Wedding of the Week: Holly Connors and James White
24 Oct 2017
A dusky pink and aubergine colour palette, coupled with a musical theme, created a perfect wedding day for Holly Connors and James White
How did you meet?
We met at university while training to be teachers.
Tell us about the proposal.
James: We went on holiday to Barcelona and I took the ring with me thinking there must be somewhere nice to propose there. As it happens, on the first night after dinner we went for a walk through the night market and I suggested walking back to the hotel along the beach. Well, it didn’t go exactly to plan but after walking past a sewerage outlet and clambering over rocky water breaks we finally came to a flat sandy section of beach near the hotel at sunset and I popped the question.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
The theme was a more rustic nature with lots of wood and brown paper. The colour scheme was dusky pink and aubergine.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
Gosfield Hall in Essex. We chose it because I saw it online so we went for a look round. Once we had, we utterly fell in love with the place. It had all of the grandeur of a cathedral but equally the comfort of the fact it was a stately home which was exactly what we were looking for from a venue.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
This was amazingly quite a quick process for me. It was on the second shopping trip that I found my dress at a place called Martels Bridal Boutique in Dunmow. I saw a fashion show they did at a wedding fair with my mum and mother-in-law so we decided to take a trip down there. As soon as I tried my dress on I just knew it was the one. The lace and sparkles on it were subtle but effective which gave it a real vintage feel which is right up my street. The colour was also different too – in some lights it was an ivory shade but could also look champagne too, which I loved. The dress was in their sample range which meant the design was discontinued so that was the only one they had. This massively appealed to me as it really felt one of a kind. Martel’s seamstress, Olivia, did an amazing job of altering the dress to fit, tidying up the sparkles and adding in a bussle for the evening. The lovely thing was that so many of our friends commented on how the dress was very ‘me’ and how it suited my style completely.
What did the bridesmaids wear?
Debut by Debenhams. They were the same dress but in two different colours.
Where did you find your suits?
We hired the suits from Moss Bros.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
Most of the flowers around the house were provided by the venue however the centrepieces, bouquets, buttonholes, corsages and the cake stand were provided by the Orchid Rooms of Wickford. We didn’t really know which type of flowers we wanted; we met with Caroline and discussed colours and how we liked the rustic vintage style. From that she was able to suggest exactly what we wanted and straight away we knew that we were in expert hands. The bouquets were made up of dusky pink garden roses, lilac roses, purple freesia, dusky pink hydrangea, ivory astilbe and purple lizinthus. The centrepiece flowers in wooden crates matched this and we put the bouquets in clear vases along the top table. The flower girl had a wand that had a pink garden rose in.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
- Most of the smaller details of the day were DIY. The favours were small hessian bags which contained seed balls for wild flowers, both of which we bought online and made up ourselves.
- Similarly the photo booth was a wicker basket full of props and signs with a homemade frame which we bought from Hobbycraft and then decorated. We also added in a few selfie sticks to help with the angles. We thought this would be both cheaper than hiring a photo booth but also easier for people to take pictures with as they would be on their phones which they could also then send to us or put on Facebook.
- From the venue itself, we hired the giant garden games which were enjoyed by lots of our guests, especially the younger ones, as they were able to use them while we were having pictures taken.
- We decorated our wedding breakfast tables with the centrepieces from the florist but we also used some artwork from Holly’s brother who happens to be an artist. In keeping with our musical theme, for the place setting on one side we had the album artwork for that particular table and on the back we had a quote from one of the songs on that particular album.
- The seating plan we found online from notonthehighstreet, it was made by Magik Moments.
- We had two guest books, one was a simple book with a wooden front and back cover that had plain pages for our guests to write their message. Our second one was a pot of small wooden hearts that guests would sign and then place into a clear jar. Both of these were made by Ginger Ray, and the pot for the wooden hearts was from a garden centre.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Walking down the stairs to the ceremony room I remember feeling quite nervous but calm. We had Caroline Pattrick playing the violin and as soon as she began playing ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri, which was the song for the bridesmaids to walk down too, I became emotional and my dad passed me over a tissue so I dried my eyes and took a deep breath. Walking down the aisle was a bit of a blur; I just remember seeing all our guests for the first time all dressed up and I was just smiling from ear to ear. When I got to James I just felt a huge sense of calmness; we both took each other’s hand and had a smile and giggle to each other as we said hello like it was the most normal thing in the world.
What was your most memorable moment?
We decided to write our own vows but not make it part of the ceremony. We aren’t a couple that enjoy public displays of affection so we decided to write our own vows in a letter to read on the day privately. Gosfield Hall have so many quiet and beautiful places so we went and sat on a bench away from our guests where we read each other’s letters. As it was for our eyes and ears only, the vows and words were completely personalised to our relationship which felt true to us and real. This was our most memorable moment because it was not only private but also it was a time when the day slowed down for us. The whole day to that point had been a wonderful blur, but very much a blur. This was an opportunity for us to not only remind ourselves of why we were there but also to have some time together just for us.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
We didn’t really struggle with anything in the run up, most of our research was done on the internet with a cup of tea and that meant we were able to go with the first suppliers that we went to see. Probably the most challenging part of the planning was choosing which food and drink would be served on the day. Fortunately our tastes are quite similar so that made our lives easier. There were so many different options that we had to really think long and hard about what we would want on the day.
What was the most important investment for you?
The most important investment for the day itself was the venue, the reason for that was it came with everything we could want which made our lives infinitely easier but also it meant the day ran very smoothly. In terms of memories, by far and away the best investment was with Bloomwood Photography as they were able to capture the day superbly giving us many wonderful memories.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We chose The Beach Boys - God Only Knows. The reason we chose this was that we happened to be talking about the topic of first dances and it was on the radio. We started to listen a little more closely than perhaps we might have done previously and the lyrics really spoke to us and how we felt about each other so it seemed natural.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
Other than the house DJ, no.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
We had a four tiered naked wedding cake that was a Victoria sponge. The reason we chose this was the fact that neither of us are a particular fan of fruit cake nor are we a fan of heavy icing. That, coupled with the fact that it was a summer wedding and a naked cake with some flowers on would look wonderful, it seemed like the natural choice. When we met with Sarah of Sarah’s Wedding Cakes, she was wonderful; she spoke to us about all of the different options, what might work for us and what wouldn’t so that in the end it was a really easy choice to go for a more aesthetically simple choice.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
Genuinely nothing. The day was everything that we wanted it to be and so much more. Perhaps for the day to have lasted a week, but other than that nothing at all.
Did anything go wrong on the day?
With the day itself nothing went wrong. When, however, we sat down to dinner and speeches I was getting myself ready to give mine when I noticed that the first page of my speech was missing. After lots of fumbling around I couldn’t find it and my time was up. Fortunately, I had a vague idea of what was on the page so I was able to carry on anyway but it did give a brief moment of worry.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
Not much, but it would have been nice if we had known not to give the smaller details too much concern as we didn’t give them a second thought on the day and neither did our guests.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went to Crete five days after our wedding. This meant we were able to get everything home, sort a few bits out and relax and recover a little before going away.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Enjoy it because it all goes too quickly. Tradition is lovely and so is pleasing your family, but it’s your wedding day and it will be your marriage so make so what you organise is what you want for yourselves.
Get the look:
Photography: Bloomwood Photography, www.bloomwoodphotography.co.uk
Venue: Gosfield Hall, www.gosfield-hall.co.uk
Cake: Sarah’s Wedding Cakes, www.sarahsweddingcakes.co.uk
Floristry: The Orchid Rooms, www.theorchidroomweddings.com
Make-up: Kelly Hollands Make Up, www.kellyhollands.co.uk
Suits, Moss Bros., www.moss.co.uk
Dress: Martell’s Bridal Boutique, www.martellsbridal.co.uk
Bridesmaids' dresses: Debenhams
Music: Caroline Patrick, www.musicbyviolin.co.uk
Hair: Rachael South, Rachsouth@hotmail.com
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