Traditional English Garden Wedding in Shropshire
June 10, 2015
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Classic WeddingsBackyardReligious Institution
For a couple who held not one, not two, but THREE celebratory wedding get togethers so that friends and family all over the world could smile alongside them, I would say this duo has tying the knot down to a science. Marrying two gorgeous cultures - both in ceremony and style - gave way to an English Garden style with perfect Chinese detailing. With photographs from Stephen Jerkins Photography and decor by Amanda Jerkins Design, there is so much more goodness right here!
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From the beautiful Bride... Thomas and I fell in love in London. We met by chance when a mutual friend insisted we go on a blind date. Sparks flew and after I graduated college in the US we moved to live in Beijing (where I grew up). Five years later we were back in London visiting friends; while strolling through Queen Mary's rose garden in Regents Park Thomas got down on one knee and popped the question and I said yes.

I’m from Oregon, my family are from Texas and Arkansas, Thomas is from the UK, and we had friends and family in Beijing. It was important to us that all our nearest and dearest could celebrate with us so we planned three parties - one in each country. We kicked off in the spring with an informal brunch in a historic Beijing courtyard, and followed up in the fall with dinner and dancing in Portland's downtown Pearl District.

For the wedding ceremony itself we chose Thomas's family home in Shropshire, an agricultural county in the UK famous for its rolling hills, fuzzy sheep, and blue cheese. We were married in the thousand-year-old St. Peter’s Church Edgmond by Thomas’s childhood vicar, the Reverend Edward Ward. The ceremony celebrated the joining of two families - my talented cousin Mattie sang Ave Maria while we signed the church registry, Thomas’s uncle Roger did a bible reading, while my granny Virginia read one of Mark Twain's letters. The reception was held at Thomas's family home, a cottage set in a bucolic English garden with a plush emerald lawn which we decked out with a traditional croquet set. Guests enjoyed the cocktail reception and lawn games before sitting down for a family-style wedding breakfast full of local ingredients. Like any good English wedding reception it lasted all day - starting at noon, continuing through the evening with dancing and a food stall serving burgers and pizzas from a wood-fired oven, then whisky and marshmallows around the campfire until well after midnight.

We wanted to keep the decor unpretentious and romantic. In honor of our Chinese connection and guests we used toile chinoiserie tablecloths, mahjong tile placard holders, and brought over our dinner gong. In reference to our engagement in the rose garden, my mum crafted over one hundred water-colored paper rose escort cards. For a sweet take-away gift Thomas’s mum hand-made chutneys and jams.

Amanda Jerkins provided the romantic and lush floral decorations, bouquets and buttonholes. I loved how she married local wild flowers and blackberries with David Austin roses, blending traditional English flowers with a fresh American perspective. Our photographer Stephen was lovely to work with, his photos perfectly captured the narrative of the day. We love his documentary approach to photography - he took the time to get to know us, our families, and the locations. His preparation and appreciation for the British countryside really comes through in his work. We are thrilled with the final product; the photos are beautifully composed, crisp, and timeless. He was also highly efficient in getting the perfect shots so that we didn’t miss out on our reception. Our friendly bearded photographer was a major hit with the guests!