A Deepest Red & Black, Halloween Wedding in Kent: Gary & Pippa Wright
10 Aug 2015
Shirking the usual airy, light-filled or pastel themes that are familiar territory of weddings, Gary and Pippa Wright had different ideas for their big day: Halloween with a deep red, black and white theme took form along with its ‘trick or treat’ sweet table, pumpkins and 14th century vaulted underground venue in Kent.
Photography by www.paulfullerkentphotography
Gary and Pippa have a long history together – it started 19 years ago, to be exact, when they met at university in London. But it was back in November 2011 when Gary got down on one knee and proposed to Pippa – we hear the story behind their unique day with the ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception at the George Vaults, and signature cocktails and cake in the Affinity Lounge bar.
Tell us about the event that started the ball rolling – the proposal.
It was the last night of our trip to Los Angeles before travelling by coach to Las Vegas the next day. We had just finished dinner at Yamashiro Hollywood, in the Hollywood Hills. We ordered a taxi from the valet and, while we were waiting, Gary said let’s walk down into the Japanese gardens which surrounded the restaurant overlooking the night-time lights of LA. Then, to my complete surprise, Gary went down on bended knee and proposed. After 15 years together, I was completely shocked. I immediately said “Yes”, and cried. Our taxi had arrived by that point, so we headed back to Hollywood Boulevard for champagne to toast our engagement. Gary proposed with a beautiful Marry Me ring from Pop the Question and then we chose a stunning permanent engagement ring from Tiffany – Grace. I wear both.
How did you go about choosing the venue for your day?
Rochester means a great deal to us. Gary is from Medway, I’m from London, and we used to meet up and spend many a fun night out together with friends in Rochester. The George Vaults itself was perfect for our Halloween wedding. We had been there a few times over the years and it stuck in our memories. When we researched venues online and saw it was licensed for ceremonies, we were delighted and really didn’t need to continue looking anywhere else – it was for us. The bonus was availability during Halloween weekend.
Tell us a bit more about your unusual theme for the day.
October has always been an important time of the year and we wanted our wedding to be a real autumnal celebration. It was also the night the clocks went back, so we had an extra hour to party.
Despite some of the guests anticipating I would wear black, it was too obvious, so I chose black for my two adult bridesmaids and I wore palest ivory.
I knew I had found my dress when I saw the Pronovias Gaudi in a local boutique in Southampton. I visited different stores and tried on and loved many different styles, but I felt the ruffled fishtail design of the Gaudi was for me and similar to styles I had seen and loved in American bridal magazines. I had the neckline of my dress reshaped, from one shoulder (conscious of trends) to sweetheart and I had the buttons replaced with those that would catch the candlelight as I walked down the aisle.
I found my veil on Recycled Bride (something old). I wanted a poofy veil similar to Priscilla Presley and a bride in the U.S. had bought and never used the one I had planned to buy myself. She had even added extra ‘poof’, but had opted for a birdcage veil on the day instead.
I wore handmade black lace gloves from a shop on Etsy – can’t take the Goth out of the bride – and Vivienne Westwood ‘Melissa’ red heart shoes. I loved them on the day and they are very wearable going forward.
What did you choose in terms of blooms?
The bridesmaids’ flowers were packed bunches of white gypsophila, tied with black ribbon, which matched the gypsophila hanging ceiling balls, table and chair flowers. I had deepest red and black baccara roses complete with long stems as if they’d be cut fresh from the ground. They too were tied with black ribbon and, in the centre of two of the roses, our florist Linda from Sweetpea and Olive, pinned diamanté crystals. This was in remembrance of our mums, who had both passed away some years before. My bridesmaids and I also wore a matching dark red rose on our wrists, tied with black ribbon. The groom wore a dark red pinhole in his charcoal three-piece suit and those in the groom’s party wore white pinholes.
How about the other decorations?
A main focus of the decoration was lighting, in particular candlelight, complementing the beautiful vaulted ceiling at The George Vaults. We were given a heart-shaped candelabra, which was a real talking point, as well as lanterns to line the aisle and flickering tea lights in mirrored votives on the tables.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple are the details – tell us about the details of the day.
It was a Halloween party after all, complete with skeleton air walker and other themed balloons. We had a ‘trick or treat’ candy table in the black, white and red colours of the wedding; with printed Gaz and Pip candy bags. We used real pumpkins and handmade individual name flags for the table plan. A talented friend created our wedding stationery for the day (Saintly Designs). We created a wedding website for event details and RSVP management. The George Vaults created signature cocktails for our cocktail hour between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. We also had Domino’s pizza delivered for our evening buffet! We made a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support for our wedding favours, again in memory of our Mums. They provided beautiful cards with swallow pin badges and we individually labelled the cards with names in a matching font to the pumpkin name flags. I ordered a skeleton bride cake topper from the U.S, but when she arrived, she was too big for the cake, so she sat with me at the table!
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
I was trembling so much I found it hard to walk. I concentrated on Gary at the end of the aisle – I think I remembered to smile.
What was your most memorable moment?
We have amazing memories of the whole day, but being declared man and wife after so many years together and then having our photographs taken by talented Rochester photographer Paul Fuller in and around Rochester Cathedral and High Street was really special.
What was the most important investment for you?
The George Vaults is incredible value for money, so although venue hire, food and drink was collectively the biggest outlay, it didn’t feel prohibitive. Our honeymoon was a trip of a lifetime and a worthwhile investment.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
Mazzy Star, Fade into You. It is a beautiful, slow song, reminiscent of the 90s, when we met. Music was really important to us so Gary compiled an eclectic mix of film and TV instrumental for the ceremony and our favourite songs to be played during the wedding breakfast. The excellent Choice DJ, Phil Webster, took over for the evening reception, as well as creating mood lighting to get the party started. See http://www.choicedj.co.uk/the-night-rochester-rocked-pippa-gary-27th-october/ for our rocking write-up!
And the wedding cake?
It was an elegant, modern design, with delicate piping that mirrored the shape of the venue’s vaulted ceiling, as well as the roses in my bouquet. One tier was strawberry and champagne and the other, lemon.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
It was a wet, windy, wild day in October. We expected as much and planned for it, but my hair didn’t cope very well. It would have been the same up, or down, so I just went with it.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
Mexico – Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Mexico City. Mexico during the Day of the Dead celebrations has always been a dream and was an amazing experience.
Do you have any advice for brides and grooms-to-be?
This is your day. Do it your way, for each other.
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