A flower-filled wedding in the Cotswolds

27 Sep 2021

Determined to not let Covid get in the way of their special day, Kayleigh Buck and Thomas Davies planned and pulled off their wedding amid the pandemic with flair

How did you meet?

We met on Tinder. Our first date was a very brave decision – I had a last-minute spare ticket to the British Summertime Festival and asked if Tom would like to come with me. The first time we met was outside his flat, where we packed his car up and drove down to London for the festival. Luckily, we got on and the rest is history.

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Tell us about the proposal

I have always wanted to go to Venice, so we took the chance to go last year when we had just come out of lockdown. Venice had never been so quiet! We headed over to the island of Murano and had a delicious lunch on the canal.

After a bottle of wine we went and relaxed by the sea looking out over Venice. I laid down and had a little nap while we waited for our boat. After I had woken up, Tom declared he had ‘something in his pocket for me’ and pulled out a beautiful vintage, red ring box. Inside was his grandmother's Welsh gold ring. I was stunned and also quite tipsy and sleepy. I, of course, said yes and sat crying while he breathed a sigh of relief. I still can’t believe I didn’t notice the big heart-shaped box in his pocket all day!

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How was your wedding affected by Covid-19?

We began looking at venues pretty much immediately, as I knew it would be difficult to secure a date with everyone pushing their dates back and I was determined to get married in 2021.

A lot of venues no longer had any weekend dates available and were having to put people on waiting lists due to the backlog. When we decided on our venue we had to choose a weekday so went with a Monday, factoring in people could travel up on the Sunday before.

I was very careful when booking our day, ensuring the contract allowed us to change the date if we could not go ahead due to Covid. We went through the same rollercoaster as I’m sure all 2020/21 brides have been through unsure how many guests we would be allowed or what type of wedding we would be able to have.

We sent save the dates out advising the wedding would only go ahead if Covid allowed. We were very lucky with our date. Our day was able to go ahead with no restrictions. The only reminder of the pandemic being the venue staff wearing masks.

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

We wanted the theme to be in keeping with the venue, which is very tranquil and green. The colour scheme was neutral with hints of blush, green and dusty orange. The colours worked beautifully with the foliage and flowers around the venue gardens.

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What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?

We looked around four venues before we looked at The Matara Centre in Tetbury. We met the owner, Geoffrey, who showed us around the venue and the vast gardens. As soon as we got to Matara, I welled up and knew it was the place for us. It was just beautiful. Geoffrey has worked hard to make Matara a relaxing, peaceful environment that has oriental influences from his travels. We loved the gardens, from the perfect rose garden, to the wild meadows. We wanted something different and this was it.

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Tell us about your dress

I went to the Bridal Room in Broadway with one of my bridesmaids and maid of honour to look for my dress. I have always loved the Berta dresses but couldn’t quite afford one. I tried many different styles of dress and was beginning to get disheartened as I just didn’t like any of them. The experience was very difficult as you had to wear a mask and were not allowed to touch or look through the dresses.

The last dress I tried on was from Justin Alexander. It was strapless with a nude lining and an ivory lace overlay. It was similar in style to the Berta dresses I had been lusting over and my bridesmaids loved it. The dress I chose was being discontinued the following month and we were also going back into lockdown, so I made a very quick decision to buy it.

I must admit I knew I had made a mistake as soon as I got home, but it was too late and I was unable to cancel. The Bridal Room tried to reassure me that it was natural to have second thoughts. When the dress arrived and I tried it on again, my gut feeling turned out to be true. It just wasn’t right. I decided to go with it and make the most of it – the dress was lovely, just not on me.

I scoured the internet and shops for a mini dress I could change into for the evening instead. I bought a fun white mini shift dress with sequins that I can wear to parties over and over again.

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Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?

I had two bridesmaids, Susie and Rhian, and my maid of honour was Rachel. They all have very different styles and body shapes, and I really wanted them to be individual and feel comfortable on the day. I gave the girls my colour scheme and let them choose any dress they loved. The result was gorgeous. Each one looked stunning and the colours worked perfectly.

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Where did you find your suits?

The groom’s suit came from Moss Bros. We knew we wanted a light green suit for Tom and found it difficult to find a suit in the right colour. We spotted a green suit in a Moss Bros shop and the colour was perfect. We bought a contrasting natural coloured waistcoat from Favourbrook with beautiful mother of pearl buttons and a silk lining. They matched wonderfully.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements and décor

The flowers were the main focal point of the décor. The venue for the wedding breakfast has a beautiful dome in the centre, and I knew a flower cloud would look stunning hanging down. I found a local florist who discussed my colour scheme and ideas over Zoom, as we were in yet another lockdown. Emma understood exactly what I was trying to achieve and her work was breathtaking. I wanted there to be a mix of dried flowers and grasses so that I could keep them after the big day. Emma created three meadow boxes that framed the ceremony beautifully within the courtyard.

For our tables, I wanted to keep the design simple by draping fabric runners with a mix of candles and foliage running down the centre. I chose the fabric from a local shop and spent a week making the table runners and all the napkins with my mother-in-law. It was great to spend some quality time together and the result was better then expected. The tables looked perfect.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

I managed to keep my composure until we arrived at the ceremony. I was hiding behind a wall waiting for the music to start. As soon as it started, I felt a rush of emotion and had to take a moment before walking through the arch. My son took my hand and helped me down the steps. I wasn’t sure if he would have the courage to walk me down the aisle but he became the perfect little gentleman.

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How did you make the ceremony personal to you?

My son walked me down the aisle to the song Baby it’s You by London Grammar. I remember the first time I heard the song in my car. It instantly made me think of Tom and what our wedding day would be like. I began to sob imagining us saying our vows. I knew I had to feature the song somewhere and walking down the aisle seemed the perfect place.

We wrote our own vows, which I’m really glad we did. It made the ceremony very personal and even more meaningful, although Tom found it difficult not knowing if my vows were going to be serious or have some humour. We each chose a reading – I chose an extract from Captain Corelli's Mandolin, and Tom chose A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.

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What was your most memorable moment?

The ceremony was very special to me. It meant a lot having my little boy walk me down the aisle, knowing he was as excited as I was. Hearing Tom’s vows was really emotional, and the guests loved seeing me pull out a hidden hanky from the bust of my dress.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

Not knowing how many guests we could have or what type of wedding we could plan was difficult. I didn’t know if I was planning for 100 guests or 15. It meant we left a lot to the last minute which was stressful.

What was the most important investment for you?

The food and wine was really important to us to get right. We both love cooking and going out for dinner. I spent ten years working for Laithwaites Wine, so we sourced and paired the wine ourselves going with a Portuguese red and a delightful Picpoul de Pinet. The food at Matara was outstanding – all the produce was locally sourced and organic.

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What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?

I have been a big fan of the Foo Fighters since I was in school. The acoustic version of Everlong has always been the song I wanted for my first dance. Luckily, my husband didn’t have any objections. 

Did you have any entertainment?

We had three DJ sets through the day. The first set was before the ceremony; we wanted our guests to be able to hear the music as they entered the venue and have that feeling when you are waiting to get into a club or a festival – you can hear the music and it’s exciting. 

The second set was after the ceremony in the gardens with welcome drinks. This set was a relaxed garden party vibe.

The final set was in the evening. We made sure the music in the evening suited everyone, but focused the last hour on a house set so we could all enjoy remembering how to dance.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

Our wedding cake was three tiers tall. Two tiers were a light coconut sponge with a zesty lime buttercream, and our son chose the middle tier, which was chocolate... of course. The cake was delicious. The final design was brighter then I had expected but still made a statement.

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Did anything go wrong on the day?

I boxed all the decorations and materials up and sent clear instructions to the venue on how to set everything up. On the morning of the wedding, the venue advised they hadn’t received the instructions. My bridesmaids and mother-in-law came to the rescue and guided the venue on how to set everything up, FaceTiming and sending me pictures to ensure it was all correct while I was getting my hair and make-up done. Heroes!

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

How fast it goes! The day was perfect but it went so quickly. It felt like we blinked and it was over. You are so focused on everyone having a good time and ensuring you speak to everyone that you forget to step back and take everything in. It is really important that you take time out with your new husband/wife and appreciate all the hard work you have put in. 

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Where did you go on honeymoon?

We took my father-in-law’s Porsche to Scotland for a couple of days after the wedding for a mini road trip. We spent a night in Glasgow and then worked our way up through Killin to Oban, and then down to the Lake District. It was a brilliant week away, we had beautiful sunshine and enjoyed kayaking on the Loch. It was a great way to unwind after the busy run up to the wedding. We are planning to go to somewhere further afield next year hopefully, Covid allowing.

Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

Stay true to yourself. Instagram and social media are great for inspiration, but the endless scrolling can be time consuming and doesn’t always reflect reality. Planning a wedding should be fun! When it feels overwhelming or stressful, take a break and remember why you're doing this. Your bridesmaids/best men are there to help so share the load. It will be a lot more fun than doing it alone.

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Steal their style:

Photography: Imogen Eve Photography
Venue & catering: The Matara Centre
Dress: Justin Alexander from The Bridal Room Broadway
Bridal shoes: Jimmy Choo
Hair: Leah Wilmer
Make-up: Leanne O'Neill
Suits: Moss Bros
Groom's shoes: Loake
Flowers: Thistle By Nature 
Cake: Tasha's Sugar Art
Stationery: Papier
DJ: James Phipps 

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