilled,” Pearl says. “And this is one direction, right now, that I’m really enjoying.” pearllowe.co.uk picture by caroline true

from an old agent who instead asked me to create a line for Peacocks, the value fashion store. I’d never heard of them, but they had 600 shops, and it would be a three-year contract, four collections a year. It sounded incredible, so Topshop was history; I’d do Peacocks instead.” Pearl’s work for Peacocks was quite a hit – she did a black dress that was a huge high street smash in 2010, for instance – so it was quite the shock when the company went into administration in 2012. “It was really depressing,” Pearl says, “but I’d just got a book deal, so threw myself into that.” Pearl Lowe’s Vintage Craft was published in 2013, and was well-received. In 2014, she says, she “didn’t do much,” trying to figure out a way back into fashion. She’d done £1,000 dresses for Liberty, but the recent Peacock’s stuff had all been £45 or so, and it seemed hard to go back to high end gear again. The solution was to swerve sideways, into striking childrenswear. “I’d started to make quirky dressing up outfits for my youngest daughter,” she says, “and it all spun out of that.” One day she showed them to a friend who’d taken over the children’s department at Harrods, and she soon had another major string to her bow. “Then,” Pearl says, “in October last year I did my first line of adult dresses in five years. The time just seemed right. I wanted to have them made in Somerset, so they couldn’t be too cheap, but they wouldn’t be ridiculously costly either; more somewhere in the middle.” Indeed, the most expensive dresses she now sells are around £399. “And I’m loving it,” she says. “I’m a bit of a control freak, so I adore that we’re doing everything locally. With the London factories that make the children’s line, I occasionally find things end up on the shelves at Harrods before I’ve even seen the finished version – which I hate. The new womenswear line is much smaller in comparison and we’re growing it slowly. There’ll be a collaboration with a big store at Christmas, yes, but we’re mostly just selling online at the moment.” he initial womenswear line was just four dresses in timeless styles. “They’re not red carpet gowns,” Pearl says, “and they’re not trend-led. Instead, they’re for women with bodies, and look as good on older ladies as on teenagers. We make them in up to size 20, and can go bigger – we just did a size 22 for a customer. I’m a huge collector, have a massive selection of vintage dresses I’ve picked up all over the world, and am especially drawn to frocks of the

If there’s one thing I know it’s that if I put a dress on and love it, then everyone else will too

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

newlyweds nest

The original gift-boxed interior design wedding present

www.newlywedsnest.c o.uk STYLEMONGERS of BRISTOL

W o r d s b y pa u l m a r l a n d

P h o t o g r a p h y b y v i c k i - l e a b o u lt e r

colou r

clash Sometimes you get the strongest effect by ramming together patterns and colours in a riot of texture and design, and Hannah Taylor’s wedding styling celebrates this maximalist approach with glee

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THE BR ID E : colo u r cl a sh


annah’s favourite artist is Henri Matisse – “I adore his bold use of colour and pattern,” she says – and she takes particular inspiration from the way he blends people and objects in his paintings. Initially described as a fauve – or ‘wild beast’ – by many critics, by the 1920s Matisse was celebrated as both a staunch supporter of the classical French tradition in painting and a radical leader of the visual arts revolution, no mean feat. “Emulating Matisse was always in my mind here,” she says, “and happily I had a photographer for the day who totally understood my vision. Vicki from Devon Portfolio Photography does some truly inspirational work, and captured what I wanted perfectly.

photographY vicki-lea boulter


e’ve had bright shoots in Vow before, but nothing with quite the intense hothouse Alice in Wonderland vibe of this one, organised by Devon-based designer Hannah Taylor to show off her love of fabric and flowers. Hannah is a real triple-threat – florist, venue stylist and wedding specialist – with a love of the luxurious yet unconventional. Her styling is fashion forward and inventive, while referencing everything from the Renaissance to the Roaring Twenties; her decor is constantly trying new mixes of the old and the new; and her flowers are British, seasonal, and often unconventionally arranged, designed to fit neatly alongside her textiles and accessories. “First and foremost, I wanted to create some really strong statement styling for this shoot,” Hannah says, “made up of my trademark mix of fabrics from the past and present day. For a real-life wedding you could do something similar, perhaps using the personal collections of the bride and groom’s families. What’s unusual here, though, is how actively I hunted out the boldest and most exciting colours and patterns, deliberately clashing styles and eras. My textiles range from antique embroidery to bright, eccentric modern prints, while the clothes we used ranged from a hundred-year-old silk oriental trousers to Seventies and Eighties items. Much of my inspiration for the shoot came from current catwalk shows too, which are full of eccentric mixed patterns, dynamically layered fabrics and heavy embroidery.” The location was Hannah’s own garden but, she says, “many wedding venues offer outdoor spaces and greenhouses you can use for dining – or even ceremonies – and give the option to do something like we did here, which is create a temporary space under a simple wooden structure.” Keeping thing personal, the tablecloth was made from fabric offcuts, and old clothes that Hannah once loved but which no longer fit. “It means that this tablecloth is unique to me,” she says, “but something similar could be done by any couple who want their table decor to really represent them.” Also unique are the alternative handmade buttonholes the models wear. “We took a pattern found in the tablecloth and added our own unique details,” Hannah says, “and it was the same with the place setting details, which were made from loved fabric bought on my travels. And since the rest of the styling was such a riot of colour and pattern, it felt right to create a really bold bouquet, one with such strong shape and colour it couldn’t help but stand out.”

“We both understood how much potential there is in the clash of styles, fashions and eras, and I can see so many ways in which brides and grooms could incorporate these idea into their weddings, for an exciting, entertaining visual feast. Not only would it give great scope for creativity and personal touches in the styling, but it would allow their guests’ imaginations to run riot, too. I love the idea of a theme such as ‘Days of Our Lives’ at a wedding, for instance, where guests would dress up as the era that meant the most to them – or perhaps to the couple. The possibilities are endless, and to my mind would be nothing but fun.”

Joy of life Bouncing colours and cultures off each other to excellent (if intense) effect were… Design and decor: Hannah Taylor;

hannahtaylor-decor.com Clothes: Days of Grace Vintage, Budleigh Salterton;

daysofgracevintage.co.uk Hair and makeup: Billie Edge; billieedge.com Models: Monika Haglundh, Alana Miller Photographer: Vicki-Lea Boulter at Devon Portfolio; devonportfolio.com

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Top-notch wedding dresses at affordable prices are the Bridal Reloved thing, but pair that with Lesley Waters food and the most striking use of flowers and you’ve got quite some wedding. The only thing to worry about is the hay fever…

pictures by greg thurtle

T h e b r i d e : s h e ’ s a l l h at


ridal Reloved is a pre-owned wedding dress specialist in Poundbury, Dorchester – yes, Prince Charles’ stomping ground – that started in East Yorkshire, where there’s still a store, and has since spawned franchised spin-offs across the country. Here you can find dresses by Claire Pettibone, Jenny Packham and the rest for comfortably under a grand. This relaxed, rustic shoot was designed to show off the dresses, but also an unusual local venue: Abbots Hill Farm, set in nine acres of glorious West Dorset countryside and owned by Lesley Waters, the cookbook writer, TV chef and former head tutor at Leith’s School of Food & Wine. “As soon as I met Lesley and her wedding co-ordinator, Cheryl, I was blown away by their beautiful thatched house with its stunning views,” says Bridal Reloved founder Kate Atkinson. “Lesley and her husband, Tim, have lovingly restored it, and made the most of the outside space. You could have afternoon tea on the lawn, and host a very intimate wedding around the family’s dining table. Or you could put up marquees, bell tents or tipis for a festival style wedding. There’s already an outside fire pit, and plenty of room for glamping.” Indeed, Lesley and her team are happy to do all your wedding catering – “she made the scones, jam and meringues used in this shoot,” Kate says – and also runs her own cookery school here. With the venue ready to go, the next thing to decide upon were the colours. “Lesley’s favourite plant is the hydrangea, and as you walk around Abbots Hill you notice all the pink, blue and purple examples she has,” Kate says. “It suggested a bold, bright colour scheme, which we decided to pair with lots of green to complement the green velvet dining chairs Lesley has around her rustic table, as well as all the greenery around the house.”


o get the theme going, florist Jay of nearby Carousel & Co set about providing flowers that would fun and different, but with a textured, natural feel. “One thing I was keen to do was tie the groom into things more,” Jay says, “and I’m always keen to push the idea that there are more options out there than the standard button hole. I know a floral top hat and bow tie won’t be for everyone, but they went with the bride’s flower crown beautifully.’’ Next up came the bride’s look. “We knew Selina Biles and her real-life partner, Christopher Stickels, would make the perfect couple, 4 8 | VOW

as they both have a natural way with the camera,” Kate says. “Selina has a very petite frame, and we knew her stunning complexion and gorgeous hair would stand out against these bold colours.” The bride actually wore three dresses that were new in at Bridal Reloved in Dorchester, all of which fitted her perfectly. “The flower crown shot shows Selina wearing a Caroline Castigliano dress with a lace top and silk organza bottom,” Kate says. “Our seamstress, Emily from Amazing Emily’s, made a blue overskirt which went with it. This look would be great for a festival-style wedding, as it has a very floaty skirt and works with a flower crown. “The next dress, which we photographed against a blue door, was a Suzanne Neville with a fabulously fun textured bottom. Finally, there was an all-lace Emma Hunt Couture dress, which looked stunning against some darker doors, to show off the lace.” To go with this look, makeup artist Kirsten Sare used a bold, dark lipstick colour, as well as pinks and purples. “With such a strong floral crown, it was important the makeup didn’t get lost,” she says. “My main job was helping draw all the elements together.” Photographer Greg Thurtle from TP Photography, meanwhile, struggled manfully with the day’s troublesome elements – “we had plenty of wind and rain,” Kate says, “even though it was the start of August and supposed to be sunny!” – and particularly enjoyed shooting the rustic bark cake stand Carousel and Co had created, showing off the colours of the food. Okay, so the groom’s florals may seem a little out there, but overall this is a very realistic shoot packed with elements that could easily be applied to a genuine wedding. “Our brides are always coming up with interesting, novel elements,” Kate says. “One had an informal picnic on the lawn, with a brass band playing.” Which, we have to say, sounds exactly the sort of setting where a flower-covered top hat would fit in just fine…

I’m puttin’ on my top hat Tyin’ up my flower tie, brushin’ off my tails… Dresses and organisation:

Bridal Reloved, Dorchester; bridalreloved.co.uk Venue: Abbots Hill Farm, Closworth; lesleywaters.com wedding co-ordinator for lesley waters weddings: The Event PA; theeventpa.co.uk Makeup: Kirsten Sare; kirstensare.co.uk Hair: Dorchester Bridal Hair; dorchesterbridalhair.co.uk Florist: Floral Design By Jay @ Carousel & Co, Dorset;

carousel.co.com Event dressing: Carousel & Co; carousel.co.com Food: Lesley Waters Cookery School; lesleywaters.com Models: Selina Biles and Christopher Stickels photography: Greg Thurtle, TP Photography;


Words by Cl arissa Picot

Ph oto g r a ph y by L i z a E d g i n g to n

a l l t h at

ja zz The Jazz Age was a time of women’s suffrage, the free-spirited flapper, and heartbreaking songs; it was also an island of decadence between the wars. No wonder fashion loves it so‌


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photographY BY liza edgington

T H E B R I D E : a l l t h at j a z z

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T H E B R I D E : a l l t h at j a z z



nce the guys were on site, more ideas started to come together – florist Clair realised they’d need lots of fabulous foliage, for instance, and brought in plant installation specialist Desk Jungle to showcase their potted pretties – and more suppliers came on board too. “I met the lovely Kate Rushall, owner of Bridal Reloved, through The Wedding Business Circle,” Sophie says, “and we’d started talking about which of her gorgeous gowns would best fit this theme. The pieces she suggested were just so right for it, and our bride, Aimee Gale, looked stunning in them. And when we added handmade jewellery from Carmona Jewellery, it really brought the whole look together.” Aimee’s hair was done by Samantha Stevenson from Parley Studio, who suggests brides start preparing their barnet for the big day six months beforehand, getting regular trims to get rid of dead ends. “Try not to wash your hair every day,” Samantha says, 5 4 | VOW

“and lay off the straighteners! But do splash out on an Olaplex hair treatment to help return everything to its natural state. It will reduce frizz and dullness, and even make curls more defined.” Sophie was keen to do more than just design the wedding stationery, so tracked down two models, Aimee Gale and George Okoye, whose looks would fit their vision. “George needed to look super-suave, so we dressed him in an outfit from The Vintage Suit Hire Company and a Patore’ wooden bow tie,” she says. “Then there was the gold matte cutlery we got from The White Chair Company, which Kirsty of Fundoo Weddings recommended. They even matched the gold foil in the stationery.” With a styled shoot, of course, you can do things there would never be time for on a wedding day, but much of what they achieved here would be possible, with perhaps a little extra planning. “Of course, we had more time to explore creative lighting and photo compositions,” photographer Liza says, “and though shoots like this one see us doing things we would rarely ask a ‘real couple’ to do, they help keep the creative flow alive. It’s almost like a commercial artist suddenly being given free rein, and really letting rip. Usually it’s clever use of light that will take a portrait from merely good to properly great, though, and I always put a lot of effort into making sure the light’s just right at a genuine wedding, too.” photograph BY liza edgington

here are certain fashion themes that come around and around – indeed, that never really fall out of favour at all – and one such is The Great Gatsby, its portrait of the Jazz Age or Roaring Twenties finding favour with each successive generation, including many who’ve never read F Scott Fitzgerald’s magnum opus at all. The book, something of a cautionary fable about the elusive American Dream, tells of endless decadent summer partying amongst the rich and listless on the Long Island of 1922, and in its two chief female characters – beautiful, classy, shallow, rich-as-youlike former debutant Daisy Fay Buchanan and aloof, snarky, ‘fast’ pro golfer Jordan Baker – gives us fashion icons to die for. The shoot was inspired by Gatsby and the high glamour of the 1920s, but at the same time the team wanted to capture something more, explains creative stylist Sophie Sullivan, founder of Bournemouth design studio So Creativ and stationery brand Witness Our Love. “It was all about those quiet, intimate moments that are so often surrounded by rich and intense emotions,” she says. “We were keen to introduce opulent colours and textures, creating a tranquil whirlwind of bright, vibrant and contrasting elements.” The shoot took place on a cold, sunny day at Banque & Bohem, an elegant restaurant and bar in central Bournemouth that styles itself as the city’s most decadent venue. “It’s an effortlessly interesting place full of individually styled rooms,” Sophie says, “each rich with tastefully exotic décor. But though the day was gorgeous outside, we spent all our time indoors shooting. Thankfully the rooms let in a lot of natural light, giving us exactly the images we were looking for.” The shoot came about when Sophie, photographer Liza Edgington and a few others met up at the beginning of the year to talk through some ideas. “Everything came very quickly,” Sophie says, “and Liza and the others were quick to recommend some fantastic friends in the wedding industry who we could use, like Hayley Elizabeth Cake Design, Fundoo Weddings, Clair Lythgoe Wedding and Event Florist, Tiaras by Becky, and makeup artist Lisa Davidge. Happily they all came on board, while the fact that Liza had already photographed the venue for its website meant that relationship was established already too.”

hear me roar Channeling their inner flapper to celebrate the Roaring Twenties were… Venue: Banque & Bohem, Bournemouth; banqueandbohem.co.uk styling:  Fundoo Weddings; fundooweddings.co.uk Cake: Hayley Elizabeth Cake Design; hayleyelizabethcakedesign.com Florist: Clair Lythgoe Wedding and Event Florist; clairlythgoe.co.uk Foliage: Desk Jungle; deskjungle.com Dresses: Bridal Reloved Dorchester; bridalreloved.co.uk Makeup artist: Lisa Davidge; facebook.com/LisaDavidgeMakeup Jewellery: Carmona Jewellery; carmonajewellery.com Stationery: Sophie Sullivan, Witness Our Love; facebook.com/witnessourlove Hair: Parley Studio; parleystudio.co.uk Bow ties: Patore'; patorewoodenbowties.co.uk Suit: The Vintage Suit Hire Company; vintagesuithire.co.uk Bridal accessories: Tiaras By Becky; tiarasbybecky.co.uk Cutlery: The White Chair Company; thewhitechaircompany.co.uk Models: Aimee Gale and George Okoye Photographer: Liza Edgington; lizaedgington.co.uk

W o r d s b y w e n d y ly n e

a l l t h at ’ s b e s t o f

da r k bright and

Named for a Byron poem, and brimming with a very individual sense of romance, the latest collection from Amy May Couture is perhaps her most impressive yet‌

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dresses from far left: bellflower, wren, plume


he new haut couture wedding collection from Cardiffbased designer Amy Mair takes its name from a poem by Lord Byron, and features her signature ethereal feel. The original ‘She Walks in Beauty’ tells of Byron taking a fancy to his cousin’s unusually pretty wife at a ball – romantic, perhaps, but no happiness could come of it – and though short, is perhaps his best known poem; Amy’s 2019 collection, which takes the same name, is similarly concise – but different in that it speaks of nothing but good things. “To my mind, the 2019 collection is our most striking yet,” Amy says, “but remains quaint and timeless too. Nature, culture and travel are a constant influence with me, and this time my focus landed on oriental fashion, which I hope I’ve filtered through my own sensibilities and reinterpreted somewhat. I also had in mind thoughts of being at one with nature and the freedom to explore your own unique style – though these influences are, of course, quite subtle!” Amy generally likes to empower her brides to seek what she describes as “alternative options to traditional bridal wear”, and

tends to reject the idea of seasonal trends in favour of individual taste. This collection features slips, overlays, separates, gowns and accessories, with each piece designed to give a soft, fluid sense of movement through drapery and intricate detail. The Bellflower dress features striking oversized flowers climbing up the legs and torso, while the strapless Blanketflower concentrates its embroidered interest around the waist. Plume is a camisole and top in contrasting textures, while Vanna has almost a medieval feel and majors on the lace. Finally, Wren channels something a little more 1920s, with pretty floral cutouts around the neck and straps. “It’s a collection that’s gently flattering to the silhouette, and subtly romantic,” Amy says. “The construction of our undergarments and lightweight corsetry is the foundation upon which all the experimental drapery and textured layering are built. There’s a romantic vintage feel to these gowns that’s elegant and flattering without being ‘typically wedding’, and would suit the sort of bride I love – those who are brave, individual and powerful.” amymaircouture.co.uk VOW | 5 7

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 C l a r e K i n c h i n


barns Fabulous tips on transforming rustic old farm buildings into a Scandinavian heaven, thanks to Nikki Sherriff of Knots & Kisses



here was the last wedding you went to held? If you’re like Vow, it was in a rather lovely old barn – of which there are now hundreds dotted up and down the country, all geared up for swift, efficient wedding planning, and replete with high ceilings, big windows, bare stone walls and endless outdoor photo ops. One such is Launcells Barton, just outside Bude in Cornwall, which actually gives you two beautiful barns in one – an older ceremony barn, oozing with character, and a more modern reception barn. Nikki Sherriff of Knots & Kisses, the Devon-based wedding styling and stationery outfit, loves these places – but felt it was time that the classic barn wedding was given a modern update. “I meet so many brides and grooms who love to travel to Devon and Cornwall from London to get married,” she says, “but, though they love the scenery and atmosphere, they often want something slightly modern and glamorous than your traditional rustic barn with hay bales.” With this in mind, Nikki started planning a contemporary barn makeover shoot, though the thinking behind it began – somewhat surprisingly – with a teapot. “The thing is,” she says, “I’d found this really beautiful tea set while on my own honeymoon in Bali, which combined beautiful traditional local wood with a more modern Scandinavian aesthetic. When I brought it home I started thinking about how it would make a wonderful starting point for my barn wedding update, as it combines similarly sleek modern shapes with natural materials.” Key to this shoot, then, is its stripped-back nature. Nikki created a strictly neutral colour palette of white, cream, taupe and brown, with the various wood finishes essentially becoming the accents. “All the detail came from the beautiful textures of chunky knits, sheepskins, and really tactile wood, ceramics and cotton,” she says.


he first part of the shoot, all of which took place one day in a very chilly January, represented the ceremony. For this Nikki used the old ceremony barn, creating a striking backdrop using sheepskins which she dressed with an arrangement of twigs, cotton and blossom, brought in by the florist, Brompton Buds. “A modern bouquet complemented all this,” Nikki says, “and the cosy feel was accentuated by rustic benches and baskets of beautiful chunky knits from Lauren Aston, plus further sheepskins.” (Indeed, this was a day when you couldn’t get enough sheepskins.) Then, for the wedding meal, Brompton Buds created a hanging display of twigs and cotton to go over the table. “Gorgeous rustic tables from Vintage Props were dressed with modern linen runners, simple white crockery and wooden bowls with matching cutlery,” Nikki says. “As a stationer as well as stylist, I also created some simple place cards to finish the look.” But a cool look is nothing without delicious food to match, of course, so the guys at Thirst Choice with Garnish created ‘sharing boards’ which matched perfectly with the neutral colour scheme. “We enjoyed a menu of pickled wild mushrooms with braised leeks and cauliflower couscous; a duck egg, poached hen’s egg and boiled quail’s egg plate; and a fish board of sprats, cod skin, salted cod, scallops, squid and pickled mackerel,” Nikki says, “followed by an amazing dessert board of soft meringue, caramelised white VOW | 59

THE BRIDE: ripping barns

Photography by clare kinchin photography

chocolate, honeycomb, popcorn, nougat, dried figs and coconut sorbet.” Sounds amazing, though we’ll perhaps skip the fish heads. Nikki’s idea for the cake table was to create a Scandi-meetsoriental take on the traditional afternoon tea, using her beautiful Bali tea set, while Edible Essence created a centrepiece cake along with beautiful mini-Bundts and Danish biscuits for the guests to tuck into. Finally, a few shots to represent the evening do were taken at the cosy ‘Bar Barn’, making the most of its gorgeous stone walls. “One of my major partners in crime for the whole day was photographer Clare Kinchin, who totally got my vision and created a real feeling of space,” Nikki says. “We really didn’t want it to feel too cluttered, and worked together with hairstylist The Updo Girl and makeup artist Emma Roberts, plus the team at Lovely, the bridal shop in Honiton, to create modern Nordic looks for our bride and groom. But with beautiful dresses from Charlie Brear and Jesus Peiro, shoes by Freya Rose, and light and simple suits from the groom’s room at The Wedding Company in Plymouth, that was easy. Even the rings fitted the theme, being beautiful modern silver numbers by Nikki Stark.”

Urban country Spending a freezing January dressing old buildings in a contemporary style were… Co-ordination, styling and design:

Knots & Kisses; knotsandkisses.co.uk Venue: Launcells Barton, Bude; launcellsbarton.co.uk dresses, shoes and accessories:

Lovely, Honiton; lovelybridal.co.uk Groom’s outfit: The Wedding Company, Plymouth;

the-wedding-company.co.uk Hair: The Updo Girl, Exeter; theupdogirl.com Makeup: Emma Roberts; facebook.com/emmarobertsmakeup Florist: Brompton Buds; bromptonbuds.com Stationery: Knots & Kisses; knotsandkisses.co.uk Cakes: Edible Essence Couture Cake Company; edibleessencecakeart.com Food and drink: Thirst Choice with Garnish; thirstchoice.org.uk tables, benches and prop hire:

thepropfactory.co.uk Sheepskins: World Inspired Tents; worldinspiredtents.co.uk Woollen throws: Lauren Aston Designs; laurenastondesigns.com rings: Nikki Stark Jewellery; nikkistarkjewellery.co.uk Models: Melodie Shakespear, Harry de Roth; Instagram @melodie.shakespear @harryderoth Photographer: Clare Kinchin Photography; clarekinchinphotography.co.uk

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W o r d s b y w e n d y ly n e

P h oto g r a p h y b y Ta m m y J a q u e l i n e S n i p e

gardens of the

night An alternative bridal look demands an alternative venue, and they don’t get more unusual – or more special – than the University of Bristol’s Botanic Garden…

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THE BRIDE: gardens of the night


photographY BY Tammy Jaqueline Snipe


e could all do with adding a bit of colour to our lives on a cold, grey day in the middle of February. Lucky, then, that the location for this photo shoot – the Botanic Garden at the University of Bristol – is pretty much weather proof, so while everyone else was freezing, these guys were enjoying a sub tropical paradise. “It’s such a beautiful place,” says photographer Tammy Jaqueline Snipe, “and few things beat the intrigue and beauty of exotic plants as a visually appealing backdrop. In fact, it’s no surprise that foliage is such a huge trend for brides at the moment.” This shoot, Tammy explains, was about more than just oversized foreign visitors and exotic hothouse denizens, however; it was also about celebrating strong women. “The thing is, I don’t think you need to change your entire style just because it’s your wedding day,” she says. “Iconic women like Gwen Stefani and Jackie Kennedy cropped up constantly on our mood boards during the planning, as did today’s more unconventional bridal trends – like black. All of this, combined with a strong vintage element, suggested the idea that sticking to your own look – no matter how out there it might be – doesn’t mean you can’t be incredibly elegant on your big day. Indeed, the unusual can look fantastic – while still being bridal!” The main colour scheme for the shoot was inspired by one of the models, Dorine, and her striking pink hair. “When you think ‘alternative wedding’ you might typically imagine some grungy venue,” says Tammy, “which is why the Botanic Garden was so perfect. It’s certainly different, but also gorgeous – and showed that you can be different-but-gorgeous with your look too. The natural greens here didn’t so much clash with the pinks and blues of the bridal clothes as complement them. When balancing the traditional with something more quirky, it’s actually not that difficult to find a sort of harmony.” verything began with Tammy’s desire to shoot some alternative bridal looks, so she started asking around for suppliers who might like to collaborate. First onboard was actually Dorine, whose hair and fantastic collection of vintage wedding gowns sent Tammy’s imagination into over-drive. Nua, the other model, was next to sign on – “I knew from working with her before that she’d nail the attitude needed to make the shoot work,” Tammy says – and from there it was a short leap to approaching Emma and Kelly of Frock it, Scene It in Cheltenham. “They’re the epitome of alternative bridal fashion,” Tammy says, “and provided everything from tulle ballroom skirts and corsets to resin sheep skulls as venue decor; they may have also brought along some cookies!” Also involved was Emma Weston of Alf & Alba, who provided beautiful hand-drawn stationery, while Charleigh Hebbard handled makeup and Sarah Winstone looked after the models’ hair. Tammy’s husband, meanwhile, put together some beautiful bouquets – as if the shoot didn’t have enough foliage already. Yes, this whole shoot’s a bit of a fantasy but, says Tammy, “If there’s one thing brides should be able to take from it, it’s the idea that you can be yourself and still feel bridal. One easy, and very effective, thing to do is team your wedding dress with a leather jacket,

but throwing in some comfortable footwear, dying your hair a bright colour, or even wearing head-to-toe black look amazing too.” And then, of course, there’s your choice of location… “Oh, I just loved it,” Tammy says, “and can’t wait to be invited to a real life wedding at a botanic garden. It honestly is one of the most beautiful locations imaginable!”

The Botany of Desire Rockin’ out amongst the oversized foliage were… Location: University of Bristol Botanic Garden; bristol.ac.uk/botanic-garden Hair: Sarah Winstone at Hepcats Barbershop and Beauty Parlour, Chippenham; hepcatsofnam.co.uk Makeup: Charleigh Hebbard MUA; facebook.com/charleighhebbardmua White vintage wedding gowns:

Dorine Chantepie; daintydorine.co.uk Stationery: Emma Weston at Alf & Alba; facebook.com/Alf.and.Alba Peach tutu skirt and accessories: Kelly Prince and Emma St Roas, Frock It; facebook.com/FrockItFashion resin antelope wall decor, rustic birdcage:

Scene It; facebook.com/Scene-It-Cheltenham Models: Dorine Chantepie, Nua Watford Photography: Tammy Jaqueline Snipe; facebook.com/Tammy-Jaqueline-Snipe-Photography

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ALISON MILES co u t u r e

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

b a d


Picture by ryan goold

Puppy love Ruth Bull & Ben Jones


hese guys live in Westbury in Wiltshire these days, but had their first date in an Exeter coffee shop after meeting on an online dating site, and decided to put a ring on it during a sunny dog walk by a lake at Corsham. This was at the tail end of 2016, and the proposal took Ruth completely by surprise. “In fact,” says Ben, “I think she was a bit annoyed, as she had no make-up on and was wearing scruffy dog walking clothes.” The guys booked Winkworth Farm exactly a year before the big day, tempted by the packages they offer – “it makes life a lot easier!” – and the fact that they allow dogs, so their girl, Indie, could come. “We wanted the wedding and reception at the same location, as we had guests coming from all over the UK and didn’t want them to have to find more than one venue,” Ruth says. “And anyway, we’d fallen in love with the farm a year before, when we went there for a friend’s wedding. Yes, we did look at other barns and even a few hotels, but the owners at Winkworth are brilliant – everything ran so smoothly – and they even offer accommodation on site, which we wanted in case any elderly relatives needed a rest during the day.” VOW | 67


The dress turned out to be a similar no-brainer. “It’s by Gino Cerruti, and I found it at Hen House Brides in Devizes. I tried on so many, but this was the only one I really loved.” Rounding off her look was hair in a half up, half down style by Stacey at Updoo in Royal Wootton Bassett. “What she did with my fine, flyaway hair was incredible,” Ruth says. Makeup, meanwhile, was by Simply Beautiful by Emma, who’s based in Swindon – “another lovely, professional lady” – while she found earrings and her necklace on Etsy. “They were from a seller called Otis Jackson,” Ruth says, “and were perfect, as I wanted a matching set I could wear again afterwards. They weren’t expensive, either, which helped, as I’d gone over budget on my dress!” Ben, meanwhile, got a blue suit called Westbury, hired from The Fox In the House – that’s the menswear bit at the Hen House – which he wore with a dusty pink tie and handkerchief to match bridesmaid Emma Cake’s Little Mistress maxi dress and flowers. Best man was Daniel Rutherford, both wing people having old sporting links to Ruth and Ben – the boys had first met 13 years before at Worcester 6 8 | VOW

Rowing Club, while the girls became pals when they both joined the University of Plymouth cheerleading squad, some 15 years ago. Flowers came from Scentiments in Tetsbury – “their table flowers came as part of our package, so we decided to use them for everything” – while the cake was by Diane at Supercakes in Royal Wootton Bassett, who stepped in late in the day. It’s always risky holding a West Country wedding in February, but the guys were lucky with the weather – cool but sunny – and especially like the pictures where everyone’s having fun. “I love one of Ben and me kissing, with the sun going down behind us,” Ruth says. “Another favourite was taken near the end of the dancing, and I’m playing with my dress. I look so happy – and I was!”


emember Indie the dog, by the way? She’s a three-yearold fox red labrador, and came to both the ceremony and the meal. “She wore a white lace collar with fabric roses,” Ben says, “and we even managed to find her a white lead. Our bridesmaid, Emma, walked her down the aisle,

ruth & ben

Indie the dog seems to have lost her roses by this point in the day, but did her best to upstage everybody anyway… Pictures by ryan goold

Marriage Guidance Who? Ruth Bull and Ben Jones When? 24 February, 2018 Where? Winkworth Farm, Malmesbury; winkworthfarm.com Dress and suit: Hen House Brides, Devizes; henhousehq.co.uk Florist: Scentiments, Tetbury; tetburyflorist.co.uk Cake: Supercakes, Royal Wootton Bassett; supercakes.co.uk Rings: Nicholas Wylde, Bath; nicholaswylde.com Hair: Updoo; facebook.com/updoo.co.uk Makeup: Simply Beautiful by Emma, simplybeautifulbyemma.co.uk Photographer: Ryan Goold; ryangooldphotography.co.uk

and she made everyone laugh by crunching on treats as the registrar asked about legal reasons why we couldn’t be married! A friend took her home before the party, though, as she wouldn’t have liked the music. Obviously, she didn’t have a clue what was going on!” The official parts were kept short and sweet, and not just to prevent Indie getting bored. “There were a few readings,” Ruth says, “but the most memorable bit was the first time we saw each other in our wedding outfits. It was just perfect.” Aw! Nothing went wrong, though the time spent creating an inventive table plan board was probably wasted – “I spent days on it, and it wasn’t looked at much,” Ruth says – and the first dance could have gone better. “We should have practised a bit, but at least we’d briefed a few friends not to leave us alone out there too long!” There wasn’t even a bridezilla moment on the day, though some might argue Ruth got hers in early. “The day before I did shout at my sister,” she says. “She was tasked with saying grace, and she’d forgotten to tell me what she was going to say! She’s planning her own wedding now, though, so I think she understands…” VOW | 69


Run Sarah Run Sarah Allmark & Matthew Ireland

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arah and Matt live in Castle Cary, the pretty little market town some 24 miles south of Bath, and met when they were just eleven – cute! – in the foyer of the cinema club at a church, where Matt was picking up his brother. It took a few years for them to have a first date, though, which finally took place at a glamorous venue known locally as ‘McDonald’s’, where the two 17-year-olds shared a box of 20 chicken nuggets. Matt proposed back in February last year, which gave them plenty of time to plan the wedding, not least because the venue came so easily. “Wick Farm was the first place we saw,” Sarah says, “and we immediately loved it. The simplicity of the barn was just what we wanted, and the staff were so friendly and helpful, even designing us a unique menu. We held both the ceremony and reception here, and the rustic look and high beams, wrapped in fairy lights, were so simple yet effective. We just added some candles and flowers around the ledges and that was enough.” Much harder to plan, somewhat unusually, was the cake. “We searched and searched, but couldn’t find anything anywhere,” Sarah

s a r a h & m at t

Sarah's bridemaids were all in red. (We suspect that’s because they were up to something naughty.) PictureS by ryan goold

says. In the end she decided to make it herself and, says Matt, “it was perfect.” She decided to go with a naked cake to fit the whole event’s rustic/boho feel, and, she says, “was able to make each tier in a different flavour. Everyone loved it, so we barely got a slice!” Sarah doesn’t consider herself to be much of a ‘girly girl’, as she puts it, so was very nervous about picking her dress. “I went to one shop in Bristol and tried on about seven of them,” she says, “but didn’t feel any of them was right. I ended up picking a really plain dress and adding a Bardot bolero.” Sarah had her hair done in wavy curls, and teamed that with small hoop earrings that matched her wedding ring. “I didn’t want to wear too much jewellery,” she says, “as I also had an embellished belt around my waist to tie everything together. My makeup by Jennifer Thomas MUA was very natural, with brown eyes and nude lips.” Matt also found it hard picking the perfect outfit, eventually going with a grey tweed suit and burgundy tie from The Bakers of Bond Street, a tailor in Yeovil. These guys were actually recommend by Sarah’s sister, and now Matt is passing the recommendation on. VOW | 7 1


“Graham there was very accommodating,” he says, “and didn’t let us leave until all our suits were perfect.” Best man was Matt’s younger brother, Luke. “He’s only 15, but he’s a big part of my life,” Matt says. “Luke and I lost our parents when young, and I wanted him by my side on this special day.” Sarah, meanwhile, had her two sisters, her cousin and her best pal – who flew in from South Africa – as bridesmaids, all in different burgundy chiffon dresses. The flowers were in red too, with lots of foliage and berries and a few peach and cream blooms thrown in; they came from Twigs and Twine, a florist in Crewkerne, Somerset. Photographer Ryan Goold was, the couple say, outstanding. “We would recommend him to anyone and everyone,” Matt says. “I love one shot of Sarah and me in front of an old church-style door – we both look so happy in it – and there’s another of Sarah looking in a mirror that I adore. She looks so beautiful.” Sarah, though, chips in with different choices. “My favourite is of Matt, the ushers and my dad – one of them is putting his finger in Matt’s ear! And there’s another of me and the bridesmaids, with 7 2 | VOW

my dad taking a photo of us on his phone. He always thinks he’s a professional photographer!”


either Sarah or Matt enjoy being the centre of attention all the time, and both cringe at the occasion moments when they were really on display. “Walking down the aisle was a worry,” Sarah says. “I know that sounds a funny thing for the bride to say, but I hate having everyone looking at me. I practically ran my way down!” (Matt, meanwhile, nominates the dreaded ‘kiss’: “I felt so much pressure,” he says.) Other than that, the mistakes they made were minimal. “I slightly regret all the waffles, doughnuts and crepes we ordered for the evening,” says Sarah, “as they were barely touched, and I wish I’d stopped worrying about stupid things, like whether wax from the candles was dripping on the floor. There were plenty of highlights, though. Luke’s speech was so funny, and we loved the fireworks at the end. They were by an outfit called Sky Rascal, who even took the trouble to use our colours – burgundy and gold – in the finale.”

s a r a h & M at t

Rugs, hay bales, fire and fireworks: what else could you want for a winter wedding? PictureS by ryan goold

Marriage Guidance Who? Sarah Allmark and Matthew Ireland When? 11 November, 2017 Where? Wick Farm, Bath; wickfarmbath.co.uk Food: Strawberry Field Catering; strawberryfieldcatering.co.uk Fireworks: Sky Rascal Fireworks; skyrascal.co.uk Florist: Twigs and Twine; twigsandtwinefloraldesign.co.uk Suit: The Bakers of Bond Street, Yeovil; bakersofbondstreet.com Photographer: Ryan Goold; ryangooldphotography.co.uk

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THE VENUE Picture by jack offord

Swank hotels, sex y spaces & picturesque part y spots

Stage beauty Bristol Old Vic isn’t just one of England’s – hey,

the world’s – great theatres, though it is. It’s also about to be reinvented as a top-notch city centre wedding venue, too

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ere’s a fun fact,” says Emma Stenning, chief executive at Bristol Old Vic. “We’re the oldest working theatre in the UK. And here’s another one: our Grade I-listed Coopers' Hall is currently being restored to its former glory. Originally built back in 1774 as a Georgian banqueting hall, and pre-dating the theatre itself, it has high ceilings and huge windows which flood the room with natural light.” Even better, Coopers’ Hall is destined to be more than just the foyer and box office area it’s served as in recent years – or even the wine warehouse and Baptist chapel it’s been at various times in the past – as it returns to something much nearer its original usage as one of the top event spaces in Bristol. It will open in the autumn, when it will be able to seat up to 120 wedding guests.

bristol old vic

Picture by bristol old vic Picture by bristol old vic

Picture by jon craig Picture by haworth tompkins

“But if you really want to take the spotlight,” Emma says, “why not say ‘I do’ on centre stage? Then you’ll be able to have up to 550 friends and family watching you do it.” And hey, if it’s good enough for the likes of Daniel Day-Lewis, Jeremy Irons and Greta Scacchi, who all trained here – and Peter O’Toole, who once called this place ‘the loveliest theatre in the world’ – it’s good enough for us, right? Making the offer even more tempting is the fact that the Old Vic has teamed up with another local institution, family-owned catering firm Fosters, to deliver top-notch grub to you and your guests. It’ll all be overseen by chef director Tom Green, who once worked with Michelin two-starred chef Michael Caines and bossed the kitchen at Bristol’s Riverstation. “Food is a massive part of the day,” Emma says, “from the canapes during your drinks reception to VOW | 75


the wedding breakfast and all-important evening snacks, they form the framework for how your day is going to flow. We know the Fosters guys will make the food a success – check them out, they’re awesome.” The first couples are already booking the Old Vic for autumn and winter weddings, and it sounds like most of them are taking full advantage of the space’s unique architecture and history. “Maybe it’s because our beautiful venue speaks for itself, but we’ve noticed that a lot of our enquiries and bookings have been leaning towards a more stripped back, simple wedding,” Emma says. “Gone are the days of giant lit-up ‘LOVE’ letters and candy bars; it’s now all about foliage, beautiful flowers and natural decorations. Less is more. Oh, and it’s about gin. Always gin.” But of course!

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Pictures by jack offord


he cost of hiring the Old Vic varies depending on when you’re getting married, and how many you’ve invited, but as a rough guide a weekday wedding can cost as little as £4,000. The guys have plenty of smart ideas for ways to maximise your budget, too. “Let’s face it,” Emma says. “We all know that weddings aren’t cheap! This is going to be one of the biggest emotional investments you’re ever going to make, which is why it’s important to think with both your head and your heart. Lists are great – and will keep you on track. Agree, together, what’s on your ‘must have’ list and your ‘nice to have’ list, which should help narrow down the options and focus your search, which can otherwise be overwhelming. And don’t be afraid to listen to the experts! Whether that is us, the catering team, your florist or your cake maker, we all have years of industry experience; even better, we understand how to make the most of the venue.” But what about photos? Outdoors, of course, the Old Vic’s iconic location – on the cobbled King Street right by the floating harbour, Queen Square and the rest of historic Bristol – means cool picture opportunities are never far away, and both the main theatre auditorium and Coopers’ Hall make great indoor backdrops, too. So, if Emma was to be getting married here herself soon, what would she do to tailor the place to her personal style and needs? “Very little,” she says. “The beautiful and versatile sage walls of Coopers’ Hall make it a room for any season. In summer it lends itself to romantic, dusky florals, and if it was a winter wedding I’d go for dramatic statement pieces in warming tones like maroon and burgundy. Plus, of course, I’d design a special menu to reflect our personalities – and our love of good food!” bristololdvic.org.uk

We care about each occasion as if it were our own Brookman Greene West Kington, Wiltshire SN14 7JJ +44 (0)1249 782906 | info@brookmangreene.co.uk www.brookmangreene.co.uk

Bespoke Flowers for Weddings Bristol, Bath and beyond www.tillytomlinsonowers.co.uk 07809832731

the getaway Once upon a honeymoon

Sey anything For a honeymoon balancing luxury with adventure, plus some of the world’s best beaches, rarest wildlife and most inviting seas, your first stop just has to be the Seychelles, right in the middle of the Indian Ocean

Hone ymoons

dinner under the stars, or a sunset cruise. Horse riding on a beach, with a romantic picnic arranged at the far end, is popular too.” s you might expect, the Seychelles boast hotels for every budget, and though Christine would recommend one of the five star resorts for a honeymoon, there are plenty of nice four star boutique hotels too. “Prices can start around £250 a night,” she says, “but there are plenty of special honeymoon offers around that might see the bride staying for half price, or even for free. Others will give you a room upgrade, or just some very welcome Champagne and gifts upon arrival.” Given the islands’ location and background, the food offerings are quite a mix – you’ll find curry dishes, wok dishes and Europeanstyle dishes in a glorious intercontinental mash-up. “But you’ll always find plenty of fish on the menus,” Christine says, “and if you want to be a bit more daring, I’d definitely recommend the fruit bat curry.” For the adventurous there are plenty of zip lines, rock climbing options and waterskiing activities to enjoy – and sailing and diving too, of course – plus all those islands to explore. “Around 40 are mountainous and the rest are quite flat,” Christine says, “but the three main ones, where everybody lives, are Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. A great honeymoon itinerary might see you stay for your first week on one or perhaps two of those, packing your days and nights with activities and exploration, then finish off just chilling at a more remote island resort.” There’s plenty of wildlife to see too, of course – well over 250 species of bird alone, for instance, including some of the rarest in the world – plus tonnes of giant tortoises and sea turtles. And along the way you definitely need to take in the local markets, try some rum, climb a mountain – they’re not too big, so this can take as little as 30 minutes – and visit tea plantations and art galleries. “I’d also recommend at least a day visit to the small, teardropshaped island of La Digue, where you can explore by bicycle or ox-cart,” Christine says, “and a trip to a Unesco World Heritage site called Vallee de Mai, where they grow Coco de Mer, the world’s biggest and heaviest nut. It’s like taking a step back in time.” seychelles.travel



re the Seychelles the most beautiful group of islands in the world? They’re certainly right up there, an isolated archipelago of 115 of the things, many of them perhaps a little less polished and preened than rivals like the Maldives, but no less alluring. “We’re right at the heart of the Indian Ocean,” says local expert Christine Vel, “just a few degrees south of the equator, and about a thousand miles off the east coast of Africa. And we’re a comparatively young nation; the first settlements were established by the French back in 1770. The small initial population of Indians, Africans and Europeans grew to around 3,500 in French hands, then Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo saw the islands ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Paris. It wasn’t until the ’70s that we became independent, and are now a republic within the Commonwealth.” Getting there is easy – British Airways starts its summer schedule of regular twice-weekly flights from late March, and if you don’t fancy that there’s also Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways who’ll get you there. And it’s even easier to work out why you’d want to go – guaranteed warm weather, all year around. “In fact, the average temperature is always around 30C,” Christine says. “That said, April is my very favourite time to be here.” The other thing about Seychelles is that it’s great fun, too – and the perfect destination for island hopping. “Even on a honeymoon, we encourage guests to stay on at least two different islands,” Christine says. “The hotels here offer excellent honeymoon packages, which sometimes include a surprise private 8 0 | VOW

hone ymoon

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booze control wishful drinking

Picture by Liberty Pearl Photography

Traditions we love

(don’t be that guy) There are right ways and wrong ways to drink at a wedding. The right way, of course, involves drinking something: if you’re one of the main players, like happy Steph and Ben above, you’re likely to need a few for your nerves; and if you’re a guest, ditto, so you’ll be happy to chat to whoever you’re stuck with at the wedding breakfast. The trick in both these instance, of course, is not to have too much. Basically, you’ve won if you get through the day without a hint of verbal

sniping, hair pulling, inappropriate stripping, police involvement, or a tearful bride telling you “you’ve ruined our wedding”. In achieving this, planning is key: eat a good breakfast, go easy on the fizz early doors, and take advantage of the water jug during the speeches. Later, move on to bottled beer. (Easy to dance with for one thing but, crucially, small too.) You’re in the danger zone now, and the margins between being sloppy and fun have never been narrower…

Next up: Vow is back on 18 May, when we’ll have all the goss from VOW Live… 8 2 | VOW

Blue belle: windswept bride reclaims the original matrimonial hue

White Pearl: Ms Lowe’s new bridal collection, made here in the West Country

Barnstormers: Fresh ways to dress the classic wedding barn

Plus! Giant tortoises, Daniel Day-Lewis, and a confused dog…

The South West’s new wedding bible

Vow Live: more stands, More showbiz, more fun

Profile for MediaClash

Vow Magazine - Issue 18  

Vow Magazine - Issue 18