An Elegant English Wedding with South African Flavour and a Flower Filled Reception, at Eton College Chapel and Stoke Place Hotel.
Erin and James ooze romance… and their wedding was no different. It was the stuff of fairy tales, and they were brought together a few times by fate – no mean feat since Erin is South African! Meeting initially at university, and then finding each other again while both living separately in New York, they share a mutual love of cycling, travelling, and champagne! (My kind of couple!)
Aside from dreamy fairy tale locations, their wedding was a real merging of families – but what’s more, it also had lots of separate elements of both Erin and James, and their separate personalities, blended into it. Which I adore. I very much believe in two people coming together to create their own sense of family together, and build a whole new legacy together as a couple, but that doesn’t mean you should lose your own identity! (For me personally, 14 years later and over 4 years married, my husband and I remain very different people, and quite independent from each other, and it’s actually what makes us work so well – IMHO.)
James’ family (including the family Labrador!) were very involved in the day, and their ceremony also took place at the chapel of his childhood school, Eton College – of which you need special permission and approval to get married at (just attending Eton is not enough). James’s sisters were hands on with helping Erin as bridesmaids, James’ mum was helping throughout the day and provided some yummy accompaniments to the dessert station, and Buddy the dog was the VIP guest. Whilst Erin was immersing herself in English culture, having lived in London with James for some time, there was lots of her personality, heritage, and culture embedded throughout the day too. The Eton College Chapel choir sang a rendition of the South African national anthem in Zulu and Xhosa as part of their service (which they of course had to learn especially), her flowers were brimming with gorgeous bursting proteas (also known as the ‘king sugar bush’; the national flower of South Africa), and their welcome drinks was Erin’s favourite South African fizz, Graham Beck – which the hotel got in especially. There was also an accent of emerald green offset against the soft pastel colour palette of the day, to match Erin’s stunning emerald engagement ring.
Together as a couple, they injected a love of cycling, travelling, and champagne throughout the day. As things that brought them together, and that they both enjoyed together, little nods to all of these things combined with their personal taste was sprinkled from start to finish. They had spent time collecting a range of different distinctive champagne bottles to use for their table plan (if that isn’t a great excuse for champagne date night every week, then I don’t know what is!), then their table names were in honour of all of their favourite places in New York while they were dating – and each different NYC table name was carefully curated and matched to each champagne bottle especially. There was also a few subtle nods to cycling, like the entrance sign at the hotel, and little gold wire sculptures that were prettied up to match Erin’s florals.
Despite the grandeur of Eton College Chapel (I was quite in awe when I walked in and saw it for the first time at the rehearsal the night before), their ceremony was intimate and personal. Helped by the fact that Eton College Chapel were so warm and accommodating in general, and with Erin’s song requests, and an array of different family and friends speaking throughout the ceremony meant it didn’t feel stiff or rigid. The presence of the choir also created such a lovely ambience and gave a joyous jump start to the hymns, which made the whole place glow with song.
Their day was personalised further by their gorgeous illustrated stationery, and Erin’s beautiful handwritten place names on laurel leaves – using calligraphy skills she had learned especially for doing her wedding invites (although she did admit the bridesmaids stepped in to help her finish these off in time!).
A relaxed summer garden party reception followed at Stoke Place Hotel, which, like Eton, managed to emanate an intimate vibe for the wedding. It has an understated glamour about it, but a family feel within the staffing. They could not have been more helpful, and I could not fault their customer service. Well oiled and experienced at running weddings, even having their own in house toastmaster, they were on hand to help with everything and anything I needed at short notice; from moving the gorgeous cake from inside to the sunshine outside for an epic cutting moment, to helping move the champagne table plan as guests entered the wedding breakfast from the lawn, to ironing out all the small details that ensured I could make the day as special as possible for the couple.
The couple got on the dancefloor after a couple of espresso martinis, and the party carried on until 1am, with a short interlude for some spectacular fireworks at 10.30pm.
I was on hand the day before to do the wedding run through with the couple, the hotel, and the rehearsal at Eton College Chapel, and stayed overnight at the hotel to ensure I was on hand through the whole day for the set up and smooth running of each part, for suppliers and guests.
Wedding Coordination by Devine Bride.
“If you are reading this wondering whether to hire Laura, don’t keep wondering – do it and hire her now! We hired Laura for on the day co-ord for our wedding this July and it was one of the best decisions we made. Our wedding was at a venue which often does weddings so I wasn’t sure if we needed someone else there on the day, but I knew I would feel better knowing someone was there making sure everything was going smoothly and dealing with any issues that came up and Laura did exactly that!
She was a great calming influence in the run-up to the day by confirming with all our suppliers and being on hand to offer advice or answer any questions I had. She came with us to the venue the day before, attended our rehearsal and even checked in with us while we were getting ready in the morning even though we had paid for her time to start later in the day. She masterfully co-ordinated getting all of our guests on and off the buses to transfer them between the reception venue and the church where the ceremony was, which was something I was very worried about before-hand.
Her attention to detail was also incredible… things like adjusting my veil when it went crooked in the group photos, being on hand to make sure my train was perfect before walking down the aisle (as my bridesmaids had already gone ahead of me) and she even matched her dress for the day to our emerald green colour scheme! She also moved around various elements of decor to make sure they were displayed to their full potential, such as our table plan, which no one had seen because it was inside and everyone was outside because it was such a nice day.
Overall, Laura was super lovely to deal with and always made me feel better if I was getting anxious about anything. Knowing she was there taking care of everything meant that I could just enjoy the day and not worry about anything. Our wedding really was our best day ever, and Laura played a huge role in contributing to that by making sure we were happy and relaxed the whole time. Thank you so much, Laura! xx”
Photos kindly from David Bostock Photography.
CONTACTS AND SUPPLIERS
Wedding Coordinator: @devinebride 💁🏼♀️
Ceremony Venue: Eton College Chapel
Reception Venue: Stoke Place
Makeup: Louise Jackson
Hair: Aria Makeup
Guest Transport: Vintage Red Bus Company
Bridal Party Transport: Classic Wedding Cars
Wedding Cake: Etoile Bakery
Florist, Chairs & Napkins: Love At First Sight Styling
Photographer: David Bostock Photography
Favours: Lucy Sharman
Stationery: By Florence
DJ: Mighty Fine Entertainment
Fireworks: Total Pyro
Please email any hellos or enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org