Josie and Simon’s wedding is just fabulous: the colour they created in every aspect of their day is just wonderful for a January wedding. Peacock feathers look stunning in a British flower bouquet; herbs as favours and place settings are perfect, and I adore Josie’s gorgeously vibrant wedding dress – you’ll love this!
Wedding photographer’s website:
Chance and Google led us to Carol. We knew that we would be getting married in an iconic venue, that needed someone who knew it to photograph it well. We searched for online portfolios of the Bodleian and found Carol’s. We liked the style of photography and we liked the range of couples in her photos – not all couples are 20-something instagram supermodels! Then we met her and she put us at ease, and we felt comfortable with her taking care of our special day.
Carol was all things to all people. Calm, authoritative when she needed to be, unobtrusive when that was required. We’re not fans of having our photo taken, but she melted into the background and has managed to produce some beautiful work. Many guests commented both on the style on the day and how good the finished photos are.
Contact & Bookings: Carol Elizabeth Photography
We wanted to throw a party for our friends and family, where everything was relaxed and nothing too formal. Secondhand Penguin books about ‘The Husband’ and ‘The Wife’ contained hidden menus and meant people had something to read and laugh at.
It was important to us to have fantastic food and drink, and source as much locally as possible. While you can’t eliminate the impact of 100 people travelling from all over the country, we tried to make little differences where we could. For example, mostly British flowers (in January!), and minimising the use of cut flowers through using pots.
We picked and chose the bits of tradition that were important to us. Josie wore purple. Simon had 3 best men and Josie two best women. Josie made a speech. We walked together through the streets of Oxford to the Bodleian and down the aisle together. And all those little things added up. What could have been a deeply formal occasion turned into something much more relaxed, with people cheering our walk down the aisle. The laughter continued from there.
Jane at BicycleBlooms Oxford http://bicycleblooms.com/ had a tough brief. We were after UK flowers in January, as sustainable as possible (no hot house roses shipped in from the tropics for us). She did an amazing job with woodland flowers and greenery, and managed 90% British grown flowers. Venue table decorations were hessian wrapped herb pots. Guests took them home with them, so our wedding will live on in their cooking for years!
The Bodleian Library and the Perch.
We chose these as we have made Oxford our home. We’re both active in various community groups, and staying in, and celebrating in Oxford was important to us. Keeping things as sustainable and local as possible was important to us to. We also wanted to be able to walk or cycle to the wedding venue from the hotel. The dressmaker banned Josie from getting on a bike, so walking it was!
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Casual, relaxed, unconventional, warm, local, sustainable.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Google found most suppliers. The florist we found walking down the street – her shop hadn’t even opened yet and was still a building site. We’re so glad we took a wrong turn that day!
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Spend only on the things that are really important to you, and will make a difference to your guests. In our case, this was about good food and drink, and favours and orders of service were the cuts we made to fund it. We chose putting guests in taxis between the ceremony and reception rather than a vintage coach, and the saving funded our honeymoon!
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
The reception. The team at the Perch could not have been more accommodating, from the beautiful venue, to accommodating some extremely specialist dietary requirements. Worth every penny.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
We worked with a local printer to source the right stock, and font.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
After several false starts, I found Anna Fink http://dressmakeroxford.com via a recommendation on an Oxford Community page. We designed the dress together using pinterest, imagination, and luck!
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
Sparkly high heels to walk around all day in! Dancing shoes from http://www.freedoflondon.com/
A tiny peacock feather in my hair echoed the ones tucked into the bouquet, and in the floral arrangements.
And what did the groom wear?
A tailored suit from Shephard and Woodward in Oxford, and a waistcoat that matched the bride’s dress
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Sara at https://www.matthewclulee.net/ in Oxford, two steps from the hotel and the wedding venue.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
No – the Perch had everything already there. Though we added some string lights to a willow tree that was hundreds of years old, and lit up at night, it was beautiful!
We worked with the Perch to provide braziers where guests could toast marshmallows later – and these proved an unexpected hit and made for some of the best photos.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
After writing our place cards onto luggage labels, one of our best women had the brilliant idea of converting a vintage suitcase into a table plan. It took a while, but was worth it.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We had two: a tower of brownies and a cake made of cheese. We noticed that not everyone likes sponge cake but very few people have been known to refuse a brownie! The Perch did us proud here, as we set them this challenge!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
Simon’s father entertained us with some rock and roll hits, before his friends became DJs once more for the final wedding of their crowd of friends. Practice makes perfect!
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Do what will make you happy, not what anyone else – blogs, well meaning friends, relatives – thinks you should do, and you will end up with YOUR special day.