Where:Divinity Schools, Bodleian Library, Oxford
Aaron and Phill met in Oxford in 2007 while Phill was in the final year of his degree and Aaron was working. But when Aaron moved to Bristol to study for his Masters a few months later, they decided to go their separate ways. They kept in touch and a year or so later, with Aaron now living in London, they decided to give it another go. Over the next four years, Phill and Aaron had a fantastic time in and around the two cities and then made the decision to move to Australia together, where they now live.
This is their story...
I proposed to Aaron on his birthday (23rd December) whilst we were on holiday in Byron Bay, in 2015. I'd been planning it for a while as we'd talked about getting married over the last couple of years, but I didn't say anything as I wanted it to be a surprise. I ended up proposing on a slightly windswept beach after a few awkward false starts while I waited for other holidaymakers to wander past.
We decided to hold our wedding at the Divinity Schools at the Bodleian library in Oxford as we'd both spent so much time in and around the University during our relationship, and had been to a couple of events there. It is a fantastic space with a beautiful vaulted ceiling, and it summed up the best bits of our time there.
Some of the things that Oxford does really well are formal dinners and balls, so we took a bit of inspiration from that as it was an evening wedding and decided to have a black tie dress code. We wanted a fairly simple colour scheme to highlight the architecture of the venue and chose fresh green and whites for the flowers. Both the florists (Fabulous Flowers) and the AV company (That Event Company) did a brilliant job and really did justice to the venue. We had Oxford Blue as the colour of our invites and stationery and went for that theme with our suits.
Both me and Phill, but mainly Phill, have the dancing skills of arthritic robots, so we didn't inflict that on our guests by having a first dance. We hired a band from Alive Networkwhich did an excellent job of keeping everyone entertained.
The venue was spectacular and exactly what we wanted to remind us of our time in Oxford. Despite the limitations on time, they were very accommodating and really helpful in planning out the day. It was definitely a challenge to make it happen through email across a fair few timezones, but everyone took the time and effort to make sure it went smoothly. It helped that the weather cooperated on the day!
We knew wanted had a fairly quick ceremony as the venue is only available for the evening because it's open to the public during the day, plus we'd come from the other side of the world and wanted to spend as much time as we could with family and friends at the reception. We worked very closely with the venue, caterers and celebrant to make the best use of the time.
We started with a few canapes, and probably a little too much gin (one of our favourite drinks), before a sit down meal. The food was fantastic, our caterers (Indulgence) did a spectacular job with almost no kitchen facilities on site.
We had a naked' cakewhich was made by a family friend who is a fantastic baker. It was decorated with fresh fruit and flowers and looked spectacular.
I think working out what's important to you at the start of the planning process was key for us. We began with those things and worked everything else around them. Also, starting much earlier than you think you need to is old but good advice - it's always more complicated than you think it will be. Finally, make sure you're doing things that you'll enjoy; it's a big day, with a lot of people, but hopefully it's a once in a lifetime event so make sure you have fantastic memories!