Tell me if I’m wrong, but seeing yesterday’s magical wedding and now this one, I’m thinking English brides must be terribly spoiled with the endless historic venues and magical gardens to choose from for their weddings – so beautiful! Like Patricia and Philip’s sweet garden wedding from photographer Dasha Caffrey at The Olde Bell…
The bride’s favorite moment? “There were so many wonderful moments it’s hard to pick just one. Walking up the aisle was slightly terrifying – I was convinced I was going to trip so it was extra wonderful to see Philip at the top and to be able to hold his hand and know everything was going to be okay. We both found it very odd not seeing each other all morning.”
After the ceremony, the couple and their guests enjoyed a cocktail hour boat ride along the river to the reception site: “We traveled from the church to The Olde Bell by boat,” says Patricia. “This was one of the few things Philip had his heart set on and it worked brilliantly. He arranged with the lock keeper in Marlow that the boat could pick us up right at the bottom of St Peter’s Street, just two minute’s walk from the church. We decorated the boat with oversized balloons and streamers and served champagne, strawberries and shortbread brilliantly baked and prepared by Philip’s mum. The sun shone and the Thames countryside was so beautiful as we glided by, past blossom, weeping willows, rowing boats, barges, swans and waving crowds on the banks. It was magically relaxing after all the excitement of the morning and lots of people have told us it was their favorite part of the day.”
Says the bride of the choice of venue: “We’d already fallen in love with The Olde Bell as a reception venue when we first stayed there before we got engaged and loved the cozy vibe and the riverside location. We went back while scouting for wedding venues – the stunning gardens were in full bloom and we knew the hotel would provide the perfect combination of a relaxed country pub and luxurious boutique hotel. We were able to take over the whole of the Malthouse building and its gardens, with a marquee [tent] in the garden for the wedding breakfast. That meant our guests could explore the gardens and all the nooks and crannies of the Malthouse (the library, the Music Room, the Vegetable Patch) as they saw fit.”
Patricia talks about finding The Dress: “My dress was the Vivienne Westwood Ball Tie Dress, made by the lovely couture team at the Davies Street store. As much as I tried to fall in love with another dress (it was a long way over budget) and as many beautiful dresses as I tried, I kept coming back to the Vivienne Westwood. It was made of a very fine ivory georgette with an ivory French lace trim and ties – the ladies had the idea to embroider the lace with tiny pearl beads which I loved. It was so delicate we had a “no jewelry around the dress!” rule while getting ready for fear of snagging it and although deceptively simple it came with a detailed list of instructions for getting me in and out of it!”
As an alternative to traditional table numbers, seating was indicated by vintage illustrations of various flowers.
The tent was decorated with pastel paper lanterns, papel picado garlands, and LOVE spelled out in giant marquee letters. And instead of settling on just one type of dessert (the bride loves cupcakes and the groom wanted a wedding pavlova instead of cake) they compromised with a table of all their favorites.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? We got engaged at a beautiful hotel in the South of France which was once F. Scott Fitzgerald’s home, full of fabulous Art Deco touches. As a result, we wanted a nod to the 1920s, which influenced our color palette: soft pink and gold, with lots of sparkle and glitter throughout. The 1920s inspiration also led us to incorporate pearls – on my dress and bag and on the bridesmaids’ shoes, bags and wraps. I also gave my bridesmaids and flower girls seed pearl bracelets as thank you gifts.
What advice did you receive as a bride? The Saturday before the wedding I was convinced I had broken the zipper in my dress, and arrived at the store more than a little stressed – the amazing Florian instantly fixed it, arranged for a few last minute alterations and calm was restored. He also gave me my very favorite piece of dress advice: “When wearing a train, you must walk in a circle, never reverse. The bigger the train, the bigger the circle.” It’s true!
What advice do you have for other brides? Make sure you get all the necessary paperwork in hand sooner rather than later. A few days before the wedding we were still waiting for final permissions from the Church which was just a little nerve wracking. Also, never underestimate the challenges of finding the right underwear to go underneath a clinging white dress. It’s more difficult than you think.
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Sweet Garden Wedding at The Olde Bell20 February 2014
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