A unique and personal 2020 wedding - Atlas & I founder shares her story
Atlas & I founder Sophie first met Tom at university. After losing contact for 5 years, their paths crossed again at a Christmas party and, as they say, the rest is history. They celebrated their engagement on the Surrey Hills 4 years later and set the date for April 2020 planning a 140 person wedding. Whilst their original day couldn't go ahead as planned due to COVID-19, Sophie shares the heart-warming story. A unique and personal wedding day. Along with tips for staying positive in times of uncertainty.
What were your original wedding plans?
Tom and I had set the date for 4th April 2020, just under a year after he proposed. We both wanted a church wedding in the Cotswolds, where I grew up. We settled on the gorgeous St Leonards in Bledington - a village with a lot of family history. We had originally planned a champagne marquee reception, a live band and dancing for 140 people in the field opposite the church.
How were your wedding plans changed by COVID-19?
Three weeks before our wedding date Britain went into lockdown and at that moment I realised that the wedding of my dreams might not happen.
Our wedding was postponed, but we still spent 4th April drinking champagne in what would have been perfect wedding weather. Tom arranged a virtual wedding dinner with our nearest and dearest on Zoom. They dressed in their wedding outfits and drank champagne with us too. Although this was not the day we had imagined, it was still one to remember.
A few weeks after, we hurried to get a date in the diary for later in the year. It dawned on us that our ‘big’ wedding wouldn’t be able to happen but we made our peace with having an intimate wedding of 30 people.
We booked a converted barn for Tom's family to stay in and decided to host our reception there instead. Plans were made, the menu was chosen and this time it was only 10 days before the big day when our dreams were crushed. Yet again and we had to reduce our wedding to 15 guests. It was upsetting, having already changed our wedding so much to then have to half the numbers again.
But we realised that at the end of the day, marriage was the most important thing for us. As long as that happened with our closest family and friends we could still have a second celebration.
Tell us about your special day?
The day dawned and it couldn’t have been more special. I was so excited to finally put my dress on. I had my mum, sisters and best friends with me getting ready which was so lovely. Seeing Tom at the alter made every worry disappear and we couldn’t stop smiling all day. Since then it’s been reported that our wedding day on the 3rd of October was the wettest day in October since records began. So we like to think our wedding was record-breaking.
After the service, we had champagne and speeches followed by dinner and we even had some dancing. It was magical and hopefully in the future (whenever that will be) we will get to do it all over again!
Your brand Atlas & I is known for personalisation. How did you make your wedding day personal?
Our friends and family all helped out on the day. Tom's dad is an organist and he played throughout the ceremony. My sister learnt calligraphy so that she could help us with name tags for the glasses.
Tom's sister, Sophie Millington is a florist and crafted the floral displays which were more amazing than I ever could have wished for. She made the church and barn look incredible. Some friends had also come to wave us off outside the church which was so special.
My mum made our wedding cake and the sloe gin for shot glasses on the tables. She made enough gin for the original 140 guests so we’ve still got a fair bit to get through!
The pièce de resistance was Tom’s vintage map backed waistcoat. My brand Atlas & I partnered with Oliver Brown to create a bespoke backed waistcoat with printed silk of our wedding location. That was very special.
What advice do you have for couples planning their wedding in times of uncertainty?
Remember that the only moment that really matters is the present moment. Whatever happens with regards to Covid restrictions in the future are out of your control. Life is a culmination of stories and experiences and this year will certainly make some stories to tell generations from now.
The only important thing is you and your other half. This is just the start of all the stories you will make together.
Tell us about your gift list?
The Wedding Shop have been wonderful. When our original date was changed they contacted us to let us know that our gift list would be safe no matter what happens. This was a huge relief having already lost money on the wedding. The Wedding Shop made it easy to change our wedding date and extended storage of our gifts to well after the new date. They couldn’t have been more helpful.
Everyone has been incredibly generous. Because we could only celebrate with 15 people, the majority of the list has been purchased by people who couldn’t attend. Even some of our best friends’ parents have been incredibly generous and purchased gifts. We feel lucky.
What tips do you have for how couples can make their list personal?
I feel like a wedding list is always so personal to you no matter what you choose. Every list will be so different from everyone else’s. As well as physical gifts, we added vouchers for our honeymoon. We had originally planned to travel around New Zealand. Instead, we used these vouchers towards an experience and spent the week after the wedding with a lovely dinner and a couple’s massage.
Atlas & I
Tell your love story with a unique personalised map of a location special to you. Atlas & I is a unique gift company that specialises in personalised products, all printed with vintage maps of your choice. The bespoke gift company offers a variety of personalised gifts ranging from leather stationery to wall art and greetings cards, all made to order, here in the UK.
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Photography: @louiseadbyphotoCREATE A LIST