An English Country Garden Wedding by Olivia Shaw, Shaw Shots

Written by    Last updated: March 9, 2012

Stuart and Laura were married in the summer of 2011 in Betchworth, Surrey. They had an English country garden style wedding, inspired by Laura’s grandmother’s vintage china! This amazing day was amazingly preserved in Olivia Shaw’s beautiful photographs.

Wedding Date: 29th July 2011
Venue: Hartsfield Manor, Betchworth, Surrey.
Photographer: Olivia Shaw

We met… At sixth form college in 2001, we were together ten years when we got married.

The proposal… Stuart proposed to me on holiday in Greece in July 2010, he bought the ring in secret whilst on holiday and proposed one evening on our balcony. It was incredibly romantic and a complete surprise!

Our hen and stag… Stuart went to Nottingham with friends for a long weekend. They went to Go Ape and also enjoyed the nightlife in Nottingham! I went to London on my hen. We went on a river cruise, had afternoon tea at the Ritz and also had cocktails at the rooftop bar at the National Portrait Gallery. I also had a surprise pampering session at my local salon and dinner cooked by my wonderful bridesmaids.

My dress… My dress was by Sottero and Midgley. The dress had a full gown with fitted top. It was a pale gold with gathered tulle and ivory lace embellished with pearls and crystals over the top. The dress also had a ribbon sash which encircled my waist, and finished with a bow at the back. It had a very vintage feel to it, I also wore a veil and a vintage style head band which echoed the pearl/crystal detailing of the dress. I knew that it was the dress for me, it was perfect and needed no alterations. It was so special and I felt amazing on the wedding day.

Our theme… Our wedding was vintage in style. The flowers were vintage with an English country garden twist. Colours were soft pastel, summery colours- pinks, mauve, greens and blue. The colours were inspired by my grandmother’s vintage china that we used on the wedding invitations. The flowers were presented in vintage teapots, sugar bowls and tea cups to echo the invitation and vintage theme. They looked so pretty. The name cards were on brown parcel tags tied with raffia around the napkins.

My bridesmaids… My bridesmaids were my two best female friends, my sister, and a close family friend who is like a big sister to me. We also had a flower girl, our five year old god-daughter. The bridesmaids wore a beautiful retro style Alfred Sung dress in a soft pink colour. It really suited all of the bridesmaids who were all different heights and sizes – they looked lovely. They chose their own shoes and I bought them vintage style hair slides as wedding gifts. The flower girl wore an ivory dress which echoed mine from Debenhams.

The Groomsmen… Stuart chose his brother as a witness. He had three best men who are his closest male friends. They all had different duties which worked really well on the lead up to the wedding and on the day itself. We wanted a relaxed look to our wedding so the best men all wore their own suits and shirts – we bought them matching ties which went with the colour scheme of the wedding and the bridesmaids dresses.

The cake… We designed the wedding cake. It had three tiers – two were chocolate cake and one tier was lemon cake. It was ivory with pearlised dots, with the same fresh flowers as were used for the bouquets and table displays.

The flowers… Our florist was Amanda Refoy from Worthing. She was amazing. We met her at a local wedding fayre. The flowers were more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. They were soft pinks, creams, greens, mauves and white, in colour inspired by the vintage theme. She used English flowers such as roses, hydrangeas and soft herbs which made the bouquets smell amazing.

The menu… The venue handled the catering. We ate goat’s cheese on a pesto croute with balsamic dressing and pine nuts to start, main course we had roast pork loin with apple cider sauce and seasonal veg, and for dessert a chocolate cheesecake and berry compote.

Our most memorable moment… It was all amazing! A dream day. Our memory is of it being such a happy, relaxed day full of nothing but love.

My advice to other brides-to-be… Be relaxed and enjoy the planning and the day – it goes so quickly. Don’t get worried about small details, enjoy yourself and have fun with your guests!

Olivia is an experienced wedding photographer who has been running her successful business for 6 years. In that time she has worked at some of London’s top hotels and prestigious Countryside venues. She believes the wedding day is all about the couple and endeavours to create the best experience possible.

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