A Wiltshire wedding with a natural, floral theme
19 Aug 2020
Purple and sage green accompanied the wedding of Nicole Lagadu and James Johnston’s with a natural, floral theme
Photography: The FX Works
Tell us about the proposal
The engagement was a complete surprise as James asked me to meet him in Battersea Park straight after work - he had arranged a picnic with all my favourite food from M&S and had a bottle of champagne. He proposed and I just kept saying “OMG” so eventually James had to say “is that a yes?” And, I replied “of course.”
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
We decided on a colour theme of purple and sage green. We wanted to create a very natural floral theme. Having moved to the city we miss the countryside and so wanted the wedding to reflect our love of the same.
We both knew we really wanted to get married in a church so this narrowed down the locations where we could get married - it would need to be somewhere with a church on site or near a family member as James is a nurse and it would be difficult to attend six months of church services consistently. We ended up selecting the St Michael’s Church in Mere, Wiltshire which is the village my parents live in. We then needed somewhere for the reception and stumbled upon Bishopstrow Hotel and Spa in Warminster - recommended by my mum. We decided on exclusive use so that the wedding guests could stay at the hotel and use the spa facilities.
I tried on a few different dresses in different styles before working out the style I wanted, which was a sweetheart neckline, lace, long length and white. I then looked around for designers who would do dresses in this style and it was my mum who discovered the designer Kenneth Winston. I looked through his collection online and saw one particular dress which I loved from the picture and looked for somewhere where I could arrange for that dress to be delivered to try on. I tried on a couple of different dresses on in Bride by Design in Warminster, before then putting the dress on and as soon as I came out my mum, aunt and maid of honour all started crying and going “it’s the one.” When I looked in the mirror I just knew it was perfect.
What did the bridesmaids wear?
I wanted lacy dresses to go with my dress and wanted purple and a slightly vintage feel. I also wanted a three-quarter style length. I sent a few pictures of different dresses via whatsapp and then ordered a few for the girls to have a trying on session at our flat in London. I also put on a spread of picky picks and chocolate fondu and drinks to make a day of it. We all decided on the Jolie Moi purple 50s lace fit and flare dress which I ordered directly from the website.
Tell us about the floral arrangements
We decided on a colour theme of purple and sage green. We wanted to create a very natural floral theme. We wanted flowers which were all in season - wild but elegant. The church had local ladies who designed the altar piece flowers. For the flowers down the church pews my mum got some flowers from the local ladies in Shaftesbury Town Hall market and we all arranged in these in jam jars to tie onto the side of the pews.
Our florist was the same florist my brother had used at his wedding. The Midnight Garden Florist - Beth litaunieks. Beth did all the flowers for the table centrepieces, fireplace pieces, buttonholes, bride and bridesmaid flowers and the milk churns outside the church. We also brought some artificial flowers which Beth used to decorate the staircase.
Tell us about the details of the day
Our favours were small hessian bags with the words ‘love is all you need’ on the front with retro sweets inside and on the tables were champagne bottle party bubbles.
We had designed the gift table with James’s old boarding school suitcase for cards and small gifts to go inside. My brother, as part of our engagement gift, had stuck different pictures of us over large letters spelling Love so we used this on the gift table. We had a wedding sign on the outside of the reception venue by the door which welcomed people to our wedding day and was designed with pictures linking to the timeline of key events for the day. As part of a gift from the maid of honour we were given a light box, so used this to ask people to sign the guest book.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Excited and nervous and glad to see friends and family in the church and in particular each other’s smiling face.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
The poem September by Heather Ober was read by my brother. This poem talks about nature and beauty and the month of September – this was very beautiful and, on the day made me cry.
What was your most memorable moment?
The first look at each other down the aisle at the church as we stayed apart the night before the wedding and I’d kept the dress etc a secret.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Finalising the table plan – trying to not have tables that were too crammed and linking the people on the table to each other was quite complicated and required a fair amount of re-jigging.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
L.O.V.E by Nat King Cole. As a child I loved the movie parent trap where this song was played and we both wanted a traditional song which was not too slow but celebrates love. We had dance lessons and leant a waltz to perform for our first dance.
Our father daughter dance was to Hushaby Mountain sung by Alfie Boe. When I was young my dad would sing this to me as a lullaby to help me sleep so it was a very personal song for the two of us.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
We had a DJ - Jay from Eventimate. We also had a cello and violinist string duo who played at the reception venue for the drinks as people arrived - B-string Duet - Claire & Sonia.
Our wedding cake was made by Jennylicious Cakes. Our cake design was quite specific we wanted a three-tier level cake with different flavours for each tier, the bottom was chocolate cake the largest, the middle was lemon cake and the top was fruit cake as the smallest. A silver birch bark effect icing was on the outside with floral designs and seasonal nuts and berries going around the cake. We also had a fish hidden in the bark to mark the fact that we met via Plenty of Fish. We also had a small icing model effect of James’ family dog, a golden retriever called Bella.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
A larger breakfast in the morning - as I was getting ready with the rest of the girls the hotel reception brought over some breakfast but it was only some light pastries, fruit, juice and coffee. The boys all went down to the hotel restaurant and had a cooked breakfast. In hindsight it may have be better to have something more filling.
Our honeymoon was a week in Porto Santo island just off Madeira which was a lovely relaxing experience much needed after the stress and excitement of the wedding. We even did a quick flight for a day trip to Madeira where we went for afternoon tea at the Belmond Reid Hotel.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Work together, ask family members and friends for recommendations and advice. Keep a detailed budget spreadsheet and wedding folder with all the information within. We even came up with schedules for the day and evening so everyone would know where to be at what time etc. Keep photographer shot details and give to the wedding party e.g. groomsmen/bridesmaids so they can help organise people into the groups as and when needed. Also, get someone from the wedding party to help get some food from the evening buffet on a plate for you as you end up being so busy talking to guests etc that you don’t get a chance to get a plate for yourselves.
Steal Their Style
Photography: The FX Works
Ceremony venue: St Michael’s Church, Mere, Wiltshire
Reception venue: Bishopstrow Hotel and Spa
Wedding Dress: Bride by Design
Dress alterations: The Dressmaker's Studio
Make Up Artist: Jessica Rattle, Hidden Depths Beauty Salon
Rings: The London Victorian Ring Co
Bridesmaids dresses: Jolie Moi
Suit Hire: Young’s Hire, Debenhams
Florist: The Midnight Garden Florist
Cake: Jennylicious Cakes
Transport: (bride/groom): Simply Memorable Wedding Car Hire
Transport: (bridesmaids): Love Bug Wedding Cars
Musicians: B-string Duet
Dance Classes: Flow Dance London