This wedding is starting out with a fashionable bang (i.e. bridesmaid’s dresses for the books and a lace gown that could kill) and is ending with an English Garden party ripe with crimson florals by Bo Boutique and vintage styling by Helen Millot Furnishings. We love a good garden party, after all, and this gem shot by WOOKIE Photography is proving the English know their way around a fab outdoor affair.
From The Bride…Ben and I went on our first date when we were 12 years old in our hometown of Cambridge, UK. We were in neighbouring schools; I was at the all girls’ school and Ben was in the all boys’ school down the road. Our first date was a rendez-vouz in town one Saturday lunchtime. We were young at the time so, as romantic and sweet as the date was, it didn’t really go beyond sharing an ice- cream and a stroll through the park! Two years later our eyes met again at the mixed girls and boys secondary school. It was then we went on our second and more successful date and spent the most amazing 4 years together. We were high school sweethearts who got to see each other everyday and share some special moments together.
We knew straight away that we wanted an English country garden wedding in Cambridge. It’s where we met and where we are both from so it means a lot to both of us. The fact that it’s a very beautiful city and most of our family still lived there was an added bonus.
We opted for a humanist wedding. It felt like the right choice- we wanted our ceremony to be very personal and a chance to tell our story to family and friends. For us, our wedding was the chance to celebrate our next chapter with them, and also thank them for all their support over the years that had already passed.
Ben and I wanted an outside ceremony in a beautiful garden and preferably near the River Cambs, so with this in mind my Mother, Ben and I began our search. After a few weeks of looking, and word getting around, a close family friend offered us their house for our wedding. The house used to belong to well know 1960s hairdresser Raymond Bessone, AKA Mr Teasy –Weasy! It’s a beautiful property with lots of quirks and has the most amazing garden that leads down to a secret river. Perfect. It was typically English, typically Cambridge and in the exact right location.
The style and design of our wedding definitely changed and developed over the year leading up to the day itself. A big turning point for the design of the day was when my Mother offered me her late Mother’s (my Grandmother’s) antique silver cutlery to use. My Grandmother, Hélène Millot, was a Parisian dressmaker and costumier in the 1920s so you can just image how old and beautiful the cutlery is. (In fact the ornate engraving on the silver suggests that some of the pieces could be over 100 years old!)
And so our classic English country garden wedding became an English garden wedding with a chic French twist. I matched the antique silver cutlery with lots and lots of antique brass candlesticks, a very classic combination. The table glasses were all crystal and cut glass, and mismatched for a modern yet vintage twist. Simple white plates and white napkins gave the table clean lines avoiding the look becoming too eclectic.
The colour palate was determined when I found my dress. I searched high and low for one that was off-white and I finally found it in a Justin Alexander design. The description of the dress was antique gold but in actual fact it was a gorgeous taupe colour. I matched the table linen with the colour of dress by sourcing some beautiful Ralph Lauren tablecloths, and also managed to find some perfect taupe candles which I shipped in from a shop called Blokker, in Amsterdam.
The tables were adorned with beautiful deep red Peonies, grapes and Eucalyptus, all overflowing from antique brass vases onto the long tables, arranged beautifully by the talented Bo Boutique. It was a significant colour pop but worked perfectly with the lush greens coming in from the garden through the vast clear windows of the marquee.
The day itself was just as I had imagined: a personal, relaxed and most importantly incredibly romantic occasion- with a party atmosphere! We had hoped for an outdoor ceremony but in typical English fashion our weather was not kind to us! But this did not in anyway dampen the mood. Our ceremony took place in the marquee, in front of the large clear windows that looked out onto the large spans of garden down to the river. Then just as the ceremony finished, as though on auto timer, the sun came out and we were able to enjoy drinks and canapés outside. It was incredible!
Photography: WOOKIE Photography | Florist: Bo Boutique | Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander | Cake: Jackie Waller Catering | Bridesmaids' Dresses: River Island | Catering: Crown Catering Cambridge | Groom's Attire: Gucci | French Music Duet: Dj Beneaf | Invitation Printers: Tom Gautier | Location: Private House- Near Cambridge | Marquee Hire: Cambridge Marquees | Stylist: Helene Millot | Tableware & Decor Hire: Helene Millot | Wedding Dress Boutique: London Bride Couture