Wedding at Pynes House, Devon
A proposal in Rome set the scene for Jen and Henry's Italian-inspired wedding that embraced all things soft, romantic and natural
After a failed attempt to get into a nightclub together aged 16 and 17, Jen and Henry's first date ended with a silver lining as they shared their first kiss on the journey home. It was another 12 years before Henry would ask Jen to marry him at sunset in a beautiful hilltop orange garden during a surprise trip to their favourite city of Rome.
Returning home, Jen and Henry began looking for somewhere elegant and sophisticated to host their wedding day.
"When we saw the front of Pynes House, we both had to contain our excitement," reflects Jen. "It was everything we were looking for and more. Pynes is both visually grand and impressive, whilst having a lovely, intimate feel once inside; a really beautiful venue that was just ideal for the day we had in mind."
Deciding upon a summer wedding so the roses would be in bloom, the couple wanted a light, fresh, summery feel to their day, and chose a palette of blush pink, white, cream and light grey with hints of copper and rose gold.
"We already had the perfect backdrop, we just needed to add our stamp to it with some small details that represented us and captured our story," says Jen. "With the proposal and our love of Italian cities in mind, we had a subtle Italian theme running through the day, including Henry stylishly arriving in his best man's Maserati GranTurismo."
Table names were some of the couple's favourite spots in Rome, with the top table being the garden where Henry proposed. They embraced the theme further with Italian wines, Prosecco and Moretti beers, and homemade limoncello favours.
Flowers were also a key feature, with beautiful arrangements of dusky pink, peach and white roses, peonies, foxgloves and lots of natural foliage taking centre stage. "The stunning focal piece for the ceremony included miniature oranges as a nod to the orange garden where Henry proposed," says Jen. "We were incredibly lucky with the weather: a perfect English midsummer's day, which meant all our guests could enjoy the beautiful gardens."
Both Jen and Henry cite their favourite moment as seeing each other for the first time. "I remember the music beginning and the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. I saw Jen for the first time and I couldn't stop smiling," says Henry. "I may also have welled up a bit."
After their love-filled ceremony, guests enjoyed canapes and drinks while the couple had an intimate Chinese tea ceremony, as a nod to Henry's heritage. "Our immediate family and wedding party took part in blessing us during the exchanging of ceremonial tea and red 'lai see' envelopes. We have to thank Henry's parents and siblings for making this such a perfectly beautiful part of our day!" says Jen.
The wedding breakfast included pan-fried scallops, Westcountry beef and a trio of desserts: chocolate torte, berry pavlova, and lemon-vanilla cheesecake. Taking pride of place was the bronzed caramel drip cake, adorned with macarons and fresh flowers.
After the food, it was time to dance - and a roaming band meant guests weren't restricted to a dance floor. "Thanks to the lovely weather, the band were able to play outside, and our guests absolutely loved them!" says Jen. With more entertainment in the form of a 'mirror photo booth', a DJ kept the party going until the small hours.
"It can be easy to feel overwhelmed with all the planning, but we found having 'wedmin days', where we went for coffee and tackled things together, really helpful" suggests Jen. "Go with your instincts and make sure you have a connection with your suppliers, then just trust on the day they'll do their thing and be awesome!"
Photography McKenzie Brown mckenzie-brown.com
Venue Pynes House pyneshouse.co.uk
Dress Lusan Mandongus lusanmandongus.com
Bridesmaids' dresses TH&TH thandth.com
Groom's outfit Edit Suits editsuits.com
Hair Steven & Laurent Hairdressers stevenandlaurent.co.uk
Make-up Claire Bowring clairebowring.co.uk
Catering Dartmoor Kitchen dartmoorkitchen.co.uk
Flowers Laura Hingston Flowers laurahingstonflowers.com
Cake Kate Burt Cakes kateburtcakes.co.uk
Entertainment The Hares thehares.co.uk
Photo booth Just Pose just-pose.com
Copyright Wed magazine 2018
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