Vintage Wedding

Henrietta Rix Designed Her Own Dress and Hand-Painted the Menus for Her English-Countryside Wedding

Moments before she left, Henrietta adorned herself in an array of borrowed and collected jewelry. Draped across her neck was a Tiffany cross belonging to her mother. On her hand were several separate and distinctive gemmed bands, including her grandmother’s engagement ring, a large aquamarine ring, and a pink coral ring her grandmother bought in Jamaica during the 1930s. She also pinned a mini pearl-and-enamel half-moon brooch onto her dress. “I’ve always loved jewelry, so I had a lot on,” Henrietta says.

Henrietta’s brother drove her and her father to the church in a silver Rolls-Royce—a nod to her home’s illustrious former owner. Her six flower girls, three bridesmaids (all in bespoke Rixo dresses), and the couple’s five-month-old son, Wolfe, were all waiting at the doors. “That was the moment when it felt really real, knowing all the people I loved most in the world were inside,” she says. When she walked into the church, the first person she locked eyes with was Ronan, wearing a Thom Sweeney bespoke suit, Gucci loafers, and pink socks. “I thought I would be crying, but I just couldn’t stop smiling,” she says.

After their vows, Ronan carried Wolfe down the aisle while arm in arm with Henrietta as bells chimed above. Guests showered the newlyweds with confetti before they hopped in a vintage white Rolls-Royce Corniche to take a joyride down the winding country roads. In the back window? A “just married” sign—hand-painted by her young bridesmaids.

The reception was an informal yet classic English garden party at the blue-plaqued Rix house. Henrietta’s mother had worked on the florals, hedges, and landscape for a year prior to the wedding and adorned the grounds with urns sourced from antique fairs around the United Kingdom. Wheelbarrows were filled with ice-cold beer, and waiters served canapés of rare beef and Cornish crab donuts by stylish catering company Social Pantry.

Dinner tables were named after the Rix family pets, both revered (their English spaniel Cooper) and feared (Malcolm, “our not-so-friendly goose”). Like much of her other stationery, Henrietta and her mother sketched the watercolor place cards together.

The couple didn’t have a color scheme or a theme. “The tables were an eclectic mix of decorations and details that felt real to who Ronan and I are. We had mismatch tapestry and crochet table runners, odd OXO green and brown glass vases filled with English wild meadow flowers, large gold candelabras, shells for flaked salt and pepper, colorful crystal-ware,” explains Henrietta. “The backdrop of the walled garden did the rest.” Guests dined on seared tuna and sirloin steak for dinner, and tiramisu in shell dishes, rhubarb tarts, and towers of profiteroles were offered for dessert. The wedding cake, a red three-tiered heart-shaped confection by the Pink Cooker, had a distinctive retro feel.

After the speeches—which “had everyone crying,” says Henrietta—it was time to party. A DJ spun a disco set to encourage everyone to the dance floor. Copper cups of Moscow mules gave even the most timid of attendees enough liquid courage to get there. Henrietta changed into a pale blue Alessandra Rich dress, which she found at a secondhand shop two weeks before her wedding. “I was worried about it not being white, but it was my something blue,” she says. “I had it altered slightly to fit me perfectly and put on a pair of vintage glass earrings.”

The pinnacle of the evening? A dazzling display of fireworks, reminiscent of the couple’s engagement night. “It sounds cliché, but it was genuinely the best day of my life. I remember looking around the dance floor and seeing four of my siblings with their partners, my parents, all of my closest childhood friends and just feeling so blessed,” Henrietta says. “It felt like a big house party for all ages.”