Victoria & James’ beautiful wedding not only took my breath away with its romance and aristocratic elegance, but also made me more than a little homesick taking place in my home county of Somerset, England. The venue was a quintessentially English country estate (like something from Downton Abbey) affording the couple a charming country church to exchange their vows in, before celebrating in style at the stately home whose grandeur was guaranteed to wow their guests!
Stunning bride Victoria has kindly shared every detail of their day and their wedding planning experience, which as always started with finding the perfect venue! “We wanted a venue that we’d have exclusively and that all our guests could stay at afterwards. The moment we walked into Orchardleigh we loved it – there was a roaring fire, the staff were friendly, the setting was beautiful, and where possible, all the food is grown and reared on the estate.
We loved the tiny church on the estate that had no electricity and so was all candlelit, and we liked that there were lots of different areas in the house, like the billiards room and the lounge, where we had tea, coffee and cupcakes available all day.
For James, the clincher though was that the owner of the house has a helicopter which you can hire to transport you from church to the house (although it’s only 5 minutes drive away!). ” Talk about leaving the church in style!
“I was considering buying an expensive pair of shoes, but when I saw my shoes in a department store, I loved them, and they were comfy too. I did lose a few rhinestones on the photoshoot though!”
“I came across a photo of my dress on Google images, but it turned out to be on a Chinese website where the seller had been removed for copyright infringement! A friend then told me about an app called The Hunt, where I uploaded the image and within 24 hours someone had found the original dress, which was by Allure Bridals. My mum called about ten stockists before finding one that had it and as soon as I tried it on I knew it was the one – although I ordered it in blush instead of ivory. I can’t tell you how much I loved my dress!
I’d tried on a lot of veils, including my mum’s from her wedding, but I was running out of time and hanging all my hopes on a long, lace edged one I’d ordered from someone on eBay who handmade them. It only turned up the day before we had to leave for the venue so I was pretty lucky it worked.”
“We wanted the guys to be comfortable and James was keen to wear tweed to fit in with the country manor vibe, so we found some navy tweed jackets which we asked the boys to wear with navy chinos and a white shirt. I found ties in a similar colour to the bridesmaids’ dresses and bought some raw silk on ebay which I cut and sewed into pocket squares.”
“In the church we had gypsophilia as pew ends, and I’d bought a couple of rolls of rattan and silk ribbon and netting, which were tied to the posies on arrival.”
“Although I was originally considering a dusky purple for the bridesmaids, I couldn’t find any dresses or ties in the right colour. I started thinking about a grey-blue, and then found the dresses in Coast, in two slightly different colours and styles, which I liked the idea of. “
“As we were planning our wedding only 6 months ahead, all the local florists were booked up for our date. I really wanted fairly wild looking flowers and after a lot of searching I came across Lucy Anna Flowers. I collected lots of images on Pinterest and then spoke to Lucy, who helped to refine my many ideas! I really wanted peonies but otherwise I was open to whatever Lucy thought as long as the style was quite unstructured. I wanted a teardrop bouquet of mostly cream and nude, with a little bit of dusty blue to highlight the bridesmaids’ dresses. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were similar to mine and had trailing ribbon, which I loved.”
“We’d only told the ushers about the helicopter, so the rest of the guests were pretty surprised when they heard a helicopter hovering overhead as we were doing confetti!”
Pearls of wedding wisdom from the bride…
“Be more explicit than you think you need to be with instructions! My brother and dad parked outside the front of the venue, the gypsophilia pew ends got taken out of the church but got left in a car boot, and someone else wore my mum’s corsage.
Most of all though, enjoy the process, and when it comes to the day, forget all the small things that go wrong. It will truly be one of the best days of your life. “
“The table decorations were a mixture of tall candelabras intertwined with ivy, gold candlesticks, gold tealight holders, jam jars of flowers, and V&J cardboard letters from Hobbycraft which I sprayed gold. I used templates from Download & Print for all our stationery – invites, menus, table plan, order of services etc. I printed these on cream paper and stuck them onto gold card, and used a lace corner punch to add detailing.”
“I had seen a couple of ‘lace’ cakes at a wedding fair, and when I spoke to my sister-in-law’s friend, Holly, who has her own wedding cake business, she was up to the challenge and absolutely nailed the decoration – I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful cake. We had three tiers, Victoria sponge, lemon and chocolate.”
Tell us a little bit about your photographer…
“For me, the photos were really important – you spend so much time planning for one day, you want to make the memories last. I’m a part time wedding photographer and found Anne on Facebook while looking for photographers whose styles I admired (she prefers natural light, like myself). Shortly after we’d got engaged she’d posted a photo from a European wedding and I asked whether she’d be back again the following summer. Amazingly, the dates worked out and we flew her over from the Netherlands, where she was visiting family. We love Anne’s unobtrusive style, and the way in her more directed shots, the couple is often secondary to nature. Her photos are classic and beautiful.”
Wasn’t their day just exquisite?? And how magnificent was their venue – see what I mean about it being like something from Downton Abbey! As always a heartfelt thankyou to the happy couple, Victoria & James, and to their photographer Anne Paar for capturing the romance and beauty of their day so flawlessly! If, like me, you are completely in love with Anne’s stunning style of photography be sure to pop over to her website www.annepaarphotography.com and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Or if you love this timelessly romantic wedding and are looking for more inspiration for your own big day, then you might want to see Elizabeth & Matt’s Downton Abbey inspired affair, or Elizabeth & Louis’s chandelier filled celebration at Carondolet House, or Mona & Karl’s intimate wedding at an Austrian castle no less!
Contributors & Credits
Photography – Anne Paar Photography // Ceremony Venue – St Mary’s Church, Orchardleigh // Reception Venue – Orchardleigh // Floral Design – Lucy Anna Flowers // Stationery – DIY! Using templates from Download & Print // Videography – James Riley // Wedding Cake – Blakey’s Bakes // Rentals – Helicopter & Rolls Royce both rented from Orchardleigh // Hair & Makeup – Vicky Waghorn // Wedding Dress – Allure Bridals // Bridal Boutique – Paverly Bridal // Groom’s Attire – Jackets from Cavani, silk ties from Original Penguin, pocket squares DIY by the bride // Page Boys Attire – Marks & Spencer // Bride’s Shoes – Linea at House of Fraser // Bridesmaids Dresses – Coast // Veil – Handmade from eBay // Catering – Orchardleigh // Entertainment – West Coast Heroes