Don’t those summer days feel like a dreamy, hazy and somewhat distant memory already? It sure was a summer to remember and WWW readers Kat and Steve were lucky enough to tie the knot on the balmy 21st July 2018. The images here today by Luis Calow really capture the essence of their day, the sunshine and the relaxed natural vibes. In fact the sunlit shots and the pedalo boat portraits really are something else. Just magic!
Our pair envisioned a relaxed and natural yet pretty day, with lots of fantastic handcrafted elements and plenty of greenery to decorate their gorgeous yurt at Riverside Weddings in Oxfordshire. The setting really was idyllic and enabled their fun vision perfectly. Boat rides, live music and and an outdoor ceremony complete with macramé backdrop made their wedding so unique.
I really recommend reading Kat and Steve’s report below, it’s a really lovely story of their day. Enjoy it all lovelies.
Steve and I had been living together in Bristol for a number of years but it was in January of 2017 when we bought our first home together in the Cotswolds that I finally became a fiancée. We have been together since 2010 and I was always waiting for that day to arrive. It finally came when we had finished unpacking in our lovely new home and there was just one box left – one that contained 7 roses (one for each year we’d been together) and a bottle of champagne to celebrate with after he had asked me to be his wife! Now we were in our beautiful new home, we were engaged to be married and it started snowing… it literally couldn’t have been more perfect.
Our whole idea was to be ‘guests at our own wedding’. We didn’t want tradition to dictate how we celebrated with our friends and family and we definitely wanted something unlike most weddings. The ‘creative’ vision was pretty much left to me, with Steve happy as long as I was…another reason why he makes the perfect husband! I knew that I wanted it to be natural, relaxed but super pretty and unique with a botanical / foliage based décor.
The Planning Process
I would say we were pretty relaxed with wedding planning. Within months we had everything booked! After stalking Wedding Yurts online for months I knew they were who I wanted to use for my wedding so the main priority after that was finding the right venue. Once we had the venue finding suppliers was relatively easy as we didn’t have a huge amount of requirements – good food, good music and good people was the feel of our day.
Our wedding was held at Riverside Weddings in Oxfordshire, an absolutely huge field next to the River Thames with the historic New Bridge as a backdrop. What made us choose this venue was the fact that it was on the water and that we could do anything we wanted with the space. We loved the yurts that became the home of our wedding – so many of our guests commented on how unique and beautiful they were! We had three yurts which created a main seating area, a bar area and a tea room. The yurts are just stunning in every way from the solid oak floors, to the twinkly fairy lights, glittering disco ball and beautiful bar. They look amazing in the photos, but you really have to see them first hand to fully appreciate them. Outside we hired hay bales from a local farmer and covered them with white table cloths to create our ceremony seating. We stood in front of a beautiful arch with macramé hanging which became the focal point of our wedding ceremony.
The Readings & Music
We had an amazing harpist, Liane Hopkins, play for 30 minutes before the ceremony to entertain our guests and she also played as I walked down the aisle to Colours of the Wind – a Disney classic! My closest friend Charlotte read a beautiful reading about soul mates from The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach during our ceremony that she had kept as a secret until the day, which was really special. Steve and I put together a Spotify playlist in the weeks leading up to the wedding and the background music for the rest of the day was played from an iPad connected to a sound system that we hired from a local DJ. Later in the evening we had the awesome Loud Noises Brass play a couple of sets – they’re a unique 4 piece brass band that play contemporary brass music that is hard to describe. I’d recommend that you check them out on YouTube!
Your Outfits & Accessories
My dress was from A Class Brides in Bristol – Nikki there is absolutely lovely and my dress was ordered, altered and ready for me to collect in no time! I’m more of a jeans and trainers kind of girl so I thought that managing to find the right dress would be really hard, but once I tried on the Stella York gown with pretty lace detail and simple chiffon skirt I didn’t need to look any further. I paired my dress with casual leather sandals from Kurt Geiger and a simple veil.
I decided to do my own hair and makeup on the day. I had a couple of professional makeup trials but it just wasn’t for me. Perhaps I just didn’t find the right makeup artist but I really just wanted to look like me, without worrying about touching up my makeup throughout the day or worrying about a fake lash popping off! So, I just went for really simple makeup and a relaxed, loose half-up hairstyle with my custom hair slide from Gypsy Rose Vintage and veil.
Keeping with our relaxed feel Steve’s outfit was a mix and match type of style! His jacket was from Reiss, chinos and shirt from TM Lewin, tie from Next and shoes and belt from Ted Baker. His surprise wedding gift from me was his Tag Heuer watch which went perfectly with his outfit. His corsage was from Gypsy Rose Vintage and was made to match my pretty hair slide.
The Details & Décor
We kept the décor pretty simple as the yurts really were the show-stopper! A lot of the décor and details were hand-made by me including the table plan, welcome sign, clay place names, directional signs, card box and more. I really enjoyed getting hands on with the wedding DIY and all of the personal touches were complimented on the day which was really nice. Lizzie at Wedding Yurts made sure that there were plenty of fairy lights twinkling away and set up a cute tea station in the smaller wedding yurt with vintage teacups and some lovely velvet chairs.
Outside we set up a ‘Chill Out’ bell tent which included comfy cushions, blankets and a rum and cigar bar. We also made sure there was plenty to keep the children occupied too including snacks, outdoor lawn games from Laura Ashley, bubbles and a giant Jenga which was kindly given to us as a pre-wedding gift.
We also hired pedalo boats from Oxford Punting for our guests to have some fun on the river, I think Steve and I surprised everyone when we headed down the bank and peddled away up the river after the ceremony! We took our photographer Luis with us; it was a great opportunity for him to capture some photos and for us to have 10 minutes to ourselves to reflect on the day so far.
We had a slight disaster when the week before the wedding the bridesmaid’s custom dresses were shrunk whilst being steamed!! So, it was a dash to John Lewis a couple of days before the wedding to find them replacements. Luckily they had these lovely white dresses which I think I actually prefer over the original ones anyway! Our flower girl’s dress was from Monsoon – it wasn’t the style I originally had in mind but once our flower girl tried it on I could tell that she loved it, and she looked unbelievably cute in it, so it was the one! I wanted her to wear something different than the older two bridesmaids and the flower detailing to the skirt added just the right amount of playfulness.
Our photographer was the wonderful Luis from Luis Calow Photography. Luis was recommended to me because his style was exactly what I was looking for – I wanted someone that would embrace our relaxed, totally informal day and capture our story, and I was not disappointed! We usually hate being in front of the camera but he made us feel so at ease and when we received our photos back from Lu we couldn’t have been happier – the photos are exactly what we wanted and tell the story of our day so well.
Our flowers were created by the team at Fabulous Flowers in Oxford. We kept the flowers minimal and had a heavy focus on foliage. We had individual stems in glass bottles for the tables and dotted around the bar area in the yurts. The focal point was the 8ft foliage installation in the main yurt which hung over our central table. Whilst wedding planning Steve said that we probably didn’t really need a ‘foliage hoop’ but I think you’ll see from the photos that we definitely did, it looked amazing!
We had a dreamy honeymoon exploring the Amalfi Coast in Italy. We arrived in Rome where we stayed for a few nights before picking up a hire car and driving along the coast stopping at Sorrento, Positano and Tivoli on the way. One of our favourite hotels was the Relais Blu which we stopped at between Sorrento and Positano, the infinity pool and views of Capri were out of this world.
Apart from the obvious, there are so many memorable moments from our wedding day. Two of our guests falling in to the river getting in and out of the pedalo boats has to be up there though! The fireworks at the end of the night were also pretty special.
Our lovely friend and amazing baker and caterer Ali Armstrong from Ali’s Country Kitchen created our beautiful semi-naked sponge cake which she covered with delicious berries and a dusting of icing sugar. Victoria sponge is mine and Steve’s favourite, so of course we had to have it for our wedding cake! Ali also made cute personalised heart shaped biscuits which we put at each place setting as our wedding favours.
Advice For Other Couples
My advice would be: you do you! Whatever you both want, do it. Don’t stick to tradition if it’s not your thing. Don’t hire a makeup artist if you don’t want one, don’t do a first dance if you’d prefer not to. Want to jump in a pedalo boat? Do it! You’ll only get married once (hopefully!) so I think it’s all about having fun, celebrating your love for your husband/wife and enjoying time with your friends and family. I can promise you that the little things you worry about in the lead up to your wedding won’t even cross your mind on the day, because you’re marrying the person you love, and that’s what counts.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
A Class Brides
Kat and Steve, thank you both ever so much for sharing your splendid and special wedding day with us xo Lou