How beautiful is Kara’s gown by Maggie Sottero?! We’re majorly swooning over those buttons and back detailing. And to think she almost didn’t try it on because it wasn’t the style she had in mind! Honestly if I had a pound for every time I’ve read a Bride say that, I’d be a very rich lady indeed. Try the dress on! Try ALL of the dresses on!!!
Kara and Si planned their wedding from Hong Kong, meaning that they got to use wedding suppliers from both sides of the world. (Including the lovely Frances Sales and Beauty Call from our recommended supplier directory, The Love Lust List). And isn’t the result fabulous? Let’s take a closer look…
What can be more special than having your wedding in the same place as your proposal? And that place just so happened to be a fabulous rustic barn on the Brides parents farm, making it an EXTRA special location to say I do.
Family and friends all chipped in to transform the industrial shed into a rustic haven, using hay bales, fairy lights and an abundance of gorgeous yellow blooms in milk bottles and milk churns, plus there was an actual tree to display ‘the family tree’ portraits.
There are so many more cheeky nods to the farm theme including cow cake toppers, cufflinks and of course a tractor but I can not leave without mentioning how utterly stunning Bride Elizabeth is, her flowing natural locks and gorgeous billowing Naomi Neoh gown, all captured perfectly by Michelle Wood Photographer have me green with envy.
All of the blooms in today’s wedding were grown by Jo’s Mum. I know. How talented is she??
It’s literally a plethora of floral gorgeousness in rustic terracotta pots. The mini displays on the pew ends are particularly lovely!
Jo’s elegant Pronovias gown fits her like a glove and her simple accessories are really striking.
Images come from Hannah-May, if you get a second, have a little read of her my story section on her website – it made me chuckle.
Rustic Wood And Brickwork
Jo The Bride: We wanted a barn – that was our main wish! We love exposed brickwork and rustic wood (both feature in our house!) and we wanted a venue to reflect our taste…The Ferry House Inn was perfect- a 16th Century Country Pub complete with a beautiful barn and incredible views across the Swale Estuary. It was the one and only venue that we viewed!
To top it off we made it a whole weekend of wedding celebrations with 35 of us staying in the nearby luxury Mocketts Farm Cottages which were absolutely gorgeous!
The beauty was simple really – I just wanted to look like me. No fancy up-do, no extravagant make-up. Just me. Booking my hair and make-up artist was easy- in fact it was one of the first things I did! I had been a bridesmaid for my brother two years previously and Emma Smisson did my hair and make-up then and she was amazing! She uses airbrush foundation and I cannot recommend it enough- my make-up stayed flawless all day!
Damn Those Spaniards
Ah the dress…I’m not ashamed to say that quite some time before we got engaged (I knew he was the one!) I had already fallen in love with Pronovias bridal gowns – damn those Spaniards can design beautiful dresses!
My dress, called ‘Balta’ was purchased from Teokath Bridal Boutique in Canterbury. I knew I wanted a vintage inspired lace dress that was simple in fit and intricate in detail and as soon as I put my dress on I knew she was the one!
This was one of my favourite things to organise! I wanted something elegant and classic for my hairpiece and after spending endless hours doing research I approached the incredible Jo of Jo Barnes Vintage who sourced, designed and made my beautiful bespoke vintage headpiece.
I opted for a vintage cuff which was designed and made by the extremely talented Victoria of Victoria Millésime Design London and it matched the belt on my dress perfectly!
Having a lot of friends I decided that rather than have a huge bridal party, I would have no bridesmaids at all and just two very beautiful flower girls; my niece, Lilly-Mai, and my goddaughter Phoebe. Both were around 15 months old at the time of the wedding, and Phoebe had only just started walking a few weeks before but they both managed to fly down the aisle!
We wanted something cute and modern for their outfits so opted for stripey ‘sundae’ dresses from Monsoon.
As for the boys, we decided to buy their suits from Next rather than hire them, and we went for a classic combination of navy blue and white- adding the polka dots to Ryan’s tie and hankie to set him apart from the others!
A Natural Blend
When it came to picking a colour scheme all we knew is that we didn’t want one! We wanted our day to be a beautiful natural blend of lots of different colours, rather than tying it to a particular theme. We wanted the overall effect to be relaxed, country and vintage and I think this is apparent in our décor which consisted of (a lot of!) home-made bunting, apple crates, bales of hay, vintage jugs and pots and hand crafted wooden signs.
Mum’s Are The Best
I am so proud to say that every single button hole (one for every guest!), pew end, jug, vase, pot and jam jar of flowers were grown from seed, and lovingly designed and arranged by my incredibly talented Mum. Gardening has not only been a career for my Mum but also an absolute passion of hers- when Ryan proposed and she offered to grow and put together the flowers for us we jumped at the chance because we knew that they would be beyond beautiful- and they were- I think the pictures speak for themselves!
We particularly loved the simple pew ends which were rustic jam jars filled with pink gypsophila and sweet peas and the wooden stepladder display showcasing vintage pots filled with flowers such as verbena, heartsease and lobelia.
Short And Sweet
Our ceremony was short and sweet- that was our aim! No readings or songs, just a simple ceremony during which I cried (quite a lot!), and Ryan broke the ice by hilariously being unable to say ‘lawful impediment’- instead- what came out (three times!) was ‘awful impediment’- I do hope he wasn’t trying to tell me something!
Live Acoustic Guitar
During the ceremony and drinks reception we had a live acoustic guitarist and singer- Andy was an absolute hit with everyone and he created the perfect atmosphere for our guests to enjoy their Corona and Pimms!
Our first dance song was to ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol, one of our favourite songs which has the most beautiful and fitting words. Following that we had a DJ – a friend who does all our family weddings- and I can honestly say he filled the dance floor all night!
Hearty Pub Food
When we started planning the wedding Ryan had only two requests (the rest was down to me!)- he wanted a hog roast in the evening and he wanted corona for the reception drink! We also opted for yummy canapés during the drinks reception including chicken satay, mini yorkshire puddings with beef and horseradish and homemade chipolata sausages. The menu consisted of hearty pub food including duck salad, lamb shank, mushroom wellington, banoffee pie and chocolate brownie cheesecake, all served with copious amounts of wine! We had so many comments about how incredible the food was!
The cake was one of my favourite parts of the wedding- I am not a big fan of traditional wedding cakes but I loooove victoria sponge with jam, fresh cream and strawberries (who doesn’t!) and so we opted for three tiers of exactly that, made and expertly put together by Raie of Raie’s Cakes.
To compliment this, as favours we made our own jam and decorated the jars with pretty floral fabric and luggage tags.
Hands On With The Stationery
Stationery was hugely important to us- I think the invites set the tone and give the first indication of the style of the wedding and so we wanted to get it right! Buying stationery was never an option for us- we wanted to be quite hands on and so we designed and made everything from the invites and luggage tag place names, to the table names and menus.
We centred all the stationery around a rustic theme using brown card, luggage tags and brightly coloured bunting (and I should add that every single paper flag was cut out by hand by either Ryan or myself which took hours!)
We Did It
If I had any advice to give to future brides and grooms it would be- do it your way- don’t be hung up on tradition-make your wedding reflect your own personality!
Also, make sure you steal a moment or two on the day with just you and your new hubby. We were lucky enough to be staying overnight at the venue so before our evening guests arrived Ryan and I popped upstairs to freshen up- as soon as we were through that door I flung my arms around him, looked into his eyes with a huge smile on my face and simply said ‘we did it’ and then we had a little dance all by ourselves. That for me was one of the most special moments of the day.
Recommended To The World
Hannah-May – our photographer. To say that this young woman is sensational at her profession would be an understatement- she captured our day in the most breath taking and beautiful way and no words of thank you would ever be enough to show our gratitude for the amazing memories she has given us through her photos. We would not hesitate to recommend her to the entire world!
We must also mention Kerrie, the wedding coordinator at our venue, who was absolutely incredible from day one- my emails (and there were a lot of them!) were always answered within a few hours, nothing was ever too much trouble and we generally couldn’t have asked for any more from her- an absolute godsend for us so ladies, if you want to plan your wedding in an organised, efficient and effortless manner- Kerrie and The Ferry House Inn are for you!
I first heard about Jeanine and Joe’s wedding when I received a excited text message from Ann-Kathrin Koch.
‘Lolly’, it began, ‘Yesterday I photographed the most amazing wedding. It was a magical fusion of a rustic farmyard soiree with a circus atmosphere. It had popcorn, a candy floss maker AND the most wonderful bride and groom. I can’t wait to tell you all about it.’
And almost instantly I was sold. In fact I was so intrigued by Jeanine and Joe’s big day that I waited on the edge of my seat for the sneak preview to appear on Ann’s blog and it didn’t disappoint. When Ann finally asked me if RMW wanted to feature it, it was as if Christmas had come early for me. I jigged on the edge of my seat, whooped and high-fived the rest of the RMW team.
And when you have a look at this gorgeous wedding I’ll think you’ll agree.
I’m told that the lovebirds met when Jeanine set off on a trip to Europe. She needed a place to sleep whilst visiting London and Joe offered up his free couch to this gorgeous Canadian girl for a few days. One thing led to another and after a hugely romantic long-distance relationship they eventually ended up getting married.
Not just once (the first time was in Lake Placid)… but TWICE.
Shall we take a look…
A Little Patch Of Paradise
Our ceremony took place at St.Winfred’s, the little church where my husband got baptized and our reception was on my father-in-law’s land and barn in East Dean, Hampshire.
All Will Be Well In The End
I went to a local hairdresser with my mother and sister the morning of the wedding. When I sat under the hairdryer with massive curlers on my head, I had no idea that I’d exit the salon looking like something out of Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion with an entire can of hairspray to hold it all together.
My sister and I had to do some damage control… and all was well in the end. As for make up, a sweet woman from Romsey came to the house and did my make up in my father in law’s living room to the sound of classical music. I was very pleased with the results… though I had to draw the line at coral-coloured lipstick.
Timeless And Classic
My dress was from Revival Retro in Kingly Court, London. The ‘Janet’ Dress – navy with cream lace. Timeless and classic.
I didn’t accessorize much. I wore little red rose bud earrings and, of course, my wedding ring, a vintage ring made from the chain link of an antique Victorian hand muff.
Polka dots are one of life’s little joys. And red polka dots are even better, which is why I couldn’t resist the shoes when I spotted them in the vitrine of Soho’s Fornarina.
The flower theme was wild flowers. My father in law woke at the crack of dawn to gather flowers from the nearby fields for the church.
My mother-in-law bought one hundred sunflowers from a local flower market and also arranged a bouquet of white dahlias for me.
One Dozen Ushers
I didn’t have any bridesmaids but my husband had twelve ushers. The dress code was summer casual and everyone dressed the part. The only unifying factor were the braces we bought for them at a second hand shop. We managed to purchase twelve mismatched pairs of braces for 20 pounds.
Joe and I went shopping for our outfits the weekend before the wedding. We had already been officially married in Lake Placid in December so we knew we’d be walking down the aisle together. We were looking for a vintage (dare I say, semi hipster) look.
His waistcoat and belt were second hand, he already had his shirt and tie, all he needed was a pair of blue trousers, red braces, mustard-colored socks and brown brogues to complete the outfit. It all came together perfectly and he looked dashing!
Of course, our ensembles wouldn’t have been complete without our fabulous hats, made by my amazing milliner brother-in-law Noel Stewart.
An Instant Connection
We were last minute wedding planners, which means that two months before the wedding, I was tweeting “Anybody know of a good film photographer in the UK?”
I really wanted a film photographer as I shoot film myself, and you simply can’t get any better than the grain and nostalgic feel of film. Charlotte Bland recommended Ann-Kathrin Koch.
We were sold on the first viewing of her website and, as luck would have it, she happened to be available on our wedding day.
When we first met via Skype, the connection was immediate and it was clear that she was the one.
A Country Magical Farmyard Circus Affair
We knew we wanted to break with tradition and have some sort of hoe down wedding. Think traditional English church ceremony meets Canadian alternative reception. My husband’s dad had a barn, which was our starting point.
The barn was full of stuff that had been sitting there, collecting dust, for many years. The cleaning of the barn took many weekends, buckets of sweat and a few scratches. A dance floor was laid, a wall torn down, the cobwebs dusted, and all the old furniture cleaned and strewn across the lawn and all over the garden.
In the end it was less hoe down and more of a county fair, a circus, a magical farm with festoon lights and bales of hay, a ton of red gingham, a popcorn machine, a bouncy castle, a candy floss machine, a photo booth, jars filled with bonbons of every flavour, 60 Chinese lanterns lit and hung from the barn roof, paths lined with bags of tea lights and little tables hidden in every corner of the English garden, tons of whiskey and a vintage Austen 7 car lent to us by my husband’s cousin.
We walked down the aisle to Etta James’s At Last.
I forgot to bring my bouquet with me to the church. Which brings me onto wedding advice part one… you will forget something and that is okay.
We didn’t have a wedding cake; instead we served a variety of pies for dessert including apple, berry, pecan and lemon meringue.
Tea, homemade lemonade, elderflower & ginger cordial and champagne with mini scones filled with strawberry jam and cream were served to a playlist of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and other various crooners.
A Sun-Lit Wheat Field
As you can tell from the photos, Ann put us completely at ease in front of the camera. We had such fun escaping the church crowd for an hour and finding a quiet sun-lit wheat field to sip whiskey whilst she snapped away.
There were no favours but we did have handkerchiefs monogrammed for the ushers and a few of my girlfriends to thank them for all their help and support.
We were meant to have our first dance to Candy by Paolo Nutini (a friend performed an acoustic version of this song for our first wedding), but somehow 11pm came around and we’d totally forgotten about the first dance.
Which brings me onto my second piece of wedding advice – you might forget MORE than one thing and that’s okay too.
In the evening, a friend’s band played hoe down/blues music in the barn – the dance floor was grooving. And then another friend DJ’d until the wee hours of the morning.
Our Own Special Touch
What made our wedding magical (aside from the glorious weather) is that we put our own special touches to it. It was a DIY wedding and it was very much us. From saying our own vows to the antique typewriter on which guests could type wedding advice to the newlyweds.
Don’t be afraid to break from tradition. What makes a wedding special is when people can say, “It was so them”; when it is infused with the bride and groom’s personality. Do as much as you can yourself – it makes the day more intimate and saves you a load of cash too. Also, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help.
Looking at this gorgeous wedding is like being warmed by the soft glow of the summer sun. Literally folks, you can feel the love radiating out from these wonderful images. Everyone looks so alive and happy.
I also know that I so wish I’d had a candyfloss maker at my wedding.
And a popcorn station.
And that I’d danced until the wee hours.
Because frankly who doesn’t want to hoe down with pink sugary fluff round their chops whilst the sun goes down…?
If you want to hear a little bit more about this gorgeous couple’s story, Jeanine goes into a whole lot more detail on her blog.
So it’s time to share part 2 of this stunning wedding, crisp, clean and very cool. We love.
And in this part you get to see the second dancing dress, (with cool shoe change too!) all the reception finishing touches and some simply beautiful photography.
Bring. It. On.
Our photographers were Christina and Jay from Elemental Weddings We had spotted them from another wedding they had photographed at our venue and booked them on the spot.
We had an engagement shoot last August so we could meet them before the wedding and feel a bit more relaxed about the photos.
We needn’t have worried as Christina and Jay are amazing and we cannot recommend them highly enough. They made us feel immediately at ease and you can tell how passionate they are about their work.
Reception in a Cow shed!
The reception venue was Kinkell Byre just outside St Andrews which is basically a posh cow shed! It was one of the first venues we saw and we knew it was the one for us – the stone work and oak barrels have rustic charm and the view over St Andrews Bay is one of my favourites.
Sandy who owns Kinkell Byre was so helpful with many aspects of arranging the day. Stevie at i-light productions arranged the lighting and spent considerable time with us making sure our cakes and centrepieces were properly lit. His work really brings the venue to life.
For the centrepieces, we had spotted large volcanic looking bowls which we wanted to plant up with a variety of succulents and tillandsias. We did this a few weeks before the wedding (again it was useful that Steve’s dad is a gardener!) We also had several white cascading phalaenopsis placed on the oak barrels.
Our caterer was Tania Dixon from Ginger Snap who also sourced all the cater hire and was very professional, and the food was excellent. We had an evening buffet of Simple Simon pies who are located in Biggar.
I had sourced silver birch trees on e-bay in January. I had visions of lovely leafiness but the reality was they looked pretty stick like for quite some time! Thankfully the warm spring weather did it’s thing and we had leaves on our sticks on the day.
I had spent the evenings making a ridiculous amount of pom poms (120 to be precise) which we were going to hang from the beams in the byre. When we actually saw the byre again in the flesh we realised this was not going to be an easy feat as the beams were far higher than we had anticipated. As I’d made and ‘fluffed’ the poms, Steve had the job of climbing a very tall ladder and throwing nylon thread over the beams to hang them. We decided it was better to have the groom in one piece than more pom poms hung!
Our save the dates and invitations were made by a friend of Steve’s who owns a series of vintage printing presses. Some of the fonts on our invitation are over 100 years old and the volcano block print featured was hand cut for us.
I started making the pebble place names in October with pebbles collected from Elie beach. Our tables were named after volcanoes we have either both or individually visited; Eyjafjallajökull, Mount Fuji, Pacaya, Tungurahua, Villarrica, Popocatéptl, and Ixtaccíhuatl.
A Cake Table
We had looked into various options for wedding cake all of which seemed crazily expensive. One Saturday in St Andrews we noticed a new cake shop that had opened called Bibi’s Bakery and we met Jenni. She is the most lovely lady and was so enthusiastic about ideas that we had. I knew I wanted to have a cake table with a selection of cakes for our guests to choose from rather than dessert.
We had a tasting session and chose several large sponges: Raspberry and Vanilla, Chocolate, Earl Grey, Coffee chocolate, Lemon, Chocolate and Pear, Chocolate peanut butter and animal cupcakes for the kids (penguin, polar bear, tiger and dog!) The cake domes were sourced online. The silver knife and cake server were both given to me as gifts for my 30th from my close girlfriends.
I had also sourced online very big round balloons which we filled with helium and tied with bakers twine – some of our guests had a lot of fun with those later in the night! During the tying process Stevie accidentally let go of one of the balloons and it floated way up out of reach into the rafters. Sandy (the byre owner) thought it would be fun to shoot it down but thankfully it was retrieved without a gun shot being fired!
Callanish provided our evening entertainment with a selection of celtic and contemporary music and we can’t recommend them enough. They also left their sound system so we could plug in our ipod for later.
For our first dance we had secretly attended swing dance classes for a few months last year. Usually when we were on our way to class someone would call (usually Steve’s mum) and I had to make something up (usually that we were on the way to the supermarket). Needless to say, now when we are actually on the way to the supermarket she doesn’t believe us. We attended a swing dance aerial’s workshop and latterly arranged a private lesson with Ben and Helen who don’t normally choreograph dances but since we knew a few moves they arranged something for us including a couple of the knicker flashing aerials we had learnt! The music was At the Woodchoppers ball.
Alison Kirk in Perth was where the shorter of the two bridesmaids dress’ was from. It was a teal Dessy dress and I loved the 1950s shape so much so that I opted for the same style in white for my surprise 2nd evening dress – in snow white. The staff at Alison Kirk were so lovely and Laura who did the alterations was fantastic. The high spike heels did prove problematic when walking across grass to the ceremony and of course these shoes were not made for dancing! So the shoes of choice for the evening were grey and red converse all stars (girls slim fit).
For favours, we decided as Scandophiles to celebrate Walpurgis Night (30th April) by setting off wish lanterns at the break in the dancing. The pebble place names were also taken home by our guests as a memento.
Advice from a Bride
For quite a bit of the day it was pretty surreal and the best way I can describe it is like being in a film. I thought I would feel very nervous walking down the ‘aisle’ and also thought I would cry saying my vows as they were very honest and heartfelt, but I actually felt very strong through the whole experience.
Our wedding didn’t really follow any theme other than things we like, although I suppose there was a strong volcanic element! To be honest it was our guests who made the day so special – we only had 50 guests but everyone was either close family or friends who we really wanted to be there.
Things will always happen that change your plans for one reason or another. My close friend who was to be a bridesmaid fell pregnant and was due to give birth a week after our wedding. She had to step down as bridesmaid on her midwife’s advice and it was touch and go whether she would actually make the wedding at all. I was overwhelmed when she managed to not only make the wedding but dance the gay gordons and party until well after the meal. It’s moments like that that make you realise what good friends you have. The effort our band made into making our ceremony very personal to us by agreeing to form for the day and learn and arrange songs for us meant so much and really made the ceremony.
The day passed so quickly and advice given to us was very true – that you need to take a step back every now and again through the day and take it all in. The times the two of you have together alone are also very special and one of my favourite parts of the day was having some photographs taken with my husband just after the ceremony.
Source things online and DIY if you can – it saves a remarkable amount of cash.
Stick with your instincts. Your head can be turned by lots of beautiful weddings on wedding blogs which can make you feel inadequate. Remember the day is about you and your husband and a party with friends. Keep it personal and it will work.
Here at Rock My Wedding we are huge fans of DIY and massive fans of wedding days filled with personality so we were jumping around with joy when we saw this Rebecca Honeywell photographed wedding. Rebecca has a knack of capturing the details perfectly and Boy, am I glad she did, as there is inspiration in practically every picture here.
We are going to kick off with the details first and in Part 2 tomorrow you can see the beautiful Bride and how the day itself panned out…
Sarah and Chris were married in September 2009, and here is the Bride to spill the beans on the planning…
An A-Maze-ing venue…
The Wedding was held at York Maze in Elvington. The ceremony was in the large barn and we used the fantastic PapaKata tents for dinner. We held the dancing in the large barn and used the smaller barn for the bar.
Chris and I don’t know a great deal about flowers, but knew we didn’t want lots of formal table centres – just something very simple. We loved the bottles that St Peter’s Brewery use for their beer so we got a few friends and family members involved in drinking their way through a hundred bottles or so to use as vases on the tables. We ordered roses in three different colours and used them on each table. The same roses were used for my bouquet and for the button holes. We just asked Angie at Garden of Eden florists in York to create an informal looking bouquet and some great button holes and she did a fantastic job with very little input from us!
Laid back style
As we wanted a very laid back day, more of a big party with all of our friends and family there to join in our celebrations, we decided not to have bridesmaids and ushers. We didn’t really have a colour theme either – we wanted the day to feel a bit like a village fete meets a beer festival meets music festival so we used all kinds of colours and it just kind of came together to look very pretty.
As Chris and I don’t like fruit cake the traditional wedding cake was never on our list. We considered making cupcakes but decided that we wanted to spend time with family in the run up to the wedding rather than worrying about whether the cupcakes would taste alright. Our caterer, Poppy Catering of York suggested a cake of three layers of Yorkshire cheese and as Chris and I love cheese we thought this was the perfect cake. And it served as a great snack for later on in the evening if guests were peckish.
In keeping with the beer festival theme our favours were pint glasses for the men and half pints for the girls. We had them customised with our Robot and Fairy stamp and the date of the wedding and everyone loved them. The glasses were a real memento of the day that people are still using. We bought the glasses from Barrit Glass Print.
As we were hoping for a village fete / festival vibe at the wedding we kept the decorating quite low key. We bought some fabric and ribbon from charity shops and made our own bunting. We hung the bunting in the large barn where we held the ceremony, along with some white fairy lights. We also bought some buttons from charity shops to thread onto wire to make hearts that we hung in the trees. We used some lovely stamps from Cox and Cox to create welcome signs and left little cards with taxi numbers on in case guests hadn’t booked one before they arrived.
Putting some Personality in to It
Without meaning to, the wedding day really showed our personalities perfectly. Chris loves beer and I have a very sweet tooth so we ended up with two accidental themes for the day! From walking down the aisle to Lollipop Lollipop by the Chordettes to my sweetie stand near the bar, my sweet tooth was very evident. We also used sweet necklaces instead of napkin rings and tucked in the person’s name, which was stamped onto cream card. As well as pint glasses as favours and beer bottles as vases, the beer theme continued with each table being given the name of one of Chris’ favourite beers.
You should all know by now that I am a little details obsessed, and this wedding has just blown me away! Just how pretty is all of this? And an interesting exercise in how a colour scheme isn’t important, but style is. All the seemingly random components of this wedding day come together with a rustic country theme to create a seamless style, perfectly capturing Sarah and Chris’ personalities.
Stop by again tomorrow to see the couple themselves and the countrified ceremony, gorgeous dress and a whole lot more pretty.