A Mademoiselle de Guise Dress + Contemporary, Candlelit Festive Winter Wedding

Winter wedding planners (and enthusiasts, of course!) you’re going to want to bookmark this beauty of a celebration we’re sharing today.

The days maybe shorter in wintertime, but this beautiful, contemporary wedding was filled with candles, casting a warm glow over the whole day. This is winter cool for all the right reasons, so settle in and enjoy. Meet lawyers Jenni and James, who were married on the 29 December 2018 at the newly restored and opened Aswarby Rectory – a welcoming Regency era house set in 9 acres of the Lincolnshire countryside.

Images by Henry Lowther

“The overall look and feel of the day was really important to us, but we didn’t want a particular theme. The venue is stylish yet understated, with great attention to detail, and we wanted to mirror this in our styling. As it was a winter wedding, we went for quite a simple palette, with nude and blush tones, lots of foliage, grey tableware and minimalist stationery to keep it contemporary. As we got married in December, we used lots of pillar candles, both to line the ceremony room, as well as on the tables, to add a cosy and intimate atmosphere.”

The Mews Bridal Notting Hill (as well as its sister boutique in Clifton) is an enduringly popular destination for Love My Dress brides looking for effortlessly cool French designers. Whilst there, Jenni discovered her beautiful, backless dress by Mademoiselle de Guise, with its softly flowing skirt, cutaway detailing at the waist, and delicate lace overlay.

“It was the only dress that I tried on that I felt instantly comfortable, and myself in. It was simple and relaxed, and perfectly reflected the style of the day that I had in mind. My favourite parts of the dress were the back (it was backless) and the train. It felt incredibly special to wear.”

Portraits Bridal Hair & Make-up Agency were on hand to create pretty, romantic hair and make-up looks for Jenni and her party, and made them all feel incredibly special.

Stylish, minimalist stationery came courtesy of Betty Lou Design, and the couple held their reception inside a span marquee hired from Fairytale Marquees.

Jenni’s shoes were from Mint Velvet, and in her hair she wore a single layer, cathedral length veil from The Mews Bridal.

“I opted to keep my accessories simple, with some beautiful Monica Vinader earrings, which were kindly bought for me by my Maid of Honour.”

In keeping with Jenni and James’ soft and muted colour palette of blush and taupe, Jenni carried an exquisite bouquet of roses, ranunculus, anemones, waxflower blooms and greenery, tied with a long, ivory ribbon, made for her by Coco in the Country.  Jenni gave each of her bridesmaids a bracelet from Missoma, as a thank you for all of their support, both in the lead up, and on the day of the wedding.

“My bridesmaid’s dresses were from Dessy, BHLDN and Maids to Measure. Each of the bridesmaids chose their own dresses. I wanted them all to feel completely comfortable in what they wore, and I loved the idea of all of the dresses being slightly different both in terms of style and colour.”

Rachel at Mirabella Weddings worked with Jenni and James to bring their cool yet cosy wedding vision to life, and that’s seen to spectacular effect in the room at Aswarby Rectory used for the couple’s ceremony.

The aisle was lined with pillar candles, and one of the windows was decorated with a wonderful assymetrical garland of winter greenery and blooms, by florist Coco in the Country.

“The flowers were a really important part of our day, with big floral installations around the window as our ceremony backdrop, the staircase and the fireplace.”

James looked handsome in a navy blue three-piece suit from Beggars Run, which he wore with a classic white shirt, and duck egg blue tie. The groomsmen wore their own blue suits, and were gifted socks from T.M. Lewin.

“We met at law school in 2010 and we first started dating in 2011. James proposed to me after 7 years on a sunny bike ride in Richmond Park, London. Sadly, my mum has terminal cancer and we are unsure of how much longer she will be around for. We made the decision very soon after getting engaged to get married 4 months later, so that she could enjoy our special day with us.”

Jenni walked down the aisle together with her dad, and chose the song Toothpaste Kisses by The Maccabees as her entrance music – a band the couple both love, and have seen together live many times.

“Walking down the aisle of a room full of my favourite people, with my proud dad by my side, and with the man of my dreams waiting for me at the end was my favourite part of the day! I was so deliriously happy and excited to begin the celebrations. I also loved seeing how happy and proud our parents were on the day.”

“We found Aswarby Rectory on Instagram, and saw they’d only just started doing weddings. The venue had just been restored and we absolutely loved the style. All of the décor and detailing was exactly our style, and done to such a high standard. The owners, Donna and Richard, were so lovely and we fell in love with it straight away.”

The couple had been legally married a couple of weeks before in an intimate family ceremony, and their second celebration was conducted by two of their best friends, who made the ceremony personal.

“It was important to us to write our own vows, to keep the day as personal as possible and choose words that really meant something to us. We had two readings during our ceremony – The Promise, by Eileen Rafter, and I Rely On You, by Hovis Presley. Again, we wanted to opt for something a little different and the words meant a lot.”

With the winter light shining through the window behind them, Jenni and James exchanged their vows and rings, which they chose at The Diamond Ring Co., where James also chose Jenni’s engagement ring.

“One of our friends came over from Hong Kong to sing and play the keyboard during our ceremony. He played When I Get My Hands on You – Lyrics by Bob Dylan. We really loved being able to include our friends in our day, and it made it so personal to us.”

Making exquisite use of the seasonal light and idyllic setting was the couple’s photographer, Henry Lowther, whose work we’re sharing for the first time on our pages today.

“We chose Henry to shoot our wedding – not only had he worked at the venue before, but we loved the depth and emotion in his photos, and knew he’d be able to perfectly capture our day. He was an absolute pleasure to be around.”

“The table décor was important – we opted for rustic trestle tables hired from Rose & Andy, paired with beautiful grey crockery from Classic Crockery, and pale pink napkins from Just4Linen. As the sun went down, the hundreds of candles lining the table created the most amazing atmosphere.”

Tables were decorated with long garlands of trailing greenery, and the whole marquee was adorned with twinkling festoon lights, creating the perfect festive atmosphere.

“Whilst we weren’t fussed about the traditional concept of favours, we found tiny pin badges from a charity very close to our hearts, and thought it would be nice to incorporate into our day. Not only did they work as a favour, but we used them to pin the place names to the menus, and all of our guests were wearing them in support by the end of the night, which meant a lot.”

Everyone sat down to a sumptuous dinner by Black Peppermint Food Co., with starters of spiced crab cake and wasabi mayonnaise; tomato, mozzarella and basil risotto cakes with a herb mayo, followed by sharing platters of slow cooked Moroccan lamb with tzatziki and harissa dip, chicken with chorizo and herbs, and lime spiked salmon with potatoes, roasted Mediterranean vegetables, and a goat’s cheese salad.

To finish, there was a trio of desserts – lemon tart, dark chocolate brownie with salted caramel, and raspberry mousse.

“Food was an important part of our day, and Black Peppermint created an amazing meal which got lots of compliments from our guests. After dinner, we served espresso martinis to get the party started!”

“One of our lovely friends, Georgie, very kindly made our cake for us. We decorated it with flowers and fruit, and it looked and tasted amazing, as well as being very special to us.”

Speeches, toasts and cake were followed by Jenni and James’ first dance together as a married couple, and they chose the wonderful (and aptly worded) You and Me Song, by The Wannadies, which was followed by brilliant live entertainment from Brand New Groove.

“It was really important to us that our wedding not just looked amazing, but that it was good fun too, so we needed a band who would help make the perfect party! Brand New Groove were great and kept all of our guests on the dancefloor until the end.”

Words of Wedded Wisdom

“It is genuinely one of the best days of your lives, and you should savour every single second. If your budget will allow, pay for a videographer. This, together with your photographs, will allow you to relive the day over and over again.”

Jenni and James, thanks a million and many congratulations and all good wishes to you and your family. What a cosy winter treat! Thanks also go to talented photographer Henry Lowther for this gorgeous collection of images.

Until next time.

Love, Laura

Credits & Thanks

Laura Callan

Laura Callan View all Laura's articles

Laura is a freelance writer and content creator who loves telling stories. She has keen eye for photography and art, and lives with her husband, cats, and huge amounts of books.