Home » This Wedding in the English Countryside Was Inspired by “Bridgerton” and Infused With Yoruba Traditions

This Wedding in the English Countryside Was Inspired by “Bridgerton” and Infused With Yoruba Traditions

by Staff

Tito and Evan met on OkCupid in 2015 and hit it off right away, trading messages back and forth about their favorite pizza toppings, sci-fi and fantasy movies, and the difference between London and North East England, where Evan had just moved from. After a few days of chatting in the app, they exchanged numbers; Evan quickly asked Tito to join him for drinks after work on a winter evening in November. “At our date, the connection was instant,” Tito remembers. “It was relaxed, cozy, and felt like we’d known each other forever.” 

In October 2021, Evan planned a country getaway to the Thyme Estate in the Cotswolds. He surprised Tito with a private cooking class, and when it was time to eat, he led her to a private room and popped the question. The couple celebrated with Champagne and their home-cooked meals of cured salmon, ricotta, bikinis, tapenade, crostini, and a salad. “He remembers I couldn’t stop asking, ‘Is this real? Is this real?’ for the first few seconds before I acquiesced!” Tito says.

The couple wanted to fuse Tito’s Nigerian Yoruba heritage into a quintessentially British setting, so they knew they wanted to invite 80 guests to an intimate country house convenient to London, where they live, for their wedding. “Somerley House was the first and only venue we viewed in person, and it (more than) ticked all the boxes!” Tito says. The stately home is located on 7,0000 acres in Ringwood, Hampshire, UK, with countryside views, architectural details like stained glass windows and high ceilings, and an impressive art collection from British and European artists. Working with Assumpta Vicu of AVE Creations, Tito and Evan pulled off a wedding that melded their cultures and felt authentic to them. Read on to see all the pastel décor details inspired by Autumn de Wilde’s 2020 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma and the Netflix hit Bridgerton at their May 20, 2023 wedding, captured by Brittany Painter Photography.

Tito and Evan searched for a venue with on-site accommodations for their wedding party and close family, multiple space options for each part of the day, and gorgeous historic architecture and interiors with character. When they pulled up to Somerley House, they knew they were off to a good start; they saw a 500-year-old oak tree against the Georgian facade of the stately home. “We were taken on a tour of the ornate entrance hall with its grand marble columns, cozy libraries with inviting fireplaces, the drawing room with impressively intricate gilt work and grand piano, and finally… the stunning picture gallery,” Tito says. “It took our breath away and seeing this room was when we knew immediately it was where we wanted to get married.”

Tito and Evan’s bridesmaids and groomsmen stayed in the house with their partners the whole weekend to keep the party going. On the morning of the wedding, Tito dressed in a white satin pajama set and slippers while her sister, the maid of honor, and her two bridesmaids wore matching pajamas in pink to get ready.

The bride wanted a soft, bronzed makeup look for the big day. “My main vision was to look and feel like myself, so I didn’t want anything dramatic for my makeup,” she says. Her makeup artist used Morphe Continuous Setting Mist to lock everything in place. “This is my go-to everyday setting spray,” Tito says. “She actually already had this as part of her kit and it really gives that smooth, dewy skin finish that I love so much.”

Tito’s wedding gown—a bespoke creation by Fran Rios—was inspired by the words ethereal, playful, and romantic, which fit her vision. She also knew she wanted statement sleeves and something comfortable that she wouldn’t want to change out of. The result? A crepe gown with a fishtail silhouette, scoop neckline, chapel-length train, and a detachable overskirt made from the same fabric. “My sleeves were my absolute favorite part of the dress!” she says. The billowy bishop sleeves also had flared scalloped cuffs.

She wore her hair in soft, bouncy waves tucked behind her ears with a sleek middle part and a gold headband with pearls and crystals. Tito completed her look with a single-tier soft tulle ivory veil, also from Fran Rios, with Swarovski crystal embellishments. “It was so subtle but oh so magical; every time my movement caught the light, you could see the sparkle,” Tito says. She also wore a jasmine-forward perfume from L’Occitane. “I know scents can very strongly evoke our memories, so in the lead up to the wedding, I made sure I wore this to all bridal events (dress fittings, venue visits, hen do, etc.) and during the wedding week,” Tito says. “The scent has both floral and fruity notes and felt so delicate and warm—the perfect vibe for the wedding.”

Tito went down the venue’s grand Georgian staircase to meet Evan outside the home’s front portico for their first look. She managed to keep her dress a secret for so long—and was giggling in anticipation of his reaction. “The first look felt so intimate and was exactly how we’d imagined it!” Evan says. “We got to admire each other up close, whisper some sweet nothings. I cried from the emotion and build-up of the moment and because it was the first time I’d seen her in the dress.”

The first look ultimately eased the duo’s nerves and helped them warm up for the day ahead. “We wanted to have an intimate moment that was just the two of us, as we wanted to spend the rest of the day having fun with our loved ones, and realized we may not have many other opportunities to take some time for ourselves during the day,” Evan says.

For his big day, the groom choose a bespoke three-piece black tuxedo by Edit Suits. He had his and Tito’s initials and their wedding date embroidered on the inside of the jacket as a special touch. “It fit really well, felt so comfortable, and got a lot of compliments from our guests!” he says. He paired his suit with a black bow tie and tuxedo shirt with black studs from Moss Bros and patent black oxfords from Loake. He finished his look with a gold Michel Kors watch, a silk pocket square, gold cufflinks, and a boutonnière to match Tito’s bouquet. He chose Savage by Dior as his fragrance.

Tito envisioned her bridesmaids in cohesive looks, which were inspired by glacé pastels with a dash of Bridgerton and a modern touch. She guided her girls on colors, resulting in a mix of gold, sage, and pink, and encouraged them to choose something soft and flouncy with tulle or chiffon, ruffles, or bows. Groomsmen kept it classic in black tuxedos from Moss Bros. 

Tito held a textural, layered bouquet of carefully selected late spring blooms, including roses, ranunculus, and sweet peas; the arrangement was created by Lucie of Bud Flora. “Excitingly, Lucie also managed to track down the absolutely gorgeous Clare de Lune peony and cosmos, which initially we weren’t sure would be possible,” Tito says. “Seeing these on the day absolutely blew me away.” The bridesmaids held smaller bouquets that were individually designed to feature smaller snippets from the overall palette, but came together as a complete set.

The couple kept their fingers crossed for sunny weather—and they lucked out! Their ceremony unfolded in the garden colonnade overlooking the back of the home with sweeping views of the Hampshire countryside. They set up a welcome sign adorned with a schedule of the day’s events to greet guests as they arrived. Florals were inspired by old English Regency-era romance and the property’s history—with a modern twist. Large urns on plinths filled with flowers framed the aisle entrance.

A 10-foot-tall asymmetrical arch was covered in rambling roses and additional florals to frame the Triton fountain—one of only two in the world—and the ceremony’s focal point. The aisle was decorated with grounded meadow arrangements, featuring a multitude of rose varieties, ranunculus, tulips, peonies, cosmos, hydrangea, sweet peas, allium, foxglove, and greenery. “Inspired by the seasons and the hedgerows, the flowers were all carefully sourced and selected some grown just 30 miles from the venue,” says Lucie.

As the ceremony began, Tito walked down the aisle accompanied by both her mom and dad as a string quartet played Mia and Sebastian’s theme from La La Land. “They’re both such an important part of my life and it felt imperative that they both got to have this moment with me,”  Tito says. Her parents wore Yoruba aso oke outfits, which translates to ‘top cloth’ in the English Language, denoting a cloth of high status. “We worked with Bolamsasooke to source our aso oke fabric and make our bespoke outfits for us and our parents,” Tito says. “She provided the aso oke outfits for my sister’s wedding the year before, so it was an easy decision.” They chose a shimmery metallic sage green fabric and soft glitter gold fabric for Tito’s parents’ ensembles.

The couple’s celebrant created a personal ceremony that had guests in tears; attendees later shared that they felt like they knew them better as a couple by the end of it. Tito’s teenage cousins read the poem “The Ent and the Ent Wife” by JRR Tolkien as a nod to the couple’s love of The Lord of the Rings and they asked both of their moms to take part in a ring warming ceremony to infuse love into their bands and to bless the marriage.

As they signed their license, the quartet played “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys, which brought more joy to the already happy moment. Then, they played “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses for the recessional. “Tito ended up keeping it cool throughout the ceremony, but the second we were done with our recessional at the other end of the aisle, she full on burst into tears with big happy sobs and couldn’t stop hugging me,” Evan says.

Guests were invited to the gardens for the cocktail hour, where they enjoyed canapés including confit duck hash browns, beef sliders, seared tuna tacos, and garden pea arancinis. The couple also served signature cocktails: Tito’s favorite (an Aperol spritz), Evan’s favorite (an old fashioned), and a couple’s cocktail (an espresso martini). The string quartet continued to entertain during the cocktail hour with renditions of the pair’s favorite pop, R&B, and hip hop songs by a mix of artists, ranging from Britney Spears and Ariana Grande to Destiny’s Child.

The couple also hired a live artist, Lissie Art, who provided portraits of guests as wedding favors—along with special paintings of the couple, the venue, and other wedding details.

The couple hosted a wedding breakfast inside the venue’s Picture Gallery, where banquet style seating with two long tables were set up to highlight the family-oriented atmosphere. The tables were dressed with chalk-hued urbane linens paired with blush napkins. Low bowl-style arrangements with elongated stems to create height complemented the high gilt ceilings of the room. Modern gold cutlery and dark green goblets added shimmer and color; tall taper candles in varying pastel shades were placed in gold holders throughout each station to complete the tablescape.

The couple did a reveal of the Picture Gallery with their wedding planner so they could see the design before guests arrived. “I was so excited I squealed all throughout,” Tito remembers. “Every single idea had been executed with such thought and intentionality. We were completely beside ourselves.”

Tito and Evan chose to sit in the middle of one of the tables to be surrounded by their favorite people. They were framed by a fireplace decorated with an impressive display of pastel florals on the mantel. “Overall, we wanted the décor to feel decadent without competing with the beauty of the room,” Tito says. “We kept the floral design playful and delicate, balancing a strong old English reference (as reflected in the room with its antique furniture and art) with a modern flair.”

Tito and Evan made their entrance to the Picture Gallery and joined their guests to listen to heartfelt speeches and enjoy breakfast. Each guest found a customized menu with their name and food order on thick card stock—finished with a gold wax seal—at their seat. They served a whiskey smoked trout and smoked salt baked celeriac to start, followed by the guest’s choice of a stuffed chicken dish with tomato and basil, an 18-hour slow braised shin of beef, or an English garden pea gnocchi dish.

They finished with a selection of teas, coffee, and deconstructed Eton Mess—a dessert in an Italian meringue shell with earl gray sponge, wild strawberry puree, vanilla cera, strawberry compote, and shortbread. “This delicious dessert was contained in a crispy meringue shell which guests had to crack open with their spoons. There were a lot of great reactions as people realized what was inside!” the bride says.

The couple had a four-tiered wedding cake featuring carrot cake with cream cheese buttercream, coffee cake with Bailey’s buttercream, lemon cake with lemon curd and lemon buttercream, and vanilla and raspberry cake with white chocolate ganache. They gave Vaani from Sugarplum Bakes creative freedom on the design, which incorporated movement with edible rice paper sails in shimmering glacé pastel colors. The cake was displayed on a glass cake stand above a meadow of flowers. “It was one of the first things guests saw as they came in and was incredibly show-stopping,” Tito says.

Tito and Evan shared their first married spin to “Lover” by Taylor Swift on a modern black and white dance floor in the Drawing Room. Instead of traditional parent dances, Tito and Evan decided to open up the floor for a full family moment: They called up both sets of parents to twirl with them!

As part of the evening celebration, the couple incorporated must-have Yoruba traditions. “Usually, a Yoruba wedding ceremony takes place on a standalone day facilitated by an Alaga, but we made the decision to fuse and embed this aspect into our wedding day,” Tito says. “We ensured all the significant customs of the ceremony which make us officially married in the Yoruba culture were observed.”

They had a letter exchange where the groom’s family presents their proposal letter and the bride’s family presents their letter of acceptance. They also included an Idobale, a custom in Yoruba culture where, as a sign of respect, men place their body chest down on the ground with arms outstretched as a greeting to their elders. Evan greeted Tito’s parents this way on the wedding day. One of Evan’s favorite memories from the celebration was the spraying, which involves the wedding party showering the couple with dollar bills. “Everyone got involved wholeheartedly, which made the day feel even more special,” he says. “The ‘spraying’ of money was a real crowd pleaser.”

I felt such a sense of peace that everything on our wedding weekend had gone exactly to plan.

At the end of the evening, just before the duo was about to head home, they took a moment to wander around the property’s gardens. “The sun was shining, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the only sound was gentle birdsong,” Evan says. “I was so happy to be with my new wife, and I felt such a sense of peace that everything on our wedding weekend had gone exactly to plan.” They then jetted off to Sicily for their honeymoon. To couples currently planning a wedding, Tito and Evan say to make it work for you: “Forget tradition and don’t feel pressured into adding elements you don’t really care about because you feel like they should be included,” they say.

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