Nestled in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside, Blenheim Palace is a truly magnificent English wedding venue. Home to the Duke of Marlborough, the palace is the epitome of English elegance and the most idyllic venue to those couples looking to plan a luxury wedding in the UK.
This world heritage site is surrounded by 90 acres of beautiful gardens and steeped in history, the palace was the birthplace of former British Prime minister Sir Winston Churchill and radiates majestic opulence – a simply perfect location for a chic and stylish wedding celebration like this one.
The happy couple
After a brief meeting at a gym induction at Wolfson College, the University of Oxford in October 2015 and another chance meeting the Wolfson dining hall a few weeks later, Lesley and Matt began dating at the end of November 2015.
After living together for a year, Matt proposed on 6 October 2017 in Venice, one of Lesley’s favourite cities. On the pretence of celebrating his birthday, Matt and Lesley explored the city together before a gondola ride provided the perfect occasion for a proposal. The gondolier had been prompted to take photographs so that the moment could be captured forever and as they headed towards the Rialto bridge, Matt got down on one knee and without hesitation, Lesley said yes!
Lesley, who moved to the UK from Washington D.C. to begin a PhD in Medieval History at the University of Oxford and Matt, who moved from Sydney to work at the Environmental Change Institute as an Infrastructure Systems Modeller, chose Blenheim Palace as their wedding location in the summer of 2018. The Palace is located not far from their home in Oxford and Lesley frequented their wonderful gift shop regularly – it is a stunning wedding venue and the couple just knew that it was where they wanted to marry.
Lesley and Matt hired a wedding planner as soon as it became apparent that coordinating all the details was a full-time job! After a few panic attacks, Lesley knew that they needed help in the final months leading up to the wedding and chose Luxury Wedding Planner Jane Riddell, from Planned for Perfection to help them plan the wedding day celebrations.
Lesley wanted a colour palette full of bright, sophisticated colours for her summer wedding, combining corals, pinks and white with gold detailing on the glassware, opulent gold cloths and the impressive floral displays reflecting the grand accents of the Great Hall and with the assistance of floral designer Paula Rooney, the floral décor was exactly as the beautiful bride envisaged.
The wedding day
The wedding ceremony was held in the Orangery, which boasts splendid views over the Italian gardens and was dressed by Paula Rooney Floral Designs and The Chair Tailor, with music from Oxford String Quartet. Lesley looked gorgeous in her designer wedding dress from Phillipa Lepley and Matt looked rather dapper in his suit by Church and Clements.
Following the ceremony, a Champagne and canapé reception was held in the Palace gardens, with the Duke’s private residence as the back drop to the celebrations.
A piper led guests across the palace grounds to the magnificent Great Hall for dinner. This impressive room is over 68ft tall and has the most amazing painted ceiling. The Saloon showcased the gorgeous wedding cake, made by All Cakes and Sizes and was cut following the meal and served later in the evening.
It was so important to Matt and Lesley that their friends and family enjoyed their wedding day, especially as so many of them had flown from all over the world to join them. The wedding breakfast and speeches were incredibly touching, and the party that followed in the Water Terrace was a really wonderful celebration!
Lesley’s advice to other couples
Definitely hire a wedding planner! It was a huge relief knowing that Planned for Perfection were looking after us and it was also fantastic to have Jane there on the day. We didn’t have to worry about anything at all, as she was taking care of everything and we knew that we were in very good hands!