Oliver and I met very briefly when I was a final year student and he had recently graduated – we were on a weekend away hosted by a Christian organisation that we were both involved in. We didn’t start dating until a year after through a funny series of coincidences: we had reconnected for work reasons as I was looking to pursue travel writing and he was working at Wallpaper* magazine as a designer, and also both happened to be in New York in December 2017, where we met up for a friendly coffee. We started dating as soon as we both returned to London, and were engaged only seven months later: a lot of our friends thought we were crazy, as we were both very young. The age-old adage ‘when you know, you know’ definitely was the case here. This was the start of what would be, our beautiful Cotswolds wedding.
We wanted to have a Cotswolds wedding, as this is where Oliver’s parents are based. Our church ceremony was at Burford Church followed by a canapé and champagne reception in the adjoining church hall. This was then followed by the main reception at Cripps Barn, a beautiful reclaimed barn on the Gloucestershire border with beautiful grounds. Cripps happened to be the first wedding venue that we ever visited – we knew it was ‘the one’ almost immediately, and pretty much booked on the spot. We checked out one or two other venues afterwards, but in actuality, we’d already made our decision.
The general feeling of our Cotswolds wedding was contemporary and relaxed rather than overly traditional and formal, and this trickled through to our fashion choices. My dress was made by South African designer Elbeth Gillis, whose designs are elegant and timeless, and generally quite minimalist although often incorporate delicate lace detailing. After visiting several bridal shops, I stumbled across her designs at Angelica bridal shop in Islington. Rather than opting for a traditional morning suit, Oliver had a navy three-piece suit custom-made at Beggar’s Run, which he had been recommended by a friend.
I didn’t want to wear too much jewellery to distract from the dress: I wore my grandmother’s diamond and sapphire earrings, that were my ‘something blue’, along with a diamond tennis bracelet gifted by my aunt.
My bridesmaids all wore pale grey dresses by Maids to Measure – I let them choose their own styles, as I wanted them all to feel super comfortable in their choices. The mother of one of my bridesmaids is a dressmaker, so she kindly tailored all of the dresses for everyone. I gifted each of my bridesmaids personalised Missoma jewellery the evening before the Cotswolds wedding.
I arrived at the church ceremony in a vintage Morris Minor, which Oliver and I also departed in (top down, of course!) to head to the barn for our main reception.
We chose to keep the tables relatively simple, opting for lots of greenery and delicate white flowers: gypsophila was our wedding flower (it appeared on all of the tables, along with my bouquet and flower crown, all of the bridesmaids’ bouquets, and each of the groomsmen’s button holes). Oliver is a graphic designer, so he designed the place cards, menus, and seating plan – and also our Cotswolds wedding website and order of ceremony.
Food & Drink
We opted for hearty, sharing-style dishes, as they are a great way to get conversation flowing around a table. We essentially opted for a big Sunday roast with all of the trimmings – followed by apple crumble and wedding cake (tiers were a mix of salted caramel and Victoria sponge).
A few of Oliver’s friends are musicians, so they kindly formed a band to play at our ceremony, which felt incredibly special – I walked down the aisle to Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’. Oliver refused to do a formal first dance as dancing isn’t his strongest suit, so we opted for something a bit silly and tongue-in-cheek: one of his friends remixed Outkast’s ‘Ms Jackson’ with Bruno Mars’ ‘Treasure’ – and we asked all of the bridesmaids and groomsmen to join us on the dance floor at the chorus.
Beauty Regime & Wellness
In the run-up to the Cotswolds wedding, I visited Sarah Chapman’s Skinesis clinic for regular facials, and also had a skin consultation with Lion/ne so that I could tailor my skincare routine. For my hair and makeup, I had a stylist from local hairdresser Matthew Curtis do my hair, and Christine Holdsworth do my makeup.
Favourite Wedding Gifts
Instead of a wedding gift list, we kept it simple by asking for contributions towards our honeymoon via Prezola. For both of us, the gift of travel is the best thing we could ever experience.
We headed straight off after our Cotswolds wedding: our main honeymoon was in Tulum, Mexico, where we spent almost two weeks lounging on the beach, exploring cenotes and Mayan ruins across the Riviera Maya, and eating endless tacos. After returning from Tulum, we went straight onto our ‘mini moon’ at Heckfield Place, one of our favourite hotels in the UK. It might seem a little extra to have had an additional mini moon, but we used it as a way to settle us back in the UK, and get over the jet lag – along with having something to look forward to after our main honeymoon!
- Ask for help from those you trust. I definitely took it upon myself to plan every single detail of the wedding by myself (as I’m a bit of a control freak!) and this led me to feeling pretty burnt out in the weeks leading up to the big day.
- Don’t overthink everything. Your style will change (mine certainly has) so there’s no need to agonise over every single detail.
- Don’t feel like you have to invite every single person you know. Although we loved having a very large wedding party (we had over 200 guests), I think we would have had just as fun a celebration even if we’d had half the number of people attending.
Bride: Gina Jackson @ginagoesto
Cotswolds Wedding Venue: Cripps Barn @crippsbarn
Caterer: Cripps Barn @crippsbarn
Dress: Elbeth Gillis @elbethgillis
Bridesmaids: Maids to Measure @maidstomeasure
Groom Outfit: Beggar’s Run @beggarsrun
Flower Girls & Page Boys: N/A
Florist: Go Wild Flowers @go_wild_flowers
Stationery: designed by the groom @oliverjamesjackson
Wedding website: designed by the groom @oliverjamesjackson
Photographer: Jessica Williams @jessicawilliams.photography
Wedding Rings: family heirlooms + Rennie & Co @rennie_co_london
Makeup: Christine Holdsworth (no longer doing makeup!)
Hair: Matthew Curtis @matthewcurtishair
Gift List: via @prezola
Bridesmaid Gifts: @missomalondon
Stylist: N/A (me)
Wedding Planner: N/A (me)
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