When you plan an outdoor wedding ceremony in a beautiful walled garden you can pretty much guarantee you will be obsessively checking a variety of weather apps for months in the lead up to the big day.
Aimee and Jak need not have worried though as their stunning day at Birstmorton Court in Worcestershire was greeted with equally stunning weather allowing them to take full advantage of the beautiful grounds, which they certainly did!
The ceremony in the walled garden, reception drinks in the courtyard surrounded by the moat, they even held their speeches outside with deck chairs and blankets on the grass, lovely.
Aimee and Jack’s big day, here is a little of what I saw…
Aimee & Jak’s Dream Team
Videographer: Chapter & Verse
Band: Mister Kanish
THE best band
Flowers: Fairley Bespoke Floristy
My florist – who really listens and captures your personalty in her arrangements
Bridesmaid Dresses: Kates Dresses
The multiway bridesmaids dresses were by a lovely lady who has just started up her business and deserves so much praise and recognition – she was patient and professional all the way
Make Up: Katy Bird Bridal
My makeup artist has got to be the best in the business. I felt very lucky to find her
Bride & Groom Q&A
How did you meet?
Well, on the evening of April 4th 2015, I was willingly dragged to ‘The Briar Rose’ pub by my bestie Harriet (soon to be bridesmaid) to meet a few of her work mates. Well, who was out? Jak – ‘the new guy’. We spent a few hours pretending to ignore each other in the crowd, until I went to the bar to grab a bottle of fizz to share with some of the girls. That was when Jak made his move. We chatted at the bar for a while, and that bottle of fizz never did make its way to the girls. Jak helped himself swigging straight out of the bottle. ‘What a show off’ I thought! Banter ensued. Jak was pulling his best flirtatious moves and after a few more drinks we decided to hit THE club – ‘Snobs’. Once again, I tried my best to avoid him but he followed me to the cash point, the cloakroom, the dance floor, the bar… everywhere. I eventually gave in and we shared our first kiss in that infamous venue, on that infamous sticky dance floor. Jak has a very different version of events however. You’ll see we named our two long tables at the wedding ‘The Briar Rose’ and ‘Snobs’ in memory of that eventful night.
Tell me a bit about yourselves
Jak is a musician amongst ‘other things’ and I am an Early Years teacher. How do we spend our time together? We eat. We drink. We love to go out for posh dinners together – really posh dinners where we can dress up nicely and treat each other. We love wine and we are starting to get to know a little bit about it. We basically enjoy drinking it and reading the labels. We then pretend that we know what we are talking about at these posh dinners. I still consider myself a yogi but do need to get back on the mat since the wedding.
Of course, we spend a lot of time with our labradoodle, Indi (aka Bindi, Bobie, Bobo, Bonobo – plus so many other names). We take her for lots of muddy walks and generally love her to pieces.
How did the proposal go down?
It had snowed, the first snow of 2017 and Jak had booked tickets to see the Christmas light show at the Botanical Gardens. My friends were all speculating about a proposal, so I started to wonder… ‘maybe’. I asked a few probing questions like… shall I wear a nice coat if we are going to have photos? Jak said ‘no, why would we need to have special photos?’. Okay… shall I paint my nails nicely? ‘no, who will be looking at your hands?’ so I really didn’t think he was going to propose at all. Little did I know he was hiding the ring in a bobble hat inside his pocket. The lights were absolutely beautiful and the fresh snow really made the night special. Jak turned a corner down a secluded pathway and produced the ring from it’s hiding place, knelt down in the snow and asked if I would marry him. I immediately started to cry and asked ‘really?’ ten times. I too knelt in the snow with him and said…’yes!’ We celebrated with a mulled wine before phoning all of our family and friends.
How did you choose Birtsmorton Court as your wedding venue?
It was very easy to choose Birtsmorton Court. It’s simply stunning. We fell in love with the White Garden there and dreamed of being married there on a sunny summers day. The staff were professional and knowledgeable and I knew our wedding would be in great hands. There were so many little places to see and spend time on the day. It was important to us that the guests would have a place they could explore and enjoy too.
Vibe & Style
We wanted our family and friends to have fun! It was important that our wedding had variety through the day to keep everybody busy and entertained. A beautiful garden ceremony, followed by LOTs of food and drink (that’s what keeps us happy as guests!) and then a great band and party atmosphere with celebratory fireworks to finish. Being a teacher, I couldn’t help but organise a drawing competition over lunch too. I don’t think there was a single moment that went by where there wasn’t something going on!
I never wanted a tight coordinated theme as I was keen to have a relaxed, natural wedding. Which is why we chose Birtsmorton Court – the natural beauty of the venue inside and out meant that we didn’t have to worry about adding any fussy details. I was inspired by their White Garden as an aesthetic choice for inside the marquee. We avoided intricate flower arrangements, in favour of a rustic, wild look. My brief for the bouquet was ‘ imagine I’d taken a walk through an over-grown meadow and grabbed everything beautiful along the way’. I adored by bouquet because it was exactly that. The groomsmen wore ‘any blue suit’ and the bridesmaids chose the shade of their dresses. Jak wore a fun flowery tie and some of the colours matched a bit, but we certainly didn’t want a controlled colour scheme. We went for long tables with everyone sat side by side, again to shake off some of the formality.
What was you best decision during the wedding planning?
The Band. Mister Kanish were incredible. We knew when we started thinking about our evening entertainment it was going to be one of the most important decisions for us. With Jak being a musician and the party vibe being so important, we wanted to get it right. We didn’t spend much time choosing. We found them, we loved them and they were actually available! They lived up to all of our hopes and kept everyone on the dance floor all night.
What was the hardest decision?
There are lots of little decisions to be made along the way which can feel overwhelming. But there wasn’t anything we really agonised over much. Finding Jak’s tie wasn’t easy! And I did change my dress in the last week so that was really very stressful. A last minute decision to get bunting left Sal – Jak’s mum- hunting the right type down the day before the wedding. Oh, and deciding to bring the dog wasn’t an easy decision. For us, we knew we wanted Indi there but we weren’t sure if she would be demanding or difficult to manage. She is quite a diva! Initially, we had decided to leave her with a sitter, but it just felt too sad to leave her behind on the day. So I made her a last minute outfit with the off-cuts of my dress and along she came! She was the best behaved she had ever been and our hardest decision became our best decision in the end.
What were your favourite memories of the day?
There are so many it’s not easy whittling it down to one. Our strongest memory was of the ceremony itself. Standing so close to each other under the tiny pagoda where we were just about to say the ‘I do’s’. The morning rain had given way to glorious August sunshine. How lucky were we?! A few butterflies and bees were buzzing about too. Jak was playing his guitar and his hair was all ‘done’. I had forgotten to put on my perfume and my lipstick needed a touch up but none of that mattered. It was like a dream. Everyone was smiling and happy to see us and we were just about to become Mr and Mrs Stephens.
What advice would you have for any couples planning their wedding?
Don’t blow it out of proportion! We were engaged at Christmas and married in the Summer. It’s so easy to sweat the small stuff – there are a lot of decisions you have to make and you could easily get bogged down. So we were glad to only have given ourselves a few months to get everything sorted as you really could fill up years planning a wedding. Decide what is important to spend your money and effort on. For us – it was the photographer, food and band. I wasn’t fussed about having an expensive dress or shoes, or having masses of fussy decorations, or perfectly matching bridesmaids. Make it personal, make it memorable, make it yours.