A Pretty, Purple, Intimate Seaside Wedding at the Scarlet Hotel…

Oh I do so love it when a regular reader of Love My Dress ends up gracing these pages.  Please join me in saying hello this morning to the very charming Vicki, who married her beau Pietro on 21st April at The Scarlet Hotel in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall. 

Vicki has supplied so much useful information for readers, and I hope you love reading through her words as much as you do admire and enjoy looking through these photographs.

"The Scarlet Hotel is an adult only eco boutique hotel in central north Cornwall, overlooking the North Atlantic.  We first stayed there a few years back to celebrate our first anniversary and fell in love with its contemporary design, clifftop location and intimate, warm and friendly atmosphere.  Over the past few years The Scarlet has become our escape – a bolthole from our everyday lives of which we have exceptionally happy memories.

We wanted was something intimate, heartfelt and full of love and personality in our wedding venue – we didn’t want a lot of pomp and circumstance – we just wanted something that reflected us and that didn’t lose the essence of what a wedding should be about; two people in love making a commitment in front of the people that matter most to them…"

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012, Green Photographic


"We decided to scale the wedding right back to just those people who play an active and special role in our daily lives (we eventually decided on a guest list of eighteen people) and started to think that the first step to a truly personal wedding was to get married somewhere that actually meant something to us, that we had a personal connection to and at that point The Scarlet became the obvious choice. 

Cornwall was a long journey for all our guests and in recognition of that and to make the most of the fantastic seaside setting, we decided to make the celebration more of a weekend away than a traditional wedding day – more a celebration of us: our love for each other, for our close friends & family and of our surroundings…


"I wore a pair of drop earrings with an amethyst tear drop which matched my engagement ring.  Bought from a little independent shop in Truro which we came across when in Truro for a hair trial.  They were my best bargain buy at only £18!"


"In addition to décor based around these key elements, we also used other natural elements such as hessian (as curtain tiebacks and for confetti bags) and feathers (used in the order of service and to create an informal aisle for the ceremony)…"


"This organic/natural feel was also carried into our stationery; Abbey from Sugalily created some beautiful hand drawn seaside themed illustrations (we matched each person to a specific illustration for use in the who’s who guide), some abstract wave inspired imagery and we printed everything onto beautiful recycled, textured stock…"


"One of our favourite décor elements were our place names.  We wanted to avoid the formality of a table plan and when we originally went in to see Cutture to discuss our invitations, they were in the midst of making some laser cut flowers for their stand at a wedding show.

We were both taken by how intricate and impactful they were and over time, worked with Cutture to evolve the idea of a “plate garden” – a laser cut floral display which sat on each plate, with a name engraved into one of the leaves…."


Vicki and Pietro hired Michelle Kelly from Pocketful of Dreams to assist them in styling their venue and planning for their big day….

"I discovered Michelle through the mood boards that she creates for Love My Dress.  Her creativity shines through in her mood boards and I decided to get in touch initially just to talk about some help in refining and consolidating some of the styling ideas we already had.

I was already fairly far along in terms of planning – we had our venue and all the key suppliers  as well as lots of creative ideas – but I really wanted some external/objective insight to pull it all together.  I was worried that I was in danger of having too many 'things', and nothing to really tie it all together into a meaningful and relevant design.

Michelle was fantastic – she took on board all of our ideas and really took the time to understand us, our personalities, dreams and hopes for the wedding.  Once she’d proposed a cohesive design, she helped us to source the various décor elements and as we saw the huge benefits of working with Michelle, we invited her to work with us even more closely, both in terms of helping to find and work with Abbey at Sugalily to design our weekend stationery but also to attend and coordinate the wedding on the day itself…"


"One thing we were conscious of with flowers is that we didn’t want to compete with the beautiful views at the venue and I knew I wanted something which seemed quite relaxed and had a natural/organic feel to it with lots of different textures.  I wanted purple in the flowers to fit with the colours we were using but didn’t want to use anything too deep a purple which might start to look a bit gothic and jar with a Spring wedding.  Other than that, I knew I wanted to include succulents (totally obsessed with them and liked the idea of being able to replant after the wedding – we currently have a succulent sanctuary in our kitchen much to Pietro’s displeasure!!) and hydrangeas as they remind me of my Grandma who sadly passed away a few years back.

I collected various photos of flower arrangements I liked and our florist George Mackay was able to identify the common flowers across the images.  She totally got the look we were after and suggested incorporating silver and green tones to fit with the scarlet décor and gardens…"



"We agreed on a menu of flowers (also helped with suggestions by Michelle): succulents of different sizes and colours, hydrangea, chrysanthemums, brunia, eucalyptus (which matched the wallpaper in the private dining room where we had the wedding breakfast), lilac, Kyoto purple lisianthus and trachelium.  We also agreed that my bouquet would have some peacock feathers slotted in. 

We agreed an overall style with our Florist, George (loose, textural and uncontrived) and provided the various vases and rustic planters but let George put together the specific arrangements and elements from the agreed “menu”.  Whilst we knew the individual elements therefore, the end result was still a surprise and I couldn’t have been happier with how the flowers turned out.  They fitted with the venue and our vision for the wedding perfectly; visually interesting and engaging but not too overworked or contrived…"


"We also had some fantastic seaside themed cake pops which were made by my boss’s wife.  Again, they were a fairly last minute addition but just looked stunning displayed in sand in zinc buckets for people to help themselves to throughout the evening…"



"Buying shoes generally is always a traumatic experience {due to me being so tall}, and I was dreading trying to find a pair for the wedding.  I wouldn’t normally wear white/cream shoes so didn’t see why I would wear some for my wedding and additionally, needed to consider that Pietro is shorter than me barefoot so I needed to find a pair of heels in which I felt elegant (yes, I may be tall but I still wanted to wear heels!) but didn’t tower over him like the BFG!  In the end, it turned out to be quite simple. 

I saw Rachel Simpson Shoes referenced on Love My Dress, and liking the fact that she seemed to offer more than just the traditional white court shoe I had a look on her website and was thrilled to see they went up to a size 43!! I ended up going with the Anya in Mink suede and metallic champagne leather detail.  I loved their understated detailing and the fact that they didn’t match but complemented my dress…"










Vicki wore the 'Elite' wedding dress design, by Jenny Packham, purchased from the Canterbury store of Teokath of London…

"I had never been one of those girls who dreamt about their wedding but from the start I knew I wanted a dress that was clean, timeless and elegant, which suited my figure rather than was overly fashion forward/on trend.  Fortunately, being tall, I knew I’d be able to carry off a column style dress and I wanted the emphasis to be on refined details and exquisite materials and cut.  As we refined our ideas and decided on a small, informal wedding this seemed to fit perfectly as I knew I wanted a dress that was not too fussy but still chic and laid back to reflect the feel of the wedding.

The staff at Teokath were fantastic – I tried on about 10 different dresses of different designers and started to identify various elements from the different dresses that I liked.  The staff actually suggested I tried on the Elite which I’d previously dismissed as it looked very plain on the hanger but they’d rightly identified that it incorporated many of the elements I liked about previous dresses.  I actually fell in love with the back of the dress originally…the low back and beautiful chiffon trail was stunning and had a beautiful ethereal feel to it.   I also knew that Pietro would love the way the dress showed off my neck and shoulders; it was important to me that I had a dress that he would love as much as I did…"


"It really did feel like it was “the one” – I welled up when the zip was done up, my sister cried when she saw me in it and as I stepped out the dressing area, one of the ladies from Jenny Packham walked in!  She spent a long time talking to me about the dress and even told me I should walk outside into the street so that I could see the dress in natural light.  The sun came out whilst we were out there and it just looked beautiful – the creaminess of the dress looked stunning and the weightiness of the silk satin felt beautiful on.  As a normally very self-conscious person, the fact that I was happy to walk into the street in a wedding dress and actually enjoyed the mini crowd which gathered around me, told me everything I needed to know.  Sold!"


Pietro wore a Hugo Boss suit with a Ted Baker Shirt


"My Dad gave me away, and whilst we didn’t adhere to many traditions on our wedding day, this was one that was really important to me.  Sharing that special moment with Dad and agreeing with him outside the ceremony room that we would go left foot first down the aisle, is a memory I will treasure forever.

Music is hugely important to me so I wanted to walk down the aisle to something which really summed up how I felt about the day.  After hours of deliberation and help from my sister’s boyfriend, I decided on All I Need – by Air.  It’s a beautiful song I have adored for years, it felt really appropriate and I liked the fact it was a bit of an unconventional choice…" 


"The bridesmaid dresses were from Next and stumbled across purely by chance.  I knew I wanted a dress in purple and both bridesmaids had stated a preference for a maxi dress – we’d been looking for a little while and nothing seemed quite right…we wanted something fairly floaty and relaxed and a lot of purple dresses we found were quite formal/more evening dress style…"








"We didn’t want a traditional evening buffet full of food nobody ever eats, so in addition to the cake and cake pops we also had little zinc buckets dotted throughout the lounge for the evening reception, filled with seaside themed sweets – shrimps, jelly fish, jelly dolphins, white chocolate fish and chips, chocolate ice cream cones etc.  They were a lot of fun to research!"

Guests arrived from midday on the Friday and Michelle had the great idea to get everyone together that afternoon to meet and ensure that Saturday was as comfortable and laid back as possible.  The boys went down to the local pub in Mawgan Porth and the girls got together to have a planting party, making terrariums.  George supplied the basic ingredients, a variety of glass vases and Michelle and I found various kitsch little ornaments (toadstools, buckets, meerkats, trees, ducks, pigs, penguins etc!) to decorate them with and ensure that none of it was taken too seriously.  This was a great way to break the ice and we then used the terrariums on the Saturday to decorate the ceremony room and the evening reception.  It was lovely watching people pointing out their terrariums the next day!"


"With such a small wedding party, the traditional evening entertainment didn’t really seem appropriate….20 people dancing to a wedding DJ just seemed a bit wrong!  Instead therefore, we planned a far more laidback approach to our wedding reception.  After we’d finished our wedding breakfast, we bought everyone back up to the lounge we’d had our ceremony in which Michelle had transformed into a beautiful relaxed zone for the evening…"


"We had our speeches there, with the sunset as our backdrop, which really marked the start of the evening.  From there, we’d set out various entertainment for our guests: board games such as connect 4, cards, snakes & ladders, a personalised wordsearch and a “fill in the gaps” (both produced by Sugalily) which we invited people to complete with their words of wisdom as an alternative to the traditional guest book.  We also had a photobooth, which in addition to the standard moustaches, hats and pipe props, we’d bought some seaside themed props for and this was a huge success – again, despite concerns about how well this would work in a smaller group, people couldn’t get enough of it and we have some fantastic photos as a result!

People could also help themselves to the cake pops and sweets dotted round the room, and we created an ipod playlist for the wedding breakfast and the evening reception which helped to set the relaxed tone for both stages of the day…"



"We didn’t have favours in the traditional sense but with such a small guest list, we spent a lot of time thinking about we could create as special and welcoming an environment as possible for our guests.  To that end, we incorporated a few details into the weekend for or guests:

  Welcome bags: we’d viewed our wedding as a destination wedding in the UK and thought the idea of a welcome bag, focusing on seaside and Cornwall themed items would be a nice touch for our guests after a long drive down.  In each room therefore, we left a jute bag with a handwritten label designed by Cutture, containing: a welcome guide produced by Sugalily containing a welcome letter, itinerary for the weekend and information on things to do in the local area, a who’s who guide produced by Sugalily to introduce everyone to our other guests, a beach ball, a bucket & spade, a pack of Cornish Fairings, a pack of locally produced chocolate seashells, a locally produced organic soap in peacock feather packaging and a self-addressed “I do like to be beside the seaside” postcard.

  On the Sunday morning after we’d all had breakfast together, we handed out leaving packs, which contained: a thank you card containing a Polaroid photo taken of each person the night before, a car picnic made up of various treats and nibbles which we tend to eat on road trips (crisps, Percy Pigs, peanut M&Ms, a bottle of Italian water and some Italian biscuits) and a road trip CD (songs chosen by us and the CD and cover produced by Sugalily).

  We also packaged up peoples’ plate gardens for them to take home and their terrariums…"



"We decided to have a bit of fun with our wedding cake and opted for a lemon drizzle sand castle cake!  This was made for us by Louise Makes Cakes, who Pietro used to work with many years ago.  She is based in Sevenoaks so coordination was a bit tricky and our best man ended up transporting the cake which I didn’t actually see until the evening!"


"We wanted to take a timeless approach to the styling with a quirky/whimsical twist to reflect our non-traditional natures and the relaxed setting and Michelle’s Perfect Harmony concept allowed us to do exactly that.  We focused the décor therefore on 5 key elements

Earth: represented by the natural, organic floral displays and use of enduring succulents and terrariums

Wood: we used driftwood (also tying back to the coastal location) throughout the day to decorate the venue, driftwood frames for the various posters we had displayed, rustic wood planters used on the tables in the wedding breakfast and bespoke artwork made from laser cut wood.  We also presented our confetti bags in a wooden treasure chest which also lightheartedly played to the seaside location.

Water: signified primarily by the seaside location as well as the wine and drinks served throughout the day.  We also presented our Order of Service in bottles filled with sand and tied with teal cord and a purple feather and a bleached peacock feather.  This visual play on a message in a bottle also tied back in with the seaside/water element.

Metal: represented by the various shaped and sized vases we used during the wedding breakfast and by our wedding jewellery.

Fire: represented by the various tea lights we used during the wedding breakfast and evening reception as well as the lanterns we displayed on the terrace during the evening.  We deliberately held our speeches against the backdrop of the sun setting and offered blankets to people in case they wanted to go outside to watch the sunset…"



Words of Wedded Wisdom…

"Invest in bespoke artwork or decor as these can be fantastic keepsakes you can use and display in your home afterwards.   This is also a good acid test…if you wouldn’t have something in your front room afterwards then are you really creating a wedding which truly reflects your personalities and style?

Hire a wedding planner and stylist! For such a small wedding, you could easily argue that a wedding planner was a totally unnecessary extravagance and I had concerns initially that a planner would take over and that by hiring one I was somehow less of a bride.  However, I’m so glad I put those preconceptions aside.  We would definitely have been able to cope without Michelle but having her assistance over the weekend and her fantastic design skills and creative vision undoubtedly made our wedding a million times better.

Be true to yourself.  Throughout the last few months of my wedding planning, there were blog posts popping up all over the place about the excessive use of details, hessian being over used, vintage being dead and people forgetting the true purpose of marriage.  From the start we were certain we didn’t want an overly themed wedding or for it to be just one big party…I know that works perfectly for some people, but it wasn’t right for us. 


At times reading all those blog entries, I felt guilty and somehow like I wasn’t taking my marriage seriously because I had lots of details planned.  In hindsight, and to any other brides to be feeling like this, I would say two things:

{1] Take everything you read with a pinch of salt.  People (whether it’s industry experts or your family and friends) will always be entitled to their opinions but remember they are just those – 'opinions'.  It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by the hugeness of the wedding industry and sometimes I found it helped to just bow out of the blogs and magazines for a bit of a breather and some reflection.
{2}  I have a marketing background, a fine eye for detail and a love and appreciation of stationery and general creative amazingness.  I was always going to have details at our wedding!  Of course I was inspired by weddings I saw, that’s what we want from wedding blogs, but I learnt to separate out details that were gorgeous but just not relevant to us and those which fitted with our personalities and the vision we had for our wedding day: a beautiful, detail-filled but ultimately relevant celebration of our love.

Keep some things back.  I was very conscious of not telling our guests every detail of what we had planned as I wanted people to be genuinely excited and surprised by the wedding celebrations as they unfolded.  This was gorgeous to witness and something I would heartily recommend (it also helps to avoid any concerns or thoughts of disapproval!!!)  I also arranged a few surprises on the day for Pietro (certain music tracks played throughout the day, the Pie loves Mash artwork displayed during our wedding breakfast and the laser cut motorbike nestled into his plate garden place setting) and watching his reactions as he noticed them was just adorable."


Where to even start? How lovely is all of this? All that thought and love that has gone in to preparing this day, and the photographs that showcase the love that is more than evident between this couple.

Huge, huge thanks Vicki, for taking the time to share all your wedding day secrets with readers and thanks to to Sarah at Green Photographic for sharing these images…

"As with all our suppliers, we wanted to pick a photographer that we not only admired the work of but that we also clicked with on a personal level.  We felt this was especially important for our photographer who would be with us all day and with such a small wedding group, potentially a bit more visible than at other weddings.  Sarah Falugo at Green Photographic was very natural, unfussy approach to photography which we felt fitted our style of wedding perfectly and we could not be happier with the photographs she took on the day.

Also, we cannot recommend our wedding planner and stylist Michelle Kelly highly enough – she is an absolute pleasure to work with, hugely creative and highly organised.  Not only did she help us to refine and elevate our initial creative ideas into a cohesive style and approach, her organisational skills and effortless coordination in the lead up to the wedding and on the day meant that we literally did not have to worry about a thing, all weekend."


Let's show Vicki and Pietro some love shall we?



Stylist – Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams
Photographer – Sarah Falugo at Green Photographic
Venue – The Scarlet Hotel in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall
Brides dress – Jenny Packham via Teokath
Brides Hair Accessories – Not on the High Street
Brides shoes – Rachel Simpson Shoes
Grooms Suit – Hugo Boss + Ted Baker Shirt
Bridesmaids – Next
Florist – George Mackay
Cakes – Louise Makes Cakes
Paper products for stationery/decor – Cutture + Sugalily
Sweets – A Quarter Of + Amazon
Makeup Artist – Ella Butler
Hair Stylist – Number 8 Hairdressing in Truro


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.