With guests flying in from New York, Ali and Luke were determined to make a whole weekend of it at their unique Dorset celebration
Photography: Robin Goodlad
With six bridesmaids based in the States and two in the UK, getting her girls together for fittings was always going to be a challenge, so Ali took a novel approach. “It was easiest for each of them to get their own dress, so they could choose what they felt best in,” she says. “I wanted an ombré effect, with a mix of greys from light to dark. They each sent me a picture beforehand, so I could create a collage to ensure the colour scheme was right, and it all worked perfectly!”
Guests started arriving on the Friday, and 36 stayed over on the Axnoller Estate until the Monday, which gave the wedding a country house weekend vibe. The ceremony itself took place at Axnoller House under a chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy) specially designed and built by a friend’s father and decorated with ivory flowers.
In fact, flowers played a major role in the day. “Our centrepieces had masses of delphinium spires with asparagus plumosus to create a fluffy texture,” says Ali. “The soft colours included pale pinks, pale blues, ivories and greys, which worked with the wall colours to give a dreamy, midsummer vibe.”
‘Cappuccino’ roses, apricot lisianthus and delphiniums also decorated the stunning cake made of cheese, which had layers of Brie de Meaux, Cheddar, Stilton, Brillat Savarin and White Nancy, a handmade goat’s cheese.
Drink to the future Given the distance some guests had travelled, the couple were determined to throw a memorable party. “Cocktails included Dirty Martini, Amaretto Sour, Elderflower Orchard and his ‘n’ hers signature drinks of Espresso Martini, as my choice, and Tennessee Honey, as Luke’s,” says Ali. “We also filled beer buckets with American Brooklyn Brewery Beer and London Lager, alongside bottle openers featuring the American and British flags.”
The celebration was not short on personal touches either. Both Ali’s mother and father walked her down the aisle – a Jewish tradition – and old photos from their parents’ weddings were displayed on the welcome table. There was also a surprise present for the groom. “On the day, I gave Luke a Movado watch with a note that simply read… ‘Your girlfriend for 30 months. Your fiancé for 345 days. Your wife in a few hours! See you at 2:30. Ali’!”
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