Good morning everyone. I hope you had a fantastic weekend filled with family and fun or maybe even a hen or stag do? Wedding season is fast approaching and we can’t wait to hear from our 2018 brides with their real wedding stories soon. For now, we go back to last summer to share this pretty Cornish cove beach wedding with you, brought to us by the gorgeously talented Alexa Poppe. Zoe and Dave are keen surfers and both live in Cornwall, so it made perfect sense for them to make the most of the paradise sitting right on their doorstep when it came to choosing their venue. Prussia Cove is just a stones throw away from their house. Quaint and authentic, the couple injected their love of sea and surf into the planning and created the most cool, rustic seaside wedding. Colours of blue and pink organically set the theme as their designs were based on water colour florals and Zoe’s love of peonies. The use of vintage props and cute, floral décor surrounded the barn-style venue and the Great British Bake Off style desert table donated by all the guests added a little extra fun to the day.
I adore Cornwall. On a warm sunny day you really could be anywhere in the world, as the cliffs and beachscapes are to die for. This couple certainly had the right idea about keeping their celebrations close to home!
Here’s Zoe to tell you more about her big day….
Once we’d decided on the venue everything stemmed from there. Our focus was making the day as enjoyable as possible and creating a relaxed atmosphere so people could see Cornwall at its best. We didn’t feel the need to conform to all the wedding traditions and only included what we thought people would enjoy.
Our engagement story is one I love to tell. It took place in September 2016 and I had just finished a night shift. I’m a nurse in the Navy so I work away from home and Dave came to pick me up after only a couple of hours of sleep and said with glee that we were off for a camping trip by the coast. We ended up pulling up in front of the lovely 5* Carlyon Bay Hotel. We hopped straight in the waiting golf buggy with a few bags for our “picnic” and were taken down to the private beach. Dave had brought his guitar so strummed a few tunes as we enjoyed the beach. I knew he was about to propose….Of course I said yes and burst in to tears. I was so emotional which was very unexpected. It was such a lovely day, calling all our friends and family and basking in the newly engaged bliss.
Pre-Loved Wedding Gown
I saw my dress Garland by Ritva Westenius at a show in 2016. I had a look at the dress in Ritvas store in London but it was way outside my budget – but still I couldn’t let it go! I loved the heavy silk and gorgeous lace godets creating movement and a beautiful shape to the train. Thankfully my bridesmaid came across the dress on a second hand site in my size. I found my pretty pink block heels in M&S; they’re still one of my favourite pairs and I can wear them again. I did my own make-up and Jeni did my hair and my bridesmaids. I loved the relaxed up-do!
My wonderful mother made my veil and it was perfect. This was teamed with fresh wired flowers from my florist. I found some drop earrings on Etsy. Dave’s lovely light three piece suit came from House of Fraser and his tie was from Next.
We were married in Prussia Cove, Cornwall. We live in Cornwall just 20 minutes from the venue so hope we will be able to take our children back to snorkel and swim at this beautiful spot. Dave and I walked from The Lizard to Landsend the summer before we got engaged which took us right past the beautiful Porth-en-Alls. We are surfers so being by the ocean was very important to us and this incredible house sits right on the sea. It also had lots of accommodation for our friends from away and our family that live overseas. It was the only place we went to view and it ticked all the boxes. We had our ceremony, reception and accommodation all in one place so no cars and more time to have fun with our guests. We had the venue for 5 days so plenty of time to catch up with friends and family, get in the sea and enjoy our surroundings.
Cosy Indoor Ceremony
The day of our wedding was very windy and drizzly. We made a last minute decision to move inside and Dave spent the morning of the wedding changing the hall from our eating space to a ceremony space. So many people helped out with this and it was a fantastic transformation. It was a tight squeeze to get everyone in but we managed it and the atmosphere was so intimate and wonderful.
We wrote our own vows keeping them short but meaningful. We had agreed to base them around three things we wanted for our marriage: fun, teamwork, adventure. Our guests sang ‘Can you feel the love tonight’ by Elton john while Dave’s brother Jack played the piano.
Relaxed and Natural Photography
Our photographer was Alexa Poppe and as soon as we met her we knew she was for us. As well as being a fellow surfer, her relaxed and easy going attitude suited us and our approach to our photos. Our photos were spontaneous and natural. I love her reportage style and the moments she captured are beautiful memories. She worked so hard all through the day.
Informal Picnic-Style Reception
Our reception was in the same room as the ceremony, which meant that when Dave and I went off for photos, an army of family and guests went in to action transforming this space back to a place to eat. This was the reverse of what had happened in the morning when we decided we couldn’t get married outside! I loved the way our tables looked. Mismatched plates, cutlery and napkins from the Vintage Crockery Company looked so good on the washed wooden trestle tables with the picnic baskets from White Radish Events.
Neither of us like formal dinners as we have enough of that in the Navy so we opted for picnic baskets to get people interacting and sharing food together. We didn’t have a seating plan and allowed our guests the freedom to sit where they liked. We used a system seen at a friend’s wedding where people found their name on a shell and then placed it where they wanted to sit so they could come back to it later.
Flowers featured a lot here and our tables were covered by beautiful haphazard blooms in blue medicine bottles that I had collected over the year. The wood slices were cut by my dad and had been used in my brothers wedding the year before. I chose some small tea light holders with a pinky metallic finish to complete our centres.
Great British Bake Off!
As we have such talented friends we held a ‘Great Wedding Bake Off’ with a badge and bottle of prosecco to the winner. There were so many amazing creations it was very hard to pick a winner! George Mackay was our florist after a friend had recommended her. Being a June wedding I was lucky enough to be in prime peony season. I wanted a few big pink blooms surrounded by smaller white and blue flowers. George created the most amazing bouquet and posies, her flowers were such a highlight for me.
White Radish Catering is a local company that produce amazing food that is locally sourced and often grown by them. They were so flexible and helpful when we were deciding on our menu. We wanted our meal to be very informal, quite quick and tasty, our picnic baskets filled with tasty Cornish treats fulfilled this perfectly.
My parents make jam and keep bees so our favours were little jars of homemade jam and honey. Delicious!
Dave is a musician and we are lucky enough to have lots of musical friends and family. We asked some of them to play in the afternoon, and Dave and I did a little duet too. All our guests were well in to the swing of things when the professional took to the stage. I spotted ‘Nick the Fish’ playing in a pub in Dartmouth and knew he would fit right in to our day. He was incredible! Everyone was up dancing. Dave wrote our first dance song just before he proposed. It was a magical moment dancing in a room full of people who love us with his heart felt lyrics playing around us.
I grinned and grinned all through the ceremony, I really thought I would be a crier but I was so happy and not a bit nervous. Our vows and singing during the ceremony was a highlight for me.
I would advise couples to share tasks and decision making early. As I had planned it all over a long engagement I never really felt like I needed the help, however in the run up I was then the only person who had the overall plan. Trust your partner to do a good job. Don’t feel you have to comply with all the wedding traditions; we left out all the bits that didn’t interest us and made a fun day for everyone involved.
Finally, if you can extent the celebrations so that you can see people the day after then do it. The actually day is a joyful whirlwind but I found the followings days were so good for catching up and spending quality time with people. It was an incredible few days in that beautiful place – we’re going back for a house party at our 10-year anniversary!
The Line Up
Venue: Prussia Cove
Photographer: Alexa Poppe
Prop Hire: White Radish Events
Prop Hire: Box and Cox Vintage
Table Ware: Vintage Crockery Company
Groom: House of Fraser
Bride: Ritva Westenius
Hair: Jeni -Cornwall Hair Stylist
Catering: White Radish Catering
Flowers: George Mackay