We got engaged when we were on holiday in Portugal celebrating our seventh anniversary. We started our trip in the Algarve, then drove to Lisbon for a few nights. When we first arrived, I hadn’t decided where or when I was going to propose. Opposite our hotel, in the distance, was the Castelo De Sao Jorge. On one of the corners of the castle there's a long brick staircase that leads down to a beautiful viewing point. I walked to the bottom of the stairs with Nadia, waited until it was quiet, and proposed.
We live in London but wanted to make new memories somewhere neither one of us had spent much time before. We decided on Cornwall, and found the gorgeous Boconnoc Estate. It’s a grand 17th century estate with so much history. It’s also recently been restored for weddings and events. Surrounded by fields, forests and wildlife – we felt both excited and relaxed when we viewed it.
Nadia got her dress from the brand Samuelle Couture at Spina Bride in New York. It was a full-length ‘trumpet’ silhouette gown with three-quarter length sleeves, open back, high neck and was made from silk organza with a full-length lace overlay. It was also covered in tiny hand-cut appliqué lace flowers, and she wore a full-length lace-edged veil for the ceremony from Daphne Newman Design. For the evening, she changed into a silk halter-neck dress.
The Flowers and Décor
The venue was so grand and the grounds so natural that we decided to keep things simple. Seasonal flowers by The Garden Gate Flower Company complemented everything perfectly. The bridal bouquet featured lots of roses, larkspur and phlox, and was finished with a plant-dyed silk ribbon by Lancaster & Cornish. For the round tables at the reception, our florist used pottery bowls with seasonal blooms that spilled over the sides. On each place setting were sprigs of either fresh rosemary or seed heads picked from the garden.
The ceremony was in the beautiful Dorothy Garden on the estate. The five bridesmaids, Nadia’s three brothers, her mum, and my mum all walked down the aisle before Nadia and her dad. They walked through the gardens, around a fountain, and down the aisle, with our guests seated on either side.
Nick Walker was our photographer. He captures wedding moments in a really natural way – we wanted photographs of our guests enjoying the wedding which weren’t too posed (apart from a few traditional ones of the immediate wedding party). He really over-delivered and took so many amazing snapshots of the day.
The Food & Drink
We went for sharing plates from Fees Food – we thought it would be fun way for everyone to get to know each other, and it meant there could be variety while accommodating everyone’s preferences. The starter boards included marinated, chargrilled rare fillet of beef, barbecued mackerel fillets, roasted aubergine and courgette and spinach fritters. Main courses included Moroccan marinated chicken and lamb, seared salmon fillets, halloumi skewers and a mixed tomato salad. For pudding, we had a three-tier lemon, pistachio and carrot cake by Ladyvale Bakery.
We hired the amazing Brother From Another as our band. They sang 'Let’s Stay Together' by Al Green for our first dance. We had taken some dance lessons before the big day, and it all came together on the night. Our guests weren’t expecting us to do one, so it was nice to hear them cheering us on.
The Days Before & After
We really wanted to relax before the excitement of the day, so we spent a couple of nights in Fowey where we were able to chill out and get ready for the weekend. The day before the wedding, many of our guests joined us at a local pub called the Fisherman’s Arms. It was great to see so many of our friends and family and catch up beforehand. After the wedding, Nadia and I stayed at Babington House for three nights. It was the perfect place for some relaxation.
Advice For Other Couples
Be as organised as you can and try to make decisions quickly. The more you procrastinate, the more stressful it becomes. Also, trust your suppliers – they're professionals and know what they are doing. Enjoy the day and every moment – and don’t worry about other people having a good time, they will.
ALL IMAGES: NICK WALKER