In the depths of the Cotswolds countryside at the rustically chic venue that is Cripps Barn, the Harpers and the Hays convened together to celebrate one of the most exquisitely themed weddings I have ever come across.
I don’t say that lightly folks.
This wedding is a dream.
Using a achingly hip and sophisticated colour palette of black, off-white, gold and nude, Liz and Jordan pulled off one of the most gorgeously designed weddings I’ve ever seen. There are brilliant pieces of signage, bespoke stickers (why don’t more weddings have stickers??!!), wonderful table settings, superb stationery and a choreographed dance to one of my favourite songs.
And frankly any bride that wears a dark nail as part of her beauty look scores serious style points in my book.
I so would have loved to have been a guest at this wedding…
Liz The Bride:Our wedding, both the ceremony and reception, was held at Cripps Barn in the Cotswold countryside. Despite growing up some 8,000 miles apart on different continents, both of us have grandparents who loved the area and we wanted to get married somewhere peaceful (away from the hustle and bustle of London life), so it felt like good common ground for both Harpers and Hays.
The venue itself is a lovely old barn with a small glade in the grounds that can hold ceremonies and it really felt right as soon as we saw it, which was lucky as Jordan saw it for the first time after the deposit had been paid.
We wanted somewhere that felt relaxed and informal – and that people could enjoy being outdoors but that wouldn’t be a complete disaster if the weather didn’t hold out (we actually set up to have the ceremony indoors as well as outdoors, only making the final decision half an hour before we were due to start).
Simple And Elegant
I wanted to keep my overall look simple and elegant – I had really good advice that your wedding day should be an extension of yourself and your style so I avoided going for a whole new look.
I did however spend a small fortune on beauty treatments but it meant that on that day I felt really good – it was really well worth it.
I found a local make-up artist and was due to have my trial the day before. We were really short on time and ended up cancelling the trial – so I was a little nervous on the day that I hadn’t had the chance to test my make-up look. Luckily Justine was so experienced and calm – and got it perfect on the day.
A friend very kindly helped me with my hair – as the wedding was in the countryside I wanted it natural and loose.
I had quite a journey trying to find the perfect wedding dress. From trying on dresses in NYC, Stockholm, Paris and just about every boutique in London to spending days searching on-line to no avail. Eventually I spotted a couture dress that matched my idea and decided to have it made – which was disastrous and a very expensive exercise, leaving me dress-less, tearful and very stressed three weeks before the wedding!
Cue: Amanda Wakeley. Who I swear not only saved the day but the wedding itself!
I called them up in tears – they let me come over immediately, popped a glass of prosecco in my hand to calm the nerves and pulled out a range of beautiful dresses they had in stock. I picked the one that fitted best. At this point I was just desperate to have anything to wear. I was by no means a fussy bridezilla but I spent so long looking for something that I would feel like a bride in and that also suited me. I really believe that at the end of the day the dress chose me – it was absolutely perfect! I am still so grateful to the team at A.W.
I wore my grandmothers’ rings – in remembrance of them – and earrings from my mother that were given to her on the day I was born.
The groom had it easy (thanks to some good planning he says) and wore a blue grey suit from Reiss personal tailoring (a really great, quality service), a white shirt by Hentsch Man, tan brogues from Grenson and a knitted silk tie and pocket square, both by Lanvin.
We wanted to avoid the tradition of bridesmaids and instead recruited a number of close friends to support us on the day. We didn’t want to put them all in the same dress as we wanted each to wear something that was their own style. They chose brilliantly and (I’m sure not by luck) looked fantastic as a group.
A Strong Brand
Having a bride who also happens to be a creative director certainly had its benefits. On the day it was noted that our wedding was more heavily branded than the Olympics (I think it was the customised black pencils (produced by Steve at Grove Promotions) with a gold foil stamped HarperHay logo that prompted that remark).
The colour scheme was black, off-white, gold and nude and all decorations were assembled over the course of several months, piece by piece. From my aunt Sue hand-sewing the runners from her house in Pretoria, to my mom spending far too many early mornings down at Covent Garden flower market buying vases, candles and twigs (with some flowers thrown in for good measure).
I dread to think how much time we spent planning, making mood boards, buying big cardboard letters and then gilding them at home and ordering coloured straws and string from the internet… it was all worth it though as we couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out.
I had a moodboard for every aspect of the wedding – this really helped giving guidance to suppliers. Katie was absolutely brilliant in translating what I wanted and worked tirelessly for two days to get the arrangements and bouquets done. My mother and aunt got stuck in too and the end result was fantastic. I went for a simple bouquet of white tulips. My mother is also a guru with decorations, designing and hand-making the wreaths that hung in the barn – it was the perfect finishing touch.
Short And Sweet
We very deliberately kept the ceremony short and sweet, with no readings, poems, songs or personalised vows. Our guests assembled in the glade outside while the groom prayed to a god he doesn’t believe in for the dark clouds on the horizon to stay just where they were. The Gloucestershire registrar was really wonderful when explaining and introducing the formal parts of the ceremony and it all seemed to whizz by in a flash.
Our favourite moment was almost certainly the sun coming out of nowhere just as we said ‘I do’, kissed and sat down to sign the register, though being surrounded by eager amateur paparazzi as we sat down was more than a little disconcerting.
Top Shelf Jazz
We spent a lot of time trying to decide whether to have a band or not and almost left the decision too late. We went for one in the end as we wanted a focal point once the meal was over to stop everyone drifting for hours and to keep some momentum in the day. There’s nothing worse than a party petering out when everyone has a full stomach.
Not one for traditional wedding bands, we were lucky to hire a slightly risqué outfit who go by the name of Top Shelf Jazz to get everyone moving and shaking. It worked.
After the band, the wonderful Sacha Dieu slaved late into the night playing a mixture of Jazz, blues and a few of our own selections. There was a small hiatus when we got the whole party to mimic Derrick Tuggle’s rather unique moves to The Black Keys’ Lonely Boy (we’d already set everyone the homework of brushing up on the dance in our invites) and once that was done everyone danced late into the night!
We had an informal dinner…
We wanted the dinner itself to be informal: bench seating with no seating plan (apart from a table reserved for the bride, groom and close family), no ‘courses’ (per se) and no silver service. Luckily for us, the venue’s own catering team specialises in this kind of food so we had huge sharing platters of mediterranean antipasti (from prosciutto and melon to marinated peppers, olives, bread and various other delicious nibbles).
For our ‘main’ we had some beautiful local lamb, cooked over the on-site barbeque and served with roast potatoes and salad — each platter came with carving implements so everyone could decide the size of their own portion. Desert came in the form of pavlovas the size of briefcases to be shared amongst the tables. It was a simple and absolutely delicious meal.
Again avoiding tradition we decided not to have a wedding cake but my parents surprised us with a copy of our wedding logo in the form of a cake! We were so thrilled and enjoyed something a bit unusual. Jordan’s mum kindly made her delicious shortbread biscuits – which are a favourite of ours – served with coffee – those personal touches helped to make the day so special.
It was difficult to restrain on stationery but as the day job is time consuming it was a bit of a task getting time to do bits for the wedding. I think we had a good balance of not going overboard while being playful in what we had time to do. I had great fun indulging in designing our invitations. Our pom-pom installation was the highlight and a great centerpiece to the reception room.
Invest In Your Suppliers
Do make sure you have good suppliers – it’s sometimes worth paying that little bit extra to ensure that you get what you want.
Our photographer can’t come with enough recommendations – I normally hate being photographed but Ed made us feel so relaxed and didn’t intrude at all on the day. The photos are our biggest reward from the day and captured just how it was.
We were very lucky to be surrounded by family and friends that helped us achieve our perfect day. Do take the time and effort to make the details personal to you as a couple and do things the way you want to be and not to fit expectations. Everyone commented on how our wedding was so unique to us and a perfect and happy celebration of who we are as a couple and after all that really is what it’s all about – celebrating the union of two people making a life-time promise in front of the people they love and care about.
Venue – Cripps Barn
Dress – Amanda Wakeley
Make-up – Pink Gloss
Florals – firstname.lastname@example.org
Cake – Cake Rush
Jazz Band – Top Shelf Jazz
DJ – Sasha Dieu
Photography – Ed Peers Photography
That picture of Jordan carrying Liz off into the sunset…I know, you die too right?
All my love Lolly xxx