After meeting on a dating app, Nell and Will found they had plenty in common on their first date at a Shepherd’s Bush pub, from their work to an interest in outer space. “Seven years on, he’s still trying to convince me of alien life over sourdough pizza and a pint of IPA in that same pub,” she says.
After Will’s proposal on a sunny November morning, choosing a wedding venue was an easy decision. “We got married at Will’s family home, Coombe Trenchard,” says Nell. “What makes it so special is the amount of different areas which open up like a jewellery box – from two large terraces to the grand inside rooms and the leafy coach house. Then there are the gardens to wander, play croquet and take in the views of Dartmoor.”
The couple drew on the enchanting setting for the look and feel of the day. “We wanted the wedding to feel rustic yet refined with a muted earthy colour palette and plenty of wildflowers,” explains Nell. “In light of the house’s history, there were also nods to the Edwardian Arts and Crafts style with Liberty print ties and my choice of dress.” The perfect mix of traditional and fashion-forward, her Katya Katya gown paired a French floral lace top with a tiered tulle skirt, which was altered so she could remove the last layer for the evening.
Nell and Will were the first couple to have their ceremony on The Italian Terrace. “Elegant stone columns frame a view of Brent Tor and cross-backed chairs were arranged in an arc shape to echo the stone centrepiece,” she says. All grown from seed at the venue, Will’s mother Sarah arranged the flowers, lining the walkway with wildflower meadow boxes bursting with deep reds, oranges, muted pinks, whites and greens.
Sarah’s flowers also brought gorgeous colour to the trestle tables in The Coach House, while handmade napkins and ceramic pinch pot wedding favours from Nell’s mum added further character to the place settings. “The combination of these elements paired with candlelight was magical,” reflects Nell. “At night, this area was transformed into a Mamma Mia style affair. Tables were cleared, the disco ball was lit and the band struck up a Gipsy Kings number. We danced late into the night to Bamboleo – an incredible Gipsy Kings tribute band – fuelled by coffee liqueur and Cornish spirits from the Peacock Bar.”
The wedding breakfast proved another highlight of the day. “Our favourite dishes were the smoked beetroot with preserved lemon crème fraiche, toasted hazelnuts and fennel seeds and the local catch of the day in a Café de Paris sauce with nasturtium leaves,” she says. A selection of ice creams served from a tricycle rounded off the feast.
Looking back on their incredible day, Nell cites a particularly fond moment that stands out in her mind. “Standing arm in arm with my dad, we heard the music and he looked at me and said, ‘I think it’s our time’. The moments that followed were overwhelmingly emotional. Seeing Will, surrounded by all our favourite people and our dog Louis set against the majestic views of Dartmoor was more beautiful that I could ever have imagined.”
In terms of advice for others in the throes of planning, she asserts: “Don’t try to please everyone and only do the bits that you want to do! Find a venue where you can build trust and a good relationship with the events manager. The rest will fall into place.”
On a stylistic note, she adds: “Make mood boards for the different sections of the day to help you narrow down a style and communicate your vision to suppliers”.
Photography Nick Walker nickwphotography.com
Venue Coombe Trenchard coombetrenchard.co.uk
Catering Beautiful and the Feast beautifulandthefeast.com
Dress Katya Katya katyakatya.co.uk
Shoes Rainbow Club rainbowclub.co.uk
Bridesmaids’ dresses Topshop at ASOS asos.com
Flower girls’ dresses Little Linen Stories at Etsy etsy.com/shop/linenlittlestories
Page boy outfit H&M hm.com
Hair Laura Bukin instagram.com/laurabukin
Make-up Gisele Michel-Gendre Instagram.com/gisellemichelgendre_mua
Groom’s outfit Suit Supply suitsupply.com
Bouquets, flower crowns & buttonholes Joanna Game instagram.com/joannagame_flowers
Table & walkway flowers Sarah Marsh, Coombe Trenchard coombetrenchard.co.uk
Stationery Mingo Mingo Studio mingomingo.co.uk
Ice cream trike The Dartmoor Ice Cream Company dartmooricecream.co.uk
Entertainment Bamboleo Band bamboleoband.com