This morning’s wedding is like a breath of fresh air. Pretty pastels, a bright white airy venue, crisp apple green details, a gorgeous group of maids and one very beautiful Bride.
Emma was one very lucky Bride too – she got to wear two gowns. For the ceremony, she wore a demure lace Augusta Jones dress with sweet cap sleeves and a sweeping train.
Then for the evening, Emma switched to a sequinned Jenny Packham gown comfortable enough to dance the night away in.
And if you’ve never come across stunning venue Aynhoe Park before then you’re in for a treat. It’s definitely a wedding venue with a difference…a supremely elegant 17th Century Palladian house sitting in 250 acres of Capability Brown gardens and on the inside…well, I’m not sure you’ll find a unicorn, a floating giraffe and a polar in aviation goggles anywhere else!
Emma the Bride:I wasn’t really expecting the belated birthday surprise Andrew had lined up for me while we watched the sun set on holiday in Mexico. Despite Andrew getting down on one knee and declaring his love, I was convinced it was a joke and started to walk away. It wasn’t until he hastily pulled out a beautiful engagement ring that I realised he was genuinely proposing!
We quickly started looking at venues on our return but struggled to find a venue we both loved where we could throw an amazing party for our family and friends to celebrate getting married. After visiting approximately 24 venues (most of which during heavy snow), we were about to book a venue in Northamptonshire when Andrew stumbled upon a blog that mentioned Aynhoe Park. It ticked all of our boxes: not a hotel (check), unique (we got married next to a rocking-horse zebra and unicorn) and filled to the brim with things (and local residents) to entertain our guests guaranteed that the day would definitely be one to remember.
As the wedding was being held at the start of the Easter weekend, we decided to go with a pastel colour scheme. After searching for a bridesmaid dress that all of the bridesmaids were happy with, we settled on a pale pink maxi dress from Ted Baker. As my sister was giving me away, she wore a pale mint dress from Coast to compliment the other girls. They all looked truly stunning.
I had no idea what I wanted from a wedding dress until I visited Morgan Davies in Islington. After a few average attempts at choosing a dress, the assistant asked if I would let her pick one. Despite thinking the dress she chose looked hideous on the hanger; I was amazed to find that I loved it. It was a figure hugging mermaid lace dress by Augusta Jones with capped sleeves and a scalloped v back.
As my dress was fitted and I wanted to be able to dance and move around in the evening, I decided to wear a stunning Jenny Packham dress for my first dance and the evening celebrations. I loved having the two very different dresses and, must confess, was grateful that I had a looser dress for the evening to look forward to!
After seeing Kristina Gasperas’ phenomenal before and after pictures on her website, I quickly booked myself in for a makeup trial. Kristina instantly put me at ease and also recommended the lovely Kasia Fortuna to help with my hair on the day.
Kristina and Kasia (along with their helpers) were stars on the morning of the wedding sorting makeup and hair for five bridesmaids, both mothers, as well as me, and keeping me calm. I unfortunately had an allergic reaction the week before the wedding, which resulted in me having a massive breakout of spots. Despite not feeling particularly glowy before Kristina and Kasia worked their magic, I was amazed at how beautiful I looked, which I cannot thank them both enough for.
We met our florist, Emma Remington, at a wedding fair. Emma was friendly and a pleasure to work with from the start and instantly put Andrew and my minds at rest. As the venue was already decorated, we decided to keep the flower decorations simple and elegant. Emma also kindly created and decorated a beautiful wishing tree for us for guests to leave messages on.
Becky Jenkins was a friend of Andrew’s Mum and, after seeing pictures of the amazing cakes she had made with their spectacular sugar icing designs, we decided to ask if she would be kind enough to make our wedding cake.
Although we were convinced that no one would eat the cake at the wedding (especially as neither of us had ever had any at weddings we had attended), on advice from our family, we ordered a 4 tier wedding cake. After months of pinning potential cake options on Pinterest, Andrew and I opted for a simple and elegant pale mint green cake, with antique gold ribbon edging and a single peach flower on top. It was beautiful and, to our complete surprise, completely devoured by our guests by the end of the night.
Our caterer, Indulgence, were life saviours and helped us during every part of the planning process from menu choices to tastings to potential room set ups to answering questions from suppliers that I had no idea about.
After champagne and canapés, we were treated to a three course wedding breakfast of mozzarella and char-grilled Mediterranean vegetables, Oxfordshire lamb and a dark chocolate and raspberry marquise for desert, washed down with an espresso martini. To ensure that our guests had enough energy to dance the night away, we served delicious homemade burgers and chips in the evening and also offered cheese and biscuits (with a decanter or two of port).
The Palatine String Quartet entertained guests before and after the wedding ceremony with a mix of classical and modern music, which we received compliments about throughout the day. The CoverUp Band got the party going in the evening and sounded phenomenal when they came in half way through our first dance (Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together). Mission Events provided amazing lighting and kindly agreed to DJ, keeping us all dancing until the early hours.
We were lucky enough to have Lucy Davenport join us as our photographer on the day. Our wedding was filled with laughter (and a few tears) from start to finish and Lucy captured every moment, providing us with some wonderful pictures to reminisce over in years to come. Despite not being the most comfortable person in front of the camera, I often didn’t notice Lucy and her camera, which is a real tribute to her.
We must also say a special thank you to Aynhoe Park itself. Ross, Enrique and Charles the butler (to name but a few) looked after us from the moment we arrived and made sure our wedding day, for us and our friends and family, was one to remember.