September 11, 2017

A gorgeous (slightly breezy) Saturday in August saw the beautiful wedding celebrations of Verity and Stuart in the pretty village of Eaton Bishop in Herefordshire.  Home to Verity’s grandmother and a place very special to Verity’s heart for the English country wedding she dreamed of.

Verity and Stuart first contacted me in January to enquire about wedding assistance.  I assisted with Verity’s aunties wedding last November so it was lovely to get the enquiry / recommendation.  Living in Washington DC, USA, they needed that wedding professional to get things moving quickly as they planned to marry in August 2017.  After a lovely Skype chat with them and putting a proposal together they soon booked me to assist with finding all of their suppliers, organising the logistics and making sure everything was pulled together ahead of their special day.  This included finding outside caterers that fitted with their vision, a photographer that matched Verity’s style, a hairdresser (which was a challenge), a florist (for the bridal party flowers), drapes, fairy lights, chairs, table linen, a stunning cake (with a chocolate tier for Stuart) amongst lots of other bits and pieces to complete the jigsaw.

I had wanted to work with Lucy J Toms Photography for a while so I was over the moon when Verity and Stuart chose her to photograph their day.  They immediately clicked via Skype and she really was the perfect fit for them and their style.

How did you and Stuart meet?
We met in 2013 at university through mutual friends.  Amazingly we never crossed paths until Verity’s senior year, Stuart’s junior year. This is truly a surprising detail because we shared close friend groups and the university is very small (1,600 students in rural Ohio.)  We met at Verity’s apartment, which she shared with friends, including Tea and Emily, who became future bridesmaids. We were both smitten at the first meeting, but also hesitant given the timing of it all.  We had a few months together on campus followed by a year apart as Verity moved back to Washington DC. Upon graduation, Stuart took a job in DC and the rest is history!

Tell me about the proposal?
Family is very important to us and as such it was important to include them as part of the proposal. We are also very “low key” individuals and as a couple. With that, Stuart proposed to Verity on December 29, 2016, at Verity’s parent’s home after a nice family dinner. Being the holiday season, people would be travelling the following day so it was a perfect opportunity to include loved ones for the special occasion.

Describe your style?
When we sat down to plan our wedding, we were less interested in a specific style or look, rather, we were focused on creating a particular atmosphere to the occasion for our guests. We wanted our guests to feel relaxed, welcomed, and valued as a part of the wedding celebration. There were no obligatory colour schemes or strictly imposed dress codes; we just wanted everyone to have a wonderful day. That said, the backdrop of Eaton Bishop lent itself to a very down-to-earth, country, village wedding full of gardens and Jane Austen romance. We welcomed the English countryside to inspire our designs for the wedding.

All three of us (and Verity’s Mum – Elizabeth) had lots of Skype chats throughout their wedding planning journey.  Food was really important to Verity and Stuart as were the flowers, photographs and styling of the wedding.  I met with Verity’s father (Mark) in Eaton Bishop a few months before the wedding to see the space and walk through the day.  I also organised a venue for their wedding rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding as well as organising a brunch the day after the wedding at the stunning Abbey Dore Court.  I also organised the cocktails for the drinks reception which was very important to Verity.

Why did you choose Amy as your wedding planner?
Amy came very highly recommended from Verity’s aunt. Amy planned her wedding, which turned out to be one of the best we had ever been to. From the start, we knew we needed help sourcing vendors as we are based in the US and were getting married across the pond! From the first Skype meeting with Amy we knew she made an effort to understand what we were looking for out of our wedding and anticipated many of our needs and desires. She is a truly exceptional professional.

What did you enjoy most about working with Amy?
Where do we even start?! Amy was incredibly responsive over email, which put us at constant ease that all the moving pieces were being attended to and sorted. She persevered on our behalf when obstacles arose with different vendors. She also advocated on our behalf to obtain the best possible outcome from each vendor. At times where we felt overwhelmed or uncertain we were so grateful to have Amy’s opinion and guidance in making the best decision. We often joked that we had never done this before and Amy always had our best interest at heart in all of her guidance.

Then there is Amy as a person. She is an incredibly warm and kind woman with a super sense of humour, who throughout this process felt like a close friend and ally.

Whilst Verity and Stuart were guests at her aunties wedding that I assisted with, we didn’t actually meet properly (in person) with regards to their wedding until a couple of weeks before and Stuart the day before.  Such beautiful and genuine people with a family to match.

The day before the wedding, Verity’s bridesmaids did craft bits and pieces for the wedding day.  Whilst I made sure the tables were in place and clothed, as well as chairs in position and coordinated the arrival of the drapes / fairy lights for the ceiling, as well as other bits and pieces.  The church was being decorated by friends and family members.  The flowers for the pretty village hall were done by Verity’s auntie and mum.  Lucy also arrived to see the picturesque village and have a walkthrough of the day ahead.

The morning of Verity and Stuart’s wedding was just lovely.  Verity got ready in the house next door to her grandmothers.  I got everything prepared ahead of everything starting.   Buttonholes were allocated, things put in place and nerves calmed.

Verity and Stuart’s wedding day was just wonderful.  Such a relaxed, fun and happy occasion with all of those personal touches that make a day so special.  Their wedding ceremony in the village church was just lovely.  Verity looked absolutely stunning in her lace dress and cathedral length veil.  Her braided hair looked just beautiful with fresh flowers and gorgeous natural makeup was all this natural beauty needed.

What memories will you always cherish about your wedding planning?
Because we were planning a wedding overseas there was an inherent feeling of distance during the process until we landed in the UK a few weeks before the wedding. Meeting our team members was a humbling and exciting experience. We felt so grateful that each person was so kind, enthusiastic, and went above and beyond to make our wedding such a special day. We also vividly remember the initiation of our wedding planning process. Our dream was to be married in the English countryside but we were unsure if that was really possible. Then we began working with Amy and her confidence assured us that all our dreams could come true.

Following the church ceremony, there were cocktails and canapes outside in the beautiful garden at Verity’s grandmother’s manor house, lots of great photos and then their wedding breakfast in the pretty village hall, a 5-minute walk down the road.  The most beautiful summer salad with edible flowers was served, followed by Herefordshire beef and a trio of puddings – Sugarloaf really were the perfect caterers for Verity and Stuart.

I can honestly say it was the perfect British wedding in one of the prettiest villages I have seen.  Still with a red phone box and geese sunbathing next to one of the pretty barns.  After dinner, Verity and Stuart danced in the street and had fun with the biggest balloons ever!   From the relaxed daytime celebrations to fantastic evening dancing and partying.  As I said just the best day and one I will always remember.

What part of your wedding day did you most enjoy?
For Verity, she enjoyed so many moments throughout the day. For one, she loved getting ready with her bridesmaids before getting into her wedding dress. They sat around doing each other’s makeup, listening to music, sipping mimosas, chatting, and laughing. For both of us, it was incredibly special hugging every one of our guests after the wedding ceremony- honouring the special relationship they shared with everyone present. Stuart remembers the flood of nerves that settled when he saw Verity at the end of the aisle, walking towards him. At each venue there was a buzz in the room with guests conversing and laughing. This was important to us to know that everyone was relaxed and having a great time.

What advice would you give to a bride whilst planning her wedding?
Pick two or three elements that are really important to you and make allowances for the rest. For Verity it was flowers (flowers, and more flowers), planning a brunch for her guests the day after the wedding, and creating special “Welcome Bags” for their out of town guests. It is so easy to get caught up in the “look” or “Pinterest obsession” for the wedding, but let go of what you don’t need to stress over. After it is all over, it is just one day- one party – so remember to have a great time. Also! Stuart and I got lots of kudos for taking the time to get up and move between all our tables during the reception. Our guests appreciated us taking the time to talk with each of them and thank them for being with us. 

Best advice we could give to a future bride and groom – work and put your full trust into Amy. She is the secret ingredient to a wonderful wedding experience, from beginning to end. 

Words to describe Amy?
Gentle | Driven | Warm | Kind | Professional | Calm | Responsive | Passionate

There are so many lovely memories from Verity and Stuart’s wedding.  A selection of some of the beautiful images captured to perfection by Lucy J Toms Photography.

The day after the wedding I went back to the Village Hall to ensure everything was cleaned up and ready for collection.  Huge thanks to Verity’s Auntie (Jane) as well!  I then went to Abbey Dore where they were all having brunch to say goodbye and reminisce about a truly wonderful day.  A lot of my brides become friends and Verity is certainly one of those who I know will always be at the end of an email / phone call and visit when she is next over.  Verity even bought me a beautiful bracelet, the same as she’d bought all of her bridesmaids – such a lovely thought and great to be on ‘team bride’.

A team of great suppliers (from around the UK) were on Verity and Stuart’s wedding dream team, including:-

Photographer – Lucy J Toms Photography
Partial Wedding Planning – Amy Thorne from Amaranthyne Weddings
Caterers – Sugarloaf Catering
Drapes and Fairy lights – Original Draping Company
Chairs and Table Cloths – Hampton Hire
Bouquets and Buttonholes – Herefordshire Flower Studio
Wedding Cake – Cut Above Cake Company
Hair – Laura of Simply Stunning Hair and Beauty
Mercury Tealight Holders – Passion for Flowers
DJ – Pete Stead

Warm Wishes

Amy xx

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