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Elegant English Country Wedding at Sibton Park

I love this wedding more than I’ll ever be able to put into words. I adore it’s timeless style, the Bride’s stunning gown from Temperley & Temperley is beyond, and I basically want to cover my entire house in that ridiculously steal-worthy wallpaper in the dining room – there honestly isn’t a single thing sitting pretty in this gallery that didn’t make my jaw drop, and you can see all the gorgeous captured by Caught The Light right here.

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Elegant

From The Bride…I am a shoe designer and Joseph is a Planning and Development Consultant. We met one another through mutual friends when we were 16 and stayed friends throughout Sixth Form College. We finally became a couple a couple of years later after Joe got in touch out of the blue and have been inseparable ever since!

We had been together 7 and a half years when Joe proposed; I had just got back from a week in Paris for work and Joe surprised me with a trip away to a lovely little hotel called Tuddenham Mill. We set off for a weekend of relaxing pub suppers and long walks and it was on one of those walks at Dunwich Beach that I turned around and Joe was on bended knee.

We were engaged for 15 months before getting married and I felt that would give plenty of time to organise everything, however, after an initial blitz of booking the venues and our photographer, we both got rather complacent over winter and left ourselves a lot to do in the final 5 months.

We fell in love with Sibton Park and the beautiful wallpaper in the dining room although as a private house they were not licensed for weddings so we set about looking for somewhere nearby we could hold the ceremony. Fortunately a short drive away was Glemham Hall, a beautiful Elizabethan estate used in the past by Tim Walker in photo shoots for Vogue which made it doubly exciting for me if not for Joe! Donna at Glemham was really wonderful and ensured the room looked beautiful for us with a roaring fire and candles – she even helped guide my highly impractical chapel length veil around the corner as I made my way down the aisle which was truly above and beyond!

We wanted to have as intimate day as possible and hiring Sibton for the whole weekend meant both our friends and families could stay with us throughout. Having everyone mingling and pitching in the day before definitely made the day itself feel much more relaxed. The main setback we encountered was that had we grossly over-estimated how many of our nearest and dearest we could squeeze into the dining room and after numerous scale drawings decided the best option was to throw a separate party for the children downstairs in the converted cellar. Luckily for us (and the children) there was a fantastic banquet length table in position next to a games room and cinema so they had a great time and didn’t miss us one bit. The house also came with its own catering kitchen and as we weren’t tied to a supplier list it enabled us to have my bridesmaid’s amazing chef mother Penny Campbell provide the delicious food.

I was quite determined from the outset that we do as much as possible ourselves in order to stretch our budget as far as possible. Looking back we probably took on too much but it all came together in the end mainly due to our friends and family diving in to save us. The invites, menus, favour labels and signage were a joint effort by myself and my mother and it was great fun designing and painting everything before having it printed locally. Joseph went to a local bee keeper for our wedding favours who kindly filled dozens of little pots with our favourite honey. We chose hand printed papers and wrapped the lids in these fastening with household string and adding a little thank you label.

For the evening we left an instant camera in the Library with lots of spare films and fancy dress paraphernalia asking guests to take a few photos – some for them to take away and some to leave for us. This turned out to be a surprise hit and we got some fantastically silly photos at the end of it!

I had always wanted peonies and we are lucky enough to live near a peony farm so I thought the flowers would be a simple task however with a wedding on 1st June at the very beginning of the season and the great British weather being as cold and miserable as possible throughout spring the season was late to start so we had to source a last minute plan B. We were recommended the family run flower stall at a local market and they couldn’t have been more helpful. Luckily not only were they able to source peonies but also the bad weather had extended the season for ranunculus, which I thought we were going to miss, and so we managed to have both. The table displays were relatively simple as we opted for potted orchids to give good height to the tables whilst not detracting from the elaborate Chinese wallpaper in the dining room. My chief bridesmaid took on the responsibility of bouquets in between her hairdressing duties for all of us on the morning of the wedding so was a bit of a hero and put them together beautifully.

The bridesmaids dresses were from Mango and then customised by my mother with some aspirin dot vintage tulle we found at a vintage fair. Of course I had to design the shoes for myself and my “bridesmates” as they became known and as I wanted them to be comfortable for the whole day and night I went for a slightly lower 85mm heel for their pairs (which is perfect dancing height).

I originally wanted a very pale blue laser-cut suede pair for myself but had difficulty finding the perfect shade so in the end went for a safer off-white suede which matched the beading on my dress. I then switched into a much less-safe golden pair for the evening which my factory had painstakingly crafted using some antique sequin tulle which was a remnant from my dressing up box as a child. I was very grateful to my factory who not only travelled all the way over from Italy to share the day with us but also gave all our shoes as a wedding gift (on the proviso I promised never to make them use fragile antique fabrics again!).

My maid of honour and bridesmaids were Bex, Maria and Phoebe, my closest and oldest friends. They were all brilliant and worked really hard to ensure Joe and I had an amazing day. Joseph’s oldest friend Matthew was his best man who looked terribly smart in his army uniform and surprised us by organising a traditional army “Loyal Toast” of port for the start of dinner. We asked our dear friend Daisy to deliver a reading at the ceremony which she did wonderfully.

There were many lovely moments, after running twenty minutes late and being horrendously nervous actually standing holding hands with Joe in front of our friends and family to exchange our vows was a strangely calming experience.

I knew after I had bought my main dress that I would like to also have something glittering for the evening as I have magpie tendencies. I fell completely in love with a beautiful golden Temperley gown and the fact it had a white tulle hem kept it bridal in my mind at least! I struggled to find jewellery to accompany it and searched everywhere for some emerald green drop earrings but in the end found a pair of golden sunburst earrings with black pearls and little orange sapphires which mirrored the sequin trails towards the hem. I had managed to keep it completely quiet that I was getting changed into an evening gown and Joe’s face when he realised was super as I’m normally useless at keeping secrets.

Rather than presenting gifts during dinner Joe and I took the opportunity to run away later in the evening and leave little thank you notes and gifts on our respective mothers’ bedside tables. This gave us time to ourselves to briefly reflect on the day together before rejoining the party.

We had a mixed bag of weather with a particularly cold and overcast day which made us all the more grateful for the glorious sunshine that arrived in the evening. I’ve never seen anyone move as fast as Chloe when she ran to grab us both and we made our way out into the beautiful parklands surrounding the house. Traipsing through the fields in the sunshine together was definitely a lasting memory of the day and it was lovely to be able to look back towards the house and hear everyone talking and laughing in the distance.

The simplest advice I could give is to make a list in priority order of the things you care about the most such as venue/photographer and work your way down. This helps in both budgeting terms and organise what order you should tackle the very long list in. Obviously it makes sense to invest most, be it time or money, in the things that you care about most. On the day itself chances are you’ll feel so happy to be married that minor mishaps, imperfections or problems won’t worry you. I managed to lose an earring straight after the ceremony and put my heel through my evening gown within about five minutes of putting it on but it just didn’t matter so you have to laugh.

Definitely allocate days where the W word is off limits as planning everything can easily become all-consuming.

Choosing the right photographer is so important as it made a world of difference to us that we got on so well with Chloe. Her warmth and wit enabled us to completely relax which in turn enabled Chloe to capture the beautiful natural photographs we hoped she would.

My father and Joseph’s speeches were very special as I know how they had agonised over them and their kind words managed to have not only myself but the bridesmaids in tears which surely must be considered a success! Having the speeches at the beginning of the dinner definitely worked well. We had been to Joseph’s step-brother’s wedding the year before where they had done this and thought it was a fantastic idea. It meant my father, Joe and Matt could breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy their food without the pressure hanging over them so it is definitely a break in tradition worth giving consideration to.

Photography: Caught The Light | Wedding Gown: Temperley & Temperley | Stationery: BHLDN | Ceremony Venue: Glemhall Hall, Suffolk, England | Reception Venue: Sibton Park, Suffolk, England | Bride's Shoes: Sophie Gittins | Engagement Ring: Berganza, Hatton Gardens In London | Bridesmaids Dresses: Mango | Catering: Penny Campbell | Hair Stylist: Rebecca MacLean | Groom's Shoes: Loakes | Groom's Suit: Jaeger | Evening Jewellery: Lana | Groom's Shirt, Tie & Pocket Square: Trotter & Deane | Headpiece : Jennifer Behr | Jewellery: Vintage Deco Earrings & Bracelet | Le Baron Wedding Car : Bentley 1958 S1 Saloon In Pearl Grey | Make Up Artist: Giselle Ali | Wedding Musicians: The Modern Way | Wedding Ring: Addy Vintage On Etsy

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Rehearsal Dinner by Salt Harbor Designs + Millie Holloman Photography

I swear, some of my all time favorite posts on SMP are the rehearsal dinners. A little bit because I get so much inspiration for my own parties and gatherings, but mostly because I am in awe at how freaking cool some of these dinners are. We’re talking wedding cool. Main event cool. With details that are off the charts gorgeous and yet an element of fun that I always want to see infused into EVERY get-together. And this one, designed by the fab Jennifer at Salt Harbor Designs and photographed beautifully by Rachel at Millie Holloman Photography, is the epitome of rehearsal dinner genius. To see even more, click right here!

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From Jennifer at Salt Harbor DesignsIt is so great when clients are willing to incorporate their personal stories into the design of an event.  Jessica was wonderful in this way, providing us all sorts of details to draw from and eager to incorporate lots of personal touches.  For the rehearsal dinner, she chose to honor her hometown and brought us peanut sacks that we monogrammed and old wood that we could paint for signage.  We used lots of rustic elements like lanterns, burlap, buckets, and mason jars and Bald Head Island Club prepared an amazing southern menu!

From Jessica (the bride)…The inspiration for the Peanuts came from the fact that I grew up in Suffolk, VA which claims to be the “Peanut Capital of the World”- we have an annual Peanut Fest and everything! :-) Suffolk is a farm town with lots of peanut crops.

Photography: Rachel Barker at Millie Holloman Photography / Event Design, Florals, and Paper: Salt Harbor Designs / Venue and catering: Bald Head Island Club / Rentals: Party Suppliers and Rentals

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