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Elegant Equestrian Wedding Inspiration

I’ll be the first to admit I was a total horse-nut as a child (anyone else?!), and have always dreamed of having an equine friend on hand during my Big Day. This inspiration shoot, practically bursting at the seams with British charm (Wellies!), and not one, but two beautiful horses, was all the encouragement I need to keep on dreaming. Click through the gallery here, and you might be having some horsey wedding dreams soon, too!

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Seasons
Winter
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Manor

From Jane Riddell of Planned for PerfectionThis fabulous equestrian shot was taken on location at Wyck Hill House Hotel and Spa, an elegant 18th century Manor House located in the heart of the beautiful English countryside.

Wyck Hill House approached me to help them create a styled wedding shoot that combined its opulence and grandeur with the very essence of Cotswold Life.

Situated in the stunning Gloucestershire countryside, with breath taking views over the rolling hills of The Cotswold, the Manor House is close to the racing town of Cheltenham and the famous Beaufort Polo Club, where Prince’s William and Harry have been known to play, so an equestrian styled shoot seemed rather fitting!

On what turned out to be a rather grey February morning, the roaring log fire and a glow of candle light brought a warmth to the old library and ornate Adams room, whilst the soft blush tones and striking burgundies florals supplied by Stephanie Saunders ensuring an elegant Downton Abbey style back drop…

The beautifully designed stationery by On Cloud Nine, hinted towards the equestrian and country side theme whilst retaining an elegant simplicity and when styled with rustic horseshoes, captured the theme of the shoot perfectly.

The stunning gowns were supplied by The Bridal Room at Broadway, who provided a wonderful mix of satin and lace dresses, offset by gorgeous accessories and complimented beautifully by flowing chiffon bridesmaid dresses from Katherine Allen Bridal and the Cake Chemists provided two incredible wedding cakes.

The winter’s sun made a brief appearance later in the afternoon and the wonderful Laura Power photography was able to capture some bridal shots with the horses, which ended the day perfectly….what better way to spend a day than ‘horsing around’ in the Cotswolds with a team of Cotswold’s finest wedding suppliers!

Photography: Laura Power | Event Planning: Planned For Perfection | Floral Design: Stephanie Saunders | Wedding Dresses: The Bridal Room Broadway | Cake: The Cake Chemists | Stationery: On Cloud Nine | Bridesmaids Dresses: Katherine Allen Bridal | Hair And Makeup : Heidi Vince | Venue: Wyck Hill House Hotel And Spa

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Cotswolds Wedding at the Blenheim Palace

As a girl who stares at beautiful weddings for a living, I like to think I know something special when I see it. And this UK lovefest? Well, it’s sort of a wedding blogger’s dream come true. Set at the breathtaking Blenheim Palace and bursting with soft, pink blooms by Emma Walker Flowers plus gorgeous design by Isobel Lamplough, it’s a fairytale come to life and Catherine Mead captured every last bit. Pssst: the film below by Rupert Ward Lewis is not to be missed.

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Summer
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Palace
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Elegant

From Catherine Mead… Stephy and Jeff met in the UK whilst studying at the London School of Economics. Stephy had just arrived off a flight from Toronto, where she had been living at the time, armed with 6 pieces of luggage. Jeff spotted her at the dormitory and came to her rescue with a trolley, and the rest is history! (depicted in invitation!)

When it came to planning their wedding, they decided to have a small, intimate and beautiful destination wedding back in the U.K. to celebrate the start of their love story, with their 60 guests flying half way around the world to share the day with them.

Blenheim Palace in the Cotswolds is a wonderful setting, and we chose to get married in the Orangery next to the Italian Gardens. We really wanted to bring the beautiful English countryside garden indoors, so we lined the aisle with trees and incorporated big, beautiful flowers as centrepieces.

Our house rabbits Mimi and Puff are such a big part of our lives, and we wanted them to be a part of our wedding. We incorporated elements of them in our wedding, from the decoration to the invitations. We sourced little rabbits in Hong Kong and then shipped them over to our planner and florist for them to spray gold and place around the Orangery, but the shipment never arrived so we had to locate bunnies in the UK at the last minute!

Photography: Catherine Mead | Videographer: Rupert Ward Lewis | Wedding Dress: Inbal Dror | Cake: Princess Patisserie | Invitations: Sedonia Shu from Seesawsed | Ceremony Venue: Blenheim Palace | Reception Venue: Blenheim Palace | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Dessy | Make-Up: Yumi Noh | Hair: Kirsty Fraser For Claire Hanson | Band: Groove Instinct | Groom's Attire: W.W. Chan | Groomsmen's Attire: Zara | String Quartet: Liquid Strings | Accomodations: Hope House | Bride's Day Shoes: YSL | Bride's Evening Dress: Vera Wang | Bride's Evening Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Floral & Event Design: Emma Walker Flowers | Lighting & Stage: AC Disco | Veil: Inbal Dror | Wedding Planning & Designer: Isobel Lamplough

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Intimate Pastel Wedding in the Cotswolds

My secret dreams were realized when this English wedding came across my desk. Pretty pastels and beautiful bridesmaids, a stunning custom gown by Lusan Mandongus and plenty of cheeky British charm make this summer celebration one I won’t soon forget. Katie Julia and Velvet Street Studios captured it all, from sun up to last kiss, all packed into this gorgeous gallery for us to love on.

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Summer
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BarnOutdoor

From The Bride… Thinking back our wedding day feels like a dream; I’ve looked at the photos and watched our wedding video a dozen times and I still beam with a smile remembering how beautiful, romantic and truly special the day was.

I was so happy to have a summer wedding so that I could use a pastel palette and peonies, which are my favourite. I wanted the day to be elegant, timeless and romantic, and we both agreed on a small intimate affair, with only people that had shared in our happy memories as a couple.

Neither of us had any idea of the sort of venue we wanted, but from the moment we walked into Thyme Barn we fell in love. It’s set in the most idyllic little village called Southrop in the Cotswolds. The venue is mainly used as a cookery school, and both Guy and I love our food so this was a big selling point for us. Some of the venues we saw felt like there was a wedding revolving door, but at Thyme Barn they paid amazing attention to detail, and you may also recognise the location as it was where Kate Moss got married!

We hired five of the cottages that surrounded the barn, and it felt like we’d hired our own little private village for the weekend. The night before the wedding Guy had dinner with all the groomsmen down at the village pub, and I had dinner with all of my girls at the main house. On Sunday, our guests travelled home and the family members stayed for a Sunday roast. We wanted the wedding weekend to last as long as it could.

I have to say my dress was the only part of the wedding process I didn’t enjoy – I tried on about 60 dresses and none of them felt right. In the end, I found two Lusan Mandongus dresses that I liked – on one I adored the dip of the back and the other the wow factor of the four-foot trail – and the moment the assistant said we can merge the two I was sold!

For the bridesmaids’ dresses I couldn’t find the colour I wanted in the UK, so ended up buying the dresses from a US brand call Donna Morgan. It was a bit of a pain, as they don’t ship to the UK. Luckily my maid of honor’s sister lives in the States so we had them delivered there and she posted them to each of the bridesmaids. My bridesmaids I have known since school and they are like sisters to me. I feel so privileged to have their friendship, love and support. It meant the world to me that they were by my side on my wedding day.

My flower girl Lara is one of my old charges from when I was a nanny, we still share a very special bond, and she looked simply beautiful on the day. My pageboy Sam is another of my charges, he helped warm up the crowed by walking down the aisle with a last chance to run sign. His cheeky smile lit up the room. And last but not least my adorable pug cross, Miss Beasley Pickles, totally stole the show!

My most memorable moment was this: as I set off with my bridesmaids on the short walk to the ceremony a huge black cloud appeared and the heavens opened. I looked up at the sky and asked my granddad, who had recently passed away, to bring out the sun. Throughout the ceremony you could hear the thunderstorm outside, and it made it feel very dramatic. After the “ I do’s,” Guy squeezed my hand and whispered, “Look outside.” No joke, the clouds parted as a beautiful ray of sunshine shone through the window above the registrar and the sun stayed out all day.

Photography: Katie Julia | Videography: Velvet Tree Studios | Wedding Dress: Lusan Mandongus | Cake: The Pretty Cake Company | Ceremony Venue: Thyme Barn | Reception Venue: Thyme Barn | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Donna Morgan | Hair And Makeup: Samantha Davies | Grooms Attire: Adam Waite | Assistant Photography: Mirella Baio Photography

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Chinese Tea Ceremony in the Cotswolds

Raised in Singapore, having moved to Australia and settling on the UK as home, this beautiful duo has a love that stretches the globe. So when it came to their wedding, tying together their background was oh-so-important, and Jessie Thomson made that happen. This gallery from Leah Kua is all the proof why the Cotswolds and a Chinese tea ceremony are a perfect pairing.

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Summer
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Elegant

From Jessie Thomson Wedding PlanningA traditional Chinese tea ceremony set in the heart of The Cotswolds in England, with close friends and family the day before the full wedding celebration, followed by an afternoon tea with cucumber sandwiches and scones – set in the gardens of a boutique Cotswold stone hotel.

I was honoured to be invited to this pre-wedding celebration as a guest with my daughter, and to witness such a beautiful and time honoured tradition in the British countryside on a hot Summer’s day.

It was the perfect way to start a weekend of celebrations!

From the beautiful Bride…Ryan and I are of Chinese descent and raised in Singapore. 15 years ago, we both moved to Australia first and then the UK. When we decided to get married in the UK, we planned our wedding around two visions: one of a rustic chic barn theme on the actual day, and a cultural heritage theme on the day before. We wanted the latter to be an intimate affair purely for our families, wedding party and wedding planner. The beautiful and romantic grounds of the Rectory Hotel in the Cotswolds was the perfect spot to host the ceremony.

Steeped in tradition, the tea ceremony is the most sacred ritual of Chinese nuptials. It serves as the bride’s symbolic introduction to the groom’s family. Choosing to incorporate this tradition was our way to honour the Chinese values that we were raised with and close to our hearts, despite having been living overseas for so long. Equally, we felt this was an important feature to include, given the next day’s wedding events would take on a more modern and relaxed western approach.

Since the exact presentation can vary from family to family and different Oriental cultural groups, we kept ours simple and elegant with the showcase of the tea set being the focal item in the ceremony set-up. A complete tea set represents harmony and togetherness. Traditionally, the tea set itself is part of the bride’s dowry and becomes a keepsake that she’ll use again for her own daughter’s ceremony someday.

Sweet tea is believed to bring happiness to the couple and to foster good relations between the bride and her new in-laws. According to legend, placing lotus seeds and two red dates in the teapot brings children into the marriage early on and every year thereafter. I was very blessed to have my mother choose the porcelain tea set, bringing it from across the globe and preparing the sweet tea on the day. It was an involvement and role that meant a huge deal to her, as a Mother. And to me too.

During the ceremony, Ryan and I served the tea to both our families who would take turns, proceeding from the most senior members of Ryan (the groom)’s family and then my (the bride) family. Drinking the tea was a sign of acceptance of the marriage and therefore quite emotional especially for the more senior family members. In return, we the newlyweds, received red envelopes filled with money or jewellery as a gesture of their blessings.

Red is a symbolic colour for all joyous occasions in the Oriental culture, so it naturally became the choice of colour for my custom made “cheongsam” or traditional gown from Singapore that I wore for the event. It also turned out to be a fitting one when I realised there were pops of red colour dotted about, from the Oriental wedding wall decal, to the red packets and even the red roses in the garden!

I loved every detail of my dress from the French corded lace to the slit on the side which allowed me to show off one of my legs. Since it was a very striking dress, I kept my accessories to a minimum, choosing to don on a pearl necklace and earrings. To complete the whole look, I chose an updo style, which I was initially rather nervous about, as I have never been one to wear my hair up most of the time. But having a brilliant hair stylist meant I had nothing to worry about at all. I was at ease the whole time and was reluctant to take it down when the day was over!

As a contrast, Ryan chose to go for a western style semi-formal look which surprisingly, complemented my traditional look well. His outfit took on a pastel palette comprising a shirt with delicate prints, a waistcoat and a pair of tan leather brogues.

The day would not be complete without a little East meets West. We were in the UK after all! After the ceremony, our guests were treated to a proper English afternoon tea experience complete with scones, cakes and pastries. It gave us a good opportunity to mingle with everyone in a relaxed and fun manner, just like an afternoon outdoor garden party in the summer! Looking back, that day proved to be so precious in that we got to spend more time with everyone, many of whom have travelled from afar for us, celebrating a familiar tradition with a twist.

Photography: Leah Kua | Wedding Planner: Jessie Thomson Wedding Planning | Ceremony Venue: The Rectory | Groom's Attire: Ted Baker | Bridal Hair & Makeup: Heidi Vince

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Young Love Cotswolds Inspiration Shoot

Last week we feasted our eyes on this insanely pretty shoot full of English charm from Planned For Perfection and CJK Visuals. We basically fell in love with all the gorgeous, and we couldn’t wait to share this darling sister shoot inspired by a beautiful, youthful love, drenched in innocence and adorable moments. I mean, what’s more romantic than a quaint picnic in the English countryside?! See it all here.

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Seasons
Summer
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Hotel
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Elegant

From CJK VisualsI met up with Jane during my second backpacking trip around Europe. I was beyond excited when she said she would work with me on an English-themed wedding styled shoot. Little did I know, she had planned a mini “young-love” picnic styled shoot as well!

The models, Molly and Ed, the daughter of the planner and son of the florist- had only met each other once or twice- and you would’ve thought they were each other’s first love! They were so adorable with each other and I had so much fun having them awkwardly hold each other’s hands for the first time. I don’t know about you, but I think these two should probably go on a real date after this shoot!

Jane put together an adorable English picnic “first date” shoot located on the grounds of the Bibury Court Hotel. Finger sandwiches, picnic basket, cupcakes, and Harry Potter- I can’t think of a better outdoor date in the Cotswolds!

Photography: CJK Visuals | Floral Design: Lily Fee Floral Designs | Food And Drink: Bibury Court Hotel | Hair And Makeup: Heidi Vince Hair | Hotel: Bibury Court Hotel | Car Rental: Morris Minor Weddings | Planner + Stylist: Planned For Perfection

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