While she originally had her sights set on a NYC rooftop wedding, it was the beauty of Oxford, England that sent this bride’s wedding plans for a complete and total loop. But with its stunning architecture and old-world charm, it’s all too easy to see why. The fabulous Stephanie Swann captured the day from start to finish you can click right here for sooooo much more!
From the Bride… With half our guests coming from a different country, we wanted our wedding to be special. NYC was the obvious choice for me being American and having lived there for 10 years. I had images of a rooftop reception with skyline views and as we visited locations across London, none seemed to stack up to my NYC dream.
Then we went to Oxford, my husband’s hometown. I was completely blown away at how incredibly beautiful the city is, and its ability to transport you through time to a place long past with its architecture and gardens. The Bodleian Library was nestled in the middle of it all, one of the oldest in Europe, with some of the most stunning architecture I have seen. It only took a minute to decide this was where we wanted to celebrate with our closest friends and family.
It was important to us to accentuate the beauty of the city so we chose a classic and timeless color palette including grey, pale yellow and creams that would compliment the surrounding architecture. Keeping with British tradition, the gentlemen wore morning suits and we held a champagne only reception (cocktail hour). But it was also important that we ensured we had some elements of New York represented. I found my dress in NY and my parents had images of vintage New York and London maps made into bookmarks for each guest.
We wanted an outdoor element to our wedding and since this can be tough in the UK, we opted to risk for a reception in the courtyard of the library before heading in for the wedding breakfast. It paid off and we enjoyed the sunshine to the sounds of a jazz trio our friends found performing in a local pub after photos in the gardens of one of the local colleges.
Including our family in our creative process was very important. Chris and I designed the stationary ourselves, my father and I constructed each program, our brother-in-law designed and made our gorgeous wedding cake and Chris’s parents and sister helped source and cover the books used as part of the table centerpieces. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing – we live in London, this is our home and part of who we are. I’m so glad we got to share our big day with our closets friends and family in such a special, beautiful place.
What advice could I give to future brides? Don’t be afraid to consider something not in your plan. The choices I made, from the location to my dress were so different from what I thought I originally wanted and I wouldn’t change them for the world. Be open to ideas and go with your heart! Get creative and include a little DIY no matter your budget – it’s nice to have everything done for you, but those special touches make the day extra special and include your friends and family in one of the important days of your life.
If your budget allows, I would also highly recommend a day-of coordinator. Our venue was very strict as it’s open to public and without the team we would have been at a loss. Not having to worry about anything the day of made my experience with the bridesmaids and mother in the morning so much more relaxing.
Photography: Stephanie Swann Weddings | Wedding Planner: Isobel Lamplough – Isobel Weddings | Florist: Fabulous Flowers | Wedding Dress: Ulla Maier | Cake: Christopher's Brother-in-law | Stationery: Kenny McLaren | Ceremony Venue: The Oratory | Reception Venue: Bodleian Library | Shoes: Brian Atwood | Bridesmaids Dresses: Monique Lhuillier | Catering: Tapenade | Hair Stylist: Katie R-Scott | Car Hire: Henley Classic Car Hire | Clutch Bag: Anya Hindmarch | DJ Entertainment: Wedding Smashers | Dance Floor And Lighting: ACDisco | Diamond Stud Earrings: Gift From Christopher To Ashley | Grey Necklace: Massimo Dutti | Groom's Morning Suit: Cad And The Dandy | Make Up Artist: Georgina Pelosi | Pendant Earrings: Alexis Bittar | Wedding/Engagement Rings: DeBeers