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VOW m ake me smile


j u n e & j u ly 2 0 1 8

Make me smile

june & July 2018 / Bath, Bristol & the West / No.19


Picture BY Alexander J Collins

Raw meets Here’s a question: how should you explain to people how you met your significant other – say to older relatives, or during a wedding speech? Back in the day, it would have been easy. You might have met through work, or your church, through some hobby you took up, or on a night out with friends – and that might still be the case, of course. In very lucky circumstances, you might have met through one of those meet-cutes beloved of the movies – like arguing over a golf ball (Bringing Up Baby, 1938), or with the guy dressed as a woman (and actually pretending to be one; Tootsie, 1982), or where you’re locked together in a car boot (Out of Sight, 1998). For many of us now, though, we probably met online. With luck, for your speech, it was through one of the more romantic apps – no older rellies want to hear about hookups, booty calls or worse – but adventures on Match, Bumble or even (especially?) Tinder

can actually be pretty good speech fodder. They lend themselves to visual elements you can use – like bunging in a slide show full of real (or imagined) profile pictures – and if both of you speak at the reception, as is increasingly common, you can get some funny he said/she said, he thought/she thought interplay going on. After all, what do your guests want to see most? The two of you getting on and having fun, of course. And if that means revealing the frustration, the annoyance and the vulnerability of online dating in comedy fashion to all and sundry, well, that’s a small price to pay. Matt Bielby, editor


76I write the

songs of love and special things…

29Channelling the


We’re a close family…

spirit of Venice…

MATT BIELBY Editor matt.bielby@mediaclash.co.uk



chased the sun around the Cote d’Azur

LISA RODD Account Manager

66 Priston proud

Order of service 7 INVITATIONS

A very small dog, some rather cool suits, do-it-yourself stationery, and the brightest carpet you’ve ever seen at VOW Live


New section! The first in a semi-regular series looking, in-depth, at a wedding essential. And we start with the most essential of all essentials: the food…


Packed with sleek dresses, big bouquets, and wedding inspiration galore


One was in Somerset, the other near Cannes; one’s obsessed with dogs, the other with oyster bars. But both our real life brides are beautiful, both are blondes, and both their real life weddings look enviable for all sorts of reasons… 4 | VOW


We’ve got just the one pick for you this time around, but don’t worry, it’s a doozy


What does nobody regret splashing out on at their wedding? The music, of course, and we’ve found two great local wedding singers, and made them pretend to get married


More a post-wedding desire than a wedding day tradition this time around, and supremely, beautifully pointless. (Perhaps that’s why we love it so…)


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: Lisa Evans wears Anna Sorrano at Priston Mill; picture by Chris Daw

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


Vow M ag a zine

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

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


T @CliftonClub


The Clifton Club, 22 The Mall, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4DS


Orangery The

at Goldney Hall

A hidden gem within Bristol’s famous Clifton Village, the Orangery at Goldney Hall offers the perfect fairy-tale backdrop for your big day. The Orangery sits within beautiful walled gardens which are yours for the day of your wedding.

Speak to a memb e r of the Conf e re nc e Off ic e t o a r r a n g e a s u i t a bl e t i m e t o h a v e a g u i d e d t o u r aroun d ou r beautif ul v e nue , b uild ings a nd gro u n ds . Email: con f erenc e - off ic e @b r is tol. a c . uk Tel: 0 1 1 7 9 5 4 5 5 0 1 Universit y of Br is tol, G old ne y Ha ll, Low e r Cli f t o n H i l l , Br i s t o l BS8 1 BH


EMMY THE GREAT For many brides, their search for wedding shoes begins and ends with a trip to EMMY LONDON, where the most exquisite footwear combines hand-made opulence with vintage glamour For Emmy Scarterfield – creative director at Emmy London, the shoe specialists – summer weddings are all about the joys of the English countryside, and her 2018 Collection, called ‘Meadow Dreaming’ and inspired by wild grasses, is suitably timeless. (How many fashion designers love camping? She does.) “Each piece is playfully romantic,” Emmy says, “using the softest blush-coloured suede with dainty bloom and leaf embroidery. Think secret gardens and rolling fields dappled with sunlight, and natural flowers in pretty pastel colours.” Emmy started out doing bespoke shoes but now has a ready to wear collection too, coming in around the £400-£700

mark. Key features include her signature elaborate trim, using delicate stitching, flat sequins and ornate glass beadwork plus gold embroidery. ‘Meadow Dreaming’ sees the introduction of new seasonal tones paired with her statement embellishment, often influenced by insect wings and old jewellery. “I love the simplicity of wild flowers,” she says, “and their hypnotic swaying movement felt like the perfect inspiration. I even looked at the intricacy of Victorian glasshouses to inspire beaded details.” All good, but perhaps don’t risk any of these shoes on a wander across an actual English field… emmylondon.com VOW | 7

I n v i tat i o n s

Snap happy Ch a r l e n e M o rto n – w e d d i n g ph oto g r a ph e r

PERSONAL BEST Charlene often gets quite creative with the big group shots, she says, and we think we can see an example of that somewhere on these pages…

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Chepstow’s CHARLENE MORTON keeps it fresh by limiting the number of wedding she does, and making sure each couple’s personalities shine through Sitting on the border where South Wales butts up against Gloucestershire, Chepstow is handy for Cardiff, Bristol and around, and features a striking bridge and castle, making it a key stopoff on the ‘Wye Tour’ enjoyed by 18th century travellers unwilling to risk a trip

to mainland Europe. (Something to do with a short man in an odd hat running rampant across the continent.) It’s also home to wedding snapper Charlene Morton, a familiar name in these pages, who shot her first ceremony back in 2003 – using a film camera, naturally – and who, though it went well, feels like she’s learned a lot since then. “Because it was a friend’s wedding, I was fairly relaxed – amazingly! – and captured what I still think are some fun and funny moments,” she says. “Bridal photography then took off for me, though I try to keep it down to 15-20 a year, as I’m scared that any more would run the risk of me becoming bored. Keeping it fresh is so important.”

So, how should couples set about choosing a photographer? I always find the initial wedding consultation is a bit like a first date: if you leave it knowing you would go on a second, then you can be fairly confident that you’ll get along on the big day. What does a typical package cost? They tend to come in around £2,000, but this can vary depending on time of year, and shorter days can be offered too. Adding video and drone footage will, of course, increase the final price. How do you make sure you don’t miss any vital parts of the day? It’s all down to experience, both as a photographer and simply as someone who has attended a lot of weddings. This gives me the confidence to know the basic timeline of a ‘normal’ British wedding day, and I make sure any special events are discussed beforehand. If impromptu things happen, though, I just keep my ear to the ground and stay alert. You must have shot in some gorgeous locations…? One of the most special parts of being a wedding photographer is getting to explore places that aren’t generally open to the public. Berwick Lodge in Bristol is one of my favourites. It has its own woodland, the most unusual – even crazy – sculptures and garden walkways, and it’s very versatile, too. If the weather is dismal, the interiors are just as photogenic, being alive with chandeliers and staircases. It offers everything you could want as a photographer. What looks bad in photos? Anything too cheesy! And you need to make sure everybody looks their best – nobody wants a double chin! People have a natural tendency to lean backwards when they’re being photographed, which is something I look out for, and if there’s even the hint of tension between family members I do my best to keep them as far apart as possible, so it doesn’t show. How about the weather? Dealing with the British weather is the most challenging part of my job – VOW | 9

s n a p h a p p y: c h a r l e n e m o r t o n

though, that said, rain has given me some of my most creative shots. And bright sunshine can actually be even worse. As long as you have flexibility in your wedding day timeline, though – and are willing to perhaps get your heels a little wet! – you can usually get amazing photographs, whatever the weather. Ever been trampled by a crowd? It got close during a Cèilidh one time. I wanted a low, wide-angle view as the couple skipped up the tunnel of guests; their feet were inches from my head! Do you have fun at weddings? Yes! It’s always a very long day, but sometimes I get on so well with the 10 | VOW

couple and guests that I finish up, pop the camera in the car, and then stay for the party. What’s the best kind of couple? Those who care about the photos and want to try creative things. You want to be able to get through the standard shots quite quickly – family shots are very important, of course, but I try to get them done and dusted as soon as I can, giving more time to bring out the couple’s personalities. I’ve spent many years photographing babies and pets, and the key to that is to not worry about how silly I sound or look. And it’s the same with couples – if it makes them laugh, the pictures will look natural.

What kind of photos annoy you? Like many photographers, I’ve been briefly tempted by filters and vintage effects, but I’ve made a stand against them – they might offer a quick fix, but a timeless editing style is far more enduring. There is a place for filters, and it’s called Instagram. Finally, can you tell if a couple is going to stay together based on how they act on the day? Not with absolute confidence, but it’s very apparent when a couple are in perfect sync with each other, and it shows in the photos. You can usually tell who’s the boss quite quickly, too! charlenemorton.co.uk

Helping to make your day very special Choose the comfort and luxury of a new chauffeur-driven Bentley for your wedding day Call 01225 318591 Visit www.willoughbygreen.co.uk

I N V I TAT I O N S Hence Chester Barrie’s Spring Summer 2018 collection, designed to help men look their best when it matters most. “The emphasis is on style and refinement as well as comfort and fit,” Emma says, “and this year we’ve used a host of different patterns, colours and materials, giving profuse options no matter what the wedding theme.” Imagine elegant DJs, then, but also cool linens for a hot weather do, and some great looks with contrasting waistcoats that manage to be elegant, put-together and relaxed at the same time – no mean trick. chesterbarrie.co.uk


BOLD BOYS Named for the nearest county town to their factory, and the writer of Peter Pan – a bit random, right? – CHESTER BARRIE offers a range of brighter, more relaxed wedding suits for every sort of stylish groom… It’s hard to look beyond London’s celebrated Savile Row for your wedding suit, and Chester Barrie has a ‘suitable’ amount of history – it’s been around since 1935 – while hitting a sweet spot for 12 | VOW

many of us (and our budgets) between a full-on gentlemen’s bespoke service and more affordable made-to-measure and ready-to-wear tailoring. (In fact, this has been part of their dna from the start – the company was originally founded to offer to-notch English tailoring at a fair price to an American audience, with its factory in Crewe, Cheshire picked to be equally close to the Huddersfield cloth mills and the port of Liverpool.) Things have moved on considerably since, though, not least in our choice of wedding attire. “Many gentlemen are straying from the traditional morning suits, and experimenting with colour and more contemporary looks,” says the company’s Emma Chitty.


I n v i tat i o n s

ETERNAL BEAUTY Or, at least, beauty that will see you right through the day, and the evening too. That’s the aim of makeup artist CHARLEIGH HEBBARD, who knows the most incredible bridal look is useless if it doesn’t last…

How long is a wedding day? Too long, some might say, and certain parts of you tend to take a pounding, not least your memory (who is that women who showed up with Uncle Toby?), your poor feet, and your makeup, which – says Charleigh Hebbard – is about to undergo the most extreme of endurance tests. Bristol-based Charleigh – a fully qualified MUA with an Advanced Technical Diploma Level 3 in Media, Theatrical and Special Effects Makeup – has been practising for about four years now, and doing bridal for three of them. “But this past year has really seen the wedding work take a front seat,” she says. “I’m probably best known for my dramatic evening looks, and my soft,

delicate bridal make-up – though I pride myself on my versatility.” To her mind, bridal make-up needs to be clean and polished with no sharp edges, while still incorporating those signature elements that a bride feels defines herself. “This could be a bold lip, winged eyeliner, or anything really,” Charleigh says. “It’s all about creating a look that will have longevity – the day is a long one, remember – while looking good to the naked eye and having impact on camera too. The bride should be left feeling the most confident, gorgeous version of herself, and should stay like that for twelve hours or more.” This is makeup designed to survive laughter, happy tears, and endless kisses. VOW | 13

a s k t h e e x p e r t: c h a r l e i g h H e b b a r d


Though some women like to concentrate on the eyes when applying make-up, and others the lips, Charleigh feels both are as important as each other. “The eyes are always a main focus point, a key element in photographs, and are vital for framing the face,” she says. “But, at the same time, the lips are crucial too. They’ll be the main point of focus throughout the vows, particularly – in fact, in my opinion, an otherwise wonderful look can often be ruined by a second thought lip. When choosing an eye look and lip colour, you always have to keep in mind what the bride likes – that’s crucial, really – but at the same time, and running it a close second, you need to be sure to pick products with 14 | VOW

undertones and variations of depth. These are crucial if you want to present your bride in the most flattering way.” The looks you see here – featuring model Lisa Aimy Riley, and shot by Tammy Jaqueline Snipe – were created to showcase the main strengths of Charleigh’s approach: flawless, long lasting skin with an effortless glow; simple yet effective smokey eyes; wispy lashes for added definition; and the perfect glossy pout. “Before I do any of this, though,” Charleigh says, “I rely on my brides to do a little prep. For the perfect application, I recommend that they exfoliate the evening before, and follow that up with

a full cleanse, toner and moisturiser. I’d ask that they avoid using any moisturiser the actual morning of the wedding, though, as I bring everything with me to pamper your face beforehand.” Always in her make-up bag: NARS Sheer Glow foundation, Barry M Glow Drops and Rivehr Cosmetics Highlighters. “My brushes and hygiene equipment are the most important things, though,” she says, “as hygiene is everything for us makeup artists.” So, what’s your biggest challenge? “It’s certainly not poor skin, or particular skin tones. Anyone is welcome in my chair! In fact, I’d say it’s fog on early morning journeys to my brides.” charleighhebbardmakeupartist.co.uk

i n v i tat i o n s

HEROINE CHIC Posh high street staple WHISTLES adds to its bridal offering, with three new gowns named for the big screen’s most romantic women

Fashion types tend to love Whistles (as flattering as designer, but considerably less expensive) and especially so since its relaunch in 2008 – though we perhaps did see their tulip skirts a bit too often back then. In more recent years, the classy, high-end high street store has

started to cater for brides too, offering a contemporary Whistles Wedding collection that grows a little each year, and is well-priced at around £499-£699. And for 2018 it features three ofthe-moment new gowns, bringing the entire Wedding collection up to ten – nine dresses and a jumpsuit. Each of the newbies is named for a romantic heroine of the movies: Scarlett (a backless micro floral lace dress, named for the vain yet fascinating Ms O’Hara of Gone with the Wind), Clementine (a pleated midi dress with cut-out shoulder detail, named for Kate Winslet’s character from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Isla (a tiered silk slip dress with frayed-hem lace edging, named, of course, for the

luminous Ingrid Bergman role in the deathless Casablanca). Made of materials and details that belie their price point – like silk and lace, organza jacquard and embroidered tulle, with scalloped edges, detachable trains, modern ruffles and cut away backs – they offer a range of silhouettes, from a classic slip dress to a mid-length pleated style. There are four new bridesmaid gowns too, in colours like navy and pale pink, each coming in at £199 or below. whistles.com

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i n v i tat i o n s : v o w l i v e

Photography BY nick church

Live stars We learned so much at Vow Live, our first ever wedding fair: like what to wear and how to wear it (and how to fit into it), for starters. Everyone came away full of new opinions and insights, on issues ranging from venues to wedding photos, cakes to stationery. (Oh, and if you’re ever thinking of buying a bright pink carpet for your house? Don’t.) On the Bristol Harbourside, in the huge semicircle that’s the Lloyds Ampitheatre – not far from Brunel’s ss Great Britain and the Arnolfini and opposite some pretty spectacular old cranes – we placed an almostas-huge marquee, and filled it with some of the most fresh and exciting voices and businesses in the local wedding industry. This was VOW Live, back at the end of April, and it rocked, with regular catwalk shows – featuring dresses by Sassi Holford and Heartfelt Vintage, frillies by Boux Avenue, and menswear by the mighty Gieves and Hawkes, amongst others – alongside plenty of Vow Voices talks, plus loads more to see, do and sample. Ever wondered about the two different finger shapes men have, and why it means they’ll need differently designed rings? Then top jeweller Nicholas Wylde was your man. Ever worried about which pre-wedding diet and fitness regimes actually work in the squeeze-into-the-dress build up? The cheerily potty-mouthed ‘Moo’ Rolfe could help. And there are talks by makeup experts and florists, venue stylists and gift list experts – our lead sponsors Prezola, of course – too. Indeed, as long as you remembered to bring along your sunglasses – it wasn’t the sunniest of days, but the venue’s zingiest of pink carpets meant the brightness levels may have been a bit much for the more hungover Sunday morning visitors – you will have had a fine old time. Roll on next year…

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i n v i tat i o n s : v o w l i v e

Adding to the jollity in our giant pink-floored marquee were‌ Headline sponsors Berwick Lodge Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa CMC Marquees Deer Park Country House Hotel Electric Daisy Flower Farm Nicholas Wylde The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa

The Little Wedding Helper Linda Thomas Eco Design The Local Bakehouse Make-Up by Leanna Biggs Nicholas Wylde Pen and Fold Prezola Queen and Whippet Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique Speakers Ruth Garner Electric Daisy The Royal Crescent Flower Farm Hotel & Spa LittleLAB The Little Wedding The Sweet Tricycle Venetia Norrington Helper Photography Moovit Wedding Day Nicholas Wylde Wagon Pen and Fold Prezola Catwalk Catwalk DJ: Ross Exhibitors Wilson Atelier 19 Flowers: Electric Berwick Lodge Daisy Flower Farm Bristol Harbour Hair: Abi Hotel & Spa The Cake Architect Constanza Jewellery: CJ Prop Hire Claire Hill Designs Nicholas Wylde Makeup: Bobbi Clare Lloyd Brown Bath Accessories Models: Clevedon Hall GingerSnap Models CMC Marquees Deer Park Country Contributing House Hotel catwalk Dyfed Menswear brands Electric Daisy Boux Avenue Flower Farm Fred Perry Evoke Pictures Gieves & Hawkes Fosters Heartfelt Vintage The Gin Hive Reiss Hey Jules Sassi Holford Hotel Du Vin Topshop VOW | 19

Photography BY nick church

best in show

I n v i tat i o n s


SPRING BAKERS They’re scone when they’re scone

THE WEDDING DATE New stationery option for every taste – and budget (’cos you made it yourself)

THE BLING RINGS Glittering prizes at Diana Porter’s annual ring exhibition Park Street, Bristol jeweller Diana Porter is currently running her annual wedding and engagement ring exhibition, featuring a mix of fine contemporary wedding jewellery handpicked by her expert team. “We’ve managed to secure some of the finest UK and international designers, including Disa Allsopp, Jacqueline Cullen, Jo 2 0 | VOW

Pond, Kim Victoria, Lene Vibe, Nina Bukvic and Shivani Patel,” Diana says. “There are men’s and women’s wedding bands, engagement rings and eternity bands, so there’ll be something here for you whether you’re recently engaged, just thinking of tying the knot – or simply like to look at great jewellery!” dianaporter.co.uk


Unique stationery is a key part of an elegant wedding, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. For instance, you could sign yourself up onto Bath’s The Makery’s new course, which will show you how to create your own. Cassie from Ivory Inks hosts Wedding Stationery: Bush Lettering with Ivy Inks on Sunday, 17 June from 2pm, and for £48 you’ll learn how to create place-names, table numbers and so on, incorporating any ideas you may want to bring along. All materials are included, and you’ll get to take home your own brush pen, and anything you make on the day. themakery.co.uk

New Bristol start-up Here Today, Scone Tomorrow Kickstarter to bring their New Bristolused start-up Here Today, Scone dreams of aused mobile scone bakery – perfect Tomorrow Kickstarter to bring their for wedding receptions – alive, transforming dreams of a mobile scone bakery – perfect aforbeautiful HY van (youtransforming know, those weddingCitroen receptions – alive, cool, old-looking that(you seemknow, to bethose made a beautiful Citroenones HY van of corrugated iron) intothat a mobile cool, old-looking ones seem bakery. to be made Wife and husband and Monty of corrugated iron)team into aPip mobile bakery.are behind it, husband and plan team to offer choices Wife and Pipsavoury and Monty are –behind plus such oddities a er Black Forest gateau it, and plan toasoff savoury choices scone – alongside the cream teas. – plus such oddities astraditional a Black Forest gateau sconetomorrow.com scone – alongside the traditional cream teas. sconetomorrow.com

LOVE LETTERS Hong Kong Garden takeaways For another stationery option, the V&A has released two gorgeous new collections, using recently unearthed Chinese floral signs, through online stationer Papier. One, shown above, is in soft reds and greens, and the other in bold ceramic-style cobalt blue. papier.com

Glass Slipper Promotion Late Availability Dates Book the Glass Slipper package between 1st May 2018 - 30th November 2018

For only £4995

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

2 2 | VOW

food by wild fork west

food by wild fork west

berwick lodge; Picture BY andrew plant

vow r e p o rt s T h e s tat e o f o u r u n i o n s , o n e s u b j e c t at a t i m e

food of lov e

When menus and budgets can be totally geared to suit your tastes, it’s hard to know where to start with wedding food. That’s why we’ve decided to ask a few of those in the know…


eep your wedding guests well fed – and plied, but not too plied, with booze – and things will go with a bang, guaranteed. Your caterers are one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, nuptials-wise, but there are so many options out there it’s hard to know where to start. To that end, we had a little chat with a few we know and rate to find out what’s trending, and get a few tips on how to make the Benjamins go that bit further…

Take it from the streets

pieminister; Picture BY Samuel docker

Trending hotly are posh versions of street food, of course, and at Pieminister – the Bristol-based guess-what specialists – they’re currently serving their award-winning pies at wedding after wedding, says Katie Packham, their ‘wedding minister’, “ranging from grand banquets to simple pie-and-mash picnics. They’re so versatile, and with 18 flavours to choose from there’s a pie for every guest, including vegans and coeliacs.” But they don’t just do pies, offering a range of West Country starters, puddings and wedding cakes too. “In fact,   we’ll happily oversee every element, from start to finish, using our years of experience and friendly, down to earth approach. Couples are increasingly looking for informal food, with the emphasis more on quality of ingredients than a fancy-sounding menu. Our pies, with their rustic charm, fit perfectly, and pair brilliantly with our sharing platters of starters and puddings.” They also produce a late-night munchies table – think local free range ham from Chew Valley Smokehouse, plus cheeses, breads and pickles – while really tight budgets are catered for by simply delivering a bunch of hot pies to your venue. For something perhaps a little fancier, try Wild Fork West, where they “cook with classic techniques and modern twists,” says boss Michael Holloway, “using local, seasonal ingredients and inspired by chefs ranging from Yotam Ottolenghi to Fergus Henderson and Diana Henry.” VOW | 2 3

Beautiful things to hire!

Brookman Greene have an eclectic mix of decorative props for you to hire to make your wedding look amazing! Bring some extra atmosphere and style to compliment your theme by taking a look at the “Prop Hire� section of our website and be inspired by our Lookbook.

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

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

Food by Berwick Lodge

Food by Pieminister

vow R e p o rt s : w e d d i n g fo o d

The big trends these guys are seeing include sharing platters, where dishes are presented ‘family style’ for guests to help themselves. “It’s a great icebreaker,” Michael says, “but street food and barbecue menus are big too, especially at festival-style weddings. We love it when couples collaborate with our chef on dish design, tweaking the food beforehand.” To make budgets go further, he suggests starting your party later – with the ceremony at 2.30pm, say – so guests will have lunched in advance. Or just serve two courses rather than three, perhaps using the cake as dessert. “Whatever your budget, though, don’t scrimp on canapés,” Michael says. “They may seem an unnecessary expense, but – with the bubbles flowing – two hours in the hot sun mingling is too much without them.” If you’re looking to really make your rustic or festival-style wedding sing, by the way, events planners Brookman Greene offer all sorts of cool props to hire, from giant fire pits to bunting, and from display boards to Venetian gondolier outfits. (We don’t know quite why you’d want those, but you might.)

Grand hotels

Plenty of hotels are proud of their wedding breakfast offering. For example, try Berwick Lodge, the luxury country house hotel near Bristol. “We’ve got the most enthusiastic and experienced chefs from across the world,” says their Jo Maggs, “who love to use foraged ingredients from our own grounds.” As for current trends, the guys here are seeing fewer and fewer traditional, heavy desserts, rejected in favour of things like a passionfruit crème brulée with coconut sablé and mango sorbet, or a chocolate pave with cherry sorbet and cookie crumb. “And garden party-style afternoon tea is a wonderful way to feed your guests inexpensively,” Jo says, “while still making it feel like an occasion. That said, there’s nothing more lavish than serving a seven-course tasting menu with accompanying wine flight to your guests.” And then there’s the Centurion Hotel at Midsomer Norton, about nine miles from Bath, where they keep the dishes simple but still interesting. “Our hot smoked salmon with pickled fennel, herb mayo and cucumber gel is excellent,” says Bekka Lowe, events co-ordinator there, “as it’s a simple ingredient made exiting through textures and flavours – and it’s much better than your standard cold smoked salmon.” Burgers are a huge hit here too – “believe it or not, they’re perfect for weddings in the evening when everyone is dancing away, as they’re so easy to grab” – and Bekka recommends a sharing starter as a strong budget tip. “They’re good and cheap, people can pick and choose what they like, and they’re a good ice breaker for the table,” she says. “But if you want to push the boat out, have a fish course after the starter.” For a city centre wedding, consider the Clifton Club in the heart of Bristol’s Clifton Village: they’ve a dedicated events team, a resident executive chef, and the location can’t be beat. Plus, they’re celebrating their 200th year this year, if you fancy adding a bit of historical significance to proceedings. Alternatively, Hotel du Vin has two Bristol locations – one in the city centre, and the new Avon Gorge hotel in Clifton Village, which boasts fantastic views of the Suspension Bridge, VOW | 2 5

and is going to be quite something when it’s all done, any time now. They can seat up to 80 for a cermeony and wedding breakfast, or take 150 for an evening reception, and you can have an outside bar and barbecue or hog roast out on the terrace with all those views. We’ll doubtless have more on this great new addition to the local wedding scene in a future issue. And if you’re looking for a big space with impressive architecture, schools are a surprisingly on-point option. Try Westonbirt, for instance, which has extensive grounds, buildings that look like a very grand private home, and Palmer and Howells catering on call (and those guys are good).

Food by Hotel du Vin Avon Gorge

vow r e p o rt s : w e d d i n g fo o d

Averys of Bristol; averys.com Berwick Lodge; berwicklodge.co.uk Brookman Greene; brookmangreene.co.uk Centurion Hotel; centurionhotel.co.uk Clifton Club; thecliftonclub.co.uk Great Western Wine; greatwesternwine.co.uk Hotel du Vin Bristol Avon Gorge; hotelduvin.com Pieminister; pieminister.co.uk Westonbirt School; westonbirt.org Wild Fork West; wildforkwest.co.uk

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Food by Hotel du Vin Avon Gorge

the breakfast club

Food by Berwick Lodge

And what about the booze?

The team at Bath’s Great Western Wine certainly know their booze. “If you tell us your menu, budget and number of guests,” says their Kate Robinson, “we can select some fabulous wines, and guide you through the quantities you’ll need.” The guys stock over 800 wines and sparkling wines from France, Spain, Italy and Chile to suit all budgets, plus local craft ales, more than 150 gins – the real trend at the moment – and plenty of magnums, and offer free delivery to your venue, free Riedel glass loans, and up to 25% sale or return. “If you’re really pushing the boat out,” says Kate, “then my advice is to go big. Magnums and double magnums add a touch of glamour, and make a great talking point during the reception and wedding breakfast. And you don’t need to spend a fortune either, as we sell a delicious Prosecco in magnum size!” Over at Averys in Bristol they’re keen to push a bespoke wedding tasting service, which takes place in their historic cellars in Bristol – always worth a visit anyway – and is, says Tia Barnard-Smith, wedding advisor there, “a really fun, memorable experience. We also offer really substantial wedding discounts, free delivery in the UK, and a sale or return policy – which really puts minds at rest when ordering large amounts!” Right now, many couples are going crazy for Chilean wines – “they’re so fresh and vibrant, and offer excellent value for money” – but they’re also seeing a lot of interest in crémants. “These are produced in the same way as Champagne, but are about a third of the price,” Tia says. “Couples on a tighter budget love lesser known wines – and, as well as being good value, they offer something a little different for your guests.”

Book your Wedding Wine Tasting with us today on 01225 322810

• Home to over 800 wines and 150 Gins • Free Riedel Glass Loan

www.greatwesternwine.co.uk | Great Western Wine, Wells Road, Bath, BA2 3AP

Quote VOW19 to receive your free glass of bubbly on arrival at your Wedding tasting.

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

Contact Lisa lisa.rodd@mediaclash.co.uk

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

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


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 M a rt y n N o r s w o rth y

the venice of the

north The main hall at Bristol Harbour Hotel is modelled on one of the greatest pieces of architecture at St Mark’s Square in the City of Bridges itself, and for an indoor wedding it’s hard to beat…

THE BRIDE: bristol harbour hotel


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photographY by martyn norsworthy


ow’s default inspirational wedding shoots tend to take place in fields next to rustic barn conversions; sometimes we venture to precarious Devon or Cornwall cliff edges for the full Cathy Earnshawmeets-Sarah Woodruff windswept romanticism. (We’re talking Wuthering Heights and The French Lieutenant’s Woman here, of course.) But our patch also contains plenty of cities and large towns – Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Bath – and many of us enjoy a more urban wedding; even, when it’s rainy or wintry, hardly venturing outside at all. And if this is the way you’re going, one of the most exciting options is Bristol Harbour Hotel on Corn Street in the Georgian heart of the city, occupying two former banks (Lloyds Bank’s old HQ and a Midland, if you’re counting) and quirky as you like, taking full advantage of both buildings’ impressive classical proportions and architecture, while revelling in boutique hotel quirkiness around every corner. (Imagine bold wallpapers and carpets, plenty of velvet and unusually coloured leather, random Asian influences, huge metal fish sculptures and weirdly-shaped furniture.) There’s a fancy frontage with its columns and stone carvings of ships, lions and cherubs; the mighty Sansovino Hall (the main events space, with huge skylights and a painted ceiling); and even an underground spa in the old vaults. Some of original architect William Bruce Gingell’s 1856 work here is based on the 16-century Library of St Mark’s in Venice, Jacopo Sansovino’s High Renaissance triumph, but there are intriguing little corners and treats all over the place. hotographer Martyn Norsworthy might be based in Devon but has long enjoyed this space, and wanted to create a styled shoot to take advantage of it, so rocked up with his team one sunny day in March. “It’s just a lovely location,” he says, “and for me the most interesting part of the day was getting to explore all the many different corners of the hotel, taking advantage of the different architecture styles and approaches to interior design.” Martyn was lucky enough to have visited before this place was even finished – it only opened at Christmas 2016 – and so has long known how many shooting spaces it contains. “Ever since I’d seen the finished design, I knew I wanted to create a series of stunning images to showcase the style and design of the building,” he says. “It has a real Venetian feel to it, so I wanted strong, classical looks – but then everything is flipped on its head when you stumble across spaces like the funky Gold Bar. For those shots I knew I needed rougher hair designs, and a lot more attitude from the models, which I believe we pulled off.” Martyn brought together quite the talented bunch to work with him here, including Laura of Laura Louise Hall Luxury Wedding Stylist, who came up from Devon with the stunning gowns, and Lawrence Taylor – artistic director of Precision, Cardiff – who contributed amazing ‘hair up’ designs. “It was a privilege to watch such a master at work,” Martyn says, “and his hair creations were the icing on the cake for me. They certainly gave me the look I craved.” Models, meanwhile, were Hayley Revell and Corrie Hine – “they took direction extremely well,” Martyn says, “and fully understood the look and feel I had wanted” – wearing make-up by

Sally Bracey of Portishead-based Makeup by Sally. And the bridal flowers were sourced as simply as you like – Martin merely bought them across the street at a market stall in St. Nicholas Market. Finally, there were two helpers on hand: Martyn’s assistant, Julie, and Lawrence’s assistant, Jonah. “Whenever I produce a styled shoot, I always make sure the finished product is something we could actually deliver at a wedding,” Martyn says. “And within a real wedding’s time constraints, too. There is nothing worse than styling a shoot to showcase your abilities, then not be able to replicate it when a couple ask for it on their big day.” In the meantime, though, Martyn is looking forward to working here again. “It would be great to come back and approach the hotel in a totally different style,” he says, “perhaps using the outdoor area next to the Market, too. I’d even like to shoot outside on a nice crisp winter’s evening – this is, after all, one seriously cool venue.”

On the waterfront Wondering why the Harbourside isn’t quite outside the door were… Venue: Bristol Harbour Hotel; bristol-harbour-hotel.co.uk Dresses: Laura Louise Hall Luxury Wedding Stylist;

lauralouisehall.co.uk Hair: Precision, Cardiff; precisioncardiff.co.uk Makeup: Makeup by Sally; sallysmakeup.co.uk Flowers: St. Nicholas Market Models: Hayley Revell, Corrie Hine Photographer: Martyn Norsworthy;


Words by cl arissa picot Ph oto g r a ph y by j i m j o h n s o n

th e p owe r o f

three Under the guidance of top West Country wedding photographer Jim Johnson, three teams of wedding professionals compete – in the friendliest possible way, of course – 3 6 | VOW to style the perfect wedding…

THE BRIDE: jim johnson


he Great South West Photoshoot took place over three days in February at The Grange at Horsington in Somerset, an old Georgian rectory set in 17 acres of parkland. The idea? Bring three teams of wedding suppliers together to work collaboratively on a unique photoshoot in the spirit of friendly competition, each team getting one day to show what they can do. “It was not, however, a contest in the sense that there would be a winner,” says organiser and photographer Jim Johnson of Photos By Jim, who worked with all three teams, “as there were no trophies, medals, certificates, or even bottles of bubbly to be had. But you can’t help but look at the results and find yourself choosing a favourite.” Here are the three teams, and what they came up with…

M o n d ay

The first day’s shoot was headed up by Laura and Ella from Twigs and Twine Floral Design, and was built around an Edwardian Colonial theme. They came to the event late, and had just four weeks to form a team and come up with a concept. “We wanted a theme that enhanced the venue,” Laura says, “while bringing a little modern flair. Central was an epic banquetstyle dinner, but we wanted to take advantage of the fresh, botanical feel of the Orangery with an afternoon tea set-up, too. We run a lovely little florist and botanical gift shop in Somerset, and wanted to use all the wonderful plants we stock; we were inspired by thoughts of English couples living abroad in the early 1900s, and the sights that would have greeted them as they explored the rainforests. To this end, all the plants we used are of the sort that could have been brought back from India or the Caribbean by the rich families of the time. One thing we wanted to prove was that thinking outside the box with your bouquet can still suit a traditional wedding.” Also included were a mixture of authentic Edwardian items – china, vases and trinkets – while their English rose of a model suited both the softer scenes in the Orangery and the more sultry indoor set-ups. “Lucy was a great sport, embracing all our crazy ideas,” Ella says. “We even brought in a talented willow artist, who placed her stunning stag and doe as if skipping across the lawns.”

Concept, design and floristry:

Twigs and Twine Floral Design; twigsandtwinefloraldesign.co.uk Venue: The Grange; thegrangesomerset.com Dresses: Devlin Bridal Couture, Trowbridge; devlinbridalcouture.co.uk Accessories: To Be Adorned; tobeadornedshop.etsy.com Catering: Country Plate Catering; countryplatecatering.co.uk Cake: Ice Maiden Cakes; icemaidencakes.com Props: French & Wilder; instagram.com/frenchandwilder China hire: A Very Vintage Party; facebook.com/averyvintageparty Willow artist: Forged n Willow; facebook.com/forgednwillow Makeup: Made Up by Melissa; madeupbymelissa.wixsite.com Hair stylist: Louise Alway; louisealway.com Model: Lucy Thomas; instagram.com/lucy_thomas22

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photographY by jim johnson

team twigs & Twine

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THE BRIDE: jim johnson

T u e s d ay

The second day’s shoot was headed by Claire of Creative Creations Weddings & Events By Claire, who was initially inspired by the blues and golds from Pantone’s ‘intrigue’ colour range, and her general love of anything vintage. “But as I started to think about it more, a sort of ‘Art Deco meets modern copper geometrics’ theme came more to the fore, with gold, teal and peacock feathers standing in beautiful tall vases, and stunning flowers weaved amongst them.” The initial team grew quickly, giving Claire her flowers, cake, hair and makeup, accessories and stationery, and then grew again, adding a second florist, the bright blue Prosecco horse box by Nici of Pop Fizz Clink Prosecco Bar, vintage china, and fashion looks. “The banquet-style table we used in the Orangery was styled by me, Julia of Julia Moore Floral Designs, Mandy of Swingletree Vintage China Hire and Charlotte of Lily & Lottie Stationery, starting with some of Julia’s green foliage which was weaved through six of my gold birdcages,” Claire says. “Then came the flowers, candles and copper geometric tea lights, plus vintage crockery, cutlery and wine glasses. Charlotte of Lily & Lottie Stationery designed invitations, place cards and menus, using a combination of Art Deco and Art Nouveau fonts, then Mel of Melanie Todd Cake Design created a cake using the same print.” For the bedroom shots, Heather of Beautifully Preened by Heather Alexandra worked with model Ysanne Cleife, giving her an elegant, 1920s look with a completely black lid and crease to make her brown eyes pop, paired with a strong plum red lip. Meanwhile, Tessa of Tessa’s Tiaras created an intricate ivory and gold vintageinspired 3D lace headpiece, which went perfectly with a strapless Maggie Sottero gown by Kayleigh of Exclusively Yours Bridal Boutique. It had oodles of ruffles on the skirt yet a delicate, vintage style bodice. The groom – Ysanne’s real-life bf, Alistair Young – sported a look dominated by a vibrant teal satin waistcoat. But forget all that! “One of my favourite elements of the shoot was the Champagne tower that Mandy created in the dining room,” Claire says. “Chin-chin!” photographY by jim johnson

team creative creations Stylist: Creative Creations Wedding & Events By Claire;

facebook.com/creativecreationsweddingsandeventsbyclaire Dress: Exclusively Yours Bridal Boutique;

exclusivelyyoursbridalboutique.co.uk Accessories: Tessa's Tiaras; tessastiaras.co.uk Makeup: Beautifully Preened; beautifullypreened.com Bow tie: Patore' UK Wooden Bow Ties; patorewoodenbowties.co.uk Flowers: Julia Moore Floral Designs; juliamoorefloraldesigns.co.uk Flowers: Fleur Provocateur; fleurprovocateur.co.uk china: Swingletree Vintage China Hire; swingletreevintage.co.uk Stationery: Lily & Lottie; lilyandlottieweddingstationery.co.uk Cake: Melanie Todd Cake Design; melanietoddcakedesign.com Horse box bar: Pop Fizz Clink Prosecco Bar;

facebook.com/popfizzclinkproseccobar Lime-washed chairs: Blast Event Hire; blasteventhire.co.uk Gold cutlery: White Chair Company; thewhitechaircompany.co.uk

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THE BRIDE: jim johnson

W e d n e s d ay

The third and last day’s shoot was headed up by wedding stylist Vikki of Dreaming of Vintage, the wedding planning, styling and hire company. “A wedding is an occasion for evoking old memories and creating new ones,” she says, “and I was keen to bring a touch of nostalgia to my shoot. I love it when people dot family photos – wedding photos especially – around the place, encouraging guests to reminisce, and I like to provide a decorated swing or a flower frame to encourage more fun photo opportunities, too. Here, instead of place names, we used candid photos of the guests themselves.” Also part of the eclectic mix: using old crockery and welly boots to showcase the flower arrangements by Carly Nash at Peony and Rose, which were designed to become, says Vikkie, “not just a focal point, but a talking point too.” Vikkie’s approach celebrates the fact that a wedding is about two families coming together, and she’s happy to cheat a little to get the effect that you want. “So,” she says, “if a desired flower is out of season, just intersperse a few silk versions with your natural foliage. Or maybe even include a few balloons, for a touch of fun.” Happily, she had Lisa at Artificial Flower Arrangements and the guys at Bristol’s Partysmartys to help her do just that. This shoot concentrated on wedding essentials too – like the ‘sweet table’, laden with treats – and took joy in creating unique little elements. “Bespoke is key,” Vikkie says. “What could be more special than a wedding dress designed just for you, as with this one by Sam and Karina at 1 White Dress? For an amazing keepsake, I love it when brides commission jewellery – like the pieces we had by Louisa Harston – to wear on the day and enjoy afterwards, and a cake painted to your own design is lovely, too.” Vikkie even likes the idea of – instead of hiring a traditional venue – giving your day a more welcoming feel by hosting things at home, or even hiring a more suitable house if yours isn’t quite big enough. “I always remind brides that this is your day,” she says. “You have to put your own desires as a couple ahead of anyone else’s.” photographY by jim johnson

team dreaming of vintage stylist: Dreaming of Vintage; dreamingofvintage.co.uk Dresses: 1 White Dress; onewhitedress.co.uk hair and makeup: Hazel Powell at Hairoics Mobile Hair and

Beauty; facebook.com/Hairoics-Mobile-Hair-and-Beauty jewellery: Louisa Harston Jewellery; facebook.com/Louisajewels prop hire: Fran Hunt Weddingworks; facebook.com/fran.hunt.581 balloons: Partysmartys; facebook.com/partysmartys Cakes: Cemlyn Cakes; cemlyncakes.co.uk cake toppers, hair accessories and brooch bouquets:

Elsa Rose Boutique; elsaroseboutique.com florist: Carly Nash, Peony and Rose artificial flowers: Lisa at Artificial Flower Arrangements; facebook.com/pg/Chic-Blooms ladies occasion wear: Julie Bakos at Ladies Day, Westbury on Trym; ladiesdaybristol.co.uk chair hire: Blast Event Hire; blasteventhire.co.uk

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SWAN SONG TOP PICK: Swanson, by Suzanne Neville £3,065 CHOSEN BY: Carina Baverstock, Carina Baverstock Couture,

Bradford-on-Avon So, Carina, what is it?

This is a gown that fuses timeless glamour with chic, modern design; it offers a gorgeous nod to Jackie O at just £3,065. Why is it so special?

Because it’s so luxurious, with its sweeping skirt and ontrend industrial-feel hammered silk, embellished with premium quality duchess satin. And how would you wear it?

With Swanson, the only accessory needed is to be fearless! carinabcouture.com



FROCK Cool modern brides are wearing colour, they’re wearing jumpsuits, they’re going sheer. Here, some of our favourite bridal gown specialists choose the dresses that speak loudest to them right now – though one of them isn’t exactly new, and another isn’t even a dress…


PRINCESS JASMINE TOP PICK: Jasmine, by Jan Knibbs CHOSEN BY: Jan Knibbs of Atelier 19, Cheltenham So, Jan, what is it?

For one thing, it’s completely made by me! This actual dress cost around £3,000 many years ago, and to have something similar made now would certainly be more, as it took something like 200 hours. Why is it so special?

Because it won me the Embroidery category in the British Bridal Awards back in 2001, beating the likes of Bruce Oldfield. Although I obviously made it a while ago, I think the design is still very current, as it was inspired by tea gowns from La Belle Époque era but also hand-painted Chinese wallpaper, so it’s a bit modern geisha. And how would you wear it?

It would suit a bride who’s confident in her own style, and who’s having either a vintage-inspired or geisha-style wedding – with lots of cherry blossom! The colours are also very current, as today’s brides are a bit braver about wearing colour; in fact, it actually inspired my daughter in law for her own wedding. I would accessorise it with an amazing geisha hairpiece made in collaboration with my milliner, Gemma Sangwine, and matching handembroidered shoes made as a collaboration with the Spanish artisan shoe maker Augustine Moreno, who I also work with, so everything would coordinate from head to toe! The bride should wear it with a slightly sassy but also demure attitude, and with utter confidence that she looked incredible. atelier19cheltenham.com

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JAMIE THE FOX TOP PICK: Jamie bridal jumpsuit, by E&W Couture CHOSEN BY: Rachel Burgess of Rachel Burgess Bridal

Couture, Penarth So, Rachel, what is it?

Just an amazing handmade bridal jumpsuit by the fashionforward, Cardiff-based E&W Couture, who aim their stuff at chic babes looking to rock something a little alternative on their day; it retails at £950. Why is it so special?

Partly because I just love a jumpsuit! They’re so comfy, and look super-stylish – and Jamie even has cheeky pockets, more for putting hands into rather than items. It’s perfect for the modern, not-so-traditional bride. And how would you wear it?

If a bride wanted to, she could accessorise Jamie with a range of crops to wear over the top – we have some lovely lace, beaded and embroidered feather options that would look amazing. Or, if you were wearing it on its own, a delicate back-necklace from Claire Hill Designs would look gorgeous, too. rachelburgessbridalboutique.com

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HERE'S JONI TOP PICK: Joni, by Rime Arodaky CHOSEN BY: Lauren Crispin, The Mews, Clifton So, Lauren, what is it?

It’s a gown I’m very much in love with this season, mainly for its perfect blend of timelessness and modernism. The price? You’ll need to come and talk to us. Why is it so special?

For our more fashion-forward brides Joni is a glamorous gown with an edge, thanks to the bell sleeves and the modern polka dots. Instead of a low back, Rime Arodaky chose a sheer effect, which offers a more interesting and sensual detail. This is a dress for the bride who dares to be different. It’s fiercely strong yet delicately soft. And how would you wear it?

Less is more with our Joni gown, so keep accessories to a minimum. If you’re looking for a cover up, though, a motorcycle jacket is a surefire way to achieve a cool-bride look themewsclifton.co.uk

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

Ph oto g r a ph y by j e s s i c a h i l l


fa r m

With glamping on site and a real rustic, country wedding feel, new venue Cott Farm Barn made the perfect location for field-based frolics, and a bride who thinks she’s in the Pixar film Up‌

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T H E B R I D E : b a l l o n fa r m



ith the location sorted, the next key aspect to get right was the dress, and Jess had seen a couple of Chantelle Sophia’s gowns at a wedding fair last year, knowing instantly that she wanted to work with her. “Chantelle’s designs really are one of a kind,” she says, “and have a strong, spring-inspired feel to them, which was just what I wanted.” For the cake, Jess went to French patisserie chef Isabelle Marcelle of Zaza Marcelle in Bristol, who she’d worked with before – “her stuff is just so intricate and elegant,” she says – while flowers were from another regular collaborator, Amy of The Blossom Parlour in Weston-super-Mare. “She’s nothing short of perfection,” Jess says, “and though she always works within the brief, she can’t help but add her own special touches, too.” With some of the key players in place, the rest of the team came together through social media – “I was blown away by all the lovely people offering their services,” Jess says, “as this is the first styled shoot I’ve actually organised myself” – with Apple & Bramble Events proving to be particular superstars, bringing, Jess says, “every single prop they could think of, from wooden signs to table plans.” They also brought, of course, the real star of the show: a balloon basket, which came on a trailer and was quickly accessories with somewhat undersized lifting gear by Sam of Party Craft Events. “All in all, it was a lovely group, and on the day we all just meshed,” Jess says. “Everyone embraced the craziness!” So, what aspects of this shoot would it be practical to apply to someone’s real-life wedding? “Wedding planning is one of the most stressful things any couple can do,” Jess says, “and with so much inspiration around on social media, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. One thing this day taught me, though, is that less is very much more, and that you’ll usually do well simply by taking advantage of what you already have at your venue, from the beams overhead to the views in the distance. Just by adding a few simple touches to these already beautiful things – like fairy lights, or wild flowers – you create magic. That said, maybe a bubble machine and a balloon basket wouldn’t go amiss, either…”

photographY by jessica hill

ott Farm Barn has only recently been transformed into a wedding venue – something perhaps long overdue, as it sits in a picture perfect English country wedding location, surrounded by rolling Somerset hills. “It’s just outside Yeovil,” says photographer Jessica Hill, who organised this shoot, “and everywhere around is alive with wild flowers and greenery; there’s even a gorgeous outdoor area where you can hold the ceremony itself. You really couldn’t get any more ‘English country garden’ than this.” Jess and her team rocked up at the end of March, and immediately realised there’s no point in fighting what nature had already given them. “I really wanted to shoot something traditional and classically beautiful,” she says, “with a romantic, homely feel, all warm and welcoming. And I wanted to stay as true to English traditions as I could, with pretty pastel colours and vintage props throughout – though, of course, it wouldn’t be one of my shoots without a couple of unexpected touches thrown in!”

Barn find Making the most of Somerset’s latest gorgeous wedding venue were… Venue: Cott Farm Barn; cottfarmwedding.co.uk Bridal gowns: Chantelle Sophia Bridal;

chantellesophia.com Flower girl dresses: The Bridal Lounge; bridal-lounge.co.uk Flowers: The Blossom Parlour; blossomparlour.co.uk Hair: Sam at Bath Bridal Hair; bathbridalhair.com Makeup: Heather at Beautifully Preened; beautifullypreened.com Accessories: Nancy & Flo; nancyandflo.com Cake: Zaza Marcelle; zazamarcelle.co.uk props and calligraphy: Apple & Bramble Events; appleandbramble.co.uk Stationery: Adele at Poppleberry; facebook.com/Poppleberry Backdrop and chair covers: Toast of Somerset; facebook.com/TOASTeventvenuestyling Vintage china: Nanny Nellies Attic; nannynelliesattic.com Balloons: Party Craft Events; partycraftevents.co.uk Models: Danielle Manton-Kelly, Stephen Manton-Kelly, Connie Manton-Kelly Photography: Jessica Hill; jessicahillphotography.co.uk second photographer: Daniel Weeks; dhwphotography.co.uk Videographer: Dave Alley, Hedgehogvideo; hedgehogvideo.co.uk

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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 d a n ie l wee k s

l ov e we are all fools in

There are many wise words in Jane Austen, and many a relationship to capture the imaginations. Chief amongst these, of course, is Elizabeth and Darcy’s, which Bethan 3 0 | VOW Ralph of Apple & Bramble Events couldn’t help but try to recreate…

pictures by daniel weeks

Th e b r i d e : fo o l s i n lov e


hat’s your favourite romantic book? Yes, yes, of course it’s that one – it’s sexy and practical, witty and wise. For Bethan Ralph of Apple & Bramble Events, the wedding planning and styling people in Ilminster, Somerset, it’s long held a grip on the imagination, and sooner or later she always wanted to create a tribute to it of her own. This year, together with photographer Daniel Weeks and a strong team of local suppliers, she did just that. “Our first shoot of the year took place on 25 February in a beautiful Gothic church on the wonderful Somerset levels,” Beth says, “with Glastonbury Tor as our backdrop across the moors. Our initial inspiration came from a beloved book – Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, what else? – which I fell in love with when I was 16 or so. But then, when Joe Wright released his film version in 2005, my mind couldn’t help wandering. What would my version of this story look like? What would I have done differently? It was 11 years ago when I first read the book, little realising I’d eventually be styling and directing my own Pride and Prejudice concept editorial, but the story’s been stuck in my head all this time. And indeed, when we finally started to work on it, everything came very quickly and easily – after all, I’d already visualised so much of it beforehand.” orking closely with her friend Ellie of Ellie Bee Floristry, Beth quickly sourced items and suppliers, soon coming up with a more modern take on the novel, one which would allow her to play around with things a little. “As we make the majority of the Apple & Bramble props in-house,” Beth says, “we were able to design

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and build a light-up arch to reflect the beautiful architecture of the church. We also brought along a table, some LOVE letters, plus lots of Perspex, cutlery, glassware and tableware. It was a great location, and we did our best to take full advantage of it, really exploring the play of light and shadows inside the building, and the sheer height of the place. The day was bitterly cold and blustery, but that didn’t hinder our models, who worked impeccably throughout.” The dress came from Belle Amie Bridal in Taunton, and – says Beth – “moved beautifully, light passing through the thin overlays to create shadows and a truly ethereal feel” – while photographer Daniel Weeks brought a romantic yet natural feel to proceedings. “He was just amazing to be around,” Beth says, “and the models all commented on how easy and calming he was to work with.” Beth designed the table-scape with a lighthearted feel in mind, keen to combine the opulent with the quirky. “I wanted a running hint of gold to contrast with the pastel hues and muted foliage,” she says, “while Ellie kept the florals wild and wonderful, adding an organic sense of drama and movement. The calligraphy is something else I designed and created – I wanted our Elizabeth Bennet to be seen reading love poems from Darcy, and walking in the grounds appreciating nature. Little quotes and sayings from the book cropped up throughout the shoot too, giving it a personal touch and reminding us constantly of the tale that had originally inspired us.”

A lady’s imagination Joining Bethan Ralph to realise all her Pride and Prejudice dreams were… Venue: Glastonbury Wedding and Events;

glastonburyweddingvenue.co.uk Styling, stationery, and props:

Apple & Bramble Events; appleandbramble.co.uk Dress: Belle Amie Bridal; belleamiebridal.co.uk shoes: 1 White Dress; onewhitedress.co.uk Hair: Bridal Hair by Helen; bridalhairbyhelen.co.uk Makeup: Lucy Coombes Floristry and jars: Ellie Bee Floristry;

facebook.com/Ellie-Bee-Floristry Cake: Jane Brunt Meringues: The Baking Blondie Balloons: Partycraft Balloons; facebook.com/partycraftballoons Ribbons and table runner: Border Cottage

Flowers; bordercottageflowers.co.uk Models: Lucy Coombes, Jacob Ralph Photography: Daniel Weeks Photography;


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 m i k e a l s f o r d

just smoke and

Trouble Ask a barista who his style guru is, and it’s likely he’ll say the Peaky Blinders. And now brides and grooms – especially grooms, let’s be honest – are taking their lead from Brum’s hardest racecourse botherers too…



ou know, gentlemen, there is hell, and there is another place below hell,” said Tommy Shelby, Cillian Murphy’s stylish gang leader, in one memorable episode of the TV show Peaky Blinders, and our wedding party here looks like they’re hovering somewhere between the two. “We’re seeing plenty of couples looking for something different,” says Emma Hemmington of Exeter’s West Country Wedding Planner, who organised this moody shoot. “Perhaps they’re taking influences from television or movies, or from things they’ve seen on their travels. But right now, out of everything, I’d say Peaky Blinders is the reference I hear most, with vintage trends moving away from shabby chic towards dark and glamorous early 20th century styles.” Indeed, Peaky Blinders – the BAFTA-winning crime drama set largely in 1920s Birmingham, and awash with baker boy caps, watch chains and waistcoats – seems to have been one of the big themes influencing barmen and baristas for some time, and has filtered through to brides and grooms wanting something classy with a bit of a edge. “Couples with strong, individual style need their weddings to reflect their tastes,” says wedding stylist Hannah Taylor, responsible for this shoot’s flowers and table decoration, “and they love it when venue, guests, decor and styling all fit together. Dress codes are becoming increasingly popular, as brides and grooms strive to get all the elements to tie into a certain look.” For the table, Hannah made a branch-like centre prop to go with all the stuffed animals in the venue, Maunsel House near Taunton, finishing it in masculine dark greys. “While staying true to the dark drama of this shoot, but introducing a bit of strong colour too, l opted for deep reds and pinks in the flower arrangements and bouquets,” she says, “and – being a lover of all things authentic – l jumped at the chance to use my 1920s glass name holders. I made name cards to match out of checked paper, while our covered placemats used a 1920s-inspired geometric fabric. Both worked brilliantly with the theme, being both masculine and very stylish.” And that, basically, was the day in a nutshell. The team imagined the cast of the BBC2 show all dressed up for a country house wedding, each of them enjoying their natural, rough-edged 1920s style while, at the same time, modifying it according to their own individual tastes and a wedding’s dress codes. “The 1920s is a lovely era to take influence from, as it offers guests a wide range of inspiration,” Hannah says. “Our guys sported three-piece tweed suits by Keyvan at Zebel Bespoke” – the highly competitive Exeter-based tailor – “paired with the right accessories, like pocket watches or a Shelby tweed newsboy cap, and finished off with classic Oxford brogue shoes with a split tweed finish.” Keyvan runs quite the outfit, with showrooms in Exeter, London and Windsor offering some very tempting menswear wedding packages, covering everything from the groom alone (a three piece made-to-measure suit, with a made-to-measure shirt, formal shoes, tie, hankie and cufflinks, can be as little as £699, for instance) to pretty much the entire male wedding party. “For this shoot, I used contrasting ties and pocket squares to break up the colours,” Keyvan says, “and loved the opportunity to contrast thick tweed with linen neckwear for a look that’s equal parts sharp and rugged. Choosing a lighter colour shoe for the dark suits, and darker brown to go with the lighter ones, is an easy styling trick VOW | 5 5

THE BRIDE: smoke and trouble

to make footwear stand out. One thing I definitely avoided was silk, though, as only the very rich could have realistically afforded it back in the Peaky Blinders era.”


nd what about the girls? They were all about elegant 1920s looks too, a style that suits everyone from the youngest party member to the most chic of gothic beauties. “I love the gold 1930s liquid satin dress we found,” says supplier Linda, of Days of Grace vintage clothing. “It came with covered buttons and an unusually high neckline, plus the clever tailoring of this era. I especially like its bias cut and the godet train.” Striking though this dress was, though, it had its work cut out competing with the younger 1920s looks, such as the fine embroidered gown with its dropped waistline and tiered skirt. “This piece is a great representative of the simple yet classic design of the period, which often re-used fabric from an earlier decade,” Linda says. “A surprising number of 1920s dresses were actually cut down from adult Edwardian pieces belonging to a girl’s mother.” Also used were a pair of candlelight satin mid-length gowns from the ’30s, one creamier than the other. “They were both slinky and sexy, yet forgiving because they’re long sleeved,” Linda says. “We’ve a good selection in the shop, and they fly out the door.” Finally there was another 1920s-style dress, in rose flame dupion silk. “But it was actually made in the 1980s,” Linda says, “one of many periods when the look was revived. We styled it with an original 1920s lace crossover top, once part of a dress itself.”

Not scared of coppers We’ve heard very bad things about you Birmingham people… Venue: Maunsel House; maunselhouse.co.uk Planning: West Country Wedding Planner;

westcountryweddingplanner.co.uk Suits: Zebel Bespoke; zebel.co.uk Dresses: Days of Grace Vintage;

daysofgracevintage.co.uk Makeup artist: Naomi Gilmore; naomigilmoremakeupartist.co.uk Flowers and table decor: Hannah Taylor Decor; hannahtaylor-decor.com Necklace: Michael Spiers; michaelspiers.co.uk Brides: Jemma Carlin-Wells, Charlie Smith, Lauryn Allen Grooms: Jason Collins, Luke Grant, Jahgo Williams Alternative bride and groom: Kiara Baker and boyfriend Charlie Smith Flower girl: Jazmin Collins Photographer: Mike Alsford; mikealsford.com

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Words by Cl arissa Picot Ph oto g r a ph y by G r e g T h u r t l e

a n d o u r pat h s through the

f low e r s Thomas Hardy talked about flowers often, and just outside Dorchester – the quintessential Hardy town – our brides do much the same…

THE BRIDE: came house


orth Dorset wedding florist Oonagh Langrishe specialises in using English flower varieties, working from her studio at Stalbridge on the Dorset/ Somerset border. This shoot took place at the neoclassical Came House early this year, a privatelyowned venue that’s only being advertised for weddings for the very first time this year. “It’s located just outside Dorchester,” Oonagh says, “on the southern side of the town, which is – of course – famous for its strong connections to Romantic author Thomas Hardy.” Hardy was, indeed a Romantic – being hugely influenced by William Wordsworth, amongst others – but he was also a realist in the tradition of George Eliot, and was highly critical of much of Victorian society, and especially the declining status of rural people and rural life as the cities took over. His semi-fictitious region of Wessex – eventually expanding to encompass Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon, Hampshire and much of Berkshire – played host to novels like Far From the Madding Crowd (plucky farmer Bathsheba Everdene juggles male admirers including a lonely neighbour, a besotted shepherd and a charming dick of a soldier) and Tess of the d’Urbervilles (pretty country lass has a horrible time of it), and its rolling fields could be vaguely seen out of the windows here at times during the day; the stars of this particular photo shoot, however, look to be having a far better time. ame House has glorious views from the large terrace at the front, which looks across over the estate church and to rolling fields beyond,” Oonagh says. “And inside you have elegant reception rooms and a huge windowed, sunfilled Orangery, which provided much of the inspiration for this shoot.” Oonagh and her team used a soft colour pallet throughout, teaming full-skirted dresses with hand-dyed silk throws and ribbons in subtle tones. “We also had a hand-painted wedding cake and textured asymmetrical floral arrangements,” she says, “incorporating unusual Icelandic poppies with Ranunculus, ‘Panda’ Anemones and scented White O’Hara garden roses. I was trying to capture the feel of an intimate little wedding, with rings on a book only moments ago put down; the bouquet, silk shawl and hand-made hair band discarded on a chair; and the buttonhole pinned on the lapel of a velvet jacket…”


Whenever I look up, there will be you Bringing Hardy’s ‘ache of modernism’ to the Orangery were… Venue: Came House, Dorset; camehouse.co.uk Florist: The English Florist; theenglishflorist.co.uk Dresses: Chantelle Sophia; chentellesophia.com Hair and makeup: Amazing Face; amazing-face.co.uk Hair accessories: Nancy and Flo; nancyandflo.com SILK RIBBONS, SHAWLS AND THROWS: Border

Cottage Flowers; bordercottageflowers.co.uk Stationery: Lily and Lottie; lilyandlottieweddingstationery.co.uk Cake and cake props: Rose on the Cake; theroseonthecake.co.uk Photographer: TP Photography; thurtlepower.com

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

Ph oto g r a ph y by L au r a Fa r m e r

b e auti f u l lit tle

fool s Gatsby’s parties were glam to the max, sure, but there was a dark heart to them too. At Ston Easton Park, we’ve done our best to recreate the feel…

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The bride: ston easton


ho’s the most vital, fascinating woman in The Great Gatsby? Poor, tragic Myrtle Wilson certainly had a sort of crude, fierce vitality – at least until she got accidentally run over by Gatsby’s car. Snarky, aloof golfer Jordan Baker is probably the sexiest, and narrator Nick Carraway is certainly obsessed by her, detailing at some length her grey eyes, small breasts, autumn-leaf yellow air and the “flutter of slender muscles in her arms.” But the woman the novel revolves around is Daisy Fay Buchanan, the shallow, self-absorbed flapper played by Mia Farrow in 1974 and Carey Mulligan in 2013, most modern Gatsby films repeating the idea that Daisy is blonde and Jordan is dark when the book, of course, had it the other way around. This particular Gatsby-influenced shoot was put together by Laura Farmer of Freeformimages Photography, Hannah Withers of Bridal Reloved in Street and Sam Dare of Bath Bridal Hair, plus a team of suppliers across Devon and Somerset, and embraces this common misconception about Daisy. They held it at Ston Easton Park, the beautiful stately home, hotel and wedding venue at Wells, and used it to celebrate their joint love of everything vintage – and, in particular, the flair of 1920s glamour. “Ston Easton reminded us all of the big house in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, a novel Hannah, especially, adores,” Laura says. “It manages to be both intimate and exuberant at the same time, and has a traditional country house vibe, but with modern twists. I particularly liked the bar and newly renovated billiard room – and that everyone there went out of their way to accommodate us.” s well as the venue, inspiration came from the dresses the team chose, all with simple 1920s silhouettes and plenty of beading. They’re stocked at Hannah’s boutique – where pre-owned designer wedding dresses go to be reborn – and were created by Jenny Packham and Annasul Y. The Great Gatsby is full of glitter and glamour, yes, but has a raw, nasty side to it too, and the team worked hard to bring this out. “We hoped to achieve a really moody atmosphere,” Hannah says, “and we wanted our models to portray a strong, powerful – but ultimately in love – couple. Vivienne Rose was chosen for her vintage blonde looks – so much like Daisy from the films – which were complemented by our second model, Georgina Mifsud, with her dark, sultry appearance.” And the boys? “They simply had plenty of style.” Jennifer Martin of Jennifer Rose MUA used airbrush makeup to transform both brides, using plenty of deep plum tones, while Sam Dare of Bath Bridal Hair enjoyed the chance to get creative with her styling, the looks she came up with being paired with accessories and jewellery from Julie Warrender of Hey Jules, including a dramatic feather headpiece with hand-embellished lace and details, as well as pieces from her new collection, ‘All That Glitters’. The grooms, meanwhile, were dressed by Suave Owl, a new independent menswear outfit based in Keynsham, while the fun, modern bow ties were from Patore’ Wooden Bow Ties. Also contributing: flowers from Lorna Smith at Luce Loves Flowers, venue styling by Vicky Murdoch, and cake by Claire Potts of Claire’s Sweet Temptations.


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Though Gatsby was the inspiration, the guys were keen to ensure that nothing became too ‘costume-y’, Hannah says, and all the outfits used are current designs which are popular with brides and grooms. “Column and fit-and-flare gowns are becoming increasingly popular,” she explains, “and we were keen to showcase a number of different strap and sleeve options, as these are also key trends. Boho has ruled the roost for some time now, so it’s nice to try something a bit different – and, of course, country house weddings will never go out of fashion.”

The pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired Ploughing through the night at reckless speed were… Venue: Ston Easton Park; stoneaston.co.uk Dresses: Bridal Reloved, Street; bridalreloved.co.uk Suits: Suave Owl, Keynesham;

facebook.com/suaveowlltd Men’s accessories: Patore’;

patorewoodenbowties.co.uk Bridal accessories: Hey Jules; heyjules.co.uk Makeup: Jennifer Rose; facebook.com/jenniferrosemakeup Hair: Bath Bridal Hair; bathbridalhair.com Flowers: Luce Loves Flowers; lucelovesflowers.co.uk Venue Styling: Do Me A Favour UK; domeafavouruk.co.uk Cakes: Claire's Sweet Temptations; clairessweetteptations.com Models: Georgina Mifsud, Vivienne Rose, Paul Walker, Paul Hobbs Photography: Freeformimages Photography; freeformimages.co.uk

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

Let’s talk about your Wedding day...

Enquiries/appointments 01225 336805 Email: alison@alisonmiles.co.uk www.alisonmiles.com

29b the Mall | Clifton | BristoL | BS8 4JG T: 0117 973 04 45 | E: sales@belledejourflorist.co.uk www.belledejourflorist.co.uk


Till death Lisa Evans & Alex Brown


isa and Alex live and work in Bath these days – she’s editor of Vow’s sister magazine, Bath Life, while he’s at Bath Rugby Foundation, the charity arm of the famous rugby club – but they worked together for years before they ever got together. That was at the Evening Post in Swansea, “but,” Lisa says, “because we both secretly fancied each other, we never spoke. That was until one night about six years ago, when I got rather drunk, saw him in a bar and gave him a tap on the shoulder. It was Walkabout in Swansea – I know, classy – but we started talking-cum-slurring and something must have gone right, as our first date was a few days later. 6 6 | VOW

We went to a Thai restaurant in Swansea, where I ordered the Pad Thai – probably a mistake, as I was slurping noodles throughout – though he clearly didn’t mind. We’ve been together ever since.” The proposal was just as cute. “I’m obsessed with dogs,” Lisa says, “but we can’t have one because of the hours we work. That’s one reason I adore trips to my parents’ house in Wales, because it means we get to walk their two Old English Sheepdogs, Molly and Dexter, and on Boxing Day 2016 we did just that. Alex suggested a stroll up the mountains, and I found a stick on the ground that looked like a wishbone. Naturally, I made Alex pull it with me – and I won. Then he said, ‘Is this what you wished for?’ and got down on one knee.” It turned out Alex had asked both Lisa’s mum and dad for their permission on Christmas Day – “he doesn’t believe in the outdated notion that only the dad’s permission matters,” Lisa says – as he’d long since cottoned on to the fact that Lisa’s incredibly close with both parents, and would want them involved in everything equally. “Both of them did speeches on our wedding day,” Lisa says, “and

lisa & alex

PictureS by chris daw

both came with me in the bridal car. I even asked them both to walk me down the aisle – though mum declined, as she knew how much dad was looking forward to his moment in the spotlight!” The guys had 15 months to organise the wedding, but – says Lisa – “we’re huge procrastinators, so probably spent two solid months planning, and wasted 13 months watching Narcos and Suits. I kept telling myself that the men on Don’t Tell the Bride can organise weddings in weeks, so a couple of months would be ample – but I wish I hadn’t listened to myself. I now have deep-set wrinkles.” Still, at least finding the venue was no problem. “We knew what we wanted – a big space with character, that could accommodate the ceremony and the reception – and Priston Mill, in a hidden valley outside Bath – fit the bill,” Alex says. “Their Tythe Barn is an old stone-walled building with vaulted ceilings and bags of character. We wanted a big room where everyone could hear the speeches – many venues have L-shaped rooms, which aren’t ideal – and we wanted a great party in the evening too, one with little alcoves that people could slope away to if they weren’t into loud music. It was ideal.” VOW | 67

JUST M ARRIED: Lisa & Alex


o the venue came easily, but finding a dress was something else. “I tried on 34 of them,” Lisa says, “and never got ‘the feeling’ people tell you you’re going to have. So I kept looking, and looking. Then, when I finally did find a dress, it was on a spontaneous shopping trip alone, so none of my family were there to tell me it didn’t fit properly – drama! And it still didn’t fit – it was just too tight – two weeks before the wedding. I planned to go back to the shop to see if they could help, but the Beast from the East stopped me, so I simply didn’t eat for a fortnight (a carrot for lunch and a mug of gravy for dinner. Seriously) and, in the end, a miracle – it fit! (Worst two weeks of my life, though. On the day I was more excited for the wedding breakfast than marrying Alex.)” The dress itself is an ivory, mermaid-style number by Anna Sorrano, which Lisa came across at WED2B in Bristol. “I chose it because it gave me a waist – due to the corset – and was simple, so I could accessorise without – hopefully! – looking too OTT.” To go with, Lisa had a ‘hun’ – half bun, half down – by Zara Perry Hairdressing in Bath, which she wore with teardrop crystal earrings and a handmade, lace and crystal ‘shoulder necklace’. Her bridesmaids – six of her best friends and one cousin – wore ’50s-style grey lace dresses and leather jackets (“one even rocked Converse trainers”), while Alex had a blue Moss Bros suit with Loake burgundy brogues. Next to him: best man, and younger bro, Patrick. Top local wedding snapper Chris Daw took the pics. “There’s one of me and Alex with our bridesmaids and groomsmen,” Lisa says, “just after Chris had told us to ‘go crazy’, so there are arms flailing, mouths in mid-shout, jazz hands, and skirts being lifted. I love that, and I love the silly photos from the dance floor too, where the bridesmaids are limbo dancing under my cathedral-length veil.”

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PictureS by chris daw


h yes, the party. The guys had live music from a guitarist, Scott Morgan, while some of the more unusual bits of decor – “we had quite a few skulls dotted around for a ‘till death’ edge,” Lisa says – came into its own. Later on Alex was hoisted into the air above the groomsmen’s heads, chair and all, while they danced with him. “I would have loved to have a few more ‘surprises’ for the guests, though,” Lisa says. “Perhaps a magician? And the song list we spent days putting together was a waste of time. Ten minutes in, our DJ beckoned me over and asked if it was okay to freestyle, to keep the older guests on the dance floor. (Nans don’t like too much Beyoncé, apparently.)” Amongst all this, did anything make Lisa cringe? “I accidentally wore a black hair bobble on my wrist – complete with tangled hair strands caught on it – right through the ceremony, and only noticed during the exchanging of the rings. I hastily handed it to Alex, who put it on his wrist – and hasn’t taken it off since! It even survived a two-week honeymoon in the Caribbean.” And is there anything she regrets splurging on? “All along, I’d wanted a cheap registry-office wedding,” Lisa says, “but Alex was keen for a big celebration, so of course I agreed. We ended up spending plenty, but we didn’t ‘splurge’ on any one thing and budgeted every step of the way. My dress was just £599, I did my own make up, and Alex’s mum made the favours. And we were mostly well behaved. My biggest bridezilla moment probably came during the wedding breakfast when, half a bottle of wine in, I aggressively hassled an innocent young waiter for more cheese.”

Marriage Guidance Who? Lisa Evans and Alex Brown When? 16 March 2018 Where? Tythe Barn at Priston Mill, Bath; pristonmill.co.uk Dress: WED2B, Bristol; wed2b.co.uk Hair stylist: Zara Perry Hairdressing, Bath; zphairdressing.co.uk Florist: Rebecca Sage at the Painted Flower, Bath; thepaintedflowerbath.com Videographer: Paolo Ferla Photography; ferlapaolo.com Stationary: Minuteman, Bath; minutemanbath.co.uk

Entertainment: Stylish Entertainment, Frome; stylishentertainment.co.uk Transport: Bath Classic Cars; bathclassiccars.co.uk Photographer: Chris Daw Photography; chrisdawphotography.com Photographic assistant: Tegan Rush



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

French kiss Cali Madincea & Ryan Christians

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lexander J Collins is a Bristol-based wedding photographer who shoots some incredible dos for an international clientele, and at venues across the world. Here’s one such, at Chateau de Castellaras, not far from Nice and Cannes on the Côte d’Azur, where he rocked up for the wedding of Los Angeles, California residents Cali Madincea and Ryan Christians. This pair both attended the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, and met on their first day there – though they didn’t head off for their first date, at a cheap (“but delicious”) Mexican hole-in-the-wall, until some time later. “It didn’t go well, though,” Cali says, “as Ryan’s car got a flat tyre. We had been friends for a while by this point, though, so we got past it.” Got past it well enough, in fact, for Ryan to propose one December, just after their ‘six years of dating’ anniversary. The guys had a long engagement, but though organising the wedding wasn’t hard – “after all, we were lucky enough to have the lovely Lavender & Rose team in our corner,” Cali says – there were some major logistical issues, as most guests were travelling from a long way away.

c a l i & r ya n

Cali’s bridesmaids are proof positive that you can dress different girls in different looks and colours, and it’ll all hang together just perfectly anyway PictureS by Alexander J Collins

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Ah yes, the distance thing. These guys are from LA, remember, and so were many (but by no means all) of their guests. And the venue was a French pile just outside Cannes, while wedding planners Lavender & Rose – actually glamorous duo Jennifer Rocher and Kerry Bracken Lacquement – are from nearby Mandelieu-laNapoule on the French Riviera. And then there’s our boy Alex, the photographer from Bristol. “Things were going so well, though, until the day most of our guests arrived in France,” Cali says. “It turned out there was a terrible Uber strike on, leaving some of them stranded at the airport. Chateau de Castellaras was worth it, though, a beautiful 10th century castle just outside Cannes. We chose it as our family lives all over, and we knew it would be a destination wedding for the large majority of the party no matter where we went. So, we thought, why not make it worth their travels? I actually grew up in England, and had spent a lot of time in this part of France when I was young, so I was eager to take everyone there and show it to them.” ali’s dress was a Monique Lhuillier number – she’s a Filipino-American designer based in LA – and was, near miraculously, the very first one she even picked up. “It wasn’t what I’d imagined myself in at all,” Cali says, “but I thought it looked so romantic, and it fit the venue perfectly. To go with it, I had my hair done by the same hairdresser I’ve had since she was about 10 years old, and I was very lucky to have her fly out to work with me on the day.” Amongst the other international wedding suppliers they used was Wayne Riley Flowers – “we absolutely loved what they did,” Ryan says of this English speaking duo, Wayne and Jeff, based in the south of France – while they skipped the traditional wedding cake (“neither of us are big cake lovers”) in favour of a traditional French Croquembouche, which is basically a pile of choux pastry balls tied together by threads of caramel, and presented as a massive cone, such as the you might get at the ambassador’s party. The wedding breakfast, of course, was also French – “the easiest part of planning the whole thing was tasting all the amazing food and wine options,” the guys say – and regrets were few. The speeches were memorable, their nerves over the first dance mostly groundless, and neither Cali or Ryan regret a single one of their various splurges – though the fact that they both failed to take advantage of the oyster bar during cocktail hour does now seem like something of a silly missed opportunity. “Looking back at the pictures,” Cali says, “we love everything that captures the emotion of the day, whether that’s the shots of us out in the olive orchard, or the ones of our guests enjoying the dance floor later!”


Marriage Guidance Who? Cali Madincea and Ryan Christians When? June 27, 2015 Where? Chateau de Castellaras, near Cannes; chateaucastellaras.com Wedding planning: Lavender & Rose; lavenderandrose.com Dress: Monique Lhuillier; moniquelhuillier.com Flowers: Wayne Riley; waynerileyflowers.fr Photographer: Alexander J Collins; alexanderjcollins.com 7 2 | VOW

c a l i & r ya n

The light is crazy beautiful in these pictures, isn’t it? That’s the south of France for you… PictureS by Alexander J Collins

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THE VENUE Picture by benjamin youd

Swank hotels, sex y spaces & picturesque part y spots

Full house Tie the knot in Victorian splendour at Grittleton House, an exclusive use venue that’s been in one family for five generations


rittleton House is easy to get to – it’s near Chippenham (and just far enough from Junction 17 of the M4 that you can’t hear the traffic), and the place itself is stunning, a huge Victorian pile transformed from the Jacobean original during the early 1800s, when a rich and lucky London solicitor (Sir Joseph Neeld, who’d inherited a sizeable fortune from his silversmith uncle) bought it

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and let his imagination run wild. “Two large galleries housed an impressive collection of paintings, and the elegant walkways and striking archways provided the perfect setting for his enviable marble collection,” says in-house wedding planner Emma De Maio. “These days the house remains privately owned – the current custodians being the Shipp family – and is used as a wedding venue. We can cater for any sort of occasion – including civil partnerships, same sex weddings, humanist ceremonies, and vow renewals.”


here’s cool stuff to see and do everywhere here, from admiring the most ornate windows and fireplaces to endless possibilities for outdoor fun, ranging from tennis courts to archery, croquet to tug of war. The house itself sits within 35 acres of parkland and gardens, while the in-house team have 30

grittleton house

Picture by benjamin youd

Picture by sandy mcclure

years experience as events hosts. “Guests are often captivated by the sweeping double staircase,” Emma says, “plus the high decorative ceilings, the amazing working fireplaces, and the feel of calm and elegance.” When you book for a wedding you get exclusive use of all the stunning staterooms – including The Red and Yellow Galleries, Mahogany Library, The Orangery and gardens – plus everything from a wedding cake stand to all the serving staff. You can feed up to 126 in each gallery; a few more in the Orangery; or get a marquee. As for what you pay, that’s largely up to you. You can take the house for a day, or indulge with the Baronet Wedding Package, which gives you exclusive use for 48 hours – including beds for up to 40. And with Emma on hand to help with everything from photographers to florists, sorting the most spectacular event should be easy as pie… grittletonhouse.co.uk VOW | 75


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wedding singers

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 e m i ly m a h o n

The Music Lovers Two of the South West’s finest wedding singers rock up to a pop-up pub in a gorgeous Devon barn, and make a little music together…


his shoot combined a rustic country pub feel with elements from a luxurious gentlemen's club,” says Carys Jenkinson of Exeter’s The Prop Factory, wedding hire specialists with the most extensive range of props, large and small, from classic light-up letters and vintage sofas to dozens of old-school fairground games. “It gave us a super-romantic setting for our musical bride and groom.” Their venue – The Oak Barn at nearby Hittisleigh Barton – was the perfect blank canvas when Carys and her team arrived (“ just lots of lovely off-white limestone-washed walls,” she says), but that soon changed as they unloaded their herringbone wood tables, mis-matched pub stools (more on those in a minute), rich brown Chesterfield sofas and vintage bar, plus endless old riding boots and stacks of vintage books for a bit of fun and colour. Additional interior details were created by Nikki from Knots & Kisses, the styling and stationery experts, who brought along gold trinkets and rustic treasures. “Nikki created a VOW | 7 7

Photography by so belle photography

L e t ’ s Pa r t y

cocktail menu in a floating frame, and placed succulents inside geometric glass candle holders,” says Carys, “but she knows when to stop, and dressed the wingback Chesterfield armchair very simply, using a teal velvet cushion and a matching chunky knitted throw. And we had great fun with all the details, such as the wedding rings on the guitar strings.” Music was very much the theme of the day, and simple touches – like featuring your guitars at the ceremony – look great, and would, says Carys, “be achievable by many brides and grooms. Remember, everything you see here can be hired, so you don’t have to search out the perfect country pub that’s licensed for weddings – instead, just create your own!” The shoot took place in early April and was beautifully quiet, The Oak Barn surrounded by acres of open fields, with no cars to be seen or heard anywhere. “Our barn is one of two at the venue,” says Carys, “with cottages close by, and – at the time we went, anyway – the whole place was alive with six-weekold puppies. I think there were nine of them, and it made for one of the warmest welcomes I’ve ever experienced.”


hough initial inspiration came from the set of vintage pub stools we mentioned earlier – “we wanted the shoot to have that cosiness that you get in a proper Devon pub,” Carys says, “but with some wedding luxury mixed in too” – it was when the idea dawned that they could use musicians as their bride and groom that things really started to sing. “It was totally the best decision we made in the run-up,” Carys says, “as they had such natural chemistry, and 78 | VOW

played and sang to each other for most of the shoot, which gave it such a lovely atmosphere.” Kaj Skjervik and Sadie Horler are both genuine wedding singers, extremely popular across Devon and Cornwall – we’ll meet them both in a moment – while photographer Emily Mahon of So Belle Photography is, says Carys, one of the most creative she’s ever worked with. “Her attention to detail is what made this shoot so special,” she says, “and she captured every last emotion beautifully.” Also crucial were MUA Emma Roberts, who created a smokey boho look to suit Sadie’s wild curly hair, which was then put in a loose updo by Ellie of The Hair Boutique in Teignmouth. The bouquet, meanwhile, was created by Hannah at Fuss Pots, and was kept largely green to suit the surrounding plants. “Adding coloured flowers would have dated things,” Carys says, “but the modern green foliage Hannah used was perfect. It was as if Sadie had scooped it up from the fields around them.” The dress? That came from La Boutique Bridal in Exeter, where no gown is over £500 and all proceeds go to charity. “This particular number was in a lovely warm white, with pretty country embroidery details which complemented the woody tones of Sadie’s flower-engraved guitar,” Carys says, “while her shoes were from Rainbow Club UK, and added a pleasing touch of sparkle.” Kaj, meanwhile, brought all his own clobber, including shoes and braces which picked up the reds in the room, while Claire from Claire’s Sweet Temptations made a countryinspired wedding cake in similar colours, its deep reds and golds capturing the feel of a late summer evening. o, what of our singers? Sadie is an acoustic singer/songwriter from Exeter; think the relaxed, chilled likes of Laura Marling, Eva Cassidy or Gabrielle Aplin. The guys at BBC Introducing – which supports unsigned acts – are big fans, calling her “one of the finest young female musicians we have discovered,” and playing a dozen of her self-penned tracks, with three of them chosen as ‘Upload of the Week’. Sadie plays plenty of gigs and festivals as well as weddings, mixing her own stuff with a large repertoire of covers – even learning new songs if they really matter to a bride and groom. Right now, she gets asked to perform lots of Ed Sheeran stuff, but two personal favourites are ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ by The Macabees and Sade’s ‘By Your Side’. “The thing is,” Sadie says, “I’ve never actually promoted myself as a wedding singer, but I’ve been booked for lots of weddings anyway, often as a result of my busking – to the point where most of my available summer dates are already taken for this year. In fact, only the other day I had a booking for December 2019!” As well as the covers, one of her own songs – ‘Dancing Barefoot’ – always seems to go down well. “One bride walked down the aisle to it, and another couple picked it for their first dance,” she says. “I get some unusual requests, too. Last summer I was asked to perform an acoustic version of a dance track,


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Photography by so belle photography

L e t ’ s Pa r t y: w e d d i n g s i n g e r s

‘Places’ by Martin Solveig, for a couple who were renewing their vows. I wasn’t wholly convinced it would work, but it actually sounds really pretty – and I now love performing it.” Sadie was even asked to be godmother to one couple’s then unborn child after she sang at their wedding. “It was such a privilege to have been asked,” she says, “and I’m looking forward to the Christening in a few weeks’ time.” Sadie has her own PA – a Bose L1, “nice and compact but with amazing sound, and great for indoor and outdoor use” – and doesn’t charge anything crazy: an hour-long acoustic set at a drinks reception, say, is £225 including travel (within Devon) and set up time, and it’s another £150 for every hour after that. “And for a performance during a wedding ceremony it’s £275 for the whole package,” she says, “or £75 for each song, plus another £40 to learn anything I don’t already know.”


inally there’s our groom, Kaj. He grew up playing music in his parents’ band, joining when he was six and spending nearly every weekend performing until he was 21. Later he had his own band, and in his mid20s went solo, a scary thought, “but the less I thought about it and prepared for it, the more fun it turned out to be.” Kaj was probably nine when he played his first wedding, but it was much more recently that he quit his day job to rely on music alone, performing in bars and then – quite naturally – at marriage ceremonies. “At weddings the stakes are higher,” he says, “as there’s no room to have a bad day – you have to be excellent on demand. But, as someone who likes to show off, it suits me well! And I genuinely find weddings are a joy – if a musician ever tells you they don’t like playing them, I think it’s because they don’t know how to properly engage with people. Their fear stops them doing it!” These days Kaj plays around 50 weddings a year, making it a huge part of his gigging diary, and though he performs plenty of covers – and is always learning new songs – he loves it when people ask him to play his own material too. “Original songs

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are often requested for ceremonies and drinks receptions,” he says, “but in the evening people want to hear what they know, which makes sense to me.” His favourite covers to perform? “‘American Pie’, by Don Mclean,” he says. “People either love it or hate it, but – once I start playing it – you can feel them being swept up by the song’s energy. Though my set is high tempo overall, that doesn’t mean that I won’t slow it right down sometimes, and perform a song like ‘In The Air Tonight’, by Phil Collins. I don’t have a rigid set list; rather, I like to get on stage, look at the crowd and take it from there.” Kit-wise, Kaj also uses a highly portable Bose sound system, plus a battery-powered amplifier and his own lighting kit. “At nearly every evening reception, I’ll conclude with a DJ set too,” he says. “My fee obviously varies, depending on when during the day I’m performing, but for an evening reception I charge from £1,000, which also includes the DJ set.” You sound like a man who likes what he does. “Oh, I feel blessed. At weddings, people are usually the best versions of themselves – well behaved, full of energy, and keen to have a good time. And – as I’m just a human being – I can’t help but feel the emotion of the day. One of my favourite moments was a bride telling her groom to ‘pull yourself together’. He hadn’t stopped crying since she made her entrance; he literally couldn’t recover. In a sense it was funny, but it was also incredible to see the effect that one human being can have on another.”

Barn dance Putting their best feet forward were… Venue: The Oak Barn, Devon; theoakbarn.co.uk co-ordination, props and furniture:

The Prop Factory; thepropfactory.co.uk Set styling and stationery:

Knots & Kisses; knotsandkisses.co.uk Dress: La Boutique Bridal, Exeter;

laboutique.vpweb.co.uk/bridal-gowns Shoes: Rainbow Club; rainbowclub.co.uk Suit and accessories: Model’s own Cake: Claire's Sweet Temptations;

clairessweettemptations.com Hair stylist: Ellie Franklin;

facebook.com/pg/thehairboutiquesouthwest/about Makeup artist: Emma Roberts; facebook.com/emmarobertsmakeup Plants and bouquet: Fuss Pots; fusspots.co.uk Bride: Sadie Horler; sadiehorler.com Groom: Kaj Skjervik; kajmusic.co.uk Photographer: So Belle Photography; sobellephotography.com

Bespoke Flowers for Weddings Bristol, Bath and beyond www.tillytomlinsonflowers.co.uk 07809832731


With many years experience I am a versatile DJ who is happy to adapt to suit the musical requirements of each individual client. I offer a complimentary full consultation with wedding couples, in order to arrange your ideal bespoke playlist. FOR BOOKING ENQUIRIES PLEASE EMAIL: ROSSWILSON13@GMAIL.COM QUOTING "VOW18" FOR A SPECIAL DISCOUNT RATE. FOR BOOKING ENQUIRIES PLEASE EMAIL: ROSSWILSON13@GMAIL.COM

Be ach pools Because dolphins don’t always rescue you

Picture by sakis PAPADOPOULOS

Traditions we love

Splashing out What’s the most decadent thing you can possibly think of? It might just be swimming pools like this one, built right next to the sea – in fact, dammit, in the case of this Seychelles beauty, right in the middle of an actual world-class beach – and not because this particular sea is in any way cold or dirty, or (come to that) far from the road or the bar and so somewhat inaccessible, either. But simply because.

Because a pool comes chlorinated and without salt. Because it’s free of the slightest risk of undertows or bitey fish. And because you can balance your drink on the edge of it. But, most of all, this thing is here because we want it. Sure, it’s decadent. Ridiculously so. But the rest of life is for living, and struggling, and being realistic. And that’s simply not what you want on a honeymoon.

Next up: Vow is back on 13 July, when we’ll be all about the beauty. (Who said, ‘It’s about time?’) 8 2 | VOW

Peaky Blinders: because nothing says romance like a cap with a r azor blade inside

The Triforce: three teams, three days, one who’s-the-best-stylist competition

The wedding singer: two actually, and they’re getting married! (In our heads)

Plus! Ineffectual balloons, the most daringly sheer top, and a French castle…

The South West’s new wedding bible

Pretty in pink: full report from Vow Live

Profile for MediaClash

Vow Magazine - Issue 19  

Vow Magazine - Issue 19