1 September 2022 at The Feathered Nest, Oxfordshire
How did you meet?
Luke came into my place of work and after that we kept bumping into each other until eventually he asked me out on a date.
Who proposed, when and where?
Luke proposed on his boat in the Marina. It was his birthday weekend, so I didn’t expect it at all. We had been out for the day and as the sun was setting, we sat on the front of the boat with some fizz, and he got on one knee and asked the question. We were engaged for five years before we got married.
Did you have a theme for the wedding and why?
By the time we got married we were older (30s) and we had three kids, so we really wanted a super-relaxed day with all our friends and family and good food and wine.
Did you already know the style of dress you wanted?
I actually really wanted a lace sleeve dress to cover up my arms with a plunge front. Looking for the perfect dress is so hard and like plenty of other brides, I actually ended up with a strapless fitted dress.
Where did you find your it?
I bought the dress from The Cotswold Frock Shop; it was off the shelf and fitted perfectly with only a length alteration. I knew as soon as I tried it on it was perfect.
Did you have bridesmaids/attendants?
I had my two sisters as my bridesmaids. As each of us have got married we have kept the tradition of having each other which I loved. I also had my three children and my sisters’ children as flower girls and page boys.
Who created your floral arrangements and which flowers were used?
My flowers were all done by my very talented mother. I had dried flowers as I wanted to be able to keep the bouquets, and I still have mine now in my bedroom. We had simple in season flowers from the year round and she dried everything, from the buttonholes to the main flowers on tables. I didn’t go overboard on the flowers as I hate waste, but we had plenty to complement the venue’s natural and rustic charm. I am not sure she would cater for a huge wedding but if you would like to see her Facebook it’s listed [xxx over the page???].
Tell us about your ceremony.
So we chose the room with a view for our ceremony. The venue staff were amazing at working a way to fit all our guests in so we could marry overlooking the views. My little boy actually wouldn't let go of my hand once we had walked down the aisle, so he joined us for the whole ceremony which is something I will never forget.
Where was the venue for your wedding reception?
We held the whole wedding at The Feathered Nest.
How did you choose to decorate?
We chose The Feathered Nest due to its own rustic charm, It’s perfectly us and is complete with its own special charm. We actually reused some of the handheld bouquets and some extras in some small cream ceramic jugs as table centre pieces and we had naked tables.
What was your menu?
One of the main reasons we chose The Feathered Nest was the food. We had a menu of beef followed by sticky toffee pudding and the children had burgers. Later in the evening we had wood fired pizza from the outside pizza oven and it was amazing.
Tell us about your cake and who created it.
Again, as I hate waste, we had a cake made from cheese. My sister actually brought the cheese from The Cotswold Cheese Company and constructed it herself on a oak round with fruit and ivy. My Grandma made some felt mice to go on the top, we then ate the cake during the evening reception with chutney and crackers supplied by the venue.
What music and entertainment did you have, and what was your first dance?
We had live music from a band out on the covered terrace. It was the best evening, and everyone was dancing for hours. Our first dance was my husband’s choice, and it was Red Light by Billy Ocean – there’s a private joke between us in the lyrics.
Was there a theme for your day, and if so, what inspired it?
All we ever wanted was to be surrounded by our friends and family and have a super relaxed day.
Do you have any budget or top tips or advice for other brides and grooms-to-be?
Don’t get sucked into commercial wedding thing; lots of local companies can provide everything you need and normally at a much smaller cost. Look out for secondhand bargains as most people only use something once.
Did you have any special touches or moments that you’d like to share?
I love that my Grandma made little cute felt mice to sit on our cheesecake. I didn’t see them until the morning of wedding.
If we could do it all again, we’d…
I wouldn’t change a thing, I had the perfect day, maybe a change of dress as it can get a bit restrictive, but other than that I would have the same day.
Where did you spend your wedding night?
At The Feathered Nest we rented the venue for the whole day. They have rooms which we gave to some guests, and we took the attached cottage. One of the things I loved most about the day was we were in the same place not moving around all the time.
Where did you go for your honeymoon?
As we have three children, childcare was limited but we enjoyed four nights in Cornwall child-free and it was bliss.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Lauren Juliette Photography laurenjuliette.com
VENUE: The Feathered Nest, Nether Westcote, OX7 6SD thefeatherednestinn.co.uk
DRESS: Cotswold Frock Shop, Stow on the Wold thecotswoldfrockshop.co.uk
FLOWERS: You can find Samantha’s mother, Dawn Pearse, on Facebook as Friesland Farm Flowers
CHEESE FOR THE CAKE: cheese from The Cotswold Cheese Company cotswoldcheese.com