Alexandra Dudley is a food writer, podcast host, and The Wedding Edition’s very own lifestyle editor. Freddie Hall is a director and producer working in scripted drama. They met when they were four and a half years old but didn’t become a couple until they were in their early twenties after an impromptu trip with friends to Sardinia where they kissed and never looked back. Almost eleven years later they tied the knot. The Wedding Edition takes an inside look at Alexandra Dudley’s summer wedding.
The best part of our day was….
The speeches! I don’t think anyone was expecting the speeches to be so brilliant but they were filled with such love and joy. The whole party was a mixture of laughter and weeping.
We choose to get married at…
In my mother’s garden in West Sussex. I always wanted to get married at home and love the delicacy and magic of an English summer wedding. We toyed with the idea of shrinking down the guest list and doing something smaller during covid. Overall we moved the wedding three times but I’m so glad we waited. I really wanted a big party with everyone we loved and the wait was worth it. I really wanted to make the most of being able to be outside come rain or shine so we had a smaller, covered reception canopy for the champagne reception as well as our dining marquee. We also had a fire pit for when it became cooler which became a honeypot of joy in the later evening.
I knew I found ‘The One’ when….
As soon as I put on my dress at Phillipa Lepley. I did one full-on day of dress fittings with my mother which was such fun but my heart was set on the Phillipa Lepley gown right away. It sounds whimsical but as soon as I was in the dress I felt like a bride. I’d never really thought about what that feeling would be like or if there was any specific feeling at all. It was a corseted couture-made gown. From start to finish it was made specifically for my body shape and entirely unique to me. On the actual wedding day, I felt as though I was floating in the dress. It really did fit like a glove and it was spectacular to wear.
The most enjoyable moments of planning were…
Tough! There were so many. I was determined to enjoy the planning process as I know that so many people find it overwhelming and then miss it once it’s gone so I tried to maintain a positive attitude throughout. I loved the menu tasting and everything to do with choosing the menu. I even ended up postponing the wedding even further because I had my heart so set on serving asparagus in May! We went with Social Pantry who host the most magical tastings for their couples as part of the process. I also loved planning the design of the marquee with Wigwam Marquees. We had a traditional sailcloth marquee which we decked out with lots of festoon lights.
The hardest part of planning was…
Having to stop and start so many times. We changed our wedding date three times. Each time we sent out new invitations, navigated the date change with our suppliers, and reworked our work schedules which became incredibly tiring. It was all worth it in the end though and I’m so glad we waited until we could have everyone there.
The best accounts to follow on Instagram for big-day inspo are…
@theweddingedition_ , @angela.mugnai.events and @stewartbrownevents
Wedding menu highlights..
For our starter, we served a dish of new-season British asparagus with broad beans, young peas, burrata, and an almond pesto. I love Italian food and it felt like a wonderful merging of some of my favourite ingredients.
For our honeymoon we chose.
Our honeymoon was a long one and took months of planning. We did three weeks in Italy, including staying at the beautiful Nordelaia and Rome Cavalieri, followed by four weeks of island hopping the Greek islands.
My top three tips for any couple would be…
Don’t rush into any decisions when planning the day. Sleep on anything before making the final call.
Take a moment to step back together away from the party. It goes by in an instant and there is real magic in really taking a moment to soak it all in together.
Hold hands! It sounds silly but it’s so easy to hardly see your partner once the reception starts (especially if you have a large wedding party). Holding hands (or at least doing so as much as you can) means that even if you are both talking to dozens of people, you keep coming back together.
If I was able to do it all over again, the one thing I would change is…
I’d have a longer champagne reception. Ours was two hours which is on the long side already but I love it so much. It’s always my favourite part of a wedding. I’d probably have more canapes and an extra half hour.
List of suppliers
Venue: At home in West Sussex
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