Wedding of the Week: Sophie Elliott and Luke Cass
21 May 2018
Our resident bridal blogger, Sophie Elliott, becomes Sophie Cass in a culmination of her blog series in which she gets wed
How did you meet?
Luke and I met at university, where we both studied photography. Despite being in the same class, we didn’t actually talk for about six months – but once we met up and got to know each other, we were completely inseparable. Seven years and one month later, we were married.
Tell us about the proposal.
Every year, we go to London to visit Luke’s family and friends that live there. Our New Year’s Eve celebration is something we look forward to all year as it’s a chance to catch up with so many people we love, get dressed up and have some delicious food. That year, Luke stood up to say a few words before we ate – and then went down on one knee. He’d told a couple of our friends in advance, so we have a lovely video of the whole thing.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
We didn’t have a theme, but the colour scheme was pale blues, pinks and creams.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We chose The Dairy Barns in Hickling, Norfolk. Although it was the last venue we got in touch with for details, it was the only one we actually went and visited. As soon as I stepped inside, I knew it was perfect. The main hall wasn’t too big or too small, it was absolutely beautiful, and the venue owner, Hannah Deane, was so friendly. The venue also takes care of a lot of the little details, such as catering, flowers, alcohol, on-the-day co-ordination and even accommodation. It meant that we could enjoy a long weekend with all of our friends and family out in the countryside, instead of limiting everything to one evening.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I actually had two dresses, both designed by Enzoani. One of them, the first one I purchased, was from La Belle Angele in Norwich. It was a stunning tea-length dress with flower detailing across the bodice and trailing down to the skirt, and was exactly what I’d been looking for. When I visited La Belle with my maid of honour, mum and her partner, it was the first dress I pulled out. They made me try on a few others, but once I put it on I knew it was right.
The second dress was being sold on Facebook; it hadn’t been worn, and the original buyer was the same size and height as me. It was also an Enzoani dress and I could see by the photos that the lace matched perfectly. I took the risk and bought it, and absolutely didn’t regret it. It was a fit-and-flare style dress with a long dramatic train and lacy straps. Although it required a few more alterations than the tea-length dress, it was perfect for our wedding ceremony and formal photographs.
What did the bridesmaids wear?
The bridesmaids wore pale blue dresses from Chi Chi London.
Where did you find your suits?
Luke’s dad, Desmond Cass, has a friend who makes and tailors suits, so we paid him a visit in North London to pick out the perfect wedding suit.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
The flowers were all put together by Hannah, the owner of The Dairy Barns. The bouquets and table centrepieces featured roses, stocks, lizzyanthus and delphiniums, in a range of blues, pinks and creams. Luke and the groomsmen and dads had buttonholes with matching flowers. She also created an amazing statement backdrop for us, which consisted of hanging flowers and a soft curtain.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
Our wedding favours were enamel badges designed by a good friend of ours, Mark Holden. The design featured a camera (as we’re both photographers), each of our names, our new shared surname - Cass, and the wedding date. They were so personal and special to us and are hopefully something our guests will keep hold of forever.
We had one of my Fuji Instax Mini cameras set up in the front lobby with a chalkboard sign that read ‘Stop, Drop and Selfie!’. I didn’t expect it to get used as I thought people would be busy dancing and drinking, but when we checked at the end of the night all of the film had been used. We now have some amazing and funny photographs of all our guests, which we’re planning to put into an album.
The biggest DIY project for me was the table plan, which was written on a chalkboard. The chalkboard was originally a painting we’d bought from the charity shop. To transform it I had to remove the painting, sand down the wooden backing, paint it with chalkboard paint, write on it and then reattach the backing to the frame. It was only finished a couple of days before the wedding but I was very happy with how it turned out.
We also decided to set up a beer pong table outside. We always play beer pong at our New Year’s Eve parties and both Luke and I are quite competitive – as are our friends – so we knew it’d be good fun. It was so popular and our photographer, Georgia, got some awesome photos of people playing.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
I was shaking more than I ever have in my entire life. Up until about 15 minutes before the ceremony, I’d been as cool as a cucumber – then when my dad came in to escort me, my heart started racing. Holding Luke’s hand at the end of the aisle calmed me down so much. Overall, though, I was just so incredibly excited and happy.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
We had two readings: the first, The Wonders of Today by Larry Chengges, was read by my best friend and maid of honour, Becca Mitton, and the second, by Jeanette Winterson, was read by my mother Cath Elliott. They were both so deeply personal and meaningful. We also had songs that were particularly special to us: Breathless by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds; Like a Friend by Pulp; When She Kisses Me by Jonathan Richman and Do you Realize?? by The Flaming Lips.
What was your most memorable moment?
It’s so difficult to pick just one. I could try and list them all but it would just be a minute-by-minute recount of the whole day. It was such an amazing day and every single second was special. Saying ‘I do’, and sitting down to sign the register. The look on my husband’s face all day long. Watching all of our closest friends and family not only having fun, but also mingling and getting along. Looking around the room as we ate and seeing all of our hard work come together. Taking photographs at the beach and enjoying a free ice-cream cone. Dancing all night long with my nearest and dearest. Just everything.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
The most challenging thing for me was right at the beginning of our wedding planning, when we had to choose between various suppliers and venues. I also found it quite stressful dealing with the budget side of things.
What was the most important investment for you?
Our venue was the biggest investment and easily the most important for us, as it included flowers, food, drinks and accommodation. The accommodation was an essential part, as it meant all our friends and family could stay overnight and enjoy the weekend with us.
Our photographer, Georgia Rachael, was also very important. As both Luke and I are photographers, it was so vital for us to have good photographs that we could look back on for years. She did an amazing job and got on so well with all of our guests, friends and family.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We chose Palaces of Montezuma by Grinderman. It was selected by Luke and he chose it mainly because of the lyrics, which were very meaningful to both of us.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
A friend of ours, Ryan Manthorpe, was our DJ. He did an amazing job and kept all of our guests, regardless of their ages or tastes in music, entertained all night.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
Our cake was designed by Amber Briggs of Little A’s Cakery. It was a semi-naked cake with a buttercream exterior decorated by edible sugar flowers. Inside, the flavours were chocolate and salted caramel. It was delicious.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
Did anything go wrong on the day?
There was one day guest that didn’t show up, which was a bit frustrating. Apart from that, everything ran incredibly smoothly without a hitch.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
I had been warned how quickly the day would go, but it went a lot faster than I expected.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We’re going to Amsterdam for a mini-moon which will be a few weeks after the wedding, and are planning to save up for a bigger honeymoon.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Don’t rush it – you have plenty of time to organise your wedding, and you don’t need to get everything done at once. If you have friends that are married, ask them for advice and help along the way. Don’t do everything yourself – sometimes DIYing it actually takes more time and money than going to a reputable supplier. If you’re not happy with something, be vocal and honest about it. Don’t let anybody, whether they’re friends or family, tell you what to do. And most of all, enjoy yourself.
Get the look:
Venue, flowers, food, drinks and on-the-day co-ordination: The Dairy Barns: www.dairybarns.co.uk
Hair: Sophie Stapleton, www.instagram.com/sophie_skin_beauty_expert
Dress: Enzoani, from La Belle Angele, www.labelleangele.co.uk
Bridesmaids' dresses: Chi Chi London, www.chichiclothing.com
Pizza: Elsie's Pizza, www.elsiespizza.co.uk
Cake: Little A's Cakery, http://littleascakery.co.uk/
Photography: Georgia Rachael, www.georgiarachael.com
Garden games: Lou Lou Loves, www.loulouloves.org.uk
For more real wedding inspiration, pick up your local edition of Bride magazine.