When our lovely bride Arabella sent us a handful of pictures from her two weddings & of her fourteen bridesmaids (yes, you heard us correctly.. two weddings & fourteen bridesmaids!!!) we knew we had to see more, hear more & ask her about her bride tribe and how she found planning a wedding in lockdown..
How did you meet your husband?
Hamilton and I actually met at a night out in Brixton, his best mate is close friends with one of my best mates.
How did your husband propose?
In a pig pen at The Pig on the Beach hotel in Dorset. We had two pigs, a sheep and a chicken as our witnesses. He didn’t have the actual ring yet so he proposed with a ring that had one gold plated carrot which I loved! (I thought it was great - It was a play on the fact diamonds are measured in carats)
Where and when did you get married? How did you choose the venue?
So due to Covid and not knowing how many people we could have and also both having divorced parents, we actually decided to have two weddings, one on Friday 30th July with around sixty family members which we had in a small church in Turville (where I grew up), also known as the Vicar of Dibley church. We then drove in a 1936 Rolls-Royce Brum to Cliveden House where we had the wedding reception. It such a beautiful hotel - I actually used to publish their magazine and have stayed many times with my family so it was the perfect fit! Our second wedding was on Friday 24th September with around one hundred friends, which was held at Manor By The Lake in Cheltenham which is a wonderful venue! It was a lot more casual and we had a friend conducting the ceremony outside in the sunshine followed by dinner and a big party.
Did you have a theme/vibe for the wedding?
We had a light blue theme for both. We wanted to carry the blue from the bridesmaid dresses and usher’s ties throughout the whole wedding, so we had light blue writing on the invitation, table plan; name cards, menu’s and also light blue napkins. At our second wedding we had the same and added little blue bowls filled with different kinds of chocolates on the table (we both have a bit of a sweet tooth.)
Tell us about your wedding dresses?
So for the first wedding I wore the Yumei by Luna Novias which was both sophisticated and modern and for the second, I decided I wanted to go for something a bit more fun, so I went for the Irenka by Aire Barcelona. I bought both dresses through Leah at The Boutique & Co in Fulham, she was fantastic! I was also doing this during the second lockdown when shops were shut, she was so helpful and delivered them to my home so I could try them on and do a zoom appointment with her to make sure it was perfect. I would highly recommend visiting them!
Hair & Make up?
For the first one I had Jo Cable, she’s amazing!
For the second one, I had Alice Derbyshire, she’s lovely! Both are really great and I would highly recommend!
How did you come to having 15 bridesmaids?
Choosing bridesmaids was very hard, for the first wedding I ended up having four of my close mates who knew my family really well and my husband’s sister as Bridesmaids and then my sister was my Maid of Honour. For the second one, I had the same six girls, which were wearing your gorgeous Elle Cloud dresses and then eight more of my closest girls I decided to call Flower Girls and wore your beautiful Mathilda Cream Soda dress. I did two dresses mainly for the pictures! I thought this would look better then them all being in the same dress! It was expensive buying 14 dresses but so worth it and I only plan to get married once… or twice to the same guy in my case ha! I also had three ushers which were my best guy mates. We bought them and the other ushers light blue Hermes tie’s to fit in nicely with the dresses. Two of them walked me down the aisle tor the second wedding which was really special!
We also bought the girls light blue PJ’s with their initials on the front pocket and Bridesmaid/Flower Girl on the back. They were so comfy, we wore them whilst getting ready!
How did you find your bridesmaids shopping experience with so many bridesmaids?
It was very hard as again this was during lockdown when shops were shut. I had searched and searched online and couldn’t find any nice dresses, then I came across Maids to Measure who make beautiful dresses! They were very helpful and let me buy different sizes and return them to make sure all my girls were happy with their size. I literally drove around to all of their homes to drop them off during lockdown so they could try them on.
Tell us about your flowers?
We had the lovely Siana from Siana Flowers doing flowers for both weddings. She was so great and patient with us. We went for a wild look with a few pastel blue / white flowers and green foliage including; Scabious, Delphiniums, Nigella, Sweet Peas, Hydrangeas, Ammi, Silver Birch etc.
What food and drink was served?
For the first wedding we had canapés including Honey & Mustard Sausages, Duck & Orange Croquettes, Smoked Salmon Roulade, Spiced lamb Coriander Yoghurt, Vegetarian Spring Rolls and Tomatoe and Basil Arranchini. Then a three course dinner which included English Burrata and Heritage Tomatoes, followed by Beef Wellington, with potato purée and long stem broccoli and wedding cake for dessert. We drank Verve Cliquot yellow label champagne during reception and the Arietta white wine and Tignanello red during dinner. We then had wine, beer and spirits for dancing.
For the second one, we had similar canapés again and then for dinner Mozzarella and Herritage Tomatoes to start, followed by Chicken Milanese with rocket and parmesan and then for dessert we had mini cupcakes from Flavourtown, Krispy Kreme’s, pick n mix as well as this amazing ice cream company called Roll Me Up that makes ice cream from scratch in front of you. It was delicious! This was actually a suprise from my sister-in-law! She also personally named each ice cream to relate to us which was such a lovely touch!
What did you do for entertainment?
For the first one we had a saxophonist playing during the reception and then a DJ and saxophonist for dancing which was great fun!
For the second one we had an amazing singer called Janice Mamukwa singing the girls and I down the aisle, she also sang some great party songs during the reception along with a saxophonist. We then had a DJ and saxophonist for dancing!
My husband also surprised me with a photobooth at the second wedding which was loved by all and meant we got some hilarious pictures, which they then made into a photo album for us!
Tell us about your cake?
The Abigail Bloom Cake Company - we had three tiers, the first was lemon drizzle, the second chocolate and the third white chocolate and raspberry! It was the best cake I’ve ever had! I would highly recommend! We also had one tier in light blue to fit in with our colour scheme.
As a surprise for my husband, I asked Abi if she could possibly make the faces of our two French bulldogs and have them peering out the bottom of the cake. She did an incredible job and he loved it!
We had Mark Seymour photograph the first wedding and his partner David Stubbs for the second one. Both were great! We also had Gary from Gorgeous films as our videographer! He’s amazing! I would highly recommend all three! They made us feel very comfortable and generally at ease throughout the whole day.
First dance song?
We chose ‘Your Song’ by Elton John as our first dance for both weddings. It’s a great song and everyone sang along which created such a good atmosphere!
Favourite part of the day?
Ooh this is hard! Both days were incredible for different reasons! Couldn’t say there was a favourite part, it was all very special!
Would there be anything you'd do differently?
Maybe I should have bought a second dress to change into. As I was having two main dresses I said to myself I would have to stay in them all night, but at the second wedding a few of my bridesmaids and I ended up changing into our bridal pj’s by 10pm!
Any tips for brides-to-be?
Stay calm, plan as early as possible and remember it’s you and your husband-to-be’s day!
Remember to also take a few minutes for yourself on the day as it’s all very overwhelming !