It’s Friday so it’s only right that we bring you a wedding that is going to fill you will inspiration so you can spend your weekend head to toe in fabric, glue, paper and sticky tape.
Abbie and Jon’s Oxford wedding is an absolute DIY dream. They had a small list of everything their wedding should be; their closest family and friends, wintertime, home crafted creative elements, involving their families talents, charitable element, local or independent suppliers, contemporary look, no top tables or things they should have ‘because it’s a wedding’ and personalised to them. And boy can they put big fat green ticks next to all of those things.
They married in beautiful Oxford Town Hall with a reeption held at the Jam Factory.
Here’s Abbie to tell you more…
Abbie The Bride: After our ceremony and after our photos outside we rejoined our guests to make the 10 minute walk through Oxford city centre on a busy Saturday afternoon to our reception venue. Many guests said this was their favourite part of the day as it was such fun walking with 100 people, passers by were congratulating us and buses hooted their horns!
The reception was held at the Jam Factory which is a Gallery/Restaurant/Bar in a converted old marmalade factory. We cannot rate the Jam Factory highly enough, they were AWESOME. The building is totally unique, it has fantastic art exhibitions and all the staff are incredibly friendly. Finding the venue was the hardest part for us, it took us 5 months to find somewhere that really reflected our personalities, wasn’t an impersonal wedding package deal and was a great indoor venue as it was winter. We were so relieved to find the Jam Factory and Oxford Town Hall.
Mother And Daughter Time
My mum’s friend Alice is a freelance makeup artist and I was thrilled with the incredible job she did on the day. To be honest, at first I thought I would do my own but was so glad that my mum encouraged me to contact Alice as her professional work lasted all day and I would have been too nervous on the morning to do it. She also did my hair and recommended another hairdresser to do my 4 bridesmaid’s hair, which was great as Alice and I didn’t have to rush on the day. Two days beforehand, my mum took me to have gel nails applied at Hartwell House Spa which was wonderful as the nails looked amazing and don’t chip and we had some special mother and daughter time.
17 Tiny Buttons
My dress was purchased about a week after we got engaged; I saw it in the window and knew it was the one even though it was 4 sizes too big! It was a Mori Lee dress by Madeline Gardner from Adore Bridal in Buckinghamshire. My dressmaker, also a friend of the family, took it in and cut off the train as I didn’t want a dress I was tripping over. The most unique part of the dress was the lace top that my Gran created for me using a pattern from a Scottish company, Bridal Covered Buttons. It took 4 fittings to get it perfect and had 17 tiny buttons sewn up the back, it is incredibly beautiful and I will treasure it forever.
Jon knew he wanted a grey three piece suit, which had to be slim fit and look very special! He found the perfect one with a distinctive check from River Island and looked incredibly handsome on the day. His grey striped skinny tie was from Asos, as were his brown brogues. His shirt was the hardest to find as he wanted a skinny fit with double cuff sleeves, eventually we found the perfect one in Moss Bespoke.
My incredibly multi-talented mum made my veil using netting from John Lewis and an online tutorial. My shoes were from Dune; I didn’t want ‘wedding shoes’ and even wore them in at a friend’s wedding a few months before! The only jewellery I wore was my engagement ring and a stunning pair of diamond solitaire earrings that my parents had given me for the wedding. Jon had bought my engagement ring in San Francisco and it is 14k gold, so to complement it he had a custom made ring produced by American Etsy makers Titanium Knights. His ring was 5mm brushed titanium with a 1/2mm band of 14k gold through it. Jon’s silver cufflinks were my Christmas present to him, personalised with our wedding date, they were bought from JoJo jewellery.
Maids And Men
RMW was a constant source of inspiration for us throughout our planning and was a super help with the wedding party attire. For the bridesmaids we wanted them to look gorgeous but not ‘bridesmaidy’. We found navy lace dresses by A-Wear on ASOS after seeing lots of great winter weddings with navy on RMW. We wanted the ushers to have a contemporary look so we got them each a navy tie from Next and white pocket square from Topman and they wore their own grey suits. With the finishing touch of a fabric flower button hole with pine cone details (all lovingly made by my mum), they had an identity as ushers but still looked like themselves.
A Winter Wonderland
We didn’t want a ‘colour’ but we did want to create a winter wonderland theme and atmosphere in everything from the invites to the venue. We complied a scrapbook of ideas and decided white, pale grey, navy, white glitter, cut glass, candles and snowflakes where the key elements for the winter wonderland look. This helped keep everything wintry, contemporary and sophisticated.
Tea And Cake Goes A Long Way
Jon has bad allergies to flower pollen and I love crafting, so the idea of paper and fabric bouquets was perfect. The flowers for my bouquet, the bridesmaid’s posies and miniature table posies were all handmade by an awesome team of our family and friends (who had been coerced with tea and cake to give up a day of their time!). I then took the blooms made from vintage sewing patterns, paper doilies, tissue paper, tulle and white cotton and arranged the bouquets, tying the stems with ribbon and attaching handwritten notes for the girls. The day before the wedding my maid of honour and I made the table flowers into tiny posies and put into vases. It was a wonderful process as it involved so many family and friends. I had so many compliments about my bouquet that I am now starting selling them on Etsy under PaperDesignStudio.
I Join My Life With Yours Today
Our ceremony was non-religious and we wanted to ensure it was very personal and individual to us. Our vows were humanist vows that we read out to each other. ‘I join my life with yours today without hesitation and with an open and trusting heart. Whatever we may encounter, let us encounter it together. Take this ring and with it my commitment to be the best Wife/Husband I can be.’
We had two readings, Jon’s dad Ivor read an adaptation of ‘Marriage Joins Two People’ by Edmund O’Neill. After the exchanging of vows my brother Robert read ‘Oh The Places You’ll Go’ by Dr. Seuss, a favourite author of ours when we were younger. Jon’s aunty Christine is a professional violinist and we were extremely lucky that she performed two pieces for us: Partita No. 3 in E major BWV 1006, Gavotte en Rondeau and Loure by Bach. I walked down the aisle to the second piece.
Time After Time
The Jam Factory was the most fantastic reception venue; it had an amazing atmosphere, unique quirky details and heaps of personality. They worked incredibly hard to ensure our day was smooth, well organised and relaxed. We specifically requested one long banquet table that we sat at with our guests as we didn’t want a top table, and the guests were on two additional banquet tables. We had linen tablecloths and napkins and hired chairs in from local company, BHK rentals as we wanted a more vintage look than the Jam Factory’s chairs.
Our band were called the Paramounts and are a local 3 piece band who we booked through Function Central about 2 weeks before the wedding! They were absolutely fantastic, young and played a great mix of music that had everyone from our Grandmothers to Jon’s 3 year cousin Doris dancing. Prior to them coming on, Jon’s brother Will played guitar and his sister Libby sang Eva Cassidy’s version of ‘Time after time’ which was absolutely beautiful (and brought many a tear to people’s eyes), and then his other sister Ellie joined them for a surprise rendition of ‘Marry you’ by Bruno Mars which was fantastic!
A Talented Baker
The Jam Factory had a great online ordering system which meant we had a ‘wedding menu’ of 3 choices of main and 3 choices of dessert that each guest could choose from. We chose each item on the menu, including the wines, and the Jam Factory even agreed to make my Gran’s fish pie recipe, which many guests loved! The children’s menu was just smaller portions rather than ‘kid’s food’. We loved the fact that we didn’t have any packages and the Jam Factory were so flexible and accommodating.
Our wedding cake was a homemade masterpiece by Jon’s youngest sister Libby who is an amazing baker (and she’s only 16). Libby created a two tier red velvet cake with royal icing, decorated with glittery royal icing snowflakes and bride and groom toppers. When cutting the cake we made it an event by giving each guest a sparkler and lighting them all together, it was such a wonderful moment.
We have a few charities close to our hearts and we were very happy when we found Cancer Research had a silver snowflake pin badge. I bought out the supplies of our nearby charity shops then Jon and I attached a little typewritten thank you note to each one with b&w twine. For the children we gave them each a pot of bubbles.
I am obsessed with stationery and packaging, so designing the invites was really important and fun for me! I collected lots of inspiration and played with ideas for a long time. For the final design I sourced opaque vellum envelopes and b&w twine from the internet, made a little envelope from tracing paper which was filled with confetti and my mum drew by hand a map of Oxford for the back of the details. The invite and RSVP postcard were printed at a printers on A6 thick pale grey card stock and I used a typewriter font for a slightly vintage feel. As always many of my family and friends helped with the many hours it took to put them altogether!
Jon and I made the table plan together the night before we went to the hotel, and although it was a bit last minute we already had all the snowflakes, card and glitter prepared and used the same style as the invites. So many other details were made by us too. My mum created our beautiful card box for us, using vintage prints of the Town Hall and Jam Factory buildings and a chalkboard label. I designed the Order of Service. The name cards on the table were printed for us by the Jam Factory using the
typewriter font on white card. We had a guest book from Paperchase that we decorated with Polaroid’s of us and a chalkboard label. The Polaroid camera was put out for guests to take a snap of themselves and then write us a message. This was a HUGE success of the day, our guests loved it! It made our guestbook an instant scrapbook of our friends and family, and a lot of people snapped another Polaroid to take home as well.
The Best Advice I Can Give
1. We all have friends and family with talents, so ask them if they will make, bake, craft, design, organise or perform and you will create a truly personal wedding day. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, but know who can give you constructive advice.
2. Plan plan plan beforehand (we had lists coming out our ears), then on the day just sit back and go with the flow. Utilise your wedding party on the day, our bridesmaids and ushers all had particular jobs which meant they were involved and took away the stress from us. Our best man Will and maid of honour Lise were incredible and we honestly didn’t worry about a thing on the day itself.
3. Our final piece of advice would be to stay true to your vision, and try not to listen to any criticism and negative comments. You will regret it if you do not have the day you envisage and we were so glad that we stuck to what we wanted. Go with your gut instinct and stick to your guns!
4. Consider your photographer carefully. Rhys was amesone on the day and soooo many of our guests said how relaxed and
friendly he was. We honestly have no idea how he captured so many amazing shots as most of the time we weren’t even aware he was there, he just fitted in so well and captured wonderful spontaneous memories for us.
How perfect is Abbie’s dress for her?
I think she gives some great advice for all of you planning your days as well. Abbie and Jon totally stuck to their guns and the result was a super gorgeous day and a beautiful colour palette. Perfect for a winter wedding.
Did you spot Abbie’s nails? I love the white nail look. Super chic.
Also how incredible does Jon’s suit look? It just goes to show that if the suit fits right, it doesn’t need to come from a bespoke tailor to have a fabulous effect.
Gorgeous day, gorgeous venues, gorgeous couple.
P.s. Anyone else think Abbie is a little bit Anna Friel?? Totally jealous.