Lisa and Alex had a cosy post Christmas winter wedding at Cripps Barn near Cirencester. Styled by Lauren from Ladyamy event design the day was filled with rustic details incorporating Kraft paper, old coffee sacks and pine cones to create decor with a rustic-luxe feel. I love that Lisa and Alex are both foodies and so named the tables after their favourite restaurants and they treated their guests to big sharing antipasto plates and roast beef.
Lisa looked stunning in her Halfpenny London gown set against candlelit rooms twinkling with fairy lights
Lisa The Bride: We wanted somewhere away from London and the madness, a venue that we knew we could trust, with a good reputation, but was not too polished and pristine. Cripps Barn is beautiful while being charmingly rough around the edges. We also love that part of the world, it is so English and lent itself perfectly to a winter wedding.
I am very lucky to have the A-team of hair and make up in my family; my dad, Nick Foster-Brown and step mum – Charlotte Foster-Brown. They were so involved in every part of the wedding, both in planning and on the day. I could never have managed it without them. They dedicated their rare days off to helping plan the decor and also playing around with my look until we found the right one. I wanted to keep it natural and ‘me’ – just a much better version of me! Charlotte loves to use products like Chanel Lumiere Foundation and Clinique Chubby Lip Pencils. On the morning of the wedding they had a strict hair & Make-up schedule for the Bridesmaids and I which kept us well on time allowing for a cheeky glass of champagne altogether before heading off to the ceremony.
I was very lucky when it came to finding my dress. I didn’t want anything big or too traditional and was struggling to find anything I loved that was within my budget…until I went to a bridal sample sale with my Bridesmaid, Lucy. Just before Lucy arrived I had found Kate halfpenny’s boutique stall; the only stall that caught my eye at the show thanks to her vintage, elegant, unfussy styles. It just so happened that, by fantastic coincidence and unbeknown to me, Lucy and Kate had worked together on shoots before and were friends. Kate was very kind and sold me the dress within my budget plus an accessory, which she kindly also fitted to the dress for me. She also made my veil of antique French lace.
The time old tradition of ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ sort of accidentally fell in to place. Since I had the embellishment piece on my dress I wanted to keep my accessories fairly minimal (minimal for me anyway!). The jewellery theme grew from the base of the marcasite earrings which were my late Grandma Nanan’s. I wanted to ensure I wore a piece of hers since she was so special to me and had timeless style. My Mum bought me a new matching bracelet for my birthday pre-wedding. The fur jacket was borrowed from my wonderful friend Natalie who did a reading at the ceremony, and the vintage shoes are my Grandma Valerie’s. As for the ‘blue’…. That was the colour of my bridesmaids’ outfits- who were by my side all day.
I wanted the bridesmaids to be in something a bit different to the usual chiffon bridesmaids dresses so chose navy lace peplum dresses by Adrianna Papell . Her dresses are really versatile to suit all shapes. Our friend Tim Horsley who Alex went to school with is a top bespoke tailor and very kindly made Alex’s blue 3 piece suit. They chose the fabric, style, buttons… Everything together. Tim also made the best men, Oli and Andreas’ suits. All the ushers were also all in blue suits of various shades which made for some cool photos on the day of ‘the lads’ altogether.
We wanted the atmosphere to be a natural, rustic wintery theme; really cosy, romantic & warm, so went very heavy on the candle light, roaring fireplace, rustic wooden décor and touches of deep red and green foliage. My mum and step dad collected hundreds of glass jars leading up to the wedding which they filled with sand and 10-hour slow burn candles so they would last the day which we scattered all over the venue. My Sister and Brother-in-law made tons of cream lace and hessian bunting which we used to soften the look throughout the ceremony and dinner area. My step mum made all the hessian table cloths which took a lot of blood, sweat and tears but were well worth it as they completely made the dining area our perfect setting. We were desperate not to have the really polished look of white table cloths. We also had lots of old apple crates scattered around as tables and seating areas topped with hessian pillows which my step mum also made. I could go on forever about all the extra touches that people helped to create but in general it was a massive team effort and I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful family who never tired of offering their help.
We were lucky enough to find Katie Griffiths an amazingly talented florist who was able to transform my rambling descriptions of my vision on the phone into dream flowers that perfectly suited our day. I loved my bouquet so much that we are having it preserved! It was better than I could have hoped for. It consisted of Piano Frieland roses, vandella roses, spray roses, brunia berries, quicksand roses, scabiosa pods, rosemary, senecio, viburnum berries, ranunculus, anmones, wax flower and seeded eucalyptus. Considering it was winter, blooms were expensive so we had to be very creative with the table centres so as not to blow the budget. Katie immediately understood my idea and took it to a new level on the day. We had tall clear vases of twisted hazel, pine cones and red berries surrounded by moss at the base. The fireplace and hanging basket decorations were also gorgeous.
Declan Zapala, a fantastically talented guitarist played our guests into the ceremony and Jeremy Stubbings was our head DJ who controlled all the music throughout the day from the ceremony, reception, dinner playlist, first dance to last amazing set. He really kept the momentum of the day with the music. We wanted our first dance to be fun and get the dance floor going. We decided on Luther Vandross, ‘Never Too Much’ one night at Glastonbury Festival when everyone was dancing like mad to it!
Pearce Byrne, Aaron Fitzgerald and Alex’s best man Oli Boughton also played mega sets. We were so lucky to have them all there seeing as they are in hot demand in many a East London venue.
Alex and I are both big foodies so the catering was part of the reason why we chose Cripps Barn. They have a gigantic rotisserie outside and all round fab, plentiful food. We wanted the dinner to be very social to get the guests chatting so had tapas style starters to kick things off. We then had big wooden boards of rotisserie rib-eye beef which were carved at the tables. We nominated a carver at each table by putting a chefs hat on each of the carvers place settings which proved a giggle and made for some great photos. Dessert of brownies with marscapone were so yummy that many people smuggled extras home in handbags! My lovely foodie friend, Rebecca Brett, kindly offered to make the edible favours. Everyone commented on how delicious the chocolate treats were.
Guests were invited to contribute to our cake table and we were overwhelmed with how professional the bakery was from the likes of Roaya Garvey who made individual chocolate brownie stacks with pistachio icing & candied petals and Jemma Foster made fantastic ‘pucker up lips’ lollies. The centre piece was the wedding cake which my step mum Charlotte masterfully made. She is a true cake decoration expert! Wooden tree stumps were used instead of cake stands to make for a more rustic appearance.
We really wanted our personal touch to come through at the wedding so a lot of it was done DIY style with help from all our family and friends. Stationery was great to show our personality. Each place setting had it’s own printed menu on a brown paper bag stuffed with a favour and clipped with a wooden peg. Alex’s best man, Andreas Brooks who is a very talented graphic designer kindly designed our Order of Ceremony in a ‘tie the knot’ booklet which once opened, had brown string running through which pulled taught in a ‘knot’. Andreas and one of the ushers, James Lawson, an awesome illustrator, designed our table names together. Names were chosen from our favourite restaurants around the world. James really brought the table names to life.
A wedding goes by so quickly, in a blur. Before you know it its all over. Somehow try and step back, observe it and take stock. Like setting a time and sneaking out to a secret spot with your ‘husband’ (!) and then peaking in from where people can’t see you watching. It’s an amazing opportunity, once in a lifetime really, to have all your loved ones in one place and you want to be able to savour it, not just blink and wonder where time flew!
Ellie Gillard photographed our wedding and we were so thrilled with the result. We wanted someone who would capture ‘moments’ rather than set up shots and she did just that and she didn’t miss a thing! We also had the expert touch of stylist Lauren Magovern on the day who proved totally invaluable. As we got closer to the wedding day, I realised that we had so many different decorative elements that we needed put in place on the day that if our families and us tried to manage it all on the morning then we would never enjoy it. So we enlisted Lauren as our wedding stylist. We handed over everything to her the day before with details of how we wanted everything laid out at the venue and she totally ran with it on the day and exceeded all our expectations. I would recommend her service to everyone!