posted on 15th Oct 2016
St Audries Park was lucky to host the fabulous Victorian wedding of Izabela and Lucas on 17th October 2011.
Izabela is a very talented lady- a fabulous wedding dress designer from Prior Engagement who specialise in bespoke wedding gowns, either historically correct, or historically inspired and their fitting motto is :-
‘Do you dream of something old, something new and something different?’
Izabela tells her story in her very own words…
We got engaged on 1st January 2011 in the midst of the Scottish highlands and a day later most of the details were in place- apart from the venue. We knew precisely what we wanted – a venue with character and one that would allow us to do a post ceremony hack on its premises. The moment we clasped our eyes on St Audries Park, we knew this was it- a spectacular location just off the Quantock Hills, my favourite hunting ground. The place is full of character and charm with lovely interiors, luxurious rooms and all set within beautiful grounds. The date was set, the deposit paid and we had 9 months to get ready.
I arrived the day before with my bridesmaids and stayed at St Audries Park for the night before the wedding. As a professional costumier, I made my own wedding dress based on 1883 Victorian fashions, and also made my mother’s and bridesmaid’s outfits. Altogether five Victorian toilettes!
After a lovely evening meal, we carried out the final preparations- pressing skirts and last minute stitching. I must admit I did sneak out alone and went for a walk, I also practised my walk down the aisle in the magical lantern lit Orangery and then slept the night away in our lavish bedroom.
The wedding day dawned fine and although it was overcast, the moods were dramatically improved by a St Audries Park breakfast- their croissants are amazing. The first guests started arriving so breakfast was a jolly affair in the company of friends.
Breakfast out of the way and moods soaring, it was time to kit up and meet the Quantock Stag Hounds who had arranged a wedding day hunt at nearby Staple Farm. I met my future husband Lucas at the meet, all beaming and looking very smart in his hunting gear. My family who had travelled all the way from Poland found it such an amzing experience.
With the horse riding running late, by the time we arrived back at St Audries Park we had left ourselves only 10 minutes to prepare and get ready for the wedding! Petticoats and corsets on, two hot rollers in my hair, the makeup that I did in the morning was still alright- just needed a touch of powder. Rollers out, hair in the bun, clip on the extensions and style them- 2 minutes work!
St Audries Park organisation was impeccable as all of the guests were already seated in the Orangery. My most profound memory from these moments was that I simply could not stop grinning! Try as I might, the grin was there, glued onto my face and no attempts of serene grace and charm would remove the thing.
Still trying to be serene and failing miserably, I walked on my stepfather’s arm to the tune of Annie’s Song, a surprise for Lucas, as I knew it had special sentimental value for him.
After the ceremony- which was simple, straightforward and joyous- we walked out of the Orangery to the shower of real rose petal confetti, hunter’s horn blazing and a rather unorthodox choice of music – ‘Everybody was Kung Fu fighting’ as we met at the Kung Fu club in Bedford. We were greeted and congratulated by a friend of ours who is a professional chimney sweep.
After a few minutes of circulating with our guests, we mounted our horses and cantered away for a few minutes alone. After the first mad gallop we slowed down to trot, then walked and rode side by side amidst the beautiful grounds of St Audries Park, with the deer from the fenced off park looking at us curiously. Our first hack out as husband and wife- very romantic.
A quick change before dinner, I swapped the afternoon bodice of my outfit for the evening one, and bustled-up the train so that it was easier to walk and to dance in. Lucas changed his buckskin breeches and riding boots into proper Victorian trousers and more sensible shoes. A few more photos in the lovely Library and then it was time to make our way to the dining room.
We chose autumnal dishes from St Audries Park menu with choices of Game terrine or Brie and red onion tart, followed by roasted Venison or roast Turkey and to finish either baked pecan nut praline cheesecake or apple and blackberry tart with blackberry ice cream. And what a feast it was!
After the speeches and with appetites sated, we cut the cake which was a mouth watering Autumn berry pavlova made by the Chef at St Audries Park.
Our first dance was a Viennese waltz, danced to the ‘Voices of Spring’ and half way through the guests joined us. Many of them had attended the dancing practice we organised for our guests a month earlier. The Waltz was followed by the traditional Polish dance, the Polanaise. The party then started dancing to the sound of the St Audries Park DJ, who was great.
The Victorian part of the evening ended at about 9pm when a hot evening buffet and the wedding cake was served. The interlude was utilised by the costumed guests for removing corsets, bloomers and bustles and getting into more modern attire.
Just after midnight, even we were getting tired. The party was wrapped up smoothly and we got to our lovely Bridal suite amidst cheers and leery smiles.
Next morning, breakfast was a lavish affair, with a growing demand for those already famous croissants. We said our goodbyes. It was a sad moment, leaving St Audries Park after such a spectacular and unforgettable day, but we know we will be back…
Photography – Lensmonkey
The outfits – Prior Engagement
Flowers – Eden Florists
Dance lessons – Dance and Fitness
Written by Izabela Pitcher