Would you travel 400 miles for love? How about your dream wedding? And if your answer to either of those questions is no, then why are you even here?
All jokes aside, these have been very real dilemmas for engaged couples over the past 12 months.
But as everyone at Belle Bridal HQ likes to remind you, love is not cancelled, and your pandemic-perfect celebration is a mere series of resourceful pivots away – and newlyweds Ami and Kam are the ultimate romance role models for this age.
Read on and learn, lovebirds.
After an almost decade-long relationship, which saw the pair living together from the start as students in London halls of residence (“we’ve never needed to have the moving-in-together conversation,” laughs Ami) and a cliff-edge picnic proposal (“less treacherous than it sounds”) in Swanage, it was fair to say they were eager to tie the knot in 2020.
But that was all in jeopardy when the second lockdown announcement meant that – with less than a week’s notice – their 7 November nuptials couldn’t go ahead.
“We just really wanted to be husband and wife, and after the turmoil of the past year, we didn’t want to postpone and endure more uncertainty, so we made the calls to move the date forward, and it was 100% the best decision we could have made,” Ami explains.
With the intimate Northumberland wedding now set for 4 November, our bride and groom had to make a last-minute dash up north from their Dorset home to arrive in time to say ‘I do’.
Thanks to an accommodating venue, a team of superhero suppliers who were able to deliver their best work earlier than planned and of course, their own commitment to each other, Ami and Kam were able to have the most beautiful autumnal celebration.
With its layers of crimson, rust and gold Virginia creeper, dramatic scale and sprawling grounds, Ellingham Hall immediately stood out to the couple. After a venue hunt that had already taken in six or seven stately piles, there was definitely something different about this eclectic 17th century bolthole.
“Driving up to the hall along the tree-lined driveway is such a magical experience. And the welcome – from both the staff and the roaring fires – was very warm,” our bride smiles.
“There’s also something just so special about it at this time of year. In the run-up to the day, the general manager would call me daily to give me updates on the changing colour of the ivy because we wanted it to be a big feature in our photography.”
Photographer Carn Patrick captured the seasonal beauty of the estate perfectly on the day, will a series of naturally-lit couple shots and reportage style snaps of the vows, elated guest reactions and after-dark sparklers.
As well as being beautiful inside and out, the other big clincher was Ellingham Hall’s spectacular two-night private-hire status, meaning that the couple and their small gathering could really make the most of the gorgeous setting without worrying about travelling between ceremony and reception.
The only dilemma left for Ami and Kam was which of the two immaculate bridal suites to spend their wedding night in…
All Dressed Up
As Ellingham Hall has a decorative look all of its own, the pair decided to keep decorative touches to a minimum, enlisting the help Zoe the Wedding Florist to create a fresh feel throughout with white and green floral arrangements, from delicate white rose buttonholes for the gents to eucalyptus-rich elevated centrepieces on the dining tables.
The towering three-tier wedding cake complemented the botanical vibes with snow white ruffled icing and prettily placed blowsy blooms.
Meanwhile, subtle blue and gold theme was carried through in the bridal party and groomsmen’s dress, as well as the elegant tableware.
In spite of their worries that the ceremony would look empty with their intimate party of 15, the candlelit setting couldn’t have been dreamier.
Ami and Kam opted to say their vows in the bright and airy converted chapel, Ellingham Hall’s largest event space, with the string trio, Aurora Strings soundtracking proceedings from their mezzanine viewpoint. The tune of choice? Kam’s favourite Foo Fighters song.
Despite admitting that she didn’t really know what dress she wanted, Ami is pretty picky, so hats off to Wendy at Bridal Wish who didn’t pressure her into a decision, allowing the bride and her mother to select a broad range of styles to try.
It’s an approach that clearly worked, because there aren’t enough words to describe how stunning Ami’s bridal look is.
The Pronovias gown’s filmy plunging illusion bodice and intricately beaded skirt perfectly complements her bronze smokey eye makeup and long bohemian waves, which were styled in a half-up half-down do so that soft tendrils framed her face.
And proving that the celebration doesn’t have to have huge numbers to warrant a costume change, she switched out her cathedral- length veil for a free-spirited flower crown in between the ceremony and reception.
This pair know how to host! Wanting to ensure that their guests were entertained in lieu of an evening party, the super-organised lovers (Kam is the official king of spreadsheets) put together an itinerary full of low-key fun, from hot chocolate and marshmallows around the firepit and a lively game of Mr & Mrs to a cosy cinema night. Sounds like the perfect wedding sleepover to us.
Words from the bride
“All of our suppliers made our micro-wedding the absolute dream that it was. A number of them worked through the night, had to change or cancel previous plans, and absolutely pulled it out of the bag. We owe them everything.”