Why we decided on an outdoor wedding at The Four Seasons, Hampshire:
Although we are both from London when we pictured our perfect wedding both of us saw flowers, nature and the green English countryside. With that in mind, we set about looking for locations that were easy to reach from London but that would provide the proximity to nature and peaceful surroundings that we were looking for. I had stayed at the Four Seasons before and had idyllic memories of the unparalleled level of service of the hotel, predicting every need before it even arises in an understated and unfussy way. The rooms, food, location and grounds could not have been more perfect.
We occupied a wing of the hotel that allowed us to have privacy and enjoy our night without disturbing other guests and although we were by no means the only people at the hotel, it felt as though we had the hotel to ourselves and the ceremony felt wonderfully intimate. When we viewed the walled garden we fell in love and could not picture a more beautiful location for our ceremony, surrounded by flowers and the summer sunshine. The overnight accommodation was a perfect way to thank our most important guests and families and ensure that everyone would be able to make the most of the night without worrying about commuting back to London.
Making our Wedding Personal (and DIY projects):
We worked with Steven and Alan Duggan for months to plan the perfect wedding and make sure that each of our guests would feel valued amongst out 160 guests. It was really important to us that our wedding should be personal and reflect us as a couple and our lives and that anyone there on the day would be able to take one look and immediately know that it was our day. Our friends and families have made us who we are and been with us on our journey since the day we met so we wanted them to feel how grateful we were to all of them for their unfaltering love and support.
We created a ‘table plan’ that consisted of hanging apple-shaped biscuits with people’s names and table numbers from a big tree in the garden. Throughout the reception, guests had to walk under the branches of the tree to find their biscuit and untie the ribbon from the tree. We thought this was a wonderful way of incorporating two traditionally boring elements of the wedding (the table plan and wedding favours) to make one memorable, and fun activity. We also spent weeks going through old photo albums and family photos to find pictures of us together and apart to print and hang inside the reception rooms, in this way we were able to show our love for our families and friends and create memorable displays.
We took every opportunity possible to personalise our day and make it reflect us as much as possible – from the ceremony itself to table settings showing us both at different ages to match the table numbers. We decided to have a Humanist ceremony as we both believed strongly in the message of common humanity and love that humanism promotes and fell in love with the idea of having a ceremony that included anecdotes from our friends and families and stories and poems chosen by us.
We chose readings from our favourite books and musicals and surprised our guests with a wonderful musical interlude by one of our closest friends. We agonised over music choices and spent months learning our first dance so that everything would be perfect and were rewarded with the most beautiful day and by far the best day of our lives so far.
To me, the morning of the wedding was such a special time. I had planned surprises for my parents, my husband-to-be and all of my bridesmaids. I found pictures of my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother on their wedding days and gave my mum a frame with all of the gorgeous pictures with an empty space to be filled with my picture. For my father, I had some luxury handkerchiefs embroidered with messages and for my husband, I thought the boardgames ‘Don’t Panic’ would prove a funny gift to keep him occupied on the morning of the wedding.
Adnan’s little nephew, Ryan, aged 3, was our page boy and he carried a little wooden sign saying ‘Here Comes the Bride’ wonderfully and proudly down the aisle looking gorgeous and wearing a tiny little suit that was identical to the suits worn by the groomsmen.
Colour Scheme, Venue, Décor and Styling:
I knew in terms of colours I wanted a warm palette with purple and lilac highlights. We decided to bring out this colour in the bridesmaid’s dresses, groomsmen’s ties and in the flowers that were all over the place.
One of the main feelings that we wanted to carry through the day was a feeling of being in a beautiful garden, with a romantic feel all throughout the day. We had the most incredible flower arch (by Larry Walshe) the frame us at the altar and the most beautiful table centrepieces that looked like small wild trees covered in flowers.
For the evening we wanted a slightly more modern feel so as to create a distinction between the daytime and the evening celebrations. we had a glistening white dance floor and modern furniture with lights and cocktail bars to get the dancing going.
We found the perfect photographer at the London Wedding Fair. We loved Nadine’s style from the photos on her website and in the albums, she showed us. All of the photos had a wonderfully soft feel with lovely romantic undertones. Her photos surpassed all of our expectations and are the most incredible memory of the day.
Our wedding planners helped us find HD Moments. What I loved about Greg’s films is that they were incredibly polished but still kept all the emotion of the day. When I found myself welling up at the wedding videos on his blog of other people’s weddings who I didn’t even know, I knew I had found the right man for the job! His video from our day has blown us away.
What really struck me about Stephanie Allin’s dresses was the floaty and feminine quality that they have and how beautiful yet understated they were. After travelling all over London and trying on more than 20 dresses, which were all beautiful but just didn’t feel quite right, I was beginning to wonder whether the fairytale wedding dress feeling was a bit of a myth, and then I walked into Stephanie Allin’s boutique.
The dresses felt so soft and wonderful and, even when they were the completely wrong sample size and not tailored, looked beautiful. I fell in love and never looked back. The ladies in the shop were all absolutely amazing, really lovely and patient and they always went above and beyond to make sure that I had no doubt that my dress was perfect. The dress fitted perfectly and looked incredible, I felt like a princess and everyone commented on the dress on the day.
Steve and Alan Duggan were amazing from day one. They worked with us to incorporate every tiny detail that we wanted – from strawberries with bow ties to ballerinas on stilts. Without them, we would not have been able to turn our dreams into a reality and they are the reason that we were able to have our storybook wedding without any stressing and enjoying every minute of the journey.
They created storyboards, sourced suppliers, attended tastings and kept us informed on everything throughout the process. I cannot recommend them more highly, they were perfectly professional and made our wedding feel utterly unique.