A Marriage At River Cottage.

Mike and Esmè Married at St Gregory’s Church in Seaton and had their reception at River Cottage.

That’s right folks – The River Cottage made famous by Hugh Fearnley “kill-a-rabbit-with-my-bear-hands-for-breakfast” Whittingstall!

Prepare yourselves for a visual feast as we head down to Dorset in the South West.

The magnificent Sam Gibson was on hand with a box of lenses to capture this rural delight in all its glory.

Wow Factor.

River Cottage Hq was the most amazing venue. The location, staff and food were relaxed and overall the place had an amazing wow factor.

Cat our wedding Co-ordinator was a super star, from the moment we walked down the wobbly hill to River Cottage we knew this was our place. Cat was always on the end of the phone or email when needed, but also was very relaxed about the day and helped us choose the food giving us ideas on how to use River Cottage for the day. We had the speeches outside in the garden with champagne and canapés, then the yurt for coffee after the meal.

The chef gave a toast to the guests explaining how the spit roast lamb was prepared and how he and the team had prepared the meal. They used veg from my father’s farm which was great to incorporate into our day. My dad doesn’t normally like courgettes but did on this day – the way the chef had cooked them, delicious!

The staff where so good on the day and so happy, the guests again commented on how good all the staff were. Simon the master of Ceremony for the day was brilliant. Helping us throughout the day and helping with guest requests. All in all River Cottage, Cat and the team were Wonderful.

The Dress Search.

After much looking around and having a very bad experience in many shops we finally found a wonderful shop called Days of Grace in Budleigh Salterton, Devon. Carole the owner was amazing and on my second visit to her we walked into the shop and there it was, hanging on the rail by the front door – ‘THE DRESS’ a Maggie Sottero. ‘The Tabrette Marie’ made with French taffeta and wonderful jewels around the waist band.

It wasn’t what I thought I would have chosen, as in my dreams from a child I thought I would have the big princess style dress but this one was so different and elegant. All the dresses in Days of Grace where sample dresses from a shop in Exeter called Pirouette which also made the price very good as well.

Straps And Jewels.

The shoes!!! What a nightmare – I suffer from MS and find it very difficult to walk in heels so trying to find shoes which were not only pretty, but ones I could walk in, was a challenge! If I had the time I would have designed some myself!! But Pirouette came to the rescue and found me a lovely pair of Rainbow wedding shoes which had a strap across the top of my foot and a jewelled buckle to the side. Quite high but I had my father to hold on to for the church walk and i changed my shoes once at River Cottage to a flat pair bought from Next. Ballerina shoes with lots on jewels on the front, it didn’t matter as no one could see my feet!

Tame Those Locks.

My make-up, the bridesmaids and mothers where done by Becky from Changing Faces. Again an amazing service from the first contact, to the day. Becky listened to us all, taking account of what we liked and didn’t like and Wow she did good, it stayed on all day.

Our hair was done by one of our great friends Claire who has only in the last year taken the plunge and opened her own hair salon called Salon 27 in Seaton, Devon.

I have very long hair and Claire tamed it beautifully, all to one side with lovely curls and the bridesmaids all had there’s to one side in a loose bun with flowers that matched the bouquets. She closed the shop for us so we could all be there and Becky could be there as well, keeping a running chain of people from 8am till 11am. We had nails, hair and make-up done (all together 7 of us – they were amazing).

A Mix Of Flowers And Herbs.

We wanted wild flowers as we had no real theme to our wedding apart from a loose relaxed and countryside feel.

Claire from Haughty Culture in Honiton was also brilliant. I didn’t have much idea what flowers where called but had a photo and an idea of what I wanted. Oh my god she did a fabulous job! The bouquets, button holes, hair flowers and confetti all looked stunning with Mint, Thyme and all types of flowers, too many to name, but best of all Claire found a hydrangea called Esme which was used in everyone’s flowers, even in the little hair pieces she made. Brilliant!

Hello Husband!

Mike had found a shop in Exeter called Dyfed Menswear – their suits were nice and also you could collect them a week before the wedding. This meant someone didn’t have to rush into town to collect on the Friday before and we knew we had time to change some sizes if needed. Mike chose the colour for the wedding party which was Teal. He chose morning suits in dark grey shimmer for all the men with Teal cravats and for himself a cream cravat.

Mike being a fire-fighter wore his dress uniform for the ceremony and changed into his suit for the wedding breakfast. He looked a dream come true and Fwaaar…

“Hello that’s going to be my Husband” Is what I thought as I walked down towards him.

Relaxed And Helpful.

From the moment we saw Sam Gibson’s website we knew he was the one. He was relaxed and very helpful (No hard sale – no you must do this and I won’t do that).

On the day Sam appeared smartly dressed, calm, cool and dived straight in taking photos of us girls getting glammed up at Salon 27. We didn’t really even know the photos were being taken. Boy I was a nervous wreck all morning. He then went to the boy’s residence and from there on to the church. No questions asked, he did his research; going down the day before to meet Cat our wedding co-ordinator at River Cottage, speaking to the vicar, driving round to each place he needed to be at on the day. He knew where each event was happening. He even had breakfast with my Dad in the morning as they stayed in the same hotel.

Sam was everywhere but not in your face, come to think of it I can’t remember seeing him much through the day at all. He even helped us set up a couple of things as we could not get something to work. Then at around 10pm he came to do a last shot of us and say goodbye, bless him he must have been so tired.

Three weeks after the wedding the email came to say we will get the photos the next day, Aaaahhhh I screamed to Mike. Oh my god, what we got was amazing! A slide show DVD and a second disc with the photos on. We watched the slide show, Mike cried and I screamed with joy as we got to see our wonderful day. I cannot put into words how wonderful Sam’s photos are and how amazing Sam is! Most people have watched the slide show and all want copies, they all said how great he was on the day. I see him as a friend now who made our day come to life for the rest of our lives.

A Dusting Of Sugar.

We had a 3 tier Victoria sponge cake made by one of Mike’s mothers friends and yum yum, it was delicious. No icing just dusted with icing sugar and strawberries, raspberries and pink roses. Very plain but very pretty, no fuss.

That’s Jazz.

We had a local jazz band called Arcadia from Axminster, Devon. Boy they were good, they started at 6pm and finished at 9pm and everyone loved them. Mike and one of his ushers even had a little dance together. A great band, very friendly and very professional.

More Than Words.

Our first dance was to Extreme ‘More Than Words’. This is a song that is close to us as we were together around 8 years ago then parted for 3 years before we realised we loved each other too much and had to be together for the rest of our lives. On the day we arranged to meet up again Mike played this song as we reminisced about old times and we knew this would be our first dance at our wedding!

Pump Up The Jam.

Our favours were small jams that we used as name places. Me and my mother spent two days making the name tags for each one, sewing, sticking and tying to each little pot. We also made small sewn hearts for each lady with a name tag sewn on the front of each saying ‘Mike & Esme’ and on the back was the date ‘6th August 2011′

candles And Wild Flowers.

At the church we had many plain church candles which we bought from Ikea and dotted around the church.

At River Cottage they had put lots of bunting around, jam jars of wild flowers, lots and lots of candles and also we arranged to have 4 fire posts from another local company to be put around the garden outside the yurt which gave light at night and a little bit of warmth. They were also used for cooking marshmallows on, which River Cottage had laid out for the guests.

The Best Bits.

We had many parts of the day which were so special to us – Mikes Crew from Seaton fire station doing a guard of honour for us as we left the church, a classic fire appliance to take Mike & I to River Cottage from the church, having great bridesmaids, best man and ushers helping us wonderfully throughout the day, the tractor ride down to River Cottage from the Top of the hill… the list is endless.

A Final Thought.

My advice would be to take it all in through the day as it goes so quick, do as much as you can to save cost and give it a personal touch. Most of all enjoy it!

Venue River Cottage

Dress Maggie Sottero

Shoes Rainbow Club

Make-up Changing Faces

Blooms Haughty Culture

Suit Hire Dyfed Menswear

Photography Sam Gibson

Entertainment Arcadia

River Cottage certainly does have the WOW factor… I had no idea it was a venue for hire (maybe I shouldn’t admit that?) and if you are a real “foodie” it must go straight to the top of your dream reception destinations.

Talking of food, I’ve got to mention that victoria sponge… it’s made me hungry just looking at it and the florals take it firmly into dream territory too. Also, can I have a great big ruddy fire engine at my wedding too please? Thanks, bye!


Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

22 thoughts on “A Marriage At River Cottage.

  1. WOWooo!!!I love Devon,so beautiful!!!And love her grown headpiece!!All of these details are so wonderful!!!I love them!! And the last two photos are super!!!

  2. What a stunning bride! And can I just say how handsome groom looks in his uniform! I am enjoying his massive belt buckle greatly!

    This had made me super excited for my own honeymoon late August/early Sept – we’re touring Devon (starting with two nights at Burgh Island!) and are finishing it all off with a bread making course at River Cottage!

    Thank you for sharing!


  3. Morning lovely ones…

    I’m with Adam on the whole “I want that Victoria sponge” thing (yes even for breakfast…)

    @Grace – I like all of your exclamation marks, you sound VERY excited 🙂

    @Pamela – Have never heard the expression “I am enjoying his massive belt buckle greatly” before but I like it. A Lot.

    @Sarah – you want ALL of the men in uniform? 😉

    @Claire – Were you the one who rang Sam Gibson? he just told us he received an enquiry before 9am -cool.

    Charlotte xxx

  4. Love this River Cottage wedding, its so pretty and rural and just the right amount of “fuss”! I keep joking to Mr Carol to be we should do a butchery course there as part of our honeymoon. I think Pamela’s idea of bread making might be a bit more appropriate!

  5. Ah gotta love a man in uniform (I love a man in uniform so much that I married him so I might be a bit biased x)

    Lovely shots, and how pretty is Dorset! Makes me want to go on holiday 🙂

    Bad cake picture though – I’m trying very hard to fit in my jeans again after honeymoon and Christmas so photos of cake are really not helping! Hmm, wonder if there’s a cake shop anywhere near here…..


  6. The cake does look delicious, I am thinking of adding one of those to my collection of cakes …. But that would mean baking it to photograph then eating the whole thing? Yummy!

    @Charlotte – I too had no idea you could hire river cottage, I though Hugh lived there all the time??? Stunningly beautiful though.

    The dress is stunning on Esme, I love the fireman axe shot….. Gorgeous images too, and I love a bit of TEAL! Some good Friday pretty.

  7. Such a beautiful wedding :o)

    We’re having Sam for our wedding and we can’t wait!! We’ve already had our engagement shoot and the pictures were amazing.


  8. @Carol…seriously, I am a going to be exposed as a total fraud when we go on the River Cottage course…

    I cannot cook or bake a thing! And the trifle that my family gave me to make for Christmas (because surely she can’t get that wrong!) ended up being thrown down the loo! It was trifle milk shake!

    I think the Big C (husband to be!) has organised it on purpose! He wants a bread making wife but I cannot do cheese on toast!


  9. Adam, I had no idea you could have events at River Cottage either, you’re not alone! It looks amazing though, so pretty, and the reception venue looks gorgeous!

    Love the flowers and the big red Dennis!


  10. I’m suddenly feeling the need for a giant fire engine as wedding transport. We have no connection to it at all but still

    And that cake… the January diet is being seriously threatened by it – might get my bake-on this afternoon.

    I too thought Hugh lived there all the time?!?! Seriously cool venue though!


  11. Oh dear 🙁 I have serious venue envy!
    And fire engine envy(!)
    And that bouquet is completely beautiful! As is that dress – Esme, you look divine.

    This looks like a magical, rustic day. I applied to RC for events work experience in 2005 but, alas, never got to go 🙁


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