An Australian groom and American bride invited 120 guests to the English countryside for their tented watercolor-inspired nuptials at the groom's family home.
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Australian-born Stuart Champion de Crespigny met his American bride, Sophia Chico, in London, England, shortly after they both moved there from West Virginia. While Sophia grew up in West Virginia, Stuart found himself there running his business, PGE Group, and lived just a few hours south of Sophia's hometown for five years before moving to London. "It's crazy to think that we had been so close for five years to then fly 4,000 miles across the ocean to meet in London," Sophia says.
Two years into the relationship, the pair decided to hit up their favorite brunch spot in London; on the walk back, Stuart found a quiet moment while they strolled through Paddington Gardens to stop and ask Sophia to marry him. "It was the sweetest sentence I could ever dream to hear," Sophia says. "After lots of tears, hugs, and kisses, I said yes!"
With just six months to plan their wedding, the couple enlisted sisters Jessie and Georgia Westwood from Studio Sorores to pull together an event that fused the bride's bohemian style with the groom's traditional English background. The pair hosted 120 guests at the groom's family home (where he grew up!) in the Cotswolds, a countryside village a few hours outside of London. "As an American and Australian living in the U.K., we were blessed to have so many people from different parts of the world join us for our wedding," Stuart says. "We were so grateful they were all willing to come so far for us which made our special day that much more special."
The color scheme for the entire event (which spanned from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.!) was inspired by the area's wildflowers and the interior of the main house. The team incorporated neutrals, pale blues, pinks, and pops of berry red to accomplish a "rustic elegance" vibe with hint of modern boho style.
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Sophia invited her mom and bridesmaids to get ready with her at Daylesford Farm. Her dad joined them later and Sophia rode to the ceremony with her parents. "It was a special time for us to have a few moments together," she says.
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The Bride's Dream Dress
With just six months leading up to the big day, Sophia had some trouble finding her dream wedding dress. She ended up buying a gown in Australia and another in America, but she wasn't able to have either altered in time. A week before Sophia left to meet her family ahead of the wedding, her second dress was still in pieces. Luckily, Sophia picked up her custom veil from Hermione de Paula and spotted the "Wisteria" gown in a pale rose color hanging in their studio. "After a few tears and calls to my parents I decided to get the dress!" she says. "Within five days, they fitted the dress to me, added beating to cover my undergarment, and added embroidery. I honestly couldn't sing enough praise to them!"
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Sophia borrowed a matching necklace and earring set from her mom, along with a gold bangle she had always admired.
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Sophia chose champagne-hued Badgley Mischka shoes with hand-applied embellishments for some sparkle. She later changed into sandals (also from Badgley Mischka) in order to enjoy the dance floor with her guests.
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The bride wanted to push the envelope with the types of flowers and color combinations used throughout the wedding. According to the sisters at Studio Sorores, "This was honestly one of our most favorite bouquets we have ever made!" Sophia was set on including eucalyptus in her bouquet, and her florists created a colorful iteration featuring oxypetalum, delft blue nigella, blush garden roses, dried grasses, scabiosa, peonies, and a raspberry colored orchid. The arrangement was then tied up in a hand-dyed silk ribbon.
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The Groom's Look
Stuart wore a traditional black morning coat with tails, paired with striped pants, a blue waistcoat, and blue tie. He finished his look with black shoes.
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The Bridal Party
Sophia included her three sisters, Stuart's sister, and a close friend in her bridal party. Each bridesmaid wore the "Avery" dress by BHLDN featuring a sequin-covered bodice and tulle skirt. "They were one of the first things I picked for the wedding," Sophia says.
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The couple's niece, Colette, was their flower girl; she wore the "Hattie" dress from BHLDN.
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Sophia and Stuart decided to have a Catholic ceremony in front of close family and friends the day before their wedding, on July 13th. Their second service took place at a local village church in Fifield, Oxfordshire, where they exchanged traditional vows before moving to the cocktail hour and reception location.
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Down the Aisle
Sophia's dad walked her down the aisle while Niche Quartet played John Denver's "Annie's Song." When Stuart saw her, he says, "I imagine I was smiling like an idiot. I was more nervous than I expected, yet eager to begin our lives together." The quartet also played "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers while they were signing the register and Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" during the recessional.
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Guests made their way from the church to the gardens at Fifield manor, Stuart's family home, located just around the corner. During the cocktail hour, guests enjoyed acoustic music from Island Nights and canapes like salmon gravadlax on toast, classic Scotch eggs, aged steak tartare, and truffle mac and cheese balls served with basil pesto.
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The Seating Chart
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The Reception Location
The reception took place under a tent with a clear roof; stunning chandeliers, a hanging boho-chic floral arrangement, and draped fabric added glamour to the countryside location. Three long wooden tables were left bare and paired with white chairs.
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The team at Studio Sorores was inspired by watercolor paintings when designing the reception florals; they used garden roses, orchids, and chocolate cosmos to create a pop of color in the centerpieces.
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Place Settings with a Pop of Color
Place settings included a menu personalized with each guest's name on top of sky-blue linen napkins.
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The couple's planning team pulled together a few garden-inspired lounge areas within the reception space with low sofas and rose-colored blankets to encourage guests to enjoy the summer evening.
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The rustic bar in the reception area was built from apple crates and ladders and decorated with wild flowers and foliage.
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The Three-Course Meal
Guests enjoyed a three-course dinner that included buffalo's milk ricotta and chorizo salad, a lamb dish with summer squash purée served with sides of smoked butter mashed potatoes, asparagus, and zucchini. For dessert, Sophia and Stuart served a chocolate torte along with their wedding cake; at midnight, ham and cheese "toasties" were offered.
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Sophia and Stuart shared their first dance as husband and wife to "The Wonder of You" by The Villagers. "We both just really like the lyrics. Island Nights did a great job covering!" Sophia says.
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The couple's three-tiered lemon cake was covered with buttercream icing and decorated with roses in varying shades of pink. They enlisted Carolyn Colman from Country House Cooking to make the cake, as she also catered for both families throughout the week leading up to the wedding. "Her food is amazing," Sophia says. "We use them all the time for dinners when we are hosting at Fifield!"
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Instead of giving out wedding favors, Sophia and Stuart decided to make a donation to the village church where they got married.
The pair spent their honeymoon driving through small Italian villages, from Emilia Romagna to Tuscany, before flying to Greece for another five days, where they enjoyed sailing and a romantic dinner lit by a blood moon. "We had a magical time," Sophia says, "The most perfect start to a beautiful life together."
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Photography, Katie Julia
Videography, Confetti and Silk
Event planning, Design, and Flowers, Jessie Westwood and Georgia Westwood of Studio Sorores
Catering, Emily Few Brown of Spook
Stationery, Rose + Ruby
Bride's gown and veil, Hermione de Paula
Bride's shoes, Badgley Mischka
Hair, Hannah of Matthew Curtis Hair
Bridesmaids dresses, BHLDN
Menswear, The Cotswold Tailor
Music, Niche Quartet, Jack the Lad
Cake, Country House Cooking
Rentals, Abbas Marquees
Linens, 88 Events