Wedding at Shilstone House, Devon
Love in Bloom
Charlotte and Will's English country garden-themed wedding at Shilstone House
Will's mother had been a client of beauty therapist Charlotte for months before conspiring with her colleague, Nisha, to initiate a meeting between the two.
"Will walked in and standing in reception uttered the words 'my mum has sent me in because she has said I should take you on a date'", Charlotte fondly recalls.
It was during a November weekend in Norfolk, as the couple were enjoying a spa getaway, that Will presented Charlotte with the engagement ring previously belonging to his great-grandmother.
The same sense of history and family sentiment spilled into their wedding day, which served in wonderful memoriam to loved ones that were unable to attend. Readings by Charlotte's godmother included The Apache Song in honour of her grandfather, and the stepladder centrepiece featured three generations of wedding photographs in silver frames.
Selecting a soft colour palette of pink, purple and blue, their "English country garden romance" theme was carried via a spellbinding array of seasonal flowers from the church to the reception. Charlotte's bouquet was a cascading mix of David Austin roses, peonies, freesia and astilbe in white and creams, while hanging flowers, potted plants and large table flowers "set at different heights to give a changing aspect as you looked across the room" enabled the "garden to flow from outside to inside" at their marquee reception at Shilstone House.
"We really wanted everything to pop, for guests to be able to feel, smell and touch," says Charlotte. The centreboards were decorated with flowers and hummingbirds, while glass plates topped with gin bottles and cut-glass goblets with candles replaced table numbers. Handwritten calligraphy cards embossed with hummingbirds and tied with ribbon made for striking table settings.
The menu was equally as well considered as the look of the day. Canapes and drinks were served on the sun-spilled lawn ahead of a sumptuous three-course dinner of duck with pomegranate sauce and salad, honey glazed pork with fennel and apple jus, and chocolate mousse pots with Chantilly cream and berries.
The evening continued with the speeches, sunset photos and the newly-weds' first dance, "where we invited our parents to join us on the dance floor, and thoroughly regretted as they put our dancing skills to shame!" laughs Charlotte.
But while looking back, it was the poignant details that she finds particularly memorable. "It was especially lovely that next to the top table we could see the pictures of our family members who couldn't be with us and it just made us feel that they were actually there watching over us," she says.
She's also keen to share her planning tips for other couples. "Get yourself a good wedding planner diary," she urges. "They are great for storing all types of business cards, pictures and for writing notes and important dates."
"A good checklist to stick on the fridge helps you keep track of everything you have done or yet to do," she adds. "It also means both of you can keep an eye on the planning and share the load."
Photography Pip & Simon pipandsimon.co.uk
Venue Shilstone House shilstonedevon.co.uk
Styling Hannah Taylor hannahtaylor-decor.com
Dress Jenny Packham jennypackham.com
Shoes Jimmy Choo jimmychoo.com
Bridesmaids' dresses Watters watters.com
Groom's outfit Hackett London Hackett.com Shoes Loake of Northampton loake.co.uk tie Shirt TM Lewin tmlewin.co.uk
Bridal hair and make-up Nisha Riviere
Flowers Brompton Buds bromptonbuds.com
Cake Daisy Molly and Me daisymollyandme.com
Entertainment The Secret Spitfires thesecretspitfires.co.uk
Copyright Wed magazine 2018