Timeless English wedding style in beautiful Oxford, with Carol Elizabeth Photography

Romantic college courtyards steeped in history, a series of charming locations around one of England’s proudest cities, a truly beautiful bride and groom – today’s wedding is more than perfect. Elly and John had a wonderful summer wedding in the heart of Oxford, keeping the best traditions and adding their own special touches to personalise their day. I love this!

“We had a ‘first duet’ instead of a first dance (my husband on trumpet and me singing), and we were done by 8pm which meant that those who wanted to travel home could, and those who wanted to stay a little longer met with us at a river-side pub for a convivial couple of hours to reflect on an amazing day!”

Images are by Oxford wedding photographer Carol Elizabeth Photography. Lovely Carol is a friend and sponsor of the English Wedding Blog and you can find out more abou her here:

Contact & Bookings: Carol Elizabeth Photography

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“We were thrilled with our photographer. She was very personable and listened to what we wanted for the style of our wedding photography. On the day itself she had the perfect mix of assertiveness to get the shots she needed and the subtly and sensitivity to still blend into the background while capturing the quieter and more intimate moments of the day.” ~ Elly & John

The English Wedding Blog Interview: Elly and John 

Wedding photographer’s website:

How did you choose your photographer?

Mainly on price and the vibe that we got meeting  – we didn’t want anything fancy, just someone we felt we could trust to do a great job, deliver the sort of photography we were hoping for,  without feeling like we were being charged the earth just because we mentioned the ‘wedding’ word!

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

It was the day after the wedding – our photographer posted an entry on her blog! The day itself had been such an amazing experience and our heads were full of our own memories. It was really exciting to see how her images captured it all from ‘the other side’. Of course it was then an agonizing wait to see the rest of the images when we got back from our honeymoon, but it was worth the wait – so many beautiful photographs. We never tire of looking back on them and reminiscing about our special day. We’ve had our favourites printed onto canvas to make a mini gallery on our landing.

Wedding venue:

Ceremony – The Old Library, Oxford Town Hall

Drinks Reception & Meal: University College, University of Oxford

Evening Reception: The Wargrave (boat), Salters Steamers, Folly Bridge, Oxford

Wedding month:


Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?

Personal, precious and memorable, shared with closest friends and family.

 Your wedding style or theme:

Traditional in the parts we wanted it to be, with less conventional personal touches to make it our own – we used my parents’ old landrover as our wedding car, we had a 10-piece brass ensemble for our ceremony and drinks reception which consisted of friends from the brass band that we played with, we had a ‘first duet’ instead of a first dance (my husband on trumpet and me singing), and we were done by 8pm which meant that those who wanted to travel home could, and those who wanted to stay a little longer met with us at a river-side pub for a convivial couple of hours to reflect on an amazing day!

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

Internet searches

What’s your top tip for saving money?

Make what you can if you enjoy that sort of thing

Ask for quotes and email other potential suppliers to see if they can match/beat what you’ve found already.

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

High quality, local, seasonal food for the Wedding Breakfast

A good quality photographer

Hair and makeup

The venues

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

 I made the invitations and Order of Ceremony – not so much a labour of love as a thoroughly enjoyable few afternoons of love!

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?


Wedding dress designer:

Romantica (style ‘Virginia’)

Charlotte Thompson (for alterations – in Tutbury, highly recommended)

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

 A pearl necklace (about £15 from House of Fraser)

Pearl earrings (£10 from John Lewis)

A pearl/crystal hairband (£26 online)

Shoes (about £50 online)

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

Morning suit, ivory waistcoat, navy blue bow-tie.

Hired from Walters of Oxford – highly recommended

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

Just one bridesmaid…

Navy blue dress from Debenhams (£70)

Silver strappy shoes from BHS (£15)

A borrowed pearl necklace

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

Professional – Truly Colours ( – highly recommended

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

Blues, greens and cream. Hand-tied bouquet. Two pedestal arrangements and a table top arrangement (used for the ceremony and then transported to our Wedding Breakfast venue). A few table centre arrangements.

Jemini Flowers (Covered Market, Oxford) –

Sam did an amazing job – she travelled to Covent Garden to choose them herself. She also incorporated a family locket into the bouquet. They transferred the arrangements from the Town Hall (ceremony) to University College (wedding breakfast) so we didn’t have to pay for two lots!

General styling – did your venue need much decoration?

None – just the flowers.

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

I’m quite creative so I loved this part! It made it feel really personal.

Invitations and Order of Service, which included a motif that I designed to incorporate our two initials.

Guest Book – made from scratch (my mum found out how to bind your own book!)

Wedding veil – a piece of tulle (about £6), a plastic hair comb from Boots (£1.50) and some pearl beads from Hobbycraft (a few pounds)

Wedding car flowers – I bought some fabric flowers and ribbon from Hobbycraft  which we used for our ‘wedding car’ (my parents’ old landrover)

Cake – I designed the cake with my mum (which she then made), with ribbons and pearl/crystal bits from Hobbycraft

 The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?

A two-tier cake (suited the number of guests)

Square (just liked that shape the most)

Type of cake was an old family recipe – full of flavor and beautifully moist.

 Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?

We used a 10-piece brass ensemble who were friends of ours from a brass band that we played with – it was really special to have our friends involved in this way. They even arranged a piece especially for our ceremony.

On the day tips and advice:

 Take everything in your stride – if things don’t quite go to plan or if the weather isn’t as you hoped – don’t stress! It’s all part of the day and any unexpected hiccups simply form part of the fond memories of your special day that you will cherish.

What’s the best thing about being married?

Whether you’re married or not doesn’t make any difference – the fact that we get to spend our life with the one person we just can’t imagine being without is the best thing!

Favourite supplier list for other brides and grooms:

Ain’t That Jazz (live music for reception on boat):

Carol Elizabeth Photography:

Charlotte Thompson Bridal Boutique:

Four Pillars Hotel:

Jemini Flowers:

Oxford Town Hall:

Salter’s Steamers:

Taylors (food for evening reception on boat):

Truly Colours Hair & Makeup:

University College, Oxford:

Walters of Oxford (mens formal hire):

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.



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