Whatever country you are from, an English-inspired wedding is the perfect theme for your big day as it is elegant, timeless and full of character.
If this traditional theme is for you then take note of these top ideas to give your day that authentic edge.
1. Wedding venue
Whether you’re getting wed in England or not, you can still choose an English-inspired wedding venue to establish your theme. A marquee is possibly your simplest and easiest option as long as you’ve got the space. This is a blank canvas to adorn with your favourite Cath Kidston or Laura Ashley-inspired décor. Alternatively, go regal in a castle and pretend you’re part of the Royal Family, or keep it classic in a village hall as a nod towards a simpler more innocent time in English culture. Getting wed in warmer months is ideal as venturing outside and enjoying drinks on the lawn, games with guests and chitter chatter under the stars is all terribly fitting to your English country theme.
2. Wedding transport
Cover all bases and make every detail of your wedding reflect Englishness, even your wedding transport. Turn up to your wedding ceremony in a Mini, Rolls Royce or Bentley for a classic feel, or if you’re after a quirkier vibe then look towards a campervan, old fashioned bicycles with baskets or a motorcycle with sidecar. You could even hark back to England’s past with a horse and cart. For your wedding guests, get them from a-to-b with an old fashioned bus that wouldn’t be out of place on Oxford Street in the 1940s.
3. English country garden
Nothing says ‘English country garden’ quite like flowers. Sweet peas, roses, foxgloves, primroses, wild daffodils – the list goes on. Make your wedding a living, breathing English country garden by adorning every surface with flowers. Opt for pom-poms, candles and fairy lights if you wish, but the biggest decorative impact will come from masses of flowers in all shapes, sizes and colours. Try not to be too neat and precise with them though. Think about the intertwining shoots and stalks of a cottage garden, and the mix of textures and layers.
4. English wedding menu
You are in for a treat! There are plenty of options for an English-inspired wedding menu that will make your guests’ mouths water. Give your guests a nibble with their tipple and offer round an assortment of mini cracker, cheese and chutney stacks – simple but moreish, and the perfect accompaniment for that real ale the men are supping. Or how about ‘pigs in blankets’ or ‘devils on horseback’ on cocktail sticks? For the main course, how about beef wellingtons, individual chicken and mushroom puff pastry pies or the classic roast beef with all the trimmings? This English feast could be followed by summer pudding, treacle sponge and rhubarb crumble. Or, you could opt for traditional afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with lashings of clotted cream, fresh strawberries, all washed down with ice-cold Pimm’s and lemonade.
5. English customs
It’s the smaller details of a wedding that can make all the difference. Incorporate elements of English culture into your wedding by playing games such as croquet, skittles, badminton or cricket before sitting down for a well-earned pear and apple cider or a picnic with a spread suitable for the Queen. Tea isn’t exactly the most exciting wedding drink, but that doesn’t have to stop you from using pretty chinaware. Serve gin and tonic and ginger beer in teacups and pour dandelion and burdock out of pretty teapots. Bake sales and competitions are a big part of English country life too, so why not host one of your own? Invite guests to prepare a cake to compete on your wedding day for the title of ‘best wedding cake’.
This is where you can really go to town. Hang different patterned bunting across doorways and from ceiling beams; choose gingham and floral fabrics for the table cloths and napkins; fill mismatched teacups and tin watering cans with flowers and dot them around the tables and floor; use cake stands to present flowers or fairy cakes; trim glass vases with lace and fill with blooms; fill old fashioned sweet jars with traditional English sweet such as rhubarb and custards; or even go down the Alice in Wonderland route and adorn your food and drink with tiny flag labels reading ‘eat me’ ‘drink me’.
7. Wedding cake
Afternoon tea and tea parties are synonymous with English culture, so your wedding cake will be a focal point of the day. Victoria sponge or lemon drizzle cakes are both classic choices for your wedding cake as they’re classically English. Give them a rustic look by leaving the sponge tiers exposed and adorn each layer with fresh blooms such as roses and lots of strawberries and raspberries. Alternatively, you could have a selection of smaller cakes to act as your wedding cake. Tiers of French fancies, fairy cakes, Bakewell tarts, Battenburg or Chelsea buns could make quite the delectable decadence.
8. Wedding favours
To tie in with your English country garden theme, choose wedding favours inspired by English customs. Make your own preserves and present them in tiny individual glass jars with paper lids detailed with the date of your wedding day, secured with a pretty ribbon or raffia. If stored correctly, jam and chutney should keep for around six months so your guests can enjoy it even after the big day. Classic English preserves include apricot jam, gooseberry jam, tomato chutney, marmalade, rhubarb and apple chutney and blackcurrant jam.