Real couple Danielle and Iain got engaged in Japan so decided to incorporate it as a theme, along with their love for 1950s style. Dorset wedding photographer Paul Underhill perfectly captured their wedding at Knighton House
We asked bride Danielle some questions to find out a bit more about the planning and the day itself…
Q. WHAT WAS THE THEME/STYLE FOR YOUR BIG DAY?
A. I’ve always loved the idea of a vintage-style wedding. My friends and I attend a lot of themed events and I adore vintage clothing. I’m particularly passionate about 1950s style and we both felt that the fun vibe and bright colours from this era would perfectly suit our wedding. The 50s idea was something we wanted to represent through our outfits, decor and rock ‘n’ roll music.
We got engaged in Japan back in March 2016 and thought it would be nice to incorporate elements from what turned out to be a very special trip. Our wedding cake was decorated with cherry blossom flowers and our favours included Japanese Kit Kats with personalised fortunes and scratch cards. My bridal party also carried Japanese parasols which made for some truly great photographs.
Q. WHAT WAS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU WHEN IT CAME TO TYING THE KNOT/CELEBRATING YOUR MARRIAGE?
A. More than anything we wanted to have fun with our friends and family. It’s very rare that you get to share a room with all the people that you care about so we wanted to make the most of it. It was important that the day was upbeat and that everyone felt included in a shared experience.
Q. HOW DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR VENUE AND SUPPLIERS?
A. THE VENUE | Knighton House.
We both liked the idea of getting married in a Georgian period venue. They all have so much character and look so elegant in photographs. It was important to us both that the venue was unique as we wanted to create a point of difference from any wedding we had been to before.
My mum found Knighton House on the internet and it seemed to offer everything that we were looking for in a venue. We considered so many places that looked great from the outside but felt a little underwhelming once you set foot through the door. Knighton House was a clear exception due to the fact that the Georgian period style remains consistent inside and out. Original features such as the stunning fireplaces have been lovingly restored and the traditional colour palette is present throughout.
We were shown around the venue by Lucy Hinks who was the best wedding planner that we could have asked for. Lucy is responsible for transforming Knighton House from girls private school to fully functioning wedding venue whenever there is a break in term. We really enjoyed our initial meeting with Lucy as she was so lovely and obviously very passionate about what she does. It became clear from our meeting that we both shared the exact same ideas about what makes a great wedding which was certainly very reassuring.
We liked the fact that Knighton House was so versatile and more or less a blank canvas. The venue can host both indoor and outdoor ceremonies and we were able to make this decision on the same week as the wedding having studied the latest forecast. We knew that we wanted to get married outside on the terrace as the surrounding views and building look stunning, especially with the red autumn leaves.
We’re so happy with how Knighton House looked on the day and the way in which Lucy and her team organised everything so perfectly. The whole day flowed exactly how we wanted it to and everything looked great in the photographs thanks to the natural light that floods each room. We’d urge couples not to be put off by the fact that the buildings main purpose is a school as any evidence of this is completely erased when the venue undergoes its elegant transformation.
PHOTOGRAPHER | Paul Underhill
There are so many wedding photographers out there but Paul’s work stood out by a mile. He definitely has his own unique style and an undeniable passion for capturing your wedding story. Everything looks so cinematic. The use of light, tone and composition definitely give the shots a certain edge.
Paul’s a really nice guy and he offered to meet us for a little practice shoot which took place around Bournemouth. Paul made an effort to get to know us which was great as he was able to make the shoot more personal.
We received around 800 shots of pure gold and Paul turned everything around well within his specified time frame. We were really impressed with how much Paul was able to document and we could see how hard he was working to capture every special moment and significant detail on the day. He was great with our guests and very professional from the moment we booked him. Highly recommended.
FLOWERS | A cherry blossom theme was our plan however we knew that they weren’t in season so left it in the capable hands of Elizabeth Morgan who was able to suggest some great alternatives. We weren’t that knowledgeable or sure what we wanted but Lizzy took into account our budget and colour palette and was able to show us examples from an extensive portfolio of work. She and Lucy have worked together before on weddings and are a great team who both share the same enthusiasm for Knighton House and making the venue look great. Lucy suggested using cake stands and tea cups for the table arrangements which were combined with flowers and candles. The combination of both was so simple yet really effective. Lizzy knows the venue so we had no problem giving her free reign. She created stunning arrangements which complemented the fireplaces and sweeping staircases beautifully.
CAR | We continued the 50s theme by hiring a beautiful 1950s Pontiac Convertible from Premier Carriage Wedding Cars. The bridesmaids travelled from hotel to venue in this before it returned to collect me and my dad. The car looked great parked out in front of the venue and we made sure to get some photos inside it. Old cars like this are so cool and essential in conveying a vintage theme.
PHOTO BOOTH | We hired a Photo Booth from The Photo Booth Guys who were awesome. The attendant seemed really happy to be there and encouraged our guests to get involved with the picture taking. He even made us our own album for us to take away that night. They had a great backdrop, some really cool props and were also able to shoot ‘Boomerangs’ and ‘GIF’s’.
TABLEWARE | Lucy (wedding planner) rather conveniently owns an amazing vintage china and tableware hire business called Forget Me Not Vintage. We hired all our china for the wedding breakfast from Lucy and she was also able to provide tea cups for our tea and coffee service.
Q. WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR IDEAS AND INSPIRATION?
A. We wanted the wedding to celebrate us as a couple and tried to incorporate everything that we love. Japan inspired our theme and I can’t deny my passion for all things vintage.
I found Pinterest and Instagram to be particularly helpful when it came to decor and finishing touches. It’s hard not to be inspired by talented people showcasing such creative and unique ideas. We both liked the idea of making things ourselves as this certainly provides a personal touch. Our welcome signs were hand drawn and we also made the mirror table plan with stickers.
Fortunes were typed out and personalised to each guest. Most of these were amusing or motivational quotes from movies and TV shows that we like (mainly The Office and Alan Partridge).
I purchased a broad range of wedding magazines during the build up to our big day and these were great for providing a varied range of ideas. Magazines focusing on ‘alternative’ weddings or couples that weren’t afraid to break with convention were definitely the most influential to my planning process.
Q. TELL US ABOUT YOUR DRESS
A. My dress was a 1962 Nottingham Lace dress designed by Alexandrine of Nottingham. This was purchased through Story of my Dress. For the ceremony I wore a veil by Story Of My Dress along with a custom cherry blossom hair piece which was made by my friend Paulina. During the evening I swapped this out for a hair piece designed by Eden B Studio. My shoes were glitter pumps designed by French Sole.
I knew that I wanted a vintage or vintage inspired dress but didn’t want it to break the bank. After some research, I eventually found Story of my Dress online and knew instantly that I had to book an appointment. Every dress in the boutique was stunning. I tried on three before completely falling in love with the fourth. I loved everything about the dress especially the polka dots.
Cara who owns the business was lovely and I knew that I was in good hands as she’s clearly so passionate about vintage dresses. Cara helped me through the entire process and made all the alterations so easy and enjoyable. Buying the dress was certainly a highlight of planning as I felt that once I had it, the theme of the wedding fell into place around it. I had several dress fittings over a 12 month period and looked forward to every single appointment. It was such an enjoyable experience and I was over the moon with my dress.
Q. WHAT WAS ON THE MENU?
A. FOOD | The Knighton House catering team prepared our wedding breakfast, evening buffet and canapés, all of which were amazing. There were so many options for us to choose from and each guest was able to pick their own starter, main and desert. The chefs were also able to cater for those with special dietary requirements such as gluten and dairy free which was very helpful. Our final menu read as follows:
Starter – choice of
1-Soup (Cherry Tomato and Basil) V
2-Goats Cheese and Red Onion Tart V
3-Warm Fillet of Lamb with Wild Mushrooms and Broad Bean Salad
Main – choice of
1-Pan Fried Chicken Breast, Aubergine Caviar, Sun Blushed Tomatoes, Saute Potatoes, Chorizo Sausage and Basil Oil.
2-Slow Cooked Pork, Tender Stem Broccoli, Boulanger Potatoes, Cider and Apple Sauce
3-Large Stuffed Portobello Mushroom filled with Spinach, Garlic and Blue Cheese set on a crisp Potato Rosti V
Dessert – choice of
1-Lemon Tart with Lemon Sorbet
2-Italian Chocolate Fondants, Vanilla Ice Cream
3-Sticky Toffee Pudding with caramel and honey sauce, vanilla ice cream.
BAR | Knighton House do not have a bar as part of the venue so we hired The Vintage Bar Company to provide a vintage van bar. They call the 1979 Renault ‘Esta’ and it came stocked full of enough beers, wines and spirits for everyone. We were able to park this right outside the door so guests didn’t have far to walk in order to purchase a beverage. The friendly staff were very efficient at serving drinks quickly and keeping queuing times down to a minimum. We chose their drinks package which also meant that all table wines and Prosecco for toasting were provided.
Q. WHAT WAS THE QUIRKIEST ELEMENT OF THE DAY?
A. Whilst we were exchanging our vows out on the lawn, we, along with our guests were treated to a fly past by the R.A.F Red Arrows! The jets flew right overhead having just performed at an air show somewhere along the Dorset coast. This was something extra special to remember the day by and obviously we told everyone that we had planned the whole thing!
Our Master of Ceremonies (Will) made each announcement whilst playing a different comedy character. I think he got through about five different costumes whilst addressing guests in a variety of accents. It was a nice touch and never failed to provoke laughter in the room.
Q. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER BRIDES LOOKING FOR A SIMILAR STYLE OF EVENT?
A. No matter how much or little you spend, it’s your friends and family that make the day special. People say that all the time because it’s true. You’ll drink, dance and laugh surrounded by great company and that’s what you’ll remember when all is said and done. Nothing else is really that important so long as you have a venue and someone to marry you.
Not everything will go according to plan but just roll with it. Iain arrived on the morning of the wedding to find that all the helium had leaked out of our balloons! All we could do was laugh about it with our friends as it was too late to do anything about it by this point! We had planned to have these floating on the ceiling above the dance floor but everyone just ended up kicking them around instead (which if anything was more fun)!
Try and get everything done a week in advance so that you can chill out pre-wedding. It was important for me to be organised as I wanted the final build up to be as stress free as possible. This allowed me to relax and enjoy the experience whilst Iain worried about little things that didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things!
Q. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MEMORY OF THE DAY?
A. The speeches were all really good. My Dad, Terry seemed to really enjoy the improv and Iain’s best man, Rich had a lot of ammunition against him which was embarrassing. Iain’s was lovely and everyone laughed at something that wasn’t even meant to be a joke which helped to put his nerves at ease.
We love nights out with our friends and were keen to achieve a party atmosphere in the evening. We had so much fun during this part of the day and are pretty sure that our guests did too as we still laugh about it to this day.
The last thing we remember is getting back to Blandford town centre with several of us looking to continue the party. I found myself wandering the streets in my wedding dress and one of our bridesmaids was dressed in pyjamas. I can’t remember why we were out so late but there’s an amazing photo of me sat in a kebab shop in my dress. I even got free chips!
Q. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST DANCE TO/WHAT DID YOU WALK DOWN THE ISLE TO?
A. We really liked the fact that Knighton House was licensed for both indoor and outdoor ceremonies and so got married out on the terrace. We got lucky with the weather and our guests were able to enjoy the warm sunshine as they watched from the lawn.
I walked down the aisle to ‘When I Fall In Love’ by Nat King Cole and have always wanted it to be my aisle song as I remember it being my nan’s favourite.
It took us ages to figure out a first dance song and we only made our final decision days before the wedding. I don’t think any one song defines us as a couple and we were keen to avoid anything too slow or soppy as we wanted the wedding to be a fun party for all. I had been suggesting ‘Teenage Dream’ by Katy Perry for weeks so we just went with it as we were running out of time! We don’t take ourselves too seriously and all our guests seemed to have fun joining in with us which was great and exactly what we wanted. Iain ended up on the floor quite a few times as can be seen from the photos.
We hired a band called ‘Get On Up’ to provide the rest of the evening’s entertainment. These guys were really cool and super talented. They had such an extensive repertoire of songs for us to pick from and played a great mix of tracks that had everyone dancing non stop. They definitely brought the party and were very professional from beginning to end.
Evening Headpiece: www.edenbstudio.com
Cake: Alison Willis 01300345443
The Vintage Bar Company: www.vintagebarcompany.co.uk
The Photo Booth Guys: photobooth.co