The happy couple: Jessica Dennis, 31, an insurance underwriter, and Kenny Chapman, 32, a civil servant, who live in Bristol.
Wedding date: Saturday 18 June 2016
Ceremony and reception venue: Elmore Court
Wedding theme: 1920s luxury elegance
Photographer: Laura Power Creative Photography
Flowers: The Rose Shed, Bristol
Dress: Justin Alexander bought from Alison Jayne Bristol
Bridesmaid dresses: Ghost
Groom’s outfit: A Suit That Fits, Bristol
Cake: Jess’s friend Leanne
Catering: Elmore Court
Favours: Personalised scratch cards, with prosecco for the winners
Hair and beauty: Grace Kingsley, Bristol
Rings including engagement ring: Kemps on Union Street Bristol. Jess’s wedding ring was made by Kemps using diamonds from a ring her grandmother had given her.
We met at Oxford Brookes University in 2003. Kenny was studying law with sport and coaching studies and Jess was studying sport and coaching studies.
Jessica remembers: ‘Kenny proposed in October 2014 on the anniversary of one of our first ‘dates’… a night out at the student union! He had saved the ticket from the night in 2003. He casually showed me the ticket and reminded me it was 11 years ago that day and then he popped the question. We had just woken up on a Saturday morning, I was very surprised!
From October 2014 to June 2016. We wanted to have enough time to pay for the wedding and not start married life with debts from the big day.
We started looking at venues that could fit potentially 200 people as we knew we would have lots of evening guests. We also wanted accommodation on site and not a lot of venues provided both. Jess had seen Elmore online and once we visited the venue we were completely in love with the Gillyflower!
We visited in winter 2014 after work and it was dark outside so the lighting in the Gillyflower was breath taking! We also loved the mix of history in the house at Elmore, complete with 17th-century four poster beds and servant bells still on show, with the modern twist of the Gillyflower with its large windows and dancefloor.
Once I had found my dress the inspiration started coming together. I loved the early 20th century style of The Great Gatsby and Downton Abbey and wanted to try and capture elements of that. It was easy having the beautiful house to get married in. I also love pearls so we used these on candle holders, stationery and table centres, with a white, gold and green colour scheme.
We searched for photographers online and we loved the style of Laura’s wedding shoots. Her pictures were interesting, creative and colourful. She had also done some wedding magazine shoots at Elmore which meant she knew the venue really well and had lots of ideas for pictures.
Laura did a great job of capturing all the little details such as flowers, the six pence I’d stuck on my shoe for luck and Kenny’s tie all without me noticing she was snapping away. She had great ideas and was also realistic with us in terms of how many family shots we’d be able to get on the day for example!
We didn’t hire a planner but I did call on my friends and bridesmaids, some of whom have been married and had some great ‘real life’ wedding advice. My sister and bridesmaid, Rosie, is also a wedding coordinator so she had lots of great ideas and answers to all my late night questions.
Our table centres were white light up trees with gold, white and green origami cranes hanging from them. I love origami and after some practice I made around 100 origami cranes and I then strung these on to clear wire with pearls and green and gold beads to hang from the tree branches.
I had no idea what style of dress I wanted so I tried them all! I gradually realised I liked the 20s style so when I found the Justin Alexander Dress I was so excited. It had pearl and bead detail on capped shoulders and waistband, and the plunging back with a wing-like detail was the most important feature.
Kenny had a three-piece dark navy wool suit tailored by A Suit That Fits. It was important to Kenny to get a suit that fit him perfectly as he struggles to fit high street suits as he’s so tall and has broad shoulders.
Jess explains: ‘The diamonds in my wedding ring were taken from a ring my grandmother had given me many years ago before she passed away. It was a lovely ring but I didn’t wear it as the style was a bit old fashioned. The jewellers did a beautiful job of using the diamonds and setting them in a platinum band for me.’
My something old was my grandmother’s diamonds for my ring; my something new was the dress; something borrowed and blue was a garter with a blue bow from my bridesmaid Rebecca that she had worn at her wedding, and I glued a sixpence on the bottom of my shoe.
Kenny explains: ‘A cover of Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’ by Boyce Avenue. When you hear Katy Perry you probably think why would you choose that?! But Jess loves Katy and if you listen to the words, it’s a beautiful love song. The Boyce Avenue cover is sung by a man and is a slower more romantic version.’
A charcuterie board with Gloucester old spot to start; chicken chasseur for main and chocolate brownie with orange caramel sauce for dessert. From all the reviews we had read of Elmore, we knew the food was going to be great so it wasn’t hard to choose.
My very talented friend Leanne made me 96 cupcakes, which matched the colours of the bridesmaid dresses and were decorated with gold glitter and some edible pearls. My sister and bridesmaid, Sarah, gave me a beautiful Vera Wang for Wedgewood silver cake knife as our wedding present so we used this to cut the cupcakes!
We didn’t have a first dance. This was important to us as despite the formality of the venue we wanted the day to be relaxed and fun. We felt first dances are often a bit forced and put a lot of pressure on the couple on the wedding day when you just want to be having a good time!
Jess remembers: ‘Completely. So much so that we kept saying throughout the day ‘we can’t believe everything has gone to plan!’ I was prepared and had given bridesmaids and ushers a time plan for the day with important contact numbers should anything have gone wrong.’
Boring but practical things like, don’t book the venue until you have confirmed there is a registrar available for the venue for that date and time; buy wedding insurance; think about if you want to stay at the venue and have your family and friends there, and if so, check out the accommodation options; set a budget and stick to it, and don’t get caught up in wedding fever.
Also, just make sure you have the people you want there to enjoy the day with you. You can always have bigger or better but remember it’s not a competition and it’s all about you and your partner tying the knot. And don’t try and please people, it’s your day, so do what you love! I love this quote ‘the people who mind don’t matter and the people who matter don’t mind’.
We went to Amsterdam for a minimoon for three days after the wedding which was lovely but we are planning a big trip to Boston, Washington, New York and Grenada in September.
We both love sports so we want to try and see as much as we can. So far we have tickets for two NFL games, one ice hockey game and one baseball game. Hopefully we will fit in some sightseeing, lovely food and shopping in between, while Grenada will be for relaxing and cocktails!
If Jessica and Kenny’s special day has inspired you to tie the knot at the stunning Gloucester venue, see Elmore Court, and for further details about the couple's photographer, see Laura Power Photography.
Wednesday 24 August 2016
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