Emily and George’s intimate winter wedding with literature inspired DIY decor and festive seasonal flowers
Samantha / 24 December 2014
Intimate winter wedding with literature inspired decorations
Our last real wedding for 2014, beautifully put together by Samantha…
There is something so magical about this time of year isn’t there? I just love Christmas time and all the festivities that come with it, there is an air of excitement and everything seems to have a glow about it!
It was for just this reason that Emily and George the beautiful couple from today’s real wedding chose to have a winter wedding on the 28th December: “We love the winter, and we really wanted to play to its strengths for our wedding. With long, dark evenings and intimate, cosy family gatherings, there was a lot to work with.”
We couldn’t agree more, their wedding is so romantic and elegant, with some wonderful inspiration for those couples planning a winter wedding without wanting a bit of tinsel in sight!
There’s a gorgeous bouquet featuring succulents and rosemary sprigs by Jay Archer Floral Designs from our directory, fabulous wedding shoes, and literature inspired DIY decor. Don’t take my word for it though, read on and enjoy a little light relief from all that last minute Christmas wrapping…
Emily’s search for her dress is testament to a common tale when wedding dress shopping that you end up liking something that isn’t really what you think is your style. So just remember, if in doubt try it on, what have you got to lose?
“I found my lovely White Rose dress in Yours Truly in my hometown of Maidstone, Kent. It was almost the end of the day and I was feeling a bit deflated at not finding anything I liked up until then. I thought the dress was pretty on the hanger, but not really what I set out to look for. I tried it on anyway, and when I stepped out of the changing room, my mum and bridesmaid both gasped – I knew this was the one!
I felt comfortable and it was very flattering, I also loved the lace, the simplicity of the shape and the beautiful scalloped edging to the modest train.”
“I never intended on wearing a veil, but the lady in the shop convinced me to try one on, and I was taken instantly. I felt like a real bride, a style which I never thought would appeal!”
“I wasn’t keen on any of the ivory shoes I had seen in shops, so set out to look for something different and little more striking. I chose black to tie in with our bridesmaids, and to keep it simple. The amazing Walkinonair helped me to source the perfect shoe and added a beautiful lace appliqué to them to make them more ‘bridal’.”
“My necklace was my ‘something borrowed’ from my mother-in-law.”
Emily and George found their fantastic florist, Jay Archer Floral Design through our very own directory. The flowers are just gorgeous and I love how they chose blooms that nod to the winter theme without being too traditionally ‘Christmassy’.
“We loved Jay and felt that she was the only person we had spoken to who really understood the style we were going for, with very few ‘flowers’ and lots of seasonal greenery.”
“My bouquet contained quirky touches; succulents and rosemary sprigs, with the added elegance of anemones.”
“After speaking with her and looking at some examples of her work, we felt she has a great creative edge that made her stand out to us.”
“Jay worked all of this in effortlessly, and there was also the added bonus of keeping the costs down by avoiding too many blooms which would have had to have been imported.”
The bridesmaids got to chose dresses that suited their own style:
“We weren’t really fans of traditional wedding wear, which can sometimes feel a little like a uniform, so my bridesmaids’ dresses were a little unconventional as well. They each wore black dresses but in different styles. We brought the theme together with matching shoes and by personalising the dresses with a green ribbon trim.\”
George chose to wear an outfit that was not your conventional grooms attire:
“George has never been a fan of traditional grooms-wear so chose a silver-grey 3-piece slim-fitting suit with black trim from Red Herring.”
“He wore black brogues and a black tie with a silver tie-pin that I had etched with a personal message for his birthday earlier in the month. Although black-tie is unconventional, it tied in well with the bridesmaids’ dresses.
His best man was his brother Edmund, who also wore a grey suit but with a green tie in the same colour as the ribbons on the bridesmaids’ dresses.”
Morning of the wedding
We get to hear (as nice treat) from both Emily and George about how they felt the morning of the wedding:
Emily: “I stayed at the hotel the night before the wedding with my bridesmaids, and when I woke up I admit that I was feeling a little stressed. There seemed to be so much to do before the ceremony, and that’s not counting getting ready myself!
As I was the one at the venue, I wanted to make sure everything in place, but when the hotel’s event organiser and Jay the florist arrived I was told me not to worry and they took everything off my hands. After this, I was able to relax, enjoy some Bucks Fizz and be pampered by the lovely Rosie Lee, who did a brilliant and very professional job of our hair and make-up.”
George: “I didn’t sleep much the night before. I was staying at our flat with my brother Edmund, who was my best man. With everything that needed to be done the next day going through my head, I just couldn’t keep my eyes shut. I felt like a child waiting for Christmas morning!”
George: “Our morning was somewhat quieter than Emily’s, we made a cooked breakfast and watched TV for a while. I wanted to go through my speech once more with Edmund but he advised against it, saying that I didn’t want it to sound too rehearsed. I was itching to get going, and felt much more relaxed once we were on our way.”
Emily and George chose their wedding venue to compliment their wedding theme:
“At the time we were living in Southampton and came to know Winchester very well as one of our favourite places to visit and the Hotel Du Vin really grabbed us when we first saw it. We viewed a few barn-type places but as we were thinking of something for the winter, none of them really captured our imagination.
It seemed effortlessly to get that cosy-vibe, with the wood-panelled walls, open fires, narrow corridors, and creaky floors. It felt grand yet small enough to remain comfortable and intimate. When we had our first look around we both loved it, and the wedding organiser, Alex, was so helpful and nice we knew it was the right choice.”
“Our venue was great as all the rooms were filled with lovely subtle and warm colours that looked fantastic in the dim light in the evening. We had a ceremony of only 30 guests, to keep it personal and intimate.”
“The ceremony was held in the same function room at the hotel as our reception. It was such a lovely room it didn’t need too much in the way of decoration. There were some beautiful Christmas trees, including one in the ceremony room. We did think about whether or not we wanted to avoid this overlap with Christmas, but decided that we really didn’t mind, it was the time of year and there didn’t seem to be much sense in trying to hide that.”
“Jay Archer hung bunches of mistletoe from the light fittings and created a beautiful hurricane lamp arrangement for the register table. Perhaps the most striking feature in the room was the two bronze statues which held trays full of large pillar candles.”
“There was confetti lining the aisle, which we made ourselves by cutting little hearts out of yellowed sheets of French classical music. Out of all the crafting jobs, this one took the most time!”
“Just like the rest of our wedding, we wanted our ceremony to be very intimate and personal to us. We wrote our own vows and chose readings that meant something to us.
My father-in-law read two poems: I carry your heart with me (I carry it) by E. E. Cummings, and The First Day by Christina Rosetti. George’s elder sister read an extract from a letter written by Charles Darwin to his soon to be wife.”
“I walked up the aisle to the very traditional Canon in D Major, but afterwards we walked back down the aisle to Bruno Mars ‘Marry You’. It was great to leave on something so energetic as that was just how we were feeling.”
When Emily saw her husband-to-be waiting for her at the end of the aisle her emotions took over:
“Naturally it was a really emotional day and we both felt overjoyed at seeing each other. We were both in tears before I had finished walking down the aisle! We’d been waiting for the day for so long and it almost felt unreal that it was finally happening, like a dream.”
Emily and George chose to use use colours that complemented the winter theme and work with the hotels own decor:
“We chose to stick to seasonal colours, with nothing too bright, lots of deep greens; mistletoe, succulents, etc. It kept everything feeling very warm. Of course, we also benefited from the hotel still having its Christmas decorations up.”
“We used Pinterest and read lots of wedding blogs (particularly The Natural Wedding Company!) to get ideas.”
As a way to help with their wedding budget Emily and George went to task on making lots of handmade items:
“Our decision to include a lot of homemade details was born partly from a desire to save money to be put into other aspects of the wedding, but also because we both love crafting and felt like it’d be a great way to spend the year running up to the wedding. It was a great way of making everything feel very personal to us, with the added bonus of keeping the costs down!”
“One of the major parts of the wedding that we chose to make ourselves was the cakes. We made a beetroot red velvet, a spiced chai cake, and a hot toddy fruit cake all iced with messy royal icing. We originally intended to make them into a tiered cake but after a disastrous trial run, this idea was swiftly abandoned!”
“We arranged the cakes on three slices of tree-trunk which we had cut to order by a local tree surgeon who said he’d do it for a bottle of wine. George used a pyrography pen to etch sweet drawings on to the wood. We even made our own little cake-toppers by cutting little figures out of card and sticking them to cocktail sticks!”
“As we’re both very into literature, we wanted our centrepieces to reflect this. We spent the year gathering a collection of some lovely old, hardback books, which we bound with string. Jay Archer then worked with these to create the centrepieces.”
“The books were great because we were able to also use pages from them to make the confetti, the bunting, and the table plan.”
“Running along the literature theme we placed small frames around the venue each with a famous book quote in.”
“We designed and made our own save the date cards, invitations and place cards using the typewriter and yellowed parchment paper. I also had a stamp made of one of my drawings which we used on each.”
“George found a 1950s portable typewriter that we had reconditioned to leave out as our guestbook.” This is a such great idea for a guest book table and would be quite simple to replicate.
For their table arrangements they asked their florist Jay Archer Floral Design to incorporate lots of seasonal foliage and herbs:
“We felt that having too many traditional floral arrangements would look unseasonal and unnatural. We were really inspired by the winter foliage and greenery from that time of year; mistletoe bunches hung from the light fittings, and long tendrils of ivy wrapped around the table centrepieces.”
“Jay was fantastic at incorporating herbs and seed heads into the arrangements which not only looked fantastic, but smelled wonderful too!”
The festivities carried onto the reception, with one of my favourites winter tipples, mulled wine:
“After the ceremony we had the chance to mingle with our guests, and everyone was served hot drinks (Winter Pimms and mulled wine) and we had plenty of photographs taken by the fantastic and very patient Colin and Kate from Entity Photographic.”
“The Hotel Du Vin really is excellent for food. We chose a simple and seasonal menu of beetroot tart with aubergine caviar to start, roast belly of pork for the main and apple tarte tatin with cinnamon ice cream for dessert. The wine, as was to be expected from the venue, was excellent!”
Such a festive and cosy looking space with its flickering candles and Christmas trees.
“We chose Entity Photographic as our photographers. They were really great on the day. They worked as a team to get some fantastic candid shots of the day, and it was like having two photographers for the price of one!”
“They moved around so naturally that for most of it, you wouldn’t have known they were there but we were really pleased with all of our photos at the end.”
Emily offers some advice for couples in the planning process:
“My advice to brides-to-be would be to make sure that you have your ceremony how you want it, and not to worry too much about what other people may expect you to do. In essence it’s a celebration of your love for one another, don’t forget that.”
Fantastic advice and a sentiment to really remember as aside from all the decor, details and planning that can take over your time and worries, it really is important to take a step back and remember it is all about you as a couple and your love!
On that note we want to thank Emily and George for sharing their wonderful winter wedding with us and to send our congratulations for not only their up coming wedding anniversary but also a happy first birthday to their lovely newest member to their family, daughter May, who arrived almost a year after there wedding! Have a wonderful time celebrating what must be such a special time for you all now!
And to extend those wishes to all you lovely readers! Have a fantastic Christmas, and see you all in the new year!
Categories: Real Weddings
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