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by Emma Hla

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Images by VLA Photography.

I have total wedding envy…

Not only did bride Jen marry at one of my favourite venues and have the fabulous VLA Photography to capture it all, but she also chose to wear one of the dresses that’s on my “if I were to do it all again…” list. So whilst this has been an absolute pleasure to write up, I must admit to the green eyed monster most definitely peeking over my shoulder!

A self-professed perfectionist Jen had a vision and pulled it altogether beautifully. So sit back and enjoy folks, there’s lots to be inspired by including some very wise words from our beautiful bride!

Notes from the Bride

Jen:

We chose Millbridge Court for a number of reasons – the location was perfect, just down the road from where my parents got married, and also where we got engaged! But primarily because the venue itself was absolutely stunning! We loved the decor in the front room – it’s everything I want my house to look like! But, we also liked the ‘flow’ of the venue; with two rooms it means you don’t have to worry about ushering guests around to move tables to make way for the evening do. We also loved the ‘outdoors in’ feel with the enormous glass windows. I am a photographer and I just KNEW that all that natural light would make for the most wonderful photos (I was right!).

My dress from was The Mews in Clifton in Bristol (where we live). I looked in a few places, but I just loved all the french designers at The Mews and kept coming back to this one designer – Rime Arodaky – and ultimately went for one of her dresses. I love the fact that it was quite an unusual shape, and I’d never seen a dress quite like it before, and I loved the low back. My mum and best girls fell in love with it so I knew I’d found the right one when I saw their faces!

My shoes were from Jenny Packham – I’d had my eye on them for a while and then they popped up in the sale just after Christmas so I pounced on them!

For my hair I wanted something quite relaxed, and a little boho, so I went for a half up do with plaits and flowers at the back. I did our makeup – using a mixture of Estee Lauder, Benefit, MAC and Clinique products. My hairdresser, Tori Harris, was just amazing! She knew just what we were after and my hair lasted all day and night.

One of my best girls was heavily pregnant, so we didn’t have matching dresses and I decided to just let the girls wear what they wanted – they all had gold shoes and accessories and had their hair done with flowers similar to mine, so it pulled everything together and I was really pleased I didn’t force them to wear matching outfits!

Again for the boys we were keen to have a relaxed look so all the boys wore slightly different suits (but all blue, and brown shoes) and we had their ties made in Spain from the most amazing pink herringbone and linen fabrics. They all looked individual but the ties, shoes and flowers pulled their look together.

I am not traditionally a ‘girlie girl’ but I just love all the blush pink & gold tones that are around at the moment and my partner (oops- husband!) also quite likes pink would you believe, so it wasn’t too much of a hard sell! I started with the bouquet and found one that I loved on Pinterest. I then went from there, pinning things that worked well with it and slowly built up a bit of a picture of what we wanted.

The table plan was a large old vintage ladder, which we covered in string and pinned little polaroid style pictures of all our guests. We also had giant white ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ Balloons from Bubblegum Balloons. To go with the slightly mis-matching theme, we had a random mix of glass tealight holders, mason jars and vintage milk bottles on the tables for the flowers and lovely little gold feather frames for the table names and numbers. We had giant LOVE letters on the dancefloor which were a brilliant feature and made for some great photos for us and for our guests.

We chose Gill Pike as our florist mainly because when I spoke to her on the phone I completely fell in love with her! She has an infectious enthusiasm and was so lovely to work with. She listened to every little detail of what we wanted and pulled it off perfectly. My bouquet was an almost exact match of the picture I sent her – if anything, it was better! We had lots of blush and pink flowers – peonies, roses and lots of mini daisies which are a great alternative to gypsophila.

Our caterers were Kalm Kitchen; We went for a tasting evening at Millbridge Court about four months before our wedding and it was honestly breathtaking. The venue was stunningly decorated of course, but the food provided by Kalm was insanely good and far exceeded our wildest expectations! We knew from that moment our guests were in for a treat and we were not wrong – EVERYONE commented on how amazing the food was, particularly the canapes. For our main course we had carve at the table beef which was not only great fun but it was simply delicious – so tender. The Kalm Kitchen serving staff were all lovely too – so friendly and efficient.

For our cake, we wanted something a little different from the usual big round cake, so we went for cake pops! We have an amazing friend who is just a cake genius – Donna Louise, based in Bristol – and she made us the most gorgeous lemon cake pops with mint icing and gold glitter.

Being a photographer myself, I was quite fussy on this particular point! I spent a LONG time looking on the websites of local photographers, but as soon as I spoke to Jon from VLA Photography I knew he was the one! It cemented my decision when I mentioned his name to the team at Millbridge Court and they were all so gushing about how amazing he was!

Because we live in Bristol, we did not meet him before the day, so it was always going to be a bit of a leap of faith, but I spoke to him several times on the phone and felt completely confident in him. On the day he was just lovely – friendly, relaxed, polite, unobtrusive, efficient, directing but not bossy – just perfect. We could not be happier with the photos – they are all brilliant! I think our all time favourite is the one of Matt twirling me around – he looks so happy and you can see my hair and the back of my dress, and the backdrop of the beautiful Surrey countryside is just beautiful.

Best Part of the Day…

I think our ceremony was definitely a highlight; we had a humanist ceremony so there was lots of room for ‘fun’. The ceremony was completely tailored to us and we wrote our own vows, Matt’s Dad did a brilliant speech about married life (he has been married to Matt’s Mum for over 40 years so it well placed to provide advice!) and one of my best girls, Georgia, wrote the most amazing and funny song about us which she performed on the day.

Of course, being able to have the whole thing outside in the Millbridge Court garden was an unexpected bonus and we couldn’t believe our luck when the weather was set for 27 degrees and sunny all day! It is such a beautiful setting and it really made the whole thing quite magical. The speeches were also brilliant – our best boys really did us proud.

Words of Wedded Wisdom…

Go with your instinct – it is almost always right.

Have faith in your suppliers – particularly your photographer! Have ideas and views and share them of course, but remember that they are experts and can fill in any blanks so let them have a bit of creative licence!

Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed and be organised from the start. There are some great wedding apps out there that help you organise all your ‘to-do’ list and schedule reminders etc.

Don’t listen to people who tell you it is too early to do things – it is never too early, and the more you can get ticked off the list early doors, the more relaxed you can be in the run up to the big day. I remember getting our honeymoon currency 6 months before the wedding and my husband said I was mad – but it was one less thing to think about the week before the wedding!

Credits

Venue Millbridge Court | Photography VLA PhotographyFlorist Gill Pike | Catering Kalm Kitchen  | Bride’s Dress Rime Arodaky at The Mews | Hair Tori Harris | Cake Cakes by Donna Louise | LOVE Letters Farnham Sound and Light

Lots of love…

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