Me & My Wedding: A Winter Celebration In Dorset
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George and I have been together for six years. We met through a feature I’d written for The Times magazine about being a ‘Tinderella’. He read it and recognised my dating profile – we’d matched but I hadn’t responded to his ‘Knock Knock’ joke. He messaged me again after reading the article, we went for a drink – and the rest is history. We had talked a bit about marriage before the proposal, but we’d agreed there wasn’t any rush. Then, in September 2021 we went on a holiday to Scotland and George says it was on that trip he decided he wanted to ask me to marry him. The funny thing is I’d been an absolute witch during the November week when he actually planned to propose and we hadn’t been getting on that well at all! Luckily, he took it all in his stride and eventually popped the question. When I got home from work the night before a planned trip to the Cotswolds, he’d filled one of the rooms with flowers and candles – and that’s where he got down on one knee.
George designed my ring in Hatton Garden – I found out later that he had taken my best friend Holly with him for a bit of design help. They eventually chose a ruby surrounded by diamonds on a gold band and I love it. It feels really fitting.
The Planning & Venue
We’d talked about having a winter wedding before. On the night of our engagement, at our favourite restaurant in Peckham (Artusi), we settled on 17th December 2022. I knew immediately I wanted to have the reception at my parents’ house in Dorset, and they kindly said yes to hosting. The bigger issue was finding a church that could hold the right number of guests (we were planning on inviting 180-200 people). There weren’t many of that size in my parents’ parish, so we ended up going to Wimborne Minster instead. The church there is so beautiful and well looked after. While I’m not a massively religious person, both George and I loved the idea of getting married somewhere that felt spiritual. George was also keen on the idea of singing some hymns!
Finding the dress was interesting – although I work in fashion, I’m not sure I’d ever envisaged my wedding dress, so I felt able to just go see what was out there. That said, I knew I wouldn’t end up with something simple or minimal (it’s just not my style) – I wanted it to be a showstopper, almost like wearing a piece of armour that I felt really empowered in. I went to several places – Phillipa Lepley, Halfpenny London and Suzanne Neville – but it was at Miss Bush that I found the dress from Jesus Peiro.
It felt quite clean, quite Christian Dior and it was very architectural, which I loved. My mum spotted the cape, which was fantastic for the church, and the oversized hair bow was actually a last-minute purchase from Etsy. My shoes were bespoke from Camilla Elphick. The fur stole I wore to stay warm with in the car belonged to my mum.
George wore a morning suit he bought on Jermyn Street and his waistcoat came from SirPlus. I also had his shirt made bespoke by Emma Willis as a wedding present. His tie was a gift from his mother.
The Hair & Make-Up
I’ve known Julia Wren for years. She and I have worked on many photoshoots together, so I drafted her in to do my make-up and the make-up for the bridesmaids. It was lovely to have someone who you know and trust there on the day. I also had Harry from George Northwood come and do my hair. Harry and Julia also know each other, so it was like one big party.
The Bridal Party
George had five groomsmen who we gave socks from the London Sock Company as a gift on the day. My four maid of honour dresses came from Reformation. I wanted all of them to look hot – suffice it to say I struggled to find that with the traditional bridesmaid brands. All their shoes came from Mint Velvet – which were perfect.
We used DP Marquees who had done parties at my parents’ house before, so they knew what they were contending with. My parents were invaluable in setting everything up with them and running through all the various features. It was all so efficient – it went up over the course of the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the wedding on the Saturday, so there was lots of time to iron out any wrinkles. George and I aren’t really white tablecloths and silverware kind of people – we always knew we wanted the décor to feel seasonally appropriate, but also quite understated, quite rustic and, above all, chic. We kept lots of the tables plain but topped with lots of pillar and tall tapered candles and coloured glassware.
Having a reception at your parents’ house comes with unexpected advantages – like being able to use their contact book! Our florist was one my mum already knew, Emma Whicher from Martha and the Meadow. The brief was quite basic – festive but not naff – but I wasn’t overly specific. I wanted it to feel Christmassy, but I was happy to trust her to put something together that looked beautiful. It was also useful that most of our suppliers had worked together before, so Emma was able to talk to the marquee company to liaise with them on installation and décor. My parents-in-law were also a huge help in putting together the florals and décor for our tables. After the wedding, a lot of the florals were donated to the local community for them to fashion into wreaths for the holidays.
The Photographer & Entertainment
George moonlights as a DJ in his spare time – and he’s often asked to do weddings, which is how he’d met Nico Wills, our photographer. He also happens to be the brother-in-law of one of our best friends, so it was an easy decision to hire him. George had also followed Beats in Abundance for a really long time and approached them straight away to DJ for us. We didn’t deliberate much on any of our suppliers – we know what we like and we followed our gut.
The Food & Drink
Janey & Co is another friend of my mum’s and I love her food. She’s a proper Dorset girl (i.e. a bit bonkers in the best way) and she also sources a lot of her ingredients locally. We didn’t want fussy food, so we had lots of sharing platters of smoked salmon to start, with blinis and dill sauce followed by roast poussin and lots of delicious sides. For dessert it was espresso martinis and trays of mince pies (my nan’s recipe) with Bailey’s whipped cream. I wanted it to feel plentiful rather than formal or plated. Floral Shaker did all the cocktails and later on, alongside the bar, we had buckets filled with beers and hard seltzers for people to grab easily.
The Day Before & After
The day before, I had lunch with George, my dad and my bridesmaids, which was lovely. We had our rehearsal that afternoon, which I found oddly emotional – it’s the first time you find yourself saying those vows. We went to the pub for a quick drink, but I admit, I had a very quiet evening decorating biscuits for party favours and watching Bridesmaids. After the wedding, George and I went up to Scotland to The Fife Arms. It was lovely to be able to escape for a few days and let it all sink in.
Advice For Other Couples
Draft in as much help as you can. We had a great amount of help in the lead up to the day and a co-ordinator to pull things together and ensure everything ran smoothly. It took so much stress out of the day for both George and me. I’d also say you only get to do this once – so don’t wish any of it away. I also did a speech after dinner – which I’m glad I did – but I was so nervous for the whole reception and dinner that I barely ate anything and missed out on so much, so if you want to speak, do it before dinner and leave everything else to your bridal party – that’s what they’re there for!
All images courtesy of Hannah Rogers.
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