Dani and Jo’s Intimate Micro Wedding in Oxford by Paul Joseph Photography

Hello you lovely lot and how are you all today? I hope you are having a good week so far! It’s fair to say that Covid has really messed up the wedding industry. However, after a year of cancelled weddings it’s so good to be able to finally feature some weddings from this year. Dani and Jo had originally planned a wedding with 100 guests, but Covid restrictions meant that in order to get married they had to cut those numbers down quite a bit. They ended up with 13 guests but that didn’t alter the emotion or the whole feel of the day. They went for an outdoor reception after their town hall ceremony, keeping the vibe industrial with a hand made twist. Sage green and navy were the colours of the day mixed with succulents and relaxed decor set up. The excellent Paul and Kelly from Paul Joseph Photography were there to capture the day and what a great job they did.

Before the pandemic, we couldn’t imagine only having 13 guests and were so so sad to have our choice taken away from us. But after not seeing most of our family for 6 months we were just so grateful to be able to go ahead with our wedding and it turned out to be everything we needed, with (almost all of) our very nearest and dearest.

Dani and Jo were married on 16th April 2021 at Oxford Town Hall with the outdoor reception at  The Jam Factory. What made you decide to get married where you did? We really wanted the juxtaposition of a city wedding. The Assembly Room at the Town Hall was so grand and classic and the Jam Factory is an old factory/turned restaurant and gallery – they used to make Frank Cooper’s marmalade there. We loved the idea of walking through the City en masse, from one venue to the other. We had 13 guests, it didn’t take very long to plan. We knew exactly what we wanted for our day and just wanted it all to be very relaxed. Fortunately, I’m (Dani) an illustrator and quite creative so I just made everything myself. The only thing I didn’t make was my flowers and cake (and that’s because my mother-in-law and sister-in-law are a florist and baker!)

How they met 
We met in 2007 fresher’s week, whilst at university in Birmingham but didn’t get together until 2009, so … 12 years!

The proposal
We were on a lovely roof terrace having lunch with my (Dani’s) family and our daughter who was 9 months old, looking over sunny Bowness Bay (the Lake District is one of our favourite places). My family happened to be discussing somebody who had recently got engaged and my Nana said, “talking of which, Jo, when are you going to propose?” Shortly after, I popped to the bathroom and when I came back Jo was down on one knee with a ring in his hand! It’s safe to say my Nana was very surprised!

How did you allocate your budget?
We thought about what our main priorities were; the main one being the photographer! We just over estimated for everything else, to make sure we had enough for everything. A few things came in much cheaper and vice-versa, so it worked out to plan.

Where did you splurge and where did you save?
The photographers were our splurge. In our opinion, you get what you pay for! Our biggest save was stationery/decorations as I made everything myself. But the price of my dress was the nicest surprise – I never wanted to spend a fortune on it, but found one I fell in love with which was way over what I wanted to spend. I went on eBay when I got home and found the same dress, brand new, in my size for £300 – it was meant to be!

How did you choose your photographer?
I used to be a wedding photographer so I know how hard a job it is. This helped me decide what I would be looking for, before we even got engaged. I met Paul and Kelly a few years before at a photography workshop and loved their work. It’s impossible to cover everything on a wedding day so knowing Paul and Kelly worked as a team to cover as much as possible was brilliant – they also had the additional bonus of being married themselves and therefore worked so well together. We just wanted relaxed photographers who could capture our day as it was, which is exactly what Paul and Kelly did.

The dress 
Dress: Maggie Sottero. Shoes: Quiz. Hair piece: Liberty in love

The suit and bridesmaids
Suits: Black Tie Men’s wear. Bridesmaids dresses: TFNC London. I wanted them to just wear a dress they were comfortable in (as long as they were sage green) and they each picked their own from ASOS, which all happened to be the same brand.

Theme or colour scheme
Sage green and navy. I just wanted lots of succulents as I love the dusky colours of them!

I wanted them to look really natural, so there were lots of dusky greens; eucalyptus and succulents with some white roses, grape hyacinth and blue thistles dotted around. Jo also had a succulent in his buttonhole and Penny (our daughter) had grape hyacinth in her flower girl basket.

We had to have our reception outdoors, so we just filled it with beautiful plants and and lots of lights, to bring the inside out. We had one large table so we filled it with small pots dotted around that had flowers and tealights in. I had made the containers out of old tins and jam jars that I’d collected from antique stores and charity shops.

A big fat juicy burger and fries! The food at The Jam Factory is awesome! We both love burgers, so why not!? We had chosen a couple of other options for our guests to select but almost everyone ended up having the burger.

Wedding cake
My lovely and very talented sister-in-law made it. Again, we didn’t want anything over the top. It was a white buttercream-covered cake with scalloped edging with some of my flowers placed on top. Inside it was chocolate sponge, with white chocolate buttercream!

Other than my Dad dancing around to Stevie Wonder, in my best friend’s leopard print faux-fur coat, we just had some bloomin’ good music! Jo is brilliant at mixing playlists, so he made one for the whole day/evening with songs we knew everybody would enjoy all the way from the 60’s to 2021 – it went down very well!

Who supplied the stationery?

Where are you going on your honeymoon?
We would have loved to have gone skiing just the two of us as we both love and miss it so much, but unfortunately haven’t been able to yet due to the pandemic. One day…

Personal touches
I’m an illustrator; I draw people/families mainly, so I drew all of guests’ faces and used them as their place cards.

Special moments
Finally being able to hear the words “Mr and Mrs Chapman”. Whilst we counted ourselves so lucky in lockdown to be happy and healthy, it was a really tough year going back and forth, will we or won’t we be able to get married? So even though it had to be outdoors and our numbers went from 100 to 15, we appreciated every moment and wouldn’t change it!

Advice for other couples
Think about what’s really important to YOU! So many of my friends said they spent so much time stressing over the guest list/table plan and pleasing everybody else. Apart from a few who unfortunately couldn’t be there due to the pandemic restrictions, we had our very nearest and dearest with us and it made it so intimate and special. We missed all our other family and friends so much and thought of them all day, but now can’t imagine having our wedding day any other way.

Biggest surprise
Jo’s best man had organised for all of our guests to record video messages for us. He brought out a big tv and we watched everyone’s messages; there were a lot of laughs and even more tears! So thoughtful!



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