Barefoot bride Su and Mark’s ultra relaxed Oxford festival wedding, with Amanda Karen Photography
Today’s gorgeous couple Su and Mark were married in the summer and their day is so wonderfully personal, quirky and unique – with fish, lego tattoos for all the guests, oodles of home made touches and home made mead (or perfume, depending who you ask!) I also adore the horror inspired wedding cake – such a talking point and really creatively done (truly!) – and the images are fabulous. When wedding blogs encourage you to have a wedding which reflects your personalities, this is exactly what we mean!
“We had bunting in the marquee, lots of fairy lights for when it got dark, a ‘best day ever’ banner, a big inflatable flamingo and crocodile. The table plan was a map of the world made up of spots with all the places we’d ever been marked on. Each table was assigned a country/place. At the table, there was a photo of a memory from that place and a short story about something funny that happened there.
Everything that could be homemade was homemade. I enjoyed most of it although I gave the hard jobs to my sister so maybe that’s why! The table plan took hours and hours. Mark and my man of honour made mead as our wedding favour. They were really proud but I thought it smelt like perfume. The tattoos were easy, just had to send a design which I traced off Mark’s arm. Our thank you cards were postcards we’d bought on our honeymoon in Hawaii.
The cake was the best bit! I love horror (I wanted to get married at halloween, the cake was the compromise). It was a white cake with a really realistic heart on top that was bleeding down the cake. One of our friend did a reading of Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘Annabel-lee’. It’s loosely inspired by that. A quote from the poem was on my garter and on the knife which was stabbing the heart on the cake ‘They loved with a love that was more than love’. She also made some nice clean gluten free cupcakes with mini carrots on top for any guests who didn’t appreciate our choice of cake!
Wedding photographer’s website:
Mark’s sister-in-law is a wedding photographer and we’d seen her images on Facebook and Instagram develop over the years. It was a no-brainer to ask her to shoot it. We love the way she composes her shots, especially the little details. Like she took some composed photos of us on the day, obviously, but she also captured stuff like special bits of make-up I’d bought for the day, the nail varnish I wore, the ‘suandmarks’ Starbucks cups we had made etc. It’s the little things that get forgotten about on such a massive day of your life but because of her, we’ll remember.
They arrived in the post when we got back from our honeymoon on a memory stick in a little glass case. We were so excited! We’d seen a million photos of us from the day because our guests were such paparazzi but it’s nothing like the real thing. We opened a bottle of champagne and went through them on a Sunday evening. The photos were great. A wide selection of different styes. A lot of really nice candid shots as well as composed shots of us as a couple and group photos too.
Contact & Bookings: Amanda Karen Photography
We got married at Oxford Town Hall and had the reception at The Perch Inn. My (Su’s) family are based in Coventry whilst Mark’s are from Oxford. We both live in London which is where lots of our close friends live. Oxford seemed to be a nice half way point for everyone, plus it’s very beautiful. Choosing The Perch was easy, the first time I ever came to Oxford, he took me to The Perch after a walk across Port Meadow and he also proposed there! The town hall was a good distance from The Perch and it allowed for a nice walk to the venue. The Perch is a really picturesque place so decorating was easy. We showed up on the day with an inflatable flamingo, an iridescent banner and luckily the wedding which was held there the day before ours had made bunting which I’d asked them to keep up!
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
A day we’d give anything to experience again!
Your wedding style or theme:
Just us. Really lovely but a bit weird.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
The Perch was a pub we had history with (first dates, the proposal) so that was easy. I didn’t really want anyone at the ceremony so I insisted it stayed as small as possible. The Town Hall was accommodating as it had different sized rooms to choose from, plus, we love the hour walk from town to The Perch which we did on the day. Mark and I have a matching lego brick tattoo which we had printed onto tattoo transfer paper so our guests could wear it for the day. I found the supplier online, really cheap and a nice touch to the day. http://www.yourdesign.co.uk/personalised-tattoos
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Start planning and paying for stuff as early as possible. We tried to buy one big thing a month so we could use our pay cheques rather than savings. It worked quite well.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
The food from The Perch was really yummy and we spent a lot on booze which I don’t regret!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
My sister did our stationery for us. We had skeleton lego men for save the dates (’till death do us part’) and a victorian illustration of a perch fish as our wedding invites. When you opened the card, it had the fish’s skeleton inside with my engagement ring in its belly.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
I’d seen my dress online, it was by Inbal Dror and most definitely out of my price range, I can’t remember the exact figure but the original was thousands. So I bought a replica online for £80 then used it as a guide for a dress maker in east London. She ripped it apart and rebuilt it out of a really heavy fabric. When I went for my final fitting, I wasn’t quite happy with the fit but I got a bit drunk the night before the wedding and let my sister loose on the straps with a travel sewing kit and felt much better about it!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
http://www.studio62workroom.co.uk was my dress maker. She was really great. Original design by Inbal Dror.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I wore Vans trainers. The walk across the meadow was about an hour long and we got married at 10:30 so I needed something that would keep me going for such a long day. I had them customised by an artist named William Blood. I also had a transfer tattoo garter made which read ‘They loved with a love that was more than love’ in Edgar Allen Poe’s handwriting. It’s a quote from a favourite poem (Annabel lee) which was read at the wedding. I also wore an Opal necklace which Mark bought me as a wedding gift, I’d seen it in Rowells of Oxford (http://www.rowellofoxford.co.uk) where my engagement ring was from and they said they’d lend it to us for the day. Such a treat to own it.
And what did the groom wear?
He wore a suit from a tailors near Liverpool street station (apologies, I can’t remember where exactly!), bright orange Paul Smith socks and a William Morris tie which my dressmaker made for him.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
I let my bridesmaids choose what they wanted to wear, I just said I wanted them to match somehow. They chose a floor length cream dress each, most are off asos. All but my sister… she just couldn’t find one she liked and kept sending them back. So finally, I asked her to think back to what dress she felt great in and she said her wedding dress. So I told her to wear that. Most of the girls wore trainers too. My man of honour wanted to wear a cream suit to match but he couldn’t find one that fit him well so he wore grey. He had a button hole to match the groomsmen. I also decided at the door to the ceremony that I didn’t want to carry my bouquet, he walked me down the aisle holding it instead! He looked the part.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
One of my bridesmaids is fancy with stuff like that so she did me an updo which I pulled out after the ceremony. It was all curly which was nice but I kept getting too hot. It went up and down all day. The only thing wrong was that my hair bobble is on my wrist in lots of photos which is really annoying!
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Gold and purple orchids, they were the brightest thing we could find because the bridesmaids were wearing cream so we wanted something vivid. We got them from Daisies (http://daisies-flower-shop.co.uk). We also used a brides/bridesmaids bouquet’s as centre pieces which worked really well (except someone forgot theirs and left it at the Town Hall so we were one short but I can’t be cross because I’m pretty sure it was me).
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We had a beer pong table with personalised cups that went down very well. One of our guests is an actual beer pong champion from New Zealand so he manned the table! We also had an ‘aunt sally’ set outside. The music was a Spotify playlist which was made up by the guests requests which they sent to us along with their RSVPs. It worked really well. And it was free!
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
My friend Maisie had told me that your wedding day goes by so fast, you and your groom hardly see each other. So Mark and I snuck off on our own down the meadow for about half an hour whilst everyone was having hog roast. No cameras or people, it was really private and lovely and the most romantic wanders ever. I’d tell a couple to make time for a moment by themselves, just 20 minutes somewhere in the day. It was great.
What’s the best thing about being married?
You get to go on a brilliant honeymoon. And I supposed having a husband who’s really nice to you is alright too… most of the time.
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
amandakarenphotography.co.uk – She’s brilliant!