The story of our Cotswold wedding begins when we met at a Christmas Carol Concert in London after a few too many wines and we were friends for a couple of months before one very heated bowling match. We got engaged after 5 years in locked down, in our little flat in London on a very normal Monday morning while I was still in bed. He proposed with a beautiful eternity band as the actual ring was his grand mothers and was stuck in Canada due to the lockdown (he is Canadian). We managed to get it about 6 months later when we finally could fly out to Canada and he did another mini proposal in the snow!
We got married at Kiftsgate Court Gardens, which is about 5 minutes from where I grew up and is owned by a family friend. This was only the third wedding that they had ever held there and the other two were family. It’s hard not to fall in love with the venue, perched on a hill overlooking the best Cotswold countryside, where I had spent many happy days.
Due to my husband being Canadian, we had a rehearsal dinner the night before for 50 of our nearest and dearest, the wedding on the Saturday and a drinks for our parents friends on the Sunday. All of which were held at Kiftsgate and organised by our amazing wedding planner, Cleo Alexiou.
My dress was from Sassi Holford and I knew the moment I put it on it was the one. I really didn’t shop around too much as I was carefully guided by a close friend who owns PS Bridal, a fantastic wedding dress rental company and I knew I wanted something very classic and, hopefully, timeless. I found it on the second shop I went into and bought it there and then. My headband was from Dolecka and definitely added a bit of a modern twist. Shoes I bought on Etsy after hunting everywhere for a pair I loved. The shop is called Greek Goddess Sandals and I loved them and they remain to this day my most comfortable pair of heals – who knew. My something blue was the diamond and sapphire eternity ring that Jack proposed with.
My mother in law very kindly provided the jewellery as my something borrowed, a pair of antique Tiffany pearl and diamond drop earrings and an antique Cartier diamond necklace.
After being a bridesmaid a few times and not always feeling that comfortable in the dresses that I was asked to wear, I decided to give my bridesmaids a general guide of green and allow them to wear whatever they felt amazing in. I love how it came out and I think everyone looked amazing. Ushers wore morning dress, which I think was very entertaining for the Canadians that aren’t used to wearing such formal attire. The Canadians rented their morning suits from Oliver Brown.
For gifts, I gave my bridesmaids earrings from a friends company call Coco and Kinney and Jack bought his ushers knee high socks (which he is known for) from New and Lingwood. These made for some excellent photos.
Our family is absolutely car crazy and my father, brother and I all race classic cars so this was definitely important to me. I went to the church in my fathers 1924 La Buire, one of very few left in the world, which is bright yellow. We were slightly worried it wouldn’t make it up the hill to Kiftsgate but the 1924 engineering didn’t let us down. And driving away, I drove my first car ever which I have had since I was 18, a 1966 Austin Healey Sprite. I will admit I only drove it about 20 metres as we drove it from the front of Kiftsgate to the back, as we were staying in the house with all our Ushers and Bridesmaids.
As for everyone else’s transfer, this is where our amazing wedding planner, Cleo Alexiou, took over. We had 200 people at our Cotswold wedding and a large chunk coming from Canada and the US and she dealt with sorting taxis and transfers for our guests for all three events and managed to get everyone back to hotels and B&Bs, no easy feat given how rural Kiftsgate is.
As we got married in October, I knew I didn’t want flowers but more just greenery and I knew I wanted candles galore, but that was pretty much it. I think I made a rather shocking attempt at a Pinterest board but then left the rest to Cleo, our wedding planner. We had a fair few calls about what my vision was (although I’m not sure I even knew), she suggested vendors and I couldn’t have been more pleased. It was my vision bought to life and more. We were lucky with the weather and had drinks in the garden at Kiftsgate, following by dinner and dancing in the marquee.
We had four long tables, two with hanging garlands of flowers, and two with amazing green arrangements all done by Joanna Carter Flowers. The tables were laid by Cleo and her team, with simple olive green napkins, white table clothes and an array of different candles. Our table names were all funny places within Canada such as Stoner, British Columbia, Big Beaver and Saskatchewan. Still to this day, I can’t believe how beautiful Cleo managed to make a large white marquee look.
Food & Drink
For food, we used a very local caterer which Cleo had recommended called The Wild Oven, based about 15 minutes away from Kiftsgate. They arrived with 2 Land Rover Defenders with ovens in the back and cooked everything from the wood fired ovens, it was absolute heaven. Boards and bowls on the table to share and tons of canapés, and there was an amazing smell of BBQ as you stepped out of the tent. My husband didn’t have too many requests but absolutely loves pizza, and the highlight was The Wild Oven serving pizzas as our midnight snack – still remains Jack’s favourite pizza ever.
As for drinks, for the wine and champagne we used our favourite wine shop in London called Last Drop on the Kings Road and Andrea, the owner, recommended the best selection. Still to this day, we get people complementing our wine and champagne. As for the bar, we had a selection of cocktails, spirits and mixers and many bar staff so no queuing (very key.)
We got married at St James’ in Chipping Campden and used a local choir called the Cantores who sung Zadock the Priest as we entered, one of my favourite moments from the wedding.
For the drinks reception, Cleo found an amazing folk duo to sing at the reception. You can’t beat Van Morrison and Mumford and Sons while standing around an amazing pond in one of Englands best gardens.
As for the dancing, we had The Fabulous Hurricane, a full 9 piece rhythm and blues band and I can honestly say that they got everyone dancing all night. If I had to pick a single highlight from the wedding, it would have been the packed hot dance floor which I quite literally never left. They very kindly learnt Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show, which was our first dance and allowed Jack to do his Macy Grey impression!
Beauty Regime & Wellness
For makeup and hair, I used Frankie Rose, who had done a few weddings for Cleo before and made me feel amazing on the day. I wanted to look like me and she absolutely got it, it was very natural and was very fun on the morning of the wedding. She also managed to do all 7 of my bridesmaids.
My pre wedding treatment was a little pre-moon to Malta beforehand so I had a little colour (it was October after all.)
Favourite Wedding Gifts
We used The Wedding Present Company for our wedding gift list. A few gift highlights were an amazing Kalinko Rangoon chair, Kit Kemp for Wedgwood Mythical Creatures tea and coffee sets, a beautiful and colourful quilt by Wicklewood, Zalto wine and champagne glasses and numerous lampshades and lamps from Pooky.
We managed to slot in a pre moon at the Phoenicia in Malta, then actually headed to Canada straight after our Cotswold wedding for another wedding and some well deserved rest and finally we did our proper honeymoon in Egypt where we spent 2 weeks taking in the historical sights down the Nile.
- Get a wedding planner. I can’t recommend it enough. Our wedding planner, Cleo Alexiou and her team, took the stress out of planning our wedding. I enjoyed every moment, from planning, to the wedding to the drinks the next day and I really didn’t have to worry about anything as she was so on it. We had over 400 guests at different events over the weekend and she made it all look so easy, recommended the best suppliers and the whole wedding went off without a hitch. She made my vision a reality and it was the best money I have ever spent.
- 2. Focus on what is important to you and spend the budget on that. For us, it was the band and the photographer. They were definitely splurges but Jack and I never left the dance floor and we have framed photos of our wedding all through our house. It brings me a lot of joy.
- 3. Make sure you have your bar near your dance floor. It really encourages those less willing guests to get up and dance and doesn’t mean you lose people to another area for drinks.
Groom outfit: Thresher And Glenny
Tableware: Chipping Norton Events Hire
Wedding rings: @edwinaelkingtonjewellery
Gift list: @weddingpresentco
Bridesmaid gifts: @cocoandkinney
Wedding Planner: @cleoalexiouluxuryevents
Related Article: Our Favourite Winter Weddings