When Carly and Tom began planning their summer wedding, their most pressing issue was finding the right location. Carly says: “We looked at so many venues, but then we saw Stoke Park and realised it had everything. It was elegant and traditional and also required very little dressing for the kind of celebration we wanted”.
The icing on the cake was the exterior architecture because this white-stuccoed country club and hotel set in glorious Buckinghamshire parkland perfectly matched their vision of a traditional and relaxed summer wedding with a single colour theme – white. It had all the romance you could require from a wedding venue, having played a starring role in movies galore, from James Bond to Bridget Jones’s Diary. Its location also meant Carly and Tom could hold their service in the picture-perfect church of St Mary’s, Beaconsfield, just 15 minutes away.
With the venue in place, and Kelly Chandler from The Bespoke Wedding Company as their wedding planner and designer, everything came together. Kelly was able to perfectly translate Carly and Tom’s vision – lush white flowers with rich green foliage, silver and crystal accents, crisp white linen and lots of candles.
There was no veering from the theme when it came to the bride’s wedding crew. Carly’s gorgeous strapless wedding gown was created by legendary American designer Vera Wang. Her four bridesmaids wore elegant white floor-length numbers, while daughter Bella Poppy, aged six – her flowergirl and top-table VIP – looked every inch the princess in her silk and tulle party dress by Nicki Macfarlane.
“We wanted our wedding to feel unfussy and reflect our personalities”
As anyone planning a real wedding in the English countryside knows, the weather is something you can’t always bank on. But luck was on Carly and Tom’s side because the mercury was set fair. As guests enjoyed Stoke Park’s gorgeous grounds in warm sunshine, this became the second of Carly and Tom’s standout moments from their wedding day. Carly says: “I know everyone says this but the first high point was walking into the church – all decked in white and green – and seeing each other. And the second was after the dinner and formalities were over when we saw all our guests relaxing on the terrace and enjoying our celebration.”
Carly and Tom’s advice to other brides and grooms is to avoid getting stressed about the myriad of choices. “We vowed to stay chilled out. It is so easy is to drive yourself mad with the details. Kelly was fantastic, and we could never have managed without her, but as a couple we also made a conscious decision not to fuss. Our best advice is, once you make a decision stick with it and move on, rather than going back on it”.
“A high point was walking into the church – all decked in white and green – and seeing each other”
Carly and Tom’s pure white theme showed off their splendid English country setting to perfection. But it also set the scene for a relaxed summer party, an atmosphere, beautifully captured in Paul White’s naturalistic pictures. As Carly says: “We wanted our wedding to feel unfussy and reflect our personalities. It was an amazing celebration in fantastic surroundings, but it still felt completely personal to us.”
Carly and Tom’s Real Wedding Sourcebook
Wedding planner & designer: Kelly Chandler at The Bespoke Wedding Company; thebespokeweddingco.com
Photography: Paul White Weddings paulwhiteweddings.com
Reception venue: Stoke Park Club; stokepark.com
Church: Revd Camilla Walton at St Mary’s Beaconsfield
Flowers: Simon Nickell Design; simonnickelldesign.com
Bride’s gown & veil: Vera Wang; verawang.com
Bride’s shoes: Jimmy Choo; jimmychoo.com
Hair: Angel Satwick Hair; instagram.com/angelsatwickhair
Flowergirl dress: Nicki Macfarlane; nickimacfarlane.com
Confetti pouches: Not on the High Street; notonthehighstreet.com
Bridal cars: Classic Car Hire; classiccarhire.co.uk
Cake: Cakes by Krishanthi; cakesbykrishanthi.co.uk
Cake topper: Miss Cake; misscake.co.uk
Balloons: Bubblegum Balloons; bubblegumballoons.co.uk
White taxi photo booth: Mega Booth; megabooth.com
White linen: Just 4 Linen; just4linen.co.uk
Post box: Your Wedding Post Box; yourweddingpostbox.co.uk
Lighting, dancefloor & backdrop: Stress Free Hire; stressfreehire.com
Live music: Leigh Coleman Collective & Junior Guevarra at Eight Ray Music; eightraymusic.com
Stationery: Memories Made UK; memoriesmadeuk.com
Film: Bloomsbury Films; bloomsburyfilms.com