To celebrate the Downton Abbey Christmas special, here’s some aisle inspiration from Sarah & Steve who married at Highclere Castle
For a Brit husband and a Canuck wife – the inscription on Sarah and Steve’s ring bag sweetly summed up the essence of their day, which celebrated their two cultures coming together. For the ceremony, Sarah popped a sixpence in her shoe, but had her maids walk up the aisle with the groomsmen, Canadian-style.
Photography by Pippa Mackenzie (pippamackenzie.com)
“We gave men cufflinks with a Union Jack on one side and a Canadian flag on the other, and because we had guests travelling from all over, we made bags filled with Marmite, tea, biscuits, tourist pamphlets and maps of London – people loved them!” explains Sarah. “I wanted our family and friends to recognise Steve and me in all the details of our day.”
The couple chose Victorian estate turned Downton Abbey film set Highclere Castle as their venue. “We exchanged vows in the saloon and hosted our wedding breakfast in the library," says Sarah. “It really had the wow factor we wanted.”
Sarah styled her Enzoani dress with blue shoes from Badgely Mischka and glitzy jewellery. “I wore a beautiful cathedral-length veil with a lace trim for the ceremony and then replaced it with a beaded headband for dinner and dancing,” she says.
The flowergirls wore matching tulle frocks from Olivia Kate Couture with pearl bracelets, while the adult maids wore matchy-matchy aubergine frocks from Enzoani.
Deep purple and red touches added a bold sense of fun to the super-glam setting. Steve’s groomsmen co-ordinated their socks for fab snapshots.
As a nod to British culture, a traditional red post box served as a card box on the day.
Bright purple and red flip-flops were piled into a bucket for guests with tired feet.
Sarah and Steve named the tables after places they’d visited. “We framed a portion of the world map for each one, pinned with a compass to show the location and explained why it was important to us,” says Sarah.
Sarah decorated her M&S cake with pretty pink flowers in keeping with the theme.
For another personal touch, Steve’s sister gave a reading from their favourite book, The Alchemist.
“For decoration, we had lots of flowers from Hybrid Flowers – ruby dendrobium orchids, black dahlia, calla lilies, chocolate cosmos and red spray roses among others – and we placed candles everywhere to up the romance.”
“Our friend, Luke Trickett, designed all of our stationery, from Save The Dates and invites to menus and orders of service,” says Sarah. “Everything was personalised with our monogram and the British lion and Canadian maple leaf. We loved the sign he made which read: As two families are becoming one, we ask that you pick a seat, not a side.”
Instead of throwing the bouquet, Sarah followed Canadian custom and arranged a marriage celebration dance. “We invited all the married couples onto the dancefloor,” she explains. “One by one, they were asked to leave if they had been married less than a year, five years, 15 years, and so on. The couple left at the end was Steve’s aunt and uncle who have been married for 41 years, so I gave them my bouquet to share the celebration.”