Me & My Wedding: A Romantic Day In Berkshire
Me & My Wedding: A Romantic Day In Berkshire

Me & My Wedding: A Romantic Day In Berkshire

From the proposal to the cake, the flowers to the dress, we love hearing what goes into making someone's big day their own. If you're after some inspiration, look no further – we’re shining a spotlight on some of the most stylish weddings out there. For Mel and James, theirs was a day full of colour and personal meaning…
Photography: NIGEL JOHN

The Engagement

James and I met during our first week at university, so we’ve been together nearly 11 years now. We might have briefly talked about marriage, but I had no idea that when we were staying with his family in lockdown in 2020, he’d made the decision to propose. We managed to get away to Italy in that October and one day there we were early for a lunch reservation, so James insisted on going for a walk. That’s when he got down on one knee. 

The Ring

James proposed with my ring which was made by a family friend – a gold band with three diamonds, one rounder one in the middle and two small pear-shaped diamonds either side. I thought it would be nice to ask the same jeweller to design my wedding band, which is a dual design that my engagement ring now nestles in between.

The Planning & Venue

Our engagement happened at a very strange time, globally speaking, so we knew there wasn’t any point in rushing to get married. We wanted a big party, so we were willing to wait. We spent many years in that garden with many fond memories, which is why we chose it as our reception venue with a marquee. Plus, both of James' sisters got married at the nearby church. We're not very religious, but we do have a relationship with that church and the vicar is brilliant – she’s really progressive. We also hired Katrina Littleton from KL Events to help us co-ordinate things on the day.

The Dress

I had quite a lot of fun looking for my dress, even though we were in and out of lockdown so the appointments were a bit of nightmare. I had to pick certain friends to go to certain shops, but we made it work. I had an inkling I might find my dress at Miss Bush – I’d had a look online and there was a lot I liked. The appointment was fun and relaxed. We tried everything from princess dresses to crop tops with trousers. Eventually we went with a top and skirt which I had sewn together from Jesus Peiro. My three-tier veil also came from Miss Bush, my shoes were Russell & Bromley, my earrings were from Missoma and my necklace came from Ruby Jack. It was important to me that I could wear a lot of the pieces again.

The Bridal Party

My bridesmaids’ dresses were a mix of Zara, Vinted finds and some they already owned. I gave them a bit of guidance on colour, but ultimately, I wanted them to wear things they loved and would wear again. I think one of them rented her dress, like I rented my second party dress from Hurr. James and his groomsmen all wore formal morning suits with ties we had handmade in Uganda, which is where one of our close friends lives.

The Hair & Make-Up

I found Siena Powloski on Instagram. I loved what she did. She slightly crimped my hair even in the updo I wore for the ceremony, so that when I let it down for the party, it looked really casual and fun. She also did the hair and make-up for the entire bridal party – I don’t know how she pulled it all off in time!

The Flowers

We used Kate Hughes from Gloriously Wild and she completely understood our vision. I love colour and didn’t want anything too minimalist. I wanted it to be bright and joyful, and that’s exactly what she gave us. With colour, it’s easy for it to come off as clashy, but I think the images speak for themselves.

The Ceremony

James and I really liked our vicar, and we were so grateful to be able to incorporate a number of personal touches into our church ceremony to help it feel more like us. At 3pm, I walked down the aisle in front of 170 guests to Baby It’s You by London Grammar and then we chose hymns that we’d enjoyed singing at school to make it a bit more light-hearted. One of my friends from school also arranged a volunteer choir to sing Say A Little Prayer.

The Food & Drink

James and I are both big foodies but finding exactly what we wanted was more challenging than expected. Initially we’d envisaged having lots of food trucks and a variety of cuisines on offer, but that wasn’t possible, so eventually we found Hibiscus Food who met our criteria and wasn’t outrageously expensive. They were brilliant. Our wedding cake was incredible, too – our family friend, @IAmMrsIglesias on Instagram, is a great baker and she made us an orange and Aperol cake that was so delicious. We also had a champagne reception before the sit-down meal which consisted of a trio of salmon to start, lamb for the main and a selection of desserts. Later in the night, we brought out espresso martinis and a bunch of chicken nuggets from McDonald’s!

The Entertainment

James and I did separate speeches, alongside my maid of honour, James’s best man, his dad, my dad and my little niece, which was really sweet. I'm not really one for tradition, so it was always the plan that I would speak – mainly to do all the thank yous. To get the party started, we hired brass band Mama Brass (who we knew from university days) and our DJs were a some of James’s oldest friends – Karum and Henna. We also put a lot of film cameras on the tables so guests could capture more memories as the night went on.

The Photographer & Videographer

I found Nigel John on Instagram when I was scrolling through wedding inspo pictures. The photographer was something I was nervous about because I know how easy it is to make these kinds of pictures look cheesy. But Nigel’s work was so different – he’s such a storyteller and it’s almost like you can imagine yourself at any one of the weddings he’s shot. Similarly, we’d heard from a few people that their biggest regret was not getting a videographer, so we decided to go for it. I found Chloe Rose on Instagram too. She’s another brilliant storyteller who knows exactly how to balance a film, so every part of the day is captured in equal measure. James and I also have terrible memories, so it’s lovely to be able to relive the day in such detail.

The Day Before & After

The day before involved quite a bit of work and we were lucky that so many people chipped in when it came to planning. The marquee went up then James’s mum cooked a big lasagne for everyone in the evening. The bridesmaids and I had a sleepover, while James and his best man left for the night. On the morning of the wedding, they played golf! The day after the wedding we had another small party – mainly to use up the alcohol and say thank you to everyone for coming – with lots of tasty Jamaican food.

Advice For Other Couples

When it comes to planning, divide and conquer with your partner. James and I always looked at this as ‘our’ wedding, but we definitely took charge of the things we were each best at. We also knew we wanted something a bit different, and while the day followed a pretty well-established timetable, we made a real effort to make it feel like us and a bit more fun. Finally, take notes the day after the wedding so you remember the details and how you felt. We get them out every now and then, and it’s so lovely being able to reflect back on it together.

All images courtesy of Mel Gurney.

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