Elegant & Whimsical Fairytale Aynhoe Park Wedding
What a fairytale day we have in store today, prepare to be blown away! Jennifer and Andrew tied the knot at the incomparable Aynhoe Park on 2nd February 2019. It was a stylish and whimsical affair with dusky blue and pastel hues, abundant florals and playful balloon installations. Let’s find out more shall we?
Aynhoe Park is a unique venue all by itself but Jennifer’s chosen decor really does enhance the look. She loves Alice in Wonderland and I do think that the balloon installation creates a truly other worldly feel. Add in blousy roses and peonies to the elegant stationery and this one really is a beauty.
Jennifer and Andrew were delighted with their photographs and it’s easy to see why. Thank you so much Sanshine Photography for sharing all the beauty with us today. Enjoy WWWers!
Andrew proposed in Kos, Greece on the beach. Prior to the proposal he’d been obsessing about buying a rucksack in Meadowhall and I’d thought it a little strange, and annoying, as I kept saying I had a bag so he didn’t need one.
Anyways.. we’d been for dinner in the evening and he’d been a little particular about where we ate, but I’d thought nothing of it. Then he suggested a walk along the beach at sunset, and to take a photo of us on his camera. He set it all up and took a photo of us and showed us it and I was like..”oh no, not that one.. take another..” So he walked off and set the camera up again and stood next to me and he was fidgeting and taking a while, and I was just about to turn around and bite his head off and ask him what he was doing when he was down on one knee, with a tiffany ring and had took a picture of the exact moment. I couldn’t believe it and just kept saying.. “oh my god.. oh my god..” It was lovely.
Initally, I wanted to get married abroad, quite intimate. However, due to illness in the family it seemed more appropriate to stay at home.
The words “go big or go home..” seemed to resonate with me.. and if I didn’t love it, I didn’t want it, as brattish as that sounds, but I’m a perfectionist and I only plan on doing this once. Aynhoe Park appeared on my Instagram and after seeing the floating giraffe suspended by balloons and the orangery, I knew this was the place despite being two hours away from our home.
I knew I wanted something oldy-worldy.. but not national trust décor. It had to be beautiful inside and Aynhoe ticked all the boxes.
The Planning Process
The first bit of the planning process was probably sorting the venue out. Once this was sorted I feel like it was easier to plan for everything else. I feel like your venue sort of shapes the kind of wedding you’re going to have so this was an important initial step.
I, like most brides, was given a wedding planner book, and I feel like this was really useful in shaping and directing the things I should consider and need. Once the venue was sorted, the next thing I probably sorted was venue décor including florals and balloons, music and my invitations. I’m quite an organised person and getting these huge things sorted quite early made me feel quite relaxed and able to focus on the smaller details which were also just as important.
I utilised Enrica at Aynhoe Park to also help with any queries I may have had and she was really useful in suggesting suppliers as well as doing my own research. For the 18 months or so planning my wedding I literally had my wedding on the brain, and created a spreadsheet to track what deposits had been made, what was left outstanding and what was left to sort to be able to visualise what was left to do.
Wow.. the budget. Haha.. This went massively over! So my parents paid for the venue and food and my wedding dress and I did the rest. By the time we’d finished we’d spent £100,000. It still hurts.. but the wedding day and photos made it totally worth it!
Aynhoe Park. If I had to do this ever again (hopefully not!), I’d choose this place over and over again. The building is a stunning 17th Century house with the most divine décor inside full of quirky and stunning intricacies.I absolutely love Alice in Wonderland and this venue is just a wonderland in itself; it was absolutely perfect. I knew as soon as I viewed it that this was the one and only viewed two venues in total.
The orangery was the perfect scene for our ceremony and with it having snowed the day before our wedding but a bright sunny day on our wedding day; it was the perfect backdrop for our wedding. It was perfect.
We used Studio Sorores for our florals. I found them on Instagram and wanted someone who was familiar with Aynhoe Park which is why I chose a florist not local to me. I knew mostly what I wanted and envisioned something quite classic and elegant. My wedding bouquet was made of white peonies; due to them being early in the season they were still quite closed but I loved this about them and they were then tied with a steel blue/grey tie. My bridesmaids had a smaller version of these.
We then had white rose petals down the aisle, amongst varying heights of candles and 2 large urns at each side at the front full of white florals of hydrangea, peonies, roses and Phalaenopsis.
The thing I was most set on was having a floral arch. So many photos of Aynhoe Park show a floral arch in the entrance to the orangery; it just looks beautiful and so lovely to have photos beneath. It was pricey and like took a 1/3 of the floral cost up but looked so beautiful and dreamlike. Again our floral arch comprised of peonies, roses, hydrangea, anthurium and phalaenopsis.
Our florals for the tables were quite low as I like the idea of people being able to see each other and talk over the table. These were again comprised of the above, with tealights scattered on the table in votives to add extra romance and ambience.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Since before I was even engaged, I knew I wanted a Berta gown. I absolutely love the detail and low backs of the gowns, just so feminine, unique and couture. I follow Berta on Instagram and there was one dress that kept coming up on various Instagram pages and I was forever screen-shotting it. So when the collection came into The Wedding Club, in London, I travelled down and tried it on. It was the first dress I tried and it was the one. I tried a few others on from the collection and it was between this one, and a blush colour one which was also stunning, if I’d have had the budget I’d have got both ha!
Once home I deliberated whether the skirt was long enough, despite the back being stunning. I enquired and found that they did an overskirt which went with the dress and purchased this too. It just finished it completely. I absolutely loved it. The dress was unbelievably heavy but the detail and corsetry were so stunning, I wish there was occasion to wear it every day. My veil was from America from a site called Bliss by Blossom and was cathedral length, but quite plain with beading around the edge that matched my dress. I wore minimal jewellery due to my dress being quite busy and simply opted for some pearl drop earrings from Chanel, and just my engagement ring. My shoes were pearl heels from Jimmy Choo, but I took them off soon after the photos and put some slippers on.
Makeup – Katie Daley. Katie has done my face quite a few times and she is amazing! She’s one of the best in the business. I showed her a photo of what I was thinking and my dress and on the day she made it all come together. For the bridesmaids she did a more muted version of my own makeup so we all tied in together.
Hair – Heather Mackenzie-Thompson. Initially, I wanted my hair up but it just didn’t feel right during the trials. So I ended up having it down in beachy waves.. this seemed fitting as the models on Berta always have their hair down and gave it a young, modern kind of feel. Heather is my usual hair stylist and again she is absolutely fabulous and one of the best in country. I was adamant I was one of those brides that didn’t want tight pin curls on myself or my bridesmaids.. we had to look glamorous, but fun and comfortable.
Due to the wedding being in February, I felt blue was a more suitable colour, but I’m a fan of more muted tones so navy was not suitable and instead opted for a dusky, steel blue. The colour was stunning on the girls and suited their complexions beautifully. They were quite simple in design, but extremely comfortable. I didn’t want the girls all matching and the dresses came in many different styles so were absolutely perfect. The material was gorgeous, they were so flattering.. and they had pockets! These were vera wang and purchased from David’s bridal in Birmingham. Their shoes were plain, cream block heels from asos and I bought the girls Tiffany earrings as their favours which they all wore.
The groomsmen wore a blue morning tailcoat, with white shirt and blue and grey tweed pocket square. The groom and best man wore blue and grey tweed waistcoats with blue tie, and the groomsmen and both fathers wore blue and grey ties with blue waistcoat. They all looked very handsome and smart.
The suits were hired from Reece Ford Suit Hire in Chesterfield and the guys in the shop were so lovely and helpful. The guys all had cuff links especially made for them, and wore matching check Vivienne Westwood socks. The groom and best man wore Christian Louboutin brown shoes, and the other groomsmen something similar from Next.
We chose these suits as I felt that blue was more suited toward the theme of the wedding, but my husband was adamant he wanted an element of tweed in there. So we compromised and I found the suit company online; we visited and I saw this one and we agreed that we both liked it (which is a novelty for us).
The Readings & Music
We had a string quartet play play as our guests arrived and they played Canon in D by Pachelbel as I, and the bridesmaids walked down the aisle. I remember standing at the back of the door with my dad, hearing the music play and all of a sudden the nerves hit me. But the music was stunning. I was so grateful.
We had pianist Joe Pike play during the wedding breakfast who went down really well and then at night we had Jonny Ross’ DJ and saxophonist package who were AMAZING. Everybody loved them..!
Our first dance was Nat King Cole “When I fall in love..” which was lovely. And our dog, Bernard, joined us on the dancefloor. Bliss.
Our photography was by Sanshine Photography who are a husband and wife duo. These guys are absolutely incredible. San is unbelievably nice.. I love her! Our photos turned out incredible and they have the best eye for detail and getting the perfect shot. Generally I don’t feel like I’m the most photogenic person but San and Michael made the most beautiful shots. They made everything feel so easy and effortless; they are absolutely worth their weight in gold. They took so many beautiful pictures.. I honestly believe I will have 5 wedding albums because they are all too pretty to choose from. Voted one of the best in the country and its not difficult to believe why.. an absolutely professional and wonderful team.
Our filmmaker was a friend I went to school with called Daniel Watson. He has only just branched out into wedding filmography but he was amazing. His company is called Made To Last Films and literally everyone who saw my video have cried, even grown men.
Danny was so laid back and just mingled with everyone you wouldn’t have known he was there.. so professional and the end result was perfect. So glad we did it.
The Details & Décor
Balloons- Bubblegum balloons do some really cute set ups, especially at Aynhoe Park and I knew they’d do something spectacular at the wedding. The girls set up a suspended balloon ceiling of varying blues and rose gold hues which looked amazing with the lighting of the room and the florals. I also had some balloons up the staircase that said “He put a ring on it” and “Here comes the bride”.
Hireware- I didn’t realise that dinnerware was provided by Aynhoe Park when I booked my venue. I looked at different hire ware companies, I found Whitehouse crockery and really liked their selection. I had glass beaded charger plates and chose similar cutlery, dinnerware and glassware. When all put together with blue napkins the look was so beautiful and clean; I loved how it all came together. Just so aesthetically pleasing.
Food- Aynhoe Park provided all the food for our day/weekend.
On the Friday night we put a meal on for our guests who were staying at Aynhoe Park with us. This was a Greek themed night as this is where we got engaged and we’re very fond of Greece.
Our appetisers whilst we were having photos taken were crispy duck bon bons with a fig compote, king prawn tempura, chicken goujons, salmon fish cake with crème fraiche; parmesan shortbread circle with mozzarella, cherry tomato and pesto and finally mini Yorkshire puddings with beef and horseradish.
Our wedding breakfast comprised of scallops, crispy pancetta with a celeriac and apple puree, black pudding bon bons and parsley oil. For our Mains we had a deconstructed beef wellington, smoked wild mushroom puree, beef dripping potato, kale and young carrots and parsnips.
For dessert we had a trio of desserts which were a sticky toffee pudding, traditional apple crumble and a sesame tuille with vanilla ice cream.
At night we had a wood fired pizza truck which was delicious. Then for late night munchies Aynhoe Park broughout out sausage rolls, fish and chips and cheese and ham toasties at midnight which went down a treat.
Drinks- There was Moet and Chandon champagne served throughout the day and during the appetisers we had cocktails and beers. The cocktails were called Pinkito and Aynhoe Mule which were gin and vodka cocktails and were so delicious! We had a white wine served with the starter and a red wine served with the main.
Stationery- I found lilac and white on etsy initially online whilst searching for wedding stationary. I went directly to their website and really liked that their designs were quite simple but romantic. I chose their Felicity templates for my name cards, table plan, order of the day, welcome signs and menu cards. Their designs were so beautiful- I absolutely loved them and would totally recommend them. They allowed me to tinker with the design prior to sending to print to ensure I was 100% happy.
Our cake was from Poppy Pickering in Ilkley. Her work is incredible and she is the nicest person EVER! Our cake flavours were lemon and blueberry; rhubarb and ginger and apple caramel and hazelnuts. We had a four tiered cake and each tier differed in design. We had a plain white tier at the bottom with a bow; a sparkle tier; a blue lustre tier and plain white with dots tier with a floral cascade on two of the tiers. I literally was so blown away when I saw the cake; I have a massive sweet tooth and this was so important to me. When we were having our photos taken I was telling the groom off for denting the tier with the knife.. I really didn’t want to cut it! We have the top tier at home on display and it is still so pretty. Dominique made the most beautiful peony florals for the cake.. I literally wish she would design cakes for me all the time. An absolute dream.
For our honeymoon we went to the Maldives and Dubai! We stayed at Velassaru in The Maldives and it was absolutely stunning, I would go back every year if we could. You see the photos on Instagram and think can it honestly be that good.. seriously.. it can. Sooo amazing. We had an overwater villa with our own pool and I would totally recommend it if possible. The place was just absolutely beautiful, the service was out of this world, the food delicious and the weather was perfect; the best time ever. We were fortunate enough to travel Business Class with Emirates for our journey and I would absolutely recommend if you are to ever fly business.. push the boat out for your honeymoon.. you won’t regret it.
In Dubai we stayed at the One and Only Resorts at the Royal Mirage. As they were aware we were honeymooners, they upgraded us to a suite and it was amazing! Everyone was so attentive to our needs and the hotel is absolutely amazing.
There were so many memorable moments from our day. I remember feeling so calm throughout the morning whilst having my hair and make up done; a couple of pangs of nerves but these quickly settled. Even whilst speaking with the registrar I was quite relaxed, but then whilst waiting behind the doors with my dad and I could hear the wedding music begin I said to my dad “Oh wow.. its really happening! Now I’m nervous!”
I remember when the doors opened and instantly seeing my husband to be, already crying (he’s quite an emotional kinda guy) and smiling at him. The room looked so beautiful and the day light flooding through the windows was unreal. Because of the detail on my dress everybody said It was super sparkly and princess like- however I didn’t see this because I was too busy looking at my groom
Other memorable moments include cutting the cake and our first dance. Our first dance was Nat King Cole “When I fall in Love..” I absolutely love this song, and this was made even more special by our dog, Bernard, joining us on the dancefloor.
Advice For Other Couples
My advice for other couples would be to totally get a videographer.. your day goes so quickly, sadly, its amazing to be able to watch it all back.
Research your ideas thoroughly.. I was really surprised at the cost of somethings or at what other things did not include.
Be realistic with your budgeting.. if you have high expectations, expect to pay for it.
Be selfish a little. Remember this is YOUR day. My husband and I encountered a few disagreements with family members however this was our day and about us. People should respect that and if they love you, they will understand. Our day was perfect throughout and I don’t regret doing what we wanted just for one day.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Reece Ford Suit Hire
White by Vera Wang from Davids Bridal
Made to Last Films
The Wood Fired Pizza Co
Lilac & White
Just wow! Thank you so much Jennifer and Andrew for sharing your fairytale wedding day with us here at WWW. Rachel x