Kate Palfrey got married. And it was beautiful. She came to The White Room way back in September 2011 when we were just 3 months old when she was searching for a elegant, light and unforgettable gown to marry her fiancé, Neil on Friday 13th April in the Cayman Islands where they both lived and worked. Here is her story and her feedback on how she found myself, the designs, The White Room and her whole experience in becoming a White Room bride.
“Living in Grand Cayman (great for beaches, not so much for bridal shops!), buying a dress was always going to be a bit of a mission, both logistically and, because we decided to have two events (one on the beach and then a celebration back in Leeds), in terms of finding a dress that would suit both occasions.
I had only put one day aside for dress shopping (better to be drinking wine and gossiping with people back home than spending days and days dress shopping was the theory!) so I did loads of online snooping for dresses, which is how I came across Jenny Packham and, by extension, the White Room. I remember that after I filled in the online form you came back to me extremely quickly and when you had problems getting in touch with me via my email you called my mum, which was great service from the outset.
The White Room was our third and last appointment of the day. I think I’d probably only tried on about 15 dresses at that point, but it felt more like 300! It was the hottest September day EVER (I still have a copy of the Metro from that day with the headline, “hotter in Sheffield than the Bahamas”) and we were both starting to wilt a bit by this stage. My first impression was that the place totally matched my expectations from the website (which is just lovely)”
Kate says of The White Room:
“We thought you were extremely friendly and helpful. I never once felt pressured into anything and you made sure that I was making up my own mind, though you were happy to give an opinion if asked. At this stage I was still a bit clueless about what I was after, even though this was my last appointment. I remember that the Jenny Packham dresses I loved online were not necessarily the same ones I loved in the flesh (I had never even considered Saskia when looking online), so I ended up trying on a selection of styles (and other designers). You were extremely patient and never made me feel rushed at all. I think one of the things I liked most about the White Room is that it doesn’t, like some of the wedding dress shops, feel almost like a TK Max shop, where there are hundreds of dresses and everything is tightly packed.
The designers (and the dresses within each range) have obviously been carefully selected and, for me, the fact that there weren’t hundreds to choose from was a bit of a relief (the best analogy I can think of is it’s a bit like perfume, where you stop smelling the individual scents if you get bombarded with too many – wedding dress exhaustion!) and made each of the dresses that were there feel even more exclusive and special.
Price-wise, as I had fallen for Jenny Packham already and had done a bit of research, there was no real surprise. I suspect that Neil would have been fairly happy if I’d fallen for something non-designer, with a price tag to match, but I can justify with the best of them (“It’ll be worn twice so it’s really a bargain”, “I could sell it on ebay and get 70% back, so it’s really a bargain” (I genuinely did think this at the time … not so much anymore!), “look, Cheryl Cole is wearing it on the telly and she’s famous so it’s really a bargain”, etc, etc) and, to be fair to him, he told me to go with whatever I wanted after he heard the price. We arranged to come in and order the dress/do the fitting two days later. You gave us all the information we needed (and reminded me to bring wedding shoes for the fitting, which I would not have thought of in a million years).
Where did you get married and why?
On the beach at a lovely restaurant called Kaibo in Grand Cayman, which is where we have lived for the last three and a half years. We have a second event planned in Leeds in June so that we can celebrate with the people who couldn’t make it over to Cayman. The celebration will be held at Kirkstall Abbey, followed by a Yorkshire roast at the Cross Keys pub in Leeds. Whilst two weddings seems a little extravagant and we remain a bit fearful that the “Kate and Neil Show” will get a bit boring, this way we’ll be able to celebrate with our Cayman people as well as our UK people, which is really important to us. Also, neither of us were up for a huge event, so splitting it in two has meant we’ll have had two quite intimate celebrations.
When did you get married and why?
Friday 13th April 2012. The date was fixed so that people could come to Cayman during the dry season but not pay high season prices for hotels – Friday 13th just happened to make the most sense. Luckily neither of us is particularly superstitious!
Which gown did you chose and why?
Saskia, by Jenny Packham, basically because she’s flippin’ gorgeous! When I started looking, I had a vague idea that I’d like something “a bit vintage” and I fell in love with Jenny Packham, who seems to blend vintage and modern elements, as soon as I came across her designs online.The main consideration for me was that I’d be wearing the dress twice for two totally different events. It had to suit both a beach wedding in April and a celebration in Leeds in June.
Having looked at some destination wedding dresses in other shops they just seemed to lack the “Oooh” factor in comparison to the more romantic corset designs. But I knew that I’d be passing out half way through the Cayman ceremony in a traditional corset design. Saskia solved all my problems. She’s extremely light and floaty but her destination wedding appeal is not at the expense of style – she makes me think of vintage Hollywood glamour, which can only be a good thing!
Which shoes & accessories did you chose and why?
I wanted to differentiate between my looks for the two events. For Cayman I chose to wear a peacock feather hair piece with a braided up do and I had jewelled flip flops. Back in Leeds I’ll wear the Jenny Packham Acacia II headdress with my hair down (I’m aiming for an old Hollywood Veronica Lake look, but as we’re outside and spending some time on the top of an open vintage bus it could quite easily end up more of a “through a hedge backwards” look!) with high heeled, silver, art deco style shoes from Faith.
What was your groom’s reaction to your gown? Did the guests love it and more importantly, did you feel amazing?
I had lots of compliments on the dress and felt a million dollars. People kept telling me that it was very “me”, which I chose to take as a compliment! Neil told me it was worth every penny (and he’s an accountant so, that’s pretty concrete!).
Was your wedding day everything you wished for? Did everything go to plan? Did any little things go wrong?!
It was just fab – so much fun. I was totally ridiculous about planning and making sure that almost every detail was sorted before all our guests arrived (4 days before the wedding), so we could spend time with people who’d travelled a huge distance to be there in the run up to the wedding. I’m sure it made me a dull girl to live with at the time, but we had a ball with our guests. The event itself went like clockwork but a great deal of that was down to the wonderful venue. Nothing important went wrong at all – the four bridesmaids and I did get locked out of our apartment before the wedding with about an hour to go, all of us still in our civvies with no make up, with one compact mirror between us – but it all worked out in the end!
What was the best part of the day?
The whole thing – it was just really good fun. I remember someone telling me the time at 11.45pm and being mortified that people were due to get on the boat back home in only fifteen minutes – I wanted it to just keep going (in actual fact it did, because people kept on asking for more songs and refusing to leave till they were played. Cue one angry boat captain!).
What was your 1st dance song? Does this have special meaning to you both?
No first song. We tried to think of one that had loads of meaning and failed miserably so we gave up. An awesome DJ set and loads of dancing, but no first dance!
Is there anything you would change?
Honestly no. I was very sad that some people couldn’t be there, but the event in Leeds means that we get a second bite of the cherry, which works out perfectly.
Do you have any advice for brides to be?
Make it your own. Don’t feel you have to do anything just because tradition dictates. NO ONE noticed the lack of a first song. I started reading the US blog “Offbeat Bride” which is a great blog for making you realise that the only rule of weddings is there are no rules .If people can’t make it for any reason and they are important to your day, Skype is bloody brilliant. It really did make our day. Have a photo booth (we made our own with a Polaroid camera – it need not be fancy). Make your bridesmaids wear fake moustaches. Bridesmaids look awesome in fake moustaches. FACT
Would you recommend The White Room and why?
I would 100% recommend the White Room. I set myself up for a serious fall as I only set one day aside for wedding dress shopping during a week long trip back to the UK (everyone thought that this was insanity, but as we only get to visit the UK once a year I decided I’d rather be drinking wine and gossiping with people back home than spending days and days dress shopping). I initially chose to visit the White Room because my online research told me that Jenny Packham rocks and Chloe stocks that range. However, on the day I discovered that the Jenny Packham dresses I made big eyes at online were, whilst utterly drop dead gorgeous in the flesh, not necessarily right for me. I therefore had no game plan at all and ended up trying on a selection of styles (and other designers).
Chloe was extremely patient and never made me feel rushed at all, though I’m sure I was a bit all over the place. The whole experience was entirely fuss and pain free, but the lovely setting and beautiful attention to detail in the White Room meant that it was still really special. I got the impression that every bride to be is treated like an individual, with their own tastes and ideas in the White Room – I never felt like a cookie cutter bride.
The White Room premises, like the White Room website and the dresses they sell are lovely – extremely stylish, cool and a little quirky without being intimidating, exclusive but not in the slightest bit snotty about it.
You can really tell that Chloe has put a huge amount of time and effort into making the White Room a great experience for brides to be and it has really paid off.
I wish Kate and Neil all the very best for the future and cannot wait to see the pics from the Leeds event in the summer.
Kate wore Saskia by Jenny Packham and will be wearing the Jenny Packham Acacia II head-dress all from The White Room (www.whiteroombridal.co.uk)
Thank you to Rebecca Davison (www.rebeccadavidson.com) for supplying the beautiful images of Kate & Neil’s wedding day, we know you’ll agree she captured some truly great shots!
Much Love x