Jennie and Dan Wilkinson met during their first year of university in Exeter. Jennie's flatmate was throwing a party and Dan was one of the guests. “We bonded over my washing-up bowl full of sangria – a very potent family recipe,” laughs the bride. After being together for a few years, friends were starting to drop hints about tying the knot, although when the time came it was a complete surprise for Jennie. “We planned a trip to Budapest, then to our friends' wedding in Milan, before rounding it off in Prague,” recalls Jennie. “I sprained my ankle on the first day but luckily by the time we got to our final stop I was hobbling a bit better!” They took a walk through the picturesque Kinsky Gardens, a secluded spot overlooking the city, when Dan got down on one knee. “He picked the ideal quiet place as he knew I'd hate it if he proposed in front of a crowd of people – it was perfect.”
Upon returning home the couple soon set the date for 2nd September, 2017 and chose to have their ceremony at All Saints Church, Clifton, followed by a reception at Goldney Hall in Bristol. “Our friends and family were travelling from far and wide and we wanted to show them the best of what Bristol had to offer – the venue did just that!”
Here, the bride tells us more about their big day, which had a quirky vintage theme…
We lived in the All Saints, Clifton parish when we got engaged and loved that the church was so beautifully different, with the stained-glass window and modern altar, we knew it was where we wanted to wed. We looked at a few reception venues before Goldney Hall but we stopped searching when we saw The Orangery. The huge open space held all our loved ones surrounded by stunning grounds.
Dan's cousin is an amazing florist and she created gorgeous displays in a neutral colour palette to complement the bridesmaids' dresses. We opted for roses, gypsophila, lisianthus, freesias and foliage. She also made a giant heart flower frame that we had in the garden as a cool photo prop.
We decided to mismatch lots of elements together that represented us and this was par t of the charm of the day. I used to live in Paris and this influenced the macaron favours, our vintage style was reflected in the suitcase table plan, and our love of books was seen in our handmade table centrepieces.
I've always loved vintage styles and I knew I didn't want the traditional long gown, so I was thrilled with my Brighton Belle tea dress. The short length meant that I could show off my amazing Irregular Choice shoes. I accessorised my look with a simple birdcage veil and jewelled hairpiece, and my dad gave me a matching bracelet on the morning.
Dan loved the funky linings in Ted Baker suits and so he ordered a navy three-piece with a cog-print lining. When it arrived we found it had a dark-green back that matched the bridesmaids' dresses – it was meant to be! The groomsmen wore silver braces for a fun touch and our pageboys looked adorable in dotty bow ties.
We made sure everyone was fuelled with lovely cupcakes made by Dan's sister, and an alternative cheese and pork pie cake! My sister created our sweet stall; it was a huge surprise when we saw it, she did such an amazing job and it looked so professional. The cut-out of Dan's face was hilarious – one of our tipsy friends even tried to order from him before realising it was cardboard!
Choosing outfits for my best girls was one of the hardest decisions; I spent hours agonising over what styles they'd be happy in before choosing an emerald-green number from Joanie. We then used the colour to run through other elements of the day. The super-cute flowergirls wore ivory lace dresses with flower wands.
My parents bought a vintage bike and filled it with French-themed goodies including cheese, wine and a baguette! We used old apple crates to display our grandparents' wedding photos and images of loved ones who are no longer with us. We had a frame with little wooden hearts that guests could sign and drop in – we now have it on our wall at home.
Fake Plastic Chairs were an incredible live band and people commented that they'd never seen so many guests dancing at a wedding. They played a mix of indie, rock and pop numbers – I remember looking around to see everyone playing air guitar to I Believe In A Thing Called Love by The Darkness!
Our guests loved the trip on a vintage coach from the church to the venue, we really enjoyed all the waving and beeping as Dan and I sat up front with the driver. We had a quintessentially English canapé reception with Pimm's, croquet and badminton in the garden, while guests could also look around the grotto in the grounds.
I was particularly nervous for the first dance with everyone watching, but it was actually great fun! We danced to All About You by McFly; when Dan and I first met I found out his uncle worked for the band and as I was a huge fan growing up I knew we were meant to be!
I thought I'd be more anxious as I don't like being the centre of attention, but strangely I wasn't at all. I felt so happy and relaxed and loved every minute. Dan tells me he was ecstatic on the day and he spent the whole time grinning like a Cheshire cat.
Hair and make-up