confetti at church gate

How to plan a traditional English wedding

My prediction for English weddings over the next few years is a return to more tradition. I feel as though throughout the pandemic we’ve become more determined to celebrate our families and we can’t wait to get together again. I see more couples planning slightly more traditional weddings involving their parents and grandparents. The last two weddings I’ve shot have had some very traditional elements and have been family-centered. The good news is that nowadays there are very few restrictions and you can totally mix traditional elements with more modern ideas. Your wedding, your way! Read on for ideas on how to plan a traditional English wedding.

confetti at church gate

A Church Wedding

Some couples get married in a church because the ceremony is part of their religion and very important to them. Others may not be regular churchgoers but they are part of that church family and have a connection with the parish and church. Others simply like the tradition of a church service and know it will please certain family members. I think all of those reasons are valid. I got married in a very pretty village church where my husband’s parents had married years before. I’m not particularly religious but I respect the church and love the tradition of it all. To me, having a church service seemed like the right and proper thing to do. I didn’t want religion excluded from my ceremony as it would have been in the civil service. This article explains all the pros and cons very well. Not everyone feels that way and there are plenty of options when it comes to arranging your ceremony but to me, there is something about a church service. You are of course extra lucky if you have a connection with a beautiful village church that looks amazing bedecked with flowers!

church gate flowers

See more church weddings here.

A Reception at Home

Years ago it was much more common to have a reception at your parent’s house. Of course, not all of our parents live in houses where 100 guests can be accommodated. If you can though a marquee on a large lawn gives that wonderful at-home feel. The whole wedding becomes immediately more personal. The other option is to host your reception at an English country house that can take over for the day. It’s not quite as personal but you can still get that traditional English feel with a bit more grandeur. Some of the country manor wedding venues available include incredible gardens and beautiful reception spaces.

marquee wedding

Including Children

Traditionally a summer wedding will include children. Little flower girls and page boys running around in the sunshine say English wedding to me. Think of the royal weddings and how many littles they had. You may just want to think about how to entertain children as the day goes on. I’ve seen all sorts of options from lawn games and activity packs to a full-on creche with two nannies. Children bring a certain element of surprise as you never really know what will happen but if you have important small people in your life then there’s nothing cuter.

children at weddings


I see a return of an abundance of flowers. Arrangements can be incredibly modern but for a traditional English wedding, I see more pastels, wildflowers, looser arrangements, and roses everywhere. Don’t forget the church too with flowers over the door or gate. I think we’ve all become attached to our gardens these last few years and you may even consider growing some of your own flowers or getting a green-fingered relative to do the same. Have a think about what would work with your chosen wedding date and talk to your florist about what you could include. I had a bride who grew hundreds of daffodils for her wedding and another who included fern leaves from her Dad’s garden. If you’re getting married in late summer then dahlias are easy to grow and make wonderful focal flowers.

summer wedding flowers

Family Groups

If family is important to you, and at most traditional weddings family plays a huge part, then you’ll want family photos. On rare occasions, couples have been sure that they don’t want family group shots but they have always regretted that choice later. Nowadays, I insist on at least a few group shots. They don’t have to take long. Twenty minutes is plenty of time if keep it simple but those photos will be so valuable later. They’re the ones you’ll want to look at later to remember where you came from. Remember to keep the groups as small as you can so you can still see everyone’s faces and have a couple of family members who know everyone available to round up stragglers. If you organize everything in advance with your photographer the whole thing runs very smoothly. I always think family groups outside the church can be super quick as everyone is right there and still looking their best.

family group shots


I’m not sure there is such a thing as a completely traditional English wedding anymore. It’s more of an idea that you can let influence your plans. Whatever your decisions you can look forward to bringing family and friends together in whatever form that takes. The most important thing is that you will be married and starting a new life together. A traditional wedding brings your family and friends together to not only celebrate that union but to support you as you move forwards. These community values have become even more important to us over the last few years. So don’t let tradition limit you but rather use it to celebrate your heritage, where you’re coming from, and where you’re heading in your new life together. I hope that helps you with how to plan a traditional English wedding.

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