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by Emma Hla

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Images by Andy Davison.

These two… Lois & Rusty really do know what’s important on your biggest of days.

Good fashion, good words, good drinks (I love their choice of Old Fashioned cocktails!), good music and lots of laughs. The recipe for not only a good ol’ bash, but one that’s full of meaning to you and your guests.

Notes from the Bride

Lois says…

Oxnead Hall provided everything in one place – accommodation, catering, ceremony and evening celebrations. Each element was also very high quality, beautiful and stylish. Oxnead Hall is run by Unique Norfolk Venues which meant we had a Co-ordinator, Ziggy, who was amazing at helping to bring everything together and manage it all.

I believe one of the owners of Oxnead Hall used to work for Fortnum & Mason, and their sense of design and décor was very apparent. Everything felt fresh and classical mixed with modern design. The venue is light and airy, and the grounds are absolutely stunning.

I wanted the wedding to have a coherent, chic and crisp look. We went for mostly monochrome colours, with splashes of deep green foliage. The décor consisted of three elements: lots of fabrics, including white drapes, tablecloths and a cream aisle runner, a LOT of foliage with a mix of tropical and forest leaves and vines and finally some props that focused around brass and Perspex. We also had a realistic living room set up in the evening, including a TV playing clips of footage we had filmed over the years. Most of the guests featured in some of the clips. We didn’t want to commit the time to making decorations ourselves, but we put a lot of effort into this feature. Also, we bought a LOT of Lindor balls to be in vases around the venue. We must have bought around 2,000 balls in total. Delicious!

We wanted to create an atmosphere where guests were truly taken care of, where nobody had to think, where everyone’s needs were catered to. By doing this we felt it was a way a to treat all the people we care about and get them relaxed and in a good place to let their hair down. Finally, we wanted to create space in the day for genuine contemplation of what the day meant for us, for the people coming and to make it about everyone who was there that day, not just about me and Rusty.

I really expected I was going to have a nightmare finding a dress that cost under £5k because my expectations were incredibly high. I love fashion and clothes design, so I have a keen eye for detail. However, I got very lucky. I went to Wed2B in Norwich, which is very budget friendly. I went in assuming it was just to get an idea of what sort of styles might best suit me. I tried on quite a few and the lady who was helping me got a better idea of what I wanted… bigger! So eventually she brought out their biggest, sparkliest dress and I knew instantly this was what I wanted. It cost around £850 in the end, which for the size, the style and the fabric was pretty amazing.

I got some custom, white, pearlescent Converse trainers and added white ribbon laces. No one was going to see my feet, so I wanted to be comfortable. I got the biggest tiara I could find, and also a cape instead of a veil. I also splurged on a diamond and sapphire necklace.

Rusty wore a tuxedo suit from Moss Bros. We really went round the houses to find a tuxedo with the details we were looking for, such as lapel shape, the right kind of stitching, etc. By chance, Moss Bros. did exactly what he was after. He also had a black bow tie, black patent shoes, a white pocket square and a white shirt with black buttons.

My bridesmaids are all so different in terms of height, body shape and skin tone and I wanted to make sure they all felt amazing! I told them to find their own dress and I would cover the cost of it. The brief was for it to be in black and for it to really be a dress you love that you feel really good in.

I wrote the reading for the ceremony because I couldn’t find anything that articulated how we both felt. Ceremonies can too often be the quickest part of the day, but we wanted to take more time and create a space for all our guests to actually stop and think about what was going on. I had so many people tell me afterwards that certain parts of the reading rang true to them, or that it sparked a conversation with their partner.

We had the drinks reception in the maze garden near The Orangery. We had a lavender gin and tonic, cans of Beavertown ale and Prosecco as well as a non-alcoholic cocktails on offer. The canapés covered vegan, vegetarian and meat options as we’re not big meat or dairy eaters for the most part.

Music is one of the most important things in our lives. Most of our happiest memories involve being at festivals or seeing live music. We also have very broad tastes so wanted to capture that throughout the day. For classical music, we incorporated this into the ceremony and got a harpist to play before and during the ceremony. Harriet Adie was incredible.

We had playlists for the drinks reception which covered more of our love of electronic music and things like James Blake or Radiohead. During the wedding breakfast I created a jazz playlist as we both absolutely love jazz. In the evening we wanted something everyone could participate with, so we booked The Piano Works to come and play. They came as a 5 piece band – 2 pianist/vocalists, drums, guitar, bass, saxophone. They are outstanding and really worth looking up or visiting one of their two venues in London for a night out.

We wanted to keep the food simple, so chose from Oxnead’s menus which fit with our tastes and preferences. We went to a tasting event at Oxnead which was so helpful. In particular it was helpful for choosing the wine! The white wine we chose was unbelievable and is apparently a signature wine served at Claridges. Oxnead also cooked dinner for us the night before the wedding and a cooked breakfast on the Sunday morning, which was absolutely essential!

We chose cocktails and drinks that we both really enjoy. This included an Old Fashioned and a Rose Petal Martini. I provided specific recipes and steps for making them, Oxnead got in particular brands of ingredients and they turned out amazingly. They’re so delicious when they’re done well!

Best part of the day

A favourite moment might have been absolutely thrashing about to ‘Killing in the Name Of’ by Rage Against the Machine. Everyone went completely nuts.

The speeches were absolutely hysterically funny. One of my best friends, Susie, did a speech. People were absolutely crying with laughter and she did such an incredible job. The photos are a reflection of our sense of humour. Our photographer, Andy Davison got the full force of it and I think we were competing to horrify him, but it turned out he shared our sense of humour.

From one bride to another…

Really think about what you’re actually saying to each other in the ceremony. Make the words count.

Think about what you need in order to have a good day and be on top form. For me that was an afternoon ceremony so no rushing, being in one place to avoid complexity on the day and other things to safeguard my sleep and sanity! Oh… and drink water!

Credits

Venue Oxnead Hall

Photography Andy Davison

Planner & Stylist One Curious Dream

Florist Ivy Floral Events

Bride’s Dress Wed2B

Groom’s Attire Moss Bros.

Hair & Make Up Amanda Steed Hair and Makeup

Décor Epic Event Hire

Entertainment The Piano Works

Harpist Harriet Adie

Barbers Courage Noble

Extra Accommodation The Marsham Arms Inn

Oxnead Hall

Norfolk, East of England

 

Close to Norwich and situated in the hamlet of Oxnead in Norfolk, Oxnead Hall is a beautiful Grade II* listed building, perfect for country weddings.

The Need to Know

Website: oxneadhall.co.uk

  • 140
  • 220
  • Yes
  • In-house
  • In-house
  • 13 bedrooms
  • Yes
  • No
  • No
  • Yes
  • Sun 17 Nov
  • Special Offers

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Emma Hla

Meet the author

 

Emma Hla

Emma is the founder & curator of these award-winning pages. Passionate about venues, interiors and a good Whiskey Sour. You'll also find Emma working as a Creative Director consulting for wedding venues around the UK.

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