Oh me oh my. What a celebration I have to share with you lovelies this morning.
Jennie and Chris were married in July 2015 at Cogges Manor Farm in Oxfordshire. They envisioned a fun festival fete wedding which was uber family friendly. They included a crèche for the children and games to entertain alongside four food trucks to fill those hungry tummies. The barn was decorated simply yet beautifully and Morris dancing, live music and marshmallow toasting really set the tone.
Jennie wore the amazing colourful watercolour ‘Khandro’ dress from Wai Ching which looked incredible. This wedding is sure to get you in the party mood.
Thanks goes to the brilliant Potters Instinct Photography for sharing these photographs with us.
THE PROPOSAL | In our case, it was the bride who proposed to the groom. Jennie found a very old map of the world, and Chris likes old maps. This one was 400 years old, and told the early part of a story. Africa and Europe were pretty well mapped out, and it had just recently been established that you could circumnavigate the globe by sea, but there was so much more to be discovered. Europeans had only the slightest inklings of the existence of Australia, and Antarctica would lay undiscovered for another 200 years. As with any good tale, there were some youthful misadventures that later were to look a little embarrassing – a magical whirlpool at the north pole based on the crazed visions of a 14th century friar, and an island that was said to appear from the mists only once every 7 years but in reality was a fabrication on the part of some Irish mischief pedlars. But nonetheless, a moment at the start of an exciting story.
No rings, just an old crumply map, with its sea monsters, unexplored continents and promises of adventures to come.
THE VISION | We just wanted the day to be fun, for our guests as much as for us, and with so many friends with small children, wanted to be flexible in childcare and mealtimes so that parents could relax and stay the whole evening. Think music festival, village fete, pigs, chickens, goats, space hoppers, juggling, and a whole barn full of old pub games. We had ice creams instead of canapes, four vintage street food vans instead of a sit-down meal, and a circus tent with hired babysitters as a creche for children. Jennie’s dad’s morris dancing side led us through our first dance, a Trad Jazz band with straw hats and a sousaphone played after the ceremony, and we danced the night away to a Rock n Roll band in full vintage garb.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We booked the venue, bands and catering about 15 months in advance, and then spent many a happy hour and more than the odd stressful one putting the details together in the 6 months leading up to the wedding.
THE VENUE | Cogges Manor Farm in Oxfordshire. They have two lovely old barns, plenty of outdoor space and, crucially, all you get is the venue – you have complete freedom to do everything else yourselves.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | The dress was a Khandro dress, from Chrissy Wai Ching which was shipped from the USA. Chrissy was absolutely brilliant – the dress fitted perfectly, and she even customised the colours to match those from a watercolour painting Chris had bought for Jennie in the early days of the relationship.
FINDING THE DRESS | Jennie absolutely did NOT want to look like a princess on her wedding day, and spent a long time searching the internet for colourful and non-traditional wedding dresses that would look ‘occasion’ enough for her not to look like a guest at her own wedding, but that ditched the formality and raised a cheer to the spirit of the event.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | A hired tailcoat with a Wai Ching tie to match the dress. Rainbow socks from Amazon.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We didn’t have formal readings or music during the ceremony as we have always found these a little impersonal. Instead we picked our favourite songs to play as the guests were filing in ahead of us as we greeted them on the door. Once the guests were sat down, we walked up the aisle together. We both gave a little informal speech to the guests after the register signing was done to let people know what was in store for the rest of the day. In place of confetti we handed round metre long confetti cannons and asked for volunteers brave enough to set them off as we walked out. These were not in short supply.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | None. How would we choose? We did however, have our rings presented by the children of some close friends.
THE FLOWERS | We used cockscomb flowers as table decorations, as Jennie once bought one for Chris thinking it looked like the one of the oddest flowers she’d seen and he loved it. They were an absolute bargain from a wholesale florist.
THE CAKE | We raided Sainsbury’s and had a cake table full of all sorts of different deserts. We also had really lovely cupcakes provided by a local cafe owner, who also went well above and beyond the call of duty and volunteered to be our roving waitress for the day serving champagne to the guests.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Kevin Potter of Potter’s Instinct. He was absolutely fantastic!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We used skeleton leaves sprinkled on tables, colourful hanging lanterns, Ikea rugs as hay bale covers, and brought in some umbrellas, picnic blankets and suncream to cover most possibilities with the weather. A box of flip flops was appreciated by some high-heeled guests as we used an uneven flagstone floor for dancing. Other than that, we focussed more on things to do than on decorative details: a tray of animal feed for kids to use to feed the farm’s pigs, bar skittles, giant jenga, a giant kerplunk made from a garden centre trellis, hungry hippos, table football, Pucket (the best indoor wedding entertainment ever), giant/double space hoppers (the best outdoor wedding entertainment ever), a fire-pit with giant marshmallows etc. Our tip if you’re thinking of a fire-pit and can’t for love nor money find anywhere online that sells BBQ skewers long enough is 4mm dowel rods from DIY stores (we spent those hours of our lives searching so you don’t have to).
THE HONEYMOON | A road trip around Europe. We set off a few days after the wedding, which was a great plan in hindsight as we had some time to recover after the big day.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | So many. It was just great to see our guests relaxed, having fun, and feeling that there was so much for them to do, and seeing all of our nearest and dearest together and celebrating with us made us realise how many amazing people we have in our lives. We were both also blown away by the kindness of strangers: the Witney Cafe, who were only supposed to be supplying cupcakes, but volunteered to serve our champagne and wine when they learned that we’d not been able to find waiters, and also West Oxfordshire District Council’s refuse department who had delivered wheelie bins the day before the wedding, but then came back entirely off their own accord a few hours later to replace them with newer shinier wheelie bins upon learning that the event was a wedding.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Think about doing something the day after – we invited friends to come for a picnic and go punting in a local park. You really don’t get much time to chat on the day itself, so this is a really nice way to catch up with those who are particularly important. For the day itself, think flexibly – it’s your wedding and you can do whatever you want rather than what tradition dictates: who says you need a sit down meal? Who says you can’t walk down the aisle together and greet guests as they arrive? Who says you have to have a big white dress?
One of the things that worked particularly well for us was doing speeches mid-afternoon sat out on picnic blankets. It felt thoroughly relaxed, filled a gap in the day, and let the speakers off the hook early so that they could enjoy the rest of the evening and get started on the champagne.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Dress | Wai Ching
Ice cream tricycle | Cotswold Hills Ice-cream
Amazing cupcakes | Eden Cafe
Bar | Firkin Mobile Bars
Flowers | Triangle Nurseries
Giant Scalextrics | Funtime Bounce
Wedding creche | Rock up and Play
Wow, didn’t their day look like a real blast?
Thanks so much to Jennie and Chris for sharing their wonderful story with us today xo Lou