I get asked all the time if I ever get bored of weddings “surely they’re all the same” “doesn’t it get repetitive?!”. I always answer the same incredulous “absolutely not!”. And when I get sent weddings as gorgeous as today’s it is a constant reminder that all weddings are unique and beautiful, all couples are worthy and deserve love and everyone loves dancing with their loved ones till the early hours (venue permitting ha).
photography | Grace Elizabeth
The amazing team of suppliers:
Henley Town Hall for the civil ceremony followed by a reception at my parents garden on the river in Wargrave. We wanted to hold our wedding in a location that was special and meaningful to us both and to which we could return to relive and enjoy the memories.
Grace Elizabeth Photo & Film (https://graceelizabethphoto.com/)
Grace and Mitch were fantastic and we could not recommend them highly enough. We met them 6 months prior to the wedding and knew straight away that we wanted to work with them. Prior to the day we did not provide much input or direction, however we trusted them completely and what they produced is perfect. We absolutely loved our photos and on the day they were the perfect combination of professional, approachable yet unobtrusive/invisible. The moments and memories they captured could not have been better and they were so accommodating of every challenge we set them, including traveling with us by train and photographing our exit by boat. We cannot thank them enough.
Fresh Flower Company, London (https://www.freshflower.co.uk/)
We worked with Jane Lingwood from the Fresh Flower Company, London who is a family friend and who supplied all the flowers as well as producing the bouquets, button holes and flowers for the hair accessories.
We wanted to use flowers that were in season and which had a natural look and therefore selected flowers that furthered this aesthetic. In addition my wonderful aunt surprised me by sourcing cornflowers, which are my favourites, for my bouquet.
Bride’s dress /shoes
Dress – Antonia Pugh-Thomas (http://www.antoniapugh-thomas.co.uk/home.html)
Shoes – Stuart Weitzman
My mother and I chose the fabric (the most beautiful white embroidered fabric with a scallop edge and a pale pink lining) on a trip to Hong Kong six months before our wedding. A friend recommended Antonia who was wonderful. She was great to work with, had an understanding of the details that suited me and my personality, and a relaxed calm presence to make the whole experience very easy and a true pleasure. She created what was referred to as the ‘spring’ dress. I wanted a dress that was relaxed, reflected it being a late spring wedding, beautiful and a delight to wear and Antonia’s creation was the most perfect dress for me. What I loved was that my dress was created with my mother and that it had roots in Hong Kong, which is where Wai-kay’s family are from.
Bride’s hair accessories/veil
Flowers in my hair provided by Jane Lingwood of the Fresh Flower Company, London (https://www.freshflower.co.uk/)
Earrings – belonged to my Grandmother who passed away a year before just after we got engaged and were my something old, borrowed and blue. Broach and silver bracelet were my own. Tea Ceremony included traditional Chinese wedding gifts of gold bracelets given by Wai-kay’s parents.
Bride’s hair /makeup
Liz Pately and Alix (https://www.lizpateymakeup.co.uk/)
Jo Malone – I have always loved their scents so treated myself to Velvet Rose and Oud. I have loved wearing this sent subsequently as a reminder of such an amazing day.
Dresses – Hobbs
Shoes – Marks & Spencer’s
Accessories – Flowers in hair by the Fresh Flower Company London, pink scarves & pearls necklaces, which were my gift to them.
Lochcarron Kilt, Jacket and Waistcoat.
Wai-kay and his best men all wore their own kilts. I loved that this meant they were similar yet different with a wonderful range of rich colours.
We asked 10 of our friends and family to either source or make a cake for us. These varied from a cake from Chinatown that is typical of a Hong Kong western cake for celebrations and is covered in fresh fruit, a sachertorte from Vienna, stemmed ginger cake, Dundee fruitcake, homemade tiramisu and a variety of homemade chocolate cakes. Those who made a cake love the opportunity to contribute to our day.
Although we served these with coffee to our guests Wai-kay and I refrained and instead took a slice of each to our hotel and had the most wonderful and delicious feast at 2am trying them all.
Pop London (https://www.tailored-entertainment.com/Pop-Cover/Pop-London-Band-London). A recommendation from a friend. They were fantastic and the dance floor was filled all night.
We designed the invitations, order of day information and menus ourselves and had them printed by Hobbs Reprographics (https://hobsrepro.com/). Paul from Hobbs was amazingly helpful and went above and beyond to ensure that once printed they were exactly as we imagined.
My parents place is very very green, full of tall trees, on the river and wonderfully relaxed. We wanted the day to stay as true to this as possible to ensure both us, our families and our guests enjoyed the day to the full. As Wai-kay is a Chinese-Glaswegian we had nods to both these cultures and included a Chinese tea ceremony.
We took the local Henley branch train (https://www.gwr.com/) with our guests from the ceremony to the reception. The driver, Michael, gave us a special hoot as we crossed the Thames, before a swing band joined us for the walk down the private road to the reception.
Sausage and Pear (https://www.sausageandpear.co.uk/). A friend recommended them to us and they lived up to and exceeded our expectation. The food they produced for 130 guests out of a field kitchen was amazing and they had enough that for the greedier guest had seconds and we had many compliments from our guests.
Sausage and Pear ensured that we had a consistent point of contact who we met when we visited Dorset for our tasting, answered questions and accommodating all requests through to being there on the day. It was great to have that consistency and on the day David made sure we got to taste everything we’d ordered and that we were never without a drink to celebrate.
We provided jars of green tea that we bought in Hong Kong for our guests.
We planned the entire day ourselves with an enormous amount of help from our parents who we are so grateful to for their support. On the day we used Katarina Littleton from Littleton Rose. I could not recommend her assistance more highly – she ensured that our wedding went seamlessly with all the touches and moments just as we had wished.
Apart from all of it, our highlights were the train journey with our guests to the reception and in particular the walk along the private road from station with a swing band serenading our guests and us.
During dinner looking over all our guests talking and laughing and the amazing feeling of all the support and love – it is an incredible feeling to be so surrounded by your friends, families and loved ones.
The fireworks and leaving by boat with lights and sparklers before enjoying a quiet whiskey under starlight prior to re-joining the revelries.
Tips for those in the planning process
Book the key items as far in advance as possible – ceremony, reception venue, band and caterer. The rest can then be slowly dropped into place and be enjoyed. I would also recommend as a minimum an events coordinator to help on the day. Ours was invaluable. On reflection we would have used Katrina, our on the day planner, for at least the couple of days leading up to the wedding as well. There were so many final touches and decisions to make her expertise and efficiency would have been useful. This would have left more time to enjoy the final preparations with family and friends.
To not get overly stressed with the details as although the details are key to yourself as the bride, guests will not be any the wiser as to what is included or not. The weather in the lead up to our wedding was less than perfect and therefore there were several items which did not come to fruition. Not having these did not detract from the day at all.