After Claudia and Dan’s engagement took place in Mexico on the last night of their vacation (they went out and returned to a room filled with “Marry me” balloons!), they hosted a gorgeous wedding designed around a “romantic country garden blush wedding”. As a British couple living and working in Chicago, the bride and groom-to-be came home to the UK and wanted an elegant country house setting to bring together their family and friends for a weekend of wedding celebrations. Keep scrolling to see how this incredible day came together down to the last detail with the help of Elegante by Michelle J, and all captured by Pippa Mackenzie.
The perfect venue for a three-day event
Avington Park, known historically as the “party palace” and recently renovated as an exclusive wedding venue, ticked all of the couple’s boxes. Once booked, they set out to design a luxurious, romantic wedding day which was bookended by a welcome dinner the evening before and a “Sunday shoot” to complete the celebrations. Elegante by Michelle J‘s team worked closely with floral designer, the wonderful Paula Rooney, to create beautiful floral artistry for every stage of the wedding day. To complete the look, Elegante by Michelle J‘s team carefully curated all of the other details, including the linens, tableware, and wedding day stationery.
Creating black-tie wedding party looks
For her wedding look, Claudia’s gown and veil were both from Enzoani. She wore shoes by Loeffler Randall and earrings by Mejuri. Her look was completed by a hair accessory supplied by Gemma Sutton. Her wedding ring was Tiffany, while Dan’s was from Bulgari. To round out the wedding party, Claudia’s bridesmaids’ dresses were from Anthropologie, and because the dress code was black tie, Dan wore a classic suit by Dolce & Gabbana.
Make a nautical wedding ceremony entrance
A huge attraction of the venue for Dan was the river that runs through the grounds of Avington. As part of their wedding service, they offer the use of a boat. The original plan was for Dan to come in to the ceremony with his best men and groomsmen by boat. Of course, the rain that ended up coming through the day-of meant that the plan had to change, but the fantastic team at Avington still made this happen – guests were just unfortunately not able to witness his arrival. The celebrant-led symbolic ceremony was written specifically for the couple and was delivered by the lovely Katie Keen of True Blue Ceremonies. It included personal vows, readings by family members, and ended with a fabulous confetti throw!
An exceptional florist always has a Plan B!
Floral designer Paula Rooney and her team were magnificent particularly because, part way through the creation of their beautiful ceremony arch, it started to rain! Thankfully Avington has a stunning ballroom which was already planned for their evening party and provided a perfect ceremony Plan B that everyone agreed might have actually been even better than Plan A! The arch remained in the ballroom and became the backdrop for Claudia and Dan’s fabulous wedding cake.
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An elevated food and drink experience
Food and drink were important to Claudia and Dan, so to this end, the planning team brought along Adam Nathan Catering who delivered a first-class wedding breakfast that included menu choices for each course. Guests were overheard commenting that his canapés were the best they had ever experienced at any wedding! He even came up with a solution for Dan’s request to serve a curry at the wedding breakfast. Working alongside the catering team was The Cocktail Service who provided a high-level bar service throughout the event, starting with a welcome drink pre-ceremony and running all the way through to the party.
Repurposing gorgeous white aisle boxes
In addition to the arch, Paula created aisle meadows in gorgeous boxes, which were then repurposed at each end of the dinner tables and around the cake table. The long dinner tables were dressed beautifully with bowls of flowers, bud vases, candles, tea lights, and overhead were chandeliers hanging on arched arms. All of the tableware – the linens, charger plates and glassware were all chosen to work in harmony with the florals to create the most cohesive look possible and provided courtesy of Just 4 Linen and Crystal Hire Ltd.
A traditional 4-tier wedding cake
Claudia and Dan chose a stunning 4-tier wedding cake from the fabulous Fen of MonAnnie Cakes. Their ask of Fen was to create a cake that was “romantic, timeless, elegant, graceful, and unforgettable.” It incorporated the most intricate of life-like sugar flowers and foliage, created by Fen in keeping with the flowers used by Paula. The cake included a second tier that had a hole through the middle to create an illusion of negative space to add depth. Claudia and Dan chose traditional flavors, including lemon, chocolate, and red velvet.
How to get every part of the party started
Claudia and Dan wanted to entertain their guests throughout their wedding, so they booked the “roaming” Phat Cats to provide music during both the drinks reception and the wedding breakfast. Seeing all of their guests dancing on the lawn and around the dinner tables was such a joy! Other entertainment included a caricaturist at the drinks reception and a selfie booth at the evening party, both booked through House of Lemon, and one of their friends (a guest the wedding) acting as DJ. It was all around a stunning and luxurious wedding weekend full of love and fun!
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