Oh I do love barn weddings. Especially ones in the Cotswolds with pretty vintage details, bundles of gypsophila and mismatched Bridesmaids.
And this one is full of so many lovely details – I just know you’re going to love it.
Nat and Nick made sure that their own Cotswolds wedding had a special twist. Nat is half Brazilian so the pair included lots of Brazilian wedding traditions in their big day.
Including drinking lots of caipirinhas…with the World Cup on it’s way, I keep seeing these everywhere and am ashamed to say that they are actually one of the (few) cocktails I haven’t tried. They sound delicious though…cachaça, sugar and lime – the perfect refreshing drink for a summers day.
For the accessories I wanted things to have a country feel but with a bit of bling as well so I chose to go for fresh flowers in my hair (gyp). It was made by the lovely Josephine from Josephine’s Fabulous Flowers and to go alongside were some sparkly flat shoes from Milk & Honey. I loved designing my shoes as I couldn’t find what I wanted on the High Street. I wanted to feel as comfortable as possible so I could enjoy the day and not worry about anything.
Choosing Nick’s outfit was quite easy and fun. He wasn’t so keen on the formal look of a morning suit as one of our priorities for the wedding was to keep it as informal and fun as possible. We went to a couple of shops looking for a three piece suit and found one at Reiss that was exactly what he wanted, which was something a bit different to an everyday work suit. We went to Savile Row one Saturday to try to find a tie for Nick and we found one at the first shop we entered! We didn’t have a colour scheme per se but I liked the idea of pastel colours for the details.
We wanted a summer wedding from the word go. I’m half Brazilian, half Welsh and Nick is from London so it was a bit tricky deciding were to have the wedding. In the end we went for somewhere that was easy for my Welsh family to attend (especially my 90 year old Nan) and not too far for Nick’s family and our friends in London as well. Although some still had to travel really far as they were coming from Brazil! Keeping with the relaxed feel that we wanted, we found this incredibly beautiful barn in the Cotswolds and it was love at first sight. They had accommodation on site for us and some of our guests and we could have the ceremony there as well so completely hassle free. The Great Tythe Barn is an all in one venue! I was very happy with our choice.
As I said before, we didn’t have a colour scheme but used pastel colours for the details like décor and we also wanted to give the venue a vintage feel. I found Lesley Davis from The Vintage Hire on Rock My Wedding. Lesley is amazing, she is based in the Cotswolds and we did a few trips to her “warehouse” to decide on the look we were going for. She has a table set up and lots of props etc so we played around until we found a look that we liked. She had plenty of ideas and suggestions and was awesome to work with, she really seemed to care and was patient as I had a new idea every day. She provided the vintage props and also helped setting up the venue on the day. A special mention to my wonderful bridesmaids and friends that also helped with the décor on the day, the venue looked exactly like I imagined.
Lesley Davis from the Vintage Hire introduced us to Josephine Balme from Fabulous Flowers as they work together now and again. She was based close by from Lesley so we went there to discuss our vision for the day. I wanted to use plenty of gyp but also pink peonies and lavender for the sent. I used pinterest a lot during the planning process and it was a really useful tool to show her some of my ideas for the flowers. We used vintage tea cups filled with flowers, old books, old medicine bottles, small vases and lots of tea lights as centrepieces and each table was a bit different from each other.
As for venue decorations, we used old suitcases, we used one for cards, we had a lovely old typewriter so guests could leave messages, family photos and a finger print tree guest book. We also had some music bunting cleverly made by Lesley from old music paper and my favorite – we had a basket full of hessian sacks with a sign – sack races! This was fun for guests to race each other in (after a few drinks!). We also had a photo booth full of fun props. My bouquet was made of the same flowers used for the venue decorations and my bridesmaids had a smaller bouquet made of gyp and fever few. We also used gyp for the buttonholes. For the table plan we used an old staircase and some crates and scattered around mismatched picture frames with the table plan. Lots of guests commented on this! We used our favorite holiday destinations as our table names and we decided against a formal top table. For your table name we had New York which was where we got engaged.
As I grew up in Brazil, I was keen to have some Brazilian elements to the day. In Brazil it’s not common to have Bridesmaids but couples that are your “godparents” for the marriage and the women would make sure they are not wearing the same colour as this would be a faux pas. I had 5 bridesmaids, 4 Brazilian and 1 English so keeping with Brazilian tradition they all wore different dresses picked by them as anything different would have been a logistical nightmare as 2 of them came to England especially for the wedding a couple of days before. Their only briefing was to pick pastel colours. I loved the end result, 2 of them used flowery dresses, the other three plain pastel colours and they really complimented each other. We asked Nick’s 2 best men and 5 ushers to use navy suits and gave them pastel colours ties to use on the day. The best man had soft blue ties and the ushers a minty green tie.
I had a flower girl as well, she’s my cousin’s beautiful daughter and she used a pretty dress that I found on Tesco online! She looked adorable. We asked one of Nick’s brothers to be the MC for the day. He came especially from Canada for the occasion and did a fab job. To keep with the same look but make him stand out a bit we bought him a soft green bow tie.
We had our ceremony at the barn, the initial idea was to have it outside but the English weather didn’t let us do that as it was really windy and we had a few showers in the morning so decided to go for comfort inside. We had 2 readings, ‘The Last Good Time’ by Richard Bausch read by Nick’s school friend and ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ by Louis de Bernieres read by Nick’s brother. As we had a civil ceremony, the readings made the ceremony feel personal. Strangely, I wasn’t feeling too nervous as I walked down the isle with my Dad, just very excited to marry my best friend with all our favorite people around us. It was such a special moment.
During the drinks reception we had a string quartet playing all our favorite songs as well as some Brazilian tracks. They also played a few songs at the ceremony, which was special to us. We went to a friend’s wedding the previous year and saw them playing and we just has to have them. For the evening we decided to have a DJ and I had my one and only bridezilla moment, I actually chose all the songs (together with Nick of course!) and compiled list of must have songs, which was quite long. It was important to us to have many people on the dance floor so we picked the tracks that make us want to dance and it seem to have worked as the dance floor was packed until the end of the night. We gave away glow sticks to the guest and dressed up using the props we had for the photo both on the dance floor so at one point, I was a bride with a beard and Nick was dancing wearing a mariachi sombrero! Guests joined too with Hawaiian skirts, different hats etc.
Our talented friend Felicity made our cake. She’s not only a Doctor but also an amazing cook. This was her first time baking a wedding cake and I knew it would be wonderful. There were three tiers, dark chocolate sponge and ganache for the bottom layer, lemon Madeira sponge for the middle layer and fruit cake top layer all toped with white icing and styled with a vintage cup on top. It was to die for! We served it together with cheese and crackers etc as our evening snack and I was really disappointed not to have much left the next morning.
We used Dine With Style as our caterers and we had a summery menu:
Starter – Goats Cheese and Pine Nut Ravioli with Shallot Puree, Balsamic Vinegar and Basil Oil
Main Course – Herb Crusted Fillet of Salmon served with Crushed New Potatoes, Fine Beans and Lemon + Dill Cream
Dessert – Warm Chocolate Fondant served with Raspberry Coulis and Vanilla Ice Cream.
Dine with Style was very accommodating and easy to work with and their food was yummy!
I found Richard Jones on Rock My Wedding, we wanted our photographer to be relaxed, friendly and we were keen to have a documentary-style album. Richard was all these things and more, a real pleasure to work with. From the moment we met him I knew he understood what we were looking for in the photos.
As for personal touches we had a few little things that I’d like to mention. Keeping with the Brazilian touches, for our favours we had Bem-casados (happily married, if it can be translated), they are two little sponge cakes filled with dulce de leche, and are a must have in any wedding in Brazil. They were individually wrapped in pretty flowery fabric and tied with a little bow (oh, so adorable!) The confection represents the couple in their new sweet life together. A good friend of mine brought them with her especially from Brazil. We also had some Brazilian music during the wedding breakfast (My parents made a special playlist for my iPod) and had caipirinhas (cocktails made with cachaça, lime, sugar and crushed ice) as well as bubbly for the drinks reception. And for me the most special part of the day as part of Nick’s speech we spoke in immaculate Portuguese which made me teary eyed.
We were very lucky to have lots of help friends and family. My lovely mother in law has pretty hand writing so she wrote all table place names for us, my sister in law helped with the pom poms and flower decorations for the ceremony.
Our first dance was For Lovers by Pete Doherty. It took us a long time to find a song that we liked for our first dance, I wasn’t so keen on the first dance at all but ended up loving it. We wanted something that wasn’t cheesy and this song fitted the bill perfectly.
As for advice, I’d say to try to have personal touches for your wedding, I went to so many weddings and the ones I remember the most were the ones were it was all about the couple, what they liked etc instead of following rules. Do what you like, it’s your day! We were lucky to have easy going families so the process wasn’t stressful, now a days I actually miss planning and researching for our big day!