Real Weddings/Unique Weddings

Adorable Animal-Themed Wedding At A 12th Century Estate

Adorable Animal-themed Wedding in a Castle Wedding Venue – Lucy Davenport Photography 2

English manor weddings (or what us Americans would so fantastically assume are castle weddings!) can often be grand, opulent, royal & formal – and that’s great, we feature and swoon over them so often! But have you ever seen an estate wedding filled with such light-hearted whimsy as this animal-themed fête?

Hannah & David celebrated their wild & beautiful wedding with their adorable daughter Azalea at Aynhoe Park. Throughout the home’s regular decor we see taxidermied African mammals like lions, hippos and even a giraffe – which fits so nicely in the tall ceilings of their stunning ballroom. Paper goods were made to match featuring whimsical creatures in seating charts and beyond. Even peacock feathers so elegantly found their way into the complementing floral arrangements.

We adore how unafraid the duo were to make this formal space so cheery & light-hearted – beyond the animal decor, balloons floated above an opulent dinner space and rows of disco balls lit up the dancefloor – likely not a scene Aynhoe Park had seen many times over the past 900 years.

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Our Love Story

We met over ten years ago through mutual friends, I (Hannah) lived in London and we didn’t really have much to do with each other apart from saying hi at 3 am in a club! We were not at that time on each other’s radars. Five years ago on a cold December night Sidders (David) was DJ’ing at a friend’s club in Digbeth, Birmingham. We crossed paths, had a dance & ended up partying together as a group. On Boxing night we went to a mutual friend’s house party where the chemistry began. Quite a whirlwind romance ensued and we welcomed our little girl Azalea into the world during the summer of 2016.

Sidders proposed on my birthday, 17th October 2016. He secretly planned a trip away for the two of us, we dropped our little girl off to my mum’s then drove to the Cotswolds checking into Calcott Manor. I thought that was my birthday surprise and I was content with a romantic chilled night away but the surprises kept on coming.

Sids proposed at Westonbirt Arboretum that afternoon underneath a huge Oak tree. He started talking about our life together and how much had happened in a short length of time then got down on one knee with the sun shining! It was Autumn, so the colourful trees made the perfect setting. We walked through the maple tree-lined paths and of course, drank champagne! Being a designer, colour is my thing & I love Autumn so the location was amazing!

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The Venue

Both myself and Sidders are creative, I studied Textiles and Sids studied Illustration and we both work in creative industries so Aynhoe Park just felt right!

As soon as we walked into Aynhoe Park it felt like the perfect venue, the interior was curated in a fun and enticing way juxtaposing old, new & the bizarre. Being an Interior Designer I was wowed with the architectural details in the property and the owner Jame’s collection. Each bedroom is designed with a different look or feel which makes it even more captivating. We were totally sold when we discovered there was an underground late night bar where we could all dance the night away into the small hours! Which is what we certainly did.

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The Wedding Style & Dresses

We wanted a classic but fun day, the palette was muted and romantic in the main, keeping the bridal flowers timeless and elegant we then increased the colour in the flowers at the venue adding pops of coral and deeper tones of green.

I chose a lace fishtail wedding dress; which was ethereal and soft, the contrast nude lining gave it a modern edge and showed of the intricacies of the layered lace beautifully. I wanted a complete contrast in the evening and changed into a fully embellished gown with exquisite beadwork by Eliza Jayne Howell, the most sparkly dress you could ever wish for, it was both modern and also hinted to 1920’s glamour.

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Favorite Moments

Giggling at the altar with my Dad and bridesmaids we just couldn’t help it, I was overwhelmed with emotion! Dancing out of the church…literally!

One of our Favourite moments was when we had some quiet time together in the library after the ceremony.

Another one was when Sid’s was doing his Groom’s speech and our little girl Azalea ran up to him, he picked her up and in front of everyone she blew a raspberry down the mic – Lucy caught a photo of this with her cheeky smile.

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The Photography & Videography

We decided to go with Lucy because her style had the right ‘tone of voice’ she captures the emotions and feelings that happen throughout the day. Her work is natural and she has great composition. Our guests didn’t even realise that Lucy was still shooting throughout the drinks reception and wedding breakfast so her photographs show a true reflection of our day.

We selected our videographer as we felt the style complimented Lucy’s. We wanted a film that was both modern and timeless. We found some other companies editing to be too fast-paced to be able to capture the true essence of the day.

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Advice to Other Couples

Start planning early & writing lists! Use wedding advice websites and you can plan guest lists and tasks lists. See which one is best suited to you try them out! Most are free, we found them a little too late to get the full benefits of one of those sites.

For save the dates or off-the-shelf invites: Papier.com have great choices! We used them for our save the dates then designed our own invites.

Day-of advice: plan more than enough time for everyone to get ready, keep your morning as stress-free as possible and don’t surround yourself with too many people to keep yourself calm.

Weather: don’t check the weather before the wedding too often! A friend of mine drove herself mad with it so I took her advice planned for the worse and just went with it although we were lucky with out weather.

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The Music

Being a musician himself, Sidders took care of the music planning throughout the day which started with a five-track uplifting recessional medley of uplifting funk to the relaxed chill-out tunes reminding us of warm sunsets in Ibiza which were played during the wedding breakfast. The evening band was a six-piece band called Detroit Soul Collective singing classic dance records from Stevie Wonder’s Superstition to Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’

Dancing in an underground bar all night with our family and best friends with our friends on the decks was another favorite moment. It was wild, fun & memorable – everything we had wished for!

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