Keep lifting me higher

Liz and Aleks' rustic wedding at Fison Barn flew by, with a little help from some feathered friends

Liz and Aleks have known each other since school and had the same circle of friends. Aleks went to university in London, but the two were reunited four years later, and have been inseparable ever since. Aleks surprised Liz with an eight-course dinner with a wine at the Lamb Inn in Burford for the proposal, while the ring (Brooker and Breeze, Wallingford) had been custom-made to Liz's specifications. When it came to organising the wedding, the couple show an enviable combination of command of detail and desire to have fun. It took them a year to organise the wedding, with plenty of help from friends and family.

Here, the bride tells us more about their special day...

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The venue, Fison Barn, and the location are breathtakingly beautiful. A rustic barn overlooking fields with a lot of potential for decorating and making our own. We knew straight away it was perfect for us and booked it the same day.


Keep lifting me higher: Image 2aThe dressed showed off my waist and I felt comfortable in it. I didn't feel like I was pretending to be a princess or anything too girlie. With the boots and the dress on I felt like I looked like a bride but that I could also dance and move in it.

Keep lifting me higher: Image 2 As we wanted boots to go with the short-cut dress, we had to find a pair that looked bridal. Luckily we found a pair with cream lace detail in America and had them shipped over.


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Jo Penford did my hair and make-up. She created such a beautiful look, listening to every detail I wanted. She has also done make-up for some celebrities, which added an element of splendour. I also spent a lot of time and money on finding the perfect accessory. I finally found something simplistic but unusual in the two golden clips attached with three metal strands – it worked beautifully with the messy look.


Keep lifting me higher: Image 4aTo continue the rustic theme, we asked for meadow flowers, seed pods, twigs and even fruits such as blackberries to be included in each flower arrangement. The only ones we altered were the flowers hanging from the ceiling – these needed to be secured the night before and Keri our florist suggested foliage that would survive well. She was wonderful and understood what we wanted right from the start.

Keep lifting me higher: Image 4 We draped muslin and fairylights with hanging flowers and candles around the barn. We wanted to ensure it had plenty of greenery which created an almost 'enchanted forest' look.


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As all of the bridesmaids have different figures and strong opinions I could foresee arguments. So from the beginning I told them to each find a dress that suited them – as long as it was a shade of cream I didn't mind.


Keep lifting me higher: Image 6aWe wanted a slightly darker, twilight theme to the cake. As I'm a primary school teacher we went with an The Owl and the Pussycatthemed cake, but to personalise it the cat was based on our own pet cat Elvis and our pet parrot Izzy. We chose to move away from tradition and went for a layer of lemon drizzle and a layer of coconut.

Keep lifting me higher: Image 6 The day ended with a 30-minute aerial display of the birds. Having the birds of prey for people to hold and the aerial display was a bit of a gamble but people absolutely loved it. Everyone got involved and wanted to hold the birds and the display had everyone enthralled. It was a bit unusual but it provided something truly memorable.


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We wanted our guests to be entertained while we went off and took some beautiful pictures.We had a penny sweet stand guests could help themselves to, homemade cocktails being served, a table of Polaroid cameras the guests could use throughout the day, a fantastic band and a varied selection of birds of prey the guests could hold and have their photos taken with.


Keep lifting me higher: Image 8aWe can see the hill where our photos were taken every day on our drive in and out of work, so it had sentimental value for both of us.

Keep lifting me higher: Image 8 Rather than the usual wedding favours we wanted to go for something a little more useful, so I created a 'wedding survival kit' – bags containing things like pain killers, teabags, mints and many other things to use during the reception or to help recover afterwards.


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We decided to use the money we would have spent on a car to buy bottles of wine and cocktails for our guests instead – we think they preferred that option too!


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We went to Kenya and Madagascar. The best part was kayaking to our very own private beach, where we snorkelled in the shallows watching some incredibly colourful fish, followed by sunbathing while a barbecue lunch was prepared for us by a local chef.


Liz and Aleks' contact book

Birds of prey
Millets Farm Falconry

Bride's accessories
Jurgita Bridal

Bride's dress
Cloud Nine

Bride's hair and make-up
Jo Penford


Chiltern Hog Roast

Flowers and props
Keri the Florist

Groom's suit
Hugo Boss

Mobile bar
Bar Simple

Music (afternoon)

Music (evening)
The Natives

Nigel Chapman Photography

Fison Barn

Wedding night accommodation
The Lamb Inn, Burford


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The Conservatory at the Luton Hoo Walled Garden
East Sussex National Golf Club
Kings Lynn Town Hall
Eastwood Park Training & Conference Centre