Good morning to you all! You might remember the beautiful snowy engagement session of Henry and Rachel that we featured only a few days after Christmas. If not, then you can take a look here. Rachel and Henry met when they were both studying in Cambridge and even though they are now living in sunny San Francisco, they knew that it was too important a place for them not to get married there. Henry is from the UK so they had lots of planning help from his family and her friends. Their beautiful South Farm wedding in the English countryside, is nothing short of spectacular and we have the images to prove it, thanks once again to Ria Mishaal.

See.. we told you. Isn’t it just beautiful? Those blue framed windows and doors.. gorgeous. Now it’s over to the bride to share their story. “Since I’m American and Henry is English, we knew it would be a destination wedding for at least half of our wedding guests whether we married in the US or in England. We picked Cambridge because it remained an incredibly special place to us, even though we had been in San Francisco for nearly two years by the time the wedding took place. During our time there, we not only met each other, but a lot of wonderful friends as well. We didn’t hire a wedding planner, but our venue was incredibly detailed and thorough in helping us plan, and they assigned us someone specific to run the wedding on the day a month earlier. Probably the biggest challenges we had to overcome were the time difference, and needing to make a number of decisions sight unseen (such as booking our venue!) We were incredibly lucky to have some great people on the ground who were able to help us out, though -my Cambridge-based contingent of bridesmaids and Henry’s mother. Both were absolutely invaluable. To give a couple of examples, one of my bridesmaids posed as me at a bridal fair to conduct cake-tastings, and Henry’s parents conducted dinner and wine-tastings for us, producing detailed, voluminous notes about taste and presentation! We did go to England twice in the year before the wedding and were able to squeeze quite a lot of decision-making into those trips.”

I love these next few pictures of the Rachel’s father, seeing her in her dress for the first time.

“One absolutely vital part of these trips was taking care of all of the legal requirements for the marriage, which included an 8-day residency stay in the county where we would be wed. Recent changes to immigration raules meant that Rachel had enter the country on a newly-created fiancee visa, which no one at the UK Border Agency seemed to actually know the requirements for, since we kept getting conflicting advice, as well as an incorrectly dated visa. It took a number of months to get the visa issue sorted out, ultimately resolved in part by Henry’s parents petitioning their MP, but we were incredibly grateful that we were very diligent about staying on top of the legal aspect and leaving a long planning window, since it took over four months to get the visa issues resolved.”

“We had a lot of flexibility to pick and choose from English and American wedding traditions; we figured if the Americans didn’t know what was going on at any point, they’d chalk it up to English traditions and vice versa. Our procession was great example of the blend of American, Jewish and English weddings traditions: Henry waited by the officiant and I included my grandmother in the procession and was escorted by both parents.”

“We selected readings for the ceremony which had both originally been written in French and Spanish, but we felt that the published translations lost a little bit of the meaning. Since so much of the ceremony is prescribed by law in England, it was really important for us to say what we wanted in the areas where we were allowed to personalize it, so I did one of the translations myself and did the other in collaboration with my mother.”

“I was startled when Henry confided that he’d always hoped to marry in a barn — a location that had never occurred to me as an avowed city girl, but a popular choice for country English weddings and fitting for a groom from rural Suffolk. Henry’s sisters had both married in Tudor barns as well, so we felt like we were carrying on the tradition. Our main goals for the wedding were to get married and have a great party, so we tried not to stress too much or second-guess our decisions.”

“Henry is a music buff who has done many tours of duty in various cover bands, so having a live band with a great set to get people on the dance floor was a priority. Our band, Abnormally Funky, was outstanding and played a great mix of funk, soul and modern hits, which packed the dance floor all night with dancers of all ages.”

It certainly looks like Rachel, Henry and all their guests had a great day. One of the biggest factors to consider when getting married abroad, is the legal requirements as you can see from Rachel and Henry’s story, it’s rarely straight forward. If you need some additional information or are a bit confused about what’s involved, pop us an email, we’d be more than happy to help. Thanks to Rachel, Henry and Ria Mishaal for sharing this beautiful wedding with us today.

Photography: Ria Mishaal | Venue; South Farm | Rachel’s Dress; Amy Michelson gown by Jin Wang | Men’s morning suits; Savoy Taylors Guild by Moss Bros | Wedding Rings; Rachel – Vintage Art Deco Ring from Dianne’s Old and New Estates and Henry – Dora Titanium and Palladium Band from David Clay Jewellers | Hair and Makeup; Denise Lilley at D&D Makeup | Stationery; Westside Print Centre | Flowers; Zinnia Flowers | Cake: Mr Cake

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