Wedding of the Week: Rebecca Storey and Thomas Butler

26 Feb 2018

Following their engagement at Lake Garda in May 2016, Rebecca and Tom's wedding at Cain Manor in Surrey featured a loose Italian theme to mark the special moment

How did you meet?

At an Arts Marketing Association conference at The Curve in Leicester.

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Tell us about the proposal.

We were on holiday in Italy and staying near Lake Garda. Tom was very insistent that we went on a hike up the mountains to get a better view, but I was more interested in an Aperol Spritz. Tom wasn’t giving up though and when we reached the top and rested on a bench he pulled out the most beautiful ring he had had made for me and proposed while we looked over Lake Garda. It was perfect… apart from the lizard that then tried to climb up Tom’s back.

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What was the theme for the day?

We had an Italian theme.

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What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?

Cain Manor, it was the perfect size for us and had rooms where the wedding party and close family could stay. I used to work at Shakespeare’s Globe too and it gave off a very Shakespearean vibe.

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When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?

My dress was by Caroline Castigliano. As soon as I put the dress on I knew, although I did have a few alternations to the style made by the designer as I knew I wanted a sweetheart neckline. I tried on around eight dresses in total.

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What did the bridesmaids wear?

One-shoulder, knee-length dress in pale lavender by Dessy.

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Where did you find your suits?

Tom bought his suit from John Lewis. It was a pale grey three-piece and we had ties made for him, the groomsmen, father of the bride and father of the groom in the same material as the bridesmaids' dresses. The groomsmen hired their suits from Moss Bros. They were dark grey, with a dark grey check waistcoat.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

Jodie Sutch of The Little Violet Florist designed our flowers. We had a herbal theme to add to the Italian style and scent the room like a Mediterranean summer's day. Lavender, rosemary, amnesia roses, olive branches, astrantia and white freesias made up my bouquet and the bridesmaids had lavender and rosemary. The men wore buttonholes of olive branches, lavender and rosemary. Each table had three terracotta pots filled with different herbs and we told the guests to take home whatever herbs and pots they’d like to. We also chose to have a larger version of my bouquet for the registrar's table, two olive trees and olive branches down the aisle on the chairs. I’ve also had my bouquet dried and put into a frame so I get to keep it forever.

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Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.

  • Our friend played Spanish Romance on the Spanish guitar as I walked down the aisle and ‘Barrios’ as we signed the register.
  • We had three readings: ‘Sonnet 116’ by Shakespeare, ‘I want to be your’ by John Cooper Clarke and ‘An Apache Blessing’.
  • We had a loose theme of Italy, having got engaged there, so we decorated our tables with fresh fragrant herbs with favours of olive and rosemary oil. We collected glass jars for months and then filled them with dried lavender and candles to scent the room. We also gave everyone a little card to fill in and give us advice – these then formed our guest book.
  • We bought an old wooden lavender box for our cards and made signs by cutting letters out of old Italian maps. We also brought small wooden sticks and asked people to write date night ideas on them – we’re going to attempt to do them all in the first year of our marriage, although one person put sky diving....
  • Our menu was peat-smoked salmon, pea shoots and beetroot with charlotte potato salad and edible flowers to start; slow braised sticky Hampshire beef with creamed parsnip mash, root vegetable crisps and olivette carrots for the main; and sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce, glazed pecans and mascarpone ice cream.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to get down there and marry my best friend. I think everyone else around me had the nerves.

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What was your most memorable moment?

Walking down the aisle and seeing Tom for the first time that day. He had no idea about my dress and I couldn’t wait to see his reaction.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

The Friday before the wedding. Trying to co-ordinate family and where everyone was going to stay.

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What was the most important investment for you?

Wedding rings.

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What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?

It Had To Be You from When Harry Met Sally. We had watched the film at the outdoor cinema at Fulham Palace about four years earlier and I remember thinking that was the song I wanted as our first dance. I knew then we were going to get married.

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Did you have any evening entertainment?

The Get Down, a five-piece live band.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

My mum made our wedding cake. We had three layers: fruit cake, chocolate cake with raspberry cream, and lemon and poppy seed cake with Limoncello buttercream with rustic white icing, decorated with olive branches and lavender.

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If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

To have more time to talk to everyone.

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Did anything go wrong on the day?

We had a huge rainstorm an hour before the ceremony, but then the sun came out and everything was amazing.

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

To make sure you get all of the photo combinations you can think of. There are still some I wish we had from the day. Also, order a number of wedding certificates; you have to post them all over the place to change your name.

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Where did you go on honeymoon?

We went the Monday after our wedding (which was on a Saturday) to the Seychelles. We did a week on Praslin and a week on Denis private island.

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Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

Enjoy it and don’t let it consume you. Make sure you go out for date nights and ban the topic of the wedding, if only for one night.

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Steal their style:

Photography: Bill Sykes, www.billsykesweddings.co.uk
Venue and catering: Cain Manor, www.bijouweddingvenues.co.uk
Floristry: Jodie Sutch of The Little Violet Florist, www.thelittleviolet.co.uk
Band: The Get Down, www.bandsforhire.net/function-bands/item/219-the-get-down
Hair: Ruby Mane, Farnham, www.rubymane.co.uk
Make-up: Elky May, http://ellkymay.co.uk/
Necklace: Tiffany & Co, www.tiffany.co.uk
Dress and beaded belt: Caroline Castigliano, www.carolinecastigliano.com
Shoes: Reiss, www.reiss.com
Bridesmaids' dresses: Dessy, https://uk.dessy.com

For more real wedding inspiration, pick up the latest edition of Bride magazine. 

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