A last-minute supplier cancellation did little to stop Alice Herbert and Tom Stables have the wedding day of their dreams
How did you meet?
We lived in the same halls in first year at Newcastle University.
Tell us about the proposal.
Tom organised a surprise holiday, hiring a cottage in the Cotswolds over Easter weekend. He bought an Easter egg from my favourite chocolatier (Paul A. Young) and hid the ring in the egg; a lovely surprise after a long walk in the beautiful Cotswolds countryside.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
We didn’t have a particular theme or colour scheme, but just wanted neutral elegant colours to fit in with the Georgian architecture.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
Dorset is where I was brought up and we loved the coastal setting and the beautiful building and grounds of Smedmore House.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I knew straight away as I had a strong idea of the style I was looking for. I got the dress in the first and only shop I went to – Catherine Deane in London– and after trying on a few, and not finding ‘the one’, I described to the dresser what I was after. She pulled a sample from the back of the shop and that was just what I was after. As a sample it was also within my means, considering it was hand-made with the most incredible beading detail, I was very lucky.
What did the bridesmaids wear?
I only had two bridesmaids; they wore dresses from Phase Eight, in a sort of champagne/soft grey colour.
Where did you find your suits?
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
We had a fantastic florist, Emma from Martha & the Meadow. I asked for natural looking, but elegant, bouquets with white/ivory flowers and green foliage.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
We commissioned a local artist to create a print of Smedmore House and used this to create our invitations. We bought vintage postcards to use for the save the dates.
We did as much as we could outside, in the beautiful grounds. The ceremony looked over the sea and we had the champagne reception and speeches in the walled garden before moving to an open-sided sail-cloth marquee in the front lawn. Before the ceremony we offered guests lemonade and Pimm's in vintage milk bottles.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
It felt like a long way, walking all the way from the house down to the vista, but it felt very magical. I had my little dog, Poppy, leading the way with the flower girl, Alexandra, and so I think they got most of the attention which made things easier for me.
What was your most memorable moment?
I think for both of us, it was saying the vows to each other during the ceremony, as well as the speeches – my bridesmaids, Sophia and Sam, wrote a poem and I also did a speech about how Tom and I got together, as well as the usual traditional speeches by my dad, Ben - the best man, and Tom.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
It was a lot of work co-ordinating all the different aspects of the wedding. We loved the fact we had a venue which we could do whatever we wanted in, bringing in whatever supplier we liked, and feeling very independent. However, it did mean a lot of admin and organisation.
What was the most important investment for you?
The venue – we wanted somewhere very private where the entire immediate family could stay for the weekend (Tom’s family were travelling all the way from Cumbria) and we wanted it to be on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset as it is so stunning. Food was also very important to us and we had brilliant caterers – The Tickled Pig from Wimborne.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
Cuddle Up by the Beach Boys – it’s our song.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
We had a fantastic band called O.J’s Soul Band, an eight-piece soul band that included a saxophonist and trumpeter. We also had a piano soloist in the garden during the champagne reception.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
The Angel Cake Company made us the most delicious cake. We chose a semi-naked three-tiered sponge; each tier was a different flavour and we asked for a simple design of white butter icing with fresh flowers from our florist to decorate.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
We would have done more research into transport for the guests. We booked a coach months beforehand, but the day before they told us it wasn’t possible to get a coach down the windy rural roads. It meant we had to do a last minute dash of organisation to sort alternative transport.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
How much weddings end up costing if you want to do them properly.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We spent our wedding night in Smedmore House before a BBQ brunch the next day. Then we travelled down to Cornwall to enjoy a week’s mini-moon. We are going to South Africa as our ‘proper’ honeymoon next year.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Book the venue and catering as early as possible and don’t be swayed by politics, only invite the guests you really want to share the day with you.
Steal their style:
Venue: Smedmore House, Kimmeridge, http://smedmorehouse.com/
Marquee: Coastal Tents, http://coastaltents.co.uk/
Catering: The Tickled Pig, www.thetickledpig.co.uk
Entertainment: O.J’s Soul Band, www.motownband.com
Photography: Rubie Love Photography, www.rubielovephotography.co.uk
Floristry: Martha & the Meadow Florist, www.marthaandthemeadow.com
Cake: Angel Cake Company, http://angelcakecompany.co.uk/
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