What was it like to work with me on your Cotswolds elopement?

UNREAL. We felt like we had known you forever. Your personality and professionalism made our experience with you just perfect. The confidence you gave us and the relaxed atmosphere you created was just great. The photos are better than we could have ever imagined, honestly Rowan they’re beautiful. You are so talented and it helps that you are a super smart, switched-on lady boss! We loved sharing our day with you. Bringing the dogs was a bang on idea and it also made our day THANK YOU! Thank you also for sharing a sneak peak with us on the actual day, that was incredible and we didn’t expect it at all! It really made telling our friends and family extra special and everyone has commented on how beautiful the photos are. It’s not easy getting good photos in insanely bright direct sun like we had but that just shows how good you are.

What was your original wedding plan?

Our original plan was to do the legal Civil Partnership in Hackney Town Hall in London and then elope to a vineyard in Tuscany with our two best mates, have a small ceremony where we all got to speak and then travel up the coast from Pisa-Genoa for a week eating and drinking.

When did you realise you were going to have to change plans? How did that feel?

In March 2020, when they stopped travel to and from the North of Italy and the Town Halls closed. To be honest even with a very small ceremony it still felt really disappointing and I was being made redundant at the same time so it was super tough. We were happy to have our health but it was just a bit worrying as nothing at that point was certain.

How did you make allowances for your wedding to take place under current covid-guidelines?

We were already quite relaxed about the whole thing but we made our options a lot more flexible. We decided what mattered and what didn’t matter to us. The day it happened didn’t have to be a weekend as there were so few of us so we aimed for a week day to save a bit of cost where possible and also allow the flexibility to book you and our celebrant Zena in at short notice as you were more likely to be available. We had to wait for the town hall to re-open to do our legal paperwork and so we worked in reverse. We booked in the vineyard venue, photographer and celebrant for August and hoped that we could do the legal part as close to that date as possible. It worked out perfectly in the end but ultimately it really didn’t have to happen in any particular order.

How did you feel on your wedding day given that you had to change your plans?

100% excellent. It was so much better than either of us could have imagined! Small means personal, everyone was involved, everyone laughed, everyone shared a more intimate day.

How did you add your personalities and individual style to your small wedding?

With the help of our wonderful celebrant Zena Birch! She created a super personal ceremony that reflected our personalities and relationship, there were speeches and promises we wrote ourselves, surprise musical performances and dogs (courtesy of Rowan and Zena)! We got a wooden wine box engraved and put a bottle of wine from the vineyard we were staying at along with some letters we wrote to each other and hammered it shut as part of the ceremony which was hilarious. We will open the box in 5 years time and have some wonderful memories to reflect on. We made our own bouquets out of maps because we are geeks and it is something we could keep. We made sure we had our ceremony at a vineyard and used a campervan as our transport and for photos as our first few months of dating were spent in campervans and cycling around vineyards in New Zealand. Having the dogs there really made the atmosphere relaxed and we just love dogs!

What’s your advice to other couples planning a small wedding after rescheduling?

Pick out a few of your “must haves’ and stick with just those as the base of your plan. Be flexible and adaptable. Consider what actually matters to you and don’t get caught up in the detail. For us, our most important factors were having it in a vineyard, a tight budget and keeping it chilled, relaxed and fun.  Everything else like the food/booze/cake/the actual date/dresses/hair and make up etc came after and we locked in the most important parts that would make our day special first and then added bits as we went.

When no one else is involved in the planning it’s actually very straight forward and stress-free.  We would recommend elopements to anyone! Small is not bad, it’s BRILLIANT! You can have a big party next year when everyone can celebrate together but for now just make sure you organise something that makes you happy.

Cotswolds Elopement Suppliers

Celebrant – Zena Birch: Humanist Celebrant

Venue – Woodchester Valley Vineyard

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