You’ve got to admit, this quintessentially English country house wedding is quite the spectacle. With soft, tender blooms echoing the bucolic restraint of the historic Georgian manor house and a sweet garden table acented with moments of cornflower blue, this heavenly wedding planned by Vanilla Rose Weddings feels straight out of a scenic painting. The cottagecore aesthetic gets better with every frame from Cristina Ilao Photography who artfully captures the gentle tranquility of each scene from the ceremony beneath a willow tree to the champagne pour in a garden allée. While many florists might cave under the pressure of an existing manicured garden with such a fine curation, Foxgloves and Roses only blossomed in the spotlight. We’re keenly aware of our penchant for Jane Austen aesthetics, and I suppose Ashlyn & Hunter’s English country house wedding gives us the same feeling of enduring grace + playfulness that her most famous works suggest. Even so, their story is their own – eternally romantic, hopeful and joyous.
From the Photographer, Cristina Ilao Photography: During the Queen’s platinum jubilee, the whole country was celebrating in London. But Ashlyn and Hunter were celebrating their own special milestone. After several postponements due to covid, their 10th year anniversary of dating couldn’t be more perfect timing to finally tie the knot.
Ashlyn and Hunter were both in the same horticulture program at Auburn University but didn’t meet until they signed up for a study abroad trip to England. They connected while spending a summer studying landscape styles and garden design in Worcestershire then started dating. The rest, as they say, is history. After their summer stint 10 years ago, Ashlyn mentioned that they were even toying with the idea of living in the UK. They’ve gone back several times and would have moved if they weren’t so close to their family. It’s not a surprise that they chose to have their intimate family-centred wedding in Ardington House, a Georgian manor surrounded by lush greenery in the heart of Oxfordshire.
Using Ardington House as their base during their stay in the UK gave them a chance to let their families experience the things they love so much about England. In fact, they managed to fit in family trips to London and the Cotswolds (both easily accessible and within 2 hours from their wedding venue) on the days before and after their wedding.
They wanted to get married where their love story began and also because of their shared affinity for England. It’s no surprise that their love for the beauty of nature and quintessential English gardens is reflected in their wedding. Thanks to Jeni of Vanilla Rose weddings, an expert in planning English garden-inspired wedding celebrations, they got exactly what they wanted.
From their ceremony setup to their wedding breakfast table and all the way to their colorful wedding floral design, every single detail exudes a romantic English garden feel and of course, an abundance of English roses. Florist Nicola of Foxgloves and Roses used colorful varieties including the Golden Vuvuzela, Madam Gulya, White Majolica, Pink Majolica, Sweet Catalina, Persuasion, Cappuccino, Paradise Beach, Vendela, Country Louise, and the David Austin Kiera roses. She added Delphiniums, Scabiosas, Snowbelles, Clematis, and Pale Blue Oxypetalum to complete the English garden aesthetic.
Ashlyn and Hunter chose to have their ceremony underneath a leafy willow tree within the manor’s grounds – a perfectly bucolic setting for two plant and nature lovers. The bride made her stunning entrance in her Savin London gown while a string quartet plays To Build a Home. After an emotional ceremony (they made their own wedding vows), and while Married Life plays in the background, they led everyone to the back of the manor, where a long trestle table was laid for them and their 15 guests. They started the wedding party with a quick toast by their mini champagne tower and a cake-cutting ceremony.
A food lover, Ashlyn was a contestant in the Great American Baking Show in 2016 (and even won Star Baker during bread week). She now works in media as a food stylist and so she wanted to incorporate her creative side to their intimate wedding – particularly the wedding cake. With help from Kate of Dolce Lusso Cakes, who provided her with a blank canvas, Ashlyn decorated her own cake on the morning of her wedding. Kate prepared a simple two-tier cake and Ashlyn added sugar flowers that she herself made back home (and took with her on a plane from the USA and all the way to England) to add her personal touch.
After a hearty three-course wedding meal with their closest family and friends, it was time for their first dance – which Ashlyn did barefoot on the grass, to the tune of the Fairytale of New York. And is there a more English way of ending the day than heading to the village pub? Thank goodness, there’s The Boars Head, just outside the gates of Ardington House!
Remarkably, I think we could fawn over images from these warm-hearted nuptials day after day after day… We must have gotten swept up in a dream somewhere between the wildflower arrangements and the sugar flower cake. If we may be so bold, Ashlyn & Hunter simply must lead the master class for “How To Achieve English Country House Wedding Vibes.” They simply must.
Planning: Vanilla Rose Weddings
Photography: Cristina Ilao Photography
Floral Design: Foxgloves and Roses
Stationery: Caboodle Weddings
Cake: Dolce Lusso Cakes
Hair: Rachel Mulford
Catering: Fingers and Forks
Wedding Dress: Savin London
Tableware: The Luxe Collection
String Quartet: Estilo Strings
Venue: Ardington House
Linens: 88 Events Company
Celebrant: Wild and Oak
Shoes: Something Bleu