Léna Vergne and Dale Allison tied the knot with a Peaky Blinders themed wedding at a historical castle in Shrewsbury
Photography: Silverleaf Photography
How did you meet?
We met each other through work as we used to work for the same company. I’d only just started and Dale was my training manager.
Tell us about the proposal
We were on a summer holiday in Spain. Dale surprised me by asking to go down to the sea front to skim some stones. I wasn’t too keen, but he persuaded me to go. As I finished skimming my stones, I turned to find that he was already down on one knee, and he actually learnt how to propose in French. He had then booked us a romantic meal in a nearby restaurant overlooking the sea.
How was your wedding affected by Covid-19?
We did have to postpone our wedding by a year. Most of my family still couldn’t come into the country due to the restrictions. It was hard to get excited about the wedding because we didn’t know if it would actually go ahead - it was always at the back of our minds that we might have to postpone it again.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
The wedding theme was 1920s, inspired by Peaky Blinders. The colour scheme was burgundy with hints of sage.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We chose Rowton Castle because it had beautiful grounds, amazing décor and we could have exclusive use. It felt like it was just perfect for us. We wanted our French relatives to see how beautiful England can be.
We always said that if we couldn’t get married in France, we would get married in a beautiful English castle. My family are from the Loire Valley where all the chateaux are magnificent, so it just made sense.
How did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I researched on Instagram and Pinterest first for the style, then I visited a bridal shop called Wings and Laces in Worcester (unfortunately, it is now closed down), which was recommended by a friend.
I always thought I would go for a flowy boho dress that I picked in advance from the shop’s Instagram page, but when I tried it on it was a big no.
All the dresses I tried on the day were very different and all had completely different styles. I found out on the day that I actually wanted a certain shape.
When I tried on my dress, it was love at first sight and instantly clicked. It was the one. I felt very special and pretty instantly, because I was wearing the right dress.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
My bridesmaids are all close friends and they were wearing burgundy dresses. I asked them to choose their own dresses as long as they were burgundy. I wanted them to feel good in their own skin. For them to wear exactly the same dress didn’t make sense to me as we all have different body shapes. I wanted them to feel pretty and happy.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
My mother wore a 1920s Peaky Blinders grey tweed suit. She didn’t feel comfortable wearing a dress so it was great to see that she found something she was comfortable in.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day
We wanted burgundy, sage and white for the colours. I wanted my bouquet to have different kind of shapes, with flowers and fruits. It had lengths with eucalyptus, bright red with delilahs, and a bit of a bohemian feel with gypsophila.
Laura from House Plants was one of my bridesmaids, and she did an amazing job at making all the bouquets, buttonholes and flowers for the table decorations. The flowers for tables were in lovely rustic jars decorated with vintage lace, and those jars were placed on top of wooden plinths.
We decided to have the name cards held by little hand-cut wooden holders to keep the same theme. Laura also supplied mini succulents for the favours. We wanted to have a selection of succulents, mint bottles of gin, plant seeds and loose-leaf tea sachets.
Wendy Shaw was recommended by Rowton Castle and decorated the tables with flowers the same colours as my bouquet.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
I felt so nervous, my mum and I could hear each other’s heartbeat. So many things went through my head: remember to breathe, don’t fall because of my heels, don’t hold the bouquet too high, don’t bruise mum’s arm, don’t cry when you see Dale. When I actually saw Dale, everything vanished and I just wanted to hold his hand.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
We played the song track of Amélie, which is my favourite movie. The groomsmen smuggled alcohol in and got told off, they took the Peaky Blinder theme a bit too far.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Planning the wedding during the pandemic had its challenges; not knowing if it would go ahead or not, getting my family to England and not knowing what the restrictions would be until the very last minute.
What was the most important investment for you?
The venue was definitely the most important: we wanted a castle. The informal, laid-back banquet was also important as it represented us and our style.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
As we are not big dancers, and we were both dreading that moment, we decided not to do a first dance. Instead, we had a ribbon cutting ceremony, where Dale and I stood opposite each other and our guests held ribbons that I cut to join Dale. It was an old French tradition that we thought best represented us. We did this while playing Happy by Pharell Williams.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
It was a croquembouche with a twist, composed of macarons, profiteroles and snowballs. The cake was beautifully made by my bridesmaids Alice and Dee, and decorated by Laura.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We haven’t been on a honeymoon yet. My parents stayed for a few days after the wedding, we just wanted to enjoy their company. Plus, we didn’t think it was safe to book anywhere yet because of Covid.
We are planning to go to Puglia, Italy for two weeks in June 2022.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Don’t panic, there may be things out of your control but don’t worry, everything comes together in the end. Work as team and utilise each other’s skills.
Your friends and family are amazing people and will happily help or give advice, so don’t be afraid to ask if you are struggling. They love you and want the best for you.