Whether you're an eco-chic bride or you just love the idea of an enchanted garden, then this is the wedding theme for you! Beautiful and serene, this theme is really…
Written by Paula Jones Last updated: July 16, 2007
We met 6 and 1/2 years ago in London, where we both live. We were introduced by my cousin, who went to university with Nick.
I’m 26 and Nick is 30.
Nick owns a flat in Les Deux Alps, a ski resort in France. For our 5th anniversary, which is in December, he organised a weekend trip there. On the Saturday morning he made us get up really early to catch the first lift up to the top of the mountain. When we arrived he got down on one knee in the snow, produced a gorgeous diamond ring and proposed. There was no one else around and we were surrounded by stunning snow capped mountains – it was so perfect. Aferwards we skied down to the nearest restaurant to celebrate with some champagne but it was so early they weren’t serving any, so we had to toast our engagement with a hot chocolate instead.
We both had them in London. My sister (also one of my bridesmaids) organised mine and it was a complete surprise! As our family have lived all over the world, she wanted an international theme for the day so she came up with a “Miss World” pagent. All the girls had to come dressed in the national dress of the country they were representing and my mum worked through the night sewing “Miss Country” sashes for everyone. My sister had sorted out my costume – I was Miss Mexico and I wore a margerita costume! We then spent the day going on an “Around the World” tour in London starting with a Belgium chocolate making class then lunch at a Mexican restaurant followed by drinks on a ‘Malaysian beach’ (which my sister had created in my conservatory at home by covering the floor in sand bought from B&Q and decorating the room with palm trees, inflatible monkeys and parrots, buckets and spades and she even re-covered all the furniture in floral material for a real tropical look). We then changed into our party dresses and had dinner in a private room at a French restaurant (L’Esgargot) followed by karaoke at Japanese Little Voice in Soho. To top it all off my sister had also got in touch with some of my ex-boyfriends (who I haven’t seen since I was a teenager) and they had all sent in hilarious video clips with good luck messages which we watched after dinner. Some of them were pure genius and they had all the girls in stitches. It was truly the most incredible day!
I really enjoyed using the chat room to run ideas past other brides and compare costs. I loved the real life wedding and honeymoon pages – I loved looking at all the beautiful brides and it is where I got so much of the inspiration for my wedding from.
I often visited the store on Tottenham Court Road. It was so helpful to see all the table settings – very useful if you’re trying to decide on a colour scheme. I also bought 6 white umbrellas for the bridal party but in the end we didn’t need them (thank goodness!)
My dress was made from raw silk and was designed by Paloma Blanca. I found it in Morgan Davies in Islington which is a fantastic bridal shop. The bodice of the dress was ruched and featured two small diamante brooches at the base of each strap as well as fabric buttons all the way down the back to the end of the train. I also wore a full length veil edged in chantilly lace. My pearl and diamond earrings were a wedding gift from Nick. I also wore a white gold and diamond bracelet belonging to my mother that was my something borrowed. In my hair I wore a gold and blue brooch that belonged to my maternal grandmother and was my something blue. My something old was my paternal grandmother’s gold wedding ring which I wore on my right hand. The most exciting thing about my outfit were my shoes. They were a bespoke design from Jimmy Choo Couture and I was involved in designing the shoes and in every decision from the colour and texture of the fabric to the height of the heel. When I saw the finished shoes for the first time, they were so perfect I cried. The best thing is, unlike my dress, I can wear them again and again!
The bridesmaids were my sister and my best friend from school in Malaysia. They wore floor length, chiffon dresses in deep purple designed by Jim Helm which they found in The Tailor’s Cat in Cambridge. These set the colour scheme for the day. One dress was in a halter-neck style and the other, a deep v-neck. They wore different styles of silver diamante shoes, a white pashmina and a fresh orchid in their hair.
The groom’s party wore their own morning suits with grey waistcoats. The groom, his two best men, four ushers, his father and my father all wore matching green ties with purple spots (to coordinate with the bridesmaids) which Nick had chosen and had specially made by Ede and Ravenscroft.
Religious – Church of England.
At Little Hadham Church, in Hertfordshire which is where Nick grew up. We decided to have the wedding where his family live as my family live in Malaysia and we felt we couldn’t ask our guests to travel all the way over there for our wedding. In the end it workied out brilliantly as Nick’s mum was already involved with the church and she took over organising the church flowers, organist, bell ringers etc. which meant she was able get really involved too.
At Down Hall, a stately home which is now a small hotel about a 20 minute drive from the church. It is a stunning house and had just enough rooms for all 130 guests to stay, so we took the whole place over. It was perfect as it meant after the reception all our guests headed straight for the residents bar which stayed open until the last guests went to bed (my parents!) at 6am. I was so glad everyone stayed as they were there the next morning to wave me and Nick off (which my naughty bridesmaids had covered with shaving foam and tied tin cans to).
Nick and I traveled in a Rolls Royce Phantom V (which must be the biggest car I have ever seen!) and the bridesmaids had a Daimler Limousine – both in black and ivory.
We had 130 guests and they all came for the whole day.
I spent the majority of my childhood (from 7 to 18) living in Malaysia and I wanted to incorporate some Malaysian touches into the day. I also had a colour scheme, which was based on the colour of the bridesmaids dresses, which were a deep purple.
I tried to incorporate both the colour scheme and Malaysian theme into the whole day. I bought some baskets in Malaysia which we used to carry halved coconut shells filled with dried bougainvillea petals (both of which my parents had cut down/picked from their garden in Malaysia) which we gave out to guests as confetti. My mum also made some bags for the bridesmaids from some batik material (a special kind of Malaysian material patterned using wax) in deep purple and pink – it perfectly complimented their dresses. For the table plan I used a Map of Malaysia and named all of the tables after states of Malaysia (luckily we had just the right number). The table identifiers I made using black and white postcards showing scenes of Malaysia. These were pasted onto a purple card. We had the chairs covered in white and tied with a purple sash. I made individual menus with each guest’s name on which also doubled as name cards. These were printed on white card with a border of deep purple. To decorate the venue’s garden I ordered some white battery powered Chinese lanterns from America which were hung from garden stakes and dotted around the place. My dad also cut down some bamboo from his garden in Malaysia and used it to make candles, which we decorated the garden tables with. My dad even gave a traditional “Yam Sing” toast which is always made at weddings in Malaysia and can get quite loud! Our guests loved it!
The ladies were given sandlewood fans (which I bought in Malaysia) and the men received a green chilli.
Again I tried to incorporate the Malaysian theme and colour scheme into the flowers. My bouquet and the bridesmaids bouquets were made using Phalaenopsis orchids (white with purple centers) and I asked the florist to incorporate some green chillies into the bouquets for a bit of an exotic feel. She did a stunning job. The button holes were a single orchid with a couple of chillies. The church and reception flowers were all seasonal and in shade of purple accented with white. Our florist was a local lady, Ros Saggers and I couldn’t recommend her more highly.
The venue handled the catering. We went for food we knew everyone would enjoy. During the champagne reception we served canapes (including asparagus wrapped in parma ham, king prawn in filo pastry, cheese tarts). For the meal we served a starter of warm salmon and creamed leek tart with rocket salad (which was all I could manage to eat and was delicious), main course was roast beef with fois gras and dessert was lemon tart. We then served cheese and biscuits and coffee and petit fours. I wanted to be sure there was plenty of food as whenever I have been a guest at a wedding in the past I have always been hungry (probably because you drink so much!).
Nick’s family have a wedding tradition of baking “a family cake”. In other words the bride and groom’s families get together and bake the wedding cake, so Nick’s mum did the bottom tier, my mum did the middle tier and Nick’s granny made the top tier. We had it iced by a professional and the florist decorated it beautifully with orchids and chillies. I also got hold of black and white photographs of both our parents’ wedding and both our maternal and paternal grandparents’ weddings and displayed these in photoframes on the cake table, surrounding the cake. It went down so well and all our guests absolutely loved that it helped make the day so personal!
We had a trumpeter at the church and all the guests commented on how grand an entrance we made with him playing. At the champagne reception we had a string quartet and at the reception we had a DJ from The Wedding Music Company and nearly all our guests commented that he was the best DJ they had ever heard. I must say he did do a great job and came highly recommened to us from some friends.
Our list was with Wrapit – the choice they offer is fantastic!
Our first night was spent at Down Hall (although we didn’t go to bed until 3.30am) and Nick had organised a surprise three week honeymoon to Brazil and Argentina. I didn’t find out until we got to the airport – he even got my sister to pack for me. It was such a brilliant surprise – i have always wanted to go to Argentina and it exceeded my expectations.
Making the Declarations in church. Nick was a bit nervous and twice said “I will” before he was supposed to. It had the congregation in stitches and put everyone at ease, including me. Plus it was good to know he was so keen to marry me!
It was forecast to rain right up until the day before the wedding and I was so worried but on the day it was brilliant sunshine and a perfect 22 degrees. Just goes to show you shouldn’t believe those weather forecasts. Think of all that time I wasted be worried!
There wasn’t enough room on the top table for my new sister-in-law so we sat her at another table (with a fun group, most of whom she knew well, I might add). Unfortunately her table was further away from us than I had realised and my mother-in-law will now not stop going on about how dreadful it was that she was so far away and on such a noisy table! To be fair to my sister-in-law she did not mention it and enjoyed herself very much I think, but I wish I’d thought more about the table plan as well as the layout of the tables in the ballroom. It was all done at the last minute and was a bit rushed.