Secret Garden Wedding in English Countryside :: Lara & Oliver

After nearly ten years of blogging, we have some real gems in our archives, and it seemed a shame to think they might be buried by newer posts! So we’re dusting off our favorites…

Photography by Aneta Mak

You might remember Lara and Oliver’s darling engagement photos from last year, and today they’re here with their equally lovely Thursday wedding – as Lara says, “I think it was absolutely perfect, a wedding I thought I could only dream of!”

Lara walked down the aisle by herself, saying, “My father passed away when I was 20, so I thought I would enter the next stage of my life as an independent woman. I walked down the aisle to ‘Lara’s Theme,’ my namesake from the movie Dr. Zhivago – it was very special.”

Lara and Oliver had a special champagne “ceremony.” Says Lara, “We wanted to do a receiving line, but knew how long it took for guests to wait at other weddings, so immediately after the ceremony, we got started with champagne and toasting glasses. We also couldn’t resist the gorgeous pond and flowers surrounding the Frog Pond at Barnsley House so we used it as a backdrop to begin the cocktail hour. We wanted to have an ode to the 1920s, and Oliver researched how to stack all the glasses for the tower.”

Says Lara, “After a solid week of torrential English rain, on the morning of the wedding the sun came out at 10am and stayed out until the moon was in the sky! It was supposed to rain inches that day, and somehow the clouds and sun worked in our favour. Oddly, it rained everywhere else in England that day. We still can’t believe the weather worked in our favor. Having cocktails on the grounds and gardens were perfect!”

A playful touch: the menu was printed on napkins, which doubled as favors. Oliver designed them, a friend screen printed them as a wedding gift to the couple, and a local seamstress put button holes in them so men could wear them on their shirt collar.

Dessert included Victoria sponge cake with fresh cream and strawberries, chocolate Guinness cake (for the Irish guests), and red velvet.

Some details from the lovely Lara:

Why did you choose this location?  Barnsley House offered all the of the ingredients of a classic English village. Plus it was previously owned by a world famous gardner and her husband, an architect who helped to renovate and restore the home to its former glory. It is a magical place, intimate, and inviting. Choosing this venue also meant we could have our wedding ceremony outside in the garden, which, due to the quirks of the English legal (marriage) system, is quite rare. We were wed under a grand Royal Oak tree.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  A childhood dream and a favorite book helped to pin the idea together, but we didn’t want it to be too theme-y. It needed class, elegance, and grown up sophistication, without overdoing it. If there was a theme, it was The Secret Garden meets Old Hollywood. We wanted to enhance the natural beauty and character of the space, and I wanted the vintage glamour of Grace Kelly.

What was your favorite part of the day?  Seeing my soon-to-be husband at the end of the aisle, and it felt like a million miles to walk by myself to meet him, but I knew that it was closer than it felt…the beginning of our life as husband and wife! I couldn’t wait!

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  I know it seems cheesy, but it was reading about Kathryn’s wedding that hit the nail on the head. It was to let go of the “Perfection Myth,” and know the crazy family stuff may happen, and that it may not be the best day of your life, but it will be one of the best. And you may feel emotions you do or do not expect but, “If you just let yourself feel how you feel, and let the day be what it is, and remember that the only thing that really matters is the part about marrying your best friend, your wedding day will be a success. There will probably be disappointments, but there will also be delightful surprises.”


See full gallery here.







Vendor Credits

Photographer: Aneta Mak / Venue: Barnsley House, Cotswolds, England / Bride’s Dress, Veil: Vera Wang / Hair: Kim Westwood / Makeup: Kim Jacobs for Angelique / Bridesmaid and Flower Girl Dresses: J.Crew / Groom’s Bespoke Suit: Dress 2 Kill / Groom’s Shirt: Spencer Hart / Groom’s Ties: Paul Smith / Ring Bearer Attire: Vertbaudet / Wedding Bands: Aaron Faber / Invitations: Kristen Ekeland Design / Calligraphy: Love Jenna / Flowers: The Real Cut Flower Garden / Cake: The Sugar Box / Rentals: Space Intense


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