This beautiful elegant wedding took place in the picturesque setting at the The Orangery in Holland Park. Joanna and Mark were married on a warm September day, amongst their much loved family and friends. It was a day full of colour and thoughtful touches – all captured by their very talented photographer, Dasha Caffrey but most of all it was a day about the people.
However, whilst a lot of brides revel in the planning of their special day, fussing over tiny details and enjoying their moment in the spotlight, for some it can be an overwhelming thought. You can easily find yourself stressing over the table plan, rehearsing a stumbling first dance and worrying about your lipstick… all eyes are to be on YOU. Well Joanna was one of those brides…
When Mark asked me to marry him, one of first things that I asked him was “can we run-away and elope”? I was thinking of cost saving and all of the pending stress that planning a wedding was going to be.
When he said No, I remember saying “well you walk down the Aisle in a white dress then, and I will be at the altar waiting for you!” In one sense I was really the reluctant bride, not because I was going to become Mrs. O. but because I really just didn’t want to be stared at, I didn’t want to be the centre of attention, I didn’t want things that weren’t important to become important.”
As a bride to be, your thoughts can be consumed by you as a couple; what you want out of the day, after all it’s your marriage and future, but also a wedding is an important day for friends and family and sometimes we lose sight of that.
Joanna says “As the wedding planning progressed I really began to understand the importance of having such a celebration and what it means to your family and friends. It is such a privilege to have all of the people you love and care about with you on your wedding day. Mark shared the moment with his ninety (this year) old Father and my Dad travelled (from his home in Brazil) got off the runway straight down the aisle (all with a bad knee to give me away)!
It just goes to show, that all the details and touches can be so fun, Joanna credits her mum, Linda for her creativity and artistic flair, but it’s so lovely to hear how much sharing the day with her family and friends was the most important part for Joanna and Mark.
Joanna got ready at the Royal Garden Kensington Hotel and the night before the wedding she was lucky enough to receive an upgrade to the best suite in the hotel! “I felt like Pretty Woman. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and emotionally exhausted from all of the wedding preparations I almost burst into tears on the concierge! The view was astounding.”
“My hair and make up was by Jeni Dodson who was recommended to me by our photographer Dasha – I was very lucky to secure Jeni when I did, she was very sought after and I now I know why!” To compliment her Jenny Packham Bonnie gown, Joanna wore two very stylish hair accessories together to create such a unique and glamorous style.
Joanna’s dress is just stunning, so glamorous and feminine so it’s no wonder it was ‘the one’ “You just know when you have hunted high and low for that special dress…when you try it on and see yourself in the mirror and what you notice more is the biggest smile on your face… You just know that is the dress,..That this is the dress you will wear on your wedding day, that this is the dress that you will wear walking down the aisle.”
“Inside, the Orangery, as we knew we would face the mirrored frontispiece, as we would take our vows, we knew our friends and family would not miss us giggling and smiling at each other; they wouldn’t just get to see our backs, as most guests tend to do at weddings. They would see our happy faces reflecting back at them.
Like most things throughout the Wedding planning process, you just know. You really do, when a decision is made and its right.”
Joanna’s bridesmaids wore navy Lela Rose dresses by Dessy . They were teamed with hair accessories which they cleverly adapted and made with using a beautiful blue Acacia bracelet from Jenny Packham attached with velcro to a plain headband! These stunning cuffs were then given to the girls as gifts. Lucky things!
Their musician Sarah-Jayne from Mellisma happened to visit them at their own home where she sang a rendition of a very meaningful song which bought a tear to their eyes, from then on Joanna was insistent to have such an emotive voice sing at their wedding. “Mark tried to talk me into walking down the aisle to an iPod (to save money)…there was just no way, I would never have compromised on this and I would recommend her to any bride”.
After the ceremony the guests showered the couple with real lavender confetti which left a heavenly scent throughout the venue, especially combined with the citrus fruits too!
I love the huge burst of colour from the flowers by Mary Jane Vaughan, a great focal point for the ceremony.
Their wedding cake was made by the same person who has baked cakes for Joanna’s birthday’s since she was very young. “We were fortunate enough to coax Beryl out of retirement to create our Traditional Royal Icing Wedding cake (she has baked cakes for royalty in her 40-year career). She has made my birthday cakes from a very young age so it was poignant that she was to make me the most important cake of all…my beautiful Wedding cake.” Joanna then added edible rice paper butterflies from Incredible Toppers on Etsy
The very cute little placecard holders were little Champagne wire chairs which were made by the bride and available from My Little Bottom Drawer on Etsy.
The table plan was made by the bride and groom themselves with butterflies in relief on a mirror, with Specimen Magnifier which the guest look like they had fun with!
The incredible (and quite affordable!) venue was such a lovely choice and so full of natural light which photographer Dasha has captured so well. “We chose the Orangery in Holland Park for so many reasons; it is a Grade 1 listed building and is set in the Park amidst greenery, a rose garden, beehives and wandering peacocks. It is a microcosm of nature in the heart and part of the city Mark and live in and love. It was the natural choice for us.”
“The things on the day that meant the most to me more than anything, were having the people I love around me, being there to share the occasion.
It wasn’t about the dress, the location, the colour of the flowers… for me (although these things with the money committed, became important…more than I wanted them to really), it was about being there in the moment standing before Mark and making promises to him for the rest of my life. It was about promising to do all I can do to make him happy and bring happiness into our lives for the future. I could not have wished or asked for more.”
Absolutely beautiful, huge congratulations Joanna and Mark, it looked like a wonderful and special day and thanks to their photographer Dasha for sharing this with us too.
Photography: Dasha Caffrey / Bride’s Dress: Bonnie by Jenny Packham / Hair Accessories: Onda headress by Jenny Packham and Aphrodite from Adorn Til Dusk / Bridesmaids: Lela Rose by Dessy / Groom + Ushers: Moss Bros Hire/ Hair + Make Up: Jeni Dodson / Flowers: Mary Jane Vaughan / Catering: Bovingdons/Wedding Cake: Beryl Ellar / Singing/Soprano: Sarah-Jayne at Mellisma