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An English Country Wedding at an 18th-Century Family Home in Suffolk

By Alexandra Macon | Photography by 

Helen Abraham

Imogen and Ed had known each other for eleven years (and dated for eight) before Ed proposed during one “boiling hot day” when they were both sitting on a park bench in the Palais Royal in Paris.

Imogen likes to say that their wedding venue chose itself since, as soon as they got engaged, she knew immediately that she wanted to have her ceremony at the same medieval church in Suffolk, where she had been christened as a baby. “We wanted it to feel beautiful but relaxed for everyone there,” she says. Together with her mother, the two started planning the intimate event and set the date for the late spring.

While many brides have last minute issues with their dresses, Imogen had what can only be described as a full-blown dress disaster. “A seamstress let me down badly and I didn’t have a dress the week of the wedding,” she says. Thankfully, she managed to buy another gown by bridal designer Phillipa Lepley and had it altered in just a few days with Sewn Right, a team of seamstresses in London. “No one could believe it was been a last minute dress and I loved it.”

She finished off her look with Manolo Blahnik pale blue lace shoes, and a pair of diamond earrings that were a wedding gift from her future husband, mother-in-law, and mother together. Meanwhile, Ed chose a morning suit, the classic English country wedding outfit, and wore an antique tie-pin that Imogen gave him as a wedding present.

On a June afternoon, Imogen and Ed were married by the same vicar who christened the bride decades earlier. “Our ceremony was the traditional Church of England service, although I didn’t promise to obey!” says Imogen. As for the decor, the church was decorated with flowers winding up the wooden screen in the church, which gave the illusion as if the place had been abandoned for centuries and become overgrown with greenery. The newlyweds later exited the church towards the reception in the groom’s treasured Alfa Romeo, which almost suffered a major mishap beforehand. “Villagers who had come out to watch us narrowly saved it from driving into a wall earlier, as the hand brake wasn’t on properly,” she says. “We wondered why we saw an usher running!”

A champagne reception at the bride’s parent’s garden just down the road followed. Food was catered by a local village restaurant, which served smoked salmon, lamb and aubergine, and elderflower bavarois with strawberries. Aside from planning the whole day, the mother of the bride also managed to find time to bake the wedding cake.

When it came time for the first dance, Imogen and Ed skipped the wedding tradition and instead went with something a little more fun. “We didn’t like the idea of a dance with everyone watching, so we had a ceilidh instead,” she explains. “It’s a traditional Scottish group dance. We started with one called ‘strip the willow,’ where I was spun repeatedly down the line of dancers by my new husband and lots of guests.”

After a few hours of ceilidh, the tent located in the back garden was opened for the late night part of the reception. “It was great seeing everyone’s faces as they asked where the music was coming from,” Imogen adds. “The back tent was dark red and among farms, so it felt like we were dancing at a festival.” That’s definitely one way to get your guests to hit the dance floor!