“Jack and I met in A & E when we were trainee doctors,” reveals Mel of their serendipitous first encounter. “Through the chaos we found each other!” she laughs.
The couple bought their first house together six years later after returning from Australia. They had just moved in when Jack seized the moment to pop the question. “He proposed to me completely out of the blue in our new living room surrounded by cardboard boxes and no furniture!” recalls Mel.
Having made many happy memories while visiting her grandparents in Cornwall as a child, Polhawn Fort - with its sweeping ocean views - was the natural choice for the couple’s wedding venue. “The inspiration came from my love of the sea and particularly the natural beauty of Cornwall,” Mel explains. “As a couple we’d always enjoyed friends’ garden parties and barbecues in the summer and wanted to recreate that relaxed friendly atmosphere at our own wedding – almost like a festival or summer fete where a community comes together in celebration.”
Making the most of the outside space by hiring a tipi and decorating it with vintage props and furniture, Mel and Jack created a series of bar areas, which included a champagne cart and metal bathtubs stocked with beers. “We created a gin parlour where guests could try different gin within the fort and displayed our cake there on a vintage dresser,” adds Mel.
The flowers added rich texture and colour to the festivities – and proved to be one of Mel’s favourite aspects of the day. “They were so colourful with loads of different textures like feathers, thistles and pampas grass,” she says.
“We were blessed with amazing sunny weather and started by offering our guests arrival cocktails on the lawn overlooking the sea,” says Mel. The couple took their vows beneath a spectacular prism bedecked with blooms before heading to the beach for photos while their guests’ enjoyed drinks and lawn games. Relocating to the tipi, guests dined on a special sharing menu, which included antipasti of cured meats and roasted vegetables, slow-roasted lamb, oven cod, baked squash with coconut red lentil dhal and passion fruit cheesecake.
The evening party featured a live band and late-night whisky den complete with chesterfield sofas and an open firepit as guests roamed between the atmospheric climes of the fort and tipi.
“My favourite moment was just after the ceremony when we were enjoying our first drink as a married couple,” says Mel. “I also vividly remember being on the beach with Jack as husband and wife, and never being so happy. That snippet of private time together to take it all in was so special.”
Reflecting on their beautiful wedding, Mel reccommends booking your main suppliers as early as possible. “If you can, meet these people to see if they click with you and your ideas." she advises. "It took a lot of the pressure off knowing the key people were in place and were as enthusiastic as I was in making the ideas all come to life.”
“It really does fall into place in the end so don’t get yourself stressed about the tiny details,” she adds. “You and your guests will have a fabulous time on the day and the things you worried about just won’t matter at all.”
Photography Alan Law Photography alanlawphotography.co.uk
Venue Polhawn Fort polhawnfort.com
Tipi Wild Tipi wildtipi.co.uk
Planning Two Be Wed twobewed.co.uk
Dress Pronovias pronovias.com
Bridesmaids’ dresses Rewritten wearerewritten.com
Hair April Wagner aprilwagnerhair.co.uk
Make-up Gem Ryder gemryder.com
Décor hire Keeping It Vintage keepingitvintage.co.uk
Vintage furniture hires Virginia’s Vintage Hire virginiasvintagehire.co.uk
The Prop Factory propfactory.co.uk
Flowers Twigs and Greens twigsandgreens.co.uk
Catering Cornwall Chef cornwallchef.com
Evening food CornishPod cornishpod.co.uk
Cake Edible Essence edibleessencecakeart.com
Entertainment Folk Junkies folkjunkiesband.com