Saturday, 25 October 2014

Ali and David - A simply beautiful wedding

This was one of those beautiful autumnal weekends where the air is warm and the light has a gorgeous  glow. A wonderful backdrop for Ali and Dave's wedding. 

Dave and Ali, brought something of a cool London vibe to Pickwell, which I loved. From their choices of drinks (Aperol spritzers), the music, Shoreditch market finds, to the number of men with beards. It gave me my London 'fix' for September!

After spending Thursday night at Pickwell with close family, they were fresh and ready to go for the grand set up on Friday morning. Here Ali and her mum, Pat, are putting out their gold candle sticks. Ali had trawled many a London market bargaining and bartering for old delightful candlesticks for months. 

The bridesmaids,  help put the cake together.

Nice work girls!!

Ali went to a flower market in London and brought lots of fab plants that looked wonderful around the house and in the garden.

I loved the lanterns that they put in the central tree of the Italian garden. They had little lights in them, that looked amazing when switched on at night (as you will see later).

The main floral theme of the wedding was an abundance of 'Babies Breath'. Simple, yet very elegant and romantic.

This is one of Ali's lovely plants, a little orange tree that looked very at home in the hallway.

The wedding morning arrived. The girls were preened and beautified with the help of the brilliant  Claire Mathers of 'Creative Wedding Hair' . She always makes such a lovely atmosphere on the wedding morning, as well as doing wonderful things with hair!

Whilst the girls were getting ready, the boys met in the Italian garden with trunks in hand, ready to head to the beach for a dip and a spot of beach football.

Once they came back, the rest of the morning was spent playing a cross between football and tennis!

Then the lovely Matt Bee arrived, who serenaded the guests all day.

The scene was set for the wedding to begin, the jars of 'Babies Breath' looked so lovely, thank you Kelly from 'Offshore Blooms'...

...And so did those lanterns.

As Ali and the bridesmaids had got ready in our apartment 'Constance', they were able to go out and have photo's on our new roof decking area. Didn't they look gorgeous!

Ahhh, gorgeous Mum and Dad too!!

Claire made her final touches and here she is....Ta da!

Getting ready in Constance meant that Ali did a long lovely walk from the west wing entrance, whilst Matt played her in.

It all made such a lovely scene.

Celebratory confetti as they came down the aisle, woohoo!!

Drinks on the terrace in the sunshine, a view of the sea and wonderful tunes...what could be better!

I snuck upstairs during the speeches to open the window ready for the photographer to do a group photo and got this rather lovely picture of David giving his speech.

The ballroom was ready for dinner and looked amazing. There was something about the design that was simply beautiful.

These were my favourites of Ali's candlestick finds! 

Before the meal began, One of Dave's best men Joe treated everyone to something special!! He has been learning to play the banjo for the last 8 months and had written Dave and Ali a song. Too embarrassed to play it live, he made them a video of his song. It was absolutely brilliant!! Dave what great friends you have, I laughed till my stomach hurt!!

And now to their delicious menu....

Fresh local crab and avocado tower or....

Filo of goats cheese with a leaf salad and a tomato and pesto dressing, gosh, don't they look good! Sadly I missed photographing the west country chicken in a bacon, spring onion and cream cheese sauce. Needless to say, there were empty plates and smiling faces.

I did take a snap of the 'Eton Mess' on its way out though, yum!

Evening was upon us. Fridays hard work of putting up a number of fairy light strings paid off, with this wonderful sight. Not to mention those gorgeous lanterns glowing in the evening light, a glorious sight during coffee on the terrace.

Everywhere was a glow with twinkling lights or candles.

The first dance showed off the back of Ali's amazing dress.

Then they danced the night away with a really fantastic band 'The Somebodys'.

Congratulations Mr and Mrs French, we loved having your wedding at Pickwell Manor and getting to know you both. It was such a celebration of friendship, lovely food, music, fun, laughter, Aperol Spritzers and of course love. You sure know how to put on a good party! We wish you every happiness in your wonderful journey through life together! Come back and see us soon!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Zoë and Hugh’s Wonderful Wedding Fiesta!

Zoë and Hugh told us that they wanted something a little less conventional when they chose Pickwell Manor for their wedding day, and as I love new ideas, I was so excited to work with them to see their wedding become a reality.

Hugh proposed to Zoë on the vibrant coast of San Sebastian.  They were keen that their wedding should reflect their journey as a couple.  This meant bringing the Spanish Fiesta to Pickwell Manor but with a twist of Holland (Zoë is half Dutch), a bit of London (where they met), and a good measure of southwest tradition (where they live now)!  

The Friday was all about decorating.  Zoë and Hugh are very creative and they come from creative families.  Here are their parents, Frank, Helen and Maya organising the favours - homemade damson jam - made by Rob, Zoë's Dad! 

    Meanwhile, Abi (Zoë's sister) made the AMAZING wedding cake, here she is prepping.

Creative Groom Hugh was in our apartment 'Bliss',  which temporarily become the arts and craft nerve centre!

Zoë, Maya and Rob were in charge of making sure the Ballroom looked colourful and happy for the wedding Zoë and Hugh had planned.

Here is the awesome Rob (Zoë's Dad) on bunting duty!

And then Kelly from Offshore Blooms arrived to put the finishing touches to the tables - planted herbs and the biggest hydrangea blooms I've ever seen!  The Ballroom looked beautiful.  Zoë and Hugh hired in orange napkins to fit their theme and these long tables to create the Spanish banqueting feast atmosphere.  But more on the feast in a bit....

On Saturday Morning....
Super Abi put the wedding cake together.  Zoë and Hugh had requested a "Naked Cake" - something honest and beautiful.  Zoë had sent Abi a picture of a cake which she quite liked as a guide...  No one knew Abi would literally recreate the cake...That's why I say Super Abi!

And voila! Here it is:

Kelly arrived in the morning to deliver the bouquet's all beautiful and fresh, as you can see - Zoë and Maya were thrilled!

And here is why, the bouquet's were stunning - such bold and bright colours, perfect for a late Summer/early Autumn wedding.

Hugh LOVES to surf. As a joke, he left his wetsuit hanging next to the Brides dress, for a split second I thought he might actually be getting married in a wetsuit!

Wetsuit removed, Hugh and his best boys went for a morning surf and at Pickwell, we got a first look at the dress.

                                      Zoë is friends with a hairdresser and make-up artist. 
                              They came all the way to Pickwell to help our bride get ready.

And then she was ready! Here is beautiful Zoë with her lovely and proud father Rob.

Zoë and Hugh really made every moment of their wedding meaningful and special to them and their families.  Zoë always said that her best friends would be with her, and walk up the aisle with her and Rob.  So lets meet Abi, Rishi and Baber, the bridesmaid and bridesmen.

And just before the walk to the ceremony!

All guests were upstanding for the Bride as she walked up the aisle to 'Chan Chan' by 'Buena Vista Social Club', played by the brilliant Jon Boyes a Spanish guitarist.

Zoë and Hugh had a beautiful and moving outdoor ceremony, married under our Rose Arbour decorated with their wedding theme.

Their guests showered these newlyweds with natural petals as they walked down the aisle together as husband and wife. 

I'll take a little break now and share with you Zoë and Hugh's Wedding invitation. We saw Hugh at work earlier in this blog, but here is their wedding invitation he drew!  A mini Pickwell!

It opens up to describe their wedding day:

As the invitation details, after the ceremony, guests were treated to an afternoon tea, complete with finger sandwiches and these scrummy scones.

Zoë and Hugh cut the wedding cake and soon after guests had a glass of refreshing Pimms or Corona in hand.

Guests enjoyed chatting away, sharing stories about Zoë and Hugh and catching up, with beautiful Spanish guitar strumming in the background.

There was a village fête atmosphere in the Italian Garden -  
Some guests took to Chess...

Others played Croquet... meanwhile others played....

We can see Zoë and Hugh's lovely photographer here in the background, Mark Gawthorne of Evolve photography 

So good was he at getting everyone together, a group photo was taken just before guests were called into dinner.

Before guests entered the Ballroom, they were able to see Hugh's hand-made table plan. I was very excited to see that Pickwell had become it's own tube line! Each table was named after a significant place to Zoë and Hugh. And as Hugh aptly put it, the underground only has fond memories to people who no longer have to use it - I would have to agree!

Zoë and Hugh decorated the sideboard in our entrance hallway for guests to leave cards of congratulations.

The Bride and Groom entered the Ballroom last to much applause from their guests 

The Ballroom was filled with cheer and chatter, as wine was poured.

And a beautiful sharing tapas menu was served.

Due to the sharing nature of the meal, I was unable to take pictures of each of the different dishes, so you will have to take my word that they were each beautifully presented and tasted like a piece of heaven.  Zoë and Hugh combined some crowd pleasers with some adventurous tapas.  It was wonderful to see everyone tucking in, trying and enjoying every element of the menu. Our wonderful caterers Guess Who is Coming to Dinner really excelled themselves.

With full tummy's it was time for my favourite bit of a wedding - the speeches.
First was Rob, who shared funny stories about Zoë when she was little!

Hugh's heart melting speech included a reciting of a poem he had written especially for his new wife. Literally, not a single dry eye in the Ballroom.

Best Man Steve continued the theme of making guests teary....  only this time, tears of laughter as he showcased some, ahem, hilarious photo's and a video clip of Hugh!

Hugh's brother Paul arranged a sweepstake on the best man's speech - all the proceeds from the sweepstake went to St Francis Hospice, a charity very close to Hugh and Paul's hearts.  Here the "high five" moment when table "Streatham" won!

After dinner, it was time for a fiesta - in the form of a Ceilidh.
Here are Zoë and Hugh performing their first dance!

Doe-sey doe-ing...

And then everyone joined in!

While guests worked off their dinner to the ceilidh, other guests discovered the Photo Booth props!

Just as everyone danced up an appetite, an evening selection of delicious local west-country cheeses were served for everyone to graze on.

The evening drew to an end, as our newlyweds danced their last dance,  and their guests clapped and cheered!

Zoë and Hugh, you have been a joy to spend time with and are a dynamic and extraordinary couple.  Your wedding has been a vibrant and fun weekend - one that reflects the kind, thoughtful and loving people you are. We wish you every happiness in your adventures together as husband and wife.
 Come back and see us again soon!