4th Jun 2013

Emily & Liam

Liam is my brother's best friend. We have known each other since 2004 but were with other people until 2008... When both single, we both confided in Jon (my brother) that we had always quite liked one another. He was delighted and organised a get together. We spent Christmas together and fell for each other on New Year's Eve 2008... The rest is history.

Our life together so far has been wonderful! We moved in together after dating for just 6 months and have hardly spent time apart since. We are very lucky to have seen a lot of the world together and have spent a few glorious weeks in my family home in Tuscany every summer since getting together. We have been doing our house up in Shoreham by Sea for just over a year (which has been stressful at times, especially over the wedding) and are now trying to rush to get it ready for September when a new addition will be arriving (the girls did warn me that White Mischief brides are fertile!)

Liam proposed on top of a mountain in Tuscany in a little deserted village called Montebotolino on 20th July 2011. It was very sweet. I was busy sunbathing and Liam kept trying to get me to go to Montebotolino with him. He eventually told me there was an amazing vegetable patch (!) on the top of the mountain that he wanted to show me which finally (after four days of trying) got me up there. There was no vegetable patch! He got down on one knee and we both shed a few tears... then we walked down the mountain to a lovely restaurant where we spent the rest of the day drinking Prosecco and having a cookery lesson with my family. It was perfect.
The ring is perfect. Liam bought a one-carat princess-cut diamond then designed the setting and had it made. He is an architect so a clever and creative soul!

For my hen do, I went to a lovely big house in Cambridge for a weekend in December. My gorgeous bridesmaids organised everything, including a surprise Friday night where I was blindfolded and dressed in the most disgusting charity-shop wedding dress and all of the lovely hens dressed in charity-shop finds as 80s bridesmaids. They had so many hilarious games and made me a beautiful book of memories, which I will treasure forever.

I always imagined my wedding would be filled with love, laughter and all of our friends and families but I had no idea what my dress would be like! I had never thought about it!
It was a long process trying to find it! Bless everyone at White Mischief for putting up with me, especially lovely Lorna. I chose one Augusta Jones dress in a sale and had it at home for eight months... But wasn't 100% sure. It was beautiful but I just didn't feel like me in it. I spoke to Lorna and she invited me back, when I found my dream dress and was able to exchange it. Everyone was so understanding and didn't let me make the final decision about my dress until I was 100% sure. It is such a big decision and I was so grateful as felt perfect on our wedding day in my gorgeous Lee Ann Belter dress.
Ooh and then there were my shoes... A gorgeous sparky pair of Jimmy Choo Bergens. I am tall (5'11) so didn't want a big heel so I couldn't resist this pair.
I had two veils! Come on, it's not every day a girl gets to wear a veil! I wore "something borrowed" for the church ceremony... A plain ivory cathedral-length veil. Then at he reception I changed into a gorgeous ivory birdcage veil with a sparkly clasp from White Mischief. It was really nice to have something for the reception that was a bit easier to wear than the long veil.
My accessories were simple. I wore a pair of vintage drop earrings from the lanes in Brighton. I also bought three pairs of different earrings from Fidra for my three bridesmaids... Different styles to suit each of them.  My mother in law gave me a beautiful pearl ring the night before the wedding so I also wore that. I didn't want a necklace as loved the neck-line of my dress.
I wore a lovely diamante waist belt around my dress to add a bit of New Year's Eve sparkle to my dress. I had an ostrich feather stole (also from White Mischief) which I only wore at the very end of the night! My bridesmaids looked after a sparkly clutch bag for me, which matched my shoes and belt.
I just wanted to look and feel like me, so my chief bridesmaid and little sister (Rosanna) did my hair and make up. My make up was all from Space NK and I had red nails and lips as it was Christmas. My hair was down and in loose relaxed curls over one shoulder.

For my maids, I had my three best friends (one of whom is my little sister) in gorgeous little black dresses from Karen Millen and my little bridesmaid (my cousin's daughter, Sophie) in a pretty ivory dress. I wanted the girls to feel comfortable and gorgeous. I also really wanted to get them something they would wear again... And everyone needs a little black dress. They all had red cashmere pashminas to keep them warm.
Liam wore a gorgeous tailored tweed suit and bespoke tailored shirt. The best man (my brother, Jon) and my Dad also had suits tailored in slightly different tweeds from Gresham Blake. They all looked so handsome and their winters suits tied in perfectly with our wintery theme.

When it came to the flowers, our lovely friend Kate was the only option! She owns Grand Flowers in Eastbourne and I trusted her completely to choose and put together our fabulous flowers.
We didn’t really have a theme. We got married on New Year's Eve so there were lots of Christmassy, wintery touches. We also had a strong Italian theme running throughout the day because of my Italian family connections.
My clever husband came up with the idea of designing a 31 day "advent calendar" with pictures that meant something to the both of us behind every door for our invites. The main image was a contemporary design of a mistletoe print, which we then had on all of our wedding stationary. Kate (our dear friend and florist) placed mistletoe throughout the reception. The invites were a fun way of counting down to our big day on 31.12.12.
We invited 120, and even more came to the ceremony (which was lovely). It was so special to be surrounded by all of our favourite people in the World.

We got married in our beautiful local church, St Mary de Haura, in Shoreham by Sea. Father Keith Richards married us and he has become a great friend since the moment we met. It was so lovely to be married by someone who knows us both so well. We have spent many lovely evenings together in the pub intending to talk about the wedding, then just putting the world to rights over bottles of wine. Now we don't have the excuse of the wedding but that doesn't stop us!
We had our reception at Pangdean Barn, which was perfect for us. Nicky, Michael and their team were perfect hosts. Their laid-back approach was exactly what we wanted for our big day.
Pangdean did all of the set up for us. The venue was already dressed beautifully for Christmas so we had fabulous, huge Christmas trees complemented by Kate's gorgeous flowers. We had two long tables instead of ten small ones as we wanted the Italian style of dining where everyone sits together. It worked really well in the barn and created a fantastic atmosphere for the reception. The tables were dressed with flowers, church candles and bowls of vintage glass baubles. We also had candles and mistletoe dotted throughout the reception. Guests all had a postcard at their table setting, each stamped and addressed to Liam and I with dates throughout 2013. We have loved receiving these and have so many more to look forward to throughout the year. We decided to do this instead of a guest book.

I wanted to get ready in our home, so we had a houseful... My parents and three bridesmaids (plus partners)! We sent my Dad out for croissants from the French bakery to have with champagne then the boys lazed about whilst we preened, curled and painted all morning. It was very relaxed, like getting ready for a night out listening to music and gossiping. And like always, we ran out of time and had a mad rush to get ready on time!
Dad and I were in a gorgeous gun-metal Bentley Mulliner, leant to us by our lovely friends Ray and Gunvar. It was lovely to be driven by our friend, Dean, as it was another part of our day that was personal. Mum and the bridesmaids drove to the church in my BMW, dressed with ivory ribbons by my parents on the morning of the wedding. Our guests travelled in a vintage Routemaster bus from the church to the reception and back again to Shoreham after the reception do they didn't have to book taxis.
Guests were greeted with alcoholic coffees and homemade brownies to warm them up on a cold, wintery afternoon. Our ushers, Oscar (7) and Lockie (4) welcomed guests. The wedding service was so lovely because Father Keith knows Liam and I, so had stories to tell about us both. We had the gorgeous choir of St Mary's and St Nicholas.

The reception was so relaxed and festive! The brilliant Blunter Brothers entertained us after a delicious dinner followed by homemade limoncello (made in Tuscany by my parents) and helped everyone see in the New Year... We didn't have a first dance, we wanted everyone to hit the dance floor as soon as the band started... And they did!
Stopping dancing briefly for a much-needed hog roast to soak up some of the booze, and an impromptu rendition of "Skyfall" by three of our moustache-wearing nine year old guests on stage!
The cake was made by my lovely Mum. Three tiers of Amaretto-fed fruit cake decorated with white icing and roses to match our bouquets.
We had a table of favours... Pashminas and silver ballet-pumps for chilly girls with sore feet, massive kilner jars filled with sweeties for the kids (and adults...) and a dressing-up basket filled with masks and "happy new year" tiaras. All of the kids also had party bags at their table places filled with things to make and do, and disposable cameras to use and keep. Every guest also had a stick-on moustache on the back of their place-card with a message asking them to have a picture with my dad. He has an excellent moustache (a bit of a Burt Reynolds lookalike in his day!)
We were delighted with our photographer James as he has a true reportage style. We didn't want any posed pictures as much prefer his artistic way of capturing the day. We met him, looked at his pictures and trusted him completely to capture our day without any direction from us. We just wanted snapshots of our day to tell the story of all of the events as they unfolded.

For our honeymoon we jetted off to South Africa on 1st Jan where we went on safari in the Eastern Cape then drove along the garden route staying in some fabulous places with a perfect mix of relaxing and adventure, including bungee-jumping and mountain climbing.

I felt elated. I did not stop smiling all day! To us, it was just perfect. We wanted a relaxed, fun atmosphere for all of our lovely friends and family who had given up their New Year's Eve to be with us. Neither of us stopped smiling all day.

The best advice I think I can give brides is to not get bogged-down with unnecessary details. Work with people you trust when planning your big day and give them freedom to be experts in their field. We all imagine our perfect days so don't let yours be ruined by a missing candle, a rainy day or the "wrong" cutlery! The day might take it's own unique twists and turns, but this is part of what makes it so special. The most important thing is that you are there celebrating with your husband and all of your loved ones. Enjoy every second.

Cashmere pashminas

Dress: White Mischief Bridal, Brighton, UK 708























Photographer: James Robert Shaw Photography
Dress: Lea Ann Belter at White Mischief Bridal
Location: Shoreham-by-sea, Uk
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