This wedding really uplifted me, fun, packed with personality and love. It really is a sight to behold.
Florence chose an exquisite gown by Karen Willis Holmes which was heavily embellished, she teamed her dress with a classic veil and Jimmy Choos. WOW. Roberto meanwhile was suited and booted in a Ralph Lauren suit while the maids wore blush frocks.
Florence and Roberto chose to marry on the 11th July 2015 at Kentchurch Court in Herefordshire followed by a marquee reception opposite Florence’s parents home. The result? A pineapple and palm tree filled extravaganza complete with personalised neon sign, fresh blooms and one super cool car.
Alexandria Hall, thanks so much for providing these stunning shots.
THE PROPOSAL | Roberto proposed to me at the Palm house at Kew Gardens on the 5th September 2014. He asked me to meet him at Kew Gardens station that afternoon. We absolutely loved the palm house and found the little spiral staircase that went up to the balcony. When we got up there he said ‘here’s a good place’ and got down on one knee! He’d written down what he wanted to say and we were both very emotional! He’d picked a ring that we’d seen in a
tiny antique jewellery place about 6 months earlier! Of course I said yes.
THE VISION | The palm house at Kew then sort of inspired us for the wedding vision. We didn’t have a ‘theme’ really but loved the botanical, green feeling and knew that we didn’t want the wedding to be too formal.
I was happy to get married either in London or Herefordshire where my parents live but Roberto was adamant that we should get married at my parent’s house as its a beautiful country setting and we both love it there.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | My parents were the key to how smoothly the wedding planning went – as we held the reception at home it gave us great scope to add things we wanted or skip out things that we weren’t fussed about. We both managed to handle the planning without getting too stressed and once the big things were decided on, family and friends were there to help with all the smaller details. We had the best team!
THE VENUE | Neither Roberto or I are religious so we didn’t want to get married in a church. We then looked at many alternatives locally to my parents and hit the jackpot when we decided on Kentchurch Court, Herefordshire. It’s a beautiful house set in a huge deer park and somewhere I had many memories of as a child. The owner Jan is great and agreed to let us have the ceremony outdoors so we could fit all of our guests.
The reception was back at my parents in a field in front of their house – we had a beautiful marquee which was a blank canvas for us to make into whatever we wanted.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I found a very embellished dress by Karen Willis Holmes. It wasn’t what I thought I’d choose at all but I loved the weight of it and how figure hugging it was! I decided that I wanted a veil last minute and found a gorgeous chapel length veil which had tiny sparkles very subtly sewn in to it. I went with some sparkly Jimmy Choo stilettos and borrowed some diamond earrings from my mother in law. For my ‘something blue’ I had a Sapphire from my grandmothers ring made into a very simple pendant in gold. During the day I had a few tiny fresh flowers in my hair and my bridesmaids made a delicate flower crown for the evening.
FINDING THE DRESS | The first day of dress hunting was with my Mum and my mother and sister-in-law. We visited a couple of places and I tried on a few different styles as I had very little idea about what I was looking for. I initially went towards more fitted, quite simple styles and knew that I didn’t want too much lace. I found my dress at the second shop we visited! I loved it immediately but went back a couple of times with my bridesmaids as I wanted them to help me decide between two. I had the alterations done by the very fabulous Luda Taylor in Stratford. I thought I just needed the length taking up but she helped make tiny nips and tucks in other areas which really made it fit like a glove on the day.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Roberto found a classic navy Ralph Lauren suit. He’s very particular about his clothes and knew exactly what he wanted.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We walked down the aisle to “Clair de Lune” by Debussy. It’s one piece of classical music we both really loved and felt it had a lot of emotion. We asked my brother, Greg to do a reading from the Velveteen Rabbit and my cousin Frances read a poem ‘For a wedding’ by Kate Clanchy but changed some of the words to make it personal to us and our family. We walked back down the aisle to Chuck Berry “C’est la vie”! Our very good friend Greg and his band The Playboys were the band for the reception. They were amazing and Greg managed to source a couple of brass players to join them which I was really keen on. They kept the dancefloor packed the whole night and that’s definitely where we were for most of the party!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had six bridesmaids: Becky, Hannah, Lisa, Emma, Helen and Georgia and a little flower girl Eltis. We also had a page boy, Lionel and Roberto’s groomsmen were Anthony, Ed, Greg, Darren and Peter.
THE FLOWERS | My bridesmaid Hannah’s Mum, Anne did the flowers for the wedding. She is a very experienced florist and was so supportive and knowledgeable. We had lots of brainstorming sessions and then went together to the flower wholesaler to choose exactly what I wanted for the day. I went with mainly whites, greens and creams with some pinks too. We wanted a very relaxed vibe with the flowers and greenery. I absolutely loved all of the flowers, especially my bouquet which was peonies, freesias and gypsophila.
THE CAKE | The cake was a three tier naked sponge with fresh fruit from my parent’s garden and cream made by a local friend of my Mum’s. It was delicious!!!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | The very brilliant Alexandria Hall. She managed to capture so many moments that would have been forgotten and we loved the fact that she took amazing candid pictures of the party.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | The décor was loosely based around the palm house so we had some potted palms and some crazy pineapples painstakingly hung from the ceiling of the marquee which myself and Lisa had sprayed gold and silver! The table numbers were designed by my uncle Richard – he made a lino print of the palm house engagement with the numbers in the middle. We kept everything very simple and informal and the flowers were soft pinks, greens and white. My dad and I made every guest small clay place names with their initials on each one. We used old wooden ladders to display the table plan and slices of logs for the cake.
My favourite decorative piece was a neon sign ‘Mr and Mrs Howe’ which we had made in my handwriting. It worked so well during the day and evening and was a keepsake we’ve got at home now!
On the morning of the wedding the girls that helped us all get ready, Suzie White doing hair and Olivia Keetch doing make up were just amazing! We were all running round doing last minute bits and pieces and they stayed so calm and got everyone ready on time.
THE HONEYMOON | As we got married in the summer we decided to stay in Europe for our honeymoon as the weather is pretty much guaranteed to be good. We decided on Greece and spend 11 days island hopping in the Cyclades. We visited Santorini, Milos and Kimolos as well as Athens. We stayed in some amazing places including a converted windmill and had the best time relaxing and eating non stop!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | As the bride I absolutely loved the speeches. I was so proud of my Dad and Roberto and the best men did a great job. My mum surprised us during the evening with a ukulele song she’d written! It was hilarious and unexpected and everyone sang along. Another VERY memorable moment was our wedding car wheel falling off on the way back from the ceremony!! It came clean off the car! Could have been a lot more serious but luckily my brother and Roberto’s cousins were around to help out! Definitely a moment we can now look back on and giggle although I wasn’t as impressed at the time! Roberto’s mum had made us a book of photos of us both growing up and the some of our relationship so far. It was such a touching and personal gift to open on the day.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Our families and friends were our rocks throughout the planning and preparing down to the last minutes before the ceremony. We couldn’t have done any of it without all of the favours, help, personal touches and hard work. Surround yourselves with all your loved ones – the preparation the week before was such a wonderful, fun time with our nearest and dearest and the few things that didn’t go quite as planned on the day weren’t noticed because we had everyone with us!