Morning all! We are visiting one of my favourite wedding venues today, Aynhoe Park. I love the eclectic mix of old, new and the bizarre set in the Oxfordshire countryside. Annelie managed to capture so many laughs (especially those at the ceremony) and special moments. Olivia looks gorgeous in her gown, by a designer I don’t think we have actually blogged before! I hope you enjoy this, and have a lovely Wednesday.
photography | Annelie Eddy
Aynhoe Park – We fell head over heels in love with the venue as soon as we saw it and just knew it was the place for us. We loved the fact that we got the house to ourselves, could put up 50 friends and family, and also that we got it for the entire weekend. This just meant that nothing felt rushed and meant that we can spend time with everyone.
We arrived on the Saturday afternoon for afternoon tea and fizz and a walkthrough of the ceremony. We then had a BBQ on the Saturday evening and other friends staying in local hotels joined us for drinks – pornstar martinis were the choice of the night!
The wedding was on the Sunday – both the bridal party and groomsmen had stunning rooms to get ready in within the house and we loved the fact that we could party until 3am in their after-party basement. When it got to midnight I just remember thinking how gutted I would be if I had to stop then – we were just getting started!
We all met for breakfast on the Monday morning – the venue even set up a hangover table with bloody marys, ibuprofen and water! The staff were incredible from day one and the butlers looked after us non-stop over the whole weekend. The bar team were amazing and friendly and their cocktails were delicious. We couldn’t fault a thing – plus you get to enjoy the eccentricities of the venue itself! Nothing like having your wedding pictures with floating giraffes and unicorns! With something exciting to discover in every corner it made for brilliant conversation and was a fab opener for guests that didn’t know each-other.
The amazing Holly Preston and her team did the bridal party’s hair and makeup and she also brought along an extended crew to do some of the guests that were staying at the venue. She was very professional and friendly and gave me exactly the look that I wanted – elegant Hollywood glamour but soft. I don’t wear a lot of makeup normally so I wanted to feel very dressed up but not like it was caked on. I certainly felt like a princess and would highly recommend her.
The perfume: I wore Acqua Di Gio by Armani – this is my everyday perfume and I just love it!
Dress was an Alesandro Rossi from Copplestones Bridal in Liverpool. I had seen an image of a really slinky off shoulder Julie Vino dress and I knew that was what I wanted, but when I started to look I just couldn’t find anything like it. Julie Vino advised they had discontinued the dress. When I bought my dress from Copplestones it it was a high neck style inspired by Audrey Hepburn but their fabulous seamstress Maxine transformed the neckline so that it sat low off the shoulder. It had a stunning low cut back with bow which I fell for. The dramatic alterations gave me my dream dress without commissioning one from scratch.
My shoes were Roland Cartier from Debenhams – they were a really low heel so incredibly comfortable.
I also had an amazing full length cream jumpsuit from Maxmara that I wore for our pre-party the night before the wedding and changed into after the fireworks on the wedding day with a pair of flip flops so I could dance the night away in comfort!
Bride’s hair accessories/veil:
My veil was actually my mum’s veil from her wedding and I felt incredibly proud and honoured to be able to wear it. I also had a pearly hair vine made by the lovely Tricia at Treasure Hall, which added anoher dimension to my hair and looked really pretty.
Flower Fairies – We had lots of out-there ideas when we started planning the wedding and thought that we would do really funky table centres with different hats, but actually as we continued with the planning we felt that the venue had enough wacky touches and that we should just keep it simple and elegant to compliment the surroundings. Marcelli and her team were really enthusiastic and had lots of great ideas throughout the process. My bouquet was a mix of white anenome, white Astibe, White and pale blush pink Ranuculus, Blush pink Peonies and White Garden Roses.
My bridesmaids had a mix of White Anemone, White Garden Roses and Gypsophilia
The groomsmen had a White Anemone with Gypsophilia for their button holes.
Ivory and Blush pink Rose petals were scattered down the aisle and these colours were carried through the table centrepieces which were a mix of low vases and candelabras.
It was always Ross’ dream to have a suit tailor made and so that is what he did at Number One Saville Row. He opted for a gorgeous blue suit with stunning patterned lining. His shoes were from Cheaney
Groomsmen’s outfits/accessories: The grooms men’s suits were all from Next – I had been inspired by Pinterest for the Blue suit with grey waistcoat and loved how they looked with their spotty blue ties. They all wore their own shoes.
My favourite moment was when I walked into the ceremony at the top of the aisle and saw everybody. I had convinced myself that I was inevitably going to cry and wouldn’t be able to stop, but as I came round the corner and saw Ross beaming, he started to laugh and that filtered through the entire congregation so that by the time I got to Ross everyone was laughing and smiling – it was just completely joyous.
That vibe filtered through the entire weekend and I don’t think I stopped smiling for days. Annelie captured that joy perfectly in her pictures
Annelie Eddy – There aren’t enough words to describe how wonderful Annelie was. She joined us on the Saturday evening for the pre-party and stayed right through to the fireworks on Sunday night. Her photos are documentary style, meaning that she captures beautiful moments so naturally without any awkward posing. Our wedding was so full of laughter and joy and her images capture the essence of that in every single one. We were over the moon with the results and will treasure our photos forever more. She was incredibly friendly and communicative from day one and we felt very safe with her.
Bridesmaids – the bridesmaid dresses were an amazing find on ASOS. They were multi-way floor-length dresses in midnight blue. I wanted my girls to look the same but for each of them to allow their personality to shine through because they are all so different and the multi-way functionality of the dresses worked perfectly for this. They each chose their own shoes and their earrings were a gift from me on the morning of the wedding – pretty midnight blue drop pearl earrings from Jersey Pearl.
Theme wise, we worked with the quirks of the venue and used the animals as our anchor. We made our table plan ourselves by getting a large plain base printed at vistaprint and then fitting it into an antique gold frame I found on Amazon. We then purchased some navy and gold card photo frames (like the ones you used to get your school photos in when you were younger!) and trimmed them to create the framing for each table. The table details were just printed at home on card and then we had a little gold animal at the top of each table that we had cut in half and stuck on!
Our place names were also little gold animals on a wooden disc as the base. We then had everyone’s names laser cut in wood at ? And stuck them on the base together. They looked absolutely gorgeous and were a lovely keep-sake on the day.
The gold animals were all purchased from ebay and spray-painted gold at home. The laser cut wooden names were from https://vmbespoke.com/product/100-wedding-names/
I designed all of the wedding stationary myself on Vistaprint. They have such an incredible array of designs that you can completely customise to make your own and we were delighted with the results. The website is really user-friendly and you can carry your design through all the elements you need from save the date cards, to invitations to thank you cards.
My uncle Alan put together an amazing playlist of jazz and easy listening that we had playing throughout the wedding – during dinner etc. During the ceremony itself my bridesmaids sang ‘God Only Knows’ by the Beach Boys which is Ross’ favourite song. I walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of ‘You’ve got the love’ by Zak Abel that I found on YouTube. We waked out to ‘We have all the time in the world’ by Louis Armstrong
We had the incredible Swing Stars that we booked through Alive Network as our main band – they are an 9 Piece swing band and they were just fantastic. The two vocalists had brilliant voices and they had everyone up dancing.
Our DJ was Anton from Mission Events who also ran the production for the whole wedding. We are quite picky and gave Anton an extensive list of songs to play – everything from Fleetwood Mac to The Rolling Stones to the Spice Girls and it made for a filled dance floor until 1am.
At 1am we had to move down to the basement ‘after party’ area where Anton continued to play until 3am. He kept to our playlist but added to the beats with Ibiza style versions that meant everyone in the room was quite literally jumping for 2 hours.
When the music finished at 3, those of us that were left retired to the snug to finish off the last bottles of fizz and to reflect on a truly amazing night.
The cake was a super simple yet delicious three tier from Marks & Spencer. We purchased a custom-made cake topper from Not on the high street that said ‘Mr & Mrs Hatt’ and the Flower Fairies decorated with beautiful flowers on a rustic wooden base.
We used the Kitchen at Aynhoe park for all the food for the weekend and it was really, really good. For our wedding breakfast we had smoked salmon and prawn cocktails to start. For the main we had a roast chicken dinner served family style on each table on platters so that guests could help themselves to as much or as little as they wanted. For dessert we had a trio of sticky toffee pudding, creme brulee and ice cream.
In the evening after the fireworks we had an incredibly hog roast by http://www.thepiggysquire.co.uk – literally the best pork bap I have ever tasted and kept us going until dawn!
We went to New York for a few days the day after the wedding, but both of us ended up being really ill! I think our bodies just crashed after all of the emotion and excitement. Our main honeymoon is at the end of August and we are spending 2 weeks travelling around South Africa – safari, cage diving with sharks, visiting vineyards and then finishing up with a week in Mauritius for a week of relaxation and sunshine.
We had a honeymoon fund with the wonderful Travel Counsellors https://www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/gb/leisure/weddings-honeymoons/ and booked both trips directly through Catherine Olive there who couldn’t have been more helpful.
Advice – I would say book the ‘big’ things as early on as you can. Once you have your date and your venue get your band, hair and makeup and flowers locked down as soon as you can. Dates (particularly in the summer or a bank holiday weekend like ours) get booked up very quickly and so if you want your first choice it is best to get going as quick as you can. That way you can spend the rest of the time working on the smaller details that will make the day personal to you.
Also make sure that you get in touch with the council asap to get your wedding booked. We left ours a little late and they only had one time slot left on our day! We were INCREDIBLY blessed in that it was the exact time we had wanted, but if they had said that they only had say an 11am slot it would have completely changed and affected the whole day.
Where did you find your inspiration?
Pinterest was my main inspiration and looking at real life weddings on lots of wedding blogs!