Aoife and Mike's Modern Intimate Church Micro Wedding at St. Josephs Church and Champneys Forest Mere

Friday, February 19, 2021

Mr + Mrs Timms

17th October 2020┃St. Josephs Church, Havant / Champneys Forest Mere, Liphook
Instagram: @aconnolly89 @miketimms1989┃Photography: Folk & Film
After their May 2020 wedding was cancelled, Aoife and Mike postponed until April 2021, but they decided they just couldn't wait any longer and tied the knot in October. With guest number restrictions in place they weren't able to choose between their siblings so got married with just their parents presents. However, the bride's sisters came to surprise them after the ceremony! Aoife tells us all about their special day and offers some important advice to other brides contemplating going ahead with restrictions in place, and the photos speak for themselves just how beautiful a small wedding can be.

Tell us about your wedding...

2020 was filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows. Our wedding was originally due to take place on 2nd May 2020, but we had to cancel it just 6 weeks before. At that point we were mentally and physically prepared to get married and felt so heartbroken to have to cancel things at the last minute. We re-arranged our wedding for April 2021 in the hope that Covid-19 would be a distant memory by then. In September we were aware that the situation was beginning to get worse again and we were worried that our plans for April were in danger. We made the decision to bring things forward and hold a micro wedding in October so that after 12 years we could finally call each other husband and wife. Unfortunately we weren’t able to have a reception, but after the ceremony we had an amazing meal with our family and then spent the evening relaxing in the Spa at the Champneys hotel we were staying at. 

We are hopeful that we can have a party to celebrate with all of our friends and family at some point, but for now we are just so happy to have been able to get married. It feels all the more special to overcome adversity during a difficult year and come away with such amazing memories. 

Advice for future brides…

My advice for any future brides faced with the possibility of a micro wedding due to the pandemic is ‘Do it!’. Marrying your best friend and love of your life is the important part of a wedding. We spent 18 months planning our wedding for 100 guests and obsessing over every little detail such as name places, favours and canapes. We had arranged an amazing band, Irish dancers and a photo mirror to entertain our guests. That now seems so trivial. Our wedding day was the complete opposite of the day we had originally planned and made us appreciate the significance of our vows and having our parents there to witness our union was the icing on the cake.

  • Something Old: My sister’s diamond earrings, given to her by her husband on their wedding day. These also served as my Something Borrowed. 
  • Something New: My dress, a beautiful mermaid dress by Madison James
  • Something Blue: A Katie Loxton ‘Something Blue’ clutch bag which I kept my phone and lipstick in. 

Did you have anything unusual at your wedding?  

We had originally booked wedding cars to transport us to and from the church, however we decided these wouldn’t be necessary for our micro wedding and instead opted for self-transport. That means Mike drove himself to the church in our car, and I hitched a lift with my dad in his car. The drive to the church was both hilarious (trying to fit the bottom of my dress into the backseat of a hatchback was interesting!) and intimate. My dad recounted stories of his own wedding day and told me some never before heard stories about my parents’ wedding rings. It was not the way I thought I would arrive at the church, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. 

Tell us about the ceremony...

We had a church ceremony with traditional religious readings. We chose readings that meant a lot to us both as a couple. One of the readings started with the line “Love is patient, Love is kind” which felt very apt given that we had postponed our original wedding plans.   


  • Song you walked down the aisle to: The Piano Guys – A Thousand Years
  • Ceremony Songs: Ave Maria (Schubert version)
  • Song for walking back up the aisle as a married couple: Tom Walker – Just You and I
  • First Dance: We weren’t able to have our first dance due to Government guidelines, however we had selected Michelle Williams – Tightrope. It is still a special song for us, even though we didn’t manage to have our official first dance. 

What was your favourite part of the day? 

Walking back down the aisle hand in hand as Mr & Mrs. We were both smiling from ear to ear.  We chose Tom Walker – ‘Just You and I’ as our exit song. Not only is he an artist that we both love but the lyrics resonated with us so much especially the line “this year’s been hard for us, no doubt”. We were so happy, we practically skipped down the aisle! 

Were there any surprises on the day?

The maximum numbers of guests allowed at weddings in October was 15, which unfortunately meant that our friends and family couldn’t attend. We have over 20 in our immediate families, and did not want to pick and choose between our siblings so we made the difficult decision to have only our parents as guests. As we walked out of the church, some members of our family were there to surprise us, throwing confetti. They had all driven over 2 hours to be there with us, and had all dressed up beautifully. They even brought our dog with them! It was the best surprise, and so unexpected. 

Earlier in the day I had tried to FaceTime with my sisters but they all declined my call. At the time I genuinely believed them when they told me they were busy or didn’t have strong enough reception to accept my video call. However, when I saw them outside the church it all clicked – I should have known my big sisters would be there for me on my wedding day and am so so pleased that they were. 

My sister in law has her own cake-making business and had been due to make our wedding cake. She made a smaller, single tier version of it to share with our family. That was another lovely surprise. 

What was the most emotional moment of the day?

Seeing each other for the first time at the end of the aisle was incredibly emotional. We felt like we had overcome so many hurdles to get to that point including the pandemic, a national lockdown and ever changing Government restrictions. We both felt so relieved that we were finally able to make our commitment to each other. 

Top money saving tip: Think of interesting ways to DIY where you can. Not only does it add unique handmade touches to your day and give you freedom to design things exactly as you want them, but it allows you to save money. That money can be put towards an amazing honeymoon!  

Tell us about the flowers...

My wedding bouquet was a beautiful handtied bouquet created by our wonderful florist using a rich variety of textures achieved with a mixture of fresh and dried flowers in ivory, white, neutrals and light green. It included roses, chrysanthemum Bloom, eucalyptus cinera, dried feather frass, fearns and palms styled in a semi loose way. She made matching buttonholes for Mike and our parents. 

Funniest wedding photograph: We were having some photos on a pier overlooking the lake at Champney’s Forest Mere and Mike jokingly picked me up but tripped slightly and we both almost landed in the water. Our photographer caught the moment on camera! 

Tell us about your wedding favours...

Our wedding favours were mini suitcases filled with gold chocolate hearts. Travelling is one of our biggest passions and we wanted a few nods to it on our day. Our table names and table plan were also travel themed based on some of our favourite cities that we have travelled to together.

Who was your favourite wedding supplier?

Our wedding suppliers were incredible and we are so grateful for how understanding they all were in allowing us to postpone and transfer our deposits. We have to give a special shout out to our photographer Josie, florist Kerry, hairdresser Natasha and MUA Lucy who all managed to rearrange plans last minute to be available on our wedding day with just 2 weeks notice. 

Tell us about finding the dress…

I booked appointments at three different wedding dress shops in June 2019 and took my 2 sisters and sister-in-law with me. I loved trying on dresses, I didn’t have a pre conceived idea of the style I wanted, so I went in open-minded and tried on lots of different styles. I quickly came to realise which shapes and styles suited me best. I actually found my dress in the first shop we visited that day, but I was worried I was settling for the first dress I liked. So we went to the other 2 appointments later that day. Thankfully the shops we visited allowed us to take photos, so when I got home that night I looked back at the photos which helped confirmed that the Madison James mermaid shaped dress I had tried on in the first shop was the one! I went back to the shop to try it on again a week later, and this time took my mum with me. She loved the dress, and helped me pick at veil and belt to go with it. 

Did you make any Wedding DIYs?

We made the décor for the church ourselves and set it up the night before. Our confetti was dried petals that we had been making ourselves for over a year using roses from our gardens, as well as any flowers that Mike bought me. Luckily it had been stored it in an air tight container so it was still in perfect condition. There were lots of other personalised touches such as our invites, a denim jacket to wear later in the day, socks for the groom and 2 dads, slippers for myself and my bridesmaids. The list is endless, but it was lovely to have such personal touches. 

We had made lots of DIY items for our reception, such as a 5ft LOVE light sign, a doughnut wall and several outdoor games. We had also handmade the décor for the tables at the reception, including the centerpieces and name places. However, none of this was needed for our wedding ceremony. 

Tell us about your Honeymoon...

We had planned a honeymoon to South Africa, including Cape Town and Kruger National park, followed by a week in the Seychelles. It was due to take place in September 2020, but unfortunately had to be cancelled due to travel restrictions. When we planned our rescheduled wedding day, there were a very limited number of countries that we could travel to without needing to quarantine. Luckily, we managed to arrange a minimoon to Cyprus for a week. It was so lovely to spend the first few days as husband and wife soaking up sunshine with no distractions. We are hoping to have a big honeymoon in summer 2021 if restrictions allow. 

Venue: St Joseph’s Church, Havant

Photo location: Champney’s Forest Mere

Intended reception venue: Tithe Barn, Petersfield (we weren’t able to have a reception)

Photographer: Josie Hooper (Folk & Film)

Stationery: DIY

Flowers:  Bella Poppy Flower Design

Cake:  PolkaDot Kitchen (my sister in law’s business)

Décor:  DIY

MUA: Lucy Jean Makeup

Hair: Natasha Chanel

Dress: Madison James

Suits: Moss Bros

Rings: The Beautiful Company

From Brides, With Love xo

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