After meeting on a night out in London, Jessica and Gavin quickly fell in love. Just like chalk and cheese, Gavin and Jessica have many funny stories and anecdotes to tell since their first meeting in 2003. After asking Jessica’s dad for his approval, Gavin popped the question during a romantic day out to Leeds Castle.
The Wedding and Reception Venue
Jessica and Gavin wanted an Essex wedding venue that was relaxed and not too formal but also had the ‘wow’ factor. It was important to enjoy their whole wedding in one location so that guests didn’t have to travel. The couple also liked having separate areas for the ceremony and reception, meaning furniture didn’t need to be moved around to change the set-up of the rooms.
We were both blown away by how beautiful and special it was. We loved the fact that it felt like our own little world and the Orangery provided such an intimate setting for the ceremony. The whole place was so beautiful that we wouldn’t have had to do anything decoration wise and it would still look incredible. When we visited, Angela showed us round and couldn’t have been more helpful. We took our parents back a week later and booked there and then. Gaynes ticked all the boxes!
Jessica’s bridesmaids were her sister and two best friends. Initially, Jessica wanted the girls to wear ivory but found it quite difficult to find the perfect shade to match her dress. In the end, they each wore a dove grey, 30s inspired dress with a modern twist from Monsoon.
I walked into Monsoon and there were the bridesmaid dresses! We added black sashes and a statement necklace from Coast to complete the look.
Before the big day, Jessica enjoyed a fun hen weekend in Leeds.
My bridesmaids planned the most fantastic hen weekend ever and were just brilliant at helping me find everything I wanted for the wedding day. My bridesmaid Verity designs and constructs theatre and film sets so she was extremely helpful!
Jessica and Gavin decided that morning suits weren’t their style and wanted more of a modern feel. Gavin wore a dark grey, slim line, modern three piece suit, which was bought from A Suit That Fits.
He looked amazing! Gavin doesn’t wear suits for work so it is very rare to see him in one. Even though I had seen the suit he picked we decided I wouldn’t see him in it until the day. It was well worth the wait!
The best man and ushers were Gavin’s closest friends and also the couple’s brothers. They each wore a three piece suit from Marks and Spencer and a tie from Tie Rack, which matched the bridesmaid dresses.
Your Dress, Accessories and Flowers
Jessica wore a Justin Alexander dress which she bought from Bell Amore in Bexleyheath. It was a simple A-line silk dress with a huge bow on the back!
I really thought I would go for a lacy number as I always felt I was a ‘vintage bride’. I tried on three of those and whilst they were beautiful they weren’t ‘my dress’. I kept going back to the dress I eventually chose, but kept writing it off as it was so different to what I thought I wanted. The assistant convinced me to try it on and when I did I cried. This was a pretty big deal as I’m not really a crier! To make sure it really was the right dress I tried on another eight dresses at a couple of other boutiques but none lived up to that one!
Jessica also wore a Julia Beazley tiara who she met at a Gaynes Park Open Day.
I chose two vintage brooches from the 20s and 50s, which she put on a pearl headband for me. It was truly gorgeous and became my something old!
Never without her pearls, Jessica wore a simple pearl necklace and stud earrings that her parents had bought for her the previous Christmas.
I went to town with my lingerie which was from Agent Provocateur (you only get married once!) My shoes were a bit of an issue as I had dreamed of designer shoes on my wedding day but unfortunately at 6’ tall and the fact my dress couldn’t be made any longer I had to stick to a smaller heel than I could get from any of the designers. In the end I went for a kitten heeled pair with a blue bow on from Bespoke Big Day.
Gavin arrived at Gaynes Park in a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, which was hired from Essex Wedding Cars.
The Decorative Touches
Jessica and Gavin’s theme was a lily wedding.
I was about to become Mrs Lilley! I had a lily of the valley bouquet and the ushers wore calla lily button holes. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were made up of calla lilies, anemones and peach roses.
Jessica’s bridesmaids also helped inspire her lily wedding theme.
Whilst I was looking for ivory dresses, the theme was very much monochrome but when I found the dresses I decided to add grey and then peach to the colour scheme.
The barn venue was decorated with lots of ribbon and the tables looked stunning with black candelabras filled with peach roses as the centre pieces and were expertly arranged by Designer Flowers by Stacey Stevens. Each table was named after a type of lily and the table plan was made by Jessica and her bridesmaids and had a very vintage feel to it. Two old suitcases with postcards from Thailand (where Jessica and Gavin went on honeymoon) were on display for guests to leave their gifts and cards. “We also found little frames from Kate Aspen, which had our guest’s names in so they could keep them afterwards and Green and Blacks chocolate for everyone too. We had a fabulous photo booth in the evening from Groovybooth, which everyone absolutely loved and was a huge hit! Jessica and Gavin danced their first dance to ‘Let’s Stay Together’ by Al Green.
It’s been our song ever since we met. We didn’t choreograph something, which was probably to the surprise of all our guests being that I’m a dance teacher!
“Our cake had four tiers and each layer was a different flavour; carrot, vanilla sponge, chocolate and fruit. It was peach to match the theme and was made by Elaine from Cake It Away, which is a local company in Bexleyheath. It was delicious!”
Best Part of The Day
“We took ten minutes away from the crowd and went up onto the mezzanine just the two of us and watched everyone enjoying themselves and chatted through our day. It really was a lovely moment as on the day we barely got to talk!”
Wedding Planning Tip
For brides – If you’re a bit of an organisational freak like me then enjoy having a day where you don’t have to think about what’s happening and what’s going to happen next and whether things will be on time. I didn’t think I would be able to cope with this aspect but absolutely did and it taught me a very valuable lesson. For grooms – Gavin was very nervous during the build-up about standing up in front of so many people for the ceremony and his speech. On the day he didn’t feel it at all as he was surrounded by everyone wanting it all to be perfect for him. So as hard as it may be, try not to panic as everyone who loves you is there and wants it to be the best day of your life!
We went to Thailand and spent the first six days in Koh Samui (we were there for New Year’s Eve!) and then six days in Phuket and finished off with two days in Bangkok. We travelled with Kuoni who were just incredible and we can’t recommend them enough. It really was the trip of our lives!