You’re in for an EPIC start to the week with today’s Jewish wedding, set at one of my all-time favorite venues: Aynhoe Park and featuring one of STG’s all-time favorite bands (and Recommended Vendor) The Function Band!
Britain’s coolest listed estate, Aynhoe Park is a 17th-century country house bursting at the seams with taxidermy animals (including a polar bear – and a unicorn!), classical sculpture, disco balls, and an eclectic art collection.
Gorgeous couple Danielle and Alex looked at venues all over the world, but none compared to Aynhoe. Take a peek at photographer Alex Beckett’s delightfully quirky snaps of their day, and I think you’ll agree with them. I just love how Aynhoe Park combines old-fashioned English eccentricity with 21st-century edge. Saying this place has character doesn’t even begin to cover it.
I also want to mention here that groom Alex planned this whole wedding on his own, top to bottom – how awesome is that?! Danielle had her hands full taking care of the couple’s adorable baby boy, and she had enough faith in her husband-to-be’s good taste to hand the reins over – though she drew the line when he offered to choose her gown!
And it’s a good thing she did, because the racerback fishtail Demetrios dress she ended up with could not have been more perfect. Now over to Danielle…
How we met
Danielle, the bride: I met Alex when he first came to Dubai on holiday and we had a mutual friend. We had some really good nights out as friends, but he lived in the UK and I lived in Dubai.
I came back to the UK for Xmas 2012 and we ended up having our first kiss and then we spoke every single day, every single minute of the day. We managed a long distance relationship for one year. I would fly back when I could, and he would come to Dubai when he could. I think we managed to see each other every 4-6 weeks.
Once the year was up Alex asked me to move back and move in with him, which eventually I said yes to. It was hard for me leaving all my family in Dubai, but I knew I wanted to be with Alex and knew I had to give this a go.
Two months after moving back we had a dog, one year and half after moving back I fell pregnant and we had a beautiful baby boy called Arthur, and then obviously the wedding 🙂
So we started dating from December 2012 / I moved back to UK in January 2014 / I had Arthur on May 13, 2016 / we got married July 20, 2017.
World’s. Coolest. Venue.
Aynhoe Park was the second venue we went to see and we instantly fell in love. I had always dreamed of getting married abroad so we looked around the whole of the world, but to us nothing compared to Aynhoe Park and how much it suited our personalities and what we wanted from a venue.
A Wedding Planned by the Groom
For our color scheme, we went for crisp white flowers with some foliage – we wanted to keep it clean and fresh.
I would just like to mention that Alex, the groom, arranged the whole wedding from top to bottom – which is very rare – and he did an amazing job. I knew he knows how to plan a great party and he has good taste, so I trusted him with everything.
He even tried to pick my wedding dress and hair, haha. He obviously got shut down straight away.
Many people cannot believe me when I tell them that; however, looking after my baby boy, Arthur, is where I preferred to spend my time and energy.
A 3-day wedding
The wedding took place over 3 days.
Day 1 – guests close to the bride and the groom were invited to stay at the house. The men did clay pigeon shooting, provided by Honesbrige Shooting School, on the west lawn of Aynhoe Park while the ladies had a champagne lunch.
This was followed in the evening by a bbq and cocktails for all at the house, also on the west lawn under the stars, with lighting provided by the original wooden fire pits. The pre wedding party went until 1 am.
Day 2 – The wedding went from 4 pm till 12 am, then all guests were invited to the after party in cellar, where a DJ played until 3 am. A late menu of pizza was served at 2 am, along with some of the wedding cake. The bar stayed open until the last guest was done.
I fell off the chair during the Jewish dancing – I couldn’t sit properly back on the chair as my dress was so tight and I think I just slipped, haha. I hit my chin on someone’s head, which did hurt but because I had had a few drinks , I got myself back up and ready for round 2. But the looks on some people’s faces were a picture.
For the food we went with Aynhoe Park kitchen, as they were able to offer us what we wanted. We went for bang bang chicken to start / posh fish and chips for the main / chocolate brownie for dessert.
Day 3 – Breakfast was provided for all house guests.
An Aynhoe Park Invitation
Our wedding invitation featured the logo of Aynhoe Park.
Hair + Makeup
My hair was done by a lady called Angel – I decided to go for an updo as I always wear my hair down. I wanted something very natural that I could take down after so I could party with my hair down. My hair was up at the back and I had some bits down by my face.
My makeup was done by one of my best friends who I went to beauty college with, Nancy Lomas, who now owns her own salon called the Beauty Manor Salon. I trusted Nancy to do my makeup, and we have a relationship where I could tell her what I don’t like or she could tell me to be quiet.
I am not used to having a lot of makeup on my face as I only wear bronzer – I hate foundation – so I found it hard to have makeup trials, but Nancy did my makeup perfectly on the day.
A Demetrios Dress
My dress was from Amorae Bridal shop and it was by a designer called Demetrios. I only tried on about 5/6 dresses and instantly knew which style was for me. It definitely wasn’t the one I was expecting, which was long sleeve and low back.
The racer neck in my dress was the only style that suited me, and I had to have a tight fitted fishtail dress. So when I tired on this dress, even though I still had 1 1/2 stone more to lose from my baby weight, I still felt comfortable and happy in it and knew that when I lost all the weight completely it would be my dream dress.
A Veil with Crystals
I had a veil with very delicate crystals on and kept it very plain. It was also from Amorae in Ongar. The only jewelry I wore on the day was my wedding rings.
They were always going to be Jimmy Choos in nude. They are the comfiest shoe for me, and I can dance all night in them. Although I did take them off at about 3 am 🙂
Bridesmaids in Navy
I had 8 bridesmaids – my sisters and my niece, and the rest were my best friends. They wore navy dresses as I thought this was classy, and it also went in with the theme as Alex wore a navy and black suit.
A Floral Chuppah
A Hebrew Ceremony
The ceremony was amazing, as the chazan sung the whole of it in Hebrew. This was something I really enjoyed, and his voice was just amazing. The blossom trees at the beginning of my aisle were just beautiful and I had no idea beforehand that Alex had arranged them to be there, so this was a nice surprise.
Love Never Felt So Good
We chose Glasgow Love Theme from “Love Actually” for my dad and me to walk down the aisle – when I heard it I knew it was just the perfect song for me. Once we were married, Alex and I walked back down the aisle to Michael Jackson’s Love Never Felt So Good – these words just explain it all really, which is why we chose it.
Our first dance was always going to be a fast dance song – Alex and I aren’t the slow dancing sort of couple 🙂 It was called Sexual by Neiked – the minute I heard this song, both Alex and I were singing along to it and decided we would have it as our first dance. We had The Function Band (who were AMAZING!) play it with all the instruments, which sounded amazing – Dan said he would make the music sound amazing and he did 🙂
I also had a dance with my dad and we danced to Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder – it was so nice to dance with two men in one day who mean so much to me.
The flower lady is called Georgia Westwood at Studio Sorores.
Our Fabulous Photographer
Our photographer was called Alex Beckett. We went for Alex because we loved his work online and thought he would be perfect for our venue and us. We loved his quirky pictures, and he was perfect for Aynhoe Park and had also worked there before.
Cake in Four Flavors
Danielle designed the cake – I knew what I wanted, something plain and simple but with roses separating each tier. We had 4 tiers. They were all different flavors – carrot cake, vanilla sponge, chocolate cake, red velvet – the whole cake went. The lady who did our cake was called Julie from Flourgirl Cake Studio.
The Fabulous Function Band
Alex and I had an initial meeting with our band, The Function Band , and decided to go with them before even hearing them play in person – until the day of the wedding, all we had seen was videos of the band, but for some reason we had good trust in Dan and his team.
And they did the most amazing job on the day – they made our wedding! Everyone was talking about them for a long long time. We used them throughout the whole day and night up until 4:30 am when the wedding finished.
We had personalized fans for the women.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Just enjoy every single minute of the day. People were saying to me to take a second and just stand back and take a look around; I forgot to do this because I was having so much fun. But seriously, you should just see what is going on around you and how everyone is there for you and how perfect your day is.
Danielle & Alex’s little white book
Photography – Alex Beckett Photography
Band, production lighting, and staging – The Function Band
Videography – Pretty In White
Venue – Aynhoe Park
Bride’s dress and veil – Demetrios purchased at Amorae Bridal
Bride’s shoes – Jimmy Choo
Groom’s attire – Tom Ford
Makeup – Beauty Manor Salon
Flowers – Studio Sorores Blossom Trees – Palmbrokers