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  • Writer's pictureDodmoor House

Stephen and Andy's Winter Wedding

Updated: Aug 26, 2020

How we met...

In the most traditional of ways – the internet. A few messages were exchanged and then we met for a drink in Birmingham. A few beers, more laughs and a dodgy Australian accent later and the rest, as they say, is history.

The proposal...

Andy planned a ‘surprise’ trip to Stockholm just before Christmas 2013 (he told me about three days after he booked it), and popped the question on a bridge over to Gamla Stan on our last night there.

Our vision and theme for the day...

From the moment we started planning the day we wanted it to be very relaxed, informal and ‘us’. We wanted to have a small, intimate day with the people closest to us and a day which was very simple, which really informed our decision about the venues we looked at.

Also, neither of us like being the centre of attention so we planned the day to make sure the whole thing was completely relaxed and we could concentrate on enjoying ourselves. We also didn’t want a big entourage for the day so asked people closest to us to take on different roles to the typical groomsmen roles; our closest friends as witnesses or hosting a game and our niece and nephew being our ring bearers.

Because of the engagement in Sweden, and it being our favourite place to visit, we wanted to have little nods to Scandinavia. Most of our guests thought that would be an ABBA tribute band and Ikea furniture, but we kept it simple with glass, woods and simple florals. A lot of our glassware we picked up whilst over in Sweden and we took inspiration for our table décor from our research into Swedish weddings. Tying into that vibe we used antlers around the venue, on the menu and even in the button holes.

What we wore...

Again we kept it simple. We both wore separates with chinos and tweed blazer and waistcoats (this seemed like a good idea with a February wedding but it turned out to be a warm day so the blazers came off pretty quickly). We didn’t want to match either, we’re very different people so wanted our outfits to reflect us rather than both wearing the same thing.

What did you feed your guests?

Food was a big part of our day and using Clara’s Kitchen we were able to have a customised menu based on what we wanted. We served canapés during the drinks reception of Swedish meatballs, mini jacket potatoes with sour cream and pork belly with remoulade. For the sit down meal we had a banqueting table in the Courtyard Barn so decided to have a family style roast beef dinner with all the trimmings and Clara’s incredible sweet potato gratin. We then followed that by a winter berry, apple and rum crumble.

For the evening we decided to have a cheese cake so the guests tucked into cheese and crackers whilst Clara’s Kitchen served bacon or fish finger baps. We also baked cookies for some sweet treats (including a pretty incredible vegan double chocolate cookie)

Our favourite part of the day...

Being able to have our dog Oswald there – the day wouldn’t have been the same without him. Katie from Star Paws was invaluable for us to make sure our little guy was there on our day. He loved having an explore and getting to spend time with all his favourite people – and be fed many, many treats!

The idea that we felt really worked on the day...

One of our best decisions was easily flipping the ‘normal’ uses of the barns. Having our ceremony in the Catesby Barn and the wedding breakfast in the Courtyard Barn meant that whole day flowed really well and there weren’t any ‘gaps’ whilst rooms were being turned around. Also using the Courtyard Barn for the meal meant we could have the long banqueting table so all of our guests were closer and helped us keep the relaxed, family atmosphere we wanted for the day.


We both love a game night so we knew that we wanted games to be involved somehow. We asked one of our friends to host a Mr and Mr game between the main course and dessert, which was brilliant to get everyone involved and keep the energy up after stuffing our faces. For the evening we hired The Distractions to keep the dance floor full, as well as having some games on the tables in the Courtyard Barn which went down a treat.

Where we feel our budget was really well spent...

Two words – Clara’s. Kitchen. Choosing a venue which allowed us to use our own caterer meant we were able to use someone who would build us a custom menu and keep it within our budget, which was really important for us. Food is a big part of our relationship and having met Claire at Clara’s Kitchen previously, there was no doubt she was going to be catering our wedding.

Personal touches that really made the day reflect us as a couple...

We wanted our day to be full of little touches that reflected us and who we are. Knowing that we had done so much of the décor for the wedding ourselves made the whole venue feel much more personal. Andy designed the menu that all of the guests had for their places and Stephen hand wrote the name cards which were clipped with hand-painted pegs (which were then clipped to the guests for the rest of the night). We also made our own buttonholes using antler decorations and some of the florals we used on the table, again keeping that personal, handmade feel of the wedding day.

Finally, if we could give one tip to other couples...

Be selfish! It sounds a bit weird but it‘s what we did. We looked at the things that were important to us and prioritised those. We wanted a wedding day which felt completely like us rather than planning a day where we were trying to please other people.

Special thanks to Stephen and Andy for sharing their story, and Sara Beaumont for the photos x

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