A Halfpenny London Bride & Her Literary Inspired Micro Wedding in Oxford

Cute flower girl with floral hoop

As we all adjust to the new Tier 4 announcements and their impact on our Christmas plans, I feel more determined than ever to ensure that our beloved wedding blog continues to share offerings of love and hope to help power us through these incredibly difficult times.

And this gorgeous, Autumn micro wedding in Oxford is just the ticket. Kelly and Ross tied the knot on 26th September 2020 with a ceremony at The Old Parsonage Hotel in Oxford, followed by a reception at The Perch.

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The bride discovered two of her suppliers through Love My Dress, her photographer Philippa James Photography and the wonderfully, creatively talented stylist, Katie, of The Vintage House That Could.

“Katie of The Vintage House That Could did an incredible job, kindly preparing our menus, place cards and signage in calligraphy.”

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Kelly found her elegant lace dress via Halfpenny London.

“I was hopeful of finding a dress made here in the UK, our adopted home, with a vintage touch. Halfpenny, as you can imagine, fit the bill perfectly!”

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I wore the Iris slip and Peony dress from the Wild Love collection, which I was lucky to find at a sample sale appointment in my first week of boutique visits.”

“I had a really positive experience with Rosa at my appointment. She kindly included my parents via video from Australia, which was so thoughtful of her.”

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“I knew I had found the dress of my dreams when I saw the beautiful floral train and polka dots on the Peony dress.”

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“My favourite features were the polka dots on the bodice, and the stunning lace train with a border of flowers in bloom.”

“I’ve never been a minimalist! Rosa added a sash to tie the outfit together.”

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The brides chosen wedding day scent was Diptyque’s ‘Eau Rose Eau de Toilette’.

“I felt the fragrance suited the vintage touches to the day, and it’s a scent that I find very calming.”

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“Jennie at Liberty Lane Flowers is incredible. I began following her Instagram after visiting the Cotswolds for the first time, before we knew we would marry here in the UK.”

Jennie is so good at what she does, and clearly so inspired and creative, so we didn’t want to be too specific when we began discussing our wedding florals.”

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Autumn is my favourite season, and Jennie also kindly suggested incorporating local flowers for a local touch.”

“She created a stunning tablescape, frieze installation and wedding party florals.” 

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“We met online in 2013 in our hometown of Melbourne, Australia. We both had the travel bug at the time and realised on our first date that we were planning working holidays in the UK.”

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“Since that first date, we’ve been lucky to travel to several countries together, and made the move over to the UK in 2016.”

“Ross proposed on my birthday in April 2019 on a day trip to Thyme England in the Cotswolds, on a walk in the stunning countryside nearby.”

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“We initially planned to marry in May 2020 in Australia, but then COVID-19 happened! We have postponed our larger celebration in Australia to 2021, but didn’t want to wait any longer to marry, so we decided to have a microwedding here in the UK as well. “

“We were engaged for seventeenth months in total with these changes.”

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“Ross and I moved to Oxford soon after relocating to the UK, following a job offer at an Oxford hospital. Ross’ favourite book series, His Dark Materials, influenced our decision to accept the job offer, and move to a new city which was completely new to us! We have grown to love Oxford and the nearby Cotswolds.”

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“These references, along with my love for everything autumnal, led our incredible vendors to create an ethereal autumnal fairytale for us, with touches of Philip Pullman’s Oxford.”

“As we weren’t allowed to have wedding readings at our COVID-19 ceremony, Katie (The Vintage House That Could) created a beautiful banner for us with our planned wedding reading from the book series, as well as a tablescape featuring the books as wedding favours.”

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“We were initially meant to marry on May 3rd, 2020 at a winery in the Yarra Valley, Australia. We postponed this larger celebration with our family and friends back home in late March 2020.”

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“At this time, we were all too aware that travelling to Australia for our own wedding was very unlikely to still occur. My NHS redeployment was also confirmed the week we decided to postpone our Australian celebration.”

“We were able to channel some of the sadness from our postponement into an opportunity to marry and celebrate with our loved ones in the UK this year, and our Australian family and friends in the future.”

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“We stayed COVID-19 safe by incorporating social distancing and/or mask wearing on the day as needed. We were lucky to marry outside of the formal lockdowns which helped a bit too! For example, we were allowed to have a hair and make-up artist in our home.”

“The most difficult aspect was keeping up with government changes on wedding guidelines, and managing our expectations in case we would need to postpone a second time.”

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“We finally let ourselves get excited five days before our wedding, when the new government announcement did not flag any changes to the arrangements we had made. Hooray!”

“I wore a rose gold wedding band from Alex Monroe, comprising rose leaves. I wanted a ring that felt personal to me, and the botanical details reminded me of the day Ross proposed.”

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This has been said well by so many others this year, but letting go of the expectations of our original wedding plans, and accepting that our day would look and feel different given this once-in-a-century pandemic.”

“This was a relief to acknowledge eventually, rather than trying to control the uncontrollable.”

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“Although our day looked and felt different to our original large wedding planned for country Australia, it felt as special to us as we had hoped.”

“We were so happy on the day, and remain excited about our future celebration to come.”

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“We had two registrars arranged through Oxford Registry Office. Due to COVID-19 restrictions in place locally, our vows were brief and from a pre-determined selection.”

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“As COVID-19 restrictions prevented wedding readings, Katie (The Vintage House That Could) kindly created a banner for us with a quote from our planned wedding reading (Every atom of you, and every atom of me – The Amber Spyglass, His Dark Materials)”

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“We chose Philippa as we loved her documentary style of photography, as shown on her website and social media ‘The Oxford Wedding Blog’.”

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“We also loved that she is an Oxford local as well, often exhibiting her non-wedding work in local exhibitions. We loved her relaxed, laid back yet very knowledgeable approach.”

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“It was just like having an old friend with us. Our highlight during our photo sessions was the moment she was able to sneak us into the Bodleian, where we had the whole courtyard to ourselves. She was a gem.”


“We chose The Perch for our reception as it’s our favourite local, and a place we love to share with visiting family and friends to Oxford. We also love the literary history behind it. For example, it was the site of one of the first public readings of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.”

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“Jennie, our florist, created a beautiful frieze installation. This hung above our wedding table, alongside branches of autumnal foliage on either side of our wedding table.”

“Her incredible work made us feel like we were in our own ethereal forest.”

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For favours, the couple provide their adult guests with a copy of the Philip Pullman book ‘Lyra’s Oxford’, reflecting the wedding theme from His Dark Materials. They were also given gin and whisky mini bottles from the Cotswolds Distillery.

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“Katie of The Vintage House That Could worked with her collection of vintage, as well as the vintage decor at the Perch, to style the marquee and create a sense of warmth and intimacy.”

“She also created a beautiful banner for us with a quote from our planned wedding reading.”

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“We had a very discerning flower girl with a huge sweet tooth, and knew the cake would be a highlight of the day for her!”

“Fen at MonAnnie Cakes created a beautiful cake inspired by the botanical border on our wedding invitations from Rifle Paper Co/Paperless Post. Fen is incredibly talented.”

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“We didn’t have a budget per se. We were interested in investing our budget into a few key areas – especially where we could support small businesses that had inspired me on social media for years – and save in areas that were less important for a micro wedding.”

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For example, our florals and styling were the focus of our budget, and we economised on areas such as invitations.”

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“These were created electronically through Paperless Post and Rifle Paper Co, and included a Zoom link for our overseas guests.”

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The bride has two very favourite memories from her day;

“Firstly, having our incredible family and friends join us via Zoom from Australia and overseas! It was incredible to see our loved ones with us, albeit virtually! It was Saturday night in Australia and some of our friends and family made an event of it, some even dressing up as our bridal party.”

“Secondly, enjoying our sit-down meal at our reception savouring our time with our friends, food, and amazing details – the tablescape, floral details and cake especially. It was so lovely to take it all in and enjoy it after all the changes we’ve experienced this year.”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“This has been said well by so many others this year, but letting go of the expectations of our original wedding plans, and accepting that our day would look and feel different given this once-in-a-century pandemic. This was a relief to acknowledge eventually, rather than trying to control the uncontrollable.”

Although our day looked and felt different to our original large wedding planned for country Australia, it felt as special to us as we had hoped. We were so happy on the day and remain excited about our future celebration to come.”

In hindsight, we might have worried less about everyone’s responses to our change of wedding plans. Our family and friends were all so supportive, kind and understanding! Everyone appreciated that COVID-19 has affected weddings at the moment, and everyone’s life in some way or another.”

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You can see many more beautiful Halfpenny London brides here on Love My Dress and more gorgeous photography from Philippa James here.

Love Annabel x

Credits & Thanks



Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.