WEDDINGS

love shoot #70: a snowy fetcham park wedding ~ part one {laura & paul}

Good morning busy brides to be!

Today I’m indulging in another wintery and festive wedding, this one is particularly special as I know the gorgeous bride!

For those of you who are regular readers of Bijoux Bride, you will have seen me mention the very special Surrey wedding venue,Fetcham Park more than a few times.  Today I’m delighted to introduce you to the lovely Laura Caudery, curator, custodian and coordinator of Fetcham Park in Surrey, and Cams Hall in Hampshire, two wonderful wedding venues from Parallel Venues.

Even in an industry full of welcoming & friendly people, Laura stands out from the crowd as the most genuine and warm lady you could ever wish to meet.  She greets you with a big hug, and ushers you into Fetcham Park House, settling on the sofa with a smile that instantly makes you feel at home.  Her love of Fetcham Park is immediately evident, she talks excitedly about the history of this grand Grade II listed building, the exquisitely landscaped gardens, and the magnificent murals that adorn the walls and ceilings of the luxurious Salon and Shell rooms, as well as the impressive staircase leading to the upper floors.  She talks about her brides to be with genuine excitement and pride, honoured to be a part of their special day.

The launch of Parallel venues at Fetcham Park on 30th October, was a testament to Laura’s commitment to the industry, she has an impressive array of friends from bridal designers, boutique owners, magazine editors, florists, planners and bloggers to name a few!  The launch was less than a year after Laura’s own wedding to her wonderful husband Paul, held at Fetcham Park and the catalyst to this wonderful house being opened up as an exclusive wedding venue for you to enjoy.

Today I am thrilled to be the very lucky blogger who gets to exclusively share Laura & Paul’s elegant wintery wedding with you, the very first wedding at Fetcham Park and the benchmark, I am sure, for many more beautiful Fetcham weddings.  Their day wasn’t without its trials, taking place during one of the coldest, snowiest days in recent history and with the glowing bride being 6 months pregnant.  Nevertheless, the spirit of Laura and Paul’s friends, family, and wonderful wedding suppliers is one of the most beautiful things about their wedding, pulling together and creating a warm, friendly and intimate atmosphere.  I really am spoiling you today, and sharing in two parts, so be sure to check back later for Part Two.

Over a steaming mug of coffee at Fetcham, Laura shared their epic wedding day story with me ~

Unfortunately the story of how we met is very unromantic as we actually met on an IT course! At the end,we swapped numbers under the pretence of professional interest and a few weeks later we went on our first date.  I was living in London for the first year of our relationship whilst Paul was in Buckinghamshire, so we moved to Sunningdale, bought our first home and then….well then he made me wait!  He proposed to me last summer and a few days later we found out that I was pregnant which resulted in a very short engagement. 5 months to be precise!  Although there was no grand proposal, Paul did spoil me with a trip to Paris to buy my wedding ring!

I knew that I wanted to marry before I gave birth as I’d been mentally planning my wedding for years and wanted to give it my full attention, especially as I was working to a tight deadline.  Once the morning sickness had passed, I started planning in earnest but the common response when I told suppliers that I was getting married in December was to ask whether I was enquiring about 2011 or 2012.  Then I’d tell them that I meant December 2010 and waited for the silence…

Like most brides I knew I had to start with the venue.  You might think this would have been the easy part but at this point I was adamant that I would NOT be marrying at Fetcham Park.  I was after something “special” and as my family have owned Fetcham Park for over 10yrs and we have celebrated many special occasions there, I didn’t feel it was right for our wedding.  At this point even I think I sound spoilt!

I think that the real problem was that I didn’t want to feel like I had to marry at Fetcham Park.  I wanted to enjoy all the preparations as much as any other bride and that meant visiting other venues to see if we could imagine ourselves getting married there.  I’d always thought I would get married in the village Church I was baptised in and have a wedding reception at my parent’s house but as we were getting married in winter, a marquee in the garden didn’t really appeal.

We visited lots of other wedding venues, and even booked one before I realised just how special Fetcham Park is.  On a practical level, it’s easy to get to, had all the space we needed and having used it for events before, we knew how to get the best from the building.  Plus it’s pretty gorgeous to look at and has the most exquisite interior.  Even if I couldn’t get lots of lovely outdoor photographs as it would be the middle of winter, I knew we wouldn’t be short of photo opportunities.

The next challenge was to create something very different from what we’d done before at the house and I knew that I wanted to find my own suppliers, suppliers personal to my tastes rather than my family’s.  With a  background in luxury brands (Burberry & Alfred Dunhill), I’m all about the detail and I was excited to collaborate with people I’d long admired to help realise my vision for the day.  I know I should say “our vision” but Paul was only ever going to be interested in the music so I had full reign over the rest.  The secret to a happy marriage…

Despite all my careful preparations, there was one thing that I couldn’t have foreseen, and one thing that we weren’t insured against: snow.  Not just a light dusting but snow so deep that the country came to a standstill.  I woke up at my parent’s to see the garden was covered but didn’t immediately realise what an impact it might have.  My parent’s drive is half a mile long and it soon became apparent that we couldn’t easily leave, nor could anyone reach us.  Fortunately my parents have 2 four wheel drive cars…just enough seats to transport me and my 6 bridesmaids (who’d stayed at the house with me) to get our hair done before the ceremony.  Our journey was eventful and painfully slow, the last couple of miles took 2hrs.  The journey was unspeakably tense: the girls tried to keep me upbeat but I took call after call from guests telling us they couldn’t make it, after a while it all got too much and I gave my phone to one of the girls.   Paul and I kept in regular contact and we even discussed whether we should call off the wedding.  It was heartbreaking and both of us were sad, stressed and unsure what to do.  We decided we’d keep trying but we knew that the day was never going to be what we’d hoped for.

Fortunately we were getting married at 4pm.  It was 3pm when I left the salon and I was originally supposed to be at the house for midday.  I arrive at 3.45pm, quickly changed into my dress and was walking down the stairs at 4.05pm.  I enjoyed none of the leisurely preparations I’d planned with my Mum and girlfriends (my spa day on the eve of the wedding had been cancelled as I was very unwell) and I was exhausted by the time I entered the Church.

Fortunately everything else melted away as I saw our friends and family and then turned a corner in the aisle to see Paul.  He looked exactly as I imagined he would and I knew that we were right to make every effort that day as regardless of what else happened, above all I wanted to marry him.  The service was beautiful and the highlight of the day for me.  It put everything else into perspective: I had worked tirelessly to ensure every detail was perfect but what really mattered was being in Church to marry the man I love in front of all the people we hold dear.  We felt so loved and supported by everyone that had made such an effort to be with us as we made our vows and I will never forget that feeling.

Laura’s words are poignent and so true.  Even after all the planning and precision that goes into making your day perfect, the only thing that actually matters on the day is getting married to the man you love, the rest is just trimmings.

See you this afternoon for Part Two!

***

{credits}

Photography ~ CKP Weddings

Louise

After a decade-long career in corporate interior design, I took a giant leap of faith, left the security of an office job, and founded B.LOVED in 2011 as a platform for romantic and beautiful wedding inspiration. Thanks to a whole lot of creativity, hard work and passion, my gamble paid off and B.LOVED became one of the leading wedding blogs in the UK.

You’ll also find me working as an Editorial Stylist, where I design and curate beautiful photoshoots for wedding and lifestyle brands, as well as contributing as a founding member of bridal inspiration hub Aisle Society, and running wedding industry community the B.LOVED Hive from our super pretty base in London. Yep, I definitely have the best job in the world.

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