As we motor along into August, I have to admit that my thoughts are beginning to turn towards my favourite season of the year, and that’s Autumn.
I was so pleased when I saw that I would be sharing this spectacular autumnal country house celebration with you today, filled with the rich and vibrant colours of the season. This is the wedding of Sophie, a Risk Analyst for a corporate mobility company, and James, a Risk Manager who works in banking. They celebrated their marriage on the 20 October 2018 at the beautiful and historic Maunsel House in Somerset.
Images by Howell Jones Photography
“Autumn was our starting point. We both love that time of year, and it’s when we got engaged, so anything autumnal gave us inspiration. We also didn’t want the day to be too formal – that’s not us, and we wanted our guests to be comfortable, so we opted for a more rustic feel.”
What a magnificent room Sophie and her loved ones got ready in. Sophie was able to lay out all of the products she had chosen at Bobbi Brown across a lovely dressing table, and chose to take care of her own hair and make-up.
Her hair slide came from Claire’s, which she wore with a long, tulle veil (sadly, no details about this), and she also wore a bracelet borrowed from her mum, sparkling drop earrings from Etsy, and a Tiffany necklace gifted to her by James.
“My perfume was Ralph Lauren, Woman. Something special to remind us of the day, now whenever I wear it, it’ll bring back lovely memories of our day.”
Sophie’s exquisite Pronovias dress, with its stylish mermaid silhouette and wonderful Guipure lace was the ‘Princia’, and chosen at Windsor & Eton Brides, with alterations made by Jennifer at The Secret Fitting Room. The addition of off-the-shoulder lace sleeves was such an elegant touch.
“I loved this designer from the day I started pinning on Pinterest! I had really hoped that this style would suit me, and after trying a few on in a different shop, I realised their styling was perfect for my body type. When I tried this one on I just loved the colour and the lace. I’d been looking for an alternative colour like blush or champagne, but in the end, the classic ivory looked the best!”
Shoes were pink velvet flats embellished with pearls and crystals, from Carvela, and Sophie’s other accessories were a mixture of those she had chosen, along with borrowed and gifted pieces.
Sophie’s bouquet was wild and unstructured seasonal perfection – deep orange and red dahlias together with pink-tinged hydrangea blooms, roses, dried teasels, grasses and lots more, and created by Sarah, of Floribunda Rose.
“Sarah captured what we wanted so perfectly based on a handful of emails and photos. We were blown away by the flowers and how gorgeous they were.”
Sophie was accompanied down the aisle by her wonderful dad, to the song Fields of Gold, sung by Eva Cassidy, and these moments were among both Sophie and James’ favourites, as they explain here.
“Seeing James waiting for me at the end of the aisle. I wasn’t expecting to cry at all, but I was crying with joy as I walked towards him and I could not wait to be his wife.”
And a few words from the groom…
“It was very similar for me, I was standing at the front of the aisle talking to my brother and guests, and Sophie rang the bell in the steeple to let us know that she was on her way, and Fields of Gold by Eva Cassidy started to play. A minute or so later I could hear whispers and gasps from our guests, and I looked over my shoulder to see the most beautiful woman in the world walking towards me. I hadn’t expected to, but I felt my breath catch as I looked at her.”
The couple chose to hold their ceremony outside, and the weather worked out just perfectly for them! They exchanged their vows beside a pretty gazebo decorated with fresh, colourful blooms, and gave one another rings, chosen at Blue Nile.
“We both wrote our vows separately, and just sort of guessed roughly how long to make them. We knew we didn’t want them too long as we had planned to memorise them for the day, and we ended up doing lots of last minute cramming the week before the wedding to make sure we had them ready. Our guests were so surprised that we both remembered them off by heart, and that we had vows that were so similar.”
For their ceremony reading, Sophie and James chose wonderful words from Philip Pullman’s, The Amber Spyglass, read by Sophie’s sister, Lydia.
“This was chosen as it was one of our favourite reads when we were younger, and gave us both such a strong reaction when we first read it that it felt right to have this.”
James wore a handsome blue three-piece suit, complete with checked waistcoat, from Ted Baker, which he wore with an ivory Paisley print tie and pocket square from Moss Bros., and cufflinks from Not On The High Street.
“We met at university – we were both on the swim team, and we were friends before we started to go out. We went out for 4 years before we got engaged (James surprised me on a holiday to Norway and proposed on a white sandy beach at the end of a Fjord – we had the whole place to ourselves, and it was stunning!).”
“We were engaged for 2 years before our wedding day. We needed time to enjoy being engaged, and time to plan as we spread that out over the second year of our engagement.”
After the ceremony, there were canapes and drinks to be enjoyed, all prepared by the Maunsel House team. How brilliant do those cocktails look served in delicate, mismatched vintage china teacups?
I love the pops of navy blue in the decor as well as the watercolour stationery, which came courtesy of Etsy-based North Salt Studio.
Florist Sarah, of Floribunda Rose, supplied buckets of blooms for Sophie and her loved ones to create their own table arrangements, which they did brilliantly, held inside bowls spray painted gold for a vintage / autumnal feel.
The tables were also adorned with vintage candlesticks hired from Bath Vintage Hire, with lovely deep blue candles, and on the top table, empty Cava bottles were upcycled and painted gold for a little extra decoration.
“We decided to make our own wedding favours for a personal touch. It was so worth the effort, but many an evening or a weekend was spent creating them! We made our own tomato chutney and put it into little jars with ribbon on it, and some white chocolate hearts with freeze dried raspberry and a dusting of gold sugar.”
There was a delicious rustic buffet made by Maunsel House, as well as lots of pizza, courtesy of Pizza Project, too.
“My sister Rachael (also a bridesmaid), runs Small’s Cakes, and made the most incredible three tiered cake. It had a different flavour in each tier: lemon and blueberry, salted caramel, and chocolate and cherry. She decorated it beautifully, with watercolours to match our theme and elephant cake toppers which we will treasure forever.”
“My other sister and bridesmaid Lydia baked a huge batch of cupcakes for the evening do (raspberry and pistachio and pralines and cream flavoured), because, you know, you can never have too much cake!”
“James’s identical twin brother was his best man. He delivered the best speech I have ever heard – it had us all crying with laughter. I immediately got him to give me a copy, which we will treasure forever. I did regret not having his speech filmed as it was brilliant and our guests’ laughter must have been heard a mile off!”
With the food and speeches concluded, it was time to head outside for sparklers, as well as toasted marshmallows around a fire pit on a beautiful autumn evening.
The couple’s photographer, Howell Jones, has woven such magic with these images. There’s a real fine art, painterly touch to the use of light, shadow and colour, and it’s fantastic to share his work here today.
“We can’t recommend Warren highly enough, he was fantastic all the way through the process. In the run up to the wedding he kept us informed and was interested to know the plan on the day so that he could get all the right shots.”
“On the day he worked a really long day, from the moment we were at the venue to when the dance floor emptied at the end of the night. He blended into the crowd and we have some incredible shots to remember the day by.”
Back inside and on the dancefloor, Sophie and James enjoyed their first dance together as a married couple, to an acoustic version of the song Lullaby, by Paloma Faith.
“The lyrics were the perfect reflection of our relationship. The dance remix by Sigala of this song was actually our closing song too which got everyone up dancing with us to end the day!”
“After our first dance we were very lucky to be surprised by a flash mob from Vocally Bespoke, organised by my mum! At first we had no idea what was going on as a random person we hadn’t invited burst into song, and then another and then another…”
“….And then finally my old choir leader walked into the room to sing beautiful renditions of Can You Feel the Love Tonight by Elton John and This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole. The whole audience were in tears and we just couldn’t believe it!”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“No-one knows what you have planned for the day and how everything should be, and that means that if small things go wrong no-one notices, so there is no point stressing over them!”
“Be prepared for the day to fly by, try and remain present and drink in every second you can. The wedding day is only the beginning. Also, don’t forget handkerchiefs and blotting papers!”
Sophie and James, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your fantastic, elegant day with us, and I’ve loved writing about it, too. Many thanks also go to Howell Jones Photography for these enchanting and atmospheric images, and you can find more of his lovely work on our pages, right here.
Until next time!
Credits & Thanks
- Photography - Howell Jones Photography
- Venue - Maunsel House
- Sophie's Dress - Pronovias via Windsor & Eton Brides + Alterations - The Secret Fitting Room + Hair Slide - Claire's + Necklace - Tiffany & Co. + Earrings - Etsy + Shoes - Carvela
- Florist - Floribunda Rose
- James' Suit - Ted Baker + Tie + Pocket Square - Moss Bros. + Cufflinks - Not On The High Street
- Bridesmaid's Dresses - Quiz
- Rings - Blue Nile
- Vintage Candlesticks - Bath Vintage Hire
- Stationery - North Salt Studio
- Catering - Maunsel House + Pizza Project
- Cake - Small's Cakes
- Entertainment - Vocally Bespoke