KOTUR’s dear friend Gemma Soames’ wedding is now featured on Vogue.com. You may remember a sneak peak from this previous post, where Olivia Buckingham shared some of her personal pictures from attending this celebration. Gemma even brought our KOTUR Espey Embossed Stripe on her honeymoon in the Aeolian Islands.
Journalist Gemma Soames and commodities trader Andrew Ferguson met four years ago at a mutual friend’s wedding outside of Aix-en-Provence. They were seated next to each other during dinner and hit it off immediately. At the time, Gemma was living in London, and Andrew was in Hong Kong though—so two weeks later, they met in the middle, and each flew to Dubai for their first date. “He asked me to keep the weekend free and just sent a ticket,” says Gemma. “It was really quite romantic.” From then on, the couple took turns visiting each other, meeting up in Thailand and Vietnam—and then six months later, Gemma flew to Hong Kong for good, and the two have been there ever since.
After dating for a little more than a year, the jet-setters boarded a plane to Sydney to celebrate Christmas 2012, and Andrew proposed after lunch at one of his favorite restaurants, Catalina in Rose Bay, on Christmas Day. Post-proposal, they went to stay with friends on the West Coast of Australia to properly toast their engagement in wine country. Once they returned from the trip, they found out Gemma was pregnant with a baby boy and decided to delay their wedding date until 2014.
While the wedding date was a bit of a moving target, the location was always set. “There was only one place we were ever going to get married,” says Gemma. “And that was at my family home in the deepest darkest Norfolk. There is a tiny Norman church there that my great-grandparents restored with a gate that leads directly into our garden. And even though the church normally only houses a congregation of around ten people and ours was going to be around 270, we were always determined to make it work.”
The ceremony was very traditional. “It was a family affair,” says Gemma. “But we had to remove all the pews to fit everyone in, hanging most of the flowers from the ceiling to save room. Our sisters gave readings, and our son was right there too, stealing the show.”
Given the tiny church, Gemma knew her dress needed to be light, but still wanted a romantic look that was sure to make an impact. “Alice Temperley is a good friend, and when she offered to make my dress, I was thrilled,” says Gemma. “I always knew the silhouette I wanted, and Alice created a beautiful off-the-shoulder design in a soft Chantilly lace for six months, with me flying back to London from Hong Kong for fittings.”
Guests walked across the lawn from the church to the reception at Gemma’s parents’ house following the ceremony. “We had canapés, drinks, and speeches there before moving to another tent for dinner and dancing,” explains Gemma of the evening’s timeline. The Soul Jets—the house band from the Dover Street Arts Club—performed, and then they were followed by a DJ. “The next day, we had family and the guests who had flown in from all over the world back for lunch,” says Gemma.
After the wedding weekend, the newlyweds took off for the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily for a honeymoon sans baby, staying first on Salina and then at the Hotel Raya in Panarea.