A wedding filled with foliage at Tofte Manor in Bedfordshire
09 May 2019
Chloe Doyle and Moritz Lank Tofte tied the knot at Christ The King Church followed by a reception at Tofte Manor
How did you meet?
Moe and I were both studying abroad in China when we met. After his one semester there Moe went back to Germany while I stayed on for a further nine months. We then spent a few years doing long distance while he finished his degree in Germany and I studied in Edinburgh.
Tell us about the proposal.
It was the last Friday before Christmas and we were out to celebrate. We watched Paddington 2 at The Ritzy in Brixton and went for cocktails before we wandered home for a final nightcap on the sofa. We were in the middle of reminiscing about 2017 and what might come in 2018 when Moe popped the question – although it was more of a statement and he didn’t get on one knee or present a ring. A bit of confusion ensued until I realised he was actually asking me to be his wife and not just hypothesising about how that might be the case one day. Once he finally managed to get the ring out of his pocket it was all a lot clearer!
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
We didn’t have a colour scheme, just lots of greenery and simple touches. The dress code was fancy frocks and bowties.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We chose Tofte Manor as our reception venue. It is a stunning Georgian country house with beautiful gardens. We wanted something classic and typically British for all of our German friends and family who would be flying in. The outdoor pool area made for a fabulous post-wedding day brunch spot too.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
My dress was a gorgeous off-the-shoulder design from British designer Alan Hannah. It was the first dress I picked and it just felt amazing. I tried on a bunch of other dresses (about 15 in total) before finally committing.
What did the bridesmaids wear?
I had a gorgeous bride tribe – my eight best friends were my bridesmaids and they all wore floor length, fairly low-cut blue dresses. They were most of the male guests’ favourite part of the day.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
Mum wore a sparkly dress from Needle & Thread and a custom made hat. She looked beautiful and a very modern mother-of-the-bride.
What did the groom wear?
Paul Smith velvet jacket and Boss black trousers.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
We just wanted simple white flowers and foliage everywhere. We had four eight metre ladders made and hung above the tables and we draped them in eucalyptus, ivy and all manner of beautiful foliage. It looked stunning. My bridesmaids made their own bouquets using more greenery and fresh white flowers.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
- Our wedding invites were personalised tea-towels
- Moe made a great 'Ze Lanks' sign which hung behind the top table in bright lights My Maid of Honour made 1000 origami cranes that hung above the dance floor to bring us lots of luck
- We had homemade flavoured gins and whiskies on the table with personalised quotes and photos
- I made postcards asking people to leave us a honeymoon song request for our honeymoon playlist and personalised Ze Lanks pencils to write them down
- We also had two of our best friends sing – one in the church and one for our first dance
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
I was just beaming. I had a very long precession ahead of me so I was very proud to be supported by all of my bridesmaids too.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
We had readings in German and English from our brothers and sisters, handwritten bidding prayers and two friends singing Amazing Grace and Ave Maria.
What was your most memorable moment?
Walking down the aisle and seeing all of the smiling faces and Moe at the end. Dad's speech and the maid of honour singing her speech were also highlights.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
The guest list.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We chose Still The One by Shania Twain. It took us a long time to get there and in the end it was the only one we both agreed on. It is a good fit for us too.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
We had a band in the afternoon and evening. We booked Rockit through FunctionCentral and cannot recommend them enough. We also had a surprise bride and bridesmaid dance to Proud Mary by Tina Turner and a surprise flashmob from both male and female guests.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
We had a Colin and Connie the caterpillar cake from Marks and Spencer. We love those cakes and didn’t want to spend a fortune, so they were served as pudding.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
I would have better prepared my speech rather than ad-libbing.
Did you have a wedding hashtag?
We had Ze Lanks, a joke on how Germans pronounce ‘the’, across our wedding and people used this as the hashtag.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
I wish I’d known how dry my mouth would be and how much more lipstick and lip balm I should have applied.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We had a 10 week round-the-world honeymoon and left the week after the wedding. We travelled to Japan, lay on the beach in Fiji, road-tripped around New Zealand and then spent three weeks in Chile. It was amazing.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Agree your vision and must-haves and delegate. Accept all offers of help – people really want to help and it can be a bit stressful finding them all jobs, but ultimately it was lovely to make it a big team effort.
Steal their style:
For more Bedfordshire wedding inspiration pick up the 2019 issue of Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Bride magazine or read the digital edition online.