Some of the most aspirational weddings to feature on Festival Brides are often the most simplistically inspired. This wedding is so beautifully bohemian it makes us wish to re-plan our weddings all over! The talented Grace Elizabeth Photography has, once again, captured the essence of a wedding so pure it’s impossible not to get taken by the beauty of it. Zoe and Daniel’s ethereal wedding took place at the Blackfriars Priory in Gloucester, boasting a blank canvas so perfect, it gracefully offered itself as the chic, classical wedding venue that Zoe dreamed of. With hours upon hours spent hand-crafting candles, draping hand-picked garden greenery and delicately adorning the space with intricate DIY décor, this bride had a clear vision for the day. Elegant, pretty and delightfully uncomplicated, she describes her wedding as ‘classical-meets-bohemian with a touch of barefoot chic’! And we couldn’t agree more….

Pinterest was my bible. I wanted everything as natural and neutral as possible, the last thing I wanted to see was coloured sashes and chair covers.I always wanted bohemian chic, and to keep everything classic and soft. The kind of wedding I could look back on without thinking…oh no I wish I hadn’t chosen that colour!

A Surprise Candlelit Proposal in best friend’s garden

The proposal came as a complete shock! Dan was desperate to propose before he returned to the army after a weekend at home, so he rushed my friends together in my best friends garden, told me he was leaving to go back to camp and had Emma pretend we were off out to dinner together. We then had to go back to her house as she said she’d forgotten her purse…and through the window I saw Dan standing in the garden, in his suit, surrounded by candles. I was so shocked I broke into nervous laughter and couldn’t leave the kitchen…so he ended up proposing next to the fridge and dog bowls!

Ethereal Ceremony at the Army Barracks

We had our ceremony and reception at the glorious Blackfriars Priory in Gloucester. We chose the location because it’s close to where Dan’s Army Barracks were when we first met. The Gloucestershire area is very special to us because of all the time we spent there on his weekends off.

I walked down the aisle to ‘Experience by Ludovico Einaudi’ and I chose it because it is so intense and beautiful. We didn’t tailor our own vows as we only say very personal things to each other in private, so the civil ceremony vows were enough to show our guests what we want out of our marriage. My little sister recited a reading named ‘on your wedding day’ completely off by heart. Everyone was so impressed and cheered!

Beautiful neutrals and hand-made soy wax candles made the perfect venue

Pinterest was my bible! I wanted everything as natural and neutral as possible and the last thing I wanted to see was coloured sashes and chair covers. My dream was to elope and marry on a mountain in Oregon, but family ties pulled us close and we decided to have a wedding in the UK. Blackfriars Priory was such an ethereal blank canvas. The moment I saw it I knew that, filled with candles, it would be the perfect ceremony room.

I spent months, and many hours, emptying hundreds of jam jars and hand-making candles with soy wax. They added such a beautiful glow to the venue and could be used all day and night – they lasted so well! I also ordered dried hops as I’d planned to drape these down the aisle, but we decided to scatter the dry hops instead, to create an aisle from the buds and leaves (and just hoped the guests remembered their hay fever tablets!)

We didn’t get a florist… my Maid of Honour and I ransacked a garden centre for greenery and her mother’s garden, and then went to a supermarket for white roses and put all the bouquets and buttonholes together, by ourselves, on the front lawn of the hotel the evening before the wedding! I wanted them to be overflowing with green and an elegant touch of white.

Dramatic handmade dress with a hand-cut French Silk Veil

The dress was one of the hardest decisions; I didn’t want too much fuss but at the same time I wanted it to be dramatic. Nothing I tried in the stores came close to my vision, I did have my heart set on a Berta Bridal Dress, but the price tag was way out of our league! My dress was designed by myself and hand made by Rachel King at ‘The Dress Suite’ in Nuneaton. I ordered some French Silk Tulle and cut the veil myself. I didn’t wear any shoes! I wore silver foot jewellery from ASOS and wore a simple moonstone pendant necklace. I wanted to keep it simple and bohemian and wore mixed silver rings.

Hand-painted Welsh Beach pebble stones

The invitations were from an independent designer ‘Kaydi Bishop’ on Minted.com. We ordered them in Toasted Almond and had silver pressed foil. The Place cards were stones that my Maid of Honour and I drove all the way to Wales to get from a pebble beach, she then wrote each name out using a white paint pen! The table numbers were glass that I took from picture frames and painted the numbers on with white enamel paint.

Maid of Honor’s White Chocolate Tiffins made beautiful alternative wedding treats

Our catering was taken care of by Orchard Catering. Instead of having a wedding cake made for us. we opted for a stack of white chocolate tiffin, which I made these two days before the wedding, in my Maid of Honour’s kitchen!

We used The Big Entertainment Company for our wedding reception entertainment. We had two amazing singing waiters who really surprised the guests as we had kept it all a secret! One of my bridesmaids was about to chuck them out as she thought they were genuinely bad waiters ruining my day! We loved them!

Meaningful lyrics….

We chose ‘Saturn’ by Sleeping at Last. It has a really long instrumental start and the main lyrics are ‘how rare and beautiful, it truly is, to simply exist’. This just summed up the feeling we wanted from our first dance song.

favourite moment?

We stole half an hour away in an old empty room in the Priory, we just lay on the floor together and stared up at the wooden beams of the ceiling. We felt so content and peaceful to just be alone with each other and reflect on the day.

any advice?

Take a step back whenever you can and just relish the moment! Planning is what I miss the most. Our photographers were incredible – Grace & Mitch were everything we’d hoped they would be, and the photos & film they produced blew us away! Truly talented photographer & videographer. Grace & Mitch had a brilliant attitude and they were flexible and full of ideas! Here’s our wedding highlights film too for you is a link to  have a look at too

The Line Up

Photography and Videography: Grace Elizabeth Photo & Film
Venue: Blackfriars Priory in Gloucester
Bride’s Dress :Designed by the Bride, Made by The Dress Suite
Bride’s Shoes: Silver Foot jewellery by ASOS
Groom’s Outfit: Next Tuxedo
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Missguided
Flower Girl Dresses: Monsoon
Entertainment: The Big Entertainment Company
Catering Company: Orchard Catering
Stationery: Minted.com by Kaydi Bishop

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