A surprise blizzard gave Toni and Adam a white wedding to remember
For a lover of New York City like Toni, no place on earth could be more romantic for a marriage proposal. So it was the perfect surprise when Adam popped the question under the Statue of Liberty while the couple were on a boat cruise around Manhattan. “It’s my favourite city in the world, and it was our first trip there together,” Toni recalls. “I didn’t have a clue a proposal was coming!”
Photography by Binky Nixon, binkynixon.com
“I had always wanted a winter wedding and had never been to one,” says Toni of their date, 18 December. “Christmas is my favourite time of year, and I knew I wanted my day to feel like something out of the classic film White Christmas. Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire proved the ideal spot to bring that vision to life. “I had already seen some pictures on the internet and had been blown away by its beauty,” Toni says. “When we viewed the venue for the first time I welled up.”
“I work in fashion so I felt under pressure to have an amazing dress, but it also had to fit with the winter-wonderland theme,” Toni says. “The fit of my Maggie Sottero gown was amazing and it had a real regal feel about it.” She also wore a glass tiara from House of Fraser that gave off an elegant icicle vibe.
Toni teamed her glamorous gown with a pair of sparkly Cinderella slippers by Jimmy Choo.
Conscious not to overpower the dress, the bride carried ivory roses accented with diamanté from Sonning Flowers.
Toni arranged to get ready at the Christmas-card-perfect Bear Hotel, a 13th century coaching inn. “A small dusting of snow started to fall around 9.30am,” Toni recalls, “and the children were so excited. It was like a scene from Charles Dickens.”
Unfortunately, those picturesque flakes continued to fall … and fall … and soon the bride and groom were inundated with calls and texts from guests who were stuck on motorways or at home. “My calm, perfect morning suddenly turned into panic and fear when our wedding planner called to say she couldn’t get out of her driveway,” Toni admits. “Little did we know that we were about the experience the worst cold and snowfall recorded in the UK for hundreds of years.” Panic aside, the blankets of white did create some incredible photo opps, like this one of Adam and his groomsmen.
Adam wore a grey suit from Impeccable in Hatch End.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were a collaborative creation by Toni herself and a designer from the clothing manufacturer Alison Hayes. “We even designed the trim ourselves and used spare trims to make hairbands for the flower girls,” says Toni. They kept warm with faux-fur gilets.
When word came at 5pm that the registrar was still stuck in the snow – with just one hour left in the day to legally perform the ceremony – both bride and groom panicked. “There I was, dressed like a princess, being told we couldn’t get married,” Toni remembers. “My parents and I decided that we’d have to have a pretend ceremony and a big party, but I was in tears.” In the end, her father-in-law came to the rescue and drove through the snowy countryside and past a police barricade to pick up the registrar. “When my dad and I finally walked down the aisle, everyone in the room cheered and clapped. It was a lovely moment, like a movie.”
With the ceremony successfully completed, guests entered the Orangery for a fabulous wedding breakfast. “I wanted it to look like Narnia in the snow,” says Toni. “We are both perfectionists and love grand things so the venue, the planning and the details were very us and very romantic.” The couple placed a Christmas tree in every room along with scented candles and fir cones to infuse the venue with the scent of cinnamon and spiced apples. “Each table had a candelabra and a centrepiece made from glittery twigs, silver pears, baubles, white roses and eucalyptus leaves.”
“We wanted the look to be classy and contemporary so chose silver with touches of gold and ivory,” Toni explains. Classic Christmas crackers were an on-theme accent for guests’ places.
For their place cards, Toni and Adam chose glass Christmas baubles decorated with snowflakes – a fitting reflection of the weather outside. “The room looked beautiful,” she says. “Everything was glistening in the candlelight, and it was stunning.”
The happy couple cut their delicious ivory tower (made by Cakes For All in Nottingham, email@example.com) then hit the dancefloor to old-school classics. “We stayed at the venue till midnight then carried on at the bar at the Bear Hotel,” Toni says. “As we lost so much of our day to snow, we partied hard and everyone was more than merry. Our wedding was definitely not one to forget!”