Set ready ladies, this is one amazing wedding. So sit down, get comfy and be prepared to see some stunning images, get some detailed inspiration and read all about a White Room brides 1st hand experience of her wedding day. It was royal, it was regal and it was a true reflection of families joining with love.
Introducing Anuszka and Joe…
My mum first told me about the White Room, she had been told about it from her work colleagues, one of whom found her dream Jenny Packham gown. I had been wedding dress shopping the previous year with my best friend who was getting married and went to a few other shops but didn’t come across the White Room then. I am so pleased I heard about it when I was looking! It is the most beautiful, serene, decadent and exhilarating bridal boutique I have ever set foot in, that’s including the many London boutiques I perused on my hunt for ‘the one’.
Making an appointment was easy. I sent an email and Chloe called me soon after to arrange the appointment. I knew I liked Jenny Packham but also liked some of the other designers so I booked in for a trying on appointment and also for the Jenny Packham trunk show (I am so pleased I did!).
Chloe on first impression on the phone was delightful and when meeting her at my first appointment, she was just brilliant! I felt at ease and comfortable immediately, not the feeling I got with some other boutiques. Chloe listened to my likes and wants, showed me the dresses I mentioned I had seen on the website and made some more suggestions to give contrast to the obvious style I had gravitated towards, either to surprise me or to discount but great to try! Chloe spoke of each dress with such passion and it filled me with excitement to try on the beautiful gowns. Chloe was so attentive and made the whole experience wonderful. When Georgia joined the team later along the line, she too was so lovely and went the extra mile to ensure I was looked after and made picking up my beautiful gown so much easier by helping my Chief B with the pick-up logistics.
The trying experience was wonderful. I tried about 6 dresses I think, even though I knew I had found THE dress on dress 2! Chloe was great. She gave honest opinion on dresses when they didn’t suit and lit up as I did when I tried on THE ONE! I loved the fact that the door was locked to other people so you had the whole shop to yourself, a really unique and special experience and what you really hope for when looking for your wedding gown. It is the most money you will probably ever spend on a dress and it is so nice that Chloe and Georgia make you feel a million dollars while you are doing this, in a genuine and honest way in completely private and tranquil surroundings.
The boutique is beautiful, warm but comfortable so you don’t get hot and bothered trying the dresses on. Service and style and decor are spot on. It really is a dream and you feel so special being in there. I came to my first appointment with my appointed ‘usherettes’ who LOVED it! Chloe and I could hear endless giggling as I was in the changing room and we swore they were trying on all the accessories in between changes. It’s a girls dream with the beautiful gowns and stunning accessories.
One of the things I will always cherish is the beautiful envelope that landed on my doorstep with ‘Bride only’ written on the back. Inside contained a beautiful sketch of my dress with a fabric swatch which was so useful! I received an email when my dress was in, which was perfect. I had two fittings, one to work out what I was going to do about supporting the front! And then the second to see if it worked! I had cups fitted in my stunning Jenny Packham gown as the back was full lace so a bra was a no no. Belinda did a perfect job on length and tension but my boobs are odd so we had an issue with the positioning and size of the cups and the modesty panel positioning. We reduced the size of the cups and agreed to move up the modesty panel so my bestie and I went off for a glass of champers whilst Belinda worked her magic. We came back and it still wasn’t right and was pulling to one side due to my odd boobs! I changed into a dressing gown and Belinda worked away as I kept trying on and she kept adjusting until it was just perfect and looked and felt AMAZING! Belinda said she wouldn’t be happy until I was happy and I went away being over the moon. Georgia was amazing too and was a delight to spend time with as we waited. I was really happy with the cost of the alterations and thought Belinda did a fabulous job.
Joe and I got engaged on Sunday 22 April 2012 (we had been together over 7 years at this point). Joe had apparently been preparing to propose since October the previous year and had been organising the making of the most beautiful Sapphire and diamond ring, the sapphire being a family heirloom. He had taken the ring on our skiing holiday and carried it with him every day, then my birthday passed, then he decided he would propose on a lovely Sunday walk with our beloved Labrador Snowy and we had biblical rain, had to shelter in the woods and got so wet and so cold, he decided it had probably dampened the moment. Joe then proposed in our Orchard at home in Nottinghamshire and had tied the ring around Snowy’s neck, when I looked for them, they were both stood next to each other looking sheepish. Joe proposed, Snowy sat and I took the ring from around his neck. It was beautiful. My only concern was that I had to get the train back to London to go to work the next day until Joe told me he had organised for me to have the day off so we could go and have an amazing lunch at Fischers at Baslow Hall, somewhere we returned to later along in the story.
We had 5 weddings to go to that year, our best friends were getting married in the September and I was Chief B and Joe was Best Man. I was bridesmaid at 2 other weddings, including Joe’s sisters and Joe was Ushering at 2. I don’t think we went to a wedding where we both didn’t have a role. We had decided to get married in June the following year but had not set a date or decided where. We thought we would get the other weddings out the way then concentrate on planning our own. The statement of the summer was“June next year, not sure when or where but definitely June”.
After all the weddings were out of the way in late September we went on holiday to Joe’s parent’s villa in Capri, Italy. We decided that it would be the most magical place to get married. We thought of having a small intimate ceremony with only immediate family and close friends and then return home and have a HUGE party in Nottinghamshire. We were absolutely set on this, booked accommodation for our friends, spoke to a potential caterer, then realised that it wasn’t as practical as we had first thought and what we thought would be really chilled and easy would actually be quite stressful. So, we changed tack completely and decided to tie the knot at Joe’s parent’s family Estate in Nottinghamshire and we set the date! We sent out save the date cards, taken by our wonderful friend and talented photographer Wiesia Bojko and started the planning!
We legally got married on Friday 14 June 2013. Neither Joe or I are religious and even though we both attend church at Christmas, didn’t feel we needed to get married in a church, plus the number of guests we were anticipating would never fit into one of the local churches. Welbeck Estate is the most beautiful place and has the most beautiful rolling countryside. One of the most special places for Joe and I are a clump of Beech Trees on the Estate where we often walk Snowy. The trees are beautiful, vast, tall and spaced apart, overlooking a valley of fields and woods and we knew we had to say our vows there. It is Cathedral like and we knew that if the weather was good (fingers crossed) it would be the most wonderful place to get married. Our alternative was the private family chapel, which would have been great but we were keeping our fingers crossed for the good weather and our preferred choice of the woods. So we had our legal wedding at 10am on Friday 14 June 2013 with our Besties AKA Best Man and Chief Bridesmaid as our witnesses. We then all drove off to Fischers at Baslow Hall, where we had visited when we got engaged, and enjoyed an amazing 7 course taster menu at the fantastic Michelin star restaurant. A few people commented that this was brave when I had a dress to get into the next day!But we are massive foodies and one of the things I LOVED about my gown was how comfortable it was and how comfortable I was in it. I could enjoy all the food I wanted to my heart’s content and still feel FAB! Plus the stress of planning had shed a few pounds without me even noticing.
After a very long and boozy lunch, we went back for the rehearsal where we met up with the other bridemaids, officiator and ushers (and Mickey the wedding planner). After the rehearsal was out the way we went our separate ways, me off to my besties with the girls and the boys to our house. Goodness knows what the boys did but the girls had a great evening of champagne, nails, dinner and an early night to get some beauty sleep. We had our ‘actual’ wedding the day after on Saturday 15 June 2013. The big day. I had been checking the weather forecast all week and it was touch and go all the way with a predicted high chance of rain. I tended to trawl the weather sites until I found the forecast I liked the best! Not the most reliable but it pacified me. Mickey told me to look at XE weather as it is the most realistic and it really was. I said I didn’t mind where we got married, I told Mickey to just text me at 3pm (the ceremony was at 4pm) and tell me where I needed to be, the woods or the Chapel.
My 3 bridesmaids Rachel, Jenny, Daisy and Wiesia (fab friend and photographer) and I took Snowy for a walk at around 9am. I had woken early even though I was determined to lie in! We walked through the beautiful countryside near Rachel’s house and had a really good walk. When we got back, my friend Margaret had come to pick up Snowy (so he wouldn’t get bored and could run around with the other dogs for a few hours) and my Usherettes Rachel, Holly and Lydia, my little bridesmaid Issy and my mum arrived and we had the most wonderful brunch, catered for by the fabulous Shelly and Jess at Boutqiue Aromatique. We had fresh juices, champagne, special wedding pastries made by the Welbeck Bakehouse and delicious shakshuka made by Shelley. We were also joined by the videographer from A Beautiful Day. We didn’t even know he was filming half the time!
We had such a lovely, chilled morning and after brunch everyone except the bridesmaids left and Lou arrived to do hair and I snuck off for a bath! Whilst we were having a lovely girly morning the boys had been wakeboarding on the lake at the Abbey and had a homemade lunch of Joe’s speciality, Spaghetti Pomodoro (he actually wooed me with this dish!)
We had umbrellas at the ready but I got the text from Mickey to give the go ahead, we were going for the woods!
One thing I really wanted to do was to keep the traditional wedding service (excluding the God references) but have hymns, singing and readings. We organised an organ hire and Matthew Pitts, a very talented local pianist to come and play me in, accompany the hymns and play us out again. I had produced and printed order of service and we had chosen hymns and readings that meant something to us. We had a reading by Bob Marley on love and women, read by my Uncle Andy, the patriarch of my family, and Joe’s Italian Godfather Francesco read the Corinthians in Italian, something he had chosen and sounded so beautiful in Italian. My friends, aunty and mum had spent months drying rose petals to make confetti and my mum put these into beautiful little ivory organza bags which were given out to guests as they arrived with the services.
We also wanted to have someone we knew and loved to officiate the wedding. Henry Erlich, a lifelong friend of Joe’s parents officiated our wedding and he had previously officiated Joe’s sister’s wedding the previous June. We wrote our own service and Henry guided us on content and helped edit it until it was just perfect. One of the poignant moments for me is where we remembered people who were no longer with us in body but were with us in spirit. I lost my father when I was 15 and it was really important to include him somehow in the service. My wonderful, not so little brother, Michael did the honour of giving me away and also did the most AMAZING speech. I was so proud of him. And yes, he did make me cry.
The guys in the works department at Welbeck had made the most beautiful wooden frame for our alter and Sara Hope Hawkins and her talented team decorated it with the most beautiful flowers, it was breathtaking walking up the aisle towards Joe with a stunning backdrop. It was quite windy up at the Beeches and quite fresh but as soon as we got there and got out of the cars, the sun came out and beamed through the trees, dappling sunlight everywhere. My little (little) brother Tom led the procession with Snowy (of course!), followed by Issy who scattered fresh rose petals, then me with my brother Michael and my 3 gorgeous bridesmaids who looked like stunning woodland nymphs. It was funny as I bought the bridesmaid dresses in the Monsoon sale the previous year, before I had even started looking at dresses for myself and they were just perfect.