In my opinion you just can’t go wrong with a good old Great British tea party. Think quintessentially English rural setting, a scrumptious naked cake and blooms in china.
WWW readers Chris and Natalie were married on the 3rd July 2015 at the idyllic Caswell House in the Cotswolds. They hoped for a simple, elegant celebration with a relaxed atmosphere for their guests. It sounds perfect doesn’t it?
The red, blue and white colour theme was really fun and worked so well. With the gents kitted out in custom made vibrant blue suits, alongside rich red roses and Natalie’s beautiful lace gown. Wow.
Thanks goes to the brilliant Kate Gray Photography for sharing these lovely images today.
THE PROPOSAL | We were on a 4 week trip around Thailand in August 2012 and we were staying at a beautiful beach resort in Koh Phagnan. After a few strawberry daiquaris we took a walk along the beach in the sunset where Chris proposed.
THE VISION | Great British Tea Party theme. We wanted to keep things simple but elegant. We wanted a very relaxed atmosphere for our family and friends.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Although we had already been engaged for a year and a half we did not start wedding planning until January 2014 as we moved into our first home the year before. Like all other plans we make, the first thing Chris did was make a spreadsheet and work out our budget, at the same time I was already on pinterest looking for dress, decoration, cake, flowers, hair and make up inspiration.
We took many trips to the venue and met with suppliers as regularly as possible to help us visualise our ideas and ensure we did not miss anything.
BUDGET | £26,000
THE VENUE | Caswell House, Oxfordshire. A stunning Cotswold venue, we knew it was perfect for our theme as soon as we saw it.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress and long veil were from the amazing Bicester Bridal. My shoes were Nude Pigalle Christian Louboutin’s.
FINDING THE DRESS | Before I started dress shopping I spent hours searching on Google and on Pinterest for the perfect dress and reading up about different styles. I knew deep down already that I wanted a strapless, lace and fishtail. I then fell in love with one particular dress and searched for the nearest shop who stocked this dress in my area and that’s how I came across Bicester Bridal. I could not thank Maddie at Bicester Bridal enough, they made me feel special from the moment I arrived and advised me to try on many different styles to suit my shape. I did visit one or two other bridal shops to confirm my choice (I am indecisive normally!) but the 1st dress I tried on in Bicester Bridal and found online was the one.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Chris’ best man Josh is a tailor at Clements and Church Tailors in Little Clarendon Street in Oxford. Josh tailored the 5 of them with Blue mohair 3 piece suits, white shirts and red accessories. Chris also wore a pocket watch which had been handed down to him through the family and was originally owned by his great, great Grandfather. The pocket watches worn by the best man and usher were their thank you presents from us.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had just one reading during the ceremony which was made by Chris’s Dad; Jed. We left the content entirely up to him and he found a piece which really tugged at everyone’s heart strings!
Walking down the aisle: Canon in d pachalbel.
During and after the ceremony: Yiruma – River Flows In You, Christina Perri – A Thousand Years (piano version) & Jason Mraz – I’m Yours.
Reception Drinks: Saxophonist – Otis Lawrence.
Evening Reception: DJ (we wanted everyone up dancing all night).
Our first dance was to Ben Howard – Only Love.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I have an amazing group of friends so choosing between them was always going to be hard. I decided to keep it simple and have my best friend Sophie who flew all the way back from Australia to be home for our special day and Chris’s sister Vicki, after all she did help us get together in the first place!
THE FLOWERS | The flowers were by a fabulous lady called Tracey. Despite all my excitement she managed to understand our theme straight away. We wanted to keep with the British tea party theme with red, blue and white being the main colours. I was particularly keen to have red roses for buttonholes and also loved the idea of including blue cornflowers in the bouquet. Tracey suggested we included pastel colours in the bouquet also to keep with the summer tea party theme.
THE CAKE | We knew we wanted a naked cake as this was a perfect fit for our theme. We asked our very talented friend Anisha if she would like to make a cake for our wedding and we decided on a 3 tier with different flavour fillings. This was her very first wedding cake.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | The amazing Kate & Jon Gray, the photos are amazing and it was great to have them be a part our day, they made us feel very at ease.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | As the venue was stunning without any decoration we wanted to keep things simple. A very talented family friend made our bunting, our parents and grandparents spent endless amounts of time in charity shops collecting mismatch teapots, teacups, cake stands and coffee jars for the centre pieces and window sills. The bride’s dad created the centrepiece wooden blocks. Creating invites was also a family affair, a friend helped with the design and print and the bride’s family spent afternoons gluing bunting onto the invites. We kept the ceremony room simple with chalkboards and wooden love hearts placed on the back and front row of seats down the aisle.
Leading up to the wedding day we had many trips to Brighton to the vintage shops in the lanes where we bought a vintage suitcase, fish and chip sign and chose our wedding rings. Our favours included a tea bag “you are just my cup of tea”.
THE HONEYMOON | Chris organised the honeymoon as a surprise, we both wanted to have a two part honeymoon with some adventure and also some luxury relaxation. For the first 5 days we went on a safari in the Kruger national park in South Africa to see the big 5. The following 8 nights we spent in a 5* hotel on the palm in Dubai, we visited Abu Dhabi whilst were here too. We both loved Dubai a lot and enjoyed our afternoon tea at the Burj al Arab and swimming with dolphins at the Atlantis both which were wedding presents.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Both crying huge amounts during the ceremony.
Taking a step back together and watching our family and friends all enjoying themselves on the lawn in the sunshine, even playing a game of croquet.
Laughing like school kids when having our photos taken in the cornfield.
The number of cameras all taking pictures whilst we were cutting the cake it felt like the paparazzi.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Make the most of your special time, the day really does go by in a flash. Try to take in as much of the day as possible (easier said then done especially as it so overwhelming), take a moment to step back as a couple to enjoy seeing your guest enjoy themselves. Finally, remember the day is about the two of you, choose what you love and don’t worry about others opinions, it’s your day.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Grooms Attire | Clements & Church
Flowers | Distinctive Petals
Cake | Anisha Roberts
Photography | Kate Gray Photography
Venue | Caswell House
Hair | Beth Dorn, Bmobile hairdressing
Make up | Becky Head
Chris and Natalie, thank you both so much for sharing your exquisite nuptials with us xo Lou