What a beautiful beautiful unique and fun filled wedding. One of those where you will need to come back time and time again to view the images – just to make sure you didn’t miss any of the super cool details.
Laura and Haydn took over a country home for a two day musical festival themed affair with a touch of retro flair and more style than you can shake a hanging pom pom at. I particularly love the festoon lighting and the old school coat hanger table plan – not to mention the abundance of pretty hydrangea in tin cans. The dessert table is really something else, the most delicious cakes displayed on a vintage horse cart.
One of my favourite weddings of the year so far. Get your pinterest fingers at the ready folks!
Laura The Bride: Haydn and I went out at school, for 9 whole months which is a long time when you’re 13! We bumped into each other at the local pub where our parents still live & 10 years ago we got back together, it was almost like it was supposed to be.
After 8 years together, Haydn took me to Iceland as a surprise Christmas present whilst we were in the hot spas of the blue lagoon he got down on one knee & asked me to be his wife, after a very strange reaction from me (a lot of face stroking) I of course said yes!
We got married on September 6th at the beautiful Buckland House in Devon. The house sits in 280 acres of land & woodland with it’s own lake and church. The outside is impressively grand but laid back & relaxed inside, exactly what we wanted. Our friends had got married there a couple of years previously & we completely fell in love with the place.
The most important thing for us was to have as much time as possible with our loved ones, as well as around the UK we had people coming from all over the world from Oz, Dubai, France, Spain, and we wanted to be able to spend quality time with them all. People told us how quickly your day goes & we wanted to treasure that time, as how often do you get all your favourite people together for a weekend?
We wanted the wedding to have a relaxed, laid back feel but with fun at the heart. We extended the ‘evening do’ to a full next day and decided to have a mini festival on the Sunday.
The save the date & the invites were designed by Haydn, for the save the dates we took a photo of miniature versions of us that I got him a few Christmas ago from Foldable Me then had them made into stickers to put in the guests diaries & calendars.
The invites were 4 postcards with images that represented the wedding all bound with string, hand cut & hand written, it took us ages but we loved the finished result!
The Bridal Outfit
My Mum & I went to various wedding shops trying numerous styles of dresses but I was struggling to find a dress that I loved, nothing gave me ‘that’ feeling that I was waiting for.
We happened to fall upon a small independent wedding dress designer called Couture Bridal Designs in Nottingham. I made an appointment with Dawn, and described the dress I was imagining, she understood exactly what I wanted & sketched my dress before me. As soon as I saw what she had drawn I knew that was the one! The dress that they created was perfect in every way, the talent of Dawn & her sister Maxine really shone through.
For my wedding shoes I found an amazing coral / pink McQueen armadillo sandal that was perfect, I loved how you could see a pop of colour when I walked. I was lucky enough to get a pair of diamond earrings from Haydn a surprise wedding gift on the morning of the wedding, they were exactly what I needed to finish off my dress.
Haydn had a Paul Smith 3 piece suit in petrol blue with a black tie & tan brogues, all the Groomsmen had suits in a similar colour blue. I got Haydn a vintage, Omega, Seamaster watch for his gift which looked great with his antique tie pin and cufflinks.
For the rings, my Mum gave her eternity ring for me and my Dad’s wedding band for Haydn, it was such a personal touch to have them as my engagement ring was Haydn’s Mum’s ring from his Dad.
We wanted the Bridesmaids’ dresses to be different colours & styles, and were inspired by ‘flying saucer’ sweets, each girl had a pastel sherbet tone and picked a dress they liked and would wear again. We only saw all the dresses together on the day, but they looked gorgeous & worked really well as a colour pallet.
For the flowers we set our heart on using the wild flowers that grew on the grounds of the venue, but we were informed that they would be just out of season when our wedding would take place.
So we sourced a local supplier that grew wild flowers to order, Richard at Clements Farm. We told him the colours we wanted and he hand selected types to fit, which we collected by the bucket from him, the smell was incredible and they looked stunning. He also kindly recommended a lady called Rosie who provided us with our rose petal confetti, which she grows herself, we used it in a vintage basket looked amazing and being biodegradable helped.
The venue we chose was not exclusively a wedding venue, when you hire it you get the house, grounds and nothing else. There are no wedding planners or available staff so everything needs to be sourced by you, which of course makes the process a little more complex especially living 300 miles away!
The house itself is beautiful inside & out but we wanted it to feel like it was ‘our wedding’ so the details were important to us to ensure that personal feel. We did all the planning together which made the entire process all the more special, luckily we agreed on everything which I think surprised us both!
The house sleeps 35 so we had our families & the wedding party in the house with us. Everyone worked tirelessly to help create our vision, our Mums first & foremost. At first they didn’t quite get the concept of what we wanted to do, they hadn’t really known anything like it but although they had their reservations initially they led the way with their unwavering support, they made hundreds of meters of bunting, painted chairs, sprayed tin cans, sourced props and materials, we simply couldn’t have done it without them.
Everyone in the wedding party were just as committed, collecting jars & tin cans for months for the flowers, and my bridesmaid Claire made a ribbon decoration for the top table, Rachael (maid) did my make-up, my mother in law Marg did my hair, Nick made us wooden signs for all round the house, Lisa (maid) & the rest of the bridesmaids arranged the flowers. It was great having Lisa there to bounce ideas off as she is a destination wedding planner and has amazing eye for detail.
Looking back we do think everyone’s input is why the wedding had such a feeling of love throughout, as everyone there contributed to the finished article.
The ceremony itself took place in the Ballroom which has a large lantern roof, we had bunting & fairy lights suspended above our heads, running between the upper floor balconies.
My Mum & Brother walked me down the aisle towards Haydn who had nearly caught a glimpse of me from the balcony as I made my way down after the bridesmaids. We had written our own vows which made it very personal to us, we didn’t realise the effect it would have on the guests, until we looked round and saw the amount of tissues being passed around.
We had 3 readings from our friends, the last one was from our Sister-in-Law Karla who had written it herself about us, again very emotional.
As it was such a beautiful day we went outside for drinks & canapés, it was so nice to be able to chat with everyone who had all come so far to see us get married.
The Caterers we used were Scoff who are based in Devon, who were excellent, their staff were really friendly and professional they ran both days perfectly and even took on our strange request for my veggie roast dinner! Scoff also provided the bar which was ran as an honesty bar and was stocked with locally sourced beers, ales and ciders which we sourced from local breweries around the south west.
When we first visited the venue the owners told us that there was another room we could use for the wedding meal, which used to be the old gymnasium when Buckland house was a school.
This fitted perfectly with our story, us being together at school & formed the basis of a subtle theme that ran throughout the details we incorporated into the weekend, from the old school coat pegs seating plan, books used as part of the table decorations and the table names that were places we hung out when we dated at school.
We wanted to avoid the traditional round tables and chair covers and have something that was more in keeping with the venue and us. We wanted to hire vintage school chairs and trestle table but couldn’t find what we were looking for so for some stupid reason we decided to source and collect them ourselves. For the 9 month running up to the wedding we travelled over the whole country collecting vintage chairs, primarily 1960-70 stacking school chairs and we also managed to source our own vintage trestle tables.
These all fitted perfectly with the venue and we laid them into one continuous row with us in the middle so everyone could be together and we could see everyone who had made the journey down.
On the tables we had, hand stamped paper bags for cutlery & napkins which were inexpensive but looked great sat on the hessian & white tables. We used log cuts & old books for the centre pieces on each table with wild flowers in tins & jars.
Scrabble pieces for name places and for favours we donated to cancer research & British heart foundation in memory of our dads who sadly are no longer with us.
We are also lucky enough to have Natalie a talented cake maker for a friend. We described to what we wanted & she delivered above & beyond, they looked & tasted amazing! We went for individual naked cakes, in carrot, chocolate & lemon with a large lemon cake which we used to cut.
We also decided to make our own cake stand a local tree surgeon cut 6 large logs from a single tree in varying heights and we commissioned bespoke glass tops so we could present an alternative tiered cake. It just so happened that the owners of the house had a vintage horse cart what we used as the base for the cake stand.
As one of my surprises Haydn had arranged 3 foot initial lights to be bespoke made for us which we collected en route to Devon, Cecemonroes hand makes the letters to your colour theme, we used ours on the wall behind us on the top table as a focus against a blank space and now have them in our lounge as an amazing reminder of the day.
We found the finishing touches from a fantastic hire company called Virginia Vintage where we hired props to finish of the décor, we had the school coat pegs for the seating plan, chalk boards for the running order of the bands, vintage crates for the flowers.
The room once completed for us looked charming, intimate and fun, which was the perfect backdrop for the speeches and meal.
We still feel very privileged to have found someone like Tim to do our photographs, we had spent many hours trawling the internet to find someone that didn’t do your typical wedding shots, he offered something a little cooler and that really seemed to not only capture the moment but tell the story of peoples weddings. We had a pre shoot in Notting Hill with Tim a couple of months before the wedding which really gave us a chance to get to know him before the day.
We don’t take ourselves very seriously and Tim captured us perfectly without us having to stand still & pose. He really did put us at ease.
During the day he was organised and when he needed to be, getting some great shots of the ceremony and the meal then blended into the background to get photos of the day rather than a ton of static poses. We think he enjoyed the day too, it was a record weekend for him over 3000 shots, as he also kindly came back on the Sunday during the day to capture some of the festival. The pictures he took from the wedding are incredible, we are so glad we picked him.
After the meal the evening entertainment continued back in the house with our first dance to ‘Higher Love’ covered by James Vincent McMorrow and followed by selection of cool and alternative song form 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and finally to finishing the 90’s Indy and house classics to get everyone up on the dance floor.
The Sunday Festival
The Sunday was started off as any good Sunday should a round of bloody Marys for everyone who could stomach it and a bacon and egg butty. Then we had to get the troops involved once again to help transform the venue our own mini festival.
We erected a tensile sun shade in the rear garden and surrounded with hay bales and covers which formed the outside auditorium, or the acoustic artist stage. Our sound engineer Tom Exeter Local Records arrived early with the rest of the sound equipment and quickly set up.
We started off the afternoon with Josie Lloyd, a blues / ragtime artist who broke us back in nicely playing lade back songs such as ‘Summertime’ by George Gershwin on her Resonator Steel Body Guitar. After that we had another local singer songwriter Tobias Lamplighter who stunned everyone with his haunting voice singing Autosong from his own album ‘The St Sidwells Session, it was beautiful.
We stopped to enjoy a hog roast and salad selection and enjoy a few glasses of pimms. The final acoustic artist was Lukas Drinkwater, out of 3 Daft Monkeys provided another amazing set incorporating his own interoperations of my favourite Oasis songs Haydn had picked out for me.
The weather never let us down all weekend, it electrified the atmosphere, we felt like we were in California not in the depths of Devon, it really played a big part.
Then into the early evening when the sun started to go down everyone moved inside so that bands could get going. We had a group called Bad Knees Blues Band, a group of again rockers playing classic dirty blues like ‘Smokestack Lighting’ by Howling Wolf and Hoochie Coochie Man by Muddy Waters.
The downtime style eased everyone in nicely setting them all up for the motown band Alice and the Atoms, who are some of our friends who came down from York to play for us. Motown we knew would get everyone up and dancing.
We had a small interlude which incorporated our last round of food provided by Scoff, who did an amazing antipasti selection of cold meat, cheese and breads. This was accompanied by one of our friends who is stand-up comedian Ben Brown, doing comedy skit, singing some classic Indy and hip hop songs which got the crowd involved once again.
To end the evening we finished with a classic soulful house set provided by Alex Grayson involving all the songs we loved from the early 90’s right though to present day, which carried on though most of the night.
We can honestly say looking back at the weekend, it was the most amazing time of our life, it was hard work but we wouldn’t change a thing. We loved it that much that we are in the process of setting up our own wedding company, hiring the things we sourced and love for alternative weddings and events, which will be through Vintage Vault.