This afternoon we are back with our regular feature ‘Advice from the Married Side,‘ real life wedding planning...
Happy Friday everyone, I do hope you have had a good week? It’s been a strange one for me as Dexter started School this week. He has loved it, but I am just getting used to my own new routine, getting up earlier, new hours in the office and still catching up from my week away last week. We have a weekend of parties to look forward to and catching up with old friends, what about you? I am finishing the week with this gorgeous Castle Wedding. The castle in question is Lulworth Castle in Dorset and what a stunning venue it makes! Lyndsay and Steve went all out with their botanical theme and added lots of gorgeous foliage to their decoration, along with 6 birch trees that they used as very large and dramatic centre pieces. The whole day looks amazing! Big thanks to Kit Myers for the lovely images.
Lyndsay and Steve were married on 30th June 2018, they held their ceremony at Chapel of St Mary, The Lulworth Estate with the reception at Lulworth Castle in Dorset. ‘We both wanted somewhere really unique and memorable, and being an Interior Designer (Lyndsay) the aesthetic of the venue and the potential to make a statement within it was really important to me. We instantly fell in love with the Georgian Chapel on the grounds of the Castle which was designed to look like a Classical Mausoleum and features an incredible painted domed ceiling. The Castle itself overwhelmed us the first time we visited and we were especially drawn to the raw beauty of the interior which was left largely untouched after a huge fire in the 1920s. We just knew that the exposed and rustic nature of the rooms inside would provide the most perfect blank canvas for us to have our day. We had 104 guests and it took 18months to plan.’
How they met
As with many modern love stories, we first met online(!) but our first proper meeting was in a bar in Covent Garden. Steve was convinced I didn’t like him up until I accepted his offer of a second drink! We’ve been together for five years.
Steve surprised me by whisking me off to a stunning spa hotel in Zurich. He’d arranged for us to have dinner at a fancy restaurant on the shore of the lake at sunset. Once he’d proposed with his Mum’s ring and I’d replied ‘yes please’, there was an incredible show of lightning across the lake – lucky timing!
How did you allocate your budget?
We knew very early on that the venue and location was by far the most important part so dedicated the lion’s share of the budget to that. A close second was the photographer and videographer as we decided that capturing the memories of the day was vital. Finally, Steve is a bit of a food snob so we spent a good amount of time and money ensuring that we were happy with our catering team. Things like the dress and the cake were never high up on our spend list and we’re really happy we prioritised things in that way.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
We definitely splurged on the venue – it was well over our original budget but we decided that we’d look back in years to come and probably regret not having it at Lulworth if we’d gone with an alternative option. It was worth every penny in the end. We saved on lots of things like my dress which was from a sample sale, the minimal flowers and decorations as the trees were so impactful on their own, and the stationery as I was able to design everything myself.
How did you choose your photographer?
Choosing the photographer was one of the first decisions we made, and was probably one of the easiest! Kit had been recommended to me by a colleague and as soon as we looked at his website and saw how beautifully natural and relaxed his photos were we knew he was the guy for us. On the day, Kit was such a calming influence and was a really lovely person to have around – we’re so glad we chose him.
The dress was by Annasul Y and must have been about the thirtieth dress I tried on! It was the one that finally really felt like ‘me’ and, although it came straight off a sample rail, fitted me like a glove. I loved how timeless and elegant it looked and have always been very drawn to lace. My shoes were gorgeous satin T-bar peep toes from Rainbow Club and were so comfortable all day long. I kept accessories to a minimum as the dress was already full of so much intricate detail, but I added a bespoke made back necklace by Wildest Dreams Bridal, teardrop crystal earrings by Jules Bridal, and a customised hair comb by White Designs.
The suit and bridesmaids
Steve wore a navy Prince of Wales checked suit from Walker Slater in Covent Garden, which was a lovely coincidence as the shop was a stone’s throw from where we had our first date. The bridesmaids wore a simple petrol blue dress from Phase Eight which I felt contrasted nicely with the champagne colouring of my own dress.
Theme or colour scheme
We were keen to keep things very natural and neutral so that the beauty of the Castle could really shine through. Steve has always been a huge fan of trees and forests, so when he mentioned perhaps including some trees in the wedding I leapt at the chance to really push the boundaries with the idea. Our styling team had created similar themes in the past and were so enthusiastic about the concept from the very beginning. Once I knew the 6ft Birch tree centre-pieces were feasible (and more affordable than we expected!), they dictated the botanical theme that ran through all of the stationery graphics and decorations.
I’m not a huge lover of flowers so introduced lots of foliage to the bouquets and button holes. My bouquet was made up of succulents, nicoli and populus eucalyptus, and accented with white peonies and cabbage roses.
The Birch trees provided all of the decoration we needed and really helped accentuated the huge height of the Castle interior. The tables were also decorated with bespoke cut wooden place names and tiny glass bottles filled with smarties, table clothes and linens were all a natural hessian material to compliment the Castle walls and Birch tree branches.
We had a selection of delicious canapes and Pimms on the Castle lawn before moving inside for a thyme infused candied beetroot and flaked salmon salad with a horseradish dressing to start, pan fried chicken on roasted garlic potato puree with green beans and a sun blush tomato dressing for the main, followed by chocolate and salted caramel brownies with honeycomb crumb and edible flowers for dessert.
We kept this nice and simple and had a two-tiered semi-naked cake – one layer was a classic Victoria sponge, the other was lemon. It was finished with gold dripping icing and succulents to tie in with the general theme.
We had a lovely string trio playing during our ceremony and also for the drinks reception on the lawn -they played the most perfect music to really set the tone for the day. In the evening, the band Covers in Arms really got the party going and the dance floor was well and truly filled! We ended the night with a conga around the Castle and an acapella sing-song of Wonderwall!
Who supplied the stationery?
I designed all of the stationery right through from the Save the Dates to the Table Plan, I then arranged to have it printed by a local printer and found all of the kraft envelopes, paper and wax for sealing on Etsy and Amazon. It really was a labour of love and took a lot of late nights and weekends of Photoshopping to get it exactly how I wanted it to be, but it was completely worth it in the end!
All of the stationery as mentioned above, as well as the overall design concept of the day. Lots of the music was very personal to us, especially during the ceremony – My Dad and I walked in to the strings playing Elbow’s One Day Like This and Steve and I walked out to Clean Bandit’s Rather Be (also on the strings!) During the ceremony, our very talented niece sang First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and had the whole Chapel on the verge of tears!
The reading from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin during the service was a piece that we’ve both always loved as the words really resonate with us, so much so that we also had it engraved inside our wedding bands.
We added a handwritten personalised note to the glass bottle favours for every single guest which was another hugely time-consuming job but so worth it to see everyone’s reactions when they read their messages as they sat down for dinner.
Walking into the Chapel was a real stand out moment as it was so overwhelming to see everyone we love in one place all grinning at me! Steve didn’t turn to look at me until I was alongside him, but when he did, the look on his face was priceless.
At the Wedding Breakfast sitting down at the table with a glass of wine and seeing the bright sunshine streaming through our forest of trees felt so unbelievably magical, and towards the end of the night when Steve and I were dancing in the middle of a circle of friends and family to Hey Jude and swigging from a bottle of Prosecco, I remember looking up at the full height of the Castle and thinking how it all felt like the most surreal dream.
Advice for other couples
Everyone says it, but ENJOY. EVERY. SECOND. It really did feel like the whole day was over in the blink of an eye so it’s so important to just take a moment every now and again to just drink it all in.
Any last minute stresses in the days and weeks before the wedding really do pale into insignificance on the actual day, so just make the most of everything.
Also, to avoid having to instruct suppliers and groomsmen/bridesmaids on the day, I found that giving them all a very detailed spreadsheet of ‘who’s doing what when’ really helped take any worries away and let me focus on just enjoying the day.
For Steve, it was seeing me in the dress for the first time. He said it was better than anything he could’ve imagined and was blown away by how perfect it was.
For me, it was how calm I was! Waking up on the day was really odd as I’m usually a huge worrier and yet I felt completely serene. I think this was really helped by the weather as I’d spent weeks fretting about guests not being able to enjoy the Castle grounds if it was raining, but the sun shone so brightly all day I needn’t have worried.
I’m based in the lovely town of Reigate, based in the Surrey Hills. I love shooting all kinds of weddings, but what I love most is capturing people off guard, getting those special moments, unposed and natural.