An elegant bird themed wedding at Sandon Hall

There’s no doubt that I’ve included way too many pictures of this wonderfully elegant bird themed wedding at Sandon Hall. But to be honest there weren’t many I could bear to leave out. Maddy and Louka’s Staffordshire wedding not only nailed the aesthetics (there was a bird theme and many hints to their love of worldwide travel) but the emotion and love at every step of the way made it such a joy to photograph.

The couple

Maddy and Louka first met at their Teach First training. Louka saw Maddy first and fancied her straight away. He made a feeble introduction to her which included praising her interesting name and though she wasn’t amused she later warmed to his terrible sense of humour and social awkwardness. Seven years later they got engaged when Louka proposed in Spain with his mother’s engagement ring. Louka gathered a few of her favourite things to eat and proposed with characteristic awkwardness. She said yes and they were both asleep within the hour – the rioja was quite strong.

The venue

After initially wanting to get married in Greece where Louka is from they decided to get married near to Louka’s family home in Staffordshire at Sandon Hall. They chose Sandon Hall for its beautiful grounds and conservatory and quirky features such as its hand painted wallpaper. It’s also quite special because it is still in use as a family home which gives it an feeling of authenticity and homely comfort.

To hear a little from Maddy and Louka about their day see throughout the post. It’s worth getting to the end for Louka’s surprise performance…

Thank you to my lovely friend and second shooter Amelie for shooting this with me.

“My suit was from Emporio Armani and the waistcoat was by Joshua Kane, a new East London designer which I chose for a bit of kookiness – I actually chose that first and fitted everything else around it! I also sported two pocket watches which were family heirlooms from my ushers (to make sure I was on time). I probably spent more time planning my outfit than Maddy did.”

“I chose to get married in a two piece Rime Arodaky dress as I felt it was unique and I hadn’t seen anything like it in the weddings I’d already been to. The fact it was a top and a skirt and the button lace top was irresistible to me. Its shape also had hints of India which fitted with that aspect of our theme. It was elegant and demure and worked in the church setting, but the crop top suited the evening party too.”

“We didn’t customise our vows but we had a selection of readings that were very important to us. Firstly we chose the poem Ithica (by CP Cavafy) – a greek poem about the island that Louka is from because it’s about what it means to be on a journey. Then we had poems by Rosetti and Yeats and our final hymn was the South African national anthem to celebrate our shared love of Africa and as a reference to Louka’s heritage (he was born there). Our last reading was an extract from Plato’s symposium which was read by a friend who is a classics teacher. This reading meant a lot to us because it celebrates tolerance and equality. It was important to us that our wedding represented love in all forms.”

“Our flowers were put together by Flowers by Briege. I knew I wanted blue, my favourite colour, then we added hints of orange to add contrast and a touch of vibrancy – again for hints of India and our diversity.”

“Having Alice and Amelie as our photographers was such a bonus for us. We are so grateful to them not only for their prodigious talent at photography and how much work they put into shooting and editing the the pictures, but for the way they seamlessly slotted into the day. We really felt ourselves around them, as if they were old friends.”

“As we are both bird watchers so we decided to have a twitcher theme. We had some of our favourite birds as table names and birds on the wedding cake which all matched the drawing room wallpaper.”

“We had an Indian feast for dinner put together by the wonderful Urban Turban. It was utterly delicious and very us.”

“Our main piece of advice to those getting married would be to take some time throughout the day to find each other and savour the moment because it passes so quickly!”

“Louka was the chief entertainer. We opted not to have a band because Louka was not going to miss the opportunity of a captive audience. He’d secretly rehearsed for months with one of my bridesmaids and one of his ushers to perform a set of songs that were special for me. I particuarly loved his renditions of ‘All of Me’ by John Legend, ‘Riptide’ by Vance Joy, and a greek song performed by Sofia Loren from an old movie.”


Venue: Sandon Hall, Staffordshire

Maddy’s dress: Rime Arodaky from The Mews, Notting Hill

Louka’s suit: Emporio Armani from Bicester Village

Photography: Alice and Amelie from Alice the Camera

Catering: Urban Turban

Flowers: Flowers by Briege

Lighting and magic mirror: Premier events

Classic garden games: Pollyanna Vintage

Hair and make up: Becky the bridesmaid

Rings: Williams and Son