An elegant white and grey wedding in Somerset
22 Oct 2019
Amy Pearce married Michael Birtle at Clevedon Hall, the same venue where their Valentine's Day proposal took place
How did you meet?
We met back in July 2015, Michael knew my sister through social media and noticed me on her posts. He then built the courage up to message me and then it went from there.
Tell us about the proposal…
Back in 2018 on the 14th of February, Michael surprised me with a night away at Clevedon Hall. When we turned up to the location we were shown to our room where the first of surprises started. He booked a luxurious bridal wedding suite which was amazing. When I went into the bedroom there was a gift on the bed of beautiful new Vivienne Westwood earrings, he then said; “You can where those tonight as we are going to Clevedon Hall's Valentine's ball”.
Before we started to get ready for the ball, Clevedon Hall staff said to us we were allowed anywhere on the grounds apart from one certain room due to it being used. So, we got ready went to the ball, had dinner and Michael then said: “Let's go for a walk around the grounds”.
He headed over to the room where I thought we weren’t allowed in and I said: "We can't go in there”. He then opened the door and all I could see was a trail of candles on the floor made into a pathway which lead up to an easel which had a big frame wrapped up on it. He said this was my final surprise, I started to open it and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a beautiful Victorian mirror with “Amy, will you marry me?” on it.
I could see Michael behind me in the mirror starting to get down on one knee and as I turned around, he was on his knee with an engagement ring. I couldn’t believe it; I was in a complete bubble of happy emotion and said yes. With that, Clevedon Hall came in with champagne followed by a photographer to capture the moment. It was beautiful and still makes people cry to this day.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
Our theme was modern elegance and our colour scheme was neutral. The bridesmaids' dresses were in a mink colour and the groomsmen were in a stone grey colour.
What venue did you choose and why?
We chose Clevedon Hall as it had meaning to us, it's were Michael proposed and I immediately fell in love with the place. I couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I tried on 32 dresses from five different wedding dress shops. I originally wanted a straight, backless dress but once I tried a few on I knew it wasn’t for me. I went to WED2B first and tried one on I loved but I didn’t want to settle just yet, so I visited four other high-end wedding dress shops. However, I couldn’t find any that I liked or made my mum cry, so I went back to the first place and tried on the first one again and just fell in love with it again. My mum cried, my sister cried, the shop assistants cried, it was emotional and I knew it was the one.
It was an Elle by Viva Bride dress in ivory with back detail, beading and embroidery. The fabric was beaded, lace and tulle and the dress had an illusion neckline, a long train and was sleeveless. My dress was very vintage and beautiful; I had a floor length veil and a beautiful diamond belt.
Does the dress match the one you originally thought you would choose?
It’s the complete opposite. I went from wanting a straight down figure hugging style to more of a princess dress.
What did the bridesmaids wear?
The bridesmaids wore mink dresses from Little Mistress, they also had illusion necklines as I thought it would complement my dress. I had six bridesmaids: three best friends, two sisters and one sister-in-law. I had three flowergirls who also all wore ivory long tulle dresses with a cut-out heart shape in the back.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
A satin midi shift dress from Next; it was a pale lilac with navy floral pattern at the bottom paired with a navy fascinator.
Where did you find your suits?
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
We had an outside wedding so we had a long and low table where we would sign the register, we had flowers on the end of the chairs and down the aisle. For the sit-down meal, we had tall vases with flower arrangements on each table. The bridesmaids had a posey of roses and gypsophila, the flowergirls had baskets with petals, the groomsmen and pageboys had buttonholes with a rose and leaves, and I had a big bouquet of green and white roses, gypsophila and leaves.
Tell us about the details of the day.
As Michael is a graphic designer, he made a lot. Our favours were bottles with 'Take a shot, we tied the knot' tags and small clear boxes with doughnuts saying 'Do-nut mind if I do'.
Michael made the seating plan on a board which was on a white fence surrounded with leaves. The menus and name tags were made on velum and the welcome sign was printed onto a board.
We made busy bags for the kids that were great, including colouring books made out of mine and Michael’s faces. We had a big floral LOVE sign, doughnut wall, sweet cart, activities and games for the children.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
I was so relieved and happy to see Michael knowing that we made it and could finally get married. It was such an overwhelming feeling of pure happiness and excitement.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
My bridesmaid, who was my sister-in-law, conducted a reading on 'Love' that she also had read at her wedding so it was very personal to us. I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of John Legend – All Of Me, as it’s a very personal song to me and Michael. I also reserved a seat for my granddad who is no longer with us, that meant a lot to me at the wedding as he was a big part of my life. Last but not least, my son Reggie handed us the rings which was very emotional for everyone.
What was your most memorable moment?
It was Michael's speech, he also announced that our son's name was changed to Birtle as well. Michael has raised our son with me since he was born due to no contact with his biological father and our son only knows Michael as his daddy. He has always wanted to have the same surname as his daddy so we changed it as a surprise and announced it in the speeches which was a beautiful moment.
Another moment was walking down the aisle, thinking about it still to this day gives me goosebumps. It was so magical and overwhelming, and I was so happy to see family we haven't seen for a long time watching us get married. The best moment of planning the wedding was the cake, that was our favourite part as we got to enjoy designing it together and it became even more exciting and real.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Trying to please both sets of family became difficult, and who to invite to the day and who would be invited to the evening.
What was the most important investment for you?
The most important investment would be the package we got at Clevedon Hall and everything that was included, such as the cottage the night before, rooms for the guests for the night, venue, reception, food and drink.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We chose Mr. Probz – Nothing Really Matters. We had two songs that meant a lot to us as they both reflect on our relationships and are beautiful songs, but the day before the wedding we still couldn’t choose. So, when I left to spend the night away, Michael told me to choose so he wouldn’t know what song until it came on for the first dance. It made everyone cry and it was also a surprise for him.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
We had a band named The Lipinski Band.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
Our wedding cake was four layers of a white and grey marble icing which had gold going down the side and white edible roses. The bottom layer was chocolate sponge, the second layer was raspberry Victoria sponge, the next layer was lemon sponge and the top layer was fake so we got to keep it as a memory.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
Honestly, there is nothing I would change as we had an amazing day. The only thing I would have liked was to have a different dress for the evening as my dress got quite heavy to have on for the whole day.
Did anything go wrong on the day?
Before I walked down the aisle, there were cars parked in front of Clevedon Hall which got in the way for pictures. They couldn’t get people to move the cars for a while, but eventually they got moved.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
Plan things earlier, pay things off in advance, be more organised and try not leave the little things to the last minute.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went on a minimoon to Cadbury House Spa the day after and we have a honeymoon booked to New York in January 2020.
Steal Their Style
Photography: Lee Hatherall
Band: The Lipinski Band
Venue and catering: Clevedon Hall
Florist: Daisy Lane
Cake: Cuppa Cakery, Tanya Smith
Stationery: Tess and Gemma, RIVA gifts
Hair: Naomi Smith
Make-up: Amber at The Beauty Spot
For more Somerset wedding inspiration, browse the latest edition of South West Bride magazine.