from the Bride, Abi… We wanted our wedding to be elegant but also relaxed and informal. I’m very drawn to minimalism and pale, muted colors such as white and gray – I run a blog about simple living and Scandinavian-inspired design – so this played a large part in the styling.
The venue was our starting point, and we fell in love with Pynes House, set in the small village of Upton Pyne in Devon, the moment we arrived to view it. So many country houses are dark and cluttered, but Pynes House is flooded with light; it also has 12 bedrooms, which meant we could spend the whole weekend there with close friends and family, and get ready at a leisurely pace on the morning of the wedding. In a strange twist, we have since found out that some of Chris’ ancestors came from Upton Pyne and were married in the village in 1786, so they would have been familiar with the house!
We had no decoration other than lots of flowers and flickering candles, as the venue just didn’t need it. And we didn’t have to think twice about which florist to use – Kirstie of Ruby & The Wolf has been a friend for years, and we love her dramatic yet natural style. She managed to translate our vision to perfection – white and dusty-pink blooms (hellebore, ranunculus, roses, astrantia) and lots of trailing greenery. Our favorite feature was a pair of huge urns spilling with flowers and foliage, which she placed on Perspex plinths in the entrance hall; she also created stunning mantelpiece displays in our ceremony and banquet rooms.
As well as drawing on the setting, we took inspiration from Spain and Italy, where we’ve both spent a lot of time over the years (I used to live in Barcelona, and Chris and I have traveled to Italy together numerous times). We booked a guitar duo to play Spanish music during the ceremony and drinks reception, and our food featured lots of Mediterranean influences; my bouquet also included jasmine, our cake was flavored with orange-blossom water, and Spanish churros were served as a snack on the dance floor.
In addition, I wanted to include influences from my grandmothers, who are sadly no longer with us. I wore my maternal grandmother’s diamond earrings and had a maple-leaf brooch inherited from my Canadian paternal grandmother pinned to my bouquet. My brother, who flew over from Vancouver for the wedding, also gave a surprise native Canadian blessing during the ceremony.
It was Kirstie who first introduced us to Louise from Taylor & Porter, and as soon as we looked through her portfolio we knew we wanted her to photograph our wedding. Her images are beautifully crafted – so graceful and timeless, and infused with natural light. We’re delighted with the results, and they capture the story and feel of the day perfectly.
Our stationery came from the talented Suzanne at The Whistle Press, who created bespoke letterpress designs using calligraphy from Megan Riera. I’d met Megan when I attended one of her calligraphy workshops, so when Chris and I got engaged we commissioned her to create words which we then used across our invitations, menus, table plan and order of events. I hand-wrote matching place cards for the tables.
I was keen for my dress to be light, comfortable and easy to wear; I also wanted a sleek silhouette, with no large skirt or fussy details. Charlie Brear’s ‘Payton’ was perfect, and I had it customized with lace cap sleeves and lace scallop edging. It had a puddle train which was supposed to be buttoned up for dancing, but I was enjoying swishing it around too much so it stayed down (I somehow managed not to trip over it!).
The whole day was magical from start to finish, and I wish we could do it all over again. Highlights included the groomsmen’s speech, which had everyone crying with laughter, and hitting the dance floor at the end of the night (for our first dance we chose ‘At Last’ by Etta James, which seemed appropriate given we’d been together for 14 years before getting engaged!). Another favorite moment for both of us was turning to face the room after saying our vows, and seeing all our friends and family together in one place – truly special.