Adventures in Borneo led to Andrew and Louise’s engagement. “I’d been told earlier in the year not to expect a proposal soon, so it wasn’t on my mind. We were at a bar that stretches down to the ocean, watching the sun sink over the South China Sea. I turned around after admiring the view and Andrew was down on one knee, ring in hand. I didn’t even wait for the question, bursting into tears of joy.”
Louise sourced her stunning gown from Serendipity Brides, Northamptonshire. “My appointment was with the amazing Lisa.
“I WALKED IN AND EXPLAINED MY VERY SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS – A NON-WHITE GOWN THAT WAS REMINISCENT OF BYGONE DAYS – AND SHE PULLED OUT A PRONOVIAS GOWN THAT WAS BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS!”
The champagne tulle dress had cascading lace appliqués from the bodice to the skirt with a full train, and the seamstress at the boutique expertly removed a tulle panel, adding in a sweetheart neckline and elegant Bardot sleeves instead.
Louise accessorised with a floral headband from Rock and Rose, a cathedral-length veil with scalloped lace trim from Serendipity Brides and lingerie and a garter from Pompadour Couture Lingerie. Jimmy Choo classic ivory satin court shoes completed her elegant look.
“ANDREW LOOKED LIKE THE TRUE GENTLEMAN THAT HE IS, WEARING A MIDNIGHT BLUE TUXEDO AND CRISP WHITE FORMAL SHIRT FROM MR PORTER BY PAUL SMITH.”
Hackett supplied his slick black bowtie, while his patent leather tuxedo loafers came from Poste for Office.”
When it came to the bridesmaids’ attire, Louise faced a challenge. “Nothing on the market could match my imagination for my budget, so two fashion school friends and I designed and made them ourselves. Alara’s dress in bluebird is a full-length, long- sleeved gown made from exquisite corded lace, with a deep V-back and scalloped eyelash lace trim. Charlotte’s blush capped-sleeve, full-length dress was also made from lace, with a deep V-back and a soft V-neckline, again framed by scalloped trim. The subtle train added extra elegance. These designs gave birth to TH&TH, our bespoke and ready-to-wear bridesmaid dress business.
“MY THIRD BRIDESMAID JESS BECAME PREGNANT IN THE APPROACH TO THE WEDDING, SO WE TURNED TO TIFFANY ROSE FOR A SEAFOAM GREEN MATERNITY DRESS FOR HER.”
Our civil ceremony was held in the beautiful orangery in the grounds of Stoneleigh Abbey, sitting beside the river Avon with views across the Warwickshire countryside. My three-minute processional to ‘Hoppipolla’ by Sigur Ros was unforgettable. Walking down the steps and along the river behind my bridesmaids with the guests watching from the windows and then finally making it to the aisle and setting eyes on my husband-to-be is a memory I will treasure forever.”
A feeling of old world elegance guided the couple’s wedding from start to finish.
“THEY HINTED AT THE THEME WITH SAVE THE DATES FROM SPIT FIRE STUDIOS, FEATURING A PALETTE OF COOL BLUES AND CREAMS, WITH BLACK LETTERPRESS TYPE AND A BLIND EMBOSS WITH GOLD FOIL ON THE BACK.”
Thomas Holmes, Louise’s brother, designed their invitations, orders of service and seating plan, handing the printing of the newspaper style invitations over to The Newspaper Club.
Having chosen such a beautiful and ornate venue, they did not need to add extra decorations. Their flowers were created by a friend of the family, Sheila, using tall white delphiniums and baby blue hydrangeas alongside a hint of pink avalanche roses to create effortless arrangements. “We had a simple, single hydrangea as the centrepiece for each table. The room’s Georgian stucco décor was so grand we didn’t want our table decoration to try and compete. We used simple picture frames to identify each table.
“OUR THREE-TIER CAKE WITH FRUIT, VICTORIA SPONGE AND RED VELVET LAYERS WAS MADE FOR US BY A FAMILY FRIEND.”
The circular layers had gold beading on each layer with iced floral details on the top tier.”
Their wedding favours showed a more humorous, tongue-in-cheek approach to their theme. “We created replica royal souvenir mugs with our faces on them, designed by Spit fire Studio and printed by ukprintprice.com.”
Music made a big impact, too, with a troupe of Irish dancers (martin-academy. co.uk) starting the evening entertainment in a nod to Andrew’s Irish heritage. Funkifield featuring Shauna Shim then took over to play for the rest of the evening. “Our guests wouldn’t move from the dance floor when the band took a break and demanded that they play more instead!
“OUR FIRST DANCE WAS TO ELBOW’S ‘ONE DAY LIKE THIS’ – IT’S A SONG THAT IS ROMANTIC AND EPIC AT THE SAME TIME, WITH THE MOST POETIC LYRICS, IT FELT VERY US.”
It only seems fitting that after a perfect proposal overseas this couple embarked on an equally incredible honeymoon. Louise and Andrew planned it entirely themselves, visiting Ios, Mykonos, Istanbul, Florence and Paris. “We did everything from swimming on deserted beaches on Ios, to exploring the spice markets in Istanbul, to dining under the stars on Mykonos, and sipping cocktails on Florentine rooftops. Finishing our celebrations at the top of the Eiffel tower was amazing.
On the day, let everything go. You’ve done everything you could to plan, so don’t worry if anything does go wrong because nobody but you will notice.”
V E N U E Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwickshire
D R E S S Pronovias at Serendipity Brides, Northamptonshire
B R I D E S M A I D D R E S S E S To Have & To Hold Bridesmaids and Tiffany Rose
G R O O M Mr Porter, Hackett and Office
A C C E S S O R I E S Rock N Rose, Jimmy Choo and Pompadour Lingerie
S T A T I O N E R Y Spit re Studio and The Newspaper Club
E N T E R T A I N M E N T Martin Academy and Funkifield