Nicola and Josh were married on 10th September 2016 at The Italian Villa in Poole, Dorset
How did you meet?
We first met 15 years ago. We lived in the same village and Josh was a waiter at the local pub. I am a bit older than him and I took the initiative and invited him out on a date. As you can imagine he was a little less mature back then and needless to say we only went out twice! Flash forward ten years from then and I happened to pop back to the village pub and by pure chance Josh was there celebrating his parents wedding anniversary. This time round he asked me out for a date and as they say “the rest is history”
How did the proposal happen?
Josh knows that I love Italy and he planned a surprise trip to Venice. I have been an actress for the past 12 years and my icon is Audrey Hepburn and Moon River in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is our song. On our second night he asked me to get dressed up and he took me to the Teatro La Fenice where he hired out the theatre for an hour and took me up to the Royal Box where he played Moon River and proposed with the most stunning Victorian diamond solitaire.
Where did the wedding take place?
We made a whole weekend of celebrations which began on the Thursday. The bridal party got ready at The Priory Hotel and the wedding took place at The Lady St. Mary Church in Wareham. The guests then took a routemaster London bus to board a private boat where we all travelled along the River Frome to The Italian Villa at Compton Acres where the reception took place.
What did the bride wear?
This part was easy I picked my dresses from my own boutique. I own George James Bridal Boutique in Bedford, so in theory I was spoilt for choice and most people thought I might struggle but I always knew what I wanted. I love a ball gown shape as for me it epitomises the traditional bride and I am all about fabric and tailoring. Suzanne Neville gowns have all of this in abundance and so I chose Heather which had a silk organza skirt and a lace bodice with a Bardot neckline.
I must say I was very lucky and naughty and had a second dress to dance the night away in. In the evening I changed into a gorgeous tea length dress style 8800 from Justin Alexander.
What did the rest of the Bridal party wear?
We both liked the idea of keeping the feel to the day Italian inspired so Josh opted for a classic, tailored three piece black dinner suit. All the groomsmen wore the same suits purchased from Claytons Menswear in Bedford and wore Oyster ties and matching pocket squares. They also all had matching button holes from our amazing florist Jennifer Poynter. My mother had a beautiful oyster dress, matching coat and hat from Anne Firbank. I had four ‘official’ bridesmaids’ who were two of best friends and two nieces, and my two sisters who also managed to wangle themselves in to the bridal party!! I say this very fondly as they are very important to me! The colours were more or less blush and oyster and were from Mori Lee.
What was your theme?
We didn’t really want to have a ‘theme’ as such but it inevitably happens in order to create cohesion for the day. What was most important for us was that had things that we loved and that all our guests would find representative of us. We both have special places in the world and have travelled together so with this a slight travel inspired feel tied all the elements of the wedding together. The guests all had travel documents as their invites that included passports, boat and bus boarding passes and travel money (that was later used as free vouchers for the photo booth).
The guests boarded a red London double decker bus and made their way to the church where the very ‘English’ part of the wedding took place. We had an incredible gospel choir during the service and then made our way to the boat. The next part was meant to have an Irish flavour as we had a fiddler on the boat and then when we arrived at The Italian Villa we had an accordionist to set the mood along with an authentic Italian ice cream tricycle that came all the way from our hometown of Bedford.
One thing that was the most important was to have very special tributes to my nephew who tragically passed away from cancer three years ago. The whole colour choice for the day was inspired by him as his favourite colours were orange and green, so with this in mind and considering it was Autumn it was perfect to use burnt oranges and soft pinks, golds and warm greens. As it was also my parents golden wedding anniversary we also wanted to link in all of these lovely golden hues as well. My sister had his pictures printed on the ring pillow as he would have been our page boy and the songs picked in the church were some of his favourites. I had all my loved ones pictures in my bouquet and when we arrived at The Italian Villa there was a special table set up with an arrival cocktail called George’s Marvellous Medicine which was a bright green vodka drink. There were large 3 ft balloons surrounding his picture that were released by the family in the evening.
So really the theme of the day was inspired by family as that really is the most important thing to us and what will make the day so memorable.
Describe your cake
Our cake was made by the talented Helen Whelan at Sweetness and Delight. It was and ivory five tier cake with one layer of fruit cake and two raspberry and white chocolate and two lemon curd and butter icing. Two tiers had delicate lace icing and it had hand crafted sugar icing flowers and grapes that matched the flowers in the bouquet. The special touch was a lego brick wall at the back of the cake which was another tribute to little George.
I had a beautiful garter that my mum gave me on the morning of the wedding that also had my something old on it which was my nan’s wedding ring which was hand sewn onto the lace.
What were the highlights?
Gosh, there are almost too many to recollect. Celebrating my parents golden anniversary in the morning and having my mum put me in my dress and my dad seeing me for the first time was so special. The incredible entertainment throughout the day was fantastic and created such different atmospheres. We had a goosebump moment that no one will ever forget when one of George’s balloons just took to the skies with its weight still attached. The sun suddenly appeared with a shaft of light and it floated off during our family picture as everyone cried out “It’s George!”
However, without question the highlight was saying our vows in Church. Making the commitment to the person you love and I will always treasure the very special moment as we both said “I do”.
How did it end?
We wanted to leave the reception in a very traditional way so we asked the bridal party to create the arch which we went through and said goodbye to everyone before heading straight off in our car and back to our bridal suite in the boat house at The Priory Hotel in Wareham.
Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
I know this sounds a bit cliché but it really was the absolute best day of our lives.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
Josh has an open top sports car and we liked the romance of heading off with our ‘just married’ sign and having the freedom to stop where we pleased, so we went on a road trip. We crossed over to France and had out first stop in Saint Emillion in a chateaux just outside Bordeaux and then we continued on to the South of France. We started in Theole sur mer and explored Cannes, Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo. We carried on adventuring into Italy stopping off at Pisa and Portofino before heading onto Rome. Heading back home we went via Florence and Lake Como and then even managed to go canyoning in Switzerland before finally making our way back home stopping in Rouen before crossing back to England.
Photography: Kasia Nowak (www.peppermintlovephotography.com)
Dress: Suzanne Neville
Venue: The Italian Villa, Compton Acres, Dorset (www.the-italian-villa.co.uk)