To know me is to know that I go gaga for any British wedding, and this sweet Kensington Palace affair? Well, it certainly takes the cake. Think seriously sophisticated meets all sorts of romantic with some of the most meaningful details you will ever lay your eyes upon. Oh, and those place cards? Brilliant… just brilliant. See so much more captured by the amazing Marianne Taylor in THE VAULT.
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From Marianne Taylor Photography… It seemed like I had been waiting for Victoria and Charles’ wedding day for ages, and yet it felt like it was only yesterday when we got together for their engagement session in Somerset. Taking on such a limited number of weddings means I’m looking forward to each one with even more enthusiasm, and I couldn’t have been more excited when Victoria and Charles’ big day finally rolled around!
It was such a pleasure to be a part of this joyful and beautiful day, and also to get to work with the amazing Gorgeous Film again. Below, Victoria tells more about planning the day.
From the Bride… Two of our friends set us up on a night out soon after Charles had come back from Afghanistan and I had moved back from living in New York. Charlie proposed in Pont Lobos Nature reserve driving down from San Francisco to LA in front of a raft of sea otters! We were engaged for just over a year. So nice to plan things carefully and enjoy every different stage.
St Mary Abbott is our local church in London and a church my family has been going to for over 25 years. Incidentally, Charlie’s Grandmother was Christened there. It was a two minute walk from my parents’, so we could get ready at my childhood home before walking over. The Orangery is in Kensington Gardens and just a short walk from the Church. Kensington Gardens means a lot to us as we walk our dog Albert there every day and Charlie spent a lot of time on his horse Copenhagen, in the area, while he was in the Household Cavalry, Blues and Royals. The Orangery was so perfect for us, we love the country and it felt like a secret garden right in the centre of London.
My mother and I had a lot of fun looking for my dress. A lot of laughs. We fell in love with the Monique Lhuillier dress in Browns Brides and did not look any further! We asked them to add the off the shoulder sleeves for the service that could be removed later. I love the mermaid quality and intricate embellishment layered with different colours. I felt like a million dollars and never wanted to take it off.
Charlie had a clear image for his morning suit. A combination of Prince Charles and Timothy Dalton’s in ‘License to Kill’. He was very happy with the light grey he choice which looked traditional but different.
We went to Versailles the year before and loved all the avenues of trees. We wanted to try to get this feeling with the two long tables with small green trees going down the middle. The bouquet was inspired by an old 18th Century Dutch still life oil painting with wild tendrils coming out and a mixture of colours. Our amazing florist was such fun to work with listened to our ideas and made them even better. Charlie’s button hole was a piano rose – it smelt amazing. We want to grow our own bush to remind us of it. I think the bouquets nod to the past and our love of art was a really nice touch.
My Father, Christopher Garwood, walked me down the aisle. A truly emotional a special moment for us. I felt very proud to be on his arm and gave him one last kiss on the cheek before walking down the aisle and saw all our loved ones faces. It was so nice to walk over to the church with him and have a few quite moments.
The ceremony was a very traditional one in St Mary Abbots – which is a beautiful neo – Gothic Church. Charlie picked the hymns. They are popular with the army as they are emotive and you can belt them out at the top of your voice! I picked the readings. I trained as an actress so loved finding my favourite Shakespeare (a personal passion) and Steinbeck letter to his son about love. Our favourite moments of the service was singing and looking over to see each other grinning. The other was walking down the aisle as man and wife and being over whelmed at everyone being there to support us and witness such a special thing. After the service we nipped round the side to have a quiet moment with each other while the guests poured out. A very private and nice moment for us both.
We were desperate for Marianne to do our photography. We keep a lot of photos and treasure our photo albums and prints around our home. So we looked really carefully for someone we loved. Marianne’s understanding of light and capturing the special moments was exactly what we wanted. She was so easy to work with. We also had our engagement photos with her the Autumn before. She likes to capture you at your most happy and natural and she and her assistant were a pleasure to have on such special day.
Charlie organized his old regiment, the House Hold Cavalry’s carriage to pick us up from the Church and take us to the venue. The horses were so smart and lovely to have a few minutes together before the party. We had a wonderful Photo Booth with a bespoke Reynolds oil painting back drop. This was one of the first ideas we had. We love art and wanted to include something to show this. The Photo Booth Guys were amazing and the camera was so flattering. We love our guest book with the photos and the guests had such a good time and something to take home. Victoria also illustrated all the guest table badges to look like ‘Royal Ascot Enclosure’ badges and each person got a small cut out caricature of themselves instead of a name place. It was a really fun talking point and the guests took them home. We got sent lots of photos the next day of them at people homes. We are so glad they went down so well as it was something Victoria loved doing. We had a DJ in the evening getting everyone on the dance floor while garden and dirty martinis were being served outside as it got dark.
We would pass on something people told us: Walk slowly down the aisle together after the service – enjoy everyone smiling at you and being there for you. Also to take a few minutes together every now and again. Enjoy – it was the best day of our lives!!
Photography: Marianne Taylor Photography | Cinematography: Gorgeous Film | Floral Design: Hayford and Rhodes | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Pearl and Groove | Stationery: Wren Press | Ceremony Venue: St Mary Abbots | Reception Venue: Kensington Palace & Gardens | Bride's Shoes: Valentino | Catering: Rhubarb | DJ: Prelude Entertainment | Bridal Boutique: Browns Bride | Decor: Victoria Fitzroy