Amber and Nick brought a relaxed destination vibe to their seaside celebration
From the very first date, the chemistry was undeniable. “We met up in a pub in Exeter for a drink and ended up staying all night, to the extent that the bar staff forgot we were there and locked us in,” Amber remembers. “I knew he was something special from that night!” Fast forward six years, and Amber and Nick were ready to seal the deal by the coast in Cornwall.
Photography by Rosie Parsons (rosieparsons.com)
“We knew we wanted somewhere by the sea, but we really struggled to find somewhere we loved,” Amber says. “When our photographer, Rosie Parsons, mentioned Polhawn Fort to me, I decided to go and have a look. The minute we got out of the car, I knew we’d found our venue.”
Polhawn Fort, a Napoleonic defence on a cliff overlooking Whitsand Bay, combined the couple’s love of Cornwall and the sea – and meant they could have an outdoor ceremony.
“We had a civil ceremony in a gazebo outside on the cliff top,” Amber says. “One of my favourite memories was seeing Nick’s face as I walked down the aisle. I know it isn’t strictly traditional for the groom to face the bride, but I think that moment when you see each other and know that all the planning and work has been for this moment is what it’s all about. Everything else faded away – I was on cloud nine!”
During the ceremony and the drinks reception that followed, steal-drum band Real Steel played a mix of laid-back tunes including Bob Marley classics. Eighty-four guests watched the couple exchange vows as seagulls called overhead and waves crashed below.
Following the ceremony, the crowd congregated on the lawn in the shadow of the impressive fort to drink Pimm’s and bottles of Corona.
“My gown was by Maggie Sottero, from her destination collection,” Amber says. “We weren’t planning to get married abroad, but I just loved the simplicity and classic style of it.”
Fresh freesia pips were woven through her curly down do, adding to the pretty destination vibe.
“I’m normally a flat shoe kinda girl, but I wanted a pair of wow heels that I’d be able to wear again after the wedding,” says Amber of her beaded Dune peep-toes. “I also bought a pair of silver and black flip-flops, too – I knew I’d never make it down to the beach in my heels!”
“Unusually, I asked my bridesmaids to pick out their own dresses,” says Amber. “My maid of honour, Abi, chose a beautiful full-length fuchsia dress from Coast.”
Meanwhile, their flowergirls selected pink and white dresses from Monsoon. “I wanted them to have dresses they liked and would want to wear again,” Amber says.
Amber and her three maids all carried gorgeous bouquets of lilac freesias and ivory roses by St Mellion Flowers in Saltash.
Nick went classic with a cravat and waistcoat from Debenhams but kept the look cool and contemporary with a grey suit by Jasper Conran.
There was no shortage of romantic backdrops on the grounds of the fort and on the beach below, where photographer Rosie Parsons took the couple for a few minutes of just-the-two-of-us time. “Rosie had been the photographer for a friend of mine, and I just fell in love with her style,” Amber says. “I also love the way the colours really come out in her pictures.”
“The inside of the fort can be a little dark, so I wanted to incorporate candles and fairylights into the décor without distracting from the rustic atmosphere,” Amber says. Hurricane vases from The Range were filled halfway with sand to anchor cream candles.
“We chose the beach as our theme because it’s such a big part of our lives,” Amber explains. “We both love the sea and Nick is a keen surfer, so that combined with the venue made it a natural choice.” In fact, Nick’s surfboard became the perfect table plan!
Tables were named after the couple’s favourite spots abroad and in the UK. “I also bought some fake petals from weddingmall.co.uk to scatter on the tables for a bit of colour,” Amber says.
Pebbles with each guest’s name written on in silver doubled up as place names and keepsakes.
Close friend Francis Lewis created the beachy cake with layers of lemon drizzle and fruit. “She covered them in fondant icing and decorated it with edible shells and pebbles,” says Amber. She even found a surfer-themed cake topper, which had and uncanny resemblance to me and Nick!”
Go behind the scenes with photographer Rosie Parsons at Amber & Nick's wedding in the January/February 2013 issue of You & Your Wedding, on sale now, or download the digital edition.