Select Page
Inspiration: wedding under new rules in Oxfordshire

Inspiration: wedding under new rules in Oxfordshire

Just one month ago, the wedding of Hannah and Richard was held at stunning Friars Court in Oxfordshire. A no frills or fuss, intimate ceremony on Saturday 4th July 2020 saw one of the first civil weddings in Oxfordshire under the new social distancing rules.

new rules

After a hiatus of nearly 4 months of paused and postponed weddings in England due to lockdown, the 4th July marked the date for weddings to take place again. Now with a number of restrictions that couples must follow in order for their wedding to go ahead safely.

By 1st August, we thought that things would be easing further around restrictions for wedding receptions. But these are still limited to only two households indoors in most parts of the UK, or up to 6 people from different households outdoor. Whilst social distanced ceremonies can currently be held for up to 30 people.

new plans

This happy couple decided to go ahead with their original date of 4th July to perform the legal part of the wedding. Their wedding had been booked since last August following their engagement in Italy on 5th July 2019.

Hannah and Richard chose Saturday 4th July as it was the closest date to the first anniversary of the proposal. They were one of the 2020 couples who held onto the hope they’d have the entirety of their wedding on their planned date for as long as possible.

As the date was significant to them, they decided to have the civil ceremony at the very least. So they were happy to go along with whatever was necessary to make that happen.

new dates

They’re still hoping they’ll have the planned reception this September. However they are mindful that this may not be possible in the current climate or it may need to be a significantly pared down version.

They have managed to move all their suppliers to 19th September 2020 in the hope that they will be able to celebrate with friends and family. They also plan to have a mock ceremony so Hannah can walk down the aisle in her dress and recreate the ceremony again. The venue and suppliers were great in accommodating the new date which instantly put the couples’ minds at rest.

Their reasoning behind going ahead with a ceremony on their original date of 4th July is so that they don’t need to delay starting a family. If the worst case scenario happens and the September date is not able to go ahead and they have to delay until 2021, they could start a family in the knowledge that they are already married.

new guest list

Originally, they had planned for 85 of their family and friends to attend with a number travelling in from France, Dubai and Canada.

To meet new rules, they needed to reduce the number of guests and households. However to avoid any upset when choosing witnesses from family and friends they opted to prune this to the bare minimum. They asked the two venue owners to be witnesses. And when the photographer had to drop out (due to insurance issues), the venue also stepped in as wedding photographer too (with a zoom lens to keep distant). So, along with two registrars there was a total of 6 people present (two registrars, two witnesses, plus the bride and groom).

new focus

No big grand traditional entrance for this wedding as the couple arrived together in their own car. But the venue still bestowed a grand setting and provided the couple use of it’s grounds for this special day.

Friars Court in Clanfield is a privately owned, mid-17th century house, in 600 acres of beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. Friars Court was granted a Civil Ceremony licence in 2003 and in that same year set up Silver Pear Weddings. Since then they have worked with over 350 couples celebrating their marriage at Friars Court.

This certainly was the smallest civil ceremony the venue has ever hosted in nearly 20 years and is the first time they’ve acted as witnesses, for what turned out to be the second civil ceremony across the county under the new rules.

Unfortunately the 2020 season will the final one for Silver Pear Weddings hosting wedding receptions at Friars Court as from 2021 onwards they will purely host ceremonies.

minimal decor

As this was just a ceremony the couple did not unleash their full plans and colour scheme, which they will hold for a later celebration.

So the venue set the room out based on plans and guidance that the registrars provided. Without decor, the room looked quite bare so the owners arranged a few flowers from the venue’s garden for the registrars’ table.

something old (not new)

Both bride and groom were dressed in smart casual clothes. Hannah wore a full-length lilac party dress, a bridesmaid style dress in keeping with her bridesmaid colour scheme. Richard wore a work suit. They are saving their wedding outfits for their celebration day.

new ceremony time

Hannah and Richard were offered the choice of either an 11am or 3pm wedding ceremony time. They chose 3pm to avoid rushing about in the morning. The first ceremony in the county was at 1pm. So if they’d gone with an 11am slot they’d have been the first civil ceremony in Oxfordshire but were still the second one.

The registrars had been in charge of writing the guidelines for ‘weddings during a pandemic’ so they’d specifically requested to come (rather than the usual registrars from Witney) to road test their amended version of a ceremony to see how well it worked.

new format

The presentation of the bride was omitted because there wasn’t anyone there to ‘give her away’ and under current guidelines, unless a bride lives in the same household, then walking in with anyone other than her future husband isn’t permitted.

With the ceremony being just the couple, it was also decided to eliminate playing any music. So as their interviews took place where they were going to stand for the ceremony, there was no point in any entrance. So the registrar went straight into the welcome and whipped through the abbreviated ceremony in no time.

The ceremony itself was a lot shorter than you might expect for the obvious reasons of there being no guests to tell stories about where the couple met, where the proposal took place and any other details for the registrar to share. The registrars were lovely and made the couple feel comfortable throughout. Richard said that:

‘There was an odd sort of feeling to proceedings as you are extremely aware that there are only 4 other people in the room, however with that said there was an intimate feeling and a truly personal experience had by doing it this way. It reminds you that this day is absolutely just for the two of you.’

Most of the ceremony was the same as usual; using the short option of “I am” (free to marry) and “I do” (take this man/woman). Keeping that part short is intended to reduce the length of the ceremony as the registrar did mention about the unfortunate necessity of keeping things ‘short and sweet’. The registrars weren’t exactly rushing the ceremony but they didn’t take their time either in order to reduce the risk of exposure by making the services as brief as possible.

new accessories

Hannah and Richard were asked beforehand whether they would like the registrars with or without masks. Whilst not a problem at this ceremony, the registrars voiced their concerns about the new rules and envisaged possible difficulties in ensuring guests staying exactly where they are put.

As the registrar leading the ceremony was on one side of the room and the couple on the other well side (more than 2 metres from either registrar) she removed her mask which meant she was far more audible. The registrar doing the writing kept her mask on for the duration.

The couple signed the register both having to wear a bright red rubber glove before handling the pen (the registrars had a box of them) and all commented on how odd that felt. The gloves were meant to come off for signing photos but instead the pair waved their gloved hands at the camera.

Certificates are posted to couples after their weddings at the moment so there was no presentation to wind the ceremony up. However, the registrars did make their congratulations and then left so the couple could go out for a few photos in the grounds before the rain started.

newly weds

Hannah and Richard wandered the grounds whilst the venue owner very kindly took some photos to remember the day. They then popped back inside with their own picnic hamper to have a little DIY afternoon tea for two in the middle of the empty Garden Room.

All the traditional milestone elements of a wedding reception (cake cutting, first dance, entertainment, favours etc) have all been saved for their celebration later in the year.

Afterwards they headed off for a couple of nights in Malmesbury.

Our fingers are crossed for 19th September or sometime in 2021 for their sequel wedding.

Venue | Friars Court |
Photographer | Silver Pear Weddings |
Dress | boohoo |
Jacket | Moss Bros |
Trousers | Zara |
Afternoon tea | own hamper

I’d love to hear if you’ve had a wedding recently and to hear how you’ve creatively dealt with the restrictions.

sign up to receive the latest posts straight to your inbox

wonderful wedding wares

Inspiration: african/english fusion garden wedding

Inspiration: african/english fusion garden wedding

A relaxed, family-oriented celebration in May 2019 saw the rustic fusion wedding of Rachael and Godwin at Worton Hall in Oxfordshire.

The energy and exuberance burst out of these images with pops of lavender wedding inspiration. What a jam-packed wedding full of colour, music and vibrancy. The African dancers stole the day, blowing everyone away with their epic singing, dancing and drumming.


Cotswold farmland venue

All members of the wedding party and families stayed at Worton Hall the night before. The groom and his family were in the main Farmhouse, whilst the bride stayed in one of the cottages.

handmade decor

Almost all of the décor was handmade by the bride, her friends and family. The bride and friends dressed the main hall the day before the wedding, and then 2 friends went out in the morning and put finishing touches to the décor. Simple, romantic and quintessentially english country garden styling.

English wedding ceremony

Rachael and Godwin got married in the wooden pagoda on ‘The Green’ in front of the beautiful old Farmhouse at Worton Hall. Oxfordshire’s registrars undertook the traditionally English ceremony whilst the guests baked in the lovely hot sunshine.

It didn’t take long after the ceremony before the champagne was flowing. Everyone enjoyed fizz on the lawns before throwing epic amounts of fresh lavender confetti over the bride and groom.

afternoon tea

Later, everyone headed into the main hall for a traditional cream tea. The English buffet-style afternoon tea was delicious, especially the freshly baked scones.

african traditions

Speeches were dotted throughout the afternoon. And in line with African tradition lots of friends and family members had the opportunity to stand up and speak.

And then after a quick outfit change for the bride and groom, they were walked back into the main hall by African dancers singing traditional African folk songs. The dance show was just epic.

An African Feast was then served with an out of this world peanut butter spinach dish.

dance the night away

The dancers came back and rocked the party again after everyone had finished their traditional African feast. Guests were given shots as favours and flip flops to wear to dance the night away.

Dancing, mischief, one hell of a fight over the bride’s bouquet and loads more dancing to end the night. What an incredible day.

Venue | Worton Hall |
Photographer | Charlie Flounders Photography |
Dress | Wed2B |
Suits | Menswearr |
Cake | made by bride’s talented sister
Entertainment | African Dancers | Shasheboys |
Flowers | Sarah Horne Botanicals |
English tea catering | Jo’s Kitchen |
African meal | a family friend

Plus loads of other fabulous but low key suppliers who don’t have website links.

sign up to receive the latest posts straight to your inbox

wonderful wedding wares

Inspiration: bright contemporary museum wedding

Inspiration: bright contemporary museum wedding

Modern museum wedding 

For some absolute wedding goals, take at look at these images from a recent photo shoot at the Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology in Oxford. The photos are picture perfect, with a modern and bright, walking work of art vibe to showcase this stand out classic wedding venue. 

Ashmolean Museum wedding venue

This venue is a beautiful hidden gem of a wedding venue. From the outside you don’t know the expanse of options that are available inside The Ashmolean Museum. It provides a truly wonderful labyrinth of options to hold a wedding or special occasion. See my wedding venue review of the Ashmolean Museum.

Decadent décor

The Ashmolean Museum gives you maximum impact with minimal effort, as the backdrop of this venue needs no help in packing a punch – the wow factor is there for you already! This is a venue which is quiet, personal and intimate, yet very much on the grand scale.

There are many options and different ways you could use a combination of the galleries for all the elements of your wedding day. Each one has it’s own character, atmosphere and capacity that can be suited to your number of guests and requirements. This shoot has images taken in: the Grand Forecourt; Ceramics Gallery; Randolph Sculpture Gallery; Grand Staircase; and the European Art Gallery.

Contemporary bridal wear

This wedding photo shoot shows modern Charlie Brear outfits including a Carson Jumpsuit; separates in the form of a Luna top and skirt; plus a low V, effortlessly cool, boho Nyika Dress.

You’ll be a living statue and your own work of art on your wedding day at this venue.

Fun florals

The stunning flowers in the bouquet, crown and arm cuff made a real statement alongside the cool architecture and simple white outfits with: Red Snaps, Astilbe Gloria, Avignon Blooms, Red Euphorbia, Brown Lisianthus, Protea, Cafe Mocca Rose, Hot Pink Lace Rose, Parvifolia, Red Robin, Mimosa and Long Ruscus.

The bright and colourful florals made this the Ashmolean and their amazing technicolour dream wedding venue.

images credits:

Venue | Ashmolean Museum |
Photography | Matthew Pattimore Photography |
Hair & make up | Rachael Capocci |
Dresses | Ellie Sanderson |
Flowers | Flowers by Kirsty |
Planner | Stacey Puffer |
Model | Andrea Taverni

As featured in OX Weddings Winter 2019 edition |

sign up to receive the latest posts straight to your inbox

winner UK Blog Awards 2018

wonderful wedding wares

Inspiration: coral and gold festival wedding

Inspiration: coral and gold festival wedding

A laid back celebration in August 2016 saw the relaxed festival wedding of Verity and Paul at The Isis Farmhouse in Oxford.



Relaxed and laid back vibe

This wedding was a real break from tradition with loads of beautiful handmade touches and a ton of personalisation. It fully embraced the festival trend and utilised the truly creative skills of the bride to diy many elements of the day. It seems like the perfect time to share this casual wedding – not only is the theme bang on trend but it also features the summery coral colour that is the Pantone® colour of the year in 2019.

Above everything else, this was a true celebration of love and family. It was a chilled out day with friends, less about structure and more an informal and fluid affair. Not overtly lavish but heaps of fun. With the focus on the people who were there.

Rural remote meadow view

The festivities began in the centre of Oxford where the happy couple officially tied the knot at a ceremony at the Town Hall. This was a day of two halves though. From town to countryside. After the ceremony, the whole wedding party walked together through the city centre. Then had a lovely drinks reception whilst on a boat ride down the Thames to the Isis Farmhouse. A stunning rural setting in Oxford’s flood meadows alongside the river was perfect for the wedding reception. You can only reach this venue by foot, pedal power or by boat. Around the back of the Farmhouse is a covered barn and a meadowside garden which was great for this relaxed celebration.

Rustic festival décor

The barn was set up with long trestle tables laid out in two lines. Along the centre of each table was linen, which draped off each end, with an array of brightly patterned mismatched vases containing wild flowers. The displays were mirrored by the flowers and plants hanging in macramé holders (made or collected by the bride) above the tables. These flowers were provided by a lovely friend who grows cut flowers in her garden and were arranged by the bride.

The bride made the place names which were cut out gold glittery lettering, plus a nice ice breaker card containing things to spot and capture was placed on each table. In addition, the bride had designed the napkins herself which contained drawings of important places and things throughout the couple’s history together.

Gold accents

The bride wore a gorgeous end of line strapless fitted fishtail satin dress with a chiffon capelet with bat sleeves. She accented this with Betty Ballroom gold high heel shoes, a gold hair vine and gold belt. Her hand tied wild flower bouquet in coral and gold colours was from an amazing flower farm near Wallingford who arranged the bridal and bridesmaids’ bouquets. She also held a vintage beaded ivory clutch bag. The chief bridesmaid wore a gold sequined dress to match the gold accents beautifully and the flower girls wore ivory dresses with gold bodices and ribbons (also made by the bride).

Creative catering

Food was served at the tables and consisted of a hearty lasagne or moussaka with healthy salads, plus a rustic buffet for the evening guests. The venue catered perfectly for vegetarian and vegan diets to ensure all guests were content. The two cakes (one lemon and the other chocolate) were also made by the venue and incorporated fantasy and action figures in lieu of a bride and groom topper (that the couple decorated themselves).

Entertainment for children of all sizes

The main focus of the day was to encourage guests to mingle and keep children (big and small) entertained with colouring, wands and a bubble refill station. There were postcards for guests to sign which would be sent to the couple and polaroids were taken of all the guests for a pictorial guest book. The day ended with guests dancing along to crowd pleasing classics on the dance floor.

Practical favours

The gifts for guests echoed the vibe of the whole day. They were handmade, low key and had purpose. Guests could pick which soap to take home, with a choice of either lavender or rose and geranium. These were boxed, branded and served in a vintage case. Plus there were some seeds to take away too, in order to sow in your own garden, share the love and remember this charming day in years to come.

Venue | The Isis Farmhouse |
Photography | Kitson Photography |
Hair & make up | Lauren Wheeler |
Shoes | Red or Dead |
Bouquets | Green & Gorgeous |
Flower arrangements | cut flowers from a friend’s garden | arranged by bride
Favours, place settings & stationery | handmade by bride
Cakes | The Isis Farmhouse |

sign up to receive the latest posts straight to your inbox

winner UK Blog Awards 2018

wonderful wedding wares

Living Coral in UKAWEP Pantone® colour trend challenge

Living Coral in UKAWEP Pantone® colour trend challenge

Here’s the Living Coral mood board that I submitted in the UK Academy of Wedding and Event Planning SS19 Pantone® colour trend challenge earlier this year.

Living Coral | succulents on the beach

Succulent place names | Abi Q via Ruffled Blog
Table setting | Katelyn James Photography via Hey Wedding Lady
Buttonhole | Katie Day Photography…/05/13/meet-brendan-and-nina/ via Chickabloom Floral Studio
Floral crown | Matt & Jentry Photographers via Le Magnifique
Bridesmaids | Aspen Willow
Cake | Wedtown via
Bouquet – AJ Shorter Photography via Every Last Detail


sign up to receive the latest posts straight to your inbox

winner UK Blog Awards 2018

wonderful wedding wares

Finalist in UKAWEP Pantone® colour trend challenge SS19

Finalist in UKAWEP Pantone® colour trend challenge SS19

Pretty chuffed to have one of mood boards picked as finalist again in the UK Academy of Wedding and Event Planning SS19 Pantone® colour trend challenge.

Sweet Lilac | pink sugary treats

Dress | Gem Harris via Rock N Roll Bride via…/20-stunning-non-white-wed…/amp/
Milk shakes | Lovely little partiesky
Flowers | Miss Zeit via Tumblr
Ice cream | Babushka Design via Etsy…/yellow-patterns-kraft-paper-printable
Typewriter | girl inspired via
Truffles | Tramped Rose…/do-u-believe-in-pink.htm…
Neon | They all hate us via
Cupcake | The Café Sucré Farine via That Skinny Chick Can Bake…/
Table setting | Yelena Yumchek via Groupon

Inspiration: intimate castle wedding

Inspiration: intimate castle wedding

A small wedding for a big day in February 2018 saw this intimate (and impromptu) castle wedding of Sally and Gavin at Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire.

Intimate wedding trend

On average, wedding guest numbers are decreasing and micro weddings are on the rise; with couples wishing to keep things small, personal and more meaningful. Not quite on the extremes of eloping, as the nuptials are far from secret, but a step away from traditions and expectations. Making the day a real lavish experience for everyone and good value for money. It’s like having a dinner party in a private room for your close friends and family.

Colour scheme

This intimate castle wedding (of less than 30 guests) was a luxurious affair with a rich, dark colour scheme of navy blue and emerald green. With lush tactile elements of velvet bridesmaid dresses, satin ribbons and faux fur wraps.


The couple chose Thornbury Castle for their wedding as the bride loves history and castles, whilst the groom loves fine food and wine. It was also a special venue where they had stayed together before.


The bride and bridesmaids got ready in the Henry VIII suite with it’s spectacular full length windows. She wore a stunning dress from Pronovias with a huge statement bow and accessorised with a custom-made ivory faux-fur wrap to bare the wintry elements of the day.


To set the scene, the couple sent out navy invitations with a green satin ribbon (to match the bride’s bouquet) and a crest from the county of the bride’s place of birth. The heraldry was a lovely nod to the décor that guests would see inside the venue. The traditional invites had handwritten names, a personal note and a copy of the menu.

Place settings were individually quilled, glued and sprayed to look like chess pieces, with names written on cards by the bride.

Minimal décor was required in the Tudor Hall and they choose not to add anything to the Lounge or Boyling House as they let the impressive venue do all the talking.


The wedding ceremony took place in the lounge at Thornbury Castle where guests sat on comfortable settees and arm chairs. Photographs then followed around the castle and in the gorgeous grounds.

Their drinks reception took place in the Boyling House where they enjoyed canapés, fizz and a caricaturist and close-up magician for entertainment.

The wedding breakfast took place in the Tudor Hall where all 27 guests sat around one table with an open fire and enjoyed a 5 course dinner service with a break in the middle for a magical parlour show.


The lavish five tier cake was decorated a sumptuous navy blue colour and adorned with edible pearls. It stood decadently, mirroring its surroundings and the hidden grandeur inside. Each tier revealing different delicious flavours of chocolate with chocolate and cherry ganache, lemon with white chocolate ganache, and a traditional fruit cake.

Despite there being a small number of attending guests, this was a cake to feed many more. The couple had little cake boxes at the ready with coordinating ribbons and napkins for the mother of the bride to give to local friends and family who didn’t attend.



Guests stayed over at the hotel in the exquisite bedrooms and in the morning they enjoyed breakfast together in the Baron’s Sitting Room. Meanwhile the Bride and Groom stayed in the Tower Suite (one room at the top of the tower with around 70 steps to reach it) in the golden four-poster bed.

Venue | Thornbury Castle |
Photography | Alice Morgan Photography |
Hair and make-up | Katherine Jennings |
Cake | Dee’s Cakes |
Candelabras | supplied by venue
Dress | Miss – Bridal Gowns of Hungerford |
Flowers | T&J Owen Florist |
Place settings | handmade by bride’s sister
Personalised matchboxes | Etsy

Inspiration: denim

Inspiration: denim

casual blues for a rustic barn wedding complete with denim stationery – embroidered denim rather than a traditional paper suite: menus on napkins, name place sleeves around milk bottle glasses, table plan labels hung on Portuguese laurels plants

See more images in our gallery and the amazing local suppliers who came together to make this shoot possible in this blog post.

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

Inspiration: French foodie’s fête barn wedding

Inspiration: French foodie’s fête barn wedding

An unseasonably chilly Saturday at the start of the long Easter bank holiday weekend in 2018 saw the wedding of Sophie and Ryan at Merriscourt.

This was an Anglo-French wedding and a coming together of the couple’s two countries. In French, the word fête means an elaborate festival, party or celebration, which was certainly had in vast quantities at this rustic barn wedding.


Merriscourt is one of my favourite wedding venues in the heart of the Cotswolds. It offers freedom, creativity, transparent pricing, and above all lots of space. The venue is actually 3 interlinking converted barns around a beautiful courtyard, and is blessed with high ceilings and oodles of light.

There’s a real sense of calm and peacefulness about the surroundings and it feels very homely. You have full reign of the whole place during the event and can also stay over in one of it’s many accommodation options. Making this a real home from home that can be adapted just how you want it.


Sometimes less is definitely more. You don’t have to go crazy with décor when you have such a stunning venue. After all, you don’t want to overcrowd or cover up great features.

It’s brilliant to let the venue speak for itself. And this wedding did it in spade fulls. They kept it simple along with great food, great drink and great music. Some simple pink rose displays dotted around in a homely fashion was in keeping with the venue itself.


A touching civil ceremony was held in the Stone Barn (which was turned in to the dance floor later) first in English and then a surprise visit from the mayor of the bride’s home town prompted a French section to the proceedings as well.

Then it was out in to the beautiful central (albeit a bit chilly on this day) courtyard for some great confetti shots then back inside the warm barn for the festivities to begin.

Whilst the French friends and relatives were mesmerised by some of the English wedding traditions and timings, and the English were left lost during the French Mayor’s speech, the common factor that brought everyone together was the love of good food. The theme for this wedding was definitely a foodie’s heaven.


The flavours, quality and quantity of food was flowing in abundance. The champagne reception in the Gallery Room alone was sumptuous and filling and we were not left wanting at all. Our glasses were never let to get dry as we were told that it therefore only counted as being just ‘one glass’.

The canapés kept coming and we situated ourselves by the oyster bar and theatrical Iberico Ham Station (carved by one of the chefs), along with olives nearly the size of my fist, almonds to die for and chillies the length of bananas.

Once sat in the White Barn with it’s stunningly high ceilings and tapestries, the sharing boards were astounding and mouth-wateringly good, comprising of:

Slow smoke shoulder of lamb and salsa verde
Char grilled halloumi and pesto
Chilli chicken and honey whiskey glaze
Scottish plank roasted salmon and charred lemon

Garlic and thyme roasted potatoes
Lentils, picked shallots and beetroot salad
Beef tomatoes, basil and rapeseed oil

Even the favours continued the great flavours, as they provided us with coffee granules to enjoy the next day. Then it was out on to the courtyard where a fire pit was lit to warm us and also for toasting marshmallows. Though we couldn’t be tempted to veer off course to get a delicious Belgian waffle from a parked up food van by the twinkling fairy lights of the central tree.

The celebration of food continued with the cutting of the cake. And it wouldn’t be a French fête without the inclusion of cheese. This time in the form of the wedding cake.


The night was completed with good music and lots of dancing, interspersed with some not very flattering pictures in the nearby photo booth capturing proceedings.

All in all, this French foodies fête barn wedding proves that keeping your guests fed, watered and entertained makes for a great wedding. Eat, drink and be merry!

Félicitations à vous deux!


Venue | Merriscourt | Sarsden, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire |
Photography | Carlita DCN | The Passion of Life
Catering | by venue
Food van | Sweet Nothing Bakehouse |
Bouquet & headband | Daylesford Farm |
Wreath & table decor | by family
Dress | Ted Baker |