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Weddings, Venues

Real Weddings: Jennifer and Daniel Armitage

at the alter cvd4jq

14 October 2023, St Leonard's Church, Wallingford and afterwards at Fison Barn, Earth Trust, Little Wittenham.

How did you meet?

We met online and started dating when we were both living in Reading, seven years ago.

Who proposed?

We got engaged whilst on holiday in Kos in May 2022. We went to a beautiful restaurant in a little village in the mountains for Dan's birthday and Jen proposed to him. It was so special watching the sunset and ringing friends and family to tell them the news.

What inspired the plans for your wedding?

We chose our wedding date, 14 October, because it's our anniversary. We also love the colours in autumn and thought it would be a beautiful time of year to get married.

Did you already know the style of clothing you wanted?

We went for quite a rustic vibe, with the boys in navy wool suits and the girls in dark green dresses. We wanted them to choose their own dresses so they would feel comfortable in them and wear them again after the wedding. The bridal party and groomsmen also had accessories in burnt orange to bring all the colours together.

And how about Jen’s dress?

Jen's dress was made of separates from the designer Catherine Deane, with a beautiful crocheted cover top, satin bodice and champagne silk skirt. Jen's planning on wearing the top for future wedding anniversaries. The veil was borrowed from Jen's Mum and the headpiece was Jen's Nan's from the 1950s with added dried flowers woven into it.

Who created your floral arrangements and which flowers were used?

Our flowers were a mix of artificial and dried. We got the larger displays from Facebook Marketplace, and they are going to be reused in our friend's wedding this October. We created the bouquets, floral archway and buttonholes with artificial flowers from Country Baskets and dried flowers from our garden. We really liked the idea of being able to keep Jen's bouquet, which is now in a vase in our home.

Tell us about your ceremony.

Our church, St Leonards is in our hometown, Wallingford. For Dan, it was a real memory walking from home to the church with his groomsmen and greeting everyone as they arrived. Jen and her family were staying next door, so it was a quick walk to the ceremony, very convenient. We loved everything about the ceremony, but most of all exchanging our vows and finally hearing 'Mr and Mrs'. Jen's brother Ed also played an acoustic version of Your Song on the guitar during the signing of the marriage papers which was a lovely touch.

Where did you hold your wedding reception?

Fison Barn, Earth Trust in Little Wittenham (about 10 minutes from Wallingford). Dan proposed back to Jen at the Wittenham Clumps so it's a special place for us and really nice that all the funds from our big day have gone to this charity.

How did you choose to decorate the reception venue?

Our table centre decorations were themed around places we've lived and special holidays we've been on together. We had terracotta pots with slate plant stakes with the table names written on and photo frames of us in these places. We had live plants in the pots in various autumnal colours, and these now live in our garden.

What was on the menu?

We had an afternoon tea wedding breakfast which was fabulous. We wanted to support a local business, and Phil and Laura at the Wallingford Tearoom were brilliant: the food was delicious. One of our highlights was watching our guests trade sandwich flavours in front of the top table.

Tell us about your cake and who created it.

We've been to a lot of weddings where the cake didn't get eaten and we wanted to do things a bit differently. Phil from Wallingford Tearoom baked us a beautiful lemon cake which we decorated with flowers, a 'Mr and Mrs sign' and Dan 3-D printed a small cake topper of our dogs. We had small pieces of lemon cake on the afternoon tea stands for everyone to enjoy.

Did you have wedding favours?

We wanted to have wedding favours that people would actually use on the day, as well as a being a memento of the wedding. Jen and her mum spent months collecting vintage, coloured glasses from charity shops and car boot sales. We displayed them next to the bar area and wrote tags with guests' names. When people arrived it was so fun seeing which glass they had chosen and also saved us hiring lots of glasses. Our good friend also propagated hundreds of cacti for us which we placed all around the venue with 'Take me home' labels on them.

What about music? What was your first dance?

We had a local band, the Coverbuoys, play acoustic music during the day and a four-piece band, Penfold, for the evening entertainment. Wonderful Tonight was our first dance. One of the bridesmaids, Kate, wrote a song for us which was so special and she played this during the Wedding Breakfast, which was a great way to kick the speeches off.

Any special moments you’d like to share with us?

After the ceremony, we arrived first to the venue and grabbed a glass of champagne. We walked to an orchard close to the courtyard and had a few minutes – just us – to soak it all in. Our photographer, Nicola, and our videographer, James, arrived shortly after to take some photos of the two of us. It was very relaxed and informal and gave us some time to just be in each other's company before seeing everyone again. Whilst we were taking photos, we stumbled upon a friendship garden next to the orchard which was a lovely surprise and was a beautiful setting. It will be a special place for us to go back to for years to come.

Do you have any tips or advice for other brides and grooms-to-be?

We repurposed as much as we could and chose a venue that was a 'dry hire'. As well as giving us a blank slate to work with, this helped with our budget as we could bring in our own catering and alcohol. It's so easy to get carried away with spending, but from the start we knew we wanted to prioritise live music and ways of remembering the day - so we put a good portion of our budget to the bands, photographer and videographer.

Did you have a honeymoon?

After the wedding, we went for a few nights away in a lovely cottage in Exmoor. We're now planning for our honeymoon to Japan in April.

If we could do it all again, we’d

We wouldn't change a thing actually. A lot of people told us that your own wedding day can be quite overwhelming, but it was honestly the best day of our lives. It was so surreal having everyone important to you in one room.


Photographer: Nicola Belson, Nicola Belson Photography

Videographer: James Fox, Fox Films

Catering: The Wallingford Tearoom

Wedding Dress: Catherine Deane

Suits: Moss Bros

Hair & Make Up: Melissa Gaunt

Venue: Fison Barn, Earth Trust

Evening Band: Penfold


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