Wedding of the Week: Kerstie Sharpling and Richard Farr
18 Sep 2017
Planned in just four months, this couple showcased how personal touches and a thorough wedding plan can make the big day extra special
How did you meet?
We briefly worked together.
Tell us about the proposal.
For my birthday we had a getaway to the highlands of Scotland and while walking on a quiet beach in Nairn, Richard asked me to be his wife.
What was the colour scheme for the day?
Neutral, pink and gold.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We selected Elmore Court as our venue because, without question, it was the best venue for all our requirements. The old house is beautiful and elegant for the ceremony, the grounds were the perfect setting for the drinks reception and the gulliflower is a purpose-built stunning area to host the breakfast and party. Elmore also has 16 incredible bedrooms in the main building and a coach house with further accommodation meaning a good number of our guests could stay the night and also my bridesmaids and I could stay the night before in the coach house.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I spotted the dress from outside the shop and straight away knew it was everything I wanted in a wedding dress. The dress was Riki Dalal from Mayfair and it was unbelievable. In total, I probably tried on about 10 dresses.
What did the bridesmaids wear?
An evening gown in gold-ish pink.
Where did you find your suits?
Moss Bros' Tailor Me service.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
Flowers are extremely important to me; I love them, I also work in the wedding industry and see all kinds of amazing arrangements so this had to be right. We opted for neutral and blush large centrepieces and tall arrangements outside the venue and scattered around other key locations. Our florist was amazing; she really understood what we wanted and delivered in a big way.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
- Having beautiful drinks stations set up: gin, Craft lager, and prosecco, as well as a waiter service, made a difference as all the guests were free to drink as much or little as they liked without having to always keep an eye out for someone walking around with a tray. This made the reception feel a little more relaxed. The stations were set up around a very large ancient tree which had a string of lights wrapped around it many times. Attached to the cord were lots of photos of us as children, memories of our time together and pictures of us with our little boy; our guests appeared to like these touches.
- We custom-made the table plan by attaching photo frames to a section of trellis and used foliage to decorate it.
- We removed the glass from a large picture frame which had an engagement photo in the middle and had our guests sign the mounting card around the photo.
- All the guests that stayed at the house were provided with hangover bags we made for them. A brown paper carrier with a message about hangovers being temporary but memories lasting forever. Inside were soft drinks, crisps, paracetamol, chocolate and wine gums for the drive home.
- Our table numbers were photo frames that we customised.
- We sprayed 110 plastic animals gold and made a little cut along their backs and these held all the guests place names at the table, again very well received.
- Favours were custom wedding day biscuits, with our initials and the date.
- We had a photo booth and an album for people to leave us a copy of their pictures.
- A sweet cart outside for people to help themselves to in the evening.
- Pizza Monkey; freshly made pizzas for the evening food. Amazing.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Extremely emotional. I felt a mixture of intense excitement, anticipation and pure love when I looked around at my family and friends and saw Richard waiting for me.
What was your most memorable moment?
When my father came in to see me for the first time after I had just put my dress on and also looking into Richard's eyes when we were saying our vows.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Doing it all in four months was pretty tough.
What was the most important investment for you?
The venue, not just because it’s a massive investment but this has such an impact on the feel of the day: the flow, the convenience or inconvenience of your guests. Our venue had to tick all the boxes for how we wanted the experience to be for both us and our guests. Being just a pretty location or grand building is not enough.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
Let's Stay Together, Al Green, simply because we love the song.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
Just a DJ because we had afternoon entertainment instead, throughout the wedding breakfast - the most incredible entertainer called Howard Wing. We wanted to make our day very memorable and even though we love all the weddings we go to the wedding breakfast is always the same: lovely food, great conversation and plenty of drinks, but not much interaction between everyone as a group. This was not the case at ours with singing and laughter throughout, though done in such a way it wasn't cheesy or detracting from us. After four hours of Howard, we wanted the evening to be a party where people could come and go as the choose and not feel they had to be in a certain place at that a certain time.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
It was three tiered, all chocolate layers and in-keeping with the flowers so neutral and blush in colour. We also included some of the natural flowers in the design. Our cake lady was amazing; I cannot speak highly enough of how professional and diligent she was to every last detail. She really understood exactly what I wanted and her communication throughout was incredible. The cake also looked and tasted fantastic.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
We married on Father’s Day which also happened to be the hottest day of the year, so the only thing I would change would be to have a basket with some fans for the guests during the ceremony because it was pretty hot but that’s it.
Did anything go wrong on the day?
Not one single thing. Massive amounts of planning beforehand and thinking about how the day should flow helped this. However, a huge amount of praise must go to all the staff at Elmore who were unbelievable in not only how professional and organised they were but also in how genuinely invested they felt in our big day and in making it the very best it could be.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
How much the venue would take care of things on the morning of the wedding. We had four car loads of things unloaded the day before and waking up to see how much had to be done was very overwhelming and had been playing on my mind in the build up to the wedding, however the Elmore team handled every last detail without any need for me to be involved.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
As we only planned the wedding in four months and we’re both self-employed with work commitments straight after the wedding, we dropped things off at home then had a week a Centre Parcs with our little boy. We will be going on our honeymoon in October, but as of yet the destination is to be confirmed.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
- Map the day out from start to finish from a guests' perspective and think about what can be added or changed to make it that bit more enjoyable, free flowing and memorable.
- Make sure you select the right people to work with; it’s important that you like their work but also to a certain degree their character as you’ll be dealing with them a lot.
Steal their style:
Photography: Gary Nunn, www.garynunn.co.uk
Floristry: Maria Wilcox, http://sororidesign.co.uk/
Cake: Tanya Goodacre, www.cotswoldcakekitchen.co.uk
DJ: Live Events Media, www.liveeventsgroup.co.uk
Pizza Monkey: Nick Higgs, www.pizzamonkey.co.uk
Entertainment: Howard Wing, www.howardwing.co.uk
Videographry: Lucy Drake, www.lucydrakeweddingfilms.co.uk
Table dressing: Laura Grey
Guitarist: Alive Network, www.alivenetwork.com
Lighting Games, ancillaries: Every Event Hire, www.every-event-hire.co.uk
Photo booth: Anne Marie
Venue: Elmore Court, www.elmorecourt.com
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