It’s time to snuggle around the fire for this beautiful Winter wedding at Cripps Barn Cotswolds wedding venue. Beautifully filled with candlelight, foliage and a little sprinkling of snow. Dare I say it, it’s making us feel a little festive! Adding to the decor and ambience are the fabulous Wonderland Invites in house wedding stationery designs, plus hundreds of twinkly fairy lights.
Bringing the heat is Allison and Huw in their stylish wedding attire. Allison looks exquisite in a beaded lace Annsual Y Violet gown, and Huw looks oh so dapper in Suit Supply and a double breast waistcoat. Together they have made Alexandra Jane Photography‘s job at capturing all the love a dream.
Allison the Bride: Huw and I dated for two years before he proposed whilst we were on holiday in Bali. He worked with our close friend, Sarah May Marshall-Knight to design my dream ring! He had quite the experience getting to grips with the 4 C’s but was in the best hands, Sarah May was recently awarded Most Innovative Engagement Ring Provider by LUX.com
Annasul Y Violet Beaded Lace Bridal Gown
I was very quickly drawn to Lusan Mandongus. His work is so feminine with lots of intricate beading and lace. I also loved how light his dresses fitted, I didn’t feel two sizes bigger with wads of material around me!
My experience with some of the bridal stores in London left a lot to be desired and so I went further afield to find a stockiest, eventually arriving at the door of The Secret Dress House in Reigate. The store itself is every girly-girl’s dream, sooo many beautiful dresses, and to match, the most warm and genuine customer service from owner Kelly and assistant Margaret. I never wanted a strapless dress, but once I tried on Lusan’s Annasul Y Violet, I did not want to take it off! I loved the silhouette, the beading and the structure of the hem.
The ladies at the SDH introduced me to Delphine Sooben and Felicity Westmacott and together we worked on designing a jacket to be worn over the dress. Delphine, having previously worked for fashion house Ralph and Russo and Felicity’s incredible eye for detail and expert stitching skills created a stunning outcome. I loved the process of creating something bespoke.
I wore a silk cathedral length veil and a dear friend gifted me a gorgeous hair piece from Halo & Co. Since I knew our reception would include a Scottish ceilidh I searched for a long while to find the perfect heel, I figured a platform would be the most sensible but I didn’t want something too chunky… I literally found my 10 out of 10 from I am Florence having stumbled across them on Instagram.
Suit Supply Grooms Attire
I left it with Huw to put together his and the groomsmen’s suits. I hadn’t a clue what he would be wearing which created an equally special moment for me to see him standing at the end of the aisle, I thought he looked incredibly handsome! Huw’s suit was from Suit Supply which he paired with a bespoke double-breasted waistcoat from Beverley at Intweed.co.uk and oxblood Oliver Sweeney brogues.
Cripps Barn Cotswold Wedding Venue
After getting engaged in November, we started looking for venues in early January. We knew we didn’t want anything too formal and Huw was especially adamant that he did not want chicken supreme to feature on the menu! It surprised us to find that most venues were already fully booked and realized if we wanted to get married within the year, we’d be looking at a winter date. When we visited Cripps Barn we knew instantly it was the one, it appealed to a winter wedding with its big fire place and their feast style BBQ menu sealed the deal for Huw!
Flowers, Décor & Styling
Even before seeing Cripps, I had it in my head that I would hang foliage and lanterns from the beams, creating an almost upside-down effect versus elaborate center-pieces. When I met Beth at Go Wild Flowers and talked through the type of décor I was imagining she described it as a ‘whimsical woodland’ theme and she absolutely nailed the delivery! We used grey table cloths to create a contrast with the foliage runners as I figured in the evening it would create more warmth than keeping the tables bare or using white ones. We decided on trestle tables for our table layout to keep things informal – this was one aspect I was a little apprehensive about but actually, it created a real closeness, family feel to our wedding breakfast. In the evening with all the hanging lanterns lit, the fairy lights on and the fire place crackling away the whole atmosphere felt truly magical.
Huw’s sister created a cute sweetie table, complete with all our favorite sweets and using crystal bowls that had been passed down through Huw’s family for many years. We’d seen a marriage advice book in the window of an Oxfam shop one day and so got the idea to buy a few and set them out on the table…our guests had a laugh flicking through those, especially the Haynes Marriage Manual!
Wonderland Invites Wedding Stationery
We got close to sending out a group email for our invites as having ordered countless invitation samples from Etsy and Not on the High Street, I couldn’t find anything that didn’t have a mass produced feel to it (Huw commented on one that he thought it looked like a Revolution bar menu!!)…I found Jenna, at Wonderland Invites through the RMW directory, her Boho Shield stationery set was a perfect match for our ‘whimsical woodland’ theme.
The Wedding Party Fashion
We included our god-children as part of our bridal party and boy did they steal the show with their cuteness!! Things got a little tricky with the four of them, and my maid of honour all living internationally between Houston and Amsterdam but somehow it all came together in terms of their outfits! Sarah’s dress was from Adrianna Papell and the flowergirl dresses were from BHLDN. The pageboy suits were from M&S and matching bow-ties from intweed.co.uk.
The ceremony was by far the most favourite part of our day. I could have lived without having the speeches and cake cutting and first dance, walking down the aisle towards Huw, with my Dad beside me is a moment I will never forget. We included two readings in our ceremony, Bob Marley’s He’s Not Perfect and Union by Robert Fulghum. Our celebrant concluded our ceremony with the most touching final words;
Before I pronounce you married partners, I have just one more thing I want you to do. Your wedding day is one that seems to fly. It’s a day filled with emotion, friends, rings and dances. Many people here will remember how fleeting their own wedding day was. So I want you, all of you, to take a few seconds to look in to each other’s eyes and think about the happiness you’re feeling in this place, in this moment. Really let that feeling register in your heart and your mind. Now, I want you to think about your life together in the years to come. Where are you? What are you doing? We all know that your visions of the future are not identical but always complimentary. John Lennon once said “A dream you dream alone is only a dream; a dream you dream together, that is reality”. That new reality starts now for Allison & Huw.
Not really being a string quartet kind of couple we were finding it difficult to find a musical option for the ceremony and reception. By chance we caught the Lone Pepper Duo (#lonepepperduo) playing at a friend’s bar in Putney and immediately asked if they would play at the wedding. Alejandro went above and beyond learning acoustic songs for the ceremony, including the whole of Pachelbel’s Cannon for the bridal entrance!
We included a ceilidh to kick off the evening party and to get everyone on the dancefloor. Rollercoaster did a great job of teaching a willing but technically limited (mostly English!) crowd the moves required to get the party started and morphed seamlessly into a contemporary band, keeping everyone dancing until the small hours.
We hired a caricaturist from Magical Moments who did fantastic portraits of our guests as favours, the one he did of the two of us is already framed in the house!
Alex was our first-choice photographer from the moment we found her website. She creates such beautiful organic tones in her images. Like a lot of other people, we are not camera cool but were instantly at ease in front of Alex, as she cooed and ahh’d at each shot, we relaxed and felt like ourselves which really shows through her work.
If you can dare let go of some control, leaving some of the details to your hubby-to-be to surprise you on the day adds to the magic! Although we were especially lucky with the weather, having a Winter wedding took the stress out of worrying whether it would rain or not – we would encourage more couples to consider a Winter wedding to take this concern out of the equation.