Our classic country wedding
In the beginning
The second she spotted a brochure for newly-renovated Stancliffe Hall Gemma knew her plans for a wedding in the Middle East, where the couple live, were out of the window. “I was in England visiting the boutique where I bought my dress, so I called for a viewing straight away,” she explains. “I just knew Joel would love Stancliffe as much as me.” And he did, naturally, so they swapped Dubai for Derbyshire the following June for an elegant English celebration full of twinkling pearls, blowsy roses and clouds of gypsophila.<br /><br /><em>Photography: <a href="http://jadealanablog.co.uk/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Jade Alana</a></em>
Gemma had a change of heart with her dress, too. “I knew I didn’t want strapless and puffball,” she laughs, “yet I ended up having both with an <a href="http://www.artcouturebridal.co.uk/collection.asp" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Art Couture</a> design that had a silk skirt and tulle overlay embellished with lace and pearl detail.” <br />Joel chose a navy suit and a dinner shirt with a bow tie from <a href="http://www.marksandspencer.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Marks & Spencer</a>.
Gemma's bouquet of cream peonies and peach avalanche roses was created by <a href="http://www.tinekefloraldesigns.co.uk/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Tineke Floral Designs.</a>
"My bridesmaids' dresses were an amazing find from <a href="http://shop.mango.com/preHome.faces;jsessionid=18525941877DFFF8A268789FA2D3FB07" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Mango</a>," says Gemma.
A flat wrought-iron birdcage sourced in Dubai doubled as a table plan, hung with small pearl photo frames containing guests’ names.
Floral arrangements at the wedding included gypsophila, garden roses, spray roses, scented stocks and hydrangea. "I wanted flowers that were quite blowsy and floaty but I also chose them for the colours as I didn't want any bright shades," explains Gemma.
"We bought 10 birdcages and sprayed them an antique cream, then filled them with ivory, peach and pale green silk flowers. Then, finally, we draped the outside with long strands of pearls and crystals which we strung together ourselves – it took us months!"
The couple embraced a romantic-with-a- rustic-twist vibe (“we wanted a day full of decorations, nothing sparse!”) and played with a subtle palette of peach, beige and cream from the bouquets to the bridesmaids. Even the tower of cupcakes featured iced flower details, with peach avalanche roses and gypsophila dotted between the laser-cut paper cases.
Every corner of the venue got the pretty vintage touch. “If you’re good at crafts, I’d say have a go at some customised touches yourself. And if you’re not, there are lots of online retailers that sell amazing little details. Everything handmade for our celebration was a money-saving exercise, too, and the final result was everything we’d envisaged. Our guests said they’d never seen such a pretty venue!”
Each female guest received a freshwater pearl bracelet presented in a small wooden box covered in pearlised paper.
Each guest was asked to sign their name on a heart which the couple put in a frame and hung on their wall at home.
The tiny touches
"We left out small packets of patterned tissues for the ladies during the ceremony with labels saying 'For your tears of happiness'," says Gemma, "although the men needed them too!"
"We had photos of my parents on their wedding day, and of my grandparents, which we put on the altar," says Gemma. "It was lovely for my dad to see his parents, who have now passed away. In fact one guest summed up the day to us by saying 'there was so much emotion and warmth at this wedding'."<br /><br /><em>Photography: <a href="http://jadealanablog.co.uk/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Jade Alana</a></em>
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