When a bride is a wedding dress designer you just know she’s going to rock something truly incredible on her own wedding day. Getting married to John at the spectacular Westonbirt School, Gloucestershire, Vikki wore two stunning gowns, both of which she made herself. She also handmade her bridesmaid’s dresses and accessories.
The day had two ceremonies, the first, a humanist handfasting blessing outside followed by the legal one right afterwards. The couple opted to do this as they really wanted to get married outside to fit in with their nature theme, but it is unfortunately still not legal in England. “We had two ceremonies rolled into one, a personal and intimate hand-fasting ceremony in a woodland clearing in the grounds and then immediately afterwards a short legal ceremony in the library”, Vikki explained.
“The main inspiration for the wedding was ‘decaying opulence’, Victorian fairy paintings and a mutual love of nature.” she continued. “We dreamed of getting married outdoors and Westonbirt was the perfect combination of remote Cotswold countryside, gardens, mature trees and beautiful venue. At first I was overwhelmed by the grandeur of the house as we had never wanted a stiff and formal stately home wedding. But we were so inspired by the idea of nature reclaiming buildings that we worked on the idea of bringing the outdoors in, with grape vines, ivy and branches decorating the tables.”
“The venue is so grand but a bit worn around the edges and well used (it is used as a school after all!) which gives it such warmth and character. The aged, threadbare wall hangings and patina and flaking paint inspired the texture and colour of my dress. As John is Vegan I didn’t want to use silk in my dress and in my search for fabrics that were unusual I discovered a polyester paper that I imported directly from the factory in France, which I layered, melted and painted to create a decaying, cobweb like effect. It included layers of embroidered and painted leaves which my Mum and Dad even helped with – I loved that they had played a part in creating my dress.”
The wedding was all DIY and a really family affair with everyone pitching in to make it happen. “We really wanted a wedding that represented us that also included our friends and family in a very down-to-earth and practical way”, she explained. “The wedding was DIY all the way which started six months before earlier as my Grandad grew most of the flowers. My friend Emma printed linen table runners with a design she had interpreted from the J&V emblem I designed for our wedding stationery, and another friend Kathryn made a beautiful card box.”
“Of course I made my dresses, bridesmaid dresses, hair accessories, cravats and ties for the men and John and I remodelled his outfit to turn a modern coat and trousers into a Victorian inspired style, finished with a sword and white cravat. John designed the menu and decorated the cake even crafting the cake pillars from a huge old rose bush from our garden and topping it with a home grown sunflower.”
“We wanted opulence without it being stuffy.”, she concluded. “The catering was veggie and almost 100% vegan, with a selection of canapés in the gardens and a grand Mediterranean inspired buffet in the dining room. The menu was designed by John and the chef was really nervous about catering for his first vegan wedding but he did a fantastic job. Sourcing the vegan wines and champagne ourselves also meant that we could offer choice from a wine list.”