Last week the day of love was celebrated all around the world. One thing I particularly love about Valentine’s day is watching people all over the city carrying beautiful bouquets heading straight for their loved ones. I always wonder their story, who is the recipient on the other side receiving a beautiful bunch of blooms. In my case, I’m not celebrating a week or a day of love this year but instead a special year of love, since this is the year Luca and I will be tying the knot and committing ourselves to each other for the rest of our lives! Consequently organising a Valentine’s day together wasn’t high on our priority list so when Jade Beer and the Brides magazine team invited us to enjoy our special day and get totally pampered, it was an offer we couldn’t refuse!
The day started on a real high being picked up in a Rolls Royce Phantom, I mean does it get any more fabulous than that? We had the most luxurious of commutes from our London pad to the grounds of the magnificent Aynhoe Park located in stunning Oxfordshire. Arriving there gave me a taste of celebrity life, photographers snapped us as we emerged from our RR Phantom and I couldn’t help but giggle at us getting papped like we were famous (in my dreams haha!) As soon as we entered the beautiful house the pampering began, a crisp glass of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut was handed to us each and we were presented with an array of the most delectable canapés you can imagine. I couldn’t help but think what an incredible experience wedding guests would experience in such a place, it would truly be a VIP experience for them all!
After getting snappy happy with the Brides balloon display and enjoying a fair share of canapés it was time for a tour of the house. Now if I could paint a picture of this magnificent venue, I would, but sadly words don’t do it justice. The surrealistic, eclectic vibe of every room is a feast for the eyes. Sun rays spilt through the grand windows, drawing us in from one glorious room to the next. From taxidermy lions (all the animals in the house died naturally, were not hunted) and a real triceratops head (this isn’t a joke, they have a real dinosaur skull in there!) to giant Hercules statues and a chair from the royal family, I mean whatever crazy object comes to mind, they have it. James Perkins, the owner of Aynhoe park since 2006 has collected and designed each and every room. He and his partner Sophie travel the world collecting prized-possessions from their travels to bring back and fill the house, and both reside there too. What’s extra special is that all of the items in the house are for sale, so in case you have chance to visit this wonderful place and can’t possibly without a piece your eyes have landed on, it can be purchased and re-homed in your humble abode!
Following a few glasses of champagne and our fair share canapés it was time to make our way into the breathtaking orangerie. I had all these ideas for my wedding but as soon as I walked into that room, they all went out of the window! In front of us was an imperial table of the most incredible colours, teleporting us straight into spring. The floral creation from florist Willow Crossley was beyond beautiful. On a neutral palette she created this colour-pop row of little bouquets, filled with ranunculus, poppies, anemones and so many more. The elegant blue table-ware was supplied by Duchess & Butler (amongst other suppliers that I have listed below) and was just the cherry on top. I loved how unique Sophie from Aynhoe Park chose to go with the styling of this room, a far cry from the typical creams and pinks you see at weddings. It was such a treat to experience a truly modern feeling wedding breakfast style, giving all of us brides-to-be in the room so much inspiration for our upcoming nuptials! And that’s not including how insane the orangerie was, I mean we dined with a giraffe looking over our shoulder. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you cannot deny that it is totally unique.
After a ridiculous number of photos and videos had been taken, we sat down and enjoyed a sumptuous lunch with more delicious Perrier Jouet delicious champagne that was paired with every dish. Utterly divine. And just as we thought there could be no more surprises, we reluctantly left the ethereal orangery behind us, only to be met with the most sensational dessert table display by Nevie Pie cakes. She hand paints all of her wedding cakes, cookies and creations – I wanted to take everything home with me!!! The whole day was something out of a real life wedding fairytale, from start to finish I was on cloud 9 with my valentine. As the glowing sun started to set, it was time for us to retreat back to reality. Our kind Rolls Royce driver brought us home safe and sound, leaving us with memories of one of the best Valentine’s we have ever experienced!