Monday, 28 September 2015

Rob and Natalie's September Wedding

There is something very wonderful about the coming together of two families in the preparation of the house for a wedding weekend. Natalie and Rob's families arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed on Friday ready for action. They turned out to be a wedding set up 'crack team'!  There was an amazing feeling of comradery and good will as plans became reality. 

Here is Natalie with her lovely mum, Corine, who set to work with great vigour.

Here are the next two very important set up team members. Natalie's uncle Martin and his partner Jeremy. Having owned a restaurant and venue, they were well seasoned in the art of 'set up' and had an amazing eye for detail.

Everyone helped ticking off the list. Here is Rob's dad, Neil, putting together food boxes for the apartments. Tick!

Whilst Rob's mum, Daphne, and his sister Rachel, put up photos of their nearest and dearest.

And oh what a list it was....

 it was organisation perfection. Here they are on team list review, so impressive!

Whilst this was all going on, Rob and the dads set about putting LED netting lights on the ceiling. It truly was an extraordinary feat of engineering and literally took hours. They were really pleased with the effect but are NOT recommending it to any future couples. It comes with a health warning....

that you may never be able to use your arms again! Here is Rob having a well earned cup of tea, but barely able to lift his arms after 5 hours of holding them above his head pinning the lights.

The house was transformed.

A feast for the eyes.

Filled with love.

It all looked gorgeous and welcoming. 

Although the weekend started with a little bit of rain, the guests really enjoyed a Friday night of Fish and Chips from The Whiddon Wagon Fish and Chip van. Here are Heather and James serving with a smile.

The atmosphere in the Snug, was wonderful and true to its name 'snuggly'.

Saturday morning the flowers arrived from Kelly at Offshore Blooms.

The heart arrangement above the Rose Arbor was truly spectacular.

Pampering and preening began. Natalie chose to get ready in Constance with its light and bright backdrop.

Rob and Natalie received the most amazing gift from Rob's sister, Rachel. One thousand hand folded origami cranes. They are a Japanese traditional gift (where she had lived for a while), wishing the happy couple prosperity and good luck through out their married life. 

What an AMAZING gift, showing such love. Apparently they took 100 hours to make, as she said in her card, she is now suffering from repetitive 'crane injury'.....hehehe! 

The boys tried to get to grips with 'uniform' tie tying. Chris, the Best Man, impressed all with his Half Windsor.

Just time for a bit of last minute titivation from Jeremy.

Ceremony all set up, we were ready for the off.

Natalie's dress looked amazing, just the veil to go.

Lovely Bridesmaids, Harriet and Naomi, as they saw the beautiful bride for the first time in her dress.

Here they are making their way out of the West Wing entrance...

and along the drive in super sunshine.

The ceremony was wonderfully personal and special. After the official registrar finished, she handed over to Jeremy (who is also a celebrant) to take the second half of the ceremony. During this they exchanged rings, personal vows and......

did a rather lovely candle ceremony. The joining of the light of two families.

Pimms on the terrace and canapes followed.

Accompanied by the wonderful voices of the Andrew Vaughan Barber shop Quartet.

A group photo with one of Pickwell's favourite photographers, Rebecca Roundhill, then into dinner.

I loved the way they did their place names, with polaroid style photos of each guest on the back of their chair. 

An extraordinary afternoon tea was on the menu. In the forefront of the photo are 'Gypsy Tarts' a speciality, requested by Natalie, from where she grew up in Kent.

Natalie's dad, Ben, did a very touching speech which encompassed a film of photos and footage from her childhood.

Chris, the Best Man, followed fabulous speeches from both the Mum's.

After dinner Rebecca and myself walked Natalie and Rob down to our viewing spot at the end of the wood to catch the sunset. It was such a still and beautiful evening.

Stunning and very romantic.

Twilight croquet.

This is the coolest band set up I have ever seen at Pickwell. It is difficult to see but the light at the back was coming from a standard lamp and the speakers were in old vintage suitcases.

Lucas, Master of ceremonies extraordinaire, announced cutting of the cake using the gong and his shoe!!!

The cake was 'hundreds and thousands' tastic.

Then the grooving began, 1950's style, brilliant!! Everyone danced their socks off.

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Beasley, I have loved journeying with you towards what has been a truly wonderful weekend. You are a very special couple with very gorgeous family and friends. We wish you so much happiness in your journey through life together.

Friday, 18 September 2015

The English Rose and the New Zealand Fern - Caroline and Andrew

When Caroline and Andrew first came to Pickwell, they came with a clear idea of what they wanted their wedding day to look like. Caroline with her love for the countryside and horses, and Andrew with his New Zealand roots and love for the surf; together they created a stylish, Soho chic, seriously cool vibe.  

What we loved about Caroline and Andrew was their love of family.  Baby Jack was only a bump and Eva was nearly a big sister when we first met them, and it has been so wonderful for us to be part of their changing and growing journey as a family.

With a bit of Caroline's vision, style and careful planning and Andrew's creativity, quick humour and passion to 'buy in bulk' (!) their wedding weekend was totally beautiful.

Meet our gorgeous couple in this photo, Caroline and Andrew! Friday began with organising how the table plan is going to work.

As many of the best boys had travelled from New Zealand, there hadn't been time for a fitting, until the Friday morning before the wedding. So funny to see the boys turning the Hallway into a dressing room!

Meanwhile Caroline completed the table plan.  I love this new and creative idea using apple crates stacked together.

The Snug became the nerve centre for the apartment food hamper operations - Caroline's sister Sarah and Andrew's sister-in-law Kerry, carried it out with expert precision!

Caroline and Andrew's wedding stationary all matched and they made these beautiful cards for each apartment.  If you look closely you can see English roses and New Zealand ferns.

The flip flop station also became known as the 'dancing shoes' station!

To keep the Soho-chic theme, Caroline and Andrew hired vintage crockery from our caterers and hired beautiful wooden tables made from reclaimed timber from local company The Plank Company.

My favourite idea of theirs, was hanging these shabby-chic retro lampshades from a tree on the terrace - where guests will arrive for drinks and canapés.

In the evening on Friday, all the guests headed off to local pub The Rock Inn, while, the Cake Fairy, Kate Burt, arrived with this stunning cake.  The roses are all handmade and completely edible.  I watched her create a new petal to make the Rose more blowsy and beautiful - very intricate work!

The cake looked beautiful in the centre bay window.

And then the ballroom was ready. The textures, style and colours look very cool and inviting.

Caroline and Andrew opted for a more unusual table layout in the Ballroom and one The Plank Company designed specifically for Pickwell's Ballroom. It really feels like everyone coming together for a big family get-together and making everyone relax whilst at the same time keeping the sense of occasion.

It wasn't until Saturday morning that I first got to see Caroline's dress. A beautiful gown with delicate details and in-keeping with the style of the wedding. 

Here's a close up on the detail on the dress - just a little bit of sparkle and so much elegance.

Getting ready with all the girls is a lot of fun, Claire Mathers arrived super early to make sure everyone had amazing hair for the day. Here is Caroline with Bridesmaid Vicky, after they had both had their hair done (well nearly done in Caroline's case!)

And the very lovely and talented Anna from Anna RJ came to do everyone's make up.

The funniest moment of the day came from Caroline's fabulous mum Sheila, who whipped out of her bag a hair piece, complete with curlers in! It looked like a cross between hair extensions, a wig and a cuddly pet. She has even given it a name - Derek. Once the stunned Claire had fixed Derek in place,  Sheila looked fab!    

Derryn from Twigs delivered all the flowers - big bouquets for the Bridesmaids, little ones for the little ones...

And lots of pretty buttonholes and corsages for the family - sweet little roses and ferns.

And a beautiful big bouquet for the Bride.

This was a real laugh out loud moment. The girls decided that it would be sensible not to leave Andrew to his own hair devices on the wedding morning, so Caroline sent over a hairdresser and a picture of how she would like his hair to look! She wanted to make sure our groom was as handsome as, ahem, Peter Andre?!

The boys were handling the morning in their stride - a run, followed by showers, followed by glasses of whisky, suits and then finishing the look with the buttonholes.

Speaking of which - Andrew's lovely and very chilled mum was on hand to help. Mum's can be such a calming influence for those pre-wedding nerves.

We haven't as yet met the real stars, Eva and Jack!  They popped in to make sure Dad looked handsome for Mum!

And here they are, shiny as a sixpence!

The finishing touches were put into Caroline's hair - real flowers which match the bouquets are such an effective idea!

A beautiful vintage coach arrived to start taking guests to St George's Church in the village.

Eva and Mum have a touching moment before Eva makes her way to the Church with her cousin bridesmaids.

And here they are - Indie, Eva, Savannah and Scarlett, in their beautiful dresses and gorgeous flower circlets.

When all the guests had gone to the village, there just remained a very proud Dad and our very beautiful bride.

After what was a very moving and personal ceremony, with songs from a local youth choir, guests were brought back to Pickwell for yummy canapés and Pimms out on the Terrace under blue skies and sunshine. 

Our bride and groom headed to the Plateaux for some private photos with their photographer Lucy Shergold, here is a stunning still captured by their videographer Simon Cotter from RUWAC

A few more family shots were taken in our beautiful Italian garden.

Meanwhile guests took thier own photos! Andrew had a great idea for an alternative photo booth and made great use of the rose arbour.

It was time for the wedding breakfast. Guests took their seats for a delicious menu.

They started with these amazing sharing platters I the Moana (Maori for from the sea) A seafood platter, 

and I the Whenua (from the land) a meat platter.

For main course - rack of Devon lamb with dauphanoise potatoes, a minted jus and hand tied local seasonal vegetables.

I missed the food so was unable to get photos of the main course and the dessert which was spectacular! Caroline is known among her friends to love a high tea, so the dessert was served in cake stands and guests could help themselves to chocolate brownies, white chocolate cheesecake, fruit meringues and mini lemon tarts. 

They finished with Port and a West-Country cheeseboard - the heart shaped Godminster cheese is delicious. Our amazing caterers Guess Who is Coming to Dinner  did a fantastic job as always!

With a glass of Prosecco inside him, Master of Ceremonies Jedi read telegrams and introduced each speech.

And the guests toasted the happy couple!

For the evening, the ballroom had been transformed for the cake cutting ceremony, a lot of dancing and a very brilliant band!

The Rise - fresh from their appearance on 'The Voice', had everyone dancing and they were really nice too!

I am a huge fan of this tradition and I was so pleased when Caroline decided to throw her bouquet!  So much fun with all the little bridesmaids and female (and male) guests trying to catch the bouquet!

All that dancing created some more space for a New Zealand tradition: a BBQ 

And a BBQ isn't complete without all the trimmings, salads and sauces!

Finally, it wouldn't be a Kiwi wedding if there wasn't a Hakka! Filmed (badly) in two parts. 

Well done boys, you did it justice! 

Caroline and Andrew, you have both been super amazing, a joy to work with and it has been a privilege to be part of such a special moment in your lives!

Congratulations and lots of love from all of us at Pickwell Manor. We know we will see you again -  hopefully very soon!