Chris and Madeleine’s informal and fun wedding at Caswell House, with Carol Elizabeth Photography

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you’ve had an amazing festive period and are settling into work this morning as gently as you possibly can! To help ease your morning at work, here’s a vibrant and pretty summer wedding from Oxfordshire which I know will brighten your day!

Contact & Bookings: Carol Elizabeth Photography

Gorgeous bride Madeleine worked hard to make place settings, while her sister helped with the wedding flowers, her mother made the cake and Chris’s mother made miles of bunting which was beautiful and hung from the beams. She told me, “You can hand-make various things, but that doesn’t save very much really, and the big expenses are unavoidable – food, alcohol etc. As my mother would say – ‘elope!’… The handmade bits were certainly hard work, but they were also some of our favourite elements.

Madeleine’s dress is beautifully unique: “It was made from scratch, to my ‘design’ i.e. vague ideas badly described to my very patient dress-maker. When it’s a mock-up in calico, it’s hard to picture the final result! But yes, I loved it, and it was unique, which is nice. It was made by Wendy Benstead, who is based in London. She was great, and the process was really fun.”

The venue was Caswell House in Oxfordshire. Photographer Carol Elizabeth describes it as “a fabulous location with so much potential for stunning images of your day.  As a Caswell House wedding photographer I’m very familiar with all the best places to take your portrait photographs during the day, allowing you plenty of time to spend with your guests and enjoy your day!”



The English Wedding Blog Interview: Chris and Madeleine

Wedding photographer’s website:

How did you choose your photographer?

We spent quite a lot of time looking through websites of local photographers and looking for one who had a natural style. We didn’t want contrived, or overly ‘set-up’ shots, and we thought Carol did a great job of catching people looking relaxed.

Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!

Carol was great – she was helpful and friendly from the beginning, and on the day she was calm and efficient. She also went beyond the call of duty by staying later when the schedule got a bit behind. And the photos speak for themselves!

Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?

Carol sent through a few shots a couple of days after the wedding, which was great. The day can be a bit of blur, so they gave us clearer memories of the day. It’s also lovely to see people’s smiling faces in the background, as it really shows you how happy everyone is for you, and what a great time everyone had. When we had the full set through, there were some hilarious sequences, particularly of people’s expressions as the bouquet flew through the air!

Wedding venue:

Caswell House in Oxfordshire

Wedding month:


Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?

Sunny, happy, beautiful, fun emotional.

Your wedding style or theme:

We didn’t really have one, but we wanted it all to be quite informal and fun.

Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)

Mainly recommendations, or our own research on local suppliers.

What’s your top tip for saving money?

It’s very hard! It’s always worth negotiating with suppliers.

You can hand-make various things, but that doesn’t save very much really, and the big expenses are unavoidable – food, alcohol etc. As my mother would say – ‘elope!’.

… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?

It’s hard to skimp on the venue, as it completely sets the tone of the day.

Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?

I wouldn’t describe it as a labour of love… I handmade 140 quite intricate place cards, with help from my mother-in-law. I will have terrible arthritis as a result! But actually I was very pleased with how they looked, they were extremely personal, and I know some people have kept theirs, so that makes it worth it.

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?

It was made from scratch, to my ‘design’ i.e. vague ideas badly described to my very patient dress-maker. When it’s a mock-up in calico, it’s hard to picture the final result! But yes, I loved it, and it was unique, which is nice

Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:

It was made by Wendy Benstead, who is based in London. She was great, and the process was really fun.

Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!

My mother gave me her pearls as a wedding present, which my father had given to her (he died when I was younger). So they are very special. She also lent me some pearl earrings, and I wore silver sparkly shoes which my least girly bridesmaid helped me pick, to my surprise!

And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?

He had a lovely morning suit made by Roger Gustavson (London Tailors)

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

It was tricky to find a dress to fit all my bridesmaids, as they are all very different heights, and my sister was pregnant. So I went for the infinity dress style, and let them all work out how they wanted to wear it. They all looked lovely.

Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?

I had my hair done by The Hair Boutiqe in Minster Lovell (they came out to Caswell House). And I did my make-up myself (I am terrible at it, but I knew at least I wouldn’t end up looking like someone else if I did it myself!)

Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)

We had lots of ox-eye daisies, and generally the flowers were quite relaxed. They were done by Classic Flowers in Witney. My sister and her friend also did some arrangements for us, and spent the days before the wedding eyeing up gardens in the village, and knocking on doors asking to pinch a few prize blooms! It was a huge amount of effort, but they looked brilliant.

General styling – did your venue need much decoration?

The barn at Caswell House is lovely as it is, so we kept it fairly simple. My mother-in-law made miles of bunting for us, which was beautiful, and we hung it from the beams.

Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?

I’ve already mentioned the place cards, the flowers by my sister and the bunting. My mother also made the cake, which was a three tiered carrot cake, with wooden boats on top (Chris and I met sailing). Transporting it to Caswell House was interesting – we had to drive at 20 mph all the way there, and I think we made some other drivers quite angry – sorry! It was delicious – some guests were found licking the icing off the bottoms of the wooden boats later on the evening!

The handmade bits were certainly hard work, but they were also some of our favorite elements.

Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?

The groom persuaded the guitarist to hand over his guitar, and he played a few songs! Unfortunately I managed to miss this whole episode, and only heard about it the next day.

On the day tips and advice:

Enjoy it! Things will go wrong, but you’ll probably be the only one to notice, so don’t worry. We got married at 4.00 which gave lots of time to enjoy the build-up and relax with family and ushers/bridesmaids. Chris played tennis in the morning, and then went to the pub!

What’s the best thing about being married?

Whilst we enjoyed planning the wedding, and the day itself was fantastic, the pressure of the planning makes you think quite short-term during your engagement, as everything is focused on the day. It’s nice to now have the pressure taken off, and to be able to think longer-term about the future. And it’s lovely to know who it’s going to be with!

Favourite supplier list for other brides and grooms:

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



  • Jennifer Sinclair
    3 years ago

    Love this venue, such a great location for a wedding

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