March 30, 2022

The perfect Summer wedding celebration (and available dates!)

The perfect Summer wedding celebration (and available dates!)
James Davidson
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In celebration of our very last wedding dates available this year (say wahhh? Yes. Read on!) and to cheer you all up now the sun has left, we're drifting back to the summer of 2021, the summer the restrictions ended and weddings were back with a bang.

Yes. It's true. We've had some perfect summer wedding dates become available...
Friday 29th July
Saturday 30th July &
Sunday 31st July

Are now all up for grabs for lucky couples dreaming of a summer wedding in 2022...

To show you exactly the kind of epic wedding you could be planning for July this year, in step Ilana and Sam, who held the PERFECT summer wedding in 2021.

This wedding almost took them by surprise, they weren't even sure it would go ahead! But just LOOK at what they created in a short time; the most delightful and creative  celebration with sunny outdoor ceremony under Chuppah. Sing-alongs, live band, 2 DJs and many meaningful moments and Jewish traditions...

Read on for a powerful dose of summer party wedding inspo!

servants Bells for rooms at historic mansion house elmore court wedding venue in the cotswolds
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Pink Confetti cones holding petals to be thrown at newlyweds at jewish wedding ceremony outdoors
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Brigh wedding flowers and candles for jewish summer wedding reception
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Wedding steps decorated with greenery at stately home elmore court
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bright pink buttonholes for a jewish wedding in the summer at elmore court
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pink and orange wedding stationery
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Historic house wedding venue details lamps on wall in drawing room
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Outdoor wedding ceremony on the lawn in summer at wedding venue elmore court
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stately home wedding venue elmore court with long grasses and huge beech tree
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Historic house elmore court Guise family shield is painted above the fireplace in the drawing room
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Let's start at the beginning. How did you meet!

We met seven years ago at a house party on a crowded ‘dance floor’ – Sam took Ilana’s number, didn’t text her for a week, then cancelled their first date because he’d started dating someone else. Ilana proposed a friendly coffee instead; Sam upped that with a trip to the Tate Modern. One seven-hour “non-date” later, Sam decided he might want to organise a real date, and the rest is history.

Bride and groom confetti shot on the lawn of stately home elmore court
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Your proposal story

It was on a Sunday before Christmas, and involved a bath, shepherd’s pie & a commitment of conversion to Judaism –in that order. Sam was planning to propose on the Eurostar to Amsterdam on their New Years trip but the ring was burning a hole in his underwear drawer.

Sam says if he could plan it again, he’d organise something for afterwards.

Happily newlywed couple posing in the sunset in the Gillyflower meadow at elmore court
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Why us for your wedding venue?!

It was the perfect combination of fun & beautiful... We love a party and the venue was set up perfectly for that; but we also love history, and were wowed by the beautiful house & the Guise history.

We started looking at venues in early 2020. Size was a key factor with a 200 person guest list – at the start, we looked at a whole range, from the DIY end to the highly formal.

Ilana visited Elmore Court for the first time with her parents and in-laws (Sam couldn’t get the time off work).

It was the perfect combination of fun & beautiful... We love a party and the venue was set up perfectly for that; but we also love history, and were wowed by the beautiful house & the Guise history.

We were flying to Vietnam the next day, so Ilana made a call without Sam having visited at all. We got to go back during lockdown where Sam saw Elmore for the first time, which was a real treat.

Groom held up above guests at raucous party at jewish wedding
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historic house elmore court framed by leaves in the cotswolds
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Groom jumps over guests lying on floor at fun party jewish wedding reception
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Late night party wedding in the gillyflower a soundproof reception venue in the cotswolds
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Party wedding venue elmore court has a soundproof reception venue made of mud
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red velvet sofa and pale green wood panelling of the drawing room at stately home wedding venue elmore court in the costwolds
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a grandfather clock in red hallway of Elmore Court - a party pad with ancient pedigree
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Big party wedding reception for 200 guests
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Country house rescue turned successful wedding venue red hallway with paintings of ancestors at elmore court
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How did you choose your pink and orange wedding theme?

Ilana pitched hard for ‘Tropical Disco’ but Sam was nervous about excessive Hawaiian shirts, so we went for ‘summer colours’. The guests duly complied!

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outdoor wedding ceremony setting up with pink flowers and chairs on the lawn
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Bright pink and orange wedding table decor with flowers and candles at Jewish wedding reception in the summer at elmore court
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pink and orange jewish wedding Ketubah
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bright and Colourful wedding reception inspiration
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Candlelit wedding reception with bright candles dripping wax
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Brightly coloured summer wedding reception
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Bride in veil walks downstairs of Elmore Court holding bright pinkand orange bouquets
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Bright pink wedding flowers by amber persia
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Pink and orange wedding menu
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And those beautiful bold wedding flowers?

Sam wanted pink; Ilana wanted orange – and the two came together beautifully.

We wanted our flowers to be a little bit wild – inspired by the montbretia, a beautiful bright flower that grows wild in the West of Ireland, where Ilana spent her childhood summers, and in the West of Wales, where Sam spent his.

We trusted the brilliant Amber Persia to bring our vision to life – and people have been talking about the flowers long after.

  • Gorgeous dahlias
  • late-season peonies
  • roses
  • crocosmia
  • snapdragon
  • and grasses

... When we walked into the Gillyflower, we were blown away. Amber had arranged the florals with orange candlesticks – it looked sensational!

We didn’t fully realise how amazing flowers could be, and how important they were to the overall feel of the wedding. Our house was full of flowers for weeks after!

Pink orange and greenery wedding theme for a fun party summer wedding
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Bright pink wedding flowers by amber persia
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Pink and orange wedding bouquet
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Beautiful bright bouquets in sunset light at elmore court
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Brightly coloured summer wedding inspiration: hot pink and orange bouquets
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Veiled bride holds huge bright pink and orange statement bouquet of flowers at her bedeken jewish wedding
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wedding flowers decorating the end of outdoor seating for jewish ceremony on the lawn
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Huge wedding reception for 200 guests with long banqueting tables decorated with pink and orange flowers and candles
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Amber persia wedding flowers
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Wedding chuppah decorated with pink and orange flowers in the gardens at stately home elmore court
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Bright pink and orange wedding table decor with flowers and candles at Jewish wedding reception in the summer at elmore court
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How did you feel when you saw your reception styling for the first time?

It was a beautiful moment of calm amidst all the madness. Did we mention Amber Persia’s decoration is insanely good?

Elmore actually really helped to make that moment special, welcoming us into the Gillyflower by ourselves, introducing us to all the staff and providing us with some couple-only canapes and champagne!

That was a really memorable moment.

Brightly coloured summer wedding inspo with pink and orange flowers and candles
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Pink and orange wedding theme reception with flowers and real candles on long wooden tables in The Gillyflower at Elmore Court for a Jewish summer wedding
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What was your wedding planning focus?

We wanted everyone to have a really good time – to eat delicious food, to dance the night away and meet brilliant people.

Because we were getting married on a Sunday (as Jewish weddings tend to be), we wanted to make a weekend of it, and so both families rented a house nearby, Drakestone Manor. We hosted Saturday welcome drinks there and spent the weekend together.

We’d been relatively laissez-faire about planning elements of the wedding, as with COVID we hadn’t been confident it would actually go ahead – then as it got nearer the time, we panicked with the amount we had to do. Thank goodness we had Kat on hand for some expert advice!

How did you choose your wedding dress?

I got full use out of the wedding dress - I even managed to skip in it on the dancefloor.

Because of COVID, the shops had only just begun to open again. I booked in an appointment at Angelina’s in Angel (because it was local).

The dress I ended up going with (Sunday Bouquet, by Watters) I hadn’t even picked up off the rail – the very helpful shop assistant suggested I try it on. It was much…bigger than I’d expected I’d go for, but the pattern was so beautiful and unusual I was smitten.

It was a very heavy dress so as part of the alteration I added straps – which I was very grateful for on the night, as it made the dress comfortable.

I’d bought an Alice & Olivia white jumpsuit for the party, but was having too much fun in the wedding dress to change into it.

I got full use out of the wedding dress - I even managed to skip in it on the dancefloor.

Jewish bride in huge wedding dress at her party wedding at elmore court
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Beautiful jewish bride in princess dress at her party disco wedding
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Jewish bride skips in her huge wedding dress holding it bunched up to jump over napkin rope
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Bride and groom confetti at modern jewish wedding ceremony
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Newlywed Jewish Bride and groom holding hands and grinning
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Bride sits in historic wood paneled bedroom in huge wedding dress at elmore court
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Who did your wedding hair and makeup?

Beth McKendrick who did hair and beauty on the photo shoots for the company I work for.

She doesn’t normally do weddings, so she spent quite a bit of time making sure I felt comfortable.

I thought she did a sensational job.

Pretty hot pink buttonholes reflected on mirror table at elmore court
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Sam what about your gorgeous suit?

Ilana and I had been to Vietnam – fortunately just before COVID struck – where I had had a suit made, pale grey with a hot pink lining.

Since lockdowns meant I hadn’t had any weddings to wear it to, it became my wedding suit, which I was delighted about!

It felt brilliant having a suit tailored for me and with colours I liked. It also matched perfectly with a light pink kippah, which I was set on, and our pink and orange wedding flowers.

Jewish groom in grey suit and pink kippot
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Jewish bride and groom looking beautiful in wedding outfits under chuppah
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Jewish groom in bedeken procession clapping in a grey suit and pink kippah
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Jewish bride and groom smiling hugging
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How was the night before the wedding?

Sam:

The night before the wedding, I was staying with all the family and my and best people (brother, sister, and a university friend).

What I particularly remember about the night before is trying to finish my speech, and reading it to the three of them, with two of them lying on my bed – and from what I remember, needing to make a lot of changes. They were particularly keen to call out my bad jokes…

Ilana you had a magical wedding morning and bedeken ceremony?

First thing in the morning, I went for a wild swim with my sister in a natural pool within the Elmore grounds. Then we had a delicious Elmore breakfast before we started hair and makeup.

Given all the uncertainty of COVID, I couldn’t quite believe it was actually happening (restrictions had lifted three weeks earlier).

First thing in the morning, I went for a wild swim with my sister in a natural pool within the Elmore grounds. Then we had a delicious Elmore breakfast before we started hair and makeup.

Kat showed up, bringing an aura of calm with her.

The nerves started to kick in after midday, in the odd gap before the bedecken, so I summoned my friend Max to bring me some whiskey from the Tish!

The Jewish tradition means that the bride and groom see each other in advance of the ceremony, at the bedecken, so that was a really special moment for me...

I felt almost Victorian, draped in my dress in a beautiful Elmore room, and I remember the thrill of hearing Sam – with the Rabbi and various other men – coming up the stairs in joyous song.

One thing I really liked about the bedecken was that it brought together people from different generations and from both mine and Sam’s families and friends. My sister Zavi had also brought some playing cards to keep me distracted before Sam arrived.

The Jewish tradition is for both groom and bride to walk down the aisle, flanked on each side by their parents.

I remember the wind whistling in the trees, our friends singing a traditional piece of music, and all our friends smiling.

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men at Jewish wedding ceremony tish at elmore court
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Jewish groomsmen celebrate tisch and drink whiskey at elmore court
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Jewish bridal party waits for bedeken in luxurious bedroom of wedding venue
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Playing cards waiting for bedeken
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Bride in veil walks downstairs of Elmore Court holding bright pinkand orange bouquets
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Veiled bride holds huge bright pink and orange statement bouquet of flowers at her bedeken jewish wedding
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Jewish groom in bedeken procession clapping in a grey suit and pink kippah
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Jewish men in kippot at tish ceremony
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Sam tell all about your wedding morning and Tish!

The Tish – a moment in Jewish tradition when (traditionally) men come together in advance of the ceremony, and drink whiskey – was a great way to soothe my nerves. We went from there to the bedecken – when I first saw Ilana – led by the Rabbi, singing and clapping as we processed up the stairs. That was an utterly unique moment for me – only to be trumped by entering the room where Ilana was, and being totally overcome. I think I cried for more time than not from then until the end of the ceremony.

On the morning of the wedding I was still a bit stressed – despite the efforts of the night before – about still needing to finish my speech! Fortunately, Kat was extremely helpful in ensuring it got printed…

When we arrived there was a little flat for us. I remember doing a lot of pacing up and down there, trying multiple times to get my tie straight, and being a bit too nervous to be able to engage properly with our friends who were arriving.

The Tish – a moment in Jewish tradition when (traditionally) men come together in advance of the ceremony, and drink whiskey – was a great way to soothe my nerves (said whiskey helps a lot, as well as some helpfully relaxed chats with friends and family).

We went from there to the bedecken – when I first saw Ilana – led by the Rabbi, singing and clapping as we processed up the stairs. That was an utterly unique moment for me – only to be trumped by entering the room where Ilana was, and being totally overcome.

I think I cried for more time than not from then until the end of the ceremony.

Tell us about your beautiful ceremony with music and singalong!

Our music at the wedding ceremony was really special to us, and we have wonderful memories of it (as well as a couple of shaky – but treasured – videos filmed by guests).

Ilana has a super talented friend called Lauren, who incredibly kindly arranged the music for the wedding ceremony and organised a group of other very talented friends to sing for us.

We had chosen a selection of traditional Jewish songs which we found particularly beautiful, for when we walked up the aisle, and when we came to the part of the ceremony where we walked around each other.

We also had a sing-along during the wedding ceremony, where all our guests sang Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’, led again by Lauren & co… We had been inspired by singalongs at previous weddings so were very keen to make it a part of ours – and it lived up to expectations!

We took the Jewish practice of the seven blessings, and allocated ones to our friends to read in Hebrew and English. Sam’s mum did a lovely reading from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

We also felt extremely lucky that we were married by our Rabbi, who we have known for many years, and who has seen us at all the stages of our relationship. This made the ceremony hugely personal – it left a number of (non-Jewish) friends asking if he would be available for their weddings!

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Jewish bride and groom looking beautiful in wedding outfits under chuppah
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Then you had a confetti tunnel and live Jazz drinks reception?

There is no traditional way to do confetti in a Jewish wedding, but after the ceremony, the bride and groom go off to a private room for some quality time together before the wedding reception.

We thought we would use the opportunity of return to create a confetti tunnel, and it was so wonderful to walk along it seeing all the beaming faces.

Ilana’s brother-in-law is a brilliant jazz pianist, and along with his bassist friend, provided some gorgeous jazz backdrop.

The staged photographs, were very gratefully, brief. Our photographer Jim is less about the staged shots & more about catching people in action having fun, and we loved how he managed to capture amazing magical moments (he whipped us outside during a sunset for some beautiful shots in the meadow) while being completely unobtrusive.

The reception was a chance to catch up with many people we hadn’t seen in a long time.

What was your first dance?

Your love keeps taking me higher. Great to boogie to – we got everyone on the dance floor immediately.

What a wedding party! Traditional Jewish dancing, live band and 2 DJs!

We chose a swing band called Schwing for the live set – and they were absolutely awesome.

So many wedding bands are quite inflexible, but they worked with us all the way through lockdown to curate a set that was personal to us.

We kicked off with traditional Jewish dancing before dinner – an incredibly sweaty and joyous affair, where the guests were so involved in the dancing that the band overran by 15 minutes.

After dinner, Schwing performed a jazz / funk set, with some of Sam and Ilana’s favourites.

Particularly memorable was when the band played ‘Baby’ by Bakermat (a Dutch DJ) – Ilana’s favourite song – which they had arranged specially for us.

We then had 2 DJs – Ilana’s cousin Gideon, who did an old school garage set where the crowd went wild, and Ilana’s friend James, who did an epic house set.

Out of nowhere, Schwing’s saxophonist came on to support James – literally Ilana’s dream!

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Big wedding reception venue for dinner and dancing and late night parties
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Jewsih wedding party newlywed couple skipping together in rope made of napkins with huge smiles on their faces at party wedding venue elmore court
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What did you eat and drink?

Elmore chef Matt was a total superstar, and did the most amazing bespoke menu for us.

Ilana loves pasta, so we had a ravioli starter with lemon & chervil

For main, we had sea bass with burnt aubergine & fennel, with polenta chips

and for dessert we had a trio of puddings – we couldn’t decide what was best.

We’d done the tasting in the middle of lockdown, and it felt like such a treat to be served food – it was almost like being at a restaurant.

Unfortunately for her, Ilana was designated driver so Sam got drunk on the wedding wine by himself!

We love Elmore’s flexibility around alcohol and so we ‘shopped’ around – taste testing different bottles of wine all the way through the various lockdowns.

We ordered Charles de Fere Blanc de Blancs for the reception from D’Arcy Wines, a Triebaumer Blaufrankisch from Elmore’s wine merchants and a Gavi de Gavi from Highbury Vintners.

We also served Sauternes after dinner, from a vineyard Sam and I had visited the previous summer.

And then espresso martinis!

Who made your wedding cake?

Izzy, Sam’s sister, extremely kindly made our cake for us – which she has promised is the last one she will do.

It was utterly delicious (fortunately, we still have some in the freezer).

There were 3 layers:

  • sticky toffee pudding cake
  • tahini and coffee
  • and elderflower and courgette – and it looked beautiful.
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What were your wedding highlights?

How beautiful the Gillyflower looked; the flowers were simply sensational.

Also the beautiful sunset and persistence of the sun throughout the day.


And How well everyone got stuck into the Jewish dancing, and what an amazing atmosphere that produced

Ilana what are your words of wisdom for brides-to-be?

  1. If you have space, invite the people who are maybes on your list. Sharing a wedding with people is a really special moment.
  2. Bring comfortable shoes and plasters!
  3. Start a bit earlier! (we started at 3 and everything overran a bit)
  4. We spent a long time on the table plan, and it was worth it.

Sam what are your words of wisdom for grooms-to-be?

It goes so quickly – I wish I’d managed to speak to everyone ! We were really grateful that we had a whole weekend of it!

Who created this dream summer wedding?

Shout out to those fabulous wedding suppliers...

Wedding flowers by Amber Persia
Photos by James Davidson photography
Vintage wedding band Shwing
Wedding dress and veil from Angelica Bridal
Brides shoes by Kat Maconie
Groom's suit by A Dong Silk
Groom's tie by Marwood
Weekend stay at Drakeswood
White wine by Higbury Vintners 
Fizz by D'arcy wine
Sauterne by Filhot
Invites and menus by Pingle Pie
Jewish ketubah artwork by Ketuba Home
Wedding Chuppah hire by The Happy Chuppah People
Kippot by Hebrewear
Bridesmaids gifts by Motley

Late night party wedding in the gillyflower a soundproof reception venue in the cotswolds
James Davidson

Wow Sam and Ilana what a stunning wedding you had! Thank you so much for sharing your wedding story with us.

We hope this has inspired all you summer wedding planning couples.

And, get in touch if you want to snap up one of our very last July dates!

All the love,

Team E

xx

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