Real Weddings

A 16th Century Estate Wedding in the Cotswolds

Photography by Rebecca Rees.

Set in the quaint English countryside, Alexandria & Luke’s wedding was held on a private 16th century estate in the Cotswolds, belonging to a close family friend.

Rambling wild flowers climbed the entrance of the property’s historic chapel where the couple exchanged wedding vows. Outside, manicured lawns were framed with overgrown blooms in deep jewel tones creating a dreamy garden backdrop for wedding pictures.

As dusk fell, reception revelry unfolded inside a white marque draped in layers of ephemeral fabric. Grounding the space, natural linens and wild flowers offset the the grandeur and elegance of the English surrounds.  To finish the evening, a celestial display of fireworks lit up the night sky as guests danced into the night. 

Capturing every poetic detail was wedding photographer Rebecca Rees.

wedding venues cotswolds

wedding venues cotswolds 

Our Story

Names / Luke & Alexandria Davis

Wedding Date / September 10th, 2022

Guest Numbers / 70

wedding venues cotswolds

Wedding venues cotswolds

How We Met

Our love story began when we met at a Halloween party in high school in 2009. A few weeks later, we went on our first date to get ice cream and we’ve basically been inseparable ever since — through university, then moving to New York City together, and to this day.

 

Our Engagement Story

It was lockdown and we took a trip to Zion National Park to escape our tiny NYC apartment. We went for a hike then opened a bottle of wine, put on some tunes, and watched the sunset over the mountains. I noticed Luke was drinking his glass of wine unusually fast. A few moments later he got down on one knee, almost fell over, and popped the question. Then we had dinner together under the stars. It was just us and it was perfect.

 

Marriage To Us Means…

Committing to a lifetime of love and doing life together with your best friend. Although we had already been together for over 12 years, getting married made our relationship stronger and deeper. It was also an opportunity to celebrate with our friends and family who have watched us grow together over the years.

wedding venues cotswolds

The Setting

 

Wedding Location

We chose the Cotswolds because Luke is from England and it’s such a charming and beautiful area in the countryside, full of quaint villages and pubs. We visited a year or so ago and just knew it would be a fun and unique place to host our friends and family for a long weekend. Everyone stayed in the same little village and we planned several activities in the lead-up to our big day – a soccer game in London, clay pigeon shooting, and yoga – so we all got to spend time together outside of the official wedding events. Our ceremony and reception took place at a family friend’s stunning 16th century estate complete with its own chapel and acres of picturesque gardens. The first time we walked through the front gate we were blown away, and we feel so fortunate to have been able to have our wedding there.

 

Aesthetic

Organic and romantic. We wanted it to feel chic and dreamy but also laidback to fit our personalities and the English countryside. We opted for a neutral color palette, ethereal textiles, and seasonal florals to complement the beauty and grandeur of the venue.

 

Preparation

It wasn’t important to us to follow every tradition, so we woke up next to each other on our wedding day, laid in bed for a while and talked, had coffee together, then parted ways to get ready My mom and her best friend came over later in the morning to prep my dress and make breakfast for me and my bridesmaids. We chilled, listened to music, and got our hair done. We all helped do each other’s make-up. It was super low-key and relaxing, just how I wanted it. Luke and his groomsmen got ready together at his parent’s house and had some champagne while trying to figure out how to tie their ties.

wedding venues cotswolds

Photography

Our wedding photographer was Rebecca Rees, who is amazing. We were drawn to Rebecca’s editorial style and lovely personality. She made us feel super comfortable in front of the camera and captured all of the elements of our day so perfectly. We also had a second photographer, which allowed us to get more angles and coverage.

Videography

Our wedding videographer was Claire Hargreaves of Everwood Films. Claire is so fun and we resonated with her style and storytelling ability. She also just got us and our style from day one. We absolutely love the teaser clips we have seen so far – the vibe, the music, everything.

wedding venues cotswolds 

“Our reception was set in a beautiful marquee with the sides rolled up to bring in the surrounding gardens and a stunning hanging fabric installation that transformed the space into something magical and intimate.”

wedding venues cotswolds

wedding venue cotswolds

Style Notes

 

Ceremony Décor

Our ceremony was in an intimate 16th century chapel with so much history and wonderful detail, so we didn’t do too much. We added a beautiful wild floral arch to frame the entrance and elegant white florals and candles surrounding the altar. We also had an amazing choir sing from the balcony, which was really special.

 

Reception Décor

Our reception was set in a beautiful marquee with the sides rolled up to bring in the surrounding gardens and a stunning hanging fabric installation that transformed the space into something magical and intimate. We went with long dining tables styled with natural linens, wild floral arrangements, and lots of candles in various neutral tones. It was a really romantic vibe with the textiles, candlelight, and acoustic guitar during dinner. Then when it was time to party, the lighting and music completely changed to a more club-like atmosphere.

Wedding Planner & Stylist

Our wedding planner, Amy, was absolutely incredible. We found and worked directly with most of our suppliers. Amy guided us through a lot of decisions, coordinated our team of suppliers, and oversaw the styling to make sure everything came together perfectly on the day, both aesthetically and logistically. She really went above and beyond for us.

 

Flowers

We went for a natural vibe with wild arrangements of seasonal British flowers and foliage, enhancing the quintessential Cotswolds feel. For colors, we chose tonal whites and greenery to create an elegant and timeless look. We wanted everyone to be able to see each other at dinner, so our dining tables featured delicate bud vases clustered between a few larger arrangements. The larger, statement arrangements, which framed the entrance to the chapel, the entrance to the marquee, and the bar, were created to look untamed, growing from the ground with trailing meadows.

For my bridal bouquet, I chose an assortment of white, seasonal flowers tied with a white silk ribbon. I wanted it to be delicate and not too big. My bridesmaids had the same style, just smaller, and our flower girl had a cute little flower crown. Our florist, Vervain, really understood our vision from our initial conversation and nailed it on the day.

wedding venue cotswolds

Stationery

All of our wedding stationery was minimal with lots of white space and beautiful handwritten calligraphy. Everything from the invitations to the name cards and the menus was simple and luxurious. We worked with Vine In The Wild for everything. The one thing we didn’t do was on-the-day signage and absolutely no regrets there.

 

Cake

We chose a simple vanilla wedding cake with white, textured icing and a lush layer of raspberries on top. Luke also surprised me with a sour candy station because…well, I’m obsessed.

 

Food & Beverages

Food and drink were really important to us. After the ceremony, we had champagne and oysters outside on the terrace followed by a three-course dinner featuring lots of local, seasonal ingredients. It was all fantastic. Two of the best memories from our dinner were opening a few special magnum bottles of red wine that we received as a gift and Luke’s younger brother shaving fresh black truffles for the main course. Neither of those things was planned, but sometimes the best moments are completely spontaneous.

Our signature cocktail was a picante and we also had espresso martinis served with dessert. Then we took too many tequila shots to count and danced the night away. At midnight we had McDonald’s brought out on silver platters which as you can imagine was a huge hit.

Fashion & Beauty Notes

 

Bride’s Dress & Shoes

I knew from the start that I wanted something more on the simple side and I always gravitated toward silk. When I first saw this Sarah Seven dress in NYC, I just knew. The beautiful silk fabric, the deep v-neck in the front and back, and the delicate tulle detailing are just so me. The dress has a detachable sheer silk cape that I love and thought would look so pretty flowing in the wind. I layered the cape with a simple English tulle veil also from Sarah Seven.
I changed into my second look halfway through the reception. It was a chiffon silk, two-tiered feather dress by another New York designer, Dana Foley. Much easier to dance in! For my wedding shoes, I wore shimmery gold Stuart Weitzman platform heels with pearl clasps.

 

Bridesmaids’ Dresses

It was important to me that my bridesmaids felt good and themselves in their dresses. I also don’t love the matchy-matchy look for bridesmaids, so I just told them to pick any dress in any shade of pink. I loved how it turned out with the different styles and materials — my girls all looked stunning! For their shoes, the only criteria was to wear shoes they could dance in!

 

Flower Girls & Page Boys

Our flower girl, who is my best friend’s daughter, wore a cute pink tulle dress, Dr Marten boots, and a flower crown in her hair. She carried a little bouquet of white petals.

 

Wedding Rings

My engagement ring is a 3-carat emerald cut solitaire diamond on a simple gold band. For my wedding band, I went with a pavé diamond eternity band in white gold. I love how they complement but also contrast each other. Luke went with a classic gold band.

 

Jewelry / Accessories

I wore gold drop earrings with white sapphire stones and the gold bangles that I wear every day which were passed down to me by my late grandmother.

 

Groomsmen

Luke wore a bespoke, charcoal grey suit by Richard James with a silver pocket watch, black Hermès tie, and black Saint Laurent derbies.

 

Hair & Makeup

I wanted to keep my hair and makeup as natural as possible. For my hair, I found Irina from Matthew Curtis Salon on Instagram and was blown away by all of her beautiful hair creations. I opted for loose, soft waves and she nailed it. My best friend and matron of honor did my makeup. I wanted to feel like myself so we went for a super natural, dewy, luminous look. There was no one I trusted more to make me feel and look my best.

groomsmen

The Details

 

Transport

Our venue was in the same village everyone was staying in, so it was a short walk to and from our wedding. The night before we all took a vintage double-decker bus to our rehearsal dinner, which was awesome and so British.

 

Honeymoon

We honeymooned in Italy because I had never been there and it’s just such a romantic place with incredible food and wine. Our first stop was a castle hotel in the countryside, then we went to a hotel on the coast with a beach club built right into the cliffs. Both were in Tuscany. One of our favorite memories was when we chartered a small yacht for a day. We jumped in the sea, drank rosé, and visited the island of Giglio. The water was crystal clear and had a beautiful turquoise hue. The “La Dolce Vita” lifestyle is something we could definitely get used to.

 

cotswolds wedding venues

Wedding Songs

Ceremony song: “Here Comes the Sun” The Beatles; performed by a live choir

Reception entrance: “You & Me (Flume Remix)” Disclosure

First dance: “Best Part” Daniel Caesar & H.E.R.

Father/Bride dance: “Your Song” Elton John

Mother/Groom dance: “Days Like This” Van Morrison

Final song of the night: “Dancing in the Moonlight” King Harvest

 

Entertainment

We had a variety of amazing musical performances throughout the day and evening. For the ceremony, a live choir sang songs ranging from The Beatles to Fugees. Then, during dinner, we had a Spanish guitarist play a mix of contemporary and flamenco songs. My late grandma was a flamenco dancer from Sevilla, so that was really special. After dinner, the party kicked off and the DJ and saxophonist kept everyone dancing until the early hours of the morning. You know it’s a great wedding when literally everyone is on the dancefloor for most of the night.

Celebrant

We chose one of our close friends, Deren, to marry us. Luke and Deren have been best friends since they were 16 years old, and he was always around when we first met. He killed it – the perfect balance of love and humor.

wedding fireworks

Our Advice

 

A memorable moment…

The fireworks show was epic!

 

One thing I wish I knew before I started my wedding plans…

It’s cliché, but probably to stress less. The planning process can be a little overwhelming at times, just remember to enjoy it and everything will work out how it’s supposed to. For us, the whole weekend turned out better than we could have ever imagined and some of our favorite memories were things that were completely unplanned.

 

If I could give other brides to be one piece of advice…

I would just say…do you! Don’t feel obligated to do anything just because it’s tradition or most people do it. Also, have a good wedding team in place so you can be present and enjoy yourself on the day and not think about anything else.

 

Sources of inspiration…

We drew inspiration from real weddings we stumbled across on Instagram, Pinterest, Vogue, and of course, The Lane!

Our Contacts

 

Wedding Stylist & Planner /Attabara Studio

Photography / Rebecca Rees Photography & Maria Madison 

Videography / Everwood Films

Bride’s Dress / Sarah Seven

Bride’s Shoes / Stuart Weitzman

Groom’s Formal Wear / Richard James

Wedding Rings / Dreamstone

Hair / Irina

Stationery / Vine in the Wild

Fabric Installations, Napkins + Table Linens / Mia Sylvia

Marquee & Draping / Pearl Tents

Florist / Vervain

Cake / Hugo Lovage Patisserie

Honeymoon Destination / Castello di Vicarello & Hotel Il Pellicano

Entertainment / London Contemporary Voices,Paco & Six15 Events

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