Romantic vintage lace with Anna Sorrano
Classic romance and Old Hollywood elegance were the order of the day for this autumnal celebration
Polly and Jason first met in January 2009, on Jason's 21st birthday. “We went to the cinema on our first date,” says Polly. “Neither of us was looking for a serious relationship, but little did we know…”
A sweet and snowy proposal
The couple had been together for 10 years when Jason proposed during a ski trip in France in 2019. “He persuaded me to ski a different route to our friends, and then we stopped overlooking the most incredible view,” says Polly. “I didn't understand why he'd stopped, but then he got out a little box and attempted to get down on one knee on skis, on a steep slope - not easy!"
"It was sweet, funny, unrehearsed and so very us."
"Saying yes was the easiest thing in the world. He designed my ring with an independent jeweller, and it was a pearl surrounded by tiny diamonds.”
Shopping for the dress
Surbiton wed2b is just down the road from where the couple live, so it was an obvious decision to visit. “I didn't want to spend too much on a dress,” she says. “Also, I thought I knew what I wanted but I wanted to try on some other options too, just in case."
"As it happened, the perfect dress was exactly what I’d had in mind all along."
"It was a great experience in wed2b. The first time I went with my mum and two bridesmaids and had a great time trying on lots of dresses. Then I went along again on my own a few months later and that was when I found ‘The One’."
Discovering Anna Sorrano…
Polly chose our classic Carmela dress featuring soft tulle and delicate floral corded lace. “I knew it was the one for me because there was absolutely nothing I wanted to change about it,” she says. “It ticked all the boxes, and my usual size fitted me like a glove. I also bought a mermaid underskirt and burgundy bridesmaids dresses.”
Our limited edition Carmela dress is a modern classic with more than a touch of iconic Grace Kelly style about it. If you’d love something similar, take a look at Aleksandra, with its gorgeous sleeves and vintage-style Chantilly lace, or Franziska for illusion straps and tumbling lace appliqués. Alternatively, Shannay has a classic feel too, but with softly flattering off-the-shoulder straps instead. Choices, choices!
An intimate legal ceremony
The couple ended up having two weddings, as the original date in October 2020 was postponed due to Covid. "In October 2021 we had a small legal ceremony with just 12 family members in Petworth, Sussex,” says Polly. “The 'main' wedding happened on 14 October 2022, two years and six days later than planned. I'd had my dress altered in 2020 and it had waited patiently in its wed2b box for almost three years. I had some doubts about whether I still loved it as much as when I first chose it, and almost went back to wed2b to try on some others."
"However, when I finally put it on, I knew it was still perfect and I felt wonderful in it.”
The perfect wedding venue in Sussex
“Our 'big' wedding was at Upwaltham Barns, a wedding venue in Sussex, and it was simply the dream venue,” says Polly. “We fell in love with it as soon as we walked in back in April 2019. It just felt so very us, and the brilliant team made everything run smoothly."
"We loved its rural location and views across the South Downs."
"It had chic rustic vibes and the space on offer was great, with two flint and brick barns, a bar with beams and a roaring log fire, a beautiful courtyard filled with flowers all year round and a cosy candlelit outdoor snug and fire pit. Perfect for our autumn wedding."
The big day
“It was the most incredible day of our lives,” says Polly.
“Having all our friends and family finally coming together after so long apart meant the world. Neither of us has ever felt so happy as we did that day.”
“We were already legally married, so we had a celebrant lead our ceremony and it was wonderful,” says Polly. “I walked down the aisle to Elvis’s ‘Can't Help Falling in Love’, played on live strings. My brother and sister and both our mums 'gave us away', in a twist to tradition. My mum read an emotional 'Ode' she had written, and our talented friends sang 'Stand by Me' by Ben E King."
"The ceremony was full of warmth and laughter and love and personal touches."
"We had a wine box ceremony, where we sealed the same champagne we'd drunk the day we got engaged in a box to open a year later. We also wrote our own vows and hearing Jason's was the highlight for me. They were so sweet and touching, and so personal to us, and he had put such a lot of effort in.”
“We walked out of the ceremony down a confetti line, which was fun,” says Polly. “Then there was a drinks reception in the courtyard. We served our own drinks - our favourite French fizz and craft beers - and canapés. Phil, from our evening band Brando, playing an acoustic guitar set. He was so good that even when it started drizzling most people stayed outside and we danced in the rain! We did a joint speech and then we had speeches from Jason's dad, brother, my best friend and my brother. Then we had a mini 'open mic' where three of our friends stood up to do impromptu mini speeches, which went down brilliantly. Our first dance later that evening was to ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Dire Straits, then we spent all night on the dance floor. Our band, Brando, were outstanding and we partied so hard!”
The personal touch
“Personalising our day was very important to us, we wanted it to feel as though it simply couldn't have been anybody else's wedding but ours,” says Polly. “Our main colour was burgundy. Our bridesmaids dresses were from wed2b too, and each of the four of them wore a different style in the gorgeous burgundy colour. We had pie and mash for our wedding breakfast, with wine from our favourite small Italian winemaker, and we walked into the wedding breakfast to Etta James 'At Last', which was very appropriate.”
“Our table plan was a map of the Alps because our tables were named after ski resorts we'd been to together,” says Polly. “I hunted down vintage postcards from each of them to use as table names. We didn't have a lot of budget for decorations, so we spray painted wine bottles gold and put tall candles in them. These formed our centrepieces, along with tealights and lots of foliage. My mum and Jason made our 'order of the day' with an old wooden pallet and our 'guest book' was a world map. Our guests wrote us a travel recommendation on a luggage label then stuck them around the outside. We also had a pizza van arrive in the evening and serve the most amazing wood-fired sourdough pizza.”
The best bits…
“There were so many memorable moments,” says Polly. “Getting ready with my bridesmaids, stepping into the ceremony barn with my brother and sister and seeing so many smiling faces."
"Then dancing in the rain during the drinks reception..."
"...walking up into the fields behind the barn for photos later in the day and laughing until I cried at the speeches. Also, sharing our first dance to a very special song, dancing with our friends and family all night long. Later, Jason and I sat with a nightcap by the fire pit, after everyone had gone home, and reflected on the most amazing day.”
And for other Anna brides…
“Don't get caught up in tradition or what you should or shouldn't do,” says Polly. “Do what you want to, make it personal, let yourselves shine through. On the day, remember that you and your partner dictate the vibe and atmosphere of the day."
"If you're stressed, guests will feel it."
"It's easier said than done but relax and enjoy every moment. And, if you can take a few minutes alone together throughout the day, do so. Choose a dress that makes you happy, and bear in mind eating, dancing and sitting down in it. Consider an underskirt. I thought mine would make my dress too big but it actually made it so comfortable to wear. I danced for hours in it! Don't worry about the little things but, if the little touches make you happy, then go for it!”
It’s an absolute joy to see how you’ve styled our designs so, if you’ve enjoyed Polly’s elegant look and her wedding venue in Sussex, then please share your big day pictures too. Just click here to send us your story and photos and we’ll be in touch. Don’t forget to check out more of our beautiful autumnal weddings too!
With much love,
The Anna Sorrano team
Polly and Jason’s Dream Team
Photographer: Toby Lidstone
Wedding venue in Sussex: Upwaltham Barns
Wedding dresses Surbiton: wed2b
Caterers: Nibbles 2 Nosh
Florist: Rococo Florist
Celebrant: Clare Bradford
Videographer: One Forever Films
Strings: Haysden Strings
Pizza van: The Land Doughver
Makeup: SB Makeup
Hair: Andrew Thompson
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