Sarah and Jon met at university in Bath ten years ago and despite living in London together ever since, Somerset was their chosen location for a relaxed summer celebration. Court Farms‘ relaxed ethos gave them the opportunity to make the day exactly how they wanted it.
I was amused to read that Sarah often refers to Jon as “Sweets” as he is made up of 95% Haribo.
I’m not far off that myself – at last count I was 72% fizzy cola bottles.
Photography today is by my unashamed man crush and camera master, Mister Phill.
It Fit Like A Glove
Elizabeth Avey saved the day! Me and my Mum had been to a couple of shops before but I had left them feeling cold and very worried that I would never find something I’d feel comfortable in. I’m not much of a figure hugging/glamorous/sophisticated/‘look at me’ dresser and I just felt silly in all the ones I tried on. There seemed to be rails of stiff white satin and diamante ruffles that whilst being a lot of fun to peruse, just weren’t up my street.
I spent a lot of time drooling over the American websites like Saja and was frustrated that you couldn’t get the more laid back girly (and a lot more affordable) dresses here. I did at first panic buy a similar ethereal Monsoon number but my heart wasn’t in it and I resold it soon after!
Having come across the lovely Elizabeth Avey online, we made an appointment to visit her North London studio. Good job we did. Looking at the rails, my eyes lit up. It was a treasure trove of inspirational vintage lace and it felt a bit like being allowed behind the scenes at the V&A. ‘The’ dress had just been put out that morning and hadn’t even been steamed yet. But it fit like a glove and made my Mum cry. Definitely the one. Sourced from L.A, it was a 1950s beauty that had just the right amount of simplicity and classic old-school glamour I was after. The bow at the back and the unique ribbon detailing was a sweet little twist that made me smile too!
Once In A Lifetime
I knew I wanted to wear a veil as it’s the only time in your life you get to! My Mum has kept hers in the attic for the last 38 years and it just happened that the aged flowers & and colour of the netting matched the dress perfectly. Being so close to my Mum, it felt very special to be wearing it on the day. We did shorten it slightly so that the proportions were right with the dress. At the suggestion of Heidi the hairdresser, my Mum also removed some of the flowers and attached them to a satin covered pipe cleaner that could be intertwined with my plaits (to be revealed later in the day when the veil was removed).
Jewellery wise, I wore my Nain’s (Welsh for Grandmother) engagement ring and a delicate bracelet I bought from Gillian Million in Teddington to add a bit of sparkle. I’m pretty minimal in my jewellery wearing and felt that a necklace would interfere with the scalloped neckline of the dress.
I mustn’t forget to mention the incredible surprise Jonny had planned on our big day. During the morning preparations, there was a knock on the bedroom door.. I opened it to find a giant Sylvanian squirrel looking up at me, clutching a beautiful handbag. As if the giant sylvanian wasn’t enough of a surprise (who knew they existed?!), inside the dreamy tan leather shopper, was a hard backed, dust jacketed book of our travel blog that he’d worked his socks of to produce in the months before. I had wondered why he’d suddenly have to do lots of late nights and early starts at work… He actually took my breath away with it’s lovingly crafted detail and I’m sure you can imagine the amount of squealing six bridesmaids can achieve at such a romantic gesture. If you’re wondering what the deal is with Sylvanian squirrels – I was rather a big fan as a kid and when we were first dating, he’d given me one as a gift for my birthday. Inside the little creature’s satchel was again, the most unexpected surprise of a diamond ring. What can I say, he’s good at suprises!
What led me to that story was that alongside the treasured book, was another squeal inducing Kate Spade giftbox containing a stunning pair of pearl bow studs that couldn’t have complimented my dress more perfectly. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
As I said before, I don’t have the most sophisticated of wardrobes and high high heels aren’t my thing. I needed something to give me a little bit of height and elegance but still wanted to have to reach a little bit to kiss Jon (we’re both pretty short). I ended up going with a pair of suede dandelion coloured pumps that I ordered online from J Crew. I did have shoe wobbles in the final weeks before the big day which led me to late night dazed frenzies in Selfridges after work trying to find another more classicly weddingy pair. I shouldn’t have worried as I wore the yellow ones in the end and received lots of compliments! Doh. I also had a pair of gold glittery flats for a bit later on when I was tired of sinking heals in the grass.
A Right Of Passage
Heidi Vince did my hair, who I found online. She did a great job on the day. I wanted something loose and natural, as I’m not one for wearing my hair up.
We did our own makeup. I was extremely lucky that my bridesmaids had treated me to a suprise girly night in, complete with champagne, cupcakes, sushi and a professional makeup artist a couple of months before the big day. As with my hen do, I was completely blown away by their meticulously thoughtful planning and generosity. I also had a few tutorials at Mac and Bobbi Brown counters, so doing my own makeup was a good excuse to treat myself to some nice new kit and to learn the proper ways of doing things. Hopefully I did ok..
With 6 of us, it was good fun getting ready! I had imagined that I’d be a quivering bundle of nerves, completely unable to wield an eyeliner wand with any degree of accuracy but it turned out to be a magical morning with my bestest friends that I will remember forever. Having grown up with a lot of them, it felt a like a bit of a right of passage having them there and I’m really glad they were all part of it.
We used The Walled Garden in Mells for our florals. They were brilliant. We went for a selection of white wild flowers with little accents of mustard/golden yellow. They delivered the buckets the day before and gave us a quick lesson so that we could arrange them in our own Habitat vases. They understood exactly what we were after from the chats we’d had and moodboards we’d provided. We were very happy when the bouquets and button holes arrived on the big day – the sweetpeas and mint smelt incredible and they were put together just as we’d hoped.
So Very Dapper
What a hottie. Jon/Sweets was more handsome than I ever could have dreamed of. He wore a gorgeous suit from Reiss, which was the perfect shade of bluey grey for a summers day. As he never needs to wear a suit for work, it was quite a treat seeing him look so very dapper. All the men in the wedding party wore our invitations, (which were printed on handkerchiefs) in their breast pocket. It was nice little detail to bring them all together, along with their navy ties.
The moment I saw Jon I felt completely at ease after hopping about and taking the obligatory deep breaths outside the ceremony room. When I was little, I hadn’t wanted to get married for fear of having to stand up in front of everybody and I was a little bit terrified in the weeks before! That fear and shyness evaporated as soon as I was standing next to my husband. It felt like just me and him (apart from the bit where I had to fight the giggles because I noticed that my little niece was posting leaves from the bouquet into my Mum’s mouth). It makes my tummy flutter thinking of him standing there holding my hand.
The incredible (and now infamous amongst our friends) Mister Phill was our one and only choice when it came to capturing our big day and the first decision we made. We’re not the best at making decisions and it turns out there are lots to be made when planning a wedding, but that one was unquestionable. Luckily he was available and willing to help!
Phill had been my brother’s tutor at university and had shot his winter wedding a couple of years ago. We knew then that we’d never want anyone else responsible for documenting every little detail. Being visual people ourselves, the style of photography and the way the day that we’d put so much into, would be captured for eternity was a big deal.
It was such a weight off to have complete faith in somebody to take care of it. He really is a magician and never ceases to amaze in the work that he does in such a sensitive, accommodating, visually awe inspiring and incredibly witty way. Genius.
There was certainly no shortage of sweet treats. We had a three tired, triple flavoured wedding cake made by Bath Baby Cakes, decorated with wildflowers picked from the garden that morning and toppers we’d painted from Goose Grease on Etsy (me, Jon and Buddy our cat who featured in quite a lot of the décor, namely Buddy’s Bar).
We also invited guests to take part in a bake off, to which the response was totally magnificent! The creativity and talent displayed amongst our friends was fantastic and very touching indeed. From a green tea flavoured Mount Fuji, a German Friendship Cake, to the winner – a Giant replica Tunnocks Teacake. Mary Berry would have been proud.
Mosh Pit Mayhem
Entertainment was tricky as our budget wasn’t massive but we really wanted a band. We love going to festivals and felt that the barn was begging for it. We came across Rockit online and decided to go with them despite never having heard them live – they had a set list that we knew would get our friends on the dance floor without the cheesy wedding classics we wanted to avoid. The gamble paid off as the guys made our day complete, with a mosh pit and many an encore that led to me and jon being hoisted onto friend’s shoulders to a soundtrack of Sweet Child of Mine – an end to the night we will never forget!
Tickets To What You Need
The band very kindly learnt our first song, which was Badly Drawn Boy ‘Tickets to what you need’. We played it a lot in our first year at Bath University and will always remind us of those early days. It just seemed very apt.
We didn’t have favours as such but did get lots of little pin badges made up, each featuring the illustrations from our invitation. Everybody had one of these stuck to their place cards at the meal and they also filled bowls on the bar. They went down a treat.
Making And Planning
As we’re graphic designers, we felt it was super important to have every little detail reflect us as a couple – from the ceremony to the shape of the confetti. Between us, we had a lot of ideas and had a lot of fun doing all the making and planning together.
There was no end to Helene and James’s (the owners of Court Farm) generosity when it came to transforming their grounds into a wedding venue. We loved the way that it had lots of little areas that we could use for different parts of the day. It felt just right for us and enabled us to put our stamp onto every element – from the highly personal ceremony (we got ‘officially’ married at Chelsea Old Town Hall two days before with just my brothers as witnesses), to the twinkly Dawson’s Creek style lighting.
We had trawled the internet for different locations and as soon as we stood in the blank canvas of the old barn with it’s dramatically framed view of the rolling hills meeting the wide Somerset skies, we knew it was the place for us (they even arranged for a double rainbow to be added to that equation on the day).
The blank canvas also meant that we had LOTS to do. We both turned into recluses in the months before the big day, as we had great visions of what we wanted to achieve to fill the vast spaces. We didn’t buy a lot in terms of décor apart from reams of paper and cloth in varying shades of white. We nailed together wooden signposts, cut up metres of ribbon, folded hundreds of origami cranes, painted giant banners, stitched garlands of circles, printed order of ceremonies with their secret envelopes of bird shaped confetti and all manner of other paper ephemera. My Mum was incredible, wiring up jam jars for tealights and sewing the invitations… not to mention MAKING THE BRIDESMAID DRESSES! We couldn’t have done it without her and also the help of our friends and family with all the putting up and taking down. Hopefully they agree that all the hard work was well worth it.
It was small, intimate and lots of fun – just how we wanted it and a true celebration of our marriage with the people we love best. Having it in a venue that our family could stay at made it extra special. We were really pleased that we took the opportunity to serve the pies at dinner, it meant that we had a proper chance to speak to our day time guests without the formality of a receiving line. Also, we wanted to take the pressure off the guys a bit and have quite informal speeches, gathered in the barn before dinner. They were hysterical; Jon, Neil and my Dad did themselves proud and it was definitely one of the highlights.
At the time of the wedding, we would have probably said that we’d taken on too much doing it all ourselves with full time jobs, a never ending Teux Deux list of things to make (that App was indispensible), no event planning experience and nobody helping to coordinate between suppliers (apart from hugely supportive parents), especially on the day itself. It was daunting and quite stressful at times! However, looking back, all that disappears into insignificance. Thanks to the help of Excel and my Dad, it was a hiccup-free and better than all the site plans, spreadsheets and Pinterest boards we could have envisaged. A paper engineered day of love and laughter and truly the happiest time of our lives.
Venue – Court Farms
Dress – Elizabeth Avey
Bracelet – Gillian Million
Shoes – J Crew
Hair – Heidi Vince
Flowers – The Walled Garden
Photographer – Mister Phill
Cake – Bath Baby Cakes
Band – Rockit
Love the fact that the bride and groom served up pie and mash for all their guests – What a great way to ensure that you get to speak with all of your loved ones, whilst making sure they get fed at the same time.