A Meaningful Yet Fun & Laid Back Wedding Near Henley
4th July 2017
by Marina Licht
Do you like the idea of a meaningful yet fun & laid back wedding like Alison and Stuart had? The couple’s wedding took place on the 6th August last year at All Saints Church, Marlow. Their ceremony was followed by a reception at Fawley Hill near Henley.
Alison and Stuart first met at the pizza place, Franco Manca in Brixton, London. ‘It was the birthday party of a mutual friend from our church,’ explains Alison. ‘Stuart had only moved to the UK a few weeks before.’
The couple dated for 18 months almost to the day when they first met. ‘The proposal was romantic and adventurous,’ says Alison. ‘Stuart had planned a trip to Morocco, including a three day trek in the Atlas mountains, with just the two of us and a guide. ‘It was day two of trekking, and we’d just scaled a ridge of 800 vertical metres. He got down one one knee in front of the most beautiful view I’d ever seen.’
When it came to her wedding dress, Alison found it at David’s Bridal. However, she ended up with a dress very different from what she originally envisioned herself wearing. ‘The consultant picked it out for me, but it felt ‘just right,’ explains Alison. Her accessories included a pearl necklace (a gift from Stuart on the morning of their wedding), a headpiece from Bellarie Couture from Etsy, and shoes from Debut at Debenhams.
It was very important to Alison and Stuart that their laid back wedding reflected their Christian faith and the importance of marriage to them. As their church is held in a central London conference centre, the couple chose a beautiful old Anglican church in Alison’s home town instead. ‘We wanted a laid back, outdoorsy reception that was above all, fun for our guests as well as for us,’ says Alison ‘The venue with its fields, flowers and vintage steam train memorabilia lent itself to that perfectly. We tried to weave elements of our respective nationalities (Scottish and Zimbabwean) through the day as well.’
To help organise their laid back wedding, the couple hired the services of Julie from Julie Silver Weddings. ‘We used her wedding coordination service and she was a life saver,’ says Alison. ‘We only had an eight month engagement, so planning was quite stressful. She stepped in six weeks before the day and nailed down all the details of the final logistics.’
The couple’s florist was Siobhan from La Belle Floral Designs who stepped in at the last minute as their original florist plans fell apart six weeks before their big day. ‘ Her work was beautiful.’ says Alison.
Alison’s bridesmaids wore burgundy full length dresses from David’s Bridal. Stuart wore a Ted Baker navy suit, his shirt and tie were from Moss Bros. Alison bought him cufflinks from Bookity via Etsy.
Both Alison and Stuart set up the venue two days before their big day, with the help of extended family. ‘The venue was so unusual that Stuart created a map of it, poinint out features to explore,’ says Alison. The tables featured flower rings with Moroccan style lanterns ( a nod to their engagement). The favours were key ring animals in traditional Zimbabwean beadwork.
The couple’s wedding cake was by Stephanie Almeida Bespoke Cakes. ‘We had three layers in three flavours, passion fruit, chocolate and rasperry and lemon and elderflower,’ says Alison. ‘All our guests said it was amazing. It must have been because there was none left,- I didn’t get to try it!’
According to Alison, the highlight of her laid back wedding was saying her wedding vows. ‘It felt really sacred to be promising in front of family, friends and God to love each other for the rest of our lives.’
Another fun part of the couple’s big day was that Fawley Hill has a vintage merry go round which all the guests loved. They also had a catering company which specialise in Southern African braai (barbecue) food which is a favourite with Stuart’s family and friends. The first hour of dancing was a Scottish ceilidh run by Alison’s dad before the DJ took over for the evening.
Alison and Stuart’s laid back wedding was photographed by Jamie Dunn Photography. ‘I met him when he photographed my friend’s wedding, I was the bridesmaid,’ explains Alison. ‘The photographs were stunning. He is such a nice person that it was an easy choice. I’d recommend him to anyone.’
A meaningful and laid back wedding
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