A summer wedding at Itchenor Sailing Club

Long standing member and head of high performance and innovation at the British Sailing Team Harvey Hilary tells us of how after four years, he still remembers every detail of his wedding to Charlotte at Itchenor Sailing Club…

The couple first met on the water when Charlotte, after finishing university, decided to hire two yachts for a week with her sailing team to celebrate their graduation. It just so happened that Harvey’s friends asked if he would skipper that same yacht…and the rest is history!

Harvey finally managed to persuade Charlotte to leave her life in London and move down to Chichester. Having had a pretty emotional day moving, they took a walk up to the top of West Stoke Copse near Kingley Vale. It was here as the sunset over the harbour and a herd of deer walked past, that Harvey proposed with a line from the book ‘From Into The Wild’.

The first decision was where the wedding would be held. “I think it’s such an important day in your life you have to choose a venue that has connections to both of you,” explains Harvey. “I’d been a member of the Club for years and Itchenor offered us an opportunity to do something less corporate with a backdrop that could not match any venue in the country for sheer beauty. The whole thing just felt right. I think we might have been the first wedding at the club so it was also important for me that we were considerate to the other members.” Charlotte adds, “The beauty was really in the venue so it really didn’t need much embellishment and our theme was appropriately nautical!”

Both Harvey and Charlotte have a passion for food and wanted the menu to reflect the atmosphere of the day. “We wanted it to knock the socks off any other wedding breakfast and set out for something that used real quality ingredients that you don’t tend to see at these occasions,” comments Harvey. In the end the couple opted for a smoked trout and roast beetroot salad to start followed by rib eye steak, local asparagus and béarnaise sauce. Desert was an upside down berry cheesecake served in individual glass preserve jars. Charlotte recalls, “The team at Itchenor were fantastic and really helped make it an effortless experience. To this day our friends still speak about the food!’

Charlotte’s wedding gown was by designer Pronovias and was from The Wedding Dress Shop in Wimbledon while the wedding flowers came from Manor Nursery in Runcton and they chose Freddie and the Freeloaders to add a funky backing track to their evening. “We wanted to keep the concept of the day simple with an eye on detail and a nod to traditional weddings,” says Harvey.

However it wasn’t all plain sailing after events conspired that made Charlotte 45 minutes late for the ceremony. “Considering we lived a mile away, that was quite an achievement,” laughs Harvey. “I was pretty relaxed about the whole thing although I felt for the bell ringers and organist who had to keep the congregation entertained.”

When we ask what their fondest moment was from the day, Harvey recalls: “It was when we were walking back to the club along the pontoon and I had time to take in how beautiful Charlotte looked while looking on our assembled friends drinking bubbles on the green. The pictures capture this moment beautifully.”