The Patersons’ sophisticated wedding was the fulfilment of a lifetime’s planning
Six years after we met at King’s College, London, Simon got down on one knee on a moonlit beach in Egypt, holding a beautiful ring that I had been dreaming of for months. It took a few minutes before I could murmur a delighted ‘Yes’ through a veil of tears.
And exactly one year to that day, we married in my hometown in Wilmslow, Cheshire.
I had been planning my wedding day since I was a little girl. In my mind, there was never any question as to which church I would get married in – St Teresa’s in Wilmslow, the church that I’ve been attending since I was a child.
I had decided long before meeting Simon where I wanted the reception to be: The Belle Epoque in Knutsford. I love the ambiance, the intimate romantic feel of the place, and the food and service are second to none. Once Simon had visited it, he too was smitten.
Once the date was set and the venues booked, the hunt was on for THE dress.
I live in London, so my mother and I visited carefully chosen bridal shops in the area, together with the bridesmaids. Having spent many hours researching them on the internet, I wanted either straps or sleeves on my dress, and an elegant, classical style that would look good in the photos for years to come. Having done the rounds of all the selected bridal shops, I finally stumbled across a boutique in Pimlico, the London Bride Couture, and found a beautiful Ian Stuart dress.
As soon as I put it on, I called out from the fitting room, “This is it!” I was always torn between satin or lace, but this dress allowed me to have the best of both worlds. I had a wrist strap put on the dress, rather than a bustle, as we thought this was more traditional and romantic. The dress lends itself to having a bouffant veil, rather than a long one; we didn’t want the detail of the lace to be lost as I walked down the aisle.
To me, the groom’s outfit is just as important as the bride’s. We were assisted in this by my father, who runs Phillip Alexander Bespoke Tailors in Savile Row, London, and in Wilmslow, Cheshire. We wanted a timeless elegance for the men, so chose traditional black morning tails with dove grey vests, except for Simon, who wore an ivory vest. All the garments were individually fitted and tailored; they looked absolutely fantastic.
The colours of The Belle Epoque’s interior are striking; we did not try to compete with them but rather complement. The colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses was chosen with this in mind, also bearing in mind their skin tones. The invitations, orders of service and menu cards were all done in creams and golds, with a vintage feel.
On the morning of the wedding, my mother woke me with a cup of tea and we chatted about the events of the day ahead. The bridesmaids arrived at about 10am, followed by Nina Wren, the hair and make-up artist, shortly after. My father, brother and the bridesmaids were running around getting ready, organising last minute details, then the photographer arrived and the florist and the chauffeur, all talking at the same time. It was complete chaos! Everyone did what they had to do and then started leaving. Finally the car collected my mother and the bridesmaids, leaving my father and I in complete calm and quiet.
Then it hit me – I was getting married. Up until this point, I had been so focussed on organising the day that I hadn’t emotionally prepared myself for what was about to happen. My father escorted me to the black Daimler Limousine, with the chauffer in attendance – it looked fabulous. As we were approaching the church, the chauffer suggested we might like to take the scenic route (to give me a little more time to compose myself). When we arrived outside the church, my father gave me his handkerchief to dry my eyes and he squeezed my hand.
We had a full nuptial mass, which was wonderful. After the service, Simon and I left in the black Daimler, followed by a fleet of black cabs. It looked very elegant. As we arrived at The Belle Epoque we were whisked away by our photographer, John O’Connor. Unbeknown to me, the International Penny Farthing Race – which only takes place every ten years – had just finished in Knutsford, just outside The Belle Epoque. John managed to get some fantastic photos of Simon and I mingling with the riders and the Penny Farthings.
Announced by the Master of Ceremonies, our theatrical entrance to the dining area was greeted with the most fantastic enthusiasm and applause, and the celebrations began. Wine, wonderful food, a fantastic atmosphere, and the love and warmth of our family and friends... all our expectations were exceeded.
After the desserts were served, the Master of Ceremonies asked if he could give a short farewell speech in honour of the chef, who was going back to France to marry his fiancée, making this his last day at The Belle Epoque. The chef became rather emotional in response and began singing; the Master of Ceremonies joined in, and so did the waiters! We had no idea that Elegant Entertainment had been amongst us all the time, working as waiters, the Master of Ceremonies, and chef! Their voices were absolutely phenomenal and brought most of us to tears. What an incredible surprise.
Simon and I chose an Andy Williams classic for our first dance, and we managed to wow the guests with our (previously hidden), dancing abilities.
We left for our honeymoon while the party was still in full swing. As we were driven away, we could hear our newly joined family and friends continuing to celebrate, which we believe went on through to the following day!
Venue: The Belle Epoque, 01565 632661, thebelleepoque.com
Dress: London Bride Couture, 020 7821 0404, londonbridecouture.com
Grooms: Phillip Alexander, 01625 521337, phillipalexander.co.uk
Cake: Peter Herd Cakes, 01625 522567, peterherdcakes.co.uk
Hair & Make up: Nina Wren - Bridal Hair & Tiaras, 07971 512813, bridalhairandtiaras.com
Entertainment: Elegant Entertainment, 01483 722125, elegant-entertainment.com
Bridesmaids: Cheshire Brides of Frodsham, 01928 739796, cheshirebrides.co.uk
Mother of Bride: Classy Rags, 0151 722 8033, classy-rags.co.uk
Flowers: The Black Rose, Knutsford, 01565 751453, theblackrose.co.uk