April and Oliver describe their wedding as “quintessentially English” and we can’t think of a a more perfect description. This traditional yet modern wedding is completely charming with sweet details everywhere you turn—the delicate lace sleeves on April’s dress, a backdrop of magnolias, a stunning venue that looks like something out of a movie.
Photography by Francesca Secolonovo.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? Researching online. The Church of England website gave suggestions as to the order of the ceremony and we listened to a lot of different hymns and chose 3 which had the most significance to us. For example, I chose “Morning has Broken” because my parents had it played at their wedding and it was a nice way to pay tribute to them. We also met with other couples who were getting married at St. Helens and talked about what their ceremony would be like. Rector Richard met with us to allow us to plan the order and ask any questions about the finer details. I used Instagram to get inspiration for what type of flowers I wanted to have on the pew ends.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Try to be decisive. I researched suppliers online and made sure their style was right for me. Once I was satisfied they would deliver good quality products, I visited them and booked them straight away. I didn’t visit a lot of different places because the decision process becomes too complicated and stressful.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? I was given help by my married friends about where to buy invitations and how to get the timing right for the day. A lot of people told me to enjoy the day and much as possible and to try and take a step back and take in what was happening. It’s difficult to really absorb how great the entire experience is.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? I did the something old, something new tradition and kept them on my garter! They were keepsakes from my grandmothers and mother and I’m hoping to one day pass it on to my daughter.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? I always knew that I wanted minimal color for the wedding. The only color we had was the pink bridesmaid dresses and some pink roses in my bouquet. Apart from that, everything was ivory or cream. I felt that this would make the wedding timeless and in years to come I won’t look back and regret the colors I had chosen.
“We chose to get married at St. Helens for several reasons. We knew we wanted to have a religious ceremony. Oli grew up in Wheathampstead, so the church had significance to his family. Also, the church is also absolutely beautiful and feels quintessentially English. The rector was so welcoming and friendly we knew it was the right place for us.”
What was your ceremony music? We sang “Morning has Broken”, and hymns “Amazing Grace” and “Give Me Joy in My Heart”—we liked that the lyrics are happy and positive. We then chose “Music for the Royal Fireworks” and “Hornpipe” from Water Music by Handel as our processional and recessional songs as they were both strong, traditional, upbeat and celebratory pieces.
Your ceremony in three words. Religious, intimate, traditional
What were your vows like? We chose to have traditional church written vows.
What were your ceremony readings? We had one reading during the ceremony. Oli’s mum read for us which was nice as it gave her a role on the day and gave the wedding a family feel.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? When we read our vows. It was emotional but I managed to hold back the tears. After months of imaging the moment it was finally happening! I also enjoyed seeing all of our family and friends together in one place celebrating our marriage, enjoying the service and the beautiful surroundings.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? I kept a spreadsheet of absolutely everything I needed to buy for the wedding and how much I had to spend. This helped to make sure that things didn’t spiral out of control.
“The Luton hoo is one of the most stunning settings for a wedding reception. It has grand rooms and beautiful gardens. We had visited before for afternoon tea, so we knew that we loved the setting. The Romanov suite is extra special. It was formally a Russian chapel— it has beautiful stained glass windows and very high ceilings. It was also a good choice because friends and family could stay over in the hotel and not have to worry about making travel arrangements.”
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? That’s a tricky one because I loved it all! It was nice greeting all of our guests as they walked in for the wedding breakfast because it gave us and our immediate family a chance to personally thank everyone for coming. The food was yummy and the disco was also great fun! I loved the speeches given by my dad, the best man and Oli—they were funny, heart warming and sentimental.
How would you describe your reception? Sophisticated, classic and again very English.
What was your wedding menu? For starters we had scallops, followed by beef and dessert was treacle tart—all very tasty!
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Our cake had 4 tiers of different flavors—vanilla and white chocolate, dark chocolate and caramel, lemon and champagne and a traditional fruit layer which we will keep until our first anniversary. By having lots of flavors, we knew that all of our guests would be able to enjoy the cake. Our cake was a twist of contemporary and traditional. We had traditional iced flowers to match my bouquet, and then a modern gold layer and white iced rose petals on the bottom layer. I absolutely loved the design. We also made a sweets buffet by buying glass jars online and sweets and ribbons from a local shop.
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance? Our first dance was “No One’s Gonna Love You” by Band of Horses. It pretty much sums up our feelings for each other, and in a style that we both love.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Nope! I loved every moment and wouldn’t change a thing—except to try not to fidget as much during the ceremony which gave away my nerves!