ROBYN KOTZE & GILES MABER
For fashion consultant Robyn and broker Giles, their wedding in Italy may have been postponed, but their London day was still very Italian. Here, the bride shares all…
We got engaged in September last year. We were walking home from dinner, the night before we flew to Greece for my birthday. Giles proposed with his grandmother’s diamond eternity band from the 1920s, which is now my wedding band. We designed the actual engagement ring together and had it made in South Africa. It’s a yellow oval diamond worn on its side, so east meets west.
The original date of our London civil ceremony was March 30th. After that, the wedding celebration was due to take place in mid-June in Puglia, Italy. We’ve now postponed the celebration until May 2021, but went through with our London ceremony on 25th July.
The plan for the original wedding in Puglia was to invite 80 guests to the most amazing Italian farmhouse and boutique hotel. It's a very unique spot near the Ionian Sea, among the olive groves, vineyards and Mediterranean thicket. But the minute COVID-19 turned serious, our Italian coordinators advised we move the entire event to 2021. As a bride I was rather emotional about it, so it was wonderful when we were told we could go ahead with our London civil ceremony at the end of July.
We never wanted to delay legally getting married. We were very much looking forward to being husband and wife. Of course, we knew we had to postpone the actual wedding in Italy, but the London civil ceremony was on the cards the minute we were allowed. On the day, we had 22 guests.
The civil ceremony took place at Chelsea town hall. We then all walked to Enoteca Turi – a delicious fine-dining Italian restaurant. The food stuck to a Puglian theme. We were lucky enough to have the whole place to ourselves, too, so it was very intimate.
My wedding dress was Philosophy by Alberta Ferretti. I bought it three weeks after we got engaged, as I felt it was perfect for the London civil ceremony. I can’t wait to wear my actual wedding dress (a customized Galvan) in Puglia next year, which is a little less covered up. My shoes were from Manolo Blahnik. Giles wore a grey double-breasted suit with a light blue shirt and a beautiful tie from Ermenegildo Zegna. I did my make up myself, and my hair was done by the amazingly talented Karen Donnelly at Richy Hair in Chelsea (Richy London).
Our photographer was Cleo Glover, who is wonderful. We met in Ibiza on a campaign shoot and instantly got along. On the day, it felt as though we had a friend with us – everything was so relaxed and easy going.
I wanted a wild yet effortless bouquet that had lots of greenery and cascading elements. The florists at Scarlet & Violet were amazing and loved my mood board – I was thrilled with how spot-on the bouquet was in real life.
Although a lot of us have enjoyed parts of lockdown, as a bride-to-be it was quite stressful and emotional. Despite everything, I would tell other couples that getting married during these times will only make things feel more magical… the energy on the day was like nothing like I’ve ever experienced.
Photography by Cleo Glover
APHRA BARNES & DANIEL BROOK
Aphra and Daniel’s lockdown day was all about friends, family, and having the bride’s dad walk her down the aisle. Here, Aphra tells us why she has no regrets…
We got engaged in August last year in Rome. We had been sightseeing and Dan had carried the ring around with him all day. He says he didn’t have much of a plan, but he knew I wouldn’t like anything too public. He waited until the evening and proposed at the top of the sweeping ancient staircase at Hotel dei Barbieri with a two-carat oval diamond, with two tapered baguettes and a platinum band.
The original wedding should have been at Newton Hall in Northumberland in May, with 100 people. The venue is bold, romantic and fantastical – and this was the theme for the day. Décor was to be lots of candles and green plants, with mini trees on each of the wedding breakfast tables. The ceremony would have taken place in their enchanted chapel in front of a waterfall, with the drink’s reception on the beach and a barbeque.
When coronavirus hit, we postponed the wedding to August 2020. We thought we would be out of lockdown at this point. By mid-July, we realised that wasn’t going to happen. Considering my dad has stage four cancer, and his dream was to walk me down the aisle, we decided to hold a family wedding blessing as soon as possible. We chose 5th July and pushed the big wedding party to March 2021.
In the end, we only had a week to organise everything. We booked the venue, organised the food, cake, outfits, chaplain, music, flowers and décor, photographer and videographer. We chose the Overgate hospice in Elland where my Dad is a patient, and we had 15 family members there (socially distanced outside of support bubbles). The hospice was so incredible, we’re now raising money for them, and Dan is doing a charity hike up Ben Nevis to raise funds (you can donate at Just Giving).
I already had two wedding dresses. One would have been for during the day (Riki Dalal) and one for the evening – I now plan to wear them both in March. I bought a new dress so I could have it especially for the wedding blessing. Dan wore a tailcoat three-piece suit from Whitfield & Ward in Wilmslow, who are doing the suits for the wedding in March. I wasn’t allowed a professional make-up artist or hairdresser, so I went for a very natural look.
We had our ceremony and reception in the hospice. The flowers were provided by @TheFlowerShopLindley. We went for pampas grass, eucalyptus and roses for a neutral colour scheme. The volunteers at the hospice did a great job with the rest of the decorations.
It wasn’t until the first look reveal with my dad that I got emotional. The enormity of everything just suddenly hit me. But this was soon replaced with pure joy and happiness. My dad was smiling from ear to ear and very proud that his daughter was marrying the man of her dreams.
For other couples planning on marrying during these strange times, forget the plan – do what is important for you, your partner, and your family. You will never regret having a wedding with loved ones, but you will regret having one without them.
ASHLEY DOYLE & JAMES TRACY
Ashley and James’s wedding date didn’t change – but their ceremony was much closer to home than they had originally planned. Here, Ashley tells us why it was the best day of her life…
We got engaged last summer in Greece. James always organises one dinner when we go away, so he’d arranged it for the first night we arrived. It was in the grounds of a hotel – a private dinner out on the water surrounded by candles with all of my favourite food on the menu. He proposed after dessert, and after I said yes, fireworks exploded over the water. My mother helped James pick out my ring. It’s oval on a diamond band, which has always been my dream.
Our original wedding date was the 17th July – and we stuck to it. It was supposed to be in Pollença, Mallorca in a beautiful venue overlooking the sea. We still plan to have our reception there next year. It should have been an outside ceremony, everything white and classic, and surrounded by flowers and candles. We had already invited more than 200 guests.
We haven’t made many changes, yet. Our wedding planner in Mallorca is absolutely incredible, and luckily has great relationships with all the vendors, so she’s been able to push everything back. The only difference now is that the party will be our one-year wedding anniversary.
Despite postponing the reception, we went ahead with the ceremony. With everything going on, we just didn’t know what would happen. The wedding day was about the two of us and that’s what we wanted, anyway. We took the view that we could always celebrate with our family and friends next summer, or even the summer after that if everything didn’t settle down.
The ceremony was at my parents’ local church in Dublin. We had champagne and canapés in my parents’ garden, and we used their conservatory for dancing later on. We had 18 guests in total for the first day, and 22 on the second.
My original wedding dress is still waiting for me at Browns Bride in London. My Covid-19 ceremony dress was Cecilie Bahnsen, which I bought two weeks before the wedding. I wore the same Manolo Blahnik wedding shoes I’d planned to for the big wedding.
I stuck with my planned make-up look and hairstyle. I even used the same hairstylist @DavidReynoldsHair and make-up artist @NicoleLynchMakeUpArtist. I also wore the earrings I was due to wear in Mallorca – pretty much everything was the same, apart from the dress.
Our fabulous photographer was Naoise Culhane. We’d been recommended to use him by so many of our friends and family. His style is so timeless.
Our floral décor was simple – white hydrangeas and peonies. My parents have a gorgeous garden, so we didn’t want to take away from that. We also brought flowers inside to help the garden flow into the conservatory.
Our advice to other couples thinking of having a lockdown wedding? Just do it. A wedding is about you and your partner – everything else is just an added bonus. No one knows when this will all be over, and we felt like our life was on hold. Having gone ahead with it, the only thing now is the party, which can happen any time. It’s a great story to tell your children and grandchildren – that you got married in the middle of a pandemic.
ORLY & DANIEL
Orly and Daniel’s intimate lakeside wedding was a far cry from their original plan, but they couldn’t have asked for anything better. Here, Orly tells us why…
We got engaged at the top of Mont Royal in Montreal, Canada – the city where we both went to university. We were there for a weekend away, and Daniel had told me we were meeting for a family photoshoot. As we were walking to the meeting place, he pulled out a book we had looked at on one of our first dates. He told me that afterwards, he had gone back and bought it to pull out on this day, because he knew then he wanted to marry me. He got down on one knee, asked me to marry him, and of course I said yes.
We were supposed to get married in Toronto, on June 25th. Despite inviting 350 guests, the original plan never really felt like our dream wedding. As the guest-list grew, the possibilities of what kind of wedding we could have was largely decided for us. Once you hit a certain number of guests, the wedding needs to follow a specific formula for it to work.
Once Covid-19 hit, we never even considered changing the date. What was important to us was the marriage – everything else was just a fortunate ‘nice-to-have’. As the situation got worse through March and April, we realised the restrictions the government had put in place weren’t going to change by June. We made the decision there and then to go ahead just with 35 guests – mainly immediate family – at my cottage on a lake in Muskoka, Ontario. Both families agreed to come together for the day (taking all necessary safety precautions, of course) and celebrate as best we could.
Luckily, the dress I had originally picked suited a small wedding. It was a simple, silk slip dress with a very delicate cowl neck and an open back. Despite the designer, A La Robe, being in France, they still sent my gown at the beginning of May. I also had a custom veil made out of a piece of French lace, which I had chosen right before coronavirus became serious.
The décor was minimal but gorgeous. The bouquets were made up of a mixture of flowers in blush, nude and white, and the simple gold metal-frame alter was covered with fresh and dried florals. The tablecloths were burlap, and the table arrangements were set in a collection of clear glass vases with loosely designed flowers, in a palette of white, cream, nude and blush with touches of greenery. Our florist @NousDesignGroup was amazing.
I felt so relaxed and excited on the day. Being able to get ready with my family, in a place I consider my second home, was so much fun. There was also zero stress in terms of logistics or having to stick to a certain schedule – everything was pretty much on our own time.
For other couples in a similar situation, try to focus on what is really important – the marriage, your commitment to your partner, and hopefully being able to have the closest and most important people in your life there with you. All the other things are amazing additions, but they are just that – additions. The fact you're still getting married just proves your love is the constant.
Photography by Tara McMullen