Miki and Jacob are joining us with their July 2020 wedding today. Their spirit and determination really shines through, I so love their outlook and positivity. Despite having to radically change their plans, they ploughed on to get hitched. It turned out to be a very special and meaningful celebration of their love indeed.
They were married in a COVID safe wedding ceremony at Hertford College Chapel in Oxford with 300 guests in attendance over Zoom. Using the Zoom software enabled their loved ones to still contribute to their day, which must have been so special. Following their ceremony they wandered the pretty streets of Oxford for their portraits before having an outdoor intimate picnic. I especially love that they envisioned their day to be like Bilbo Baggins’s 111th birthday (I love this film!) and that they even went for a paddle to round off the fun. It is also fantastic to see that our wedding supplier directory member Shropshire Petals provided the beautiful petals for that joyful confetti moment too.
Nathan Walker Photography thank you ever so much for sharing with us these totally uplifting and love filled images.
July 2020 Wedding
Jacob and I went to Calais, France in March 2019 to volunteer for a week with a refugee charity called Refugee Community Kitchen. Before the trip, Jacob mentioned that he wanted to explore some of the countryside around Calais and devised a plan for us to rent bikes so that we could cycle to a scenic spot outside the city called Cap Blanc Nez. I thought it was one of Jacob’s usual mad, romantic ideas. The cycle wasn’t the most romantic experience, however, as it was a very warm day, much farther to this spot than we’d imagined, and I wasn’t really dressed for any strenuous activity. I was starting to get quite grumpy because of the heat! Eventually we decided to walk along the coast while pushing our bikes when Jacob started to reflect (quite poetically) on our relationship. That’s when I knew something was up and I started to get more and more nervous. Eventually, just when I couldn’t take it anymore, Jacob went down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
Aesthetically, we took a lot of inspiration from Bilbo Baggins’s 111th birthday as portrayed in The Fellowship of the Ring film – bright and summery colours, wildflowers, and good food!
We’d also always envisioned our wedding to be a day where friends and family could meet up and spend time with each other.
The Planning Process
We hadn’t really done much for our original wedding besides fixing dates for a church wedding in Singapore (where I’m from) and a party in the UK and putting some deposits down for the important things, like a photographer, a rental dress, and the venues in Singapore.
When it was clear that COVID-19 had become more serious in the UK and in Singapore and both countries instituted lockdowns, there was a long period of uncertainty where we weren’t sure whether we could go ahead with the wedding or what it would look like. A lot hinged on whether Jacob would be allowed into Singapore.
In the end, when it came down to it, our planning process was mostly centred around expediency. We chose to get married in the UK, because Jacob and his family would not be able to enter Singapore, and we wanted to try to get married in Singapore, which was our original wedding month. We tentatively started to put plans in place but didn’t really fully commit until the UK government lifted the restrictions, which was about six weeks before the date. It was all system’s go from there.
Having only about a month and a half to plan the wedding definitely impacted the planning process and our decisions, to say the least! We boiled things down to our priorities and kind of went from there. For us, besides getting married as soon as we were able to, we also wanted to make my family feel as included as possible, as they weren’t going to be able to make it to the UK.
We were originally meant to get married in Singapore, where I’m from. We ended up getting married at Hertford College Chapel in Oxford (which is Jacob’s former college). The chaplain, Mia, was so supportive and so kind in helping us navigate all the uncertainty and the college’s IT department even installed WiFi in the chapel to help facilitate Zoom.
We then set up a gazebo (borrowed from a family friend) by the river in Port Meadow for a lowkey, outdoor affair and had a posh picnic catered. We asked our guests to bring their own camping chairs and picnic mats if they were able to. It was quite a hands-on affair for our guests as they had to carry the food from the delivery point to the picnic site! But everyone was really game and the weather held up, so it all worked out.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I wasn’t able to wear the dress I’d originally picked out as it was in Singapore. (Thankfully I was only renting it, which is quite a common practice in Singapore, so I didn’t feel like I lost out on too much.) The dress I ended up wearing on the day was from Monsoon’s bridal range, which I picked out online, as shops hadn’t quite opened yet when I started looking. I liked that it had a slightly vintage and boho feel without looking clichéd that it was versatile enough to wear to the picnic after the service. But to tell the whole truth, I also chose it because it had a universally flattering shape and I was afraid I wouldn’t have time to get any dress majorly altered. (It also definitely helped that the dress was on sale!) In the end, I only had to have simple alterations done by a local tailor in Nottingham, Amy at Chalk Tailors, who was brilliant and had a lot of previous experience with bridal alterations.
My earrings were from John Lewis. I chose pearls because of how timeless they looked and to match a pearl necklace which has a lot of sentimental value to me. My heels were from New Look and, at the picnic, I wore a pair of Sperry sneakers which I’d bought at my favourite Nottingham charity shop called White Rose. I also had a silver comb in my hair, which was from good old Boot’s, and which I chose because I thought it matched my other accessories.
Jacob’s suit was from T.M. Lewin. It was a suit he’d gotten made last year for his brother’s wedding. Shops hadn’t reopened in time for him to get a new one made and, honestly, his outfit was the last thing on his mind as he was so focused on pulling the logistics of our last-minute wedding together! He did get a new white shirt, a new tie, and new cufflinks from Debenham’s literally the day before the wedding. He chose the cufflinks (which said “If found, return to wife”) simply because they made him laugh and he liked the light-hearted touch.
It’s also fair to give a shout-out to Temprell, the jewellers in Nottingham where we got my engagement ring and our wedding bands. We approached them relatively late for our wedding bands, but they were very professional and helpful in helping us get sorted!
The Readings & Music
We chose three passages from the Bible which we felt best reflected our journey as a couple and our understanding of love: Song of Solomon 2:7-17; Mark 14:3-9; and Romans 12:9-21. My parents did the readings over Zoom from Singapore!
As singing wasn’t allowed in the chapel, we asked both our sisters – who are both talented musicians – to record videos of themselves singing the three hymns we’d chosen, which we played during the service. Even though we ourselves weren’t allowed to sing in the chapel, our friends watching via Zoom definitely had a great time singing on our behalves!
Frankly speaking, I didn’t have the time or energy to go looking for a hairstylist or makeup artist for the wedding. I also wasn’t sure if I’d be allowed one due to social distancing restrictions. However, I was very lucky to have as one of my bridesmaids – who is also Jacob’s sister – someone who is very good at hair. We went through Pinterest together in the weeks leading up to the wedding and she came over once before the wedding so that she could practice doing my hair.
I knew I was going to end up doing my own makeup, as my bridesmaid wasn’t confident in doing it for me. I was given a new Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow palette as a gift and I also bought a lot of new makeup (from Charlotte Tilbury, Fenty, Rimmel, and Maybelline) and some brushes (from EcoTools) to supplement what I didn’t already have. I read and watched a few tutorials and practiced on myself a couple of times before the wedding.
Jacob didn’t have any groomsmen on the day besides his brother, who was best man. His outfit was his own.
I had several girls whom I had asked to be my bridesmaids, but two of them (including my sister) were in Singapore, so I decided not to have any “official” bridesmaids on the day because I didn’t want to leave anyone out. Those who were able to attend wore their own outfits.
Our flowers were done by the talented Kerry Seaton at Art of Floristry in Nottingham. She did such a great job translating our requests into reality. I think my bouquet was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
We did not have a cake, but a family friend made us some salted caramel cupcakes, which were a huge hit!
Our photos were taken by Nathan Walker Photography. We initially chose him because we loved his bright and natural style. We really appreciated the level of detail and thoughtfulness he put into planning how he would shoot the day. He was very discreet during the service but also a lot of fun to work with. Honestly, I was sort of dreading being photographed on my wedding day as I’m not always the most comfortable in front of a camera, but I very quickly felt comfortable around him. Nathan seemed up for anything adventurous and spontaneous and we had a lot of fun doing couple shots after the service!
Our wedding was shot by Harry Weston-Cottrell, who is a friend of Jacob’s sister and actually only usually shoots music gigs. Because we planned to have bigger celebrations next year, we decided to ask Harry to shoot raw footage for our future videographer to edit into one longer video with footage from our other celebrations. Harry was supremely easy to be around but also very professional.
The Details & Décor
Frankly, we didn’t put a lot of thought into details and décor because we were so focused on pulling the wedding off, so it was all very simple. We asked Kerry (the florist) to create garlands and a floral centrepiece that we could easily take with us to decorate the picnic, which she did! We also re-used some bunting from another family wedding to decorate the gazebo at the picnic.
I completely forgot to plan for a confetti tunnel until Nathan, our photographer, suggested it. It was important to me that any confetti we used should be natural and biodegradable, so I chose to purchase dried floral petals from Shropshire Petals. They smelled amazing!
We were originally meant to go to Istanbul in between our Singapore wedding and UK celebration. Instead, we had a lovely week in Glen Coe and the North Pennines.
We had a projector and screen set up in the chapel so that we would be able to see all of our Zoom guests in attendance. It was emotional walking down the aisle in the relatively empty chapel to then see over 300 accounts tuning in from all over the world. During the service, when the chaplain invited them to respond with “We will” to a question in the service, a whole stream of responses came through in the chat function that continued for what felt like a good few minutes! We felt so loved and so held.
It also meant a lot to have my parents doing the readings and my sister leading two of the hymns, as they weren’t able to be there with me on the day.
Also, by the end of the day, many of our guests – as well as Jacob and me – had kicked off their shoes and went for a paddle in the river! What a good way to end the day.
Advice For Other Couples
If you’re streaming your wedding via Zoom, definitely take the time to acknowledge your guests on Zoom and include them in the service! (In our case, the chaplain specifically invited them to respond to that question. Jacob and I also gave a short speech directed at the camera to thank them for coming.)
I don’t think we’d realised how DIY this wedding was really going to be and, in retrospect, we could’ve done with a bit more help with setting up and taking down. Definitely don’t be afraid to ask for help. “Many hands make light work,” as my grandmother would say.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Figure out your priorities for your wedding and go from there. Traditions and conventions have their value, but I think it’s also important to focus on the big picture: you’re marrying your love!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Nathan Walker Photography
What a really wonderful celebration, didn’t Miki and Jacob look gorgeous too?
Miki and Jacob thank you so very much for sharing your super special July 2020 wedding story with us xo Lou