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In the picturesque Cotswolds region of England, where rolling hills meet quaint villages, a collaborative wedding editorial came to life in May 2023. This enchanting showcase of creative talents, set against the backdrop of the timeless Barnsley House, epitomised the charm and elegance of a quintessential English countryside wedding. Join us as we delve into the magic of this unforgettable shoot where magic was created. We hope you gain invaluable inspiration for your own English country garden wedding in the Cotswolds.

The Venue: Barnsley House, a Timeless Gem

Nestled amidst the lush greenery of the Cotswolds, Barnsley House is a breathtaking 17th-century manor that effortlessly marries tradition with modernity. Known for its magnificent gardens and luxurious accommodations, this venue was the perfect canvas for our styled shoot.

I just want to take a moment to send a heartfelt thanks to Emily Barbara who shot the day. It was Emily, who had been in touch as she wanted to combine a shoot into her trip to England. We chatted and met for the first time on the shoot day. Emily is a very special person and her photos are just works of art.

Floral Magic: A Garden in Full Bloom

Rebecca’s floral arrangements adorned every corner of the venue. From the lush, organic bouquet to the whimsical arches framing the ceremony, her work transported us to a garden in full bloom. Soft pink peonies, ivory roses, and wild greenery breathed life into the setting. A subtle mix of roses, ammi, peony, ranunculus, gypsophila, spray roses and carnations were used in both the installation and bouquet.

Whimsical Stationery

In crafting stationery for an English countryside wedding, Liv Laermann brought an exquisite touch that harmonised elegance with nature’s serenity. Embracing the lush surroundings, she envisioned green envelopes that served as an enchanting prelude to her masterful creation. With a stroke of artistry, watercolour inserts graced each envelope, evoking the picturesque landscapes of the countryside. Yet, it was Liv’s ingenious use of wabi-sabi design principles that truly transformed the stationery suite into a work of timeless beauty. Imperfectly perfect, each piece radiated a quiet charm, honoring the essence of nature’s subtle imperfections. Liv Laermann’s vision seamlessly merged tradition with artistry, encapsulating the very spirit of a countryside celebration.

The set included envelopes, envelope liner, fine art wax seals, twine, dark green chiffon and champagne silk using her ‘off the peg’ design Wabi Sabi.

Look One

The softest and most romantic look, using this Catherine Dean gown from 2000’s and styled to perfection by Sophie. Our model Danielle’s hair has been loosely put up by Charlotte Tillyer with natural makeup enhancing her features.

We couldn’t resist cutting some cow’s parsley from the garden and adding a floppy hat to these images!

Look Two

When a 1990s Caroline Castigliano raw silk skirt meets a 1980s silk beaded and pearl embellished top, expertly styled the the incredible Sophie from My Bridal Stylist.

Finished with the ‘Harper’ bridal crown from Rachel Sokhal. Adorned with opulent gold flowers and leaves, this statement crown oozes a beauty and significance all of its own.
Entirely hand sewn, this 3cm padded ivory velvet halo, has also been finished with the finest crystal and pearls for added luxury and romance.

The look was finished off with the ‘Simone’ earrings. The intricate design epitomises femininity and romance.

Look Three

An 1980s gem has been reworked to make it have a modern edge. The bow at the back and cut out detailing totally make this look. Coupled with the ‘Harper’ bridal crown and delicate earrings, this look was incredibly unique.

Look Four

This look was all about the cape. A modern take on the classic wedding train or even veil. This particular cape comes from Sophie’s collection from Savannah Miller Bridal. Beautifully crafted from delicate tulle, with chapel train, versatile large armholes and a pearl button fastening to the front. This was teamed with a simplistic slip dress.

The shoes worn throughout the shoots and across all four looks were the stunning ‘Micola’ champagne from the Freya Rose collection. With it’s closed toe suede and mother of pearl heel, the shoes set off each look perfectly.

The ‘Alyssa’ gold crystal bridal crown is an absolute delight to behold. Finished to perfection, with pretty detailing, it is the perfect choice for a bride who likes to sparkle, subtly.

This shoot was the most beautiful shoots I have ever been involved with. The team on the day absolutely made it so enjoyable and we hope you’re able to take lots of inspiration for your own English Countryside wedding.

The dream team: A symphony of creative talent

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Today on the journal, I’m absolutely delighted to have Ceri Gascoyne join us. As a professional poet, Ceri has the honour of crafting beautiful written word for life’s special moments. In this post, Ceri shares her top tips on the do’s and don’ts of speech writing for the modern couple. Writing a meaningful speech and then delivering to your guests is something that everyone will remember. Thank you so much!

The wedding speech normally takes place before or after the meal and traditionally the order has been father of the bride, groom, best man, then maybe other toasts. Things have moved on from this traditional order and these days it is true that really anything goes, ensuring inclusivity for all. It is becoming more popular for the bridesmaids or maid of honour to do a wedding speech and, bucking tradition, also the bride. This is the perfect opportunity to thank family and the bridal party and to give a female perspective on the day.

Wedding speech: Bride and Groom | Grittleton House Wiltshire | Kristin Sautter | Host Weddings & Events
Photography: Kristin Sautter

Before I give you my top tips to make the perfect speech, here are some common pitfalls to avoid. You may think ‘ha, not me, no way!’ but I can guarantee even the most trusted best man or bridesmaid has made these mistakes. Below are my top 5 wedding speech fails.

How did it go so wrong?


This is a bad idea and will most likely make you either forget your lines or slur your speech. It just spells disaster. My advice would be to have just one glass of champagne or a beer, but don’t keep going. Reach instead for some rescue remedy to quell the nerves.

Not practising enough

Rehearse so much you are bored of your own voice! You can do this on your voice-memo, or record a video on your phone, and change any bits you keep stumbling on. If you have a trusted friend or family member that can be your audience, this too is a good idea.

Waffling on and on

Which leads to going over on time and inevitably a boring speech. This is an awfully painful thing to watch. I remember seeing a best man struggle with this and it’s an avoidable car crash. It is often also the confident people who you think (and they definitely thought!) would do a great job. They haven’t practised, they are winging it but it’s just not going to plan. Jokes fall flat and the audience is nervously laughing but willing them to finish. All the while the groom is wondering why he asked this friend at all. The worst!

Wedding speech: Maid of Honour | Someset garden wedding | John Barwood | Host Weddings & Events
Photography: John Barwood

Not having notes to refer to

I don’t think there can be many people out there that would make a speech totally note-free. I personally think it looks good and gives the person delivering the speech something to wave around. A prop if you like. If you are nervous it definitely helps, and even if you have practised a great deal you just don’t know what might happen on the day and even the most well-rehearsed speeches have gone wrong when you lose the flow or miss a section. If you are thanking people especially, then notes and a list of people to thank is really, really important. You only get one shot!

Wedding speech: Groom | Hamswell House Bath | Camilla Arnhold | Host Weddings & Events
Photography: Camilla Arnhold

Knowing your audience

Again, I’ve been to a wedding where the groom thought he was at a football match. Not much to say here other than expletives and inappropriate jokes really are not welcomed by some people at a wedding, so proceed with caution. Sometimes a speech can be a tad sweary and to be fair by the time the speeches roll in the kids are either asleep under a table or if you’re lucky enough to have a crêche at the wedding, then off with a nanny. Also, some weddings are child free so if that’s the case and a bit of swearing adds to the comedic touch of your story that’s your call – just don’t overdo it. Not many people want Frankie Boyle making a wedding speech.

How to get the speech right

My best advice is do your research. Start by knowing who is speaking before you and who comes after. Make sure you are thanking the right people.

If you are the best man, get in touch with the groom’s mum, dad or siblings for some gentle light-hearted jokes. What did the groom excel at in school? Was he ever reprimanded and what for? School days are often a great source of fun, appealing to our youthful side. It goes without saying that you only choose a story that you know the recipient will also find amusing. Gone are the days when the speech is a pitiful roasting session. Remember, this day is all about them not you, so keep this at the forefront of your mind. If you and the groom go back a long way maybe you remember things about your childhood together that will bring touching humour to the speech. The same applies to the maid of honour or bridesmaids who might be writing about the bride.

I always start my speech off painting a picture of the recipient. I describe the things I love about them, what qualities they possess to make them a best friend. Sometimes I mention their successes at school, college or work. Sometimes I say what others love about them.

Wedding speech: Best Man | Hamswell House Bath | Camilla Arnhold | Host Weddings & Events
Photography: Camilla Arnhold

The speech, ideally, should be peppered with laughter, so try and get in up to three funny stories or anecdotes. If you are struggling with these, reach out to other friends, family or colleagues.

Finally, I always end my speeches with sentimental words. This is the moment where the audience will be reaching for the tissues because in life when else do we get to tell that person how much we love them? That in life they will always be your Ride or Die? That through thick and thin they have had your back no matter what. This is where you get to speak from the heart – it’s a really poignant and profound moment that can elevate your speech to one that goes down as the best speech ever.

For those who are not natural speech writers or confident in public speaking you can always seek professional help and guidance.
Companies like The Rhyming Stag and Autumn and Bloom specialise in helping people with their wedding speech. This totally takes the stress out of getting it right on the day. Using your words only, these speeches are 100% bespoke and delivered in rhyme.
A unique poem that will have the audience laughing and crying. Your speech will be remembered for all the right reasons.

“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.” R J Palacio

Wedding speech: Guests | Hamswell House Bath | Camilla Arnhold | Host Weddings & Events
Photography: Camilla Arnhold

To find out more about my wedding planning collections, head to my experience page here. I’d love to hear from you!

Cornwell Manor Cotswold Wedding Venue

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Cornwell Manor Cotswold Wedding Venue – what a delight!

On a rather drizzly Tuesday in June, I met with my good friend and talented fine art wedding photographer Kirstin Sautter. Kristin resides in Germany but happened to be enjoying a trip to the UK, so I was lucky to snatch a little time with her whilst she was visiting London. We excitedly planned a day of venue visits and of course lots of catching up thrown in! A Cornwell Manor Cotswold Wedding Venue Tour was meant to be….

We both agree that it’s so important to familiarise ourselves with wedding venues that share similar brand values to our own businesses so we can confidently recommend these magnificent and historically rich properties to our future clients. All the images you see here were captured beautifully by Kristin. You can take a look at her wedding photographer here. She’s quite simply an artist, capturing the beauty of heartfelt moments with such grace. I wholeheartedly recommend her wedding photography service.

Cornwell Manor, Cotswold wedding venue was the first of three venues (Barnsley House and Lucknam Park were also on the visit list – tours coming soon!) and my oh my, it did not disappoint! Look at the exterior shots – do you recognise it….? Yes, you guessed it, this charming Georgian property and its grounds feature in the 2006 romantic hit blockbuster “The Holiday” when Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Graham (Jude Law) take a walk in the ‘restaurant’ garden. How wonderful is that!


Cornwell Manor is probably one of the most romantic places in England to be married, and the bliss is you can have it exclusively to yourself. This exquisite Georgian fronted manor is a photographer’s dream, where every aspect is a delight, providing you with the perfect backdrop for your wedding and creating memories for a lifetime. It is available for exclusive hire for a minimum of 3 days over a weekend, between June and the end of September


Cornwell Manor and the surrounding privately owned hamlet is on a 2,000 acre estate located near Chipping Norton on the Oxfordshire-Gloucestershire borders. It is in one of the most beautiful areas of the Cotswolds, within easy reach of Heathrow, London and Oxford. It is on the doorstep of Daylesford Organic Farm Shop & Spa and Soho Farmhouse, and local festivals such as Wilderness Festival and The Big Feastival.

The History

The original Manor house, belonging to the Penyston family is Jacobean. Built on the proceeds of the once lucrative Cotswold wool trade. Probably a large farm house for the local land owner. In the late 17th century a Georgian façade was added to gentrify the house.

The House & Estate have been home to the Ward family since 1959, where Alexander grew up with his siblings Rachel, Tracy, Jeremy & Benjie, and is now the home of Alexander and his family.

The Inside

Cornwell Manor boasts accommodation for up to 24 people in 12 double bedrooms. The interior is so well appointed and charming. This is completely yours for a home-from-home experience for 3 nights. You either use a marquee or the ballroom for your reception depending on numbers and there’s even a pool to use on day 3 to round off the weekend!

Get in touch with the team

The team at Cornwell Manor are so warm and friendly and will do all they can to make your wedding planning an enjoyable experience. Do head to their website to find out more and to get in touch. Big thanks to Charlotte and Tori for accommodating us!

One of their stipulations (which I think is a very good one…) is that they only allow weddings that are run by a wedding planner – so if you LOVE the idea of getting married at Cornwell Manor Cotswold Wedding Venue then do get in touch and we can have a chat about how I can help turn your dream day into a reality right here.

Host Weddings & Events | 8 reasons why you should hire a wedding planner

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If I had a pound for every time a married couples says to me “We should have hired a wedding planner”. I ask them why and a whole host of reasons come to fruition but the main reason is because the couple felt that they couldn’t 100% enjoy that day. Hearing this makes me a little sad for them because, in my opinion, couples need to glide through their day, taking in every ounce of joy that comes their way. They do not need to be bothered by the details, just love, pure love and connection.

It’s common knowledge that planning a wedding is up there as one of life’s biggest (and potentially stressful) occasions. This is a life event that you’ve likely never planned before so, where on earth do you start? How do you do this? It can all feel a little overwhelming when all you want do is enjoy the process. Well, I’m here to tell you why hiring a wedding planner will be one of the best decisions you’ll make during your wedding planning journey.

So, if you’re at the beginning of your planning journey and you’re wondering whether to hire someone like me, chances are you’ll very much thank your future self!

Here are my 8 reasons why you should hire a wedding planner without question…..

They gift you time

Life is busier than ever. You’re juggling all the balls from work to homelife and all that’s inbetween, throw in planning the best day of your life and wow, your free time is starting to diminish before your eyes. Wedding planning can be super fun and exciting but who wants to plan 24/7? Well, that’s where a planner can jump in and rescue you! From everything from venue finding to supplier sourcing and ALL that falls inbetween – the relief to know you can free up your weekends and evenings again is magic. A little caveat to this….you will need to put in some hours as your planner will need you to make key decisions throughout the process and there will likely to be many emails flying back and forth.

They share their little white book of contacts

The wedding industry is a booming sector, with hundreds if not thousands of suppliers to choose from. It can feel a bit daunting to know where to even start on the shortlisting front.

Over the years I have worked with such an amazing bunch of wedding suppliers who all go above and beyond to make their couples day magical. I’ve seen first-hand the lengths they will go to ensure the lead up and day itself are truly wonderful, personal experiences and I have great pride in advising my couples who I feel would work well with them as individuals. There’s nothing better than a personal recommendation for your wedding a-team!

Planners will also work with your chosen suppliers on your behalf, scheduling in meetings, asking questions, obtaining information, scheduling payments and coordinating details so you don’t have to.

More often than not, planners will know the suppliers selected very well and will manage the team on the day to ensure an utterly smooth delivery, set up and execution.

If you live overseas and you’ve chosen a planner who covers the area you’re getting married in, this will be super helpful as they can be your eyes on the ground for sure.

They’ve got your back when tricky situations arise

It sounds cheesy but I call myself a ‘wedding friend’! On average I work with my couples for 12 months or more and in that time we really get to know each other and become firm friends.

Weddings can bring out the best and worst in people, it has to be said. I’ve seen it all. Most couples will experience tricky situations along the way. This is totally normal as emotions are heightened.

Ultimately as planners, we have your back. We’re happy to deal with awkward or challenging situations which could cause you undue stress or worry. We’re happy to be a friendly, listening ear when there’s been a family situation or be the middle person between you and a vendor.

We’re here to advise and guide through the good the bad and the ugly. Less of the latter we hope!

Olivia Riddiford | Wedding planner UK | Wedding planner England | South West Wedding Planner | Hire a wedding planner | English Countryside Weddings | UK wedding planner
Credit: Irina K Photography

Assistance with budgeting and scheduling

Two massive factors when planning a wedding and areas that planners are experts at organising.

I use a budget planner which I gift my clients so at every stage of the process you know where you stand, what’s due when and what (if any) funds are remaining.  I will also advise on the most important elements, how you can rebalance your budget to suit your needs and suggest alternatives if need be. 

I also help you to understand the timings and logistics of the day so you can completely visualise your guests experience and how the wedding will flow from start to finish.  All packaged into a neat scheduling document which is fully editable right up until a few weeks before the special occasion. 

Provide ideas and take on your vision to make it a reality

Chances are a wedding planner will provide you with ideas and solutions that haven’t even crossed your mind. From design elements to colour schemes, what’s possible and what really isn’t. Where to source items and how to make things work. They will be honest and tell you if something isn’t logically possible or not a sensible option. They will also help you to visualise the design elements by producing a design plan and sourcing list.

Help to reduce stress levels

Booking appointments, booking suppliers, researching, sorting payments – the list goes on.  Leaving these ‘wedmin’ jobs to your planner means you feel less overwhelmed and taken care of, every step of the way.  You can enjoy your engagement, knowing that everything is under control.

On the day they will deal with any eventuality discretely

At any event, things happen behind the scenes – it’s a normal occurrence and wedding planners are trained to have several contingency plans in place. They think on their feet and can literally get things done quickly and discreetly, that you and your guests are none the wiser on. I remember a countryside marquee wedding I was planning, the water source stopped so we had no fresh water. During the ceremony, I drove to the supermarket and picked up litres of still water to cover the rest of the day. The client had no idea I did this but I knew it was important and needed to be sorted. I love being that person to positively creates solutions that may crop up on the day.

Allow you to fully immerse yourself in the day and be truly present

All that planning leads to that one magical day, the day you’ve been dreaming about for so long. The biggest gift a planner can give you is your wedding day. By that I mean, they completely free you up so you can be utterly present and in the moment with your partner and your loved ones. This is the pièce de résistance, the icing on the cake (so to speak!).

The day goes by in a joyous flash, so each second is massively important. You won’t need to check in with suppliers, organise the caterers or answer questions. It’s all taken care of so you can relax and enjoy this incredible celebration filled with love and happiness.

Olivia Riddiford | Wedding planner UK | Wedding planner England | South West Wedding Planner | Hire a wedding planner | English Countryside Weddings | UK wedding planner
Credit: The Springles

That all sounds pretty dreamy right?! Don’t be one of those married couples who wished they’d brought in help, bring on board a planner early on to ensure your day goes without a hitch.

I offer a free wedding planning discovery call to help you make that decision. I’d love to hear about your love story and initial wedding plans. Get in touch here.

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So you’re engaged! Let me extend my heartfelt congratulations. This is just wonderful news and what an exciting time for you both. This really is such a special chapter in both of your lives and one that should be celebrated and cherished as much as possible.

I know what you’re thinking though – but what now?! The wedding world can be an overwhelming place to be with thousands or venues and suppliers to choose from. I mean, where the heck do you start?

Recently engaged? Here’s 6 steps to start planning your dream wedding:

Enjoy the moment

You’re still pinching yourself following on from your dreamy engagement and constantly staring at the new bling that sits on your left hand. It’s just so sparkly! It’s important to enjoy this time, it’s a huge life event! Give yourself both time to digest the occasion. Go on some date nights, celebrate with friends and family, organise an engagement party or engagement shoot if you’d like to. If your ring is a little on the large/small size, do arrange to have it altered as soon as possible.

Engagement | Engagement ring | Recently engaged | Thornbury Castle | Dream wedding | Wedding planning | UK destination wedding | UK wedding planner | UK Wedding | English Countryside Wedding | Cotswold Wedding Planner | South West England | Wedding Planning Tips | Cristina Ilao Photography
Photograph by Cristina Ilao

Money, Money, Money

Granted not the most riveting of subjects when you’re day dreaming of that Suzanne Neville gown but a very important consideration nonetheless – the budget.

Without finances to support a wedding, there is no wedding. End of story. So one of the first things you need to do is have some honest conversations together and with anyone else who is keen to contribute to your nuptials. Perhaps family members would like to pay for certain aspects such as a band or catering, or they may wish to gift you a sum to put towards the final costs.

Knowing what you have to work with is going to be incredibly useful when sourcing and selecting your suppliers (or wedding A-team as I like to call them!).

Set a date

…or roughly earmark a date! Start thinking about when you are likely to tie the knot. Will it be this year, next or even in two years time? Considerations such as budget, family events and supplier availability will play a part here. Don’t forget to consider bank holidays, sporting fixtures and large family celebrations. Even if you’re super flexible, narrowing down to a season and day of the week will help venues and suppliers search for availability. Venues and suppliers will generally need to know a date (or indication of when to check availability)

Engagement | Engagement ring | Recently engaged | Thornbury Castle | Dream wedding | Wedding planning | UK destination wedding | UK wedding planner | UK Wedding | English Countryside Wedding | Cotswold Wedding Planner | South West England | Wedding Planning Tips | Cristina Ilao Photography | Pink Wedding Stationery | Calligraphy stationery | Heirloom stationery | Caboodle Wedding Stationery
Photograph Cristina Ilao Stationery Caboodle Weddings

Define your ideal wedding

Do you dream of a relaxed English countryside wedding with a sprawling stately home as a backdrop? Or perhaps you’ve always envisaged a garden party in a big marquee in your parents garden. Do you want certain levels of formality and tradition or do you want a relaxed event focusing on the guest experience and connection?

Whatever it is you have in mind, there is no right or wrong answer. Your wedding, your way!

This will definitely help you narrow down the types of suppliers and venues to look into. Immerse yourself in wedding magazines, blogs and Pinterest to start figuring out the sort of wedding you’re after. Think about colours, style, dresses, who you will choose as your bridal party, locations etc.  Keep any inspiration you’ve found, useful contact numbers, blog posts, articles in one place. Write down any thoughts in a journal which you can keep and use throughout the process.

Write out a draft guest list

Perhaps one of the more challenging tasks (which can be honed and discussed at a later date). Start by writing a list of all your nearest and dearest friends and family. Literally everyone who you’d like to have with you on your special day. This will give you a maximum number to work from which can be tweaked based on budget and venues accordingly. This can be given to suppliers in order to check capacities and request quotations.

Hire a wedding planner

Ok shameless plug here but hear me out… Planning a wedding on average takes approximately 250+ hours – ask yourself – do you have that time? Or even the inclination? Perhaps planning a wedding is completely overwhelming you and you’d rather hand over to the pros? Or like Elizabeth and Joe, live abroad and needed “on the ground” assistance.

That’s ok and actually a sensible and smart investment. Wedding planners are professionals who are there to advise and guide, support and listen. We have such fantastic contacts and will know immediately who to contact for all elements of your day from the venue, florists, photographers, caterers and all that’s in between. Wedding planning can get overwhelming very quickly and pretty stressful too if you’re trying to juggle every day life as well. The amount of people I meet who say “I wish we’d hired a planner for our wedding” is astonishing. Hindsight is a wonderful thing! If you’re looking for kind, honest and organised support for your English countryside wedding, then please do get in touch today to set up a wedding planning discovery call.

If you don’t know where to begin and thinking about planning sends you into complete overwhelm, you might want to check out my 8 step online course The Online Wedding Planner.

All the best with planning your special day, I’d love to hear from you and ALL about your love story should you be looking for a planner to guide you through this special time.

Olivia x

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Back in August I had the pleasure in planning and concept designing “The English Rose”. This English Countryside Wedding inspiration, not only showcases the stunning and historical Thornbury Castle but also the full creative team of wedding suppliers involved.

The shoot took place in the midst of the August heatwave and although super hot, we were so grateful that the weather stayed dry for this mainly outdoor setup.

All images were expertly captured using a fine art aesthetic by the incredibly talented Cristina Ilao who we were so delighted to have as part of the team.

The Concept

The suppliers involved all specialise in or enjoy and have capacity to fulfill English Countryside weddings so the concept came from a deep love of nature and the surroundings we are so lucky to call home. Entitled “The English Rose” the shoot’s brief aimed to showcase the beautiful location of the castle and all that it offers along with the natural beauty of it’s formal gardens and grounds with the historical Tudor property as a backdrop.

Bridal Styling

Professional model Francesca looked stunning in the Wilden London “Emily” gown – An elegant and flirty off shoulder feather and petal gown, with a softly draped chiffon bodice, and gracefully falling chiffon skirt, with a thigh split. The petal detailing was perfect for the botanical and whimsical theming. To compliment the look, hair garlands and earrings from Hermione Harbutt’s sublime collection were worn. Finally shoes from Emmy London, looked elegant and finished off the look. Francesca’s hair was fixed in a relaxed, romantic half up, half down look styled by Tracy Pallari and make-up perfectly applied by Jessica Mills.


Becci and I decided we wanted a colour palette that was soft and delicate but also complimented the summer season. We opted for summer pastels including ivory, blush, peach and muted lilac using an array of summer flowers including garden roses, sweet peas, scabiosa and lisianthus.

The flowers were used in foam free floral arrangements on the tables, within a petite handheld bouquet with silk ribbon and a large arch installation within the pretty rose garden – very apt!

The Final Details

The whole look was set off beautifully with the addition of Lorraine from Caboodle Stationery’s stunning hand crafted paper goods including vow books, full invitation suite, guest book, menu and place names. Using a dusky pink which matched the linen knotted napkins from The Knotted Napkin Co which sat on the white cabbage charger plates from The Luxe Collection along with their Santorini glassware, delphine gold and white cutlery and glass candlesticks. Pale pink candles from Candle Flair and a neautral linen base from 88 events set the tone. The chairs were the limewash Louis from Allens Hire.

The Team

Venue – Thornbury Castle

Photographer – Cristina Ilao

Planner & Concept – Host Wedding and Events

Flowers – Bijoux Floral Design

Stationery – Caboodle Weddings

Bridal Dress – Wilden London

Shoes – Emmy London

MUA – Jessica Mills

Hair Stylist – Tracy Pallari

Accessories – Hermione Harbutt

Model – Francesca Cosh

Napkins – The Knotted Napkin Co

Table Linen – 88 Events

Tableware – The Luxe Collection

Chairs – Allens Hire

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Elizabeth and Joe’s English Countryside Wedding featured a regal Sareh Nouri gown, a medieval Cathedral, an English countryside manor, and a New Orleans style jazz band come together in a quintessentially British wedding with a touch of Southern American soul.

This American bride knew that if she was going to ask people to travel 4,000 miles to her groom’s home country, they’d better give guests the experience of a lifetime in a classically British setting — think Pride & Prejudice meets Downton Abbey meets Bridgerton. Lucky for us, Kristin Sautter Photography was there to capture every detail so that we can live vicariously through the full gallery. 

Elizabeth and Joe’s Transatlantic love story began with a serendipitous meeting whilst Elizabeth was studying abroad in the UK and Joe was staying with his med school rugby team in the same hostel as her. Fast forward to more than a decade of travelling the world, living in New Zealand, and then buying a home in North Carolina, it felt only fitting to bring it full circle to be married in the UK, where it all began. 

I felt truly honoured to be involved in Elizabeth and Joe’s special day

The Details

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Getting ready

The ceremony

This was a real Anglo/American celebration where both homelands were honoured. Bristol Cathedral holds special meaning to the groom, as it was his alma mater. Its thousand-year-old architecture felt fit for a royal wedding, so the couple leaned into British traditions with fascinators, top hats, morning suits, and wedding bells chiming as the bride and her father arrived in an opalescent blue 1963 Mk 2 Jaguar 3.4. 

A classical string quartet with a repertoire including favorites from Bridgerton set the scene as the bride glided down the lengthy aisle to meet her groom who represented his Scottish heritage in his family tartan kilt and thistle in his buttonhole. A strong New Orleans presence also ran throughout the day, most notably as The Mississippi Swamp Dogs greeted the wedding party performing jazz music as they exited the Cathedral. Joe and Elizabeth, a New Orleans native, led the band and guests in a traditional jazz ‘second-line’ parade around the Cathedral green, as guests waved personalised handkerchiefs in the air and onlookers revelled in the spectacle. 

The styling

The Orangery was adorned with billowing English garden florals by Bijoux Floral and touches of “something blue” in the candles, napkins and stationery.

The reception

At the reception, guests were welcomed to Grittleton House with a Sazerac, “the original New Orleans cocktail” and an English Elderflower spritz, followed by a traditional British-grown meal in The Orangery.

They rounded out the evening with a surprise performance by the groom who sang Ed Shereen’s “Castle on the Hill”, backed by the incredibly talented Soho Collective party band, and then filled up on New Orleans beignets and Cornish pasties for a late night snack. 
The day was overflowing with old-world English charm and endless romance. An unforgettable day to be cherished for a lifetime. 

The film

Planner: Host Weddings & Events

Photographer: Kristin Sautter

Videographer: Vogue Wedding Films

Ceremony Location: Bristol Cathedral

Venue: Grittleton House

Florist: Bijoux Floral Design

Cake: Joanna Pyda

Car: AJE Classics

Elizabeth’s Dress: Sareh Nouri

Elizabeth’s Shoes: BHLDN

Men’s Attire: The Original Mobile Menswear

Stationery: Ivy Inks Studio

Ceremony Music The Bristol String Quartet

Second Line and Drinks Reception Music: The Mississippi Swamp Dogs 

Evening Band: Soho Collective via Tailored Entertainment

Makeup Artist: Elle Hitchens

Hair Stylist: Louise Alway

Linen: 88 Events

Tableware: The Luxe Collection

Transport: Eurotaxis

Pre-wedding accommodation: Number Thirty Eight

Engagement stationery

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Today on the blog I welcome the wonderfully talented stationery artisan Lorraine Burt from Caboodle Wedding Stationery. Lorraine creates the most beautiful, timeless wedding stationery for her discerning couples. Naturally I had to ask….”can you give me 3 timeless and romantic wedding stationery items to order” and here we are! Thank you for joining us Lorraine – your work is sublime!

Timeless and romantic wedding stationery items

Stationery, beautiful stationery there’s nothing quite like it is there? Stationery to grace a wedding is better still. I love the romance of it, beautiful papers ribbons and embellishments. Making something meaningful out of simple things. I’ve been creating timeless handmade stationery for many years for those special days. Every project lovingly made for each couple from bijou to grand scale events or somewhere in between. So the question is beyond the immediate stationery items such as your invitations, menus and place names what could bring more joy to the day?

Olivia here at wonderful Host Weddings & Events has asked me about extras for you to consider that can add a little ‘ooooo’ and ‘ahhhhh’ to your big day (or even before!).

The Proposal

Timeless and romantic wedding stationery items

Your proposal may have already happened and if it has, this is an idea you could pass on to one your besties for a few brownie points! It goes without saying that you want the proposal to be romantic. Unforgettable. What if you could keep a wee bit of that romance and make it last forever? Beyond photo’s, not just in your head but with a keepsake from that moment that you can bring out each year maybe on your anniversary or displayed somewhere to make you smile. Something that will last. I am a sucker for anything ‘handwritten’. I always have been.

The meaning and the care which goes into it and the story behind it. These were my thoughts with the shell ring boxes. Imagining after strolling down a beach, someone being presented with what looks like a beautiful shell, and opening it to find not only a ring, but also a little personal note handwritten and rolled inside. It might be words of a proposal, or a carefully chosen quote which will remind you forever of this moment. Or perhaps you might want to have your wedding rings with a special note instead for the ceremony itself. Both equally capturing a moment to treasure for always.

Welcome Notes

Timeless and romantic wedding stationery items

These are such a warm idea for any couple to provide. Until this year I hadn’t come across couples requesting welcome notes. I instantly fell in love with the idea. Perfect for country house retreat weddings where couples have hired their dream venue to share with the bridal party for a couple of days. It’s the unexpectedness of them for your guests that makes them so special.

A little personal note from the couple welcoming you to their celebration, waiting for them in their room on arrival. It may have a sketch of your venue which your guests can take away as a little reminder. It may give hint’s as to what’s in store or what the venue has to offer or in the case of a castle or stately home a little history about where they’re staying. Not essential but certainly very thoughtful way to say how close to your hearts they are.

Vow Books

Timeless and romantic wedding stationery items

One of my absolute favourites as they are your promise to one another held together forever. Check out the last blog post on ‘Ceremonies filled with love’ to understand more about the ceremony portion of your day. Couples no longer need produce a piece of paper from which to read their heartfelt vows. You can have small booklets created (co-ordinating with your stationery suite) with deckled edged handmade papers and silk ribbon or wax seals and beautiful script. These little booklets look so dreamy in your photos and with a gift box they make wonderful keepsakes.

Your stationer can print your vows inside or prepare them with blank pages so you can write your vows yourself. I offer both options. It is heart warming to find that most couples do choose to write them themselves, making them extra personal.

Whatever you choose for your stationery suite enjoy the time to make it uniquely yours bringing that extra frisson both to the day and long after. It’s a little way to bring that touch of magic that I delight in doing for every couple and I hope has given you timeless and romantic wedding stationery items to play with.

Instagram: @caboodleweddings

Etsy Shop:



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Today on the journal, I am delighted to have Tara Heath-Arnold join us to talk about ceremonies filled with love. Tara is a professional independent wedding celebrant. Spreading joy and love to all the couples she works with within the South West of England. Tara talks to us today about personalised wedding ceremonies and the different elements that make each and every one so unique to the couple exchanging vows. Thank you Tara.

The role of a wedding Celebrant is a role that is filled with so much joy and love. As I often talk on my social media platforms, we are with couples and families on the most important days of their lives. This really is an honour and a privilege.

Personal Wedding Ceremony

During the years that I have worked as a wedding Celebrant I have met so many amazing couples and families who I have got to know well through the journey of writing and crafting their wedding scripts. It really is such a personal and wonderful experience. The icing on the cake is delivering the ceremony of their dreams. A moment in time that they and their guests will remember for many years.

If possible, I always try and meet with my couples at least twice in the run up to the wedding day. Getting to know them as a couple and as individuals is equally as important. Listening to what they want for their ceremony is always top of my list. The first thing that I ask them to do is to complete a personal questionnaire which always forms the basis of the ceremony and from there I will start to work the magic!

The giving away

The giving away is always such a breath taking moment. There have been so many variations over the past few years to include a couple walking in together, to a bride walking in alone, to a bride being given away by both sets of parents, the variations are endless.

Personal readings

I have seen not only friends and family deliver the most amazing readings over the years, but a very lovely bride herself deliver an epic reading which brought the house down! When it comes to readings, they don’t always have to be traditional love poems about marriage, but they can be song lyrics, excerpts from special and meaningful books or bespoke words written by the readers themselves.

The love story

Part of my role as a Celebrant is to also write and deliver what I call their love story or their journey. This will include highlights about how they met, when they fell in love, the proposal and right through to their hopes and aspirations for the future. And if appropriate, I always like to weave in a little humour as well. It’s great to have a few laughs within the ceremony to keep the tone light and fun.

Personal vows

If possible I also encourage my couples to write their own personal vows if they would like to. To me, this is often the heart of the ceremony. The vows are normally sent to me independently so they are not only a surprise for the couple, but also to their guests. This is such an incredibly special part of the ceremony and always fills my heart with so much joy.

Symbolic elements

Some couples are also keen to include symbolic elements within their ceremonies as an extra personal touch. These can include the lighting of unity candles, sand ceremonies, rose ceremonies and my absolute favourite, handfasting ceremonies. Handfasting originates from an ancient Celtic tradition going back as far as 7000 B.C. It literally means tying the knot! As well as the ring exchange, celebrants can also write ceremonies to include ring warming ceremonies and ring blessings, again adding variation and that very personal touch.

Support & guidance

There are also no restrictions when you decide to have a celebrant, so you can hold your ceremony at a venue of your choice, with no limitations on the length or content of your ceremony, ensuring that you get the ceremony of your dreams with all those special and personal touches.

The role of a wedding Celebrant is so important in terms of guiding and supporting our couples and families through this very beautiful process. Celebrant led ceremonies are just wonderful, they are filled with so much joy and love.

Tara is available to craft and officiate your personalised joy filled ceremony across the Bristol, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire areas. Take a look at her wonderful website here to find out more.

If you’re looking for a wedding planner to take the stress away and help you create an unforgettable, romantic and timeless occasion, do get in touch with me here.

Autumn/Winter Wedding Bouquet Bijoux Floral

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Today, I have the pleasure of publishing this guest led expert piece from my talented friend and colleague, Becci from Bijoux Floral Design. Becci was my first port of call when I decided to feature floral inspiration for autumn and winter weddings- she absolutely knows her stuff! Thank you Becci for your insight.

One of the most common questions that my couples ask when getting married in the Autumn / Winter months is ‘are there many flowers in season?’. The answer is absolutely yes!

Personally, this time of the year is one of my favourites. Woolly hats, hot chocolate, candle light and a roaring fire. As a florist I take inspiration from everything around me. The changing colours of trees, berries and when designing flowers I love to be able to incorporate these elements into the designs. It doesn’t haven’t to be anything big and bold but a little gesture to the season you are marrying in.

I start the design process with my clients by finding out about their story. What is important to them and how we can represent this through the art of flowers. Colour and style are almost always two of the most important parts. I always encourage my clients to choose a style and colour palette that represents them. Just because you are getting married in the darker months it doesn’t mean you cannot have the colour palette of your choice.

Here’s some top tips on how you can still have your chosen colour palette but making it more seasonally friendly.

Blush & White

This has to be one of the most popular colour palette for weddings. In the Autumn/Winter months I always recommend adding an accent colour such as clove. This warms up the designs and adds some real depth. It can be achieved with foliage such as dark hazel and chocolate cosmos.

White & Green

A timeless classic combination. Think about using different textures and shapes of flowers to add some interest, there are some stunning berries available such as snowberries and hypericum. If you would like a wintery look but not Christmassy then silver foliage such as eucalyptus works really well. If you are aiming for a Christmas inspired wedding then deep greens work especially well even with a pop of red ilex berries.

Rich Red & Browns

A popular choice for autumnal weddings. However this colour palette can be very strong and not for everyone. We are blessed to have some of the most beautiful autumnal blooms. The very popular ‘Toffee’ rose teams with a Vienna copper chrysanthemum work especially well with this colour scheme. I always soften these colours by introducing a secondary colour such as apricot. Adding some dried elements and bracken will help to add some texture and interest to a design. As a florist I try to stay away from absorbed / colour foliage’s as the dye can transfer to your dress. These designs work well with rustic elements such as oak tables and a simple table runner to soften the look.

Beautiful blooms available at this time of year

Dahlias – so many shapes, sizes and colours, these are normally in season until the end of October.

Hydrangeas – as the season changes so do their colour, you will notice lots muted colours are available

Ranunuclus – if you’re a peony lover then these are for you. Full of ruffly petals and romance. Typically a spring flower we see them arrive in the market from November onwards

Anemones – these are a striking flowers, normally with a ‘black eye’ they can add a real statement to designs.

Textured flowers – at this time of year we see flowers that can also be used as a foliage such as skimmia and ginister.

Foliage there is any abundance of foliage available to you, in different shades of green. However, contrary to popular belief foliage isn’t always a more budget friendly option

Berries – there are so many berries available in shades of blue, brown. Red, white and even pink. These include snowberries, hypericum, viburnham.

The design process

When designing your wedding flowers, it’s important to look at the whole day and how styling elements will help you to achieve the overall feel of your wedding. As the nights draw in, it’s important to think about how you will make your venue feel more inviting. In my opinion you can never have too much candlelight, it adds opulent feeling to your wedding and a sense if warmth. If your desired look is on the warmer side then always use warmer shades of accessories such as gold, clove for that rich look.

If you would like your wedding to feel more chic and clean for a winter look then silvers work especially well even with accent of black. Candlelight, fairy lights work really well with this look.

Work with the experts

It doesn’t just end with the flowers and the table décor. For a cohesive look work with a floral stylist and planner we have years of experience and have managed many weddings. We will be able to advise you on the colour of your linen, cutlery and glassware. It’s often the little details that get overlooked but are so important.

I truly believe that your wedding is your own story of love and happiness and no two stories are ever the same. You’re not living someone else’s fairy tale, you’re writing your own!

Flowers take shape from stories, and I can’t wait to be part of yours.


Becci is a talented floral designer based in the South West – bringing your wedding day to life with timeless elegance and romance! You can find out more about Becci and her work here.