What a delight it truly is to share lovely weddings on Love My Dress. The first thing that caught my eye when this one hit my inbox was the dress. It’s just so sumptuous and graceful with its layers of silk organza and shawl neckline. Emma wore it beautifully when she married Michael on the 4th of September 2015 at Penshurst Place in Kent. They held their reception at nearby Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, a quintessentially English country house and garden with Benjamin Toms, on hand to capture this stunning celebration.
“Saying Penshurst Place is beautiful is an understatement. It’s also peaceful, romantic and full of history. Riverhill Himalayan Gardens is owned by Sarah Rogers and her family, who are lovely and they only accept about six weddings a year. The gardens are planted with trees brought back from horticultural expeditions since 1840 and have a breathtaking view over the Weald. We had our drinks reception in the rose garden and set up a marquee on the lawn for dinner.”
Photography by Benjamin Toms
“We have been friends for a long time and were engaged for a little under two years before we got married. We wanted our wedding to look and feel like us; a bit old fashioned and modern at the same time. I lived in France as a child, so it was English country wedding with a European touch.”Le Spose di Giò dress is absolutely stunning. I adore the crossed top with the layers of fluted pale pink organza. She added a pair of ivory shoes from ASOS which matched the top of her dress and a delicate veil.
“I had looked at dresses online and in a couple of shops but the styles I thought I liked really didn’t suit my body or look the way I thought they would in real life. When I went to Le Spose di Giò I ended up trying on an off-the-shoulder, pink silk and organza dress. When I left the shop and couldn’t really stop thinking about it, so I went back to get it. I loved how romantic it was, yet modern and classic at the same time. Their designs are a lovely mix of classically beautiful and unusual while still being comfortable and the fabric they use is gorgeous for every dress.”
“All of my accessories had sentimental value. They were all gifts from over the years, or lent to me for our wedding.”
“I had actually been double booked for my hair with someone who ended up cancelling on me with a week to go. I was so lucky to find the lovely Helen Shearcroft the same week. We spoke on the phone and it turned out she had had a wedding booked on the date we were due to be married and had been let down too, so we agreed to meet on the morning of the wedding and just go for it. She did a beautiful job. She’s so skilled and lovely too.”
“I didn’t have anything in my hair. I just wore a tiny touch of lavender, because I love the smell and Michael had some in his boutonnière.”
“Michael’s deep navy blue wool suit was made for him at Austin Reed Regent Street before they closed. He wore a yellow gold tie and a pocket watch with a white handkerchief, also from Austin Reed. The pocket watch was my engagement present to him.”
“The groomsmen’s suits were from Moss Bros. in a similar colour to Michael’s. It was actually surprisingly tricky to hire nice lounge suits easily.”
“I was accompanied down the aisle by my father to an instrumental version of ‘None Shall Part Us’ from Iolanthe by Gilbert and Sullivan.”
“We bought our wedding rings from W. R. Bullen, a little independent jewellers in Norwich. We wanted simple rings.”
Emma and Michael are delighted with their photographer, Kent based Benjamin Toms, and rave about how great he was on the day. I adore his use of light, especially the images of Emma before the ceremony.
“As an enthusiastic photographer I’m picky to say the least but I was utterly delighted. Ben is a phenomenal photographer with huge amounts of experience and a lovely man. He made a true effort to build a rapport, knowing I am generally camera-shy. He was cheerful and relaxed, with a sense of humour, he made our guests laugh in earnest before he took a photograph, and added a real sense of levity when I was nervous.”
“As far as his approach to planning is concerned, we were equally impressed. We filled in a form giving details of the structure of the day, the photographs we would like and any particular needs we had. He liaised with everyone involved at the venue, then kept everything in his head on the day.”
“Benjamin is entirely unobtrusive, a fantastic documentary photographer who knows his equipment, captures light like a dream and finds fun, romance and emotion in equal measure. His classic shots are beautifully constructed but our favourite photographs are those where he has waited until my husband or family showed the real side of our relationships.”
“Benjamin paid constant attention to our guests too, which they loved. He has true creativity and managed the group and our timings with real sensitivity. We are so happy with our photographs, showing them to our guests was such a happy moment and the reaction has been just the same as mine.”
“We chose the wonderful Homegrown Flower Company, run by Zelie Billins. She grows the flowers herself outside her workshop and makes gorgeous bouquets and arrangements. I love how fresh and soft her style is, and that everything she uses is locally produced. Most of our guests were sent home with some flowers so they could be enjoyed for a few days afterwards. We couldn’t bear to see them go to waste.”
“We had flowers everywhere, blankets to snuggle under, black and glass lanterns filled with candles on the tables and easels to hold the seating plan and table names.”
“Michael loves fruit cake but he knows I don’t so we asked Anna Yates, our lovely cake supplier, to make us a naked cake. It was a vanilla sponge covered in fresh fruit and flowers.”
“KD Jazzband played swing and jazz music until the end. They’re splendidly talented and kind and everyone went mad for them, which was lovely to see.”
The newlyweds danced for the first time together to ‘I’m Crazy ‘Bout My Baby’ by Louis Armstrong.
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“Be kind and firm about everything to do with your wedding. Make your guests’ enjoyment part of your own, and make certain your wedding looks and sounds exactly like you as a couple. Also, always have a biscuit handy when replying to wedding emails.
The only thing I would change is that I would have given a speech and asked someone to record the speeches given. They were truly hilarious and warm and I’m sad not to be able to hear them again at some point. Michael wouldn’t change a thing. Even the bits that made us grumpy were so typically us.”
Thank you ever so much to Emma and Michael, it has been a joy to share your special day with our readers. Our thanks also to the man behind the camera, Benjamin Toms for the wonderful images.
Love Caoimhe xx
- Photographer - Benjamin Toms
- Venue - Penshurst Place + Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, Kent
- Wedding Dress - Le Spose di Giò
- Veil - Le Spose di Giò
- Shoes - ASOS
- Groom - Austin Reed (no longer open)
- Bridesmaids - Chi Chi + TFNC + ASOS
- Florist - The Homegrown Flower Company
- Cake - Anna Yates (no website)
- Transport - Hartwell Classic Cars
- Entertainment - KD Jazzband
- Rings - W.R. Bullen
- Catering - Mother Love Events Ltd.
- Stationery - Blush Publishing
- Hair Stylist - Helen Shearcroft