Wednesday 24 July 2019

Real wedding: A vintage-inspired day with touching details

Romantic chic styling and personal touches galore were the order of the day when Verity Bartlett and James Brain tied the knot at The Greenway Hotel and Spa, near Cheltenham.

The lowdown

The happy couple: Verity Bartlett, 33, a HR manager, and James Brain, 34, manager of a motor salvage company, from the Forest of Dean
Wedding date: Saturday 8 November 2014
Ceremony and reception venue: The Greenway Hotel and Spa
Theme: Vintage chic

The suppliers

Photographer: Rob Tarren Photography |
Flowers: Sonya Tyrrell, Sedbury
Dress: Cocoa Couture, Cheltenham
Bridesmaid dresses: Adrianna Papell, John Lewis
Groom's outfit: Ted Baker suit, Moss Bross
Cake: Beautifully-made by a friend
Entertainment: Joey Prescott played the piano and guitar during the drinks reception and Orbit Discotheques of Gloucester provided the evening disco
Favours: Guests were given individual name cards, in a vintage lace and embellishment design, each with an individual quote about love, friendship or marriage. Each guest also had a raspberry macaroon, handmade by the chef at The Greenway, placed on a slate heart.
Hair and beauty: Jess Foxworthy of Cream Gloucester
Rings: Verity’s one carat radiant cut diamond engagement ring and platinum wedding rings were both from Ernest Jones chosen by James himself. James has actually got two wedding rings. The first, to match Verity’s, is a 6mm platinum band from Beaverbrooks, exchanged on the wedding day and to wear for ‘best’. The second is a durable palladium band for work.

The details

When and how did you first meet?

Verity and James first met when they were teenagers, but lost touch for a number of years until Verity moved back to the Forest of Dean and they ended up working next door to each other. It was then another five years before James plucked up the courage to ask Verity out on a date!

Who popped the big question and how did they propose?

James proposed on The Promenade in Cheltenham. He got down on one knee and made a beautiful speech, ‘it was a perfect moment’ Verity said.

How long did it take you to plan your wedding?

Around 12 months.

Why did you choose your venue?

The Greenway Hotel and Spa holds a special place in our hearts. It was where we spent our first night together on a romantic weekend, and from that first visit, we agreed that if we ever got married that it would be there. When we eventually got engaged, we didn’t even look at another venue – it was decided already,’ the couple said.

Was there an inspiration or theme for your wedding?

Vintage chic with a palette of vintage cream, slate grey and a hint of raspberry splashes for that autumnal feel. There was also a focus on love and romance, with subtle little touches.

Did you hire a wedding planner or was it a DIY affair?

‘Well, both! As I am actually a wedding planner (as a little hobby slotted in with working as an HR Manager) and do one or two weddings a year,’ Verity said.

Did you make, design or create anything yourself?

We filled the venue with vintage picture frames with our favourite poems, paragraphs from books and even speeches from films about love, romance and marriage. It was a personal touch which guests said they loved wandering around and reading during the reception.

Tell us about the wedding dress

Verity said: ‘The day I tried on my phenomenal vintage dress was a classic bride moment! My two best friends had spent the entire day traipsing around bridal shop after bridal shop with me, and we still hadn’t found ‘the’ dress.

Cocoa Couture was our last stop, we’d saved the best until last! Cara Wagstaff, the talented designer and owner of the boutique, listened to my “wish list”, pondered on it for a while, and then plucked out the most beautiful vintage wedding dress I had ever seen! The moment I tried it on I just knew – a cliché I know, but it really was.’

What did the groom wear?

James wore a slate grey Ted Baker three-piece suit, a crisp white shirt and champagne tie to match the bride’s dress. He also wore brown Jeff Banks dress shoes and a pair of silver cufflinks given to him by Verity as a wedding gift, engraved with a special saying they share.

Did you incorporate any special family details or heirlooms, for example?

James lost both his father and step-father to cancer in the year leading up to the wedding, so on the day the couple both wore rings that they had given them.

A little unconventionally, as well as the groom, Verity also made a speech too, which she said went down very well: ‘We both felt like we were starting our married life in true partnership, stood together hand-in-hand whilst we addressed our family and friends – followed by tears, laughter and applause!’

Did you have something old, new, borrowed and blue?

‘I had an “old” ring that my grandmother gave me for my 21st birthday sewn into the inside of my dress. A “new” ring that my step-father-to-be gave me just before his passing – he had bought it many years previously in India as an investment and he said that now, at the end of his life, he could think of no better investment than me. I borrowed a sixpence in my shoe from a friend and I had tiny blue stones on the bottoms of my Rainbow Club satin peep-toe shoes.

What song did you walk down the aisle to?

Joey sang his version of John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ accompanied by the piano.

Did you have any special readings during the service?

Two of the couple’s oldest friends read at the ceremony: a poem called The Colour of My Love by Kara Bailey and a passage from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

What did you have for your wedding breakfast?

To start with we had butternut squash and sweet potato velouté with rosemary foam followed by breast of corn fed chicken, Anna potatoes, confit cabbage and forestière jus. Finished with apple tart with crème anglaise and vanilla ice cream.

What kind of cake did you go for?

Our cake was a beautiful three tiered ‘wonky cake’ made lovingly by a friend. It consisted of a chocolate layer with white chocolate ganache, Victoria sponge, and the top tier was lemon drizzle covered in beautiful vintage lace icing. All wrapped in a slate grey satin ribbon adorned with a brooch that once belonged to Verity’s grandmother.

What was your first dance song?

‘Amazed’ by Lonestar – it’s always been our song.

Did everything go to plan?

The weather on the morning of the wedding was horrendous rain storms. It was so bad that the main road from the Forest of Dean into Gloucester was closed, so many of our guests literally just made it in time for the ceremony! But, when the moment came to walk down the aisle, the rain cleared away and the skies brightened – we even managed to get photos outside with blue skies!

What was your favourite part of your wedding day?

It’s so difficult to choose one particular moment, but having our three children with us as bridesmaids and pageboy, absolutely made our day perfect. Charlie, 6, Eva, 6, and Ella, 3, made us so proud.

Did you have a honeymoon together?

We spent a week at Permier Le Reve, a fabulous five-star hotel in Hurghada, Egypt. It was by far the most beautiful and luxurious hotel we have ever had the pleasure to visit. It also happens to be where we have conceived our next child – our baby is due in July this year!

And finally, what advice would you give anyone planning their big day?

Remember that your wedding is your day. Don’t feel pressured into doing or not doing something just because it’s traditional. It’s a chance to share precious moments with all of your loved ones, so make sure you do things your way – no matter how bonkers it may be!

If Verity and James’ beautiful wedding has inspired you to celebrate your big day at The Greenway Hotel and Spa call (01242) 862352, email or visit directly.

For more information about the couple’s photographer see Rob Tarren Photography.

© SoGlos
Friday 09 January 2015

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