A Fairy Tale-Inspired Wedding at an 18th-Century Manor in the United Kingdom
Rochelle Lovell had just pulled out her wallet to pay the bartender for her drink at her church's summer party in 2015 when Nathan Osafo cut in. "A hand reached across and handed the bartender a note," she says. "I turned around and saw Nathan and bashfully apologized, as I thought he had accidentally paid for my drink in the process of buying his, but turns out, it was intentional!" Though Nathan told Rochelle that the drink didn't mean she was required to stay and chat with him, she continued the conversation anyway. "Nathan was very forthcoming and made it clear that he liked me and wanted to get to know me more," says Rochelle. "I was happy to swap numbers on a friendship basis since we attended the same church, but our friendship slowly blossomed into a romance."
Two years later, Rochelle met Nathan at Coombe Wood Gardens for what she thought was a brunch with family. "They have beautiful lakes, fish, flowers, and woodlands there, so it was the perfect place to get engaged as we both love nature and the countryside," she says. "He took me on a little walk round the woodlands where we talked about our favorite memories together and before you know it, he got down on one knee and popped the question!"
Rochelle, who describes herself as "quite a creative person and an excellent planner," took over the planning of their wedding for 180 guests at Northbrook Park in Farnham, Surrey. "The vision for our wedding was sophisticated, elegant, dreamy, and glamorous," she says. "We wanted to use soft tones of ivory, creams, and rose gold." Rochelle designed the invitations and day-of paper goods, arranged the bouquets and centerpieces with her mother and sister, and added sentimental photos and personal touches throughout the décor. "Ultimately we wanted to feel like we were in a fairy tale," she says, "and that our guests would also feel relaxed and have an enjoyable experience."
Home Away from Home
Rochelle and Nathan wanted to find a location with space to host both their ceremony and reception, and the 18th-century manor house at Northbrook Park was ideal. "We wanted a venue that had a countryside feel to it, but was also spectacular and picture-perfect," says Rochelle. "It was stretched across 120 acres of private land which featured lakes, walled gardens, water features, and even peacocks! We loved that our guests would get to experience the countryside just outside of our hometown of London and that it was a private and intimate setting."
Sparkle and Shine
The bride wore her hair pulled back in an elegant updo for the ceremony, accenting the intricate beading on her strapless Oleg Cassini wedding dress. She added dramatic jeweled earrings from Zara for a little extra shine. "I found my earrings unintentionally whilst scouring the aisles of Zara for non-wedding-related items," says Rochelle. "They also had the wow factor I was looking for and the beading details matched my dress. I didn't see anything anywhere near as nice in the designer boutiques that I had searched in previously."
Dressed to Impress
Nathan chose a "classic, but stylish" black velvet tuxedo from London designer Leonard Jay with a crisp black bow tie, while his groomsmen donned black Moss Bros. suits and ivory silk ties. "Nathan wore Hugo Boss cuff links which were a gift from me when we were first dating, doing bible studies together at The Grange Hotel in St Paul's," says Rochelle. "It was fitting as it matched his James Bond-style tux."
Ready to Wed
Rochelle and Nathan opted not to see each other before the wedding, saving their first look for her ceremony entrance on her father's arm. "Walking down the aisle towards my husband and seeing our friends and family there supporting us," says Rochelle, remains one of her favorite parts of the day.
Hand in Hand
Large French windows, a dramatic fireplace, crystal chandeliers, and gold vine leaf engravings in the ceremony space left the couple with little to add. "The Vine room in itself was so beautiful that we didn't want to overdo it and take away from its natural beauty and elegance," says Rochelle. "The chairs were simply decorated with fairy-like white gypsophila flowers and silky bows."
The New Mr. and Mrs.
Violinists and harpist played Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" as the newlyweds left the ceremony space and led guests to a drinks reception at the estate's walled garden.
Happily Ever After
When Rochelle first saw her gown's silky train, back buttons, and sequined bodice, she assumed it wasn't the style for her. "I thought it was so dreamy and fairy tale-like, but was the opposite of what I said I wanted! It was a ball gown that was quite blingy on the bodice, and I thought I would go for a fitted dress with delicate lace details," says Rochelle. "My mum and sister were wowed and when I finally looked in the mirror, I was unexpectedly surprised. I fell in love with the dress—it had the wow factor I was looking for and I felt like a real bride."
Cream-colored bridesmaids' dresses from David's Bridal contrasted with the all-white bouquets that Rochelle and her sister made days before the wedding. "I ordered flowers wholesale from Triangle Nurseries and watched a few tutorials. My living room was filled with stems two days before the wedding that needed to be pruned, watered and arranged. It was a lot more time consuming than I thought but turned out great!" Rochelle put together her bouquet with white roses and eucalyptus, while the bridesmaids carried white roses and gypsophilia.
A Fairy-Tale Ending
Though Rochelle admits that planning the wedding herself had its challenging moments, she enjoyed the overall experience. "The part I enjoyed most about planning was building on our vision and seeing it slowly come to life," she says. "What made our day special was all of the personal touches we injected into the styling and décor. It was important that the day reflected our journey together as a couple."
A Labor of Love
Rochelle and Nathan chose the venue's Orangery for their seated dinner reception, opting for the cozier feel offered by brick walls and abundant natural light. "Centerpieces were rose gold vases filled with delicate cream rose spray flowers and thistle, mirrored plates, and rose gold candle votives," says Rochelle. "The flowers for the centerpieces were arranged by my mum and family friends. I also designed the wedding invitations, seating plan, hand-drawn table names, menus, and handwritten place cards."
Change of Mood
For dinner and dancing, Rochelle changed into a fitted, beaded gown from New York's Faviana. "I struggled to find a second dress that fit my budget but was also a showstopper for the evening," she says. "When the dress arrived, it was slightly small at the back as the clasp didn't fully close. I then had to find someone who could bring the clasp out, but also find matching beading to fill the extra space. I knew it would be a fiddly job, but I found a lovely boutique that did it outstandingly! The beauty was in the little details."
Their First Dance
The newlyweds shared their first dance to JP Cooper's "The Only Reason." "We chose this song as the words resonated with us and it was very romantic and related to our story," she says.
So Happy Together
Nathan and Rochelle smiled with their guests during dinner, as toasts were shared.
A Delicious Pairing
The menu from Favour Catering and Events fused African and Caribbean foods with dishes that included a king prawn and avocado plantain stack, cream of sweet potato and coconut soup, herb-crusted rack of lamb, grilled snapper, and stuffed bell peppers.
At the Mic
Rochelle and Nathan's DJ, Jevanni Letford, handed the microphone over to the groom, who shared a few words, during the reception—after, they let Jevanni take it from there. "We had a DJ who is a close friend of ours. He played a selection of our favorite songs along with a fantastic playlist that he created especially for our wedding," says Rochelle.
Favoured Cakes provided the couple with a four-tier rose-gold-and-ivory confection decorated with fresh and piped lace flowers; it included red velvet, rum raisin, and vanilla layers. Cupcakes carefully decorated with the couple's names and wedding date added a pretty, personalized element to the dessert table.
As the couple left the reception at the end of the evening, guests held sparklers to light their path—a moment Rochelle and Nathan remember as "truly magical."
Photography, Hajley Photography
Venue, Northbrook Park
Catering, Favour Catering & Events
Flowers, Triangle Nursery
Videography, Steve Kalinda
Officiant, Reverend Roger Forster
Cake, Favoured Cakes
Music, Isabel Harries (harpist); DJ Jevanni Letford
Bride's Gown, Oleg Cassini (ceremony); Faviana (reception)
Bride's Accessories, Oleg Cassini veil; Badgley Mischka shoes; Zara jewelry
Hair, Totally Flawless
Makeup, Joy Adenuga
Bridesmaids' Dresses, David's Bridal
Groom's Attire, Leonard Jay
Menswear, Moss Bros.
Guest Book, Etsy
Rings, Ernest Jones
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