I was privileged to work with an amazing team one beautiful August day in Surrey. We evoked a classic, vintage English wedding featuring my downton abbey wedding dress design for our country fete styled shoot.
Concept and Venue
We started with the venue, a gorgeous 12th century church in leafy surrey. The simplicity and beauty of the rustic stone, countryside setting and quintessentially English atmosphere needed little augmentation. ‘Country Fete Wedding’ seemed the perfect theme, with vintage vibes and a joyful atmosphere for a happy, English outdoor celebration. And connecting that theme with my Downton Abbey wedding dress married up everything beautifully.
Colour scheme and Stationery
We chose a colour scheme to compliment our theme and also to be an antidote to the repetitive rose-gold and grey that pervade the style pages at the moment. We hoped corn-flower blue, wheat-yellow and poppy-scarlet would conjure up a wildflower meadow perfect for a late summer or harvest time wedding occasion.
Stationery by Jess Harrington Design
Jess loved our theme and her style was perfect. She had no shortage of creative ideas using fairground style typography to evoke the country-fete feel. Jess designed invitations, information cards, RSVP, table numbers and a table plan, as well as lots of quirky little extras to bring that bit extra to our styling; stripy straws, vintage style tickets and bottle openers for table-favours.
Downton Abbey Bride and Groom
The groom’s suit, modelled by Aaron, was from Elegans menswear, a blue slim-fit tweed loungesuit. We loved the country style tweed suit in a modern, slim fitting shape. We styled it with a classic white shirt and a quirky cotton print tie from Marks and Spencer. Our amazing florist Michele from Muscari Whites crafted a gorgeous buttonhole to compliment the look.
I designed our Downton Abbey wedding dress, modelled here by the beautiful Evie Wray, in pale ivory silk georgette and delicate corded lace. I used inspiration from the Edwardian Downton Abbey era to evoke a classic English Rose. The v-neck bodice is lightly boned with satin ribbon and scalloped lace edge detail. It fastens at the back with a ribbon lace-up. A ruched sash of georgette highlights Evie’s enviable waist above a tiered skirt of gathered georgette and lace. I made the bride’s Downton Abbey wedding dress with detachable chiffon sleeves that float on the breeze, providing lightweight modesty. I cut the sleeves in fashionable handkerchief points because that style was so popular in the Downton Abbey era.
You can buy this unique Edwardian style wedding dress as a worn-once sample directly from my website sale page, as shown. Or made bespoke with sizing and style tweaks to suit you and your wedding day.
You can see more lace wedding dresses I have made here.
The inside of St Lawrence Church is all old-world rustic charm, rough stone walls, lead light window panes and wooden chairs. This provides a blank canvas for whatever wedding theme you are planning. Wonderful Simone from Redhill Confetti provided our venue decorations. She made paper bunting in our colours and big fluffy pom-poms. Muscari Whites filled jam jars with bright red gerberas, carnations and Gypsophila. I added tealight candles in coloured glass jars for our country fete styled wedding.
Flowergirls and Pageboys to compliment a Downton Abbey Wedding Dress
We wanted to evoke a classic, vintage vibe so I chose navy blue shorts and white linen short sleeve shirts with old-fashioned braces for the boys. We accessorised the pageboys with suede loafers and buttonholes to match the groom. I made bespoke cotton dresses made from vintage embroidered tablecloths for our beautiful flowergirls. I cut the tablecloths to create fun handkerchief hems. Then I trimmed the square necklines on the broderie anglaise bodices with red embroidered ribbon. The flowergirls are holding wicker flower hoops and have dried flower hair combs to complete the ensemble by Muscari Whites.
Downton Abbey Wedding Quirky Touches
The confetti was made by Redhill Confetti from natural flower petals. As they are biodegradable these make are perfect for environmentally friendly wedding celebrations! Simone used blue petals and yellow paper cones to tie in with our theme.
Outside weddings can get chilly in the evenings, even in August so we though provision of blankets for popping onto knees would be a nice touch. Our stylist set up the quirky wheelbarrow with iced beer, keeping everything in the relaxed country fete, Downton Abbey theme.
The Tigerlily bus company brought along their milk float sweet truck, which can also be set up as cocktail bar. The kids went wild for all the old-fashioned vintage sweets and cute storage jars. Redhill Confetti added more of their brightly coloured pompoms to fabulous effect.
Country Fete Wedding Tablescape
Jess Harrington design created our colourful table plan. She also came up with idea for the bottle opener favours, perfect with the beer-barrow! Jess designed all the table stationery including stripey straws for name-places, table numbers and camera notices.
The tablescape was a joint effort from Natalie our stylist and myself, with the obvious contributions of the stationery and floristry designers. We used classic white damask table cloths and napkins with yellow gingham runners for a bright and summery look perfect for our country fete summer wedding.
We found the tables and chairs already at the venue, perfect wooden mis-match and trestles evocative of the Downton Abbey era. Simone from Redhill Confetti decorated the chairs with more pompoms and ribbons. We placed table centres of flowers in our colours with eucalyptus, gerberas, and roses were set in jam jars and pottery jugs on rustic wooden platters.
We laid out a ploughman’s wedding breakfast feast of cold meat, salad, bread, pickles and pate. This is a cheap and cheerful, as well as in-keeping lunch, for hungry guests at a Downton Abbey wedding. And later our the team made short work of it all! I laid out the cutlery in cute hessian cutlery bags. I made each bag with a broiderie-anglaise detail and gingham ribbon bows. We popped extra knives and forks in vintage tankards and decorated the tables with windmills. Pimms and lemonade in vintage style glass dispensers make the thirsty work of us wedding suppliers fun to fix – and for your guests too!
Country Fete Wedding Cake
Our incredible cake was by Let it Be Cake with blue and yellow buttercream. She used chocolate lettering, popcorn, ice cream cones, cupcakes and sprinkles. All the fabulousness right here for our country fete styled wedding shoot!
We set up garden games like croquet, giant jenga and hoop-la for the kids and guests to enjoy on the grass. Old fashioned English fun!
Bouquet and flowers for a Downton Abbey Wedding Dress
Our amazing florist Muscari Whites created our bouquet, as well the the flowergirl hoops, haircombs, and buttonholes for the groom and page boy. She choose summer blooms in shades of golden yellow, burgundy red and cornflower blue to compliment our colour scheme. The bouquet doubled up as our table centre which is a great way to save money!
Hat and Veil for a Downton Abbey Wedding Dress
Beverly Edmondson created the bride’s lace and beaded hair comb. I complimented this with a long single tier tulle veil from my stock. Beverly also designed the unique wedding hat to evoke all the Edwardian, Downton Abbey vibes. The ivory straw hat had lace and crystal detailing that matches the bride’s dress.
Hair and make-up was by the incredibly talented Anne-Marie Lawson of Lawson Makeup. She perfectly captured the classic, vintage English wedding look we wanted for our bride, Evie Wray. She also provided grooming for Aaron our groom and for the pageboys and flowergirls.
Beverly Edmondson also created the statement flower fascinator for our mother of the bride.
Portrait photography by the talented Neli Prahova captured the atmosphere of our country fete styled wedding perfectly. Her fine art style and vintage editing complimented all our hardwork on the styling, outfits and accessories. Photography is such an important part of your wedding day so choosing Neli will ensure your wedding day is recorded in a way to treasure.
Dress Designer: @felicitywestmacott
Suit Hire: @elegansmenswear
Bride Model: @misseviewray
Groom Model: Aaron Kaye
Hair and make-up: @lawsonmakeup
Confetti and Props: @redhillconfetti
Caterhire: Abacus Caterhire
Sweet Truck: @tigerlilybus