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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Whole Sirloin of Beef, Medium Rare, cut thickly and served with a Béarnaise Sauce
Seafood Bouillabaisse with Saffron & Aioli
(Crevettes, Crab, Lobster, Hake, Mussels & Clams)
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
Cornish Cheese Wedding Cake
Served on slates with Chutneys, Fruits, Celery & Crackers
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.
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.
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)
Champagne and wild strawberry liqueur
Gin, fresh basil, radishes, gin, lemon juice and cherry syrup
Spring Collins on the left, and Stella holding a (non-alcoholic, I’m sure!) May Day Tea
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.
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!
My dancing shoes were bought online from Chelsea Crew, who specialise in vintage-inspired styles
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.
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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