Singing chef at a romantic country house wedding? Why not! That’s what Joanna and Tristan had at their crystal and ivory themed real wedding at Guyers House Hotel. You’ll love this splendid large celebration in a glittering marquee set in lush gardens.
Bride and Groom… Joanna and Tristan
Wedding date… Saturday 9th April 2011
Length of engagement… Ten months.
We met… We had met as teenagers at schools in Bath 15 years ago, but had never really got to know one another. University, travel plans, ensuing careers and lives out of Bath had meant our paths had not crossed again until we spotted each other across the lively Greek bar, Opa, in our home town of Bath. It turned out that the year before, Tristan had tragically lost his 29 year old wife, Nikki, to breast cancer. Their daughter, Sophia, had been born just a few months before Nikki died.
The proposal… Ten months later Tristan flew me out to New York for my 30th and there at the top of the Rockefeller Centre, overlooking the Empire State Building with amazing New York skyline in front of us, he produced a beautiful diamond ring and proposed.
We knew it was ‘the one’… After our initial meeting Tristan invited me out for our first date. We went to a cosy wine bar and pizzeria and spent the evening laughing and chatting about anything and everything. Neither of us wanted the night to end. We went on to a couple of other bars, shared a passionate kiss and then Tristan walked me home again. It was the start of something very special.
Wedding photographer… Jessica Beveridge at redrabbitphotography.com
My dress was… The beautiful, traditional and romantic venue we had chosen was such an important feature in our projected ‘feel’ for the day that I even based the style of my dress on it. My chosen dress had to be pretty, like Guyers House and its gardens, and a trip to London with my sister, Mel, soon found me the ivory lace and taffeta Ian Stuart ‘Babette’ creation. I knew it was the one as soon as I put it on. I found a stunning set of South Sea pearl and diamond earrings and matching necklace to complement the dress and a pretty hair piece. Both of my grandfathers had passed away in recent years and so to keep them part of the day I had each of their (old) wedding rings stitched into my dress lining with (blue) thread. I ‘borrowed’ a pretty veil with dainty Swarovski crystal from one of my friends and wore a lucky sixpence in my new shoes.
Our bridesmaids were… My best friends Ruth, Lucy, sisters Melanie and Kimberley and niece Arabella. They all looked so beautiful in Grecian style pewter coloured dresses from the Monsoon wedding collection. Sophia was our gorgeous little flower girl, wearing a pretty lace dress.
Our groomsmen were… My handsome groom and groomsmen looked immaculate in their tail coats, pewter waist coats and matching ties and cravats. An inscribed silver fob watch and walking cane wedding gift from me to Tristan matched his slightly eccentric character.
Our wedding ceremony was… We decided to marry on the 9th April as this was the second anniversary of the night we met in Opa. Tristan’s siblings all married at their family Catholic Church, St Johns in Bath, we thought it would be lovely if he could be married there too. We welcomed 160 guests to the church service. The church pews were decorated with ivory rose stems and pretty silver bows, with complementing delicate flower arrangements on pedestals with the aisle lit softly by tea lights. The inclusion of the Bristol Bach Choir made the service all the more overcoming, with some very moving pieces sang throughout. To salute Tristan’s London roots we hired a red Routemaster double decker bus to transport our guests from the church to the reception venue. With plentiful chilled champagne and an on-board music system playing ‘electro swing’ the guests arrived at Guyers House Hotel in full merriment. Tristan and I followed, sipping champagne, driven in a cream vintage Cadillac owned by one of his many brothers.
Our reception venue was… Guyers House Hotel & Restaurant,Wiltshire. As a country girl it was very important that the reception was to be held out of the city and that the venue have a ‘period’, romantic, feel with beautiful gardens. In the event of the British weather being unkind, we also wanted a venue that could offer homely real fires and atmospheric country style warmth, whilst still enabling views onto pretty green landscapes. Guyers House Hotel was recommended to us and as soon as we saw it we knew it was the perfect venue. A quaint, unpretentious, English country manor house with the most stunning gardens, a stable bar and ballroom, Michelin equivalent food standards and service and ample guest rooms. It truly was perfect and being available to hire the house exclusively for the weekend sealed what was an already made decision. The beautiful, traditional and romantic venue we had chosen was such an important feature in our projected ‘feel’ for the day that I even based the style of my dress on it.
Our wedding theme was… As our guest list was fairly large (160) we enlisted Richardson’s Marquee Company to provide an adjoining marquee to the main dining room of Guyers House. We specified a marquee with clear full width windows to ensure guests enjoyed full uninterrupted views of Guyers perfectly manicured lawns, the lake and blossom tree in its full spring glory. This worked perfectly making us feel almost enveloped in the beauty of the house and its magnificent gardens. Cream carpets, silver spindle backed chairs and crystal name place holders made the marquee sparkle against the backdrop whilst origami dove napkins, crystal candelabras which had been adorned with ivory roses and climbing ivy by our (family friend) florists gave a romantic feel to the decor. The favours of drinkable ‘love potions’ (for the men) or life quotes, written on delicate parchment scrolls, (for the ladies) added to this. Having found love in a Greek venue we named our tables after Greek gods- matching our guests’ characters to the relevant table descriptions. Our 3 tiered Belgian chocolate cake was made locally, a masterpiece encrusted with white chocolate cherubims, roses and hearts.
Did anything funny or unusual happen at your wedding? As the Grand National shared our day we watched the horse race on a large projector screen from our seats at the table. Having randomly divided the names of the competing horses amongst our tables beforehand we gave prizes and rosettes to the corresponding winners and runners up. After the main course the entertainment really stepped up as we surprised the entire party with Marco the singing chef! Marco was brilliant fun and wonderfully talented, and had everyone up singing along and dancing in next to no time. He really got the party started.
Our first dance song was… Walking on a Dream by Empire of the Sun. It reminded us of our meeting and early days together (having been played a lot during our dating period) and so was significant to us- as well as being an uplifting start to the evening frivolities! The atmosphere in the ballroom was fantastic (like being in a nightclub), the adjoining stable bar full with merriment also and acting as a place to rest or chat in lively surroundings between bouts of dancing.
Our favourite part of the wedding was… All of it right up until the following morning. Such a magical day was ended on a high with sparklers outdoors before making to our beds upstairs (where we had left little boxes of heart shaped chocolates on pillows for each of our guests in their bedrooms). Although it was so sad to have to end such an amazing day it was really lovely to be able to wake up the next morning to another spectacularly sunny day at Guyers House and enjoy a full English breakfast with our guests back in the marquee looking out over the beautiful gardens once again. After breakfast I finally threw my bouquet and we then said our goodbyes before setting off for our magical honeymoon.
Dress: Ian Stuart ‘Babette’ creation (from London Bride Couture)
Shoes: Aruna Seth ( ‘Farfalla’) shoes.
Jewellery: Hired from ‘Rent Your Rocks’. Hair piece from the Polly Edwards collection.
Bridesmaid Dresses: Monsoon wedding collection.
Flowers: Sally Bailey
Entertainment: DJ Moonie Love Time and Sam Corkin on saxophone (both hired through ‘Love the DJ’) Marco the singing chef (Singers for Hire), Traditional jazz band (Acoustic Jazz)
Photography/Videography: Jessica at Red Rabbit Photography
Cake: Sheona of ‘Cake Matters’
Make-up: Bath Academy of Media Makeup
Hair: Bath Academy of Media Makeup
Venue stylist/planner: Richardsons Marquees
Catering: Guyers House Hotel & Restaurant
Place holders: Bonne Féte
Candelabras: Add Style UK