I am head over heels in love with the light at this Christmas wedding. Bride Alice braved the freezing cold in her fabulous Halfpenny London bridal separates so Jacqui McSweeney Photography could capture the most beautiful golden hour portraits. The way the sun sprays through the trees, and the blanket of white frost glistening on the floor is. Just. Beautiful. There was nothing cold about the twinkling reception though, oh no. It was a cosy, country pub celebration, oozing character, warmth and a delicious looking brownie tower wedding cake. Mmm mmm.


Alice the Bride: As soon as I got engaged I began searching the internet for the perfect wedding dress, I really wanted something a little different. Which is when I stumbled across the incredible Kate Halfpenny. Every dress in Kate’s collection is drop dead gorgeous, romantic yet contemporary. I became obsessed with Kate’s dresses (and still am!) Luckily I found out that Kate Halfpenny’s collection was stocked in Leonie Claire, a beautiful boutique right around the corner from our flat in Brighton!  When I visited Leonie Claire I fell head over heels for the dita skirt and top. I loved how the corset tied in a knot at the back and how the gorgeous tulle skirt cinched in my waist perfectly. Leonie at Leonie Claire was incredibly helpful throughout the whole process and when my flower crown didnt arrive on time, Leonie went out of her way to find (and order me) the perfect crown! My fur wrap was from Beyond Retro in Brighton, it really tied everything together perfectly, adding that vintage edge. Helen Hamilton did my make up, we spent a while talking about the look I had in mind, she did such a great job, and created the romantic conventional look I was after, along with the signature deep red lip!

The Grooms Attire

Stuart the Groom: Unlike Alice, I went in blind, no real clue on colour, brand or budget, just a vague idea of a textured fabric and something I could throw a few shapes in. I came across a small independant in Brighton called Pendulum Menswear, a small outlet that stocked Guide London, price was never a deciding factor, but it was amazing to find a three piece with some really subtle detailing on, and a beautiful textured blue check fabric for nearly half the price of a number of other brands I had been looking at. The store is super relaxed, no sales pressure or cliche sales guys unlike a lot of the stores I tried out, they’re even happy to throw in a bit of tailoring as part of the price. The shirt, also from Pendulum was by Claudio Lugli, they’re real quirky with great detailing on the cuffs and collar, it keeps a little bit of style on show even after the tie comes off late in the night.

The Venue

Alice the Bride: Stu and I went for dinner at The Red Barn and knew straight away it was the perfect venue. The Red Barn is a country pub with a 300 year old barn attached to it. It really is the most gorgeous country pub, with old beams in the roof, low celings, lots of nooks and crannies and a huge old fireplace in the main bar. There is also a huge floor to ceiling book case at the far end of the barn which makes the barn really special. Stu and I are both country bumpkins at heart so the pub was perfect!

Colour Scheme/Decor

I didn't have a particular colour scheme in mind as such, I knew I wanted everything to twinkle (it was Christmas after all!) with a romantic, vintage twist. We decided not to have flowers on the table and instead choose to cover the tables in candles and Brighton Gin Bottles (kindly sourced from my Brother who manages a pub in Brighton) filled with fairy lights!


The lovely Tina at The Brighton Flower Company did our flowers for us. My bouquet was gorgeous and Tina spent hours with me making sure it was perfect! The bouquet was a beautiful mix of dusty pink and cream roses, eucalyptus, ivy and a couple of succulents thrown in to mix things up! The buttonholes were really special as well, we went for a couple of spray roses and a sprig of Rosemary!


My beautiful friend and bridesmaid Luci designed our wedding invites and wedding stationery! She handpainted the invites, making them really special. We were very lucky to have her help!


The Bridesmaids dresses were from ASOS. To continue with the vintage, romantic theme I chose grey/silver dresses with very subtle embellishment . As I had six Bridesmaids I knew that it might be difficult getting everyone in something they felt comfortable in, however when the girls tried on the ASOS dresses they all looked beautiful! Their mismatched fur wraps were borrowed from friends and bought from Beyond Retro in Brighton.


It was incredibly important that our ceremony reflected Stu and I. So we opted for a humanist ceremony. Felicity Harvest (the humanist who held the ceremony) did an incredible job, she helped us find a couple of traditions from around the world, to incorporate into our ceremony, to really make it special!


As the wedding was in a country pub, we thought the only suitable option was country pub food! Sausages (and vegetarian sausages) and sweet potato mash went down a treat! My very talented sister in law, Katie, made our delicious brownie stack wedding cake! The brownies looked and (of course) tasted amazing! She decorated the stack with the same flowers as the bridesmaids bouquet and a dusting of icing sugar, to make it look extra special and tied everything in nicely!


The reality is that the flowers die and the decorations get taken down but the photos will be what we continue to look at, to relive our day, until we are grey and old! So for me, finding the right photographer was a top priority. I spent hours researching photographers, reading reviews and flicking through wedding blogs, when I found Jacqui Mcsweeney, I noticed how all her photos seemed so full of personality and she captured something really special and unique, in a way that I hadn't really seen in other photos. So Stu and I met Jaquie in a coffee shop,  we had a laugh and a chat and we knew she was the one! We weren't disappointed, the photos Jacquie took are out of this world.


I decided very early on that a videographer was really important, again like with the photographer, this is what we would have to look back on. I found Kite Box on Rock My Wedding! Funnily enough, Josh (Kite Box’s founder) was a friend from Primary School who I hadn't seen in years! The team did a brilliant job, and captured the day perfectly, I had the film on repeat the first few days we received it! I really really would encourage people to get a videographer, we made an effort to save on other areas so we could afford the guys at Kite Box, this video is something we are going to keep from years to come when we can no longer rely on our memories!

Final Thoughts

When Stu and I began wedding planning we had one strict rule, the day had to reflect us and all wedding traditions were up for review. We wanted to make sure that every decision we made was made because we wanted it, not because we felt like we had to.
Lorna Shaw

Written by Lorna Shaw

Dress Designer: Kate Halfpenny | Bridal Boutique: Leonie Claire | Fur Stole: Beyond Retro | Makeup Artist: Helen Hamilton | Bridesmaids: ASOS | Grooms Suit: Pendulum Menswear | Venue: The Red Barn | Humanist: Felicity Harvest Celebrant | Flowers: The Brighton Flower Company | Stationery : Luci Ward | DJ: Hotsteppers | Videographer: Kite Box

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