As the autumn nights draw in and we start thinking about turning the heating back on, this week we are heading back to late Spring for a beautiful, festival inspired wedding day, to celebrate the marriage of Claire and Stuart. It was an absolute delight to support this lovely couple on their special day & the bright colours and sunflowers, certainly kept us smiling throughout.
Questions answered by Claire.
How long have you been together?
We will have been together for 4 years this October. We can never quite remember the date of our anniversary so celebrate for the whole of the month! Along with our Birthdays
How did you meet?
We met on Tinder! I was living in London and Stu lived in Bicester at the time. I was back at my mum’s house for a weekend and Stu happened to be working near by so he popped up as a potential match. I like to think I messaged him first but Stu is adamant it was him.
When & how did you get engaged?
The most unromantic proposal ever! We got engaged in July 2017 and I had just got home from work – I think I had only just got through the door. Stu started chatting and then just asked ‘shall we get married?’ I was so shocked I had to ask him to confirm that he was actually proposing to me! It was still very lovely though and a funny moment we will both always remember.
Which date did you chose for your wedding day?
We got married on the 11th May 2019. It didn’t have any particular significance but we knew we wanted a Spring / Summer wedding.
Where did you hold your ceremony & reception?
Our venue was absolutely amazing! We had both our ceremony and reception at the gorgeous Stratton Court Barn. We found it on the website ‘Hitched’ and arranged a viewing with the wonderful Karin who organises the weddings and events there. As soon as we visited the barn we fell in love with it and knew it was the most perfect place for us. It had such a lovely relaxed feel to it and it looked so, so nice we both knew this was where we wanted to have our wedding. Karin was the most amazing woman to work with, there was nothing too big or too small for her and made us feel so at ease throughout the whole process.
Who was involved in planning your wedding?
We were very lucky to have lots of people wanting to help us. My Mum was a huge help both with helping me organise things and just listening to me and calming me down when I was having a panic. Stuart’s mum was also a huge help and we were so grateful! Our wedding seemed to come at the end of a lot of our friends getting married so it was great to get tips and ideas off them too.
Did you both have Hen/Stag Do’s?
Yes, we had both of ours within a week of each other. Stu’s went for a round of golf and then for a night out in Oxford, which ended up with the group of them at a foam party! The Stag started a little earlier then planned though. The night before I managed to lock Stu out of the house which resulted in him and his friend having to spend the night at a hotel in Banbury… oops.
My sister planned the loveliest hen do for me! We went glamping for two nights and I had the best time ever. The location was absolutely wonderful and I had all my best friends around me and I felt so grateful for a weekend of prosecco, bbq’s, pottery painting and lots of love!
How many people did you invite to share your special day?
We had 65 people who celebrated our wedding with us.
Who were your Bridesmaids?
My beautiful sister Katie, was my Maid of Honour and I was so grateful of her help during the wedding and for planning my hen do. I also had my friend Rose, who I have known since I was 16 and my friend Becci, who I’ve known since I was 8. My two godchildren were our gorgeous bridesmaid and page boy.
Who were your Best Man/Men & Ushers?
We decided not to have any Ushers, but Stu’s best friend was our Best Man. They’ve known each other for 10 years and there was definitely only one man for the job!
What did you wear?
I found my dress whilst I was at a wedding fair in Bicester. Butterfly Bridal Boutique were doing a sale on their dresses and I tried three of them on. I totally wasn’t planning on getting my dress that day and I hadn’t tried any on before but as soon as I put my dress on I knew it was the one. I know it sounds very cliche but it was so true! My dress was by Charlotte Balbier and was a gorgeous floor length floating dress which we matched with a silver belt around my middle. It was a few sizes too big for me but the lovely seamstress Karen, who does a lot of alterations with Butterfly Bridal, worked her magic and I honestly felt amazing on the day. I knew I wanted to be able to wear my wedding shoes again and had found some light pink shoes in Dune that I thought would be really nice. When I got round to buying them Dune had discontinued the shoes but I managed to find a bargain pair on Ebay!
What did Stuart wear?
We bought Stuart and his Best Man’s suits from Debenhams in the range called Racing Green. Stu had previously bought from that design and knew he liked the fit and colours they had to offer. Both the suits were a lovely blue and we bought them pale pink ties and handkerchiefs to go with. They both looked gorgeous on the day.
What did your Mum wear?
It’s now a running joke that my mum didn’t buy one or two dresses for the wedding but she ended up buying five of them! She finally settled on the most amazing dress ever and still people comment saying how beautiful she looked on the day. She went with a lovely full length dress from Needle and Thread which I hope she will lend me one day!
What theme/colour scheme did you chose?
We had always wanted quite a festival style to our wedding. We both love going to festivals and felt that Stratton Court could completely work with that type of theme. I adore bright colours so I wanted everything as colourful as possible!!
Did you know what flowers you wanted to use, or did you go on Emma’s recommendation?
I went to Emma with my brightly coloured idea and Emma completely made any vision I had a reality! The only things I really asked for was whether I could have sunflowers in my bouquet, as they are my favourite and we also asked for some colourful gerberas too. Everything else was Emma’s recommendation and I remember when Emma sent us through a mood board of flowers she thought would be great, we both just thought she had got it completely spot on. I think through the whole wedding process one of the things we were most excited about was seeing how the flowers would look on the day.
How did you decide to pick us as your Florist?
I found Signature flowers at the same wedding fair as I found my dress (it was a very successful fair for us!) I already knew of them as we lived in Bicester, but had never used them previously. As soon as I started chatting to one of Emma’s colleagues at the fair I thought yes, this is where we are going for flowers! They were so friendly and the pictures they showed me of previous weddings looked completely stunning. Stuart was chuffed when I told him we should go with Signature Flowers, as his great Grandfather used to run a Butcher’s in the same shop that Signature is now in!
How did you feel when Emma handed you your bouquet?
I don’t think I could stop smiling! They looked absolutely gorgeous and the colours were everything I had hoped they’d be and more! My bouquet was amazing and I couldn’t stop looking at it and telling everyone in the house to go and see the flowers.
How did you feel on the morning of your wedding?
I actually felt completely fine the morning of the wedding which surprises me, as I generally get quite stressed out. Our hairdressers arrived early and we all just sat together getting our hair and make up done, eating cold pizza for breakfast! As I had a lot of family coming over from Jersey, we stayed in a big house in Croughton that we found on Air BnB and my bridesmaids came over the morning of the wedding. It was a really lovely atmosphere in the house with everyone rallying around together to make sure we were set to leave at 1pm.
My mum had hired us an amazing campervan from Daisy Chain Campers to get us to and from the wedding and it looked brilliant. We hadn’t quite factored in the amount of time it would take for the camper to be driven from Croughton to Stratton Audley and back again to pick me up and I ended up be 45 minutes late… something that Stuart will never let me live down!
What did you choose to eat?
Our wedding food was made by the very talented ladies at S&J Cuisine. We didn’t want a formal sit down three course mea, so we ended up having our starters as canapes and a BBQ style main meal that was brought to the centre of each table allowing guests to just tuck in. Picking the food menu was one of my favourite things as everything sounded so delicious.
Our guests all said how lovely the food was and it was nice to have something a little bit different. We had our wedding cake as our dessert course along with a cheese board. Our cake was made by our cats vet, Helen who completely blew us away with how delicious it was!
Helen met Emma up at Stratton Court Barn the morning of the wedding as we wanted to incorporate some of the flowers in the cake. We completely left this up to the two ladies and the cake looked absolutely stunning!
Who made speeches?
We kept it quite traditional with the speeches so my Dad started it off, then it was Stuart and then our Best Man Chris. My Dad told a few embarrassing stories about me but it was really touching that he got quite tearful during his speech… I don’t think I have ever seen my Dad cry before.
Stuart’s speech was really lovely and of course the fact he was locked out of the house on his stag do made it in there. Chris’ speech was the perfect amount of making fun of Stuart, but also letting everyone know how wonderful he is.
Which song did you choose for your ‘First Dance’?
We chose ‘Be my Forever’ by Christini Perri, featuring Ed Sheeran. It’s a song we used to sing along to in the car and when we were trying to decide what to use for our first dance we thought this would actually be perfect. Listening to the words of the song it made complete sense!
What was your favourite part of the day?
I think for me it was having all our family and close friends together for one day, all just celebrating and having a great time. It doesn’t happen often at all and we both felt so special that people had travelled to come and join us for the day.
I also loved being able to see everything come together from the flowers, to the lighting and the food and the cake. It just made the past 18 months of planning so completely worth it. Stuart has said his favourite part was seeing me for the first time in my dress as well as being very pleased that he managed to arrange an old friend of mine to join us for the evening without me knowing it was happening.
What was your one Wedding Day ‘Must Have’?
As a Bride, definitely my flip flops for the evening. I think I had my shoes off by the meal (i’m rubbish in heels!) and had the flip flops on for the rest of the night.
For the Groom, remember that this is your day as well not just the Bride’s and to enjoy every minute as it goes fast.
Would you change anything or do you have any advice for currently engaged couples?
I don’t think we would change anything at all about the day! We would definitely advise for couples to remember it is their day and as much as you want to please everyone, you need to make sure you’re both the happiest people there. Allow other people to help and don’t let the planning stress you out too much… on the day, everything has a way of just coming together.
Would you like to mention any particular wedding suppliers who assisted with your day?
We were so lucky that all our suppliers were absolutely brilliant and we’re so glad we found them all!
Our venue was Stratton Court Barn with the wonderful Karin
Our cake was made by Helen Walton-Collett who is so talented! (Instagram catching.crumbs)
Our decoration of multi coloured lanterns in the ceremony and dining area were supplied by Something Borrowed who produced my much requested ‘rainbow explosion’ of colour.
The food was supplied by S&J cuisine and everyone commented on how delicious it was and it was so nice to work with and get some amazing ideas from Sally
My dress was bought from Butterfly Bridal Boutique in Bicester run by the loveliest team who were so helpful, especially when I decided I really did actually want a veil and Rachel was emailing me over pictures!
The Bridesmaids, my mum’s and my hair were all done by Matthew Curtis who had travelled from Stratford Upon Avon in the early morning, to ensure we all looked our best that day.
Our DJ was Sugar Promotions who made sure we all danced the night away.
Of course our beautiful flowers including bouquets, buttons holes, corsages for the mums and a gorgeous spray of flowers over the ceremony arch, were done by the wonderful team at Signature Flowers and we are so grateful for going with our multi coloured vision and turning it into a gorgeous reality!
It was our pleasure!
Where are you going on your honeymoon?
We’re now on countdown to our honeymoon in Fuerteventura in two weeks! Our lovely guests all gave us money towards the honeymoon as wedding gifts, so we are now very much looking forward to a week in the sun!
Have a wonderful week. Thanks for reading!