Choosing to have their big wedding celebration set in the belle countryside of the South of France means that Anna and Simon have something to look forward to next year, but they didn’t want to let a little thing like a global pandemic prevent them from getting officially hitched in front of their very closest family and friends in 2020 as planned.
Anna has really pulled off minimal style with an unrivalled class. Opting for neutral but effective venue decor and white and pale pink florals, she looks completely stunning in her floor length, off the shoulder Rouland Mouret gown and champagne Jimmy Choos with almost show-stealing earrings, while groom, Simon, certainly hasn’t let the team down. Dapper in a custom navy Herringbone wool suit, he looks every bit the proud husband as he stands by his new wife’s side in front of a mere handful of their nearest and dearest. Nous sommes enchantés.
Simon says: We got engaged in Oia, Santorini in June 2018. We have a tradition of taking each other away somewhere for our birthdays and Anna’s birthday falls in June. I found flights and some fantastic accommodation, suites built into caves in the cliff face where breakfast was served on the terrace outside your suite. The plan was hatched; I’d pop the question over a birthday breakfast with a fantastic backdrop of the Aegean Sea and the blue domes of Santorini.
I hadn’t really thought it through in practicality though, this was quite a bit extra compared to other birthday getaways and things like smuggling an engagement ring through airport security was tricky! When we arrived at the hotel I was convinced Anna would work it out, I tried to excuse the elaborate get away with a story about receiving a small bonus from work and had found the hotel on a holiday deal site, she told me afterwards she didn’t have a clue! So all was set for the engagement, I’d organised champagne and a birthday cake to accompany our terrace breakfast, but we ended up drinking a little too much the night before and neither of us could face the champagne, and the wind was so strong breakfast had to be served inside our room, but I’d come too far at that point. I don’t remember much about how I asked, but I must have done an okay job as Anna said yes as she started to cry (happy tears she tells me!). At that point we found a second wind and the champagne was opened.
Anna says: When we got there I thought it must have been some deal on Groupon! Little did I know! Simon is so laid back that I had no idea he had planned to do this. The setting was fabulous, Santorini is the most beautiful place and Atrina Canava 1894 is a beautiful cave hotel with stunning views.
We were married on 20th August 2020. We liked the 20.08.20 date because of its symmetry. Our wedding celebration was scheduled to take place at The Château Provence on St Maximin in the South of France on the August bank holiday but this has now been postponed until August 2021.
We chose to have our legal nuptials in Manchester, at King Street Townhouse, as that is where we lived at the time and we wanted to do this before our official celebration.
This was an intimate ceremony with our closest family and friends with a meal afterwards, a contrast to the 100 guest celebration in Provence!
We wanted to capture the city as part of our wedding and the Townhouse has a great vantage point on the 8th Floor terrace. The Hub has beautiful dark wood parquet flooring and mint green wood panelled walls, it was romantic and chic. We wanted this part of our celebration of our marriage to be a contrast to the second part in Provence which will be full of light with views of the scenic French countryside.
We wanted a mix of boho, alternative chic for our wedding, a sort of understated cool glamour which we felt the venue offered immediately. We kept our outfits paired back and chic, almost like evening wear and the flowers were a mixture of textures to soften and give unstructured feel.
We wanted softer and neutral tones and kept to colours of white, nude, blush pink and green. The groom wore navy blue. We picked these colours because they fit in well with our venue and reflected our colour tones, these also incorporated some of my favourite flowers.
I wanted a simple, modern and elegant gown. I chose the Roland Mouret Deauville off the shoulder gown and my shoes were Ivette in Champagne by Jimmy Choo, both were from Selfridges in Manchester and I took advantage of the Personal Shopping Service to help me find and create my look. My earrings are Estee in Crystal by Jennifer Behr.
Simon had a bespoke suit made by Michael at James Personal Tailor and Son, Manchester.
Gail Secker was our photographer. We wanted something alternative. We loved the light and mood of her work and how after our first conversation she shared her ideas and creativity. We feel like she really captured us on our day and was relentless in her pursuit for the pictures we wanted and she thought best!
She made the day fun and put us instantly at ease. She also ensured we kept to schedule which is no mean feat, I’m sure. We would highly recommend her.
We worked with Sian at the Flower Lounge in Didsbury to bring our vision to life. We approached Sian initially as the first bouquet Simon ever sent me was from Flower Lounge and they are always fabulous. I shared a Pinterest Board and she executed it perfectly. I wanted an unstructured texture and chose quicksand roses as they are my favourite flowers, mixed with phalaenopsis, bleached ruscus, pampas grass and a touch of olive foliage, orchids added a chic feel.
We wanted to add a backdrop and Sian created a stunning structure at the end of the aisle using our chosen flowers on a gold framework. Lanterns were added to our flowers down the aisle to soften the space. We had a sign at the entrance to our ceremony. This was designed by our wedding stylist, who we are also working with for our French wedding, Floret France.
Sian also created beautiful buttonholes for my dad and Simon that tied into the wedding flowers, and a cute little flower collar for one of our dogs, Lola.
We added name cards to our ceremony seating which helped with socially distancing the households, we found these on Etsy. We chose dried flowers for our confetti, ordered from Shropshire Petals. These went into individual bags for our guests also ordered on Etsy.
Due to restrictions our witnesses were required to provide their own pens to sign, so we gifted them pens by Faber-Castell which were wrapped in seeded paper that can be grown.
Most importantly we wanted our dogs to be part of our day. Lola wore the flower crown and Pepé wore a champagne velvet bow tie ordered from Etsy.
My parents had a cake made to order locally from Carol’s Cakes in Edlington, Doncaster. It was a single tier gluten free vanilla and lemon sponge with white icing.
Whenever we have eaten in The Tavern at King Street the food has always been fabulous. We selected from a menu and were offered tasting as part of the package. These were goats cheese and sun dried tomato profiterole with blueberry coulis, pressed belly pork, ox cheek bon-bon, wild mushroom and truffle purée or lobster and ginger bon-bon, lemongrass cream with salmon caviar. Mains were a choice of either Chicken Supreme, truffle mash and rosemary jus, a 6oz fillet steak and oxtail cake with saffron and parsnip purée, or wild mushroom gnocchi, spinach purée and courgette tagliatelle. Desserts included lemon and almond polenta cake, vegan avocado chocolate brownie or double chocolate sticky toffee pudding.
The wine list was extensive and we went for a selection of Greek and French wines as they told our story, Greece was where we were engaged and France where we will celebrate our wedding.
Due to the government guidelines we were restricted on how we entertained our guests.
We did however select our own playlists for when our guests arrived for the ceremony, for walking up and down the aisle, signing the register and cutting the cake.
I walked down the aisle to Eva Cassidy’s Somewhere Over The Rainbow. For signing the register we had Sweet Bab by Macy Gray, One Day Like This by Elbow and First Day of Our Lives by Bright Eyes. We walked back up the aisle together to You are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne. We cut our cake to Your Love Gets Sweeter by Finley Quaye and Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen. We carefully selected songs that we not only liked but where the lyrics provided meaning to us.
We worked with our planner, Sarah, to bring our wedding to life. She was brilliant and supported us throughout what was a difficult and uncertain time. The restricted measures and changes in lockdown rules included the tightened measures in Manchester where at one stage we thought we wouldn’t be able to go ahead at all. I can’t praise her enough. She handled us with care and really understood the rollercoaster of emotions and confusion over the constant change in restrictions and what they would mean for our wedding.
On the day, the staff were excellent. Everyone that we came across were attentive, super friendly and accommodating, particularly Justyna. Given that this was the first wedding post-lockdown for the venue, they delivered it with ease. We highly recommend them to anyone wanting an intimate wedding during lockdown or after. The space worked really well for our reduced numbers but they also have the alternative spaces for when large weddings can go ahead again.
The food did not disappoint and the standard and quality of the hotel rooms didn’t either. We just wish that we had time to make use of the spa!
Also thanks for P1 Manchester who helped us get in shape for our big day (despite there being no pool party now until next year).
The ceremony was our favourite bit. Having our closest family and friends in the same place, albeit at a distance from each other.
We went on a rollercoaster journey to get there after the challenges of 2020. We had a sense of overwhelming happiness and achievement to be able to become husband and wife on the date we had set back in 2018 when, at points, with the restrictions, we didn’t feel it would be possible.
Our advice to another couple would be to spend time researching suppliers and do it early. We had the pleasure of working with some amazing local talent, made better by the fact that we felt we connected with them on a personal level too. It really does put your mind at ease.
To those considering marrying during these uncertain times: GO FOR IT. It may not be the wedding that you had originally planned or imagined but ours was beautiful and intimate with an added bonus of not getting post wedding blues because we have another date to look forward to where we can share and celebrate with everyone next year. Everything went better than we could have ever hoped for.
When your day arrives, try to leave it in the hands of others. They have got it all under control for you and nothing else really matters once you walk down the aisle.
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