I’m not sure where to begin with describing Heidi and Matt’s Spring countryside wedding. It’s all so wonderful. Full of exquisite details and so much love. While working with a budget, they filled their wedding with carefully chosen elements and personalised touches.
This couple has some serious swoon-worthy style too. Of course, Heidi’s gorgeous dress deserves a special mention. Gold sequins are always a winner and I really want to buy it for myself! Plus I’m in love with their blooms. If I could have been a Spring bride I would have chosen exactly the same mix of anemones, ranunculus and ferns. I hope you enjoy Heidi’s write-up, along with the photographs captured by Cotton Candy Photographers you really get a sense of how lovely this wedding really was. I promise you’re going to adore this one…
Photography by Cotton Candy Photographers
We were on our way home after visiting family and friends over the Christmas holiday. I was being a bit of a grump because I was cold and had lost a sock in my welly, so I was keen to get home. But Matt insisted that we went for a walk to the White Horse in Uffington. It’s a special place for us as it is where we had one of our first dates. When we got to the top Matt popped the question and I forgot all about my sock and the cold and said yes!
Matt had been carrying the ring around loose(!!!) in his jacket pocket for the whole of Christmas. He’d asked my mum and dad for their blessings. We had met earlier that year and moved in together in November, so Matt had wanted to end a special year with something extra special!
Spring countryside wedding
It’s quite hard to explain our vision as it only seemed to evolve when we got close to the day and everything came together. When we ask people how they found the day they say it was relaxed, a homemade spring countryside wedding that was warm and fun.
Matt and I agreed on a budget straight way and knew we would be paying for our wedding ourselves. Saying this we were so lucky to have contributions from our families too. I kept a track of our actually spending against the budget. This was really helpful as I felt in control (most of the time!), and could see where we had over and under spent.
I love organising and had multiple spreadsheets to keep track of everything. We are fairly creative people, and enjoying trying new things so handmade a lot of things for the wedding. We had a rough schedule of when we could do this and it was very satisfying ticking things off the list!
We spent a lot of time on the DIY but found out that it didn’t always work out cheaper. Thankfully we really enjoyed the process. Here are a few of the things we made:
Buttonholes – We spent hours collecting feathers to make unique buttonholes. I liked the idea that these would be little keepsakes. They were made almost a year in advance and kept them safe until the big day. I also made a matching brooch for my dress with feathers a button and some jade.
Table numbers – collecting corks was great fun and gave us the excuse to drink bubbles and celebrate! Spraying them gold was suitably messy!
Table plan, menu and photo-booth – Matt hand drew everything! He spent ages making sure he had things just right.
Our rings – My sister is a silversmith, so we spent a day making our rings under the tuition of the very talented silversmith Chris Perry and my sister who works for him. It was extra special when we finally got to exchange them.
Orders of Service – We had a lovely stamp made from Bloomfield and Rolfe that we used for the front cover. Matt and I spent hours tying them together with gold and white baker twine. They also had little pockets at the front for some tissues in case anyone needed them.
Elderflower cordial – We spent the previous Spring making elderflower cordial to add to the welcome fizz. This was just perfect for our warm sunny spring wedding day.
We looked at so many venues but lots of them would have involved a lot of complex logistics or organisation, so we were struggling. One night we had a brain wave. We love The Perch in Binsey Oxford, it’s beautiful and we often spend time in the Summer enjoying the beer garden, great food and events. So it made perfect sense to have our wedding reception there. There was a little gamble as The Perch was ordering a new marquee and undergoing renovations. They completely pulled it off, we were their first event in the new venue. It was stunning.
The food they created for us was so delicious. We had goats cheese with edible flowers to start, a sharing platter hog roast for main and salted pannacotta for dessert (which is one of Matt’s favourites).
The dress & accessories
I’d purchased a wedding dress from a lovely shop but had a sudden change of heart. I’m a little quirky and just didn’t feel quite right in any traditional wedding dresses. After much deliberation, I decided that I would order a dress I had seen by Misdress on Etsy. It was a risk, but it paid off! When it finally arrived it did need a few alterations to make it right for me. The lovely Anna Fink made it perfect. I am so pleased that I changed my mind. I felt like a million dollars, the best version of myself on our wedding day. My only regret is that the dress was a bit too tricky to dance in. I found a beautiful but simple dress in Miss Selfridge that I switched into for the evening.
I love the look of heels, but can barely walk in them so instead I wore sturdy comfortable wedges. They were a stunning dark green colour from ModCloth. I borrowed a beautiful gold bracelet from a friend and bought some drop jade earrings on eBay. When I made the feathers buttonholes for the boys I wanted one for myself, so put together a little brooch to attached to my dress.
Matt chose a three-piece Quacker Twill grey suit from the Hammond & Co. at Debenhams. He also treated himself to some gorgeous tan Brogues from Russell and Bromley, along with a matching belt. He looked so dapper. Matt wore a tie pin from his grandfather and I stuck a little brooch inside before the wedding too! The groomsmen had the same jackets but wore their own chinos.
We got married in our local church of St Mary and St John, Oxford. The vicar had recently left, so a neighbouring vicar kindly volunteered to conduct the service. We got to know Rob over a series of dinners and he made the service so special and personalised it for us.
The church was a huge space and would have cost a lot to decorate it. So we chose to purchase two olive trees that flanked the altar. It’s lovely that we can now enjoy the trees in our garden.
My mum walked me down the aisle to Spring, from Vivaldi’s four seasons. We had three hymns ‘Morning has Broken’, ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Love Divine’. Not only do we love those hymns, but they seemed easy enough to follow. My brother read the Song of Solomon and Matt’s sister read Elton John, Your Song! Both read them so beautifully. When were signing the register our wonderful friends got together and performed “I Would Walk” an acoustic version of 500 miles by The Proclaimers and “All I Want Is You” from Juno. They were fantastic!
For the reception, we hired the Jets. Just like their website says they are explosive! They brought lots of energy and played a really good mix of songs that kept everyone on the dance floor.
My bridesmaids have been there for me through thick and thin. They are incredible ladies that I am so lucky to have in my life. My chief bridesmaid Hannah even flew in all the way from Manila.
I never normally shop in Miss Selfridge, but the soft green and pleated dresses I found there for the bridesmaids were perfect. Luckily all the girls liked the dress too! They are all so different, that I wanted my ladies to retain a sense of self on the day and feel conformable so they did their own makeup and chose what style they wanted their hair. George and her team were excellent. Everyone was made to feel really relaxed and special.
Since Matt has known me, he has brought me the most beautiful flowers from Joe Austin in Oxford. So it felt right to ask them to create our wedding flowers. We wanted the flowers to feel relaxed and soft, with hues of peach and cream and green. Marisa at Joe Autin proved to be as patient as she is creative.
We purchased 50 small Victorian flowers pots from eBay that we wanted to use for cut flowers. At home, Matt and I potted up lots of herbs into another 50 or so pots. These were mixed up and clustered on the tables as in the marquee. My bouquet and the bridesmaid’s flowers were larger versions of these arrangements. The flowers were beautiful and completely surpassed all my expectations.
We didn’t want a traditional cake so opted for a lemon polenta cake. This was expertly made my Matt’s mum. She’s an exceptionally skilled cook and baker, so we were privileged to have her make our cake. It was a beautiful creation and tasted magnificent. She even made a separate gluten free cake which our guests really appreciated.
Cotton Candy our photographers were fantastic and captured our day in their special style. We loved their Polaroid and vintage camera shots too. We were made to feel calm and relaxed in their presence when doing our couple shots and for the rest of the time, they were very discreet. They captured so many special moments.
Details & decor
The marquee at The Perch was already dressed with willows covered in fairy lights, a piano, the bar and fantastic carpets on the floor so we didn’t need to do too much. The only things we added were our flowers and our handwritten table plan and the menu that Matt had made. We placed a picture of our grandparents who were not able to be with us on the piano.
For favours we gave the adults premixed gin and tonic favours, these also doubled up as place names. The children got bubbles.
Matt’s uncle kept us all in check, using a large school bell to announce dinner, speeches, the cutting of the cake, bouquet toss and out first dance too!
Inside the pub, we set up a Polaroid camera photo guestbook. We made a white frame and covered it in fairy lights and had a box of props. Everyone said it was lots of fun. Later in the night, The Perch fired up the log burner to keep the party going and us all warm!
After the wedding, we jetted off to Sri Lanka for an amazing 3 weeks. It’s such a beautiful country with so much variety. We saw turtles laying and hatching on the beach, climbed a few mountains, visited religious relics, went to the rain forest and on safari! We also managed to relax at the Last House, a very special Bawa property, to recharge our batteries.
It’s impossible to pick just one moment, we really enjoyed the whole day. But there are a few highlights:
1. The service was really special and our friends playing in the church was divine
2. Getting to actually perform our first dance which we practised in secret – and not fall over!
3. Just being able to stand by Matt’s side and call him my husband, made me so proud.
Words of Wisdom
Everyone wants to help, and it if works for you let them. It can really ease the pressure. But don’t feel bad for turning down offers of support too. It can almost be more stressful to have lots of people trying to assist when you only really need a few.
DIY can work out more expensive sometimes, so really cost out your activities. We enjoyed the process of making things so, in the end, it was worth the extra pennies.
We really enjoyed the time that we had to ourselves just before our couples photos, and when we were travelling from the church to the venue too. But equally, we really enjoyed walking around the tables in-between courses. Doing this meant we got to spend time with every single one of our guests.
Most of all just enjoy your day!
Heidi & Matt’s Little Black Book
Photographer – Cotton Candy Photographers
Reception venue – The Perch
Dress – Misdress via Etsy | Alterations by Anna Fink
Brides Shoes – ModCloth
Groom attire – Hammond & Co. by Patrick Grant at Debenhams
Bridesmaid dresses – Miss Selfridge
Florist – Joe Austin Florist
Transport – Nostalgia Travel
Entertainment – The Jets via Bands for Hire
Rings – Chris Perry
Stationery – Lucy says I do
Hair & makeup – Georgina Heron