Alex & Roy’s English Rose wedding with touches of Africa
Hello brides! Are you ready to indulge in the prettiest of real weddings? Before you get started grab a cup of tea, and perhaps a cheeky slice of cake, as I have a feeling you might be here for a while… Alex & Roy both grew up in Zimbabwe before moving to the UK, so wanted to combine their classic English wedding with touches of Africa. The most symbolic of English icons – roses – set the theme for their day, with Alex choosing a range of sumptuous roses for her cascading bouquet, the table arrangements and topping her stunning cake. She wore the most romantic lace wedding dress, with matching blush lace dress for her maids & mini-maids, but it was the reception where the African touches shone through with guinea fowl feather place settings, African animal table names and a second dance to Mama Thembu’s African classic ‘Getting Married’. Complimenting their style perfectly is the fresh and romantic photography of Dasha Caffrey.
And that’s just to start with! Here’s Alex to tell you all about their day ~
We have known each other for 13 years through family and friends, but it was only when Roy moved to the UK from Zimbabwe around 4 years ago did we really get to know each other. I have been collecting ideas on Pinterest to do with weddings for quite sometime, and little did I know that Roy was keeping up to date with all that was going on with my pins! He organised a trip really early one morning but didn’t tell me where or what we were doing. I should’ve guessed something was up at this point! After a few hours of driving it soon transpired that he had organised a sunrise hot air balloon ride – it was something we had both wanted to do for some time so I was particularly excited at this point. As we were taking off Roy asked me to look at the ground where we had just taken off. There on the ground was a banner, which had been rolled out by his parents, and written on it was ‘Allie will you marry me?’ when I turned around there he was on one knee with a gorgeous tanzanite ring (idea taken from Pinterest). To top it all off he had organised a secret photographer who had captured the whole moment (another idea taken from my Pinterest board). These photographs are fab and always make me smile when I look at them!
We got married at Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire. I’d always loved the Abbey because of its rustic appeal. Parts of the outside of the building are falling down, the inside is grand without being over the top, and there has always been a warm atmosphere there whenever we’ve attended services on Sundays. We chose the Abbey House Gardens next door for our reception, their gardens are beautiful and we loved the idea of being able to use both the gardens and conservatory (The Belvedere Room) if it happened to rain. The Belvedere Room is perfect if you want to have an outside wedding but have the comfort of being inside. The ‘walls’ of the room completely open up so it allows you to feel as if you are still outside. We used this room for the dancing in the evening, and would have used it for the drinks reception had it rained. The other advantage of the Abbey House Gardens is that they allowed us to use their lawn to put of a marquee, which could accommodate the extra guests we really wanted to invite. We are both Zimbabwean so we were always more inclined to want to have our wedding outdoors.
I chose a dress called Amparo by San Patrick. Their designs are very girly, and they use a lot of lace, which I absolutely love. I decided to get a pale pink belt to wear with the dress to make it a little different, and it was this that ended up deciding on our colour theme. I knew I wanted to have a dress that I couldn’t have in another colour, this was my one time for going all out on something big. I had a very specific idea of what I wanted in a dress- lace, buttons, sleeves and a big skirt and this dress ticked all the boxes. I went with a simple two-tiered veil. I wore Lucy Choi shoes that I purchased at Fenwick on Oxford Street. They were cute, sparkly and with a small dainty wedge (far more practical for a garden wedding than a stiletto). I didn’t wear any other jewellery other than a pair of earrings that my sister wore on her wedding day (my something borrowed). I wanted make up that was natural. I didn’t want to look drastically different when I arrived at the top of the aisle. I wanted my hair to be elegant and of a style that wouldn’t date. I opted for a simple low bun, with fresh roses. My husband voiced how he likes hair down, so I opted for a simple half up style for the dinner and dancing.
I wanted a dress for my bridesmaids that would be appropriate for both girls. My maid of honour was from the States, and I knew that having lots of fittings wasn’t going to be an option and I also had my niece who is in her teens so I needed something that wasn’t going to be too old for her to wear. I bought their dresses at Monsoon and personalised them by having bespoke belts made by Abigail Grace on Etsy. I wasn’t keen on having the groomsmen wear all the same coloured waistcoats and ties, so I allowed them to choose their own waistcoats and we bought them ties to wear on the day.
I read a LOT of wedding blogs when planning the wedding, my favourites were Style me Pretty, b.loved, The Pretty Blog, Magnolia Rouge, Love My Dress, Ruffled Blog, Once Wed, Lovely Little Details, Grey Likes Weddings and Joy Le Vivre! I also bought every wedding magazine available in the year before my wedding! I suppose our main wedding colour was pink (although unintentional), but the only real colour theme I had was with the bridesmaids. The church flowers were multi-coloured, and the reception a combination of pinks, reds, and lilac. Roses were the main flowers used, this included: Vuvuzela, Sahara, Bombastic (spray rose), Musette, Quicksand, and Safi. We also used a lot of other flowers such as hydrangea, sweet peas, brambles, and flowers that generally come from a country garden. The grooms buttonholes had little guinea fowl feathers which was a small tribute to where we are from.
We are both from Zimbabwe so I wanted to bring in an element of home without going over the top so we used the African names for Guinea Fowl, Zebra and Tiger Fish for our tables. I sketched little images of the three animals for each of the menus on the different tables. I also made macarons as favours (strawberry, almond and orange). We chose simple white lanterns for the marquee, and multi coloured ones for the dancing. We both love twinkle lights and candles so we tried to use them as much as possible. The cake was made by my mum and decorated by my sister, who brought in my love of lace and flowers by making sugar lace and flowers to decorate the three layers. The flame lilies on the wedding cake were used on my sister’s wedding cake 13 years ago.
Our photographer was the wonderful Dasha Caffrey. I loved her relaxed style that is simple and elegant, not overly posed and won’t date in years to come. I came across an engagement shoot she did in London, and I instantly fell in love with her work. I think she was the first thing we booked for the wedding.
I think my favourite moment was during the drinks reception when everyone was drinking champagne in the garden. It was so special to see so many friends and family all together in one place to celebrate the love between Roy and I. We really felt honoured to have so many friends and family travel all the way from Australia, America, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique to be there for our special day.
first dance song
A wedding is a big day in your life and understandably you want it to be perfect, but at the end of it the most important thing is that you’re marrying the one you love. Don’t get hung up on the small details, or the little mishaps along the way. Take a few minutes to be with just your partner on the day, let reality sink in and watch how much fun your friends and family are having. It is such a wonderful feeling.