Wednesday, 20 February 2013


I am SO excited to be sharing this very special wedding with you folks today!!!

It's the very pretty (and super cool) Elissa from Magpie Miller and her handsome husband Adam Park.

You are going to hear all about the little details of their fabulous day held at a magnificent location in The Cotswolds.

Prepare to be in awe of how gorgeous Elissa is and how bloomin' gorgeous her wedding dress is, it is beyond beautiful! I shall now hand this over to the lovely lady Elissa…...

First things first…..

Adam and I had worked at the same company for about a year before we got to meet each other properly. I happened to be working late and a mutual friend of ours was leaving at the same time of me to go to the pub with Adam. They asked me to go with them and with Big Brother as my only companion that night I thought why not! We got on brilliantly and found out that we were going on a work trip together alongside some other colleagues the following month. When we were away we became almost best friends – I’d never got on so well so quickly with someone. I was smitten. After our work trip we knew we wanted to be together. I’d never felt anything like it. It was if someone had put us in a bubble and all else was blurred around us.

A Romantic Proposal

As a surprise birthday present Adam had arranged for us to stay in New York – one of my favourite places in the world! I was so excited as it was going to be our first trip to the Big Apple together. We stayed in the most gorgeous hotel, the Chatwal, if ever you take a trip to New York then stay here, it is marvellous.

chatwal, new york,

A beautifully restored art deco building that is simply stunning. On our first night, Adam had arranged for us to see the musical Wicked. When we got there I thought “Wow, we got super lucky with these seats!” Little did I know Adam had arranged for the best seats in the house. After the show, Adam wanted us to go for a walk…..

My first response: "I need a wee and these shoes are hurting!"

So we did a pit stop at the hotel and carried on (as long as it was a short walk I protested) to this really sweet park (Bryant Park) right next to the Empire State Building. The park was empty and I almost refused to go in as there were signs saying no entry at night but Adam persuaded me to jump over the small barriers and headed me round to the fountain that was still lit even though the park was closed. 

bryant park, new york,
Bryant Park

The fog was low, the Empire State Building bright and the water falling from the fountain sounded magical against the backdrop of Manhattan’s nocturnal echoes. I whispered “it’s like something from a movie” at which point Adam fell to his knee and asked me to marry him. 

And there we were about to plan our wedding and I couldn’t wait!

Where To Get Married?

Picking the area was probably one of the hardest decisions we made. As Adam is from the Midlands and I’m from the South we wanted to choose somewhere that was relatively central - albeit slightly biased nearer to our base in order to make it easier for us to attend appointments that were necessary on the run up. And trust me, especially if you are getting married in a Church, there are A LOT of appointments! We didn’t narrow our time frame down to specific weekends – instead we just had few selected months that we knew wanted to get married in. This avoids disappointment if you find the venue of your dreams and ensures your leave your options open.

magpie miller, wedding

We chose St James' Church in Chipping Campden for our wedding ceremony followed by a reception at a gorgeous hotel called Cotswold House. It’s located amongst the foothills of the Cotswolds (just in case you didn’t get that from the name) which was also in the delightful little town called Chipping Campden. We looked at a few venues but what we really loved about Cotswold House was that it had plenty of room yet still felt intimate and welcoming - something that was really important to us as it reflected our ethos for the wedding. Pretentious and stuffy was a massive no, no and we saw quite a bit of that in our initial search! It was also really important to us that the hotel situated in a town as we hired it for the whole weekend which meant people had access to a newsagents and somewhere to get their hair done… you know; all the essentials (?!) 

Cotswold House in Chipping Campden

Most people arrived on the Friday evening and stayed at either the sister hotel opposite or within Cotswolds hotel itself. When everyone got to their room we had a order of the weekend note card waiting which told them all the information for the forthcoming weekend. We had a lovely buffet dinner and drinks on the Friday night where I barely touched anything as I was scared I was going to bloat up like a puffer fish. 

The wedding on Saturday went so smoothly at the venue and we were really lucky to have the Olympic Torch pass through the village on the Sunday morning, which saw many guests stick around to wave past. It felt like a real event and we were so lucky that people wanted to spend the whole weekend with us to celebrate our nuptials!

Choosing The One

This, of course, was one of the best bits of the preparation (apart from trying the food and buying the rings). I’m not a huge shopper so from the outset I knew that I didn’t want to traipse around a bunch of shops till my feet fell off - so I went to a small boutique with my mum to try on a few different styles. I’ve heard that some women do find their dresses at the first shop they visit but for me it was valuable to get to know the different designers and styles that were available. I’d seen a big named Spanish designer in all the magazines and had pretty much decided that I wanted one of their dresses so I booked an appointment at their store in London. I thought I’d best book another appointment whilst I was there and remembered that I also really liked dresses from a British designer, Suzanne Neville, and booked an appointment at her studio in Kensington for the same day. 

My mum and I arrived at the first store and well, it really wasn’t how I imagined it at all. When we got to our first appointment it was like a factory operation, one in one out with no personal touches or special attention and all the dresses were a drab off white/grey colour – it was such a disappointing experience. I was so glad that I’d had the foresight to book the second appointment at Suzanne Neville! When we arrived at our appointment in the afternoon it was amazing. The studio was small, friendly and totally unpretentious. They were so helpful and worked with me to figure out exactly what I wanted. 

suzanne neville

When I tried on the Luscious dress I knew it was THE one as it was so flattering and the cascading lace felt soft and elegant without being too formal. Whilst I was trying it on Elvis Costello’s “She’s The One” started playing from my favourite chick flick, Notting Hill. It was meant to be! How cheesy…

I worked with Suzanne to customise the dress slightly to suit my shape. The dress originally had a straight cut on the bust but we changed it to a sweetheart style and added a light scattering of diamantes and pearls to the neckline which carried on round to the back. They were so subtle but when they caught the light it looked so beautiful!

Looking Dapper

We decided early on that we didn’t want formal Morning Suits for the wedding so Adam started hunting down an outfit which was contemporary but wouldn’t look hopelessly dated on the photos in a few years. After trying the usual suspects, we came across Mr. Start in Shoreditch which offered a great range and bespoke service. After an initial fitting, Adam opted for a blue suit with a pale pink shirt and blue tie – finishing it off with a handkerchief and sterling silver tie-pin. Adam wanted to jazz up the suit a little with a waistcoat so they made him a matching one which looked very dapper and finished it off perfectly. For shoes he opted for a pair of brown leather Hudson shoes. It was comfy, smart and fitted to perfection. Mr. Start; we salute you!

adam suit, mr start

Pretty Maids All In A Row

When looking for bridesmaid dresses I always thought I would avoid going to Coast as you see so many bridesmaid dresses from there. When it came to looking for them I understood why so many people choose their dresses. As I had five bridesmaids it was becoming very difficult to find a dress that suited every shape and skin tone within the budget; plus the fit, quality and price of Coast is really hard to match and, to be honest, there were so many other things to organise in such a short time period, opting for one of their dresses seemed like a good idea. 

bridesmaid, dress, coast,

We went for the Allure short dress in Champagne and my mum and I decided to customise the dress by adding a sparkly gold ribbon around the waist with a champagne coloured rose tied at the side which were both from Hobby Craft… Nice and cheap! It meant that although it’s a well used bridesmaid dress we added something special to it without spending much. We teamed the dress up with a mother of pearl sequinned shrug and nude patent shoes which we ordered off the internet so we only saw it all together once we’d bought all the items – thankfully it worked perfectly!

Fun Time With Fab Friends

For my hen night I just wanted something relatively low key and inflatable willy free. My friends organised a wonderful hen weekend in my home town of Brighton. My mum had arranged for us to have some pizza and food on the Friday night round her house and beauty treatments had been organised for everyone which was really lovely. We even ended up dancing round the kitchen table! Then on the Saturday night we headed into Brighton to go for a ride on the big wheel, eat Thai food (where Adam had organised for us to have more wine than we could drink!) and sing our hearts out in our own private Karaoke room – it was amazing and such a fabulous way to spend time with the ladies I care about most in this world. 

We Luuurve Cake!

Phoebe Miller from So You’re Getting Married blog recommended a fantastic cake company called Fiona Cairns who were relatively local to us in the Midlands. They’ve been established for 25 years and stockists include Waitrose, John Lewis and Selfridges. When we turned up and realised that the company had made William and Kate’s wedding cake. I had a little freak out internally thinking that it was going to cost the earth. But of course we soldiered on and tasted the cake (Adam managed to shove most of the cake in his mouth whilst the lovely Liz was out the room). The cake tasted amazing! The sponge melted in your mouth and when we were given the quote it was nowhere near as expensive as we first feared and much cheaper than the big name companies that are around.

fiona cairns, wedding cake,

It's All In The Detail

From a very early stage we agreed that lighting would play a very important role in decorating the venue so we allocated a budget for that then worked out from there. To be honest if you’ve got some great lighting and gorgeous flowers the rest just falls into place! My mum scoured the antique markets for small old bottles and mercury glass tea light holders and we scattered these around the room to add some softness. By adding little touches like striped wedding favour bags it balanced out and made sure it didn’t look too girly. I really love the fact that everything was quite neutral but there were these amazing pops of pink that the flowers gave on each table.

wedding stationery, table,

Paper Pretty

The first place everyone should go to when looking at invitations is Oh So Beautiful Paper. This blog has THE most amazing collection of stationery and there is inspiration for everyone no matter what your taste. We found a few invitations that we liked the look of and came across a lovely lady who does bespoke stationery through Etsy. We sent her our research and Helen came up with fantastic ideas. Word of warning though, if you are going for bespoke stationery then ensure you leave yourself enough time for the person doing it. 

For our save the dates we wanted something a little bit different that would get everyone excited so we opted for a string of words that people could hang off their fridge and then for the actual invitation we decided we wanted something slightly more traditional and elegant that would encapsulate our day. We went for letterpress and oh my, they turned out just beautifully! To tie everything in we also asked Helen to design the table plan, menu, name places and table names so that it would have continuity with the invitations.

Blooming Brilliant

The church we were getting married in were quite specific about who we could use for the flowers but luckily for us one of their recommended florists was absolutely brilliant. We met up with her to discuss what I had in mind and she managed to source the David Austin roses that I specified. The colours and variations of flowers were just stunning. I was also lucky enough that my aunt does flower arranging so we just bought the flowers and she did loads of big arrangements that were placed all around the venue for free. Always make the most of your friends and family’s talents!

Picture Perfect

As much as I like wedding photography we really wanted to make sure that we captured as many small moments as we did the big, grandstanding set pieces. We very much wanted to capture our feelings and mood as well as those who were there. I found the very talented Debbie Scanlan through Twitter; a photographer who doesn’t do just weddings but also does fashion shoots and directs music videos. She has a very broad range of skills and knows exactly how to create and capture moments. 

I read on So You’re Getting Married blog that it’s a good idea to not only meet the photographer but also do a pre or engagement shoot with them before the wedding to get you used to having cameras in your face as it’s something most people just aren’t used to. Initially this idea sounded a bit like overkill but after putting some thought into it, these are photos that you’re going to see for the rest of your life – why wouldn’t you want them to be the best that they can be? We met Debbie in Brighton and honestly it was such a good idea – it got us over that horrible awkwardness and it was like seeing an old friend on the wedding day which made us feel so relaxed.

debbie scanlan

We left getting our videographer quite late as all of the ones we had been recommended were fully booked so we did that usual thing of deferring the decision... Adam came across Aurora Video and we loved their art direction on the website. Luckily they had availability on the day and we honestly couldn’t have been happier. They bought a huge amount of cameras between the two of them, meaning the video was film quality and their editing skills were brilliant. They were so lovely and really captured our day beautifully.

Put A Ring On It

We knew we wanted matching plain bands so it was just a case of finding the right jeweller. After speaking to my parents who recently bought themselves new wedding rings we decided to go to the same place in Brighton that they bought theirs from. Even small emotional links like this are really important and will be the things you remember for the rest of your life.

Personal touches

With so many weddings taking place, it’s difficult to have truly personal touches – but that didn’t stop us trying! As the wedding ran over the weekend, we commissioned some graphic designers we knew to create a set of itinerary flyers which we placed in everyone’s rooms ahead of their arrival. The style of these was very casual and purposefully included elements we then scattered throughout the weekend. 

Adam took on the task of favours and after an inordinate amount of time he finally opted for a stick of rock with our names through it to reflect my Brighton heritage and a compilation CD to justify his unnecessarily huge music collection. We again tied the CD cover and disc design into the theme established through the flyers, creating a Wed Search which featured things which were important to us and how we met. The actual music included our favourite songs respectively, tunes which reminded us of how we met and our first dance. To finish it off we popped in a pack of Wedding Love Hearts, and then sealed the grey striped sweetie bag with the A&E logo we first used on our Save The Date cards.

In addition to this we had other little touches including handmade book confetti, retro popcorn bags and children activity packs for the tables. It is best to keep the little ones busy so the grown-ups can relax and have a much better time.

Any Disasters?

Flower girl. Broken arm. Just before speeches. She’s fully recovered now, but cartwheeling a bit less!

The Best Bit…..

The best bits about our wedding day was watching everyone really enjoying themselves and declaring that we want to be together forever in front of all the people we care about.

Words Of Wisdom

Don’t sweat the small stuff on the day. Make sure you’re not doing any organising on the day – it’s about you and enjoying the start of one of the best days of your life. If something hasn’t been done by 10am on the wedding day then don’t worry about it – you’re getting married! Woohoo!

My Essential Planning Aids 

When we first got engaged I bought a tonne of wedding magazines. I’d always been eyeing them up and was so excited to be beeping them through the check-out! They soon wore thin though as I found they recycle a lot their content and started to look at blogs instead. I’m lucky enough to have stumbled across a few fantastic blogs through my business

It’s so important to research all the important elements, but treat them as guidelines rather than diktats. Don’t kill yourself trying to replicate something you have seen – it’s your day after all and ensuring your personality is felt as a couple is paramount. I used Pinterest to collate all of my favourite ideas plus it was an extremely useful resource to find more ideas too.

The lovely ladies from I Am Into This had some invaluable advice too, from what to wear for your hen night to how to get the best night sleep before the big day – they were just a fantastic source of information!

adam and elissa wedding

Wow, wasn't that just one fantastic wedding day? I am super impressed with Elissa and Adam's wedding planning skills, the same weekend as the Olympic torch arrives in town, what a great way to make it an even more memorable time for you and your wedding guests. 

How many of you love Elissa's wedding gown by Suzanne Neville? It's an absolute belter! I love all the details Elissa and Adam put into their wedding day especially the nod to Elissa's hometown of Brighton and Adam's extensive music collection. 

Adam and Elissa are an amazing couple who definitely planned an amazing day filled with so many memories. 

Teresa x

P.S.  Hope the flower girl's broken arm is much better now.