I have been wanting to write down some thoughts on our Wedding day and planning for many weeks, and as the schools are now all beginning to finish for the Summer holidays and I know I will be even busier, I thought it must be now or never! :)
This will also be an excuse for me to share more of our beautiful photos, taken by Jo Clement of Enchanted Brides. I have posted a few over on my Instagram page, but it has felt odd to try to fit them into funny little squares when they are just so epic!
Plus, I haven't wanted to overshare on social media because they truly feel so intimate and special to us.
I suppose the photography is also a good place to also begin, as we had a few ideas that took priority when Wedding planning.
Capturing the feeling of the day was one of the most important things to us, knowing that we would be swept up in the moment and want to remember everything!
I had seen some of Jo's images online before and Alex and I both agreed that her authentic, romantic and totally captivating style would be a dream come true! We were thrilled when Jo confirmed she was free on our day and we even got to have a practice with an engagement shoot at sunrise, where Alex asked me to marry him a year prior, at Duloe stone circle, near Polperro.
ST. MAWES CASTLE
Of course, finding a venue is one of the first and most important choices if you are planning a Wedding that can cater for all your friends and family as well as reflect your taste. Alex and I love to explore beautiful old buildings rich in history on our days off!
We had walked alongside the waterside in St. Mawes and been so reminded of trips to one of our favourite places, Carmel in California and the castle felt like a fairytale choice from the start!
Another one of our favourite locations in Cornwall is Caerhays castle, but we especially liked the fact that at St. Mawes, you can have both your ceremony and reception there within the castle walls...almost like owning the castle for the day!
It is a beautiful space, grand, but not imposing, beautiful but rustic and romantic...
DRESS & BRIDESMAIDS
I am not one of those girls who has always dreamed of getting married in a big white gown with formal flowers and my hair neatly pulled back... I have never really let myself even imagine getting married and being a Bride!
This didn't stop me being curious about having that experience once we were engaged though.
I have delighted in Wedding dress shopping for treasured friends and family and secretly loved watching 'Say yes to the Dress!' on television!
But I never really related as such, I never thought 'what would I choose?' or have anything in my mind except.. I would want to look and feel...ethereal...and like Sarah from the Labyrinth without the puffy sleeves!! :)
I had one Bridal appointment, at the most beautiful shop- The Bridal house of Cornwall, in Truro.
I had started looking online at dresses, but secretly did desire that girly experience of trying on Wedding attire with my family to celebrate the start of Wedding planning.
It was a surreal experience to be the one picking out dresses and trying things on myself. I love fashion and expressing myself through clothing, but the tradition of shopping for a Wedding gown did feel quite different, and important.
I did find a very pretty dress I felt drawn when we walked in. It was a beautiful soft blush;
I kept an open mind and tried lots of different styles, and after the appointment decided to order one that I had caught my eye (and heart!) online, just to rule it out if needed, keeping that last blush choice in mind as a close second. I was also very conscious of price, as I didn't want to spend a crazy amount on something which I would not be able to get lots of wear out of!
Needle and Thread are a UK brand who make the most exquisite clothing. They are all heavily embroidered with a colour palette that immediately spoke to me.
When the box arrived, and Alex was safely off to work, I unwrapped this beautiful work of art and fell in love! My normal dress size fit perfectly, with only the length needing alteration, which is a whole separate tale which I won't go into here, but do your research on your seamstress! After a initial hiccup with one cutting the whole bottom layer completely jagged, I found Jenna who finished off the dress perfectly for me.
I wore my sisters veil from her Wedding day, and a hair piece that I found online for under £20, that I pulled apart and re-formed onto a smaller hairband to be more subtle. I wanted something fairly delicate to pick up on the details in the dress and to give my hair a bit of interest. My shoes were also another bargain, which I think were about £15, and I loved the velvet, the block heel (particularly useful when navigating up spiral staircases!) and I knew I would wear these again.
I wanted my bridesmaids to still retain a sense of self in what they wore, so decided to go with matching skirts from Topshop and let them choose tops which they would be comfortable in and be able to wear again. The beautiful green/grey of the skirts formed a lovely contrast to my own and picked up on the little silver/grey beading.
Little Rose, my niece and flower girl, alongside Alex's niece, Annabel wore Monsoon dresses, and hairbands, and I made them both little white willow 'wands' to carry.
My bridesmaids and I all got ready at the stunning Rosevine hotel, in Portscatho. It truly is the most beautiful setting and so serene. The grounds are so pretty and the staff were angels to us. We had a very leisurely morning as we didn't need to leave for the ceremony until 2.30pm. It was still surprising how quickly that time flew!
I lucked out on the most gorgeous hairdresser, Emma, who was just such a joy to have around.
I went with a half up and half down hair style, with a braid at the front to conceal the hair band...and because I love braids!
I didn't want a really formal hairstyle, although I am kicking myself in some of the later pictures in the day that I didn't at least brush it after running about in the rain!! (Sorry Emma!)
I toyed with the idea of having hair extensions for the day to create the big, lustrous hair of my dreams but I also wanted to just represent myself in the best way I can, not try to be someone I am not..and I am certainly not patient enough to fiddle with hair extensions in my day to day life!
What a joy it is to be able to share your vision with someone you know who also happens to be an insanely talented florist!! We shared our ideas with Lou of Loulabel early on in planning, and her imagination elevated them to the next level. The bouquets & button holes were so romantic, pretty and soft, with just that touch of wild that I love.
Alex and I both love to collect crystals and stones, so wanted our decor to reflect this. I am a girly
girl I suppose, but I am also a natural girl! I love realness, wild things and not really over the top frilliness....does that make sense? Well it did to Lou :)
She created some magical little arrangements alongside pieces we had collected to decorate the tops of the barrels which formed a walkway for the ceremony, using moss that took me back to making miniature fairy gardens as a child. I cried the night before as she was making them alongside my friends, Sophie and Beth. I cried at pretty much everything the whole day before, (and into the next!) through gratitude for knowing so many great people and the relief of everything coming together.
My friends and I also foraged the day before for some greenery to fill the gaps in the alcoves and mantelpieces, I kind wanted it to look like the castle had been left for the wild to creep in :)
The real show stopper was the arrangement of foxgloves, stocks & moss Lou used for the base of our ceremony backdrop- a vintage screen that we up-cycled. We found it the year before on a stay in Chagford, in Devon and I painted the reverse side with soft flowers in greys and pinks. It was such a fun project and I have always loved old room dividers.
Lou also dressed our reception room beams with soft wildflower garlands and we filled the many nooks and recesses in the castle with candles, flowers and crystals.
I won't lie- I was really nervous before the ceremony! It didn't help that I didn't think about walking up a spiral staircase carrying a bouquet and needing a hand on the rail for balance would also mean my dress would be needing some assistance too! So I kind got stuck on the last few steps with my dress under my shoes as my bridesmaids made there way down the aisle. I guess it added to the suspense for the guests..and it probably gave me an extra few seconds to compose myself and breathe!
I also had a moment to listen to Jeremy, Alex's brother and Best Man, playing guitar for us. He learnt an acoustic version of our first dance; 'A real Hero' by College, to play as we walked in that will forever give me goosebumps to hear now.. it was amazing.
It's all a bit of a blur of emotion from there really, I found it really difficult not to cry throughout the whole ceremony, especially when saying my vows. I didn't really notice anyone apart from Alex and the registrar (and also everyone else was literally a blur because I didn't wear my glasses and forgot to sort out getting contacts for the day...hehehe!)
I am not sure Rose approves in the pic above!?
We had been so lucky with the weather up until the group shot! :) Well done everyone for persevering here whilst the heavens opened and to Jo who had to run to the top of the castle, helping my struggling Grandma en route, before everyone got too wet!!
Alex arranged the transport to pick us up from the Rosevine and take us to the castle. I never could have guessed it would be a car like this and it was the best surprise! When it pulled up on the driveway I thought it was for the other Bride who was somewhere getting ready in the hotel too! This Daimler once belonged to Princess Margaret and driving along the streets with people waving and smiling did feel positively regal! :)
We snuck away for some pictures and this moment was one of the most special of the day to me. It was so peaceful and as we waited for the rain to pass over in the car there was a few minutes to sit back, smile and take it all in.
The water on the beach was so clear and calm and I actually loved the feeling of the changeable weather that day, it adds a certain electricity to the air :)
How beautiful is this cake!? It really surpassed all our expectations in beauty and taste.
I met Monica of Sweet Thoughts back in college and she also made my sisters Wedding cake many years ago, so I was hoping she would be free to create ours too. She is absolutely incredible, from our cake tasting appointment, in which she also sketched out the idea and described in detail what she could make us, (whilst we devoured several mini cakes!) to the set up of this stunning work of art, she was faultless. The four flavours were black forest, elderflower, lemon and salted caramel!
I made these little scented candles as favours for all the guests, and we also lit them throughout the castle so as to attempt to take us back when we burn this beautiful scent now!
After we hastily ate our delicious food that I felt terrible for making people wait extra long for whilst we were off taking photos, I completely forgot about speeches and the formality of anything! Lucky that Alex's brothers kept it pretty informal too with some pub quiz style amaziness which had everyone in absolute stitches.
For a long time we didn't know whether to do 'speeches'. It somehow seemed contrived to me and perhaps a tradition that didn't have to be followed. But I am glad we did all give it a go, because it was both hilarious and moving. My wish for the day was that it was honest and authentic, and I think our speeches certainly reflected that! We all had a big crying/hugging session at the end!
Now I will simply leave you with a heap of pictures that I simply can't choose favourites from!
Our day ended with a huge lightning storm over the castle and sea which we sat watching whilst waiting for our taxi that never arrived! Luckily one of the security guards offered us a lift back to our hotel, even ramming through a gate with the car at one point in the pouring rain, which rounded off a very surreal, magical and memorable day!!