Betsy and James planned their special day all the way from Singapore with special touches like stationery made by the Groom and acorns collected by the Bride's family. Read about their beautiful March wedding below.
What was the first element you planned?
The location! Hedsor House. Despite living abroad, I had always wanted to marry in England. We wanted a location that wasn't dependent on the English weather and being expats, despite both working in the creative industry, we wanted to minimise the amount of personal touches we would need to prepare and ship from Singapore. We wanted a beautiful venue irrespective of whether you dress it up or not.
Aside from the above, completely coincidentally, we chose Hedsor because my Parents AND Grandfather used to go to Hedsor House when it was used as a training centre at their previous companies. I did not know my Granddad but everyone says what an amazing man he was. So, because the house has links to our family, it felt serendipitous to stumble across it again - my Dad jokingly welcomed everyone to his stately home in his speech!
Was there a theme to your day?
Acorns was a theme running throughout the day. My Granddad said at my parent's wedding may these two little acorns grow into a great oak tree (from the saying great oaks little acorns grow) and it has become a symbol of family to my side. Even the house I grew up in was called 'Little Acorns'! Hence, loving the oak leaf detail in the Sophie gown I chose....(more about the dress below)...
The wedding stationery featured acorns, James had acorn cufflinks and my parents had even collected, baked and painted acorns in the previous Autumn in preperation for table decorations. James' family also collected damson berries to make his Grandmother's damson gin recipe, which were individually bottled and given as wedding favours and also doubled up as people's name cards.
Details of the Day
The Dress: Being an expat finding THE dress was harder than normal. I did not find a dress in England when I was back home for a visit and the sample sizes in Singapore were two dress sizes smaller than me, so it was pretty tricky. I think I had tried on the best part of 60-70 dresses by the time I found my dress in Sydney, Australia while there for a girls weekend.
My dress is from a designer called Karen Willis Holmes who has a collection where you can mix and match creating your own perfect gown. I had tried on the 'Sophie' gown and loved the top with the oak leaf embellishments in the bodice but was not sure about the skirt so went to their flagship store and made the only Sophie/Nina combination there is in the world (for now!)
The shoes: James is a little taller than me so I wanted flats. I think living in a hot country and wearing sandals all the time meant I did not want just any pair of sparkly shoes. I spent HOURS searching and in the end asked Tui from the The Tui Collection, Singapore, a local show designer if she could make me a pair. I found some embellished beading which I thought matched the Sophie bodice and gave her a sample of the dress to match the leather and she made these stunning one of a kind shoes. I was given both an old and new sixth pence to put in my shoe for good luck so managed to stick these in under the arch of my foot too!
For my Bridesmaids: The Bridesmaids dresses are from an Aussie brand called Sheike which I love. They did a country wide search for me and sent them to Bondi junction- a friend bought them for me and another bought them over from Sydney - it definitely helps to have international friends!
Groom: James' suit was from Private Affairs Tailors, Singapore. We opted for black tie so all the Groomsmen just wore their own suits.
Did you face any challenges in planning your big day?
It was emotional not being able to plan the big day as closely as I might have done with my Mum, especially choosing my wedding dress. That was emotionally hard. And then just savouring the moments - I felt robbed of certain moments that just went by too quickly, but you just have to focus on the amazing day we had with amazing people that we love.
Were there any surprising aspects to your big day?
The weather was incredible for the 30th March! Blue skies and unusually warm for the time of the year- it was actually the warmest day of the day of the year so far and we were able to have our reception drinks outside playing croquet (quintessentially English!). It rained on the day before and after so we were incredibly lucky!
What advice would you give Brides organising their wedding?
When you have your make up trial, meet your artist with your 'normal' look. I met Sarah without any make up on and said I wanted to still look like me. But, I typically wear a reasonable amount of make up normally anyway so it wasn't enough. Give her a point of reference!
Organise everything down to a tee, but let it go on the day and just enjoy it.
Have all the family shots you want, you'll regret not having them. Get a videographer - it's amazing watching it back!