Take one Somerset country house set in idyllic countryside right next door to the Glastonbury Festival site.
Add an amazing line-up of live entertainment provided by a super agency, and one gorgeous and lovingly crafted wedding dress, and you have the makings of one fantastic music festival inspired wedding featuring three of our very own Little Book members – venue Pennard House, entertainment agency Alive Network, and bridal designer Hermione de Paula. On the 4 May 2019, TV producers Claire and Ross were married at Pennard House in Somerset.
Chris Barber Photography + Follow
Claire’s Hermione de Paula dress was striking yet ethereal at the same time, with an elegant silhouette, and cascading floral embroidery running down the skirt, across the bodice, and along the sleeves.
“Hermione and the brilliant women in her team couldn’t have curated a more positive experience for me when finding my wedding dress. From start to finish it was a joy to be in her studio, and throughout I felt confident in the knowledge that the team understood exactly what I was looking for, and how to achieve it.”
“The outcome was a dress more perfect than I had ever imagined. Equal in elegance and sass, I have never felt more confident and comfortable than I did on May 4th! They did such good a job, I even snuck in my jumpsuit for the day after the wedding, and asked them to add some HdP touches. Above and beyond everything I could have hoped for.”
Brides, did you know that you can now book a virtual boutique appointment with Hermione de Paula? We wrote all about it here.
Hermione de Paula + Follow
“I loved the ethereal, botanical vibes. I tried on a couple of other designers but everything felt quite heavy and layered. I loved the simplistic beauty of Hermione’s designs, and as soon as I tried on one of her samples I knew that I only wanted to be wearing one of her designs on the day.”
Claire’s shoes were chunky platform sandals from Kurt Geiger, and her jewellery was an assortment of sweetly meaningful, pretty pieces, including a Stone and Strand alphabet pinky ring (‘C’ for Cahill), and huggie earrings by Astrid & Miyu. Claire also wore a ‘Love’ disc necklace and bracelet from Astley Clarke.
“We met at secondary school when we were just 15 years old, and after a few years exchanging flirtatious texts, finally got together in Sixth Form at the ripe old age of 17 – this was long before the days of Facebook, Snapchat and Tinder!”
“After heading off to university, buying a flat in London, and purchasing a ginger cat called Yoda together, Ross wondered if 15 years of dating was long enough for me to finally say yes to a marriage proposal.”
“So, during a 3-month sabbatical travelling around Australia and South East Asia in 2018, Ross finally popped the question while we were sat on paddle boards watching the sunset over a tropical island in Cambodia.”
“Despite Ross nearly losing the ring to the ocean, I said yes, and we celebrated the engagement with much merriment and gin in a bamboo beach bar. We got engaged in January 2018, and tied the knot 16 months later in May 2019.”
“Neither of us had desperately desired or felt a great need to get married in order to show commitment to one another. Having been together since secondary school, we had a sneaking suspicion that we were both in this for the long haul!”
“But we were excited by the thought of celebrating our love with our nearest and dearest – those who’d been there for the 15-year ride! From the very off, we knew that the tone and style of the day had to be more about celebration than formal ceremony.”
Claire and Ross decided to hold their ceremony beside the gazebo in Pennard’s gardens, and the aisle was lined with beautiful summer meadow flowers by florist Laura from Wren & May (formerly Laura May Flowers).
“My dad Phillip walked me down the aisle. That was one tradition we definitely did want to keep. My entrance music was At Last, by Etta James (It had been 16 years!)”
A celebrant from Somerset Wedding Registration Service conducted the ceremony, and the couple decided to write their own vows, which they kept as a surprise for all of their guests and each other.
“My engagement ring is by Catbird. Ross proposed with a delicate diamond baguette ring he’d tucked away in a pair of socks while we travelled.”
“The sun was setting, and when I looked up I could see the moon on one side of the sky, and the sun on the other. We chose the Catbird ring together as my engagement ring, as it visually captures that night. I’m taken back to that moment each time I look at it.”
“Our wedding rings were from Tomfoolery London. Ross has never worn rings before and was a little sceptical about having something too blingy on his finger, so he opted for a thin matte rose gold band. I went for a simple band of tiny black diamonds to stack with my engagement and proposal rings.”
There were two readings during the ceremony, too – a short piece attributed to the artist Frida Kahlo, and an extract from Dolly Alderton’s excellent book, Everything I Know About Love.
Florist Laura from Wren & May did such a spectacular job with the flowers, and Claire and her bridesmaid’s bouquets were summer pastel perfection, filled with big, blowsy peonies, dahlias, clusters of pink waxflowers, and gently swaying meadow grasses.
“Pennard House sent us a list of recommendations, and we were big fans of the work Laura had done previously at the venue.”
“We arranged a Skype call and fell in love with her immediately. She really cared about the vibe of the wedding, and wanted to get to know our personalities to help shape her vision.”
“All the flowers were beautiful, and I was left completely speechless with my beautiful bouquet.”
Ross wore a splendid bespoke suit in a sumptuous shade of burgundy, crafted by Beggars Run, a navy blue polka dot tie, and a peacock feather buttonhole made by florist Laura. As a way of honouring their wedding date (May the 4th be with you) Ross also wore a pair of Star Wars cufflinks from Elysian Workshop.
“To break up the formality of the day we opted to let our groomsmen, brothers and fathers wear whatever suits they wanted, but linked the party together with burgundy ties or bow ties to match Ross’ suit.”
“They were also provided with the same peacock feather. The Best Man’s navy-blue suit from Moss Bros. was chosen to match Ross’ blue tie.”
The post-ceremony drinks included a brilliant musical interlude from mariachi band The Mexican Way to help get everyone into the festival party spirit.
There’s such happiness and delight in this beautiful collection of images by the couple’s photographer Chris Barber, with every moment captured to thoughtfully.
“As documentary makers, we didn’t want the traditional, overly formal photographs that many people associate with weddings. We wanted someone to capture the life of the day with as much spirit and energy as possible.”
“Some friends of ours had hired Chris for their wedding in London in 2018. We met him, loved him, and as soon as we saw their snaps, we knew he was our man! Book him. It’ll be the best decision you make.”
Inside Pennard House, the staircase was decorated with more incredible flowers, and to create that authentic Glastonbury vibe outside, Claire and Ross hired colourful flags from Event Flag Hire.
“Having grown up in the South West and regularly attending Glasto, we decided to arrange a two-day wedding festival that was packed with colour, music, tents, and copious amounts of gin and cider.
Where possible, we tried to incorporate aspects of our life in London and our love of travelling into the big day.”
“My grandad is one of the most important people in my life, and he is a talented cook. One of our favourite things he makes is fudge, so we asked if he would make some for our favours.”
We cut up little squares, and placed them in small brown cardboard boxes with ‘Homemade Grampy’s Fudge’ stamped on them.”
“Ross had just finished producing a BBC documentary about plastic pollution, so we also gave each of our guests a bamboo straw to take away. Finally, we wrote personal messages to each guest thanking them for their love for all these years.”
“Again (there’s a theme building) we didn’t want the formal tiered wedding cake, so we opted for a warm brownie and fresh fruit combo by Caroline Gent Events, that was served on slate platters placed in the middle of our tables.”
“As massive Top Gun fans who aren’t overly into slow, cheesy love songs, we went for this rock and roll classic to help set the mood for the rest of the night. It got the dance floor filled immediately.”
“For our Sunday afternoon ‘Legends Slot’ we also hired an Elton John impersonator (Totally Elton via Alive Network) to help with the festival vibe. He was utterly brilliant!”
“We’ve been lucky enough to have experienced some awesome things in our lives so far, but our wedding weekend was genuinely the most magical, emotional and love-filled occasion we’ve ever been part of.”
“It’s difficult to zone in on one specific part of the day that we enjoyed the most, but I think walking down the lawn together, turning around and seeing our nearest and dearest flanked by clear blue skies as they chatted and laughed was a particularly special moment for us. It encapsulated everything we had ever wanted from the day.”
“The only thing we would have done differently is to have filmed the occasion so we could look back on the video time and time again. Fortunately Chris did such a sterling job that he’s captured the mood and spirit in his photographs.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“It’s great to take inspiration from other weddings, but make the day your own, and don’t feel restricted by tradition and formalities. Also, everything costs more than you think. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Take a deep breath and pop the kettle on. You’ve got this!”
Well, Claire and Ross, thanks a million to you both. I just love the way you captured the vibrant spirit of Glastonbury in a day you made uniquely yours. Many thanks to Chris Barber for his beautiful images, too.