Olivia and Ross opted for a classic real wedding with a personal twist at their summer garden celebration, choosing her family home in Berkshire for a magical
sun-filled gathering of friends
Photography: By Lumiere
Olivia and Ross knew from the moment they got engaged that the wedding had to take place at Olivia’s family home in Berkshire. A beautiful white-stuccoed house, it offered them both space and glorious landscapes. As Ross puts it: “It has always felt like it was built for a wedding”.
The couple’s main aim for the day was to make it feel true to them and their personalities, so every detail of the planning followed that blueprint. While a wedding at the bride’s home is traditional, there were some elements that set this apart. A good friend of the couple’s is a priest, and she agreed to hold a blessing in the garden, so Olivia and Ross planned a smaller legal ceremony at a register office with blessing service, main party and celebration the next day.
True to form, the couple chose simple with a twist when it came to the colour theme, using mostly traditional whites and green, with flashes of colour seen through the fabulous flowers, created by great family friend and Chelsea Gold Medal winner Paul Martin. The same use of colour was seen in the wedding stationery, including invitations, order of service and menus, all of which were created by James Piper of Kota Creative.
“The lakeside was the perfect setting – and it has been Olivia’s dream to have her wedding here since she was a little girl”
Olivia had the opportunity to wear not one but two glamorous wedding outfits. For her marriage service at the register office, she wore a glamorous and on-trend bridal pantsuit. The following day, she chose an elegant and timeless strapless gown, while her bridesmaids wore lovely soft pink strapless dresses.
The gardens, like bride and groom, looked radiant. Ross says: “This was the perfect setting for our dream day, where we were able to host the ceremony outside by the lake (thankfully the sun was shining!), followed by the reception, wedding breakfast and party – this location has been Olivia’s dream since she was a little girl,”
The choice of home turf, says Ross, meant they had scope to incorporate many special details, even though there were a few surprises in the mix. “We were able to tailor the service to include aspects that were personal to us, including our own vows and a generally interactive service, making it a truly unique moment.” The priest added a very personal element to the blessing, while the song sung beautifully by Olivia’s bridesmaids at the ceremony came as a wonderful surprise to the couple.
Every magical moment of the celebration was captured on film and video by By Lumiere. Olivia says: “We can’t thank Kate and Brent enough for their patience and for making us comfortable at both our legal ceremony and on the official day. They captured every emotion, moment and memory”. Their amazing photos included what she calls a “golden hour” – a series of magical and romantic portraits of the two of them captured in the gardens against the fading sun, a special time they will never forget.
After the romantic lakeside service, the party to end all parties began, located in a stunning marquee hired from Florey. Food throughout was created and served by Food Events. “Simon Rapkin and his team – especially Dani and Anne – were fantastic throughout and we knew from the first meeting they would be our caterers,” says Olivia. The party had lots of wonderfully quirky twists, including a wandering band that got everyone dancing at the reception.
“Ross and I stole five minutes away from everyone and stood looking back at the marquee where everyone we know and love was having an absolute ball!”
At any real wedding, it can be hard to set aside one moment, but for Olivia a high point was time away from the crowd. She says: “The party was in full swing and Ross and I stole five minutes away from everyone to digest the day (advice I had been given from a number of friends and family), and stood looking back at the marquee where the dance floor was overflowing and everyone we know and love was having an absolute ball!”
Ross adds: “For me, it was the realisation that everyone was there to celebrate with us, although seeing Olivia come down the aisle in her dress with her dad was right up there. I would also have to say the fact that it didn’t rain – bearing in mind we had endured five days of rain in the lead up to the big and thought we might have to action plan B for the ceremony!”
Their advice for other brides and grooms is to choose your photo and video crew wisely. Olivia says: “The day flies by and this is what you are left with, so it’s well worth time and investment to find the right people”. Both Olivia and Ross feel incredibly grateful to the whole team – friends, family and the wedding professionals – who pitched in and made the day such a wonderful and personal celebration. While Ross says his wife’s love of a spreadsheet helped them keep all the details of the day in order, Olivia adds that it’s important not to let small details overwhelm you: “As long as you are surrounded by the people you love and you both feel confident in yourselves – both the bride and groom – and you have an amazing team of bridesmaids and groomsmen to help run your day, it will be perfect!”
Olivia and Ross’s real wedding sourcebook
Photography & videography: Kate and Brent at By Lumiere; bylumiere.co.uk
Wedding floral design: Paul Martin Designs; paulmartindesigns.com
Catering and wedding staff: Food Events; foodevents.co.uk
Marquee: Florey Marquee Hire; florey.co.uk
Wedding stationery: James Piper at Kota Creative; kotacreative.co.uk