We love a wedding with lots of traditions – and we were so excited to see the customs beautiful bride Kat brought over from her native Germany! How often do you get to see two newlyweds breaking a sweat sawing a log of wood?
Kat and Elliott met through an online game community in 2009 but it took three years for them to finally meet in person. Kat travelled from Germany and Elliott from the UK to Sweden to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2012 with their online friends – and immediately became inseparable.
They spent another three years engaged before their beautiful pink and gold-inspired wedding day at The Elvetham in Hampshire in front of 65 friends and family.
Photography by Hannah McClune
The Wedding Dress
Kat looked stunning in a fairytale Oleg Cassini dress bought from David’s Bridal. She accessorised with silver and rose gold floral-inspired jewellery, with a pearl hair vine in the same style. Kat’s hair – done by Katie-Jane Whitlock – complemented the princess vibe with a braided updo and tumbling curls. She chose natural, glowing makeup by Katie Burt Makeup Artist.
“My wedding dress was a beautiful, floral A-line gown. The top was a corset embellished with embroidered flowers, pearls and rhinestones. The skirt had lots of cascading chiffon layers. There were two special moments as I got ready where my bridesmaid went ‘Awwww!’ – when I had my hair and makeup done and when I stepped in the dress. My dad was already crying when he picked me up!
“It was the third dress I tried on. I always had a vision for my dress, so knew exactly what I wanted. My mum picked a completely different style for me to try on, so I decided to let her have that moment… little did I know that I actually fell in love with exactly that dress despite it being completely the opposite of what I ever imagined! The other two were ‘typically Katharina’ dresses that everyone liked, but declared ‘too safe’ and ‘expected of you’.
“In hindsight, I would have liked to change into a different outfit for the reception, but I wanted to wear my dress for as long as possible to justify the price tag.”
The Wedding Party
Kat and Elliott had four bridesmaids and ushers, and it was Kat who ended up planning all the wedding party’s outfits. She chose dusky pink dresses from Chi Chi London for her bridesmaids – two from Germany and two English friends – while the groomsmen wore dark grey suits, hired from Moss Bros, with matching dusky pink ties and handkerchiefs.
“I would call the outfits a ‘joint effort’. Elliott basically gave me free reign on everything as he wanted me to have the best day of my life, but I still made sure he liked what I proposed!
“At first I wanted to give my bridesmaids the option to figure what they wanted out together as there were girls of different sizes and I wanted all of them to feel comfortable. We all liked the dresses we went for in the end, however, by that time all the sizes were sold out, so we had to move on.
“Lots of discussions and fights and tears later I decided to overrule their opinions the minute the website had all sizes of the Lucinda dress by Chi Chi London back in stock – and they were all happy with the decision!”
The Wedding Ceremony
The ceremony and reception were both held at The Elvetham, a grand hotel in Hampshire set among 35 acres of landscaped gardens. The couple had a civil ceremony, personalising it with their favourite songs and readings suggested by the registrar.
“We celebrated a work Christmas party there and I instantly fell in love with it. It’s about a 10 minute drive from our home, so very convenient. We were luck enough to have the entire venue to ourselves too despite not having booked the exclusive option. The look and feel, size and definitely their amazing service were perfect throughout the day.
“My flower girls walked down the aisle first, followed by my bridesmaids and then my father and me. The most memorable moment was the loud ‘sigh’ that came out of Elliott’s mouth when he saw me walk down the aisle.”
The Wedding Traditions
Kat introduced two very traditional German ‘games’ to the celebrations, both of which are symbolic challenges to the couple. The first is the Baumstamm sägen – the sawing of a tree trunk – and the second is the cutting out of a heart. Loved ones will hold up a sheet with a heart drawn on it and the bride and groom are given tiny pairs of scissors to cut through it, starting on opposite sides. It’s the groom’s job to then carry his new wife through the heart.
“Sawing is a symbol of team work (they make it a lot harder by rigging the saw, etc.) and cutting though the heart is about entering a new stage of life together, hence the groom carrying the bride through the heart. The heart on the sheet represents a barrier that you overcome together: you’re removing the barrier together and then you enter a new stage of life together.”
The Wedding Flowers and Cake
Dusky pinks with gold accents was the wedding theme, which continued through their flowers, cake and stationery. The bouquets featured pink roses, white hydrangea, berries and foliage to fit both the venue and the October date. The centrepieces added golden chandeliers with candles and more of their chosen florals.
Graphic designer Kat used those colours to design her own invitations – a minimalist style that was heavy on typography.
“We knew that the cake wasn’t the highest priority for us, so we opted in for a base cake from M&S that my friend and bridesmaid made sugar flower decorations for. It was small but tasty (and we still took about 80% of it home despite its small size!).”
The Wedding Reception
Alongside the wedding games arranged by Kat’s family, the couple entertained their guests with a DJ and dance floor, DIY favours, photo guestbook and a sparkler send-off. Their first dance was to Neutron Star Collision by Muse.
“We definitely wanted our guests to have fun. We had golden bowls with sweets on the tables that later on were moved to the bar. We brought our Polaroid camera, props, sharpies and a frame with tiny pegs to hang them onto. Our favours were some small marmalade jars with golden lids; we added some sweets and a tag saying ‘Thank You’ with a cute ribbon.”
The newlyweds jetted straight off on a mini-moon to Malta after the wedding, and saved up for the “real” honeymoon a year later in Florida – which included plenty of time at Disney.
“The mini-moon was to relax on the beach in a five-star all-inclusive hotel after having planned a wedding and the honeymoon was to fulfil our dreams. We’d been to Disney World before for a day, but never to that extent (and just the two of us!). It was amazing. I’m already whining to go again!”
The Newlyweds’ Advice
Elliott and Kat admitted they spent over their budget and asked for cash instead of a gift list to help fund their Disney honeymoon.
“We had no clue in the beginning and didn’t realise how expensive a wedding is. I’d say you have to plan your wedding, not Pinterest’s wedding. Pick the things that are important to you rather than add everything the internet suggests.
“The only thing I would change would be to possibly an an evening dress. My dress was so heavy which made dancing difficult!”
Wedding Venue: The Elvetham
Photography: Hannah McClune
Wedding Dress: Oleg Cassini from David’s Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: Chi Chi London
Groomswear: Moss Bros
Bridal Accessories: LaLaCrystal and Maggie Lyn Jewellery
Makeup Artist: Katie Burt Makeup
Hair Stylist: Katie-Jane Whitlock
Cake: Marks and Spencer
Entertainment: Firebird Events
Thank you to Kat and Elliott for sharing their wonderful day with us.