A Vintage and Literary Inspired Winter Wedding

vintage wedding

This wedding makes me think of the song ‘These are a few of my favourite things’ from The Sound of Music.

Not because the wedding reminds me of the Alps or musical film (far from it), but because the day does indeed include so many of the bride and groom’s favourite things that I feel I almost know them, just by looking at the photographs. Meet Lisa, a teacher, and Dan, a Royal Naval Officer, who married on the 17th of December 2016 at the beautiful Chawton House Library, in Chawton, Hampshire.  If there was ever a wedding that epitomised ‘your day your way’ then this is it (and I love it).

“Literature played an enormous part in our day, informing everything from the readings and orders of service to the table decorations and aspects of my attire.  Jane Austen was key for obvious reasons, as was Jane Eyre, my other favourite Jane.  Orange Penguin Classics are something of an obsession for us and were thus prominent in the stationery and favours.”

Images by Joanna Cleeve Photography 

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“The dresses, veil and makeup styling were inspired by the sixties.  Music was drawn from a number of eras and styles, including jazz for the morning breakfast, Christmas classics and Easy Listening for the post-ceremony afternoon tea.  Our other interests made various appearances throughout, be it Lego, nautical stuff, unicorns or the macabre!”Lisa’s fabulously 60’s style veil was by Joyce Jackson (customised with a layer of polkadots) and purchased at Twirl Boutique, while her shoes were by Pink Paradox and customised with painted literary themed soles by Middo Shoes in Southampton.

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Lisa was lucky enough to wear two beautiful gowns.  The first was a short 60’s style from Chi Chi London (customised with Royal Navy buttons) while the second was another 1960’s themed gown by Lou Lou Bridal, purchased at Twirl Boutique in Petersfield and then customised to suit.

“In one of many departures from tradition, Dan went with me to choose the dress; I loved the bow on the collar and knew it was the right choice when Dan’s eyes lit up as I came out of the fitting room.”

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The day was structured around the couple’s two favourite meals, with an enormous breakfast spread before the ceremony that incorporated Dan’s love of the Full English and Lisa’s of pancakes and coffee shop paraphernalia; afternoon tea being one of their favourite things.  It also allowed for Lisa to make use of her extensive collection of vintage tea sets.

“We met while Dan was in Scotland with work.  Almost from the moment we met we spent every second that work would allow in each other’s company and when Dan had to head abroad for several months we arranged to meet in South Africa.  Within a year of having met we moved in together in Hampshire.  Work took Dan away again but as soon as we were reunited he asked me to marry him, and we began planning our eccentric but highly personal wedding.”

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To finish her look, Lisa chose a gold plated anchor necklace and earrings from Picketts and Pursers in Petersfield.

Hair and make-up were the work of Miriam King.

Dan looked quite the officer and the gentleman in his naval uniform, tailored by Gieves and Hawkes and worn with a cap and his naval officer’s sword.

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Dan and Lisa accompanied each other down the aisle, to the ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ from the Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky

“We wrote our own vows.  I was promised books, seasonal coffee treats and lots of adventures; Dan was promised inappropriate giggles, unusual endeavours and heaps of books and dogs!”

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For readings, the couple chose ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton, ‘My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose’ by Robert Burns and finally, an extract from the ending of ‘Persuasion’ by Jane Austen, musing on the particular trials faced by a couple in the Navy.

“We made sure that Mama Cass’ ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ appeared in the ceremony playlist, as the words are so apt when Dan is away with work.”

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Lisa’s engagement ring came from Picketts and Pursers in Petersfield and the couple returned there for their wedding bands, which each had an engraved quote from Jane Eyre on the inside.

On the day, the rings were kept on a unicorn ring-holder by Charlotte Clark Designer Maker.

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“Our photographerJoanna Cleeve and her assistant, Audrey, were absolutely fantastic.  They were everywhere on the day, working tirelessly to capture every little moment.”

“Joanna took both beautiful bride and groom and group photos and intimate observational shots of the day; we haven’t yet tired of looking through them!”

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“We chose Chawton House Library because of our shared love of literature, and Jane Austen in particular.  The house belonged to her brother and the cottage that she lived in is just down the road; the house is now a centre for the study and preservation of early women’s writing.”

“We are winter people and the building and grounds lent themselves beautifully to a December wedding – everything had a wonderful pre-Christmas glow.  Chawton House provided an absolute angel in the guise of Corrine Saint, who worked absolutely tirelessly as the events planner for our day.”

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Save the Dates and the wedding invitations were the work of Love Me Do Designs in a Penguin Classic style, while the Order of Service was designed by Lisa and Dan using a quote from ‘Jane Eyre’.

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Centrepieces were books from Lisa and Dan’s library topped with various personal items (including a tiny cauldron, a cafetiere and a Jimmy Choo high heel) filled with flowers.

Table runners were made from Jane Austen novels, jars covered in pages from favourite books were used for candle holders and postcards featuring Penguin Classic covers were placed in little holders on the tables to continue the literary theme.

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Catering was kindly provided by Dan’s sister, while the spectacular cake was the work of Choccywoccydoodah.

“We chose a bespoke chocolate cake boasting an anatomically correct heart and skull, the latter mounted with a sparkling, twisted golden unicorn horn, with an anchor to finish and a scroll emblazoned with “Til Death Do Us Part”.”

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“We provided wedding favour bags containing a box of Montezuma chocolates, as well as a unicorn charm and some temporary anchor tattoos.
Guests could then make up their own Lego minifigure from an enormous container of parts, and select a mystery novel – we had wrapped second-hand Penguin Classics in brown paper with bullet-point hints as to their contents and put them under the Christmas tree.”

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“Favourite moments included setting up together before the guests arrived; seeing Lisa in her fully customised dress and veil (Dan); the ceremony itself; trying to martial a bunch of sailors for photographs outside; snatched moments alone together courtesy of Joanna and arriving at our beautiful suite at Batty Langley’s in London.  We were delighted with the day.  We had spent so long together planning every little detail and it was perfect.”

“Although we had a directory for gifts, we requested first and foremost that all of the guests bring a personalised Christmas decoration that we could hang on our tree.  The results were some incredibly thoughtful decorations that we can now use every year as a reminder of the day and the people that helped make it so special.”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“Do exactly as you want.  It’s nobody else’s day; you are not obliged to stand on tradition or ceremony. You only get one chance to do it so don’t settle for anybody else’s vision of how your day ought to be.”

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I adore this incredibly personal day, thank you so much to Lisa and Dan for sharing it with us, and to Joanna Cleeve for the photographs.  I’m a big fan of a winter wedding.  Take a look here for some more glittering, cosy inspiration for this often overlooked season.

Much love,

Shona x

Credits & Thanks

Shona Raffle-Edwards

Shona Raffle-EdwardsView all Shona's articles

Shona is a wedding admiring bookworm with a love of the countryside, flowers and all things organisational who is currently based in sunny Yorkshire with her husband and beloved cat

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