Following the Pandemic Hazel and Owain were on the lookout for their perfect wedding venue, but found that many were already booked up a couple of years in advance, at least for the summer months. This got them thinking about the idea of an intimate winter wedding surrounded by family and friends. In early March their chosen venue, The Painswick in the beautiful Cotswolds had a free weekend, so it was decided. But a March wedding can be risky in terms of weather! Read how Hazel and Owain planned their wedding and how faux fur played a part in the planning.
Wedding photographer: Joab Smith
Tell us about the big day:
It was brilliant! The Painswick is a beautiful boutique hotel in the Cotswolds and we had exclusive use for 2 nights including all 17 of its rooms. We had both the ceremony & the reception there, and we and most of our guests were able to stay, so there was no rushing between venues at all. Everything went to plan and we had such a good time. Would do it again in a heartbeat (if someone else paid!!)
What inspired the design and theme of your wedding?
We knew we wanted to keep things fairly small and relaxed. Neither of us like being the centre of attention so we were keen for it to feel fairly intimate, and to be able to spend plenty of time with our guests.
We really liked the idea of having a whole venue to ourselves for a weekend, and giving our families some time to catch up before and after, especially as they haven’t been able to meet often during the pandemic.
Neither of us are particularly good at crafting and we knew early on that we wanted a venue that didn’t need much dressing up. Exceptional food however was an absolute must. The Painswick was the perfect venue for all of this!
How would you describe your wedding style? traditional, vintage, contemporary, relaxed?
In lots of ways it was fairly traditional, but we did alter a few bits of the day to make it feel more like us. We did a joint speech during the wedding breakfast, and opted not to have the usual father of the bride / best man speeches. Instead we did a ‘fireside chat’ later in the evening and invited stories from all our guests led by the best man.
I and a number of our guests don’t drink alcohol so we also made sure we had great mocktails on the menu all day long including as part of the free bar in the evening. I’ve been to a lot of weddings where wine & beer are provided but lemonade/juice has to be paid for!
Did you have to postpone or re schedule your wedding because of the Pandemic and did this influence any of your choices?
We were thankfully very lucky and didn’t have to reschedule at all. It was definitely on our minds a lot though, as there’s no insurance that would cover covid related cancellations and we were very conscious of trying to keep our guests safe and comfortable. Some of our older relatives weren’t able to come due to worries about covid nonetheless.
It impacted our choice of date as well. All the summer 2022 dates and most of the summer 2023 dates were already booked when we started looking. We knew we didn’t want to have a long engagement (we’d been a couple almost 12 years when we got married) and my dad has some significant health issues, so it made sense to have the wedding outside peak season in March. I’ve always liked winter weddings though so it worked out well!
When did you start planning your dress and accessories?
I got started with planning pretty quickly, mainly as we knew we’d only have 6-7 months to sort everything. I chose my dress in September and started researching accessories in the autumn. I didn’t start trying options though until January/February though. I took some accessory options with me to my final fitting, which was definitely worthwhile for picking out what suited best.
Where did you get your dress? How did you decide what you wanted to wear?
My dress came from Clifton Brides in Bristol. It was the fourth boutique we visited and it felt right from the moment we walked in. I knew I wanted an a-line style, but not a large ball gown, or anything difficult to move in, given our venue. I had a preference for sleeves and loved the unusual leaf pattern on the lace bodice & sleeves of my dress as soon as I saw it.
Why did you choose to wear faux fur?
Getting married at the start of March was always a bit of risk weather wise. We knew we could see anything from sunshine to snow, it could be warm or freezing. At the same time we knew we wanted to have the option to be outside at least some of the time, not least to reduce covid risks for our guests, some of whom were extremely vulnerable. I knew I wanted to have a cover up of some sort available, so I could enjoy being outside without getting cold, especially for photos. I tried a number of different options but the shoulder wrap from Helen Moore was perfect - a touch of luxury, easy to wear while keeping my hands free, warm but not too warm on an early spring day.
I knew I’d feel more comfortable on the day if I had a warm layer available. Despite being a fairly mild day for March in the end, I really appreciated having the wrap to hand & I wore it most of the time we were outside.
Did you choose faux fur because it looks great in photos?
It was important to me to pick a cover up that would look right with my dress. I tried a number of shawls, stoles, wraps and jackets, in different materials at my final fitting to see what worked. It was a unanimous agreement that the faux fur looked the most special for a once in a lifetime day.Did we help you in any way to make sure your faux fur accessories were perfect?
I really appreciated being able to try some samples of the different furs in advance. I hadn’t realised the furs differ in texture and thickness as well as colour & being able to feel and see the samples definitely helped me choose.
Have you worn your faux fur accessory again since your wedding day?
I haven’t but I can definitely see myself wearing it with an evening gown in the future. The ivory white colour is really versatile.
...and confession Time...
(Confession, I also tried the stole in cappuccino, and while it didn’t work best with my dress, it was so lovely I couldn’t bear to part with it, so I kept both! I’ve worn it once or twice sitting at my desk working from home on cold days which is a total extravagance/guilty pleasure!)
Congratulations Hazel and Owain!
- Venue was The Painswick @The_Painswick (& street photos are from the village of Painswick, Gloucestershire)
- Dress was from Clifton Brides @cliftonbrides and designer was @alma_novia
- Shoes were from Rachel Simpson @rachelsimpsonshoes
- Earrings were QP Jewellers @qpjewellers
- Bridesmaids dresses were Willow & Pearl @willowandpearlbridesmaids
- Stationery was Emerald Paper Design @emeraldpaperdesign
- Flowers were The Bespoke Flower Co @bespokeflowerco
- Grooms Suit was from Beggars Run @beggarsrun
- Hair & Make-up were Caley Soul (MU) @caleysoulmakeup, Anna Jones (Hair) @annajonesbridal & booked via Harriet at HCBrides @hcbrides
- Cake was @ConstanceCrumbCakes and cake stand came from Prop Options @Prop.options