There’s something so iconic about the quintessential English wedding.
For me it’s an old church, an eccentric vicar, gents in tails, ladies in fancy hats, lots of little flower girls, reams of bunting, Pimms on the lawn, and some kind of roasted meat and Eton mess for the wedding breakfast.
I’m Irish though, so most of my opinions have been formed by royal weddings and movies like Four Weddings & a Funeral or Three Men & a Little Lady. So I figured to help with this post, we’d bring in someone a lot more qualified!
Philippa D’Arcy is the owner of the beautiful British wedding venue Wickham House. A stunning country house, with its own church on-site, enchanting walled gardens and unique spaces for receptions.
It’s safe to say, she knows a thing or two about what the quintessential English wedding is all about. So to give you some insight and ideas for your own elegant British bash, I’ll leave you in her safe hands…
When it comes to enjoying a good old “knees up”, the English certainly know how to put on a do, the most celebrated being the white wedding.
Famed for our love of pomp and ceremony, there’s nothing quite like a quintessentially English wedding to revel in nostalgic tradition and old fashioned romance.
Whether you’re looking to host your big day on British soil or add a touch of traditionally English style to a wedding overseas, these are our top tips for the perfect British occasion.
1. Location, Location, Location
One of our greatest assets is our rolling countryside and when it comes to choosing a wedding location, nothing beats a beautiful, rural setting.
Think carefully about the type of wedding you want to have – be it a traditional, formal affair or a more casual, intimate occasion and choose a venue that best reflects that.
If you’re planning a religious ceremony, look for a venue ideally with a church or chapel on site to keep the logistics as simple as possible. For non-religious ceremonies, a walled garden in full bloom makes the prettiest of settings and backdrop for photos.
2. Sense of Occasion
English weddings should always have a sense of occasion. Your wedding day will most likely be the biggest day of your life and every element of the day from the invitations and attire to the flowers and the food should represent the importance of the event.
3. Food Glorious Food
Gone are the days of the formal sit down wedding breakfast being the only option for a British celebration.
With caterers more creative than ever before and our dining habits evolving, couples are frequently opting for more laid-back menus with sharing platters and tasting stations proving particular popular. However you choose to serve your wedding food, ensure you incorporate fresh, seasonal dishes using locally sourced produce where possible for delicious and decadent dining.
4. Service with a Smile
Make sure the servers (and ushers, little ones and bridal party) are well-trained, beautifully presented and prepped to serve with warmth and politeness, correctly navigating all the rules on English etiquette for which Blighty is so well known.
5. Homegrown Flowers
Flowers play a huge part in transforming a blank canvas into a beautiful event space. For a quintessentially English wedding, ask your florist to use predominantly homegrown British flowers throughout the floral arrangements to recreate that ‘freshly picked from the garden’ style.
This will mean that you are limited to flowers that are in season but whoever is managing your big day budget will thank you for it!
6. Weatherproof Your Wedding
If there’s one thing you unfortunately can’t control on your wedding day, it’s the great British weather!
Whether you’re marrying in mid-summer or during the winter months, it’s important to ensure you are fully prepared should the heavens decide to open on the day.
If you plan to marry outdoors, always choose a venue that has a wet weather indoor option and discuss weather-proofing walkways and marquee sites to prevent water-logging nightmares on the day. Hopefully the sun will be on your side but it’s important to be prepared for all eventualities.