New York meets English vintage wedding

Magenta and Mark mixed vintage, New York, birds and a little bit of Elvis for an eclectic but stylish day

Magenta and Mark-the proposal

Photography: Neil Hanson Photography

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Magenta Lampson first met Mark Styles at a business meeting, and was immediately drawn to him. “At the time I couldn’t put my finger on why I had taken such a shining to him,” she says. “He just struck me as the nicest person I’d ever met and he also looked very handsome in his suit! We both worked for separate publishing companies, which then merged into one company (a perfect metaphor for our relationship).”

Mark proposed a year after they got together on a romantic holiday to New York. “On the last night, we went to a restaurant in Grand Central Terminal (my favourite building) and he gave me a letter that he’d written, which was heartbreakingly beautiful. He told me how much he adored me, how I was his best friend, and how I’d made his life better. I was obviously in floods of tears at this point and it was then that he proposed, with the most beautiful antique ring in the world.”

Magenta and Mark – the ceremony

The couple married on 15 May 2010 in Wallingford Town Hall with a reception at the boathouse restaurant The Beetle & Wedge in Moulsford. “As neither of us is particularly religious, we chose to have a civil ceremony,” says Magenta. “It was beautiful – only half an hour long, but it went by so quickly! My mother read an extract from Les Miserables and Mark’s mother read An Apache Blessing.”

Magenta and Mark-the theme

“I didn’t want anything too prescriptive or ‘matching’ for our wedding, so there wasn’t a strict theme as such,” says Magenta. “The general look was vintage/country-garden/shabby-chic. We had two massive beautiful urns of peonies, roses and herbs at the town hall, which we then transported to the reception venue. Our second theme was birds: I adore anything that has birds on it so I wanted to include them in the day somehow. Our Save The Date cards, invitations, and thank-you cards all had birds on them, and there were birdcages and artificial birds hidden in the floral displays.”

Magenta and Mark-the theme (continued)

“Our final influence was New York: it’s where we got engaged so we knew we had to have an American/New York touch in there somewhere! Our car was a vintage Fifties yellow Buick, we had New York street names as our table names, and rather than just serving champagne as our reception drink, we chose Cosmopolitans, which looked fabulous.”

Magenta and Mark-the dress

Magenta found The One at Windsor Bride, Tabitha by Charlotte Balbier, in antique gold lace. “I’d seen a picture of it in a bridal magazine, and had fallen in love with it instantly,” she says. “It was very vintage looking, unusual, and most importantly not strapless (I was adamant I didn’t want a strapless dress!). I was convinced it wouldn’t suit my curvy size 12 figure, but the mermaid style actually suited me perfectly.”

She paired her perfect partner with taupe satin slingbacks from John Lewis and simple pearl jewellery that her mum bought her as a 30th birthday present, also from Windsor Brides. “I initially decided I didn’t want a veil, as I thought it might obscure the gorgeous buttons at the back of my dress, but after trying some on, I knew that I had to have one! I chose a full length, fully gathered, single-tier veil that I wore low at the back of my head, and teamed it with a pretty vintage-looking pearl hair slide from Glitzy Secrets.”

Magenta and Mark-the flowers

“Our flowers were by Daisies Flower Shop, in Oxford. I had avalanche roses, lisianthus, peonies, and rosemary for my bouquet – it smelled divine! We also had rose buttonholes for the groom and ushers, and bouquets for the bridesmaids. Each table had a floral display – each in a different vase/holder. We had two beautiful big urns of flowers at the ceremony venue, which we then transported to the Beetle & Wedge. The combination of the roses, peonies and herbs meant that the venue smelled really fragrant as well as looking stunning.”

Magenta and Mark-the venue

The couple’s wedding reception was held at The Beetle & Wedge, in Moulsford. “It’s an absolutely stunning riverside boathouse restaurant, set on the banks of the Thames,” says Magenta. “We both had exactly the same idea about the sort of reception venue we wanted – something beautiful, light and sunny, informal, yet with a real wow-factor. This was the second venue we visited, and immediately knew it was the one. We both love the water as well, so it being set right on the river was perfect. There’s even a small boat available for hire by the hour at the venue, which gave us an excellent opportunity for some really cool photos.”

Magenta and Mark-the details

“I loved our table plan,” says Magenta. “The idea actually came from somebody else’s wedding that I read about in the You & Your Wedding chatroom! They had a small metal artificial tree with labels hanging from it, which had the table numbers and the guests’ names on them. I loved this idea, and searched high and low for a similar tree, but to no avail. I eventually just decided to go for a real tree, so I bought a pretty blossom tree in a pot, and tied on luggage-tag style cards with organza ribbon. I clipped a few artificial birds into the tree and it looked beautiful!”

Magenta and Mark-the favours

“As both our names begin with M we decided to have M&Ms as our favours. We bought loads of cute tiny jam-jars, filled them with M&Ms (all the guests had pink M&Ms which I had shipped in from the States and the top table had normal coloured ones) and then covered the jars with squares of Cath Kidston fabric. We put a label on the front of the jar saying ‘M&M 15th May 2010’ and put a label round the neck of each jar so it doubled up as a place setting too.”

Magenta and Mark-the cake

“My lovely and very talented friend Thelma made our cake for us,” says Magenta. “I was absolutely blown away by how incredible it looked (and tasted!), and I was so touched by how much time and effort she’d put into it. It’s so nice to have these personal touches made by friends and family – it really means so much more. She made a four-tier cake, with taupe icing, and ivory detailing. The top two layers were fake, but the bottom two were chocolate fudge and strawberry sponge.”

Magenta and Mark-the party

“There’s a local pub near my mum’s house that has an Elvis impersonator play there every month and we always go to see him, as Elvis is one of my great loves (apart from my new husband of course!),” says Magenta. “He was the obvious choice for our wedding band: they did an excellent set of Fifties and Sixties music, with an Elvis set thrown in as well. Everybody loved him!

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“Mark and I had our first dance to Songbird, the original version by Fleetwood Mac. We chose this song for a number of reasons: it fitted well with our bird theme and Fleetwood Mac are one of my mum’s favourite bands, and I knew that she’d love it. There’s also a lyric in the song that Mark says always makes him think of me, and sums up our relationship: “I’ll never be cold; ‘Cause I feel that when I’m with you, It’s alright. I know it’s right.”