Sometimes when planning W-day you have to throw caution to the wind and just go with your heart, whether the outcome is what might be considered sensible or not.
Hannah’s bright pink Rupert Sanderson sky-scraping shoes for example – which she remarks “clashed with the bridesmaids dresses” and were “impractically high” but she simply had to have them. So what if they were not the colour scheme ideal? they were AMAZE.
The whole affair is just beautiful, with a hundred and one ideas for you lovelies to steal and a really well written account to boot, the ceremony section in particular is well worth a read.
Relaxed And Informal
Hannah The Bride: Luke proposed on our 3 year anniversary before whisking me away on a surprise trip to New York. While I’d been very excited about the prospect of getting engaged, I’d never really thought about what I wanted the day itself to be like. From the moment we started planning, however, we were both agreed that we wanted it to be a day that was relaxed, informal and most of all fun! A barn wedding seemed to fit perfectly with this.
We went to see Grittenham Barn on a cold and snowy morning in February and we knew straight away this was where we wanted to get married. It was beautifully rustic, the grounds were stunning and best of all it came complete with two resident donkeys – and who wouldn’t want their wedding to be accessorised by a couple of donkeys?!
Before we got engaged I definitely didn’t have in mind what I wanted ‘the dress’ to be like. However once I started looking there was one designer that I was drawn to again and again – Jenny Packham. Eden was the first dress I tried, initially in the platinum colour with gold beading. I nearly discounted it as it was definitely a case of the dress wearing me rather than the other way round. However I loved the style of the dress, and the beading gave it a wonderful mix of timeless elegance and all-out glamour.
After a bit of further internet searching I found out that they also made the dress in ivory, and when I tried this (despite the sample dress being a few sizes too big) I knew this was my dress. I bought the dress from Carina Baverstock in Bradford upon Avon, and huge thanks go to Ellen who altered it perfectly.
Had To Have Them
Given the detail on the dress I kept jewellery to a minimum. I bought a glass pearl bracelet with vintage clasp, matching pearl hair pins and earrings, and a simple silk veil; all from Gillian Million.
In keeping with the dress I also decided to buy less than traditional shoes. On a Christmas shopping trip to London I found myself being ever-so-slightly distracted by a pair of bright pink Rupert Sanderson peep toes. Despite clashing with the burgundy bridesmaids dresses, and being impractically high, I just had to have them! However they were really comfortable, and much to my surprise I didn’t take them off all day.
Navy And Pearl
My three bridesmaids were my sister and two besties from school. Finding the bridesmaids dresses was definitely one of the trickier tasks – making sure the girls felt comfortable in what they were wearing was really important to me. I didn’t think we’d find a dress that would suit them all but Hobbs came up trumps. We accessorised with navy sashes and shoes, and like me the girls wore pearl pins in their hair.
All Day Wear
I don’t usually wear much makeup and had strict instructions from Luke that I look like ‘me’ on the day. Gemma Sutton was my hair and makeup artist, and she did a really wonderful job at keeping the makeup natural, while also ensuring it lasted for the whole day.
I had a trial with Gemma a couple of months before the wedding, absolutely sure that I wanted a side bun for the day. However I’m a very indecisive person and true to form on the day I changed my mind, deciding instead to have my hair down. Gemma took it all in her stride and I was so happy with the loose curls she created.
Luke looked so handsome in a three piece tweed suit from Topman (which was a complete bargain) and shoes from Grenson (which cost as much as his whole suit!), while the three best men and my Dad wore their own grey suits. In keeping with the relaxed feel of the day we had Liberty floral print ties and pocket hankies made for all of the boys, and Luke also chose Prefect style badges for them to wear.
It was through these little touches that Luke put his stamp on things – I think the badges in particular were a hit!
I’ll be honest – despite being the most important part of the wedding I was really dreading the ceremony. I’m naturally a shy person and was so nervous at the prospect at standing up and saying our vows. However on the morning I was pretty calm about the whole thing (so unlike me!), and as soon as I saw Luke at the end of the aisle any fears I had evaporated.
We had two readings, one read by one of Luke’s best men and the other by two of my bridesmaids. The first was a reading called ‘Maybe’. We particularly liked the line ‘Maybe love is not about finding the perfect person; it’s about learning to see an imperfect person perfectly’ – it just felt very ‘us’. The second Luke put together, combining well known romantic lines from some of our favourite films. It was something we weren’t sure would work but were pretty pleased with the end result.
A Vision Of Blooms
We knew flowers were going to be really important. As the barn provided a relatively simple backdrop the flowers were key in bringing it to life. That being said we know nothing about flowers, and our description of what we wanted was vague to say the least – “colourful” and “like they had just been scooped up from a meadow”! Luckily Angel from Angel Like Flowers regularly decorates the barn for weddings and completely understood our ‘vision’!
In line with the rustic feel of the day the flowers for the tables and over the fireplace were in mismatched glass jars and bottles. She also decorated the two chandeliers – one with hydrangeas and the other with an enormous hanging flower ball which has to be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I wish I could have taken it home!
Our preference from the beginning was to move away from the traditional 3-course set menus and more towards dishes in keeping with our venue, setting, decor and atmosphere. After finding Gastro Catering we decided on a Hog Roast which proved to be a big success, and second helpings were gladly devoured by a number of our guests.
I’d always planned to arrive at the wedding in my own little Mini. However a stroke of luck on the day lead us to meet Alan Sutton of Petworth Wedding Car Hire who offered to drive me in his beautiful 1954 Riley. He was an absolute pleasure, and really put me at ease on the drive to the barn.
We found Source Images through Rock My Wedding, and were instantly drawn to their vivid and colourful photography. The more we saw of their work the more it confirmed their style was exactly what we were looking for. When we met up for our pre-wedding shoot we knew we’d made the right choice – Ines is so full of energy and ideas and Jordan so fantastically talented.
On the day Jordan did a really wonderful job at picking out all the little details of the day, and went over and above to capture some of the stunning backdrops which Grittenham had to offer (including ducking under an old wooden fence whilst simultaneously avoiding some pretty sizeable puddles – all in the name of art!)
We had personalised tea towels as favours, which were designed and made by the Original Wedding Tea Towel company. I thought this was such a fantastic idea – both useful and fun. We ended up putting them over the backs of the chairs so they happily also became part of the décor!
Before we went for our first cake appointment at Papillon Patisserie I had my heart set on a tiered victoria sponge – I thought a ‘naked’ wedding cake would be perfect for the rustic feel of the day. However when we were given about 10 different flavoured sponges to try we knew we couldn’t settle just for one! As such we had individual sponges in chocolate, lemon, pistachio, carrot and of course original victoria sponge. They were all delicious but I think there may have been a bit of bargaining amongst our guests for the chocolate ones!
Jam And Tea
One of the other reasons that Grittenham Barn was ideal for us is that you hire the venue unfurnished, which gave us complete control on everything which went into the barn, from the tables and chairs to the decor. I loved every second of bringing my vision to life. Over the 18 months we were planning the wedding I collected bits and pieces to accessorise the barn, including wooden crates, garden games, napkins and many a pretty knick-knack. My Mum made hessian runners for the tables and we also borrowed her old Pashley bike and filled the basket with Hydrangeas.
I also wanted to create a lounge and photo booth area for the evening. I found Jam and Tea, a props hire and styling company, who not only were based close to the barn but had the most wonderful and creative lady at the helm. Over tea and cupcakes at Maryanne’s house we talked through our ideas and she well and truly brought these to life! Jam and Tea also do catering and so Maryanne made a variety of biscuits and petit fours which were arranged on crates, side tables and a chest of drawers. This was a real focal point and all our guests commented on how delicious the cakes were.
The best piece of advice I can offer is to make sure that you follow your instincts and bring your vision to life, not anybody else’s. For us it was really important that we could look back and know that we did it our way with no regrets whatsoever. I loved the planning process and it gave us a chance to really stamp our personalities on the day.
Also try to make sure you snatch a few moments with your new husband to ensure you drink in the day and all that has happened. It’s true that your wedding day really does fly by and so it’s important to take time to reflect on it all.
Most of all enjoy – it’s the best day ever and come rain or shine will be perfect.
Why not take a moment and sit back and watch Hannah and Luke’s cracking video from the lovely Shutterbox Films.
Venue: Grittenham Barn
Brides Gown: Eden by Jenny Packham at Carina Baverstock
Jewellery And Veil: Gillian Million
Make-up And Hair – Gemma Sutton
Shoes: Rupert Sanderson
Maids Dresses: Hobbs
Grooms Suit: Topman
Prop Hire: Jam and Tea
Cake: Papillon Patisserie
Entertainment: Roger Styles
Favours: Wedding Tea Towel Company
Blooms: Angel Like Flowers
Catering: Gastro Catering
Car Hire: Petworth Wedding Car Hire
Photography: Source Images
Absolutely loving the whole “living room” set up for photo opportunities.
And those bridesmaids dresses were lovely, stylish yet super flattering.
Big Imperfect Love