Photographer Larissa Joice shared this lovely wedding in a gorgeous Headington Hill Hall with us. She also asked Bev and Alex to tell us more about their bog day.
Tell us your story
We met through sport and mutual friends in Oxford. Alex proposed to me on a dog walk in South Park which is my favourite place in Oxford, and you can see it from where we eventually got married!
We were engaged for nearly 1.5 years and we’ve been together for nearly 7 years now. We had to wait a while to live together as Alex went back to Uni to do another degree, but we got there in the end! Once she got a job after uni we moved from Oxford to Birmingham, but went back to Oxford to get married!
How did you find your venue?
We knew of Headington Hill Hall as part of the Brookes campus but hadn’t been inside until we looked at it as a wedding venue, I think we’d decided before we’d even seen inside though! I used to park in the car park for hockey and totally ignore any ‘wedding today – do not park’ signs! We loved the look of the building, it really reminded me of a building on the Uni of Exeter campus where I studied, and the grounds were beautiful, I once did fitness training on the grass there! I also loved the green room where we were married, there was no question once we saw that room! We thought the size was right too, we didn’t want anywhere big and everything had to be in one place, we wanted to have a central Oxford wedding that was easy to get to, no hassle!
Your outfits & accessories – What made you choose your outfits? What did you love about them?
I bought a wedding dress that I didn’t end up wearing (now known as ‘dress number 1’!), that I always knew deep down wasn’t the right one. I got it modified and altered and then changed my mind! I went out shopping again with my very patient Mum to a specialist short and tea length dress shop called Cutting Edge Brides, and loved all the dresses! I should have stuck to what I was originally looking for in the first place, but I got there in the end.
Alex had her dress made out of raw silk, it was perfect for her, simple and elegant but also comfortable which was a big thing for her as she doesn’t normally wear dresses.
It turned out, having kept our dresses secret from each other, that they really complemented each other! It was really hard not showing my dress to the one person I always look to for advice.
Tell me about your Ceremony including any readings, any special moments and your vows. Did you tailor your vows?
The reading from Loren was written for us, it was an original piece of writing which was very special and personal. Rachel also spoke, so we had a close friend each. Rachel’s wife was Alex’s bridesmaid Nic, and son was our ring bearer, so the whole family were involved apart from baby Louis!
We kept our vows simple but they were very special, and very us. It was a special moment for me when my brother walked me down the aisle – my Dad was very ill and unable to be there – and Alex had always said she’d shake my Dad’s hand rather than kiss him on the cheek as that’s what they always did and felt more comfortable doing. So when she shook my brother’s hand instead that meant a lot to me. My Dad watched it on an iPad from the hospice, although I’m not sure how conscious he was by that point it meant a lot to me, as it felt like he was there in some way.
What made you choose your decor and styling?
We each chose our favourite colour, luckily blue and green look good together! It was tricky to find one bridesmaid dress style that came in both colours though, and blue flowers are very expensive as not seasonal in April! We were so pleased with how it turned out, and we kept it really simple. We had lots of flowers, but other than that we didn’t have much decoration apart from some balloons. We didn’t want to spend lots of extra money and stress on that sort of thing, the venue was pretty enough!
Did you have any entertainment and any special music on the day?
We had my bridesmaid Ellie’s brother (Mark Gilroy) sing and play piano when we walked down the aisle and during the drinks reception, he’s a professional performer and he was amazing! He moved outside to play in the sunshine as it was such wonderful weather (25 degrees in April!), a perfect drinks reception. We each had a different song when walking down the aisle – I had Stevie Wonder ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ and Alex had ‘Can you feel the love tonight?’ from the Lion King! We hired a band for the evening.
Apart from our aisle music we had ‘All about you’ by McFly as our first dance, it has always been our song so an easy choice. We made sure people joined us so we didn’t dance on our own for long though!
What was your favourite part of the day and why?
I think the ceremony, it was so intimate and special, and I don’t think I expected the words to mean so much. I thought that part would be the legal bit and over so quickly, but it was very personal and special. Also because my Dad was too ill to attend the wedding, so he saw it on an iPad held by my sister in law, so that was the part of the day where I felt like he was there in a way. He passed away a few hours after we were married but he held on just long enough. It was so important to him that we went ahead with the wedding, I couldn’t let him down.
If you could pass on any words of wisdom to a couple planning their marriage and wedding day, what would they be and is there anything you would do differently?
Don’t get obsessed with Pinterest boards and matching envelopes, those things aren’t important. It’s a marriage, not just a wedding, you just need the people you love most with you. Also don’t get hung up on what could go wrong, if you compare typical wedding worries about the cake not turning up or the bridesmaids not having matching shoes to what happened on our wedding day, when I lost my Dad, you’ll see in the grand scheme of things the little things really don’t matter. Try to focus on what does matter, which is that you get married and you’re surrounded by the people who love you most in the world. For me I knew I was marrying the person my Dad approved of, he loved Alex and he would have been devastated had we cancelled. The show must go on after all.
Tell us about your photographer
Larissa really helped put us at ease, which was really important to us. She had some wonderful creative ideas, things we could never have thought of, and the results were stunning. She was great to have around, and had a wonderful balance of assertive and invisible on the day. She made us feel like our day was really important to her, and she really cared. It didn’t feel like having a stranger around, she just fitted in. When she left she just slipped away and let us get on with our day, she knew we had enough people to speak to!