Today we've got such a beautiful wedding to share with you guys, but we're even more excited than usual.
Because not only did Liat & Ed marry in one of our very favourite English wedding venues, (Aynhoe Park), but their day was captured by a photographer who we've been (big!) fans of for a long time, Sarah Gawler.
Aynhoe Park, a country house wedding venue in Oxfordshire, that's equal parts elegant and eccentric (check out this shoot we featured last year), was the perfect backdrop for this couple who wanted something light, airy, outdoorsy and natural.
Geronimo-style balloons, blooms and berries were accented with keys and apples for a quirky, mis-matched feel of pink and green hues. While special tributes were made to those who could not be present, and the women in Liat & Ed's families.
Classic style, a unique venue, creative decor, and a beautiful ceremony; this wedding is such a fab example of how to have an impossibly elegant celebration, with heaps of personality too!
Wedding Day Snapshot
Our Love Story
We met at London Zoo at a mutual friend’s birthday party, went on our first date that week, and have been together ever since.
The friends, a couple, still maintain it was a setup…
Our wedding in three words? Elegant, light filled and nature inspired.
In an ideal world we would have got married in the woods.
British weather being what it is, we tried to keep everything as natural and light and airy as possible, from the venue to the colours and decor.
Ed had a suit made bespoke for him by Dress 2 Kill, London and his groomsmen wore navy suits with matching blush ties and pocket squares.
It was not at all traditional. We wanted somewhere we and our families could stay, and somewhere we could have everyone back the next day for a picnic and games. But country hotels tend to be stuffy and traditional.
We wanted somewhere fun, unique, in the countryside and with a boutiquey feel. The taxidermy polar bears inside and giant statues outside did the trick.
We also wanted lots of light, so the Georgian style house was perfect, and somewhere that would be full of light if we had to get married indoors because of the weather.
The beautiful orangery with its huge windows and white statues was perfect for that.
We had a celebrant marry us, which meant we could have a say in the wording, the readings – everything really.
She lives in my hometown of Henley so we could meet her and discuss it with her before hand – an option you don’t really get if you’re not having a religious wedding and opt for a registrar.
The words were therefore very personal. And there was a moment when we were saying our I dos when the sun finally came out and shone brightly on us – I hadn’t noticed at the time but everyone commented on it and you can spot it in the ceremony photos!
The ceremony was the best part of the day. Because it had been spitting with rain in the morning we couldn’t have chairs on the grass otherwise they might sink into the ground.
I was adamant we would have the ceremony outdoors against a lot of advice, but it ended up being really special – everyone stood up and gathered close during the ceremony.
So it ended up feeling a lot like how I’d always envisioned getting married – very casual, in the woods or on the beach, surrounded by our closest friends and family.
Otherwise, my brother’s reading, which was great, and my dad’s speech – he’s been dreading doing it pretty much since I was born, and turns out he’s a natural public speaker.
Doing a speech myself – like my dad, I was terrified, but it felt good to tell all my closest friends and family how much it meant to have them there and what Ed means to me.
We had a duo playing swing/jazz music on violins for the wedding procession and drinks reception, with a live band and DJ in the evening.
First dance was Ho Hey by the Lumineers – we were not particularly elegant dancers and may have jumped around quite a bit in the chorus, but we had fun!
All of Sarah’s photographs are incredibly beautiful of course, but also filled with light and softness – also helps that she is an incredibly great person.
For the cocktail hour we had Pimms, Champagne and elderflower fizz with canapés (Tuna Sashimi, Wasabi Mayo and Pickled Pink Ginger; Monkfish Ceviche, Pink Peppercorn and Shallot Vinaigrette; Mini Cornish Crab Cakes, Saffron Aioli; Macadamia Crusted Chicken Strips, Pineapple Salsa)
Then a sit down dinner of Devonshire Crab, Crayfish and Asparagus Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing, Duo of Lamb, Confit Shoulder and Honey Roast Rack, Boulangère Potatoes, Summer Peas, Beans and Baby Carrots, Tarragon Beurre Blanc.
For dessert, a Cocktail of Roasted Madagascan Vanilla Pannacotta, Pink Prosecco Jelly, Crushed Raspberry Sorbet.
The cake was a two tier ombre cake of pink and green topped with flowers – Part white chocolate meringue buttercream victoria sponge, part rose cake with raspberry meringue buttercream and lemon curd.
Later we had wood fire pizza for a midnight snack.
The Decor & Details
We had popcorn favours to represent the snack we first shared together the day we met at the zoo and a table of sweet treats from our local sweet shop.
Decorations to the entrance hall included a small tree on which we hung photographs of relatives on their own wedding days.
The place cards on the tables were green apples with personalised name tags. “The table names were all maiden names of the women in our families. It was a nice way to remember them particularly as my aunt and my mother couldn’t be there.”
Advice for Other Couples
The day after the wedding we had a picnic and games on the house grounds and invited everyone – if you can do anything similar I would definitely recommend it as it’s a lovely chance to catch up with people you might not have had the chance to on the wedding day when it's so hectic.
A lot of people stayed over near the venue as well, so it was easy for many to join for a few hours and the kids loved it.
We left for honeymoon the evening after the wedding – it was great to escape straight away and stay on a high!
We went on safari in South Africa, Chitwa Chitwa, and then to the Seychelles for two weeks – it was a real adventure followed by some seriously relaxing quality time, perfect.
Isn't it wonderful? Did you spot that unique ring cushion? And have you read Liat's rundown of the catering? Wow, it made us hungry at the mere thought of it! (Pretty jealous at the sound of that honeymoon too!)
Thanks so much to the amazing Sarah Gawler, and the lovely Liat & Ed for sharing their whimsical wedding with us.