A gorgeous vintage tea party wedding at Silchester House

Today’s all about being real. And this real bride has written such a lovely and honest account of her gorgeous wedding day at Silchester House, shot by the incredibly talented Cotton Candy Wedding Photography team, I think I should just let her tell you all about it! Over to the very beautiful Katherine to tell you about her big day:

“James and I met over six years ago when he was my boss at work. After essentially stalking him and dropping some very unsubtle hints he finally got the message that I liked him! The past few years have been difficult as sadly my dad passed away after fighting cancer. James’ proposal was perfectly timed to allow my mum and me to start the process of starting to look towards the future. My mum and I have always been close and there was no-one else I would trust more to help with the planning, especially dress shopping.”

“One of the aspects I most loved about planning our wedding was meeting all the lovely people who helped make our day. I’m not sure if we were just lucky or whether everyone in Wedddingland is uber nice but we found everyone so helpful.”

“The first decision was the venue. I definitely wanted an exclusive use venue where we could just stumble into bed when it was over. We initially looked in Somerset to be closer to James’ grandparents but after looking at some fabulous stately homes we couldn’t find anything that suited our requirements and was in budget. We found Silchester House through the Bijou venues website. One of my friends had got married at Notley Abbey the previous year and I had been really impressed by how professional it had been. It met all my extensive list of requirements and was fairly near to where we live. I cannot praise their wedding planning team enough; they made the whole process very smooth even when I nearly had a last minute breakdown the week before the wedding!”

All images © 2012 Cotton Candy Wedding Photography

“I knew that I didn’t want staged stiff photos and wanted to have a vintage feel to the day. James and I are both not fans of having our photographs taken so I knew that finding good photographers was going to be vital. Not having a clue where to start I just looked on Google for vintage-style wedding photography. I was beyond excited when I found the lovely Phil and Gem from Cotton Candy. James will remember how excited I was after meeting Gem for the first time. Their style was everything I was looking for and they were just the loveliest people to work with.  On the day itself they captured the feeling of the day amazingly well, it is fab to have some photos of the both us at long last.”

“I found the supplier for the china, The Tea Party, through Cotton Candy. They had done a beautiful photo shoot in Portsmouth which captured the feeling I was hoping for in our wedding. The venue arranged everything beautifully and I know our guests really enjoyed eating the cakes! The decanters and vintage vases were collected by friends, my mum and me in the months leading up the wedding. I became an expert in scouring charity shops for decanters, we now have more than we know what to do with but it was really fun collecting them all.”


When the day itself dawned I wasn’t at all nervous as marrying James was something that I knew was right. My lovely bridemaids are friends from University and we spend a relaxed morning drinking champagne and looking at pictures of us from Uni days that my Mum had bought with her. The weather in the morning was absolutely pouring with rain and I had resigned myself to the idea that the gardens games we had planned were not going to be possible. Luckily I was wrong and the sun came out after lunch for the most perfect summer’s afternoon.


“Time went past more quickly than I could possibly have believed and suddenly there was only half an hour to go and I didn’t have my dress on and my mum had disappeared of the face of the earth! As she was the only one who knew how the dress laced up at the back this was a minor disaster! Fortunately my bridesmaids came to the rescue, the managed to get the dress mostly on and dispatched one of my friends to track down my mum. All the drama did mean that I was over half an hour late despite being at the venue for hours before hand, at least James know I was in the building and hadn’t done a runner!”


“My brother kindly agreed to give me away, I know he was so nervous but he did me proud. One of the few disasters of the day was that the music we had so carefully chosen for the ceremony failed to work with their CD player. Cue my friend Tom who found the piece I had wanted and played it on his mobile phone. It wasn’t what I had envisioned but it certainly helped break the ice! In a lot of the pictures from the ceremony I am laughing my head off, this was when James promised to take me as his ‘awful’ wedded wife. He promises thta he didn’t do it on purpose, but I have my doubts!”

“One of the aspects of the wedding I enjoyed the most was working with the florists, Green Parlour of Pangbourne. I never knew that I would get so into different types of flowers and foliage. I think James was fairly bemused by the whole process but manfully came along and pretended that the choice of boutonniere was obviously extremely important! Emma from Green Parlour produced the most amazing mood board after our first meeting which really reassured me that she knew exactly what I was aiming for, even if I had no clue to begin with!”

“Finding a hair and make-up artist who would be able to come to the venue was made easy by a fantastic website ‘Facetime’. They put me in touch with the fabulous Gabriella Ciullo. She came to my mum’s house for a trial and ended up staying for over three hours. She has such a lovely manner that she put everyone at ease on the wedding day, especially my Mum! My mum doesn’t normally wear a lot of make-up so was a bit dubious to begin with but we were both amazed by the wonders she worked on us. I didn’t feel like I was caked in make-up even though she had to cover up a hideous spot that broke out two days before the wedding. Not knowing where to begin with hair and make-up having competent professionals on the day made such a difference.”

“I love vintage style and wanted a flavour of the glamour of 1930s Hollywood without the wedding looking like Bugsy Malone the remake. We tried to reflect Art Deco stying with our invitations and venue decor. The invitations were from brilliant website called Zazzle which allowed us to custom design them and was a whole lot cheaper than many of the other companies I looked at. We named our tables after vintage Champagne houses and again got vintage postcards from Zazzle to make our table plan. This was something of a last minute effort. At 5pm the day before the wedding James and I were frantically cutting and sticking, I’m sure he wondered if it was strictly necessary but I was pleased with the result.”

“With the sun shining and champagne flowing it really was the most perfect afternoon. We hired an acoustic Jazz trio called the Morellos, I loved them!  They really added to the whole relaxed feel of the reception.”


It may sound strange but buying the dress wasn’t a part of the wedding that I had been looking forward to. Definitely being far away from a size 12 I found the process of being crammed into dresses that were far too small incredibly depressing. I love Jenny Packham’s dresses but knew that there was no chance of them providing the structural engineering I would need. My mum bravely came round some shops in deepest darkest Portsmouth, although she didn’t say so at the time I knew that she was worried. The next time we went to Proposals at Chichester which all the girls at my work had recommended. I was feeling grumpy and cynical when we went in, not the best frame of mind to be trying on princess dresses! The lovely Caroline was AMAZING! I cannot recommend her enough. She picked out my dress and then worked on the alterations to make it the dress of my dreams. I lost quite a lot of weight before the wedding and ordered a dress size smaller, it was risky but it gave me the motivation I needed to hit the gym.


“The shoes were another matter! I bought a beautiful pair of red velvet shoes for a bargain £10 which looked amazing with the dress. Sadly all the gym work ruined my knee and they were just too painful to wear on the day. So I bought a pair of diamante shoes from Debenhams but hadn’t realised these would ruin the chiffon hem of my floaty dress. Cue the fabulous Caroline to the rescue again who managed to provide a pair of shoes at the eleventh hour that I didn’t hate and wouldn’t be too painful on the day. I totally trashed them walking around the gardens but they were comfortable enough to last all day.”


Overall it was totally worth all the hours of planning that went into it. I married the man I love on a beautiful summer’s afternoon with our friends and family having a brilliant party. At the end of the day little things can and will go wrong, but really no-one will care as they are there to support you both and celebrate your happy day.

Dress: Sybil by Sottero and Midgely from Proposals Chichester
Photography: Cotton Candy Wedding Photography
Shoes: Pink by Paradox
Bridesmaids’ dresses: John Lewis
Afternoon tea: Provided by venue. Macarons carried all the way from France by my Mum!
Flowers: Green Parlour Pangbourne
Groom’s outfit: Moss Bros
Venue: Silchester House
China Hire: The Tea Party
Music: The Morellos

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