Vicky and Eliot’s ski-themed winter wedding took place on the 5th of March and was a truly gorgeous day. The two ski enthusiasts’ big day was held at a beautiful family church in a stunning countryside village in West Sussex.
Eliot proposed while we were away skiing with some friends in Austria. He was waiting for a moment when we were away from the group and it came one evening just as we were walking across a snowy field (towards the apres ski bar). He didn’t stay down on one knee in the snow for long! It was great to be able celebrate with our friends drinking champagne in the snow.
The Hair and Make Up
My hair and make-up was done by Kate Goodman. She had done a friend’s bridal make up a couple of years before and I knew that she was able to create the natural look I wanted from my make up. I usually wear my hair down but because of the high neckline on my dress I opted for an up-do to show it off, but it was a soft style and I loved it.
My dress was a Nicola Anne A-line gown with a fitted bodice and French chantilly lace. I found it on the first day of looking and originally would have discounted it were it not for the lovely ladies in the shop (Cloud Nine Bridal in Cheam, Surrey), who suggested that it could be made with three quarter length sleeves, which suited me much better than the original cap sleeves. It was a total eye opener for me that dresses could be altered, and having experienced staff in bridal shops really helps with finding the perfect style.
The dress was slightly over budget and I tried to find a similar one for less, but after three more trips I knew that the Nicola Anne was going to be the one. Eliot very gallantly offered to save money by hiring his suit, rather than buying one, so that we could afford my dress.
I wore my Mum’s cathedral length veil with the dress, which my sister had also worn on her wedding day. It was my “something old”.
My friend Katy very kindly lent me her fur stole which she had worn at her own wedding the year before. It was a god-send on the day because it was freezing, and it looks lovely in the photos, very fitting for a winter wedding.
The ceremony took place in St Mary and St Gabriel’s church in South Harting, West Sussex. It’s the same church that my sister got married in 18 months before and my Mum sings in the choir so it was very familiar to us. The whole community were incredibly generous with their time; from the volunteers who helped us put flowers in the church, to the Church Wardens who oversaw the heating and extra seating needed.
The ceremony was traditional Church of England, but as Eliot’s family are Catholic we also had a Catholic priest present who gave us a blessing as well.
I walked down the aisle to Fleetwood Mac’s Songbird which was a childhood dream, and was sung beautifully by Rachel, one of my Mum’s choir friends from the village.
We walked out of the church to “When I’m Sixty-Four” which was perfectly upbeat and sounded great sung by the choir.
Eliot and I both love skiing so we knew we wanted a hint of apres ski to our wedding. We had to be careful not to let the theme run away with us so it was good that Eliot vetoed some of my more “creative suggestions” (I had to agree that Cheese Fondue probably isn’t the best wedding breakfast suggestion and I’m glad we didn’t have to sweep up loads of fake snow the morning after!)
We focused on the little touches to make our theme work; the flower arrangements in an old pair of ski boots, iste signs on the tables, a piste map for the table plan, and the 80’s ski gear in the photo booth all made the theme come to life.
The Venue Decor and Flowers
The flowers were done by a family friend, Livy, who again was brilliant at helping me choose which colours and flowers would work with our theme and would also be in season. I opted for classic cream roses in my bouquet and for the buttonholes, and pink for the bridesmaids.
Luckily I had an old pair of my ski boots so Livy was able to put floral arrangements in them and we stood them on two plinths at the venue.
For the table centres we had rustic flowers in jam jars, which were complemented by the table signs that were made to look like piste markers. This was a real labour of love by our friend Nick who used a 3D printer to make all 15 numbers. It took him hours but they looked so professional when they were done and the effect on the tables was perfect.
The catering at Farbridge was absolutely amazing and we were so lucky in having Simon as the chef. He was a great at helping us choose the menu; we went for an alpine-esque shared starter of cured meats and baked camembert, followed by pulled pork with parmentier potatoes and finished off with our favourite pudding: cheesecake! Simon makes all his own chutneys and sauces and the whole menu was absolutely delicious, I wish I could go back and eat it all again.
Our cake was made by my sister and she did a really great job at making a wedding cake look like a ski slope, complete with skiing figures and fir trees. I’d found a picture of a similar one on Pinterest and without any trouble she was able to recreate it for us (and I think hers was even better, but maybe I am biased).
Instead of traditional wedding favours we decided that every table would have a bottle of (our favourite chairlift tipple) sloe or blackberry gin to share. Bridesmaid-Helen’s Mum made it all for us! We labelled the bottles “blackberry beGINings” and “Sloe-ly Does It”. As it happens, a lot of the leftover gin was used in the shot ski later in the evening!
Our photographer was Neil Walker who was nothing but brilliant through the whole event. It started about a month before when we had a Skype call with him to run through the details of the day and he gave us the benefit of his experience over some of our timings.
On the day itself Neil totally let us have the day we wanted and was very patient with us – trying to organise friends and family is a bit like herding cats! The shots he got are very natural and even a spot of rain became an asset in the pictures.
My sister was my maid of honour and she was brilliant throughout the whole thing. It helped that she had got married only 18 months before, but as she had a baby 9 months before our big day, it was amazing that she found time to do so much, from organising an amazing hen do to making our wedding cake.
My other bridesmaids were Victoria, Pip, Helen and Phoebe.
Victoria is my oldest friend – we’ve been friends since we were six years old. Pip is my friend from uni and has seen me through ups and downs ever since. I met Helen when I did my ski season 14 years ago and her adorable daughter Phoebe (5) is my Goddaughter so I knew I had to have them both.
Eliot chose his brother Joe as best man. Joe is in the RAF so was able to wear his uniform on the day – complete with sword!
We also had Simon, Alex, Ed and Chris who are friends from school, university and ski seasons.
What Made it Unique & Special?
I think it was our apres ski theme that made the day so unique and special to us. We’re both keen skiiers and we’re so lucky to have found each other and have this shared passion for the slopes, especially as we met randomly one night in a London pub. As it was a cold day in early March the theme complimented the weather, although lucky we didn’t have snow on the day itself.
We have been to a fair few weddings ourselves and they have always been a great day to be part of, so from the start we wanted to make sure the day was as much fun for our guests as it would be for us. We knew that the food and drinks would be an important part but also that the band, photo booth, and bar would all add to the atmosphere. Since the wedding so many of friends have commented on the quality of the food and the service they got from the team at Farbridge, as well as how much fun the party was thanks to Decade, the band who really got everyone up dancing.
The apres ski fancy dress photo booth was a real hit and we now have a great collection of pictures of all our family and friends in various crazy 80s ski outfits to decorate our walls. I especially love the picture of me, my sister and my Mum all in ear muffs!
Eliot gave me a present to open the morning of the wedding and it was a “happy I do day” box filled with a soppy card and different presents that he thought I’d like: a funny book about marriage, a wooden ornament that said Mr and Mrs Fallon, a game, some sweets (because the diet was over!) and a watch so I wasn’t late (my time keeping is not one of my strongest points…). The fact that so much thought had gone into it, and it was a mix of funny and touching, made it so special.
The Best Parts
The whole day was so much fun from start to finish and I couldn’t have asked for a better day. I enjoyed every second; from getting ready at home with a house full of bridesmaids, seeing little Phoebe look so excited in her dress, and being able to wear mine for real after months of waiting (and dieting!).
I’d been a little worried that I would cry when I walked down the aisle but on the day I felt very calm about it all. I just couldn’t wait to see Eliot at the end of the aisle and say our vows.
The food and the band were really really good and we’ve had so many compliments since the day telling us how much everyone enjoyed the food. The party at the end was brilliant and I have a lot of happy memories of funny moments on the dancefloor.
One of the more unexpected moments of the day was seeing my Mum and Mother-in-Law getting involved with the shot ski in the bar!
Advice For Brides-to-be
Make the most of offers to help! At first I was worried that I’d be imposing on people but actually everyone loves to be part of the big day and have a job or role. Also do everything you can in advance. There will be things that crop up the day before that need doing, so if you plan to have spare time you’ll be far more relaxed the night before.
All images courtesy of Neil Walker Photography.
Wedding Gift List Provider: John Lewis | Wedding Venue Stylist/ Planner: Pippa at the team at Farbridge | Ceremony Venue: St Mary and St Gabriel’s Parish Church | Reception Venue: Farbridge Barns | Wedding Transport: Chris’s Wedding Cars | Wedding Stationery: Soko Studio | Wedding Make-up & Hair: Kate Goodman | Wedding Cake and Catering: Bride’s Sister | Photographer: Neil Walker Photography | Entertainment: Decade |Flowers and Bouquets: Olivia Frimpong | Groomsmen’s Attire: Moss Bros | Bridesmaids’ Attire: BHS | Groom’s attire: Moss Bros | Wedding Shoes: Rainbow Club at John Lewis | Bridal Dress: Nicola Anne from Cloud Nine Bridal