Honeymoon Week in Cornwall

It’s so rare to get all of our closest friends together, and we love them all so much, that we took them on honeymoon with us.

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I know that isn’t quite traditional, but we’re sort of used to doing things our own way. (My stag party was evidence of this, as most brides-to-be don’t take their fiancé along on their hen-do, so you shouldn’t be surprised!) We decided to stay in Cornwall for the first week of our honeymoon rather than rushing straight off. A few of us rented a cottage together in Flushing from Martin at Creekside Cottages, and everyone else made sure to stay nearby.

I forgot to take any photos of the cottage but it was lovely, and perfectly located; just around the corner from the Flushing ferry and opposite the village shop. Most importantly though, it had its own decking that led directly onto the sea. It was our own fault really that we were invaded by Northern pirates.

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I really don’t think these two are taking the invasion seriously enough, to be honest

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Though they soon summoned the troops

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Rob quickly defected, and joined us on land

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Having no other means of defending ourselves, we were forced to deploy scraps of bread into the air to lure in a mob of seagulls. Mick was not happy about this.

We had dinner at a different restaurant each night, from the Pandora in Mylor to the Cornish Range in Mousehole, and there were around twenty people sitting down together each time. It was just the start we wanted to married life. We both have a number of different friendship groups, whether from school, university or work, so seeing them all meeting and getting on was fantastic.

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We went on a few cliff-top walks and enjoyed the spectacular views, as well as getting a bit of climbing in. This is just around the corner from Mousehole; St Michael’s Mount in the background

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Yes, I’m climbing a cliff in a tweed mini skirt. No, it was not easy.

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We also enjoyed the Maritime Museum in Falmouth. It’s very child-friendly, so we had a great time

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We also spent a lot of time on ferries and water taxis, which are a fantastic way of getting around Cornwall. The ferries have fixed routes and times, but the water taxis will collect you any time, and drop you off anywhere there’s a jetty.

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Here we are, all enjoying a water taxi together

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It sort of looks like everyone had different expectations of that particular day out. Expectations that were NOT being met.

The best day was definitely the beach day. We got a water taxi across to St Mawes, stocked up on picnic items and champagne, then walked across the headland. When we arrived at the top of the cliff, we found that the path down to our favourite secluded beach had, er, fallen into the sea. Some enterprising locals had tied a rope to the bushes though, so we abseiled down. Being the only people stupid enough to do so on that particular day, we had the entire beach to ourselves. Heaven.

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We drank champagne and sunbathed on the rocks

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I got a bit more climbing-in-a-skirt practice in

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We went swimming in the sea (freezing, but exhilarating!), then polished off our picnic in the sunshine. Once the champagne had run out and the sun was beginning to set, we made our way back across the headland. Lush spring hedgerows lined the dusty lane, and verdant rolling fields stretched to either side. A water taxi collected us, and dropped us off at our cottage.

Getting to spend the first week of our honeymoon with our friends was an experience we’ll always treasure. The memories will stay with us for our whole lives, though of course we plan on repeating the event as frequently as possible! That wasn’t quite the end of it though. Did I mention that my Tom is pretty wonderful? Once or twice maybe. Well, he’d organised another week’s honeymoon for us, but we needed our passports for this one. More details in my next post!

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My Cornwall Wedding: The Wedding Breakfast, Cocktail Hour and Swing Dancing

Heading inside Scorrier after the formal photos felt like the second phase of the day was beginning, so it seemed right to tell you about it in a second blog post.
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I couldn’t have been more pleased with the table decorations. Georgia Westwood and her sister Jessie Thomson, our wedding planner, made them look absolutely beautiful. I hired a lot of vintage glass bottles, but I also sourced a selection of pewter and ceramic jugs and teapots from the antique shops in Rye, and Tom and I also bought hundreds of secondhand books from Falmouth.

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We really couldn’t have managed without our wedding planner Jessie. Her advice and planning expertise meant that the day ran incredibly smoothly, and actually felt like one long party rather than having gaps where guests are standing around waiting for something to happen. She suggested and then liaised with suppliers, made sure I hadn’t forgotten any of the thousands of details and decisions that are involved in a wedding, and kept an eye on our budget for us. I’d definitely advise engaging a wedding planner, even if they just advise and supervise as we requested rather than doing everything for you.

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As Tom and I met when we were both studying Renaissance Literature at university, we used EEBO to find the title pages of an appropriate selection of Renaissance plays. We had A Pleasant Comedy, All Fools, An Almond for a Parrot, The Shoemakers Holiday, The Island Princess, The Alchemist, and of course A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the top table. We downloaded these, and I printed them on ‘parchment’ coloured card for the table names.

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I also used Microsoft Paint to edit them (serious computer skilz, I know) for the table plan above, so that each included the names of our guests in lieu of a cast-list. I used a sheet of wrapping paper for the table plan’s background that I found in the British Library’s gift shop, depicting Early Modern London, which I thought was an appropriate reference to our lives in London.

Tom & Jade FINAL 0732 (800x533)Given our love of old books, Tom and I spent the months before the wedding trawling through charity shops across the country for wedding favours, and gave each guest a different book to remember the day by. I had a stamp made reading ‘Jade & Tom, Cornwall 2014’, and stamped the first page of each. I also made all the placenames and menus, again using parchment-coloured card and left over pearls and wrapping paper from the invitations.

The Wedding Breakfast itself was perfect. The caterers we chose were Beetham Food, and Jamie was nothing but helpful and accommodating throughout. We were allowed three main course options for our guests to choose from, and the cheese buffet we’d requested for later in the evening was presented as a stunning cheese cake. Everyone commented on how incredible the food was, and how friendly and professional all the waiting staff. Menu below:

Main Course

 

Whole Sirloin of Beef, Medium Rare, cut thickly and served with a Béarnaise Sauce

Or

Seafood Bouillabaisse with Saffron & Aioli

(Crevettes, Crab, Lobster, Hake, Mussels & Clams)

Or

Roasted Vegetable Stack with Pan Fried Haloumi & Red Pepper Coulis (v)

 

Trio of Dessert

 

Pavlova with Summer Berries & Clotted Cream

Rich Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Coulis

Zesty Lemon Cheesecake

 

Evening Food

 

Cornish Cheese Wedding Cake

Served on slates with Chutneys, Fruits, Celery & Crackers

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Although I admit I was more interested in the cheese than the actual wedding cake, I must mention Faye from The Natural Cake Company. She uses only natural ingredients, something that means a lot to me, and her cakes are both delicious and edible works of art.

Tom & Jade FINAL 0800 (800x533) After the wedding breakfast, we had a little surprise lined up for our guests. An old school friend of mine happens to be a successful mixologist, so as a wedding gift he very kindly agreed to invent three cocktails tailored to our wedding, and serve these at a cocktail hour after the wedding breakfast. I only have ONE photo of them unfortunately, which is a shame because they were stunning as well as being delicious! The May Day Tea was served in vintage cups and saucers, and was my particular favourite, though the Spring Collins was the overall winner in terms of flavour. I have since tried to recreate it, and failed utterly. Stan is evidently a miracle worker.

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Stan and another old school friend, Liam, setting up cocktails next to the gramophone

Cocktail Hour Menu

May Day Tea

Elderflowers, raspberries, grapefruit, rose petals, vodka, apple liqueur, limoncello, cloudy apple juice, lemon juice and Everingham honey (served hot)

Fragola Granita

Champagne and wild strawberry liqueur

Spring Collins

Gin, fresh basil, radishes, gin, lemon juice and cherry syrup

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Spring Collins on the left, and Stella holding a (non-alcoholic, I’m sure!) May Day Tea

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My beautiful girlfriends, resolutely pretending not to have had any cocktails at all. Ahem. I changed into a navy-blue lace Diane Von Furstenberg dress for the evening, and of course the pearls I usually wear.

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The cocktail hour certainly put everyone in the right mood for the next part of the day. The dancing.

Tom and I were not exactly looking forward to this. We wanted a song that reflected the party atmosphere of the evening, so chose Benny Goodman’s Sing Sing Sing for our first dance. Regardless of the fact that it’s very difficult to dance to, as it’s very fast. Not that this was a problem though, as we engaged Jerome Anderson to teach us how to dance in two weeks. He happens to be Lindsay Rodham‘s partner, the lady who altered my wedding dress, so we were in very safe hands. He teaches in a wonderfully holistic way, making the most of our strengths and minimising our flaws. We just about managed to pull it off!

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My dancing shoes were bought online from Chelsea Crew, who specialise in vintage-inspired styles

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We did the first minute and a half on our own, then my bridesmaids and Australian relatives joined in. Sam and The Swing Empire, our live Jazz band, were fantastic. I had been more worried about the first dance than anything else on our wedding day, and suddenly realised the day before that maybe our guests wouldn’t be as enthusiastic about dancing to Jazz as us, but the dancefloor filled up for the rest of the evening. It made such a difference having a live band. We would never, ever have had a DJ or just an ipod playlist, as there’s something incredibly exciting about dancing to live music. It’s an obvious way to save money, but we wouldn’t have done without it.

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I think that was my favourite part of the day actually, the dancing. The fact that everybody joined in, and had such a good time, was absolutely magical. Tom and I have had so many wonderful times together, but our wedding day was definitely the best day so far.

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My Cornwall Wedding: The Church Ceremony, and Champagne & Oysters amongst Bluebells

I’ve been away from this blog far too long, and I’ve missed it. I’ve missed chatting to all the wonderful bloggers that I follow and who are sweet enough to follow me as well, and I’ve missed sharing all the things I get up to. They’re always the more fun for being able to share them with you!

Inevitably, I have to start with my wedding. I suppose this post will take the form of all the other wedding blogs you’ll come across, but I’ll try to keep it as short and sweet as I can.

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The first thing I have to say is that organising it was the biggest bloody nightmare in the world, and Tom and I worked ourselves half to death in the few months before it. It was worth it, yes, but only just! My 130 hour working weeks genuinely nearly killed me, and the day before the wedding I was bordering on hysteria more times than I can count. Thankfully my Thomas is the kindest and most wonderful man in the world, and our friends and family are both incredibly giving of their time and an absolute blast to be around. Between them, they just about kept me sane.

Errands frantically completed the day before the wedding included buying 400 second-hand books, tearing along tiny country lanes to try and find the only shop in Cornwall that stocks speciality liqueurs (I’ll explain later), and driving for over an hour to Penzance to collect Tom’s wedding ring, then driving all the way back as fast as possible so we could actually attend our own wedding rehearsal. We arrived back at Scorrier House around midnight, and I got my laptop out to send about a hundred emails, and write a 2000 word assessment report I had to send to a client.

Anyway. Deep breaths. I woke early, and peered out at the mist rolling across Scorrier’s beautiful grounds. Scorrier is a privately owned manor house set within a 400 acre estate, and the lovely Richard and Caroline hire it out for weddings. It’s not the prettiest building from the outside, but the interior is beautiful, with a sweeping staircase at the centre of the ballroom. My bridesmaids soon arrived, and Tom disappeared to get ready with his brothers at a cottage next door.

Tom & Jade FINAL 0013 (800x533)We spent most of the morning sitting around drinking champagne that my maid of honour Katy had purloined from somewhere, but it was nice to stop rushing around for the first time in six months. I did my own makeup, but local stylist Megan Piekarz put my hair into a vintage-inspired up-do, and also added just a bit of polish to my bridesmaids. I was particularly keen that they all looked very natural, and she did a wonderful job.

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The bridesmaid dresses were from Coast (no longer in stock I’m afraid), and I was incredibly lucky to find them. It was the first dress we looked at in person, and the perfect shade of green (there are many imperfect shades of green, but this one was perfect). I also wanted them all to wear strings of freshwater pearls, so ordered these online from Etsy. They hardly cost anything at all, but they were exactly the look I was after.

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Katy helping

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I wore my mum’s wedding dress, which she’d transported backwards and forwards across the world for me since she married my father in Papua New Guinea. It was handmade for her in Australia, and I remember admiring the delicate Brussels lace it’s made from when we lived on Nauru, more than twenty years ago now. “You can wear it when you get married” she had said, and it really means a lot to me that, finally, I actually did get to wear it!

I had a few alterations made, by the absolutely wonderful Lindsay Rodham. Trekking backwards and forwards to Walthamstow for fittings was definitely worth it, as she made everything I wanted possible, when countless other seamstresses had said it couldn’t be done. She added lace to the length so I could wear heels, removed the collar, and added a sash to the waist so I actually felt like I had one, and made it feel completely ‘right’ for me where it hadn’t before.

Tom & Jade FINAL 0068 (800x533)My shoes were from Hobbs, and literally the only style I could find in the world in the right colour, heel height and width (no stilettos allowed on Scorrier’s antique wooden floors). Here’s a picture of me grimacing at them as Katya helps me into them. They looked better on, to be fair, but as my dress was floor-length I wasn’t that worried anyway. I found that you absolutely have to prioritise with a wedding. Decide on what is most important to you, and focus on that; you cannot give your full attention to every tiny little detail.

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Here’s Tom ‘getting ready’ (doing a Tai Chi Chuan workout)

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More ‘getting ready’ with his brothers Jim and Luke, who were joint best man.

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My beautiful bridesmaids, from left to right: Stella, Katy, Hannah and Katya. I’m very, very lucky to have all of them in my life.

Tom & Jade FINAL 0109 (800x533)The flowers were done by Georgia Westwood. I liked her style, but also that she is a set designer as well as florist; the theatrical side to her work really appealed. We were going for a slightly fantastical ‘Spring Woodland with Antique Books’ theme, to combine our love of books and the countryside, and I was confident that she’d be able to turn my rambling and often contradictory ideas into reality. She did an incredible job, both on the bouquets and the ballroom decorations, but you can see that from the photos!

Tom & Jade FINAL 0156 (800x533)Tom, Luke and Jim walking down to St Mylor Parish Church

I’m not particularly religious, but I’ve wanted to get married in St Mylor Parish Church as long as I can remember. As I grew up overseas, my parents brought me to Cornwall as often as they could so my grandparents would see me growing up. Walking along the creek or through the fields and woodlands nearby had a huge impact on me, and we’d always look in on the church and harbour behind it. It’s full of childhood memories for me as well as being mere metres from the sea, and is a very old and beautiful church. I was delighted that Tom was happy to get married in it as well, and even more delighted to find out we were allowed to as I’d been baptised there.

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Putting on fern and bluebell buttonholes

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It actually rained all morning, to my slight dismay. Mist turned to a gentle but persistent drizzle, and emergency umbrellas were found. Just as we arrived at the church, however, the sun burst through the storm clouds! We didn’t sort out transport to and from the church until the day before the wedding, but luckily Tom found a vintage Rolls Royce for us at the last minute.

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I was surprisingly nervous on the way to the church, desperately hoping I hadn’t forgotten anything, but seeing our friends and family gathered together in the church was one of my favourite moments of the whole day.

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Husband and wife, finally!

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Some of my Australian relatives who travelled a very long way to share the day with us, for which I will always be grateful.

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After the ceremony we drove back to Scorrier House, and made time for oysters and champagne before the formal family photos. We copied friends of ours who had chosen to have canapes in lieu of a starter course at their wedding, and this worked perfectly as well as balancing out the cost of all that champagne! Our caterers Beetham Food put on a range of canapes as well as the oysters we requested. Crab Cakes & Tempura Prawns with Sweet Chilli Dip, Smoked Salmon Bilinis with Dill Crème Fraiche, Yorkshire Puddings with Rare Beef & Horseradish Cream, and a variety of croutes kept everybody happy. Never skimp on food or alcohol at a wedding. You want your guests to enjoy themselves (plenty of alcohol) but not get drunk (plenty of food).

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It was quite chilly outside, so our photographer Debs Ivelja did a great job of hurrying through these! I chose Debs as her portfolio was not just the usual reportage shots, but focused instead on capturing the drama in intimate moments. Exactly what I think a wedding should be. She and her assistant Sarah took nearly 1000 photos for us, and Debs has been wonderful to deal with throughout the whole process.

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Chilly bridesmaids

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Tom and I with my grandparents and my parents

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Tom and I with his slightly more extensive nuclear family!

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I was desperate for the bluebells to flower in time, as they’re my favourite spring flower. Again we were lucky, and they were absolutely everywhere.

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The grounds of Scorrier were perfect for capturing the feel of our wedding. We were surrounded by greenery and spring blossoms, and it was clear to all our guests why we’d chosen to get married in Cornwall. Even if they did all have to travel very far to join us!

It was such a wonderful day that I thought it best to split it into two separate posts. Photos and details of the wedding breakfast, cocktail hour and swing dancing in my next post.