One fabulous party? Try three! Rory and Lisa planned a weekend packed with relaxed, rustic-chic events
Forget finding a venue – the first task on Abu Dhabi-based couple and Lisa and Rory’s wedmin list was choosing a country for their ‘I dos’. “With friends and family spread halfway across the globe, we needed somewhere in the middle that was big enough for all our guests to stay for a weekend of activities,” Lisa explains. Enter The Olde Bell, a 12th century coaching inn (recently renovated to luxe effect) perfect for a quintessentially English countryside affair, starting with a riverside picnic and welcome barbecue the night before the main event.
Photography by Chloé Browne at Caught the Light
To help pull together three days of events (including a farewell brunch), Lisa and Rory called in top London wedding planner Mary Lee Herrington of Forever & Ever Events. “With countless venue and room changes, and more props than you could shake a bouquet at, Mary was an absolute legend,” Lisa says.
For the big day itself, Lisa and Rory decided on a Town & Country theme fusing elegant and rustic details with a corresponding dress code. “It was fun and flexible, allowing people to dress up or down,” Lisa says. “We had a variety of looks, from summer dresses with wellies to tailored suits with hats.”
Guests adored all the personal touches designed to spoil them rotten starting with the vintage handkerchief and playful balloon invitations by Hello!Lucky.
Springs of fresh herbs added a delicate fresh fragrance to proceedings.
Orders of service printed on fans kept guests cool and ice-breaking Q&A booklets provided a little light entertainment at dinner.
The bride flew the flag for Town in a glam Britta Kjerkegaard gown while the groom represented Country in a bespoke green tweed suit made in Dubai worn with a floral print shirt from Liberty and green tie from Spencer Hart.
Fresh florals from Chantal Flores Design enhanced the country mood with a sunny mix of craspedia, roses, freesias, chrysanthemums and hydrangeas.
Before the reception, guests were treated to summer cocktails poured from large retro glass drink dispensers, purchased on eBay. On the menu were Marital Bliss (fresh lemon, water, sugar and vodka), Pimm’s O’Clock (Pimm’s, lemonade, orange, apple, lemon, cucumber and mint), plus fruit drinks and Coca-Cola in vintage-style bottles
Paper lanterns and strands of ribbon added countryside-cool to the reception room.
Gilded frames gave a touch of manor house glamour to the venue.
Name tags tied to seasonal fruit made decorative escort cards.
And country-chic miniature animals awaited guests when they found their seats.
A tower of organic cheeses – Dorstone, Cornish Yarn, Stilton and Cheddar – was provided by Tastes Delicatessen and stood in for a traditional wedding cake. It was topped with romantic Victorian-style silhouettes of the couple by stationer Hello!Lucky.
“I wanted really soft, warm photographs with natural light, and Chloé Browne at Caught the Light went above and beyond all weekend long,” says Lisa. She seamlessly blended in with our guests – everyone thought she was a really good friend who happened to like taking a lot of pictures! That, to me, is what makes a fantastic wedding photographer.”