A Gatsby Proposal followed by a Marvellous May Wedding at St Audries Park
Tell us about the proposal – how and where did it happen?
‘I threw a big Gatsby Themed party at The Exeter Rougemont Hotel for Kalem’s 30th birthday in July 2018 and he proposed to me then. All our friends and family were there and it was nice to share the moment with them.’
What was your first step in planning your wedding?
‘First of all, getting a list together of what’s necessary to plan a wedding! It was hard to prioritise what comes first but obviously the first thing to do was book the ideal venue and everything else just falls together after that. ‘
Inspiration: Did you use blogs or magazines for ideas?
‘I had a “Wedding folder” saved on my Instagram account that I would save all wedding inspiration to. Instagram’s amazing for ideas as you can see real-life wedding ideas too – not just styled shoots you usually see on the web and magazines.’
What were your wedding “must have’s”?
‘Most of all, we wanted a beautiful Manor House that could accommodate all of our family and friends, where we could hold the ceremony, wedding breakfast & reception, and no one having to travel anywhere during the day. We wanted the location to be luxurious but have a relaxed vibe.’
Wedding budget: how did you organise your wedding budget?
‘There wasn’t necessarily a budget but if there were things we could save on, for instance if bridesmaids bouquets were £60 with one distributor, but £45 with another, as long as quality’s not compromised, it’s a no-brainier.’
Wedding venue: how did you search for a wedding venue?
‘We did a search through the internet to see what venues were available in the South West. We did notice St Audries Park come up a few times and friends of ours who had also viewed the venue spoke very highly of it and suggested we have a look.’
What made you choose your wedding venue?
‘St Audries Park has the wow factor. It’s an opulent setting, stunning rooms, beautiful nostalgic smell of wood, lovely atmosphere… it ticked every single box of being able to provide everything from the ceremony, to food, to accommodation. We just paid the deposit there and then, we didn’t need to look anywhere else, especially when a place amazes you like that.’
Styling your wedding: how did you personalise your big day?
‘The theme was ‘Regal Glamour’. There wasn’t any particular colours in mind but loved muted tones with accents of gold which were in our bespoke cake stands, cutlery, charger plates, easels & centrepieces. Our cake was based on Meghan & Harry’s, to which we added gold leaf. The flavours were Lemon & Elderflower with buttercream. The favours were little Macarons which also had gold leaf on them.’
Wedding photographer: how did you choose your photographer?
‘Our photographer was Angel Wade who I found on Facebook! She has a really lovely, bright and airy style to her photos. She’s very active on Instagram and with the demographic of brides nowadays, it’s good to showcase work on social media.’
Wedding suppliers: how did you choose your suppliers?
‘Again, social media platforms.’
‘Melanie Todd was chosen for the cake as she is very artistically talented. Our florist Tina supplied the flowers that went on the cake, which Melanie styled. We were absolutely thrilled with the result.’
‘We chose Tina because she was able to exactly replicate the vision! I mentioned the word “Sumptuous” and she got it. Not only that but her flowers are very well priced compared to other florists. She used beautiful quintessential flowers, such as the peonies that were perfect for May. I love flowers so much so they were very important.’
‘Keeping it Vintage’ in Sidmouth supplied our gorgeous gold coloured easels, charger plates and cutlery. They have an amazing inventory of wedding props.’
‘I believe picking the right suppliers who know your vision is important for a stress-free experience.’
Describe your wedding attire?
‘My wedding dress was a fishtail silhouette with a lace bodice & tulle train. It was slightly blush toned in the skirt. My veil was longer than cathedral length, with a blusher and made of a delicate soft tulle. The “Exeter Seamstress” did all of my adjustments plus making the off-shoulder straps that could be popped off for the evening.’
What accessories did you wear on the day?
‘My bridal shoes were a pair of white satin Manolo Blahniks with jewelled ankle straps.
I had a combined “Something blue, something borrowed” which was an Aquamarine & Diamond ring. ‘
What did your partner wear?
‘Kalem chose to wear a Deep Navy Velvet Tuxedo jacket with a white dress shirt, black bow tie and trousers. He changed his shirt to a black one for the evening. His shoes were black patent leather from Christian Louboutin.’
Tell us about your Bridesmaids, Groomsmen and their outfits?
‘We had a very large bridal party made up of 10 bridesmaids and 10 groomsmen.’
‘I had my 3 sisters, 2 sister-in-law’s and 5 best friends. The bridesmaids were asked to pick their own dresses in a ‘Champagne’ colour. I loved the idea of mismatched dresses which showcased their individual styles. One of my bridesmaids wore a suit! Our gorgeous flower girls Tazmin & Willow also wore mismatched dresses.’
‘Kalem had his dad, 3 Brother-in-laws and 6 closest friends. They all wore matching navy velvet tuxedos, as well as our “Ring Security” Ned, and our 2 Tomboy nieces Macey & Teegan who were “Page Girls”.’
What was your biggest wedding splurge?
‘Weddings are just one massive splurge! But to pick one, I’d note my shoes cost more than the dress.’
What was your biggest wedding saving?
‘Probably doubling the bridesmaid’s bouquets up as table centrepieces flowers! You’ll know exactly what I mean if you know the price of centrepiece flowers!’
‘Another saving was that Angel Wade was doing a great deal at the time for her photography. I believe it was a Black Friday offer, book before end of week promotion!’
What was your ceremony like?
‘Our ceremony was non-religious and was held in the Orangery at St Audries Park which is absolutely beautiful, especially on the day when it was lovely & sunny. I had an artist called Huw perform “Shallow” as a surprise for Kalem as he loves that song.’
‘We wanted to keep the ceremony short and sweet so skipped out readings, straight to vows and “I dos”.’
Tell us about your drinks reception and wedding breakfast?
‘We chose Peach Bellini’s, Mojitos & Coronas for our Welcome Drinks. St Audries Park supplied lovely canapés for all guests. Kalem and I enjoyed our in the Library and had a quiet 5 minutes on our own.’
‘We didn’t get a chance to sample the wedding breakfast beforehand due to busy work schedules, however it was so tasty on the day! We were really impressed the chefs had managed to make that amount of food all taste and look so good. The starters were the Cheese Soufflé & Ham Hocks. Our main was a choice of Roasted Pork Belly, British Hake and a Roasted Root Vegetable Wellington. Desserts were Chocolate Brownie & Banana Parfait. All the adrenaline on the day stunts your appetite but managed to eat the lot because it was so delicious.’
Did you have a band or DJ for your evening reception?
‘We had the St Audries Park DJ in the Club Room for the evening and our guests paid him lots of compliments.’
Tell us about your first dance – what song did you chose and why?
‘Our first dance was to a song called “Unthinkable” by Alicia Keys. It’s a very special song to us, especially as it was also the song played when Kalem proposed.’
Based on your own experience, give us some top tips:
‘I would advise brides not to consume too much time worrying about small things such as picking colours and where things are to be placed. Aesthetics are important but in the end you will only remember the fun you had. I remember wanting the chair sashes to be tied a certain way but now I can’t even recall what colour we chose. I also highly suggest going for all-inclusive venue packages as this avoids a lot of stress and time!’
“If we could do it all again, we’d…”
‘Probably have a videographer. At the time we didn’t think it was necessary as we cringe at videos of ourselves. But I think couples should try and have as many mementos as possible.’
Did you go on a honeymoon or mini-moon?
‘We flew to Vietnam the day after the wedding! We spent 2 weeks enjoying street food tours and exploring in Ho Chi Minh We then stayed at a luxury resort in Phu Quoc. It was amazing to have those 2 weeks relaxing after 7 months of solid planning.’
Purchase & Hire – Tell us who your suppliers were:
Photographer: Angel Wade
Wedding attire: Wed2B
Other outfits: Limehaus Tuxedo Jackets
Wedding rings: De Beers
Wedding cake: Melanie Todd Cake Design
Cars: Mercedes Benz South West
Invitations: Fine Art Calligraphy