I love an outdoor wedding. And I love it even more when an outdoor wedding shines through a drizzly day. Umbrellas are a serious wedding accessory and Rachel’s is a beauty.
This wedding seriously pops with colour and the venue is stunning.
I also love a groom who won’t stop until he’s found the perfect suit. It was definitely worth the hunt because Al looks super dapper.
Rachel The Bride: Al and I got married at Barnsley House at the end of May this year. We chose Barnsley House because of the elegant but relaxed feeling and the stunning gardens. We wanted to get married outside and we chose the Temple as our perfect setting. The rooms were incredible and all the staff were professional but friendly. The food was absolutely wonderful too and we had a perfect day.
When I first got engaged my mum very kindly offered to buy my wedding dress for me – I am so grateful to her for that and we had lots of fun going shopping to find ‘the one’. My dress was by David Fielden and I found it in a beautiful boutique in Bradford-on-Avon, Carina Baverstock Couture. Carina was amazing the first time I went in and sat us (my Mum, Sister and I) down with a cup of tea and talked about how I wanted to look on the day before I tried any dresses on. Then she showed us lots of dresses and I started trying on the ones that I liked. I was convinced that I wanted a dress with lots of lace but as soon as tried one on it just seemed a little too much.
It wasn’t an easy decision for me as the dress in the shop was a sample dress so it was a bit big and a different colour. I’m so glad that I had my mum and sister with me to help with the decision. I wanted something that I would look elegant in and when I finally visited the boutique to try on my dress I was absolutely stunned. I couldn’t have been happier with it.
My only piece of jewellery was a pair of pearl and diamond drop earrings. I wanted something simple and elegant and as I was wearing my hair up I knew they would fit perfectly. The earrings were bought for me by my Aunty Sue (a very close family friend) as she wanted me to wear something on the day that was a gift from her. My hair piece was by Polly Edwards and I found it at the same boutique as my dress along with my veil. I was certain that I didn’t want a veil when I began my dress search but when I tried it on with the dress it just made it all the more perfect.
A Wedding Angel
My sister had worked for Clinique for a number of years and so she was the natural choice to do my make-up. I don’t wear a lot of make-up on a day to day basis and I knew that Soph would make sure I looked like myself on the day. We did a couple of trials before the big day and spent quite a lot of time and money shopping for make-up but that was all part of the fun.
I had always wanted our family hairdresser Liz Shipton to do my wedding hair. I went to her home in Wales to have a trial and took all my bits and bobs with me. Liz was amazing. On the day she didn’t leave until she was sure I was ready to go with my hair piece and veil securely attached and she helped me getting in to my dress too. She definitely is a wedding angel!
Claire from The Wilde Bunch did our flowers. We discussed the flowers for the table centrepieces and wanted something very natural with greens, whites and some pink peonies. Al then left Claire and I to discuss the bouquet, bridesmaid’s posies and button holes so that I could describe my dress to her. When I explained that I wanted to look very elegant and told Claire about the fit of the dress, she said she knew the perfect flower and showed me a picture of the ‘Gloriosa Lily’ which I loved. From there we built up my bouquet with beautiful peonies and red roses, the ‘Black Baccara’ and the sweet smelling ‘Ecstasy’ rose. When Claire delivered the flowers to our room on the day I was stunned at how beautiful they looked, as a bride in the planning stages it’s so hard to picture everything together but I think the flowers complimented the bridal party perfectly.
As we were having a very small wedding (only 13 guests) it was a very small bridal party. I had two bridesmaids, my sister and Al’s sister. I took the bridesmaids shopping a couple of times for dresses before we found some simple navy blue dresses with a detailed drop waist and cowl neck in Monsoon and they looked stunning. The shoes were from H&M but they matched the style of the dresses perfectly and the gold picked up on the small gold beads around the waistlines. I gave each of the girls their jewellery for the day as gifts. I chose different pieces that would suit each of the girls but they were all delicate gold pieces.
A Few Finishing Touches
Al had very definite ideas about what he wanted and he felt that the relaxed feeling around Barnsley House needed to be reflected in the clothing as much as anything else. His suit was from Reiss and the colour was ‘air force blue’, he looked very smart and I knew that with a few finishing touches it would be the perfect suit for him to get married in. We finished the suit off with some tan brogue style shoes from Marks and Spencer, a tan belt, a crisp white hanky placed in the top pocket and a lovely blue Hugo Boss tie. He looked incredibly handsome standing waiting for me outside and I was the happiest bride in the world walking down the aisle to meet him.
Couldn’t Be Happier
Our photographer was Sam Gibson and we found his website one evening after despairing that we would never be able to find ‘the one’. We wanted relaxed wedding photos, a photographer who could tell the story of our special day and not bark orders at our guests trying to take the perfect group shot. We met with Sam at our home and felt relaxed in his company. We looked through some albums of other weddings he had photographed and felt that he was the right photographer for us. Sam met with us at Barnsley House once before the wedding to get a feel for the place and to familiarise himself with the layout of the venue. On the day, he arrived at 12 noon to take some pictures of the bridesmaids and I getting ready for the 4pm ceremony. I hardly noticed Sam snapping away and felt completely relaxed with him in the room. He disappeared a few times to get some shots of the venue and of Al arriving but was there to capture the moment that I put my dress on.
Sam was so wonderful and stayed later than we’d thought he would to get some wonderful photos during the speeches and some photos of Al and I outside at the Temple after the sun had gone down. We’ve just received our amazing Wedding album as well as the slideshow that Sam created and couldn’t be happier with the results. I would recommend Sam to anyone as a truly gifted photographer.
Carrying On The Celebrations
I made the cake for the wedding day, a Chocolate Guinness cake (I made two and left one with my mum just in case we had an accident with the first one), which is one of Al’s favourites, presented on a floral cake stand. A couple of days later, we had a wedding reception locally to where we live with approximately 100 guests. We settled on a BBQ for the event and had a Marks and Spencer three tiered sponge with white icing and white ribbon. It was simple but effective and tasted good too!
As Al’s family, on his mum’s side are Welsh so we decided to have Welsh cakes as our favours. We ordered them from a company that we found in Mermaid Quay in Cardiff, Fabulous Welsh Cakes. We had ours shaped as little hearts with navy ribbon tied round the top to match the bridesmaids’ dresses. They were delicious and were a perfect touch.
At the reception we hired a band called The Dukes of Havoc. They played two sets and really got the party started. Everyone was impressed with them and had a great time dancing the night away. We wanted more of a party atmosphere at the reception with lots more guests there and The Dukes were perfect.
Our first dance was to ‘Stand by Me’ by Ben. E. King. In 2009 we spent six months travelling around the world together, listening to music on various road trips and we’re both musical people so there are lots of songs that are special to us. We didn’t want a song that was too slow or too traditional and both love the lyrics to this song.
I found a circular wooden wreath in a discount shop and hung a small white heart I had found in the centre of it and tied some ribbon onto the top. We hung it from a tree in the garden where we got married. At the reception, instead of a guest book, we left out disposable cameras for people to take their photo and then left out a pile of brown paper luggage tags with little hearts punched into them for people to leave us a message. I kept all our engagement and wedding cards too so that I can make up a book full of cards, hand written tags and photos as an alternative to a guest book.
It was all far more stressful than I thought it would be and it’s hard to please all of the people all of the time. I would say definitely have a think about the things that are most important to you both and then compromise on smaller things that you don’t mind as much about. I’m also really bad at making decisions and there are so many things to choose when it comes to a wedding so always keep your groom, a bridesmaid or mum close at hand to give you a second opinion.
How unbelievably stunning is Rachel?!
I love the flowers on the tables and the simplicity of it all. And how much do you want to try and Chocolate Guiness cake?… Sounds incredible.
I really like the thought of a small intimate ceremony. Something so personal to just share with those nearest and dearest to you. It was something we had discussed about our very own wedding but we really found it hard to be ruthless and cut the guest list, so massive props to Rachel and Al for being able to do it and have their day their way. I bet the party a few days later was equally as immense.
So tell me, are any of you having smaller weddings this year? and I KNOW you love Rachel’s bouquet.