Today’s wedding is breathtaking. The venue is amazing – I love all the statues in the background, especially in the wedding breakfast room. Oh and of course Stephanie is soooo beautiful (there’s an incredible shot of her on the stairs which took my breath away!) and Ludovic looks brilliant. I love it, all of it!
Images are by Oxfordshire-based Dale Stephens. Dale photographs weddings throughout the south of England and further afield. You can discover more from him here:
The Ashmolean Museum is an awe-inspiring setting – you won’t find a room like this for your wedding reception anywhere else. The statues are an amazing talking point and create real atmosphere – you won’t need to hang bunting or add any decor of your own if you celebrate here! I love it!
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
We used wedding directory websites to find a photographer. We contacted a few photographers. Dale was very responsive. He arranged for us to meet first. We had a coffee meeting in Oxford where he showed us his previous work. We liked his candid style and his passion for wedding photography. After the coffee meeting, we knew he was the ONE. 🙂
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
We first did an engagement shoot to get used to having our picture taken. That was good practice and put us at ease.
The quality of the shots Dale took are amazing. We know Dale takes his work seriously and does his homework to compose an image.
For example, for the couple shots we did within the museum, there’s a shot where we are standing in between two paintings. There’s a portrait of happy man on Ludovic’s side opposing a magistral woman on Stephanie’s side. That shot didn’t happen by surprise, Dale saw this particular spot and imagined us there!
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
You get glimpses of the wedding you didn’t see because you were too busy greeting guests. We discovered details that simply go unnoticed.
It’s like having a DVD of a movie with all the extra behind the scene features!
Church: Saint Giles Church
Reception: Ashmolean Museum
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
An American and a Frenchie finding love in Oxford, UK.
Your wedding style or theme:
Subtle Harry Potter themed wedding set in magical Oxford.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
We used a lot of wedding blogs as well as ebay, etsy and amazon!
There were also a lot of trips to Paperchase.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
You need to ask yourselves: “What’s really important?”.
For example: Will people remember that the table napkins were in satin? Or would you rather have a photobooth and have disposable napkins?
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
I am very happy to have spent on my dress. It was worth every penny.
Ludovic being French, we had to serve quality wine. We found our own wine supplier and paid the corkage fees to the venue. No regrets. Even our pickiest guests loved the wine and the port we chose.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
Our best friends designed our wedding stationery for us. Both work in the creative arts and joined forces to make a Marauder’s map themed wedding invitation.
The Marauder’s map identified the key locations for the wedding: the Church, the Museum, where the Bridal Party and the Groom Party were respectively staying. The Bride and Groom were represented with little footsteps wandering in the city just like in the movie.
The detail we loved: the street patterns were made out of the beautiful poem “Love” by Khalil Gibran.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Yes, at first sight. I tried so many dresses. Different styles, different themes. I knew the name of all the different fits and fabrics and shades of white. (Ivory is not white! 🙂 )
I tried dresses with my mom, my cousins and aunts.
Then I went for a trial with my bridesmaids. That’s when we found it!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Vera Wang at David’s Bridal.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
On the day, I wore very simple jewelry. I wore heart-shaped diamond earrings and a matching necklace with a pear shaped pendant, a gift from my mum. I wore a simple gold bracelet, a gift from my dad’s best-friend who is family to me.
I struggled so much to choose my shoes. I went to various designers looking for THE PAIR. However, I remembered that Oxford’s streets are cobbled. What a shame to spend so much money on shoes to ultimately destroy them in a day… So I went on ASOS and found a nice and affordable pair of gold heeled sandals from Dune.
And what did the groom wear?
I wore a classical tweed suit from a small tailor next to Savile Row. The groom’s party’s color was burgundy (a Gryffondor color). So I wore a burgundy tie. I wanted to have the pocket watch chain visible on my waistcoat. I found an affordable one online that looked so vintage it even tricked my mother in law who loves watches.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
They wore custom made dresses: Sparkling gold (the second Gryffindor color) bustiers and a tulle mid length skirt. My bride’s attendant wore a pair of beige trousers to replicate the gold theme and a bow tie with Gryffindor colors.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Lauren Wheeler who is amazing did our hair and make up.
Simple and elegant!
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Our flower arrangements followed the Gryffindor colors and were arranged by Catherine Hall, from Hall of Flowers (http://www.hallofflowers.co.uk/).
The bridesmaids wore a wrist corsage of Burgundy while the Groom’s Best Women’s wrist corsages were gold.
My bouquet was very simple and all white.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
The Ashmolean museum is a treasure trove of antiquities and art. There was nothing to add.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
We made the table names ourselves. I bought white frames and painted in gold.
Each table was named after a significant location in the Harry Potter universe (Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic for example).
Instead of having a seating chart, we had escort keys. This was a cheeky reference to the Flying Keys sequence in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Children had lollies instead of keys.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We had a multi tiered chocolate cake with white chocolate rose gold hoops. A few dramatic flowers on the cake were arranged by Catherine.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We had a DJ, Laurence (who was great!). But we made our own playlist with French jams and sounds of 90s and early 2000s.
One of the bridesmaids sang for the Brother and the Bride dance. This was followed by the First Dance. We never attended our ballroom dancing sessions (bad students!) so we decided to invent a funny choreography. We mashed up A Thousand Years (Christina Perri), You’re the one that I want from Grease, I like Big Butts, What is Love? (We did Jim Carrey’s famous head dance) and Everything is Awesome from the Lego movie.
We also did the French Rugby tradition of la Pena Baiona. It’s a traditional beautiful basque song but not party material. It’s the dance that accompanies it that matters. When the song starts, a group of people sit on the ground arms up acting like waves. If you’re not on the floor, you jump on the waves of hands. Once you’ve surfed on everyone, you go at the back of the wave ready to welcome the next surfer! The non-French guests were surprised and our DJ initially thought “What are these people doing?”.
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
1. It’s your day: don’t let anyone dictate to you what to do.
2. Enjoy the day, it goes by so quickly.
3. Don’t abuse on the booze the evening before. Stephanie wanted to do a pub crawl the night before the wedding but her wise bridesmaids talked her out of it!
What’s the best thing about being married?
Stephanie: Being able to refer to Ludovic as MY HUSBAND. 🙂
Ludovic: It’s simply bliss.