This week we are featuring the beautiful Nicky who married in July at Winchester Cathedral. Her beautiful photos were by David Hedges.
Finding my dream dress wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be… So many people had told me about their experiences of putting on a dress and instantly knowing it was the one, but this wasn’t the case for me. I tried three different places on my first weekend of looking, and although they all had stunning dresses, I knew I wanted to get my dress from BOW because of the amazing ladies there! They were so friendly, relaxed and helpful – I felt as if I had known them for years.
I tried on what felt like countless dresses and each one was as beautiful as the last. Hayley was able to pull out dresses for me based on comments I had made, and then she pulled out Indulgence by Nicola Anne. It was a relaxed fishtail dress with a bit of glitz to it; it was beautiful. My brothers happened to have joined me and my mum on our visit that day, and they were all in agreement that that was ‘my’ dress. I had collected so many pictures of dresses I liked and had an idea in my mind of what I would go for, but what I walked away with was very different.
Having grown up living in the Cathedral Close, I knew I always wanted to get married in Winchester Cathedral. We did look at other venues, and although they were every brides dream, the Cathedral held so many sentimental connections for me and my family (and my fiancé equally loved it) that we couldn’t not choose it.
For the reception, we wanted something in close walking distance. Winchester Cathedral offer a number of options and so we selected the Garden Marquee. The garden is very private and tucked away, with a permanent marquee and was just what we were after. They were very flexible and had so many suggestions with how we could set it up. They also organised a fantastic food tasting session for us so we knew exactly what we would get on the day.
I see so many gorgeous wedding photos these days that I didn’t know where to start with looking for a photographer. But, as luck would have it, my cousin is a professional photographer. Although he does not specialise in wedding photography, I have seen many photos of his before and knew he would do a fantastic job. When he agreed, we felt instantly more at ease. It meant that we could be completely honest with him in what we wanted and it was very relaxed on the day. We had a few formal photos of the wedding party, but most of his photos involved catching the natural moments – the best kind in my opinion.
My brother (who also is a fantastic photographer) took over from my cousin for the evening session, and so it meant that we have photos from throughout the whole day and evening, capturing memorable moments that continue to make us laugh every time we look at them.
I don’t feel like we had one particular theme, more that we just went with things that we liked. I had been taken by the rustic chic styles that have been popular, but our venue didn’t overly lend itself to this. We wanted a traditional wedding and with the Cathedral as our venue it felt appropriate. The men wore morning suits, the ladies avoided strapless dresses. When it came to colours, I loved the bright pinks with grey or with sage green. I probably would have gone for sage green bridesmaid dresses if it wasn’t for my mum reminding me that I’ve always seen green as an unlucky colour! Grey it was. Everything came together so well and the flowers were the perfect shades of pink against the dove grey. My brothers even got on board and happily wore fuchsia pink ties to match.
Little touches like homemade save the dates/invitations in country brown, the bunting in a Cath Kidston style and favours on the table (sweet pots) with a touch of hessian were enough of the rustic chic to make it perfect for us.
As for tables, we love to travel and so each table was named after a country we had been to. The seating plan was a map of the world with luggage tags to the different countries, and then photos of us in the different places on the tables. We still have the seating plan in our living room as it was framed beautifully.
As we were getting married in Winchester Cathedral, we were informed that the flowers in the venue had to be done by the Cathedral florists – The Blooming Workshop – and as they came highly recommended by a number of people we asked them to do all of our flowers. My husband is South African, and so we wanted a nod to this somewhere in our flowers. They were able to suggest things that would work well with the colours and styles we were looking at, and within minutes had pulled together a small bunch of flowers that was exactly what we had pictured.
Having seen pictures of my dress, they suggested I went for a traditional teardrop style for my bouquet. They informed me that it would also be much easier to hold so that it always looks good in photos! When the flowers arrived on the morning of the wedding I was blown away. They had done an amazing job; the different textures, shapes and colours were beyond perfect.
Later in the day, when it came to the wedding speeches, it became apparent that there had been a miscommunication about bouquets for the mothers – there were none at the venue. Before I knew it, and in time for thanking the mothers, there were 2 huge bouquets. I have no idea how it happened, but there must have been some people running around behind the scenes making it happen – thank you to the ladies at The Blooming Workshop!
As with other things, we asked for recommendations from BOW for a local cake maker. They instantly suggested ‘Final Touch Cakes’ and luckily she was able to make our cake. We decided on a four-tier cake with a different flavour for each tier (fruit, chocolate, lemon and Champagne & strawberry). We had the top tier as the fruit cake that was not eaten, and it is currently in our freezer waiting for an anniversary/christening. Unbeknown to our guests, the two middle tiers were fake tiers and the venue was given the other cakes separately to cut.
The highlight of our cake had to be our personal touch to it. All of our guests knew that we had not long before got a Golden Retriever called Hudson, and he had to feature in some way on our big day. On one tier we had a small Golden Retriever poking out – everyone loved it and it was a definite talking point!
The Beginning of The Big Day
I woke up on my wedding day morning at my parent’s house and the morning was very relaxed as we had prepared everything the day before. I was lucky enough to get ready at a building in the Cathedral Close and so had a stunning location for pre-wedding photos and was also in walking distance of the venue. I remember having my dress on and my dad arriving at the house. He hadn’t seen my dress, and he walked in not realising I was wearing it. The look on his face and that unprepared moment is one I will never forget.
In the Cathedral, I had to fight back the tears. It was such an overwhelming feeling walking up the aisle with my brother past so many friends and family. But I couldn’t have been more relaxed. Not only did I know I was walking towards my best friend and soon-to-be husband, but my dad was the priest marrying us. It meant I felt perfectly at ease when I had to ask them all if anyone had a tissue to stop me from sniffing! The music we had reflected our personal favourites and as my husband’s other love is rugby, we had many of the well known rugby hymns.
Although we love our music, and my husband still makes me home-made CDs of our favourite songs, we have never had one song that was ‘ours’. We love the style of Jack Johnson, and I had always imagined this type of song for our first dance, but I am aware that so many people choose this now. My husband spent time searching for a song that would be perfect and found Donovan Frankenreiter, Dance Like Nobody’s Watching. When we listened to the words it was perfect. We knew that most people wouldn’t know it, but it’s a song that we fell in love with.
And we’ll dance like no one is ever watching,
And we’ll love each other til the early morning,
And we’ll be together, girl, through stormy weather,
And we’ll stay together, ’cause there’s no way in hell I’d ever let you go.
My husband and I were unable to go away on honeymoon immediately after our wedding due to work and not being able to choose our holiday dates, but this worked in our favour. We had so many family and friends come from overseas for our big day and we were able to spend a few days with them, relax, organise ourselves and take everything in. I would advise anyone to wait a few days at least before going away.
Don’t let anything ruin your day! Relax and enjoy every minute, even if things don’t go as you had planned. In fact, enjoy the whole experience, including the months leading up to it. I never felt stressed about our wedding, even on the day. I had a few things happen that could have spoilt it for some brides, but I didn’t even think about them – my mum said I didn’t stop smiling all day. Having had my hair done in town, by the time I got back home ready for make-up, all the curls that had been put in had completely dropped out and I had to have my hair re-done. Then, within 10mins of leaving the Cathedral I had torn the bottom of my dress (my friends pinned it up for me with things I had prepared for the ladies loos at the reception venue!) Later, when we got back to our hotel my husband realised he didn’t have the key to our room, and it wasn’t a 24 hour reception. Along with my bridesmaid and her husband we were able to somehow use a credit card to open the door! These are all the stories now that are memorable, comical talking points.
Keep copies of the wedding speeches. There were so many lovely things said, and so I made sure I got my husband’s, my father’s and the best man’s speeches so I can read them again.
Have something nice for you and your girls to wear while getting ready in the morning. I only sorted something the week before the wedding, but I am so glad that I did as it makes such a difference in the photos.
Highlight of the Day
My highlight of the day has to be marrying my best friend! Cheesy, predictable, but true. The whole day was perfect – we were surrounded by our closest friends and family, had a stunning location, fantastic food and drink, and at the end of it we came away as husband and wife. I lay in bed that night (with my husband snoring beside me) and was not able to sleep because I was still buzzing from such an incredible day. I took that time to replay the whole day in my head, remembering all the little details, so that I wouldn’t forget any bit of it.
Sarah Abbott – Bridal Hair & Make-Up. Sarah was simply fantastic. She did my make-up perfect for me, as I don’t often wear make-up, and fixed my minor hair disaster (that was done by another specialist) on the day without any worry.
The Wykeham Arms – having been our local for years, and many of my family working here at some point, it had to feature in our wedding. We booked most of the rooms for family and our bridal party and it didn’t disappoint. We stayed here for our wedding night, and it was perfect. It was lovely being joined at breakfast by our closest guests.
Chris Noon – Evening Music