Alli and James chose the stunning Launcells Barton as their wedding venue. The pair adore Cornwall and so Launcells, with it’s gorgeous location, luxurious accommodation and epic new reception barn was the perfect place to host their wedding. With guests flying in from all over the world, treating them to a weekend of fun was really important and Lara & Matt (Launcell’s owners) were there to help every step of the way.
If you’re looking for a venue in the South West then do have a nosey at Launcells Barton, they have an open day coming up on 28th Jan – so why not treat yourself to a mini break in Cornwall and visit? You can see the full details and make an appointment via their website. But first, let’s share Alli and James’ joyful big day…
Alli the Bride: Our wedding day was exactly as we had pictured it – a weekend of fun and celebration, filled with all of our favourite people. The morning after James proposed, we chatted about our dream day – a chance to gather all of our friends and family in one place that felt like ‘us’ and could offer a weekend all of our guests would remember. For us, there was no other option but Cornwall! Although we both live in London, James and I have always had a mutual love for the seaside – me growing up in Florida and James spending countless holidays in Bude with his family. Not to mention, it was under the starry sky in Bude that we truly fell in love. Considering these things, it was obvious that there was no other place for our wedding weekend!
Now came the tricky part – finding a location in Cornwall that could fit all 200 people currently on our guest list! After hours of research we found very few venues that could hold all of our guests, and capture the essence of Cornwall. That is, until we found Launcells Barton. From the moment James and I drove on to the property, we were in love! The venue is exquisite – it captures the charm of Cornwall, the history of this beautiful part of the world and still offered all the practical amenities we had hoped for when hosting an event for 200 people. Although the events barn wasn’t actually built yet when we visited, after a few minutes chatting with the venue owners, James and I felt like we were home. We trusted Matt and Lara and knew they shared our vision for a memorable wedding. These two became fast friends and were always available to help ahead of our day, to chat through worries, and then to actually run the day itself. I don’t know many other venue coordinators who would come to your rehearsal to meet all your family and help with ceremony times or who would drive the bride and groom in a trailer of hay bails to the perfect spot for a sunset photo. These two go above and beyond every time, and do it in a way that is personal and out of love for the couple.
A few things that made Launcells stand out for us were the exclusive access to the property, the church on site, and the house to hold our bridal party. There wouldn’t be any quick change overs from one wedding to another – we could have as much setup time as needed and our guests could enjoy every beautiful corner of this site. Also, the onsite house was perfect to host myself and all of my bridesmaids who would be travelling over from the United States.
Finally, as our faith is a core part of who we are, it was important for us to be married in a church. St Swithins, an ancient church built in the Norman period is just a stone’s throw away from Launcells, meaning we could host our ceremony in the church and then walk with all of our guests to the party afterwards – absolutely perfect!
Building on the beauty of Launcells wasn’t difficult as the venue allows the bride and groom total access to decorate and add personal touches to their day. The décor for the day was planned by me, with the help of Pinterest and Etsy! A close friend, Samantha, who was unfortunately unable to make the trip to the UK, offered to provide all of our stationery for the day. Working with her was a dream and allowed for us to create the perfect invites, place cars, table plans, and menus to add a special touch to the day.
For the decor and overall vision of the day, I wanted it to feel warm, autumnal, and romantic. With this in mind, we chose navy blue, wine, and gold as our main colours, matched with luscious greenery. It was important for us to make everyone feel relaxed and ensure a family-feel, despite people coming from all over. We were so grateful everyone had travelled to spend the day with us and wanted them to enjoy the day as much as we knew we would.
The Morning Of The Wedding
The fun kicked off the morning of the wedding with James organising a massive surf meet up for anyone who wanted to join! That’s right, surfing the morning of the wedding, followed by bacon buddies with all your mates – every groom’s dream. This was so special as the guests got a chance to play in the water and experience the real star of Cornwall – the seaside. Not to mention, the weather was perfect! Cornish weather is never predictable, and considering the rain poured down all day Friday and Sunday – James and I were very blessed that it was not only sunny, but WARM.
Myself and the brides gathered for an early morning bridal breakfast, followed by singing girly pop songs, drinking Prosecco, and getting ready together in the beautiful Georgian home at Launcells. Everything flowed perfectly, leading to the moment when I got to see my little brother – who walked me down the aisle. With bell ringers, a packed church, and the groom at the altar – it was time to make it official!
Our ceremony was so special as it was led by our pastors who have supported us since the start of our relationship. Because the officiant knew us so well, there were many moments of laughter and even a few mistakes in the order of the ceremony – but we didn’t mind. There was pure joy on our faces. Following the ceremony, guests walked up the hill from the church to line up for throwing the petals – the world’s longest petal toss, I’m sure! Because the hill was quite steep, girls were given some sandals we had bought. Yes, my mother in law and I had bought 50 pairs of sandals from a shop – walking home with those boxes was a memory! This was a simple and silly touch, but I think it was much appreciated!
Guests were then greeted with welcome drinks and the most delicious canapés – sticky pork buns included! In the background, Blue Lion Jazz band played and the garden was filled with games, including giant Jenga and a handmade UK vs US version of an American classic game called cornhole! Dinner came along quickly, and guests were ushered in to our beautifully decorated events barn. To be sure we continued the ‘family feel’– we decided to set up long banqueting tables instead of circle tables. Also, our caterers, Beautiful and the Feast, prepared delicious sharing platters of food – so it was like one big family tucking in to dinner together! The tables were lined with tall gold candlesticks that I had collected from charity shops over the previous 6 months.
Canapes – pork buns (chosen because they are a FAVOURITE food of both the bride and groom), courgette fritters, and sundried tomato and mozzarella crostini’s
Main Menu – braised short rib and shredded burnt spring onions, roasted cod with tomato confit, grilled aubergine with saffron yogurt, parsley, and pickled chillis served with sides of garden steamed veg and smashed, herbed, and buttered new potatoes. Dark chocolate mousse and roasted raspberries for pudding.
Donut wall – salted caramel and jam and cream donuts
Cake – semi-naked cake with layers of vanilla sponge with raspberry jam and buttercream and layers of lemon sponge with blueberry mascarpone and buttercream.
Midnight snack – of Bacon Sandwiches which came out around 11pm in a DIY bag that said ‘Midnight Snack’ on it.
Festoon and fairy lights hung from the ceiling, matched with the most luxurious and lush hanging floral designs. These were a dream come true – designed perfectly by the one and only Erica Tippett at Bleujen Florist. They were the perfect touch of drama and romance to create the dreamy atmosphere I wanted. One of my favourite memories from the day was our grand entrance to the reception as Mr and Mrs Paget. Doors opened and for the first time we saw the beauty of the venue, looking exactly (if not better) than we had ever imagined – all of our hard work had paid off in the decorating! But even better was that the building was full, absolutely packed with our most loved friends and family who had travelled to share this day with us. There were surprise horns being played and cheers so loud all of Bude must have heard. James and I could barely make it down the aisle to the top table – and when we made it, seeing all of the faces cheer us on was an unforgettable moment!
To be sure everyone was enjoying their table – we added one special touch that all of our guests raved about. This was personalised conversation questions on the back of everyone’s place card. I have my husband to credit for this idea – unique questions that links to every single guest, the people near them could ask them this question to kick start the dinner conversations. There is nothing worse than being sat a 3-hour dinner with nothing to say! Guests loved the personalisation, and for us it was a chance to think about each person we invited to our day ahead of time. We spent four hours on a road trip to Cornwall chatting through the guest list, remembering funny stories of friends, and coming up with what we’d love to hear each of our guests talk about.
Another special moment in the night came during the speeches, of course. In typical American weddings, the Maid of Honour gives a speech as well as he Best Man. To keep both British and American traditions, we had three speeches, kicking off with my sister as the maid of honour, James the groom, and his best man as the grand finale. Every speech was special, well delivered, and brilliantly funny. Our guests were laughing and crying throughout the whole hour! One guest commented that it was ‘an emotional journey’ as both the maid of honour and best man shared such unique and meaningful comments.
Another funny element to the dinner was the unplanned addition of an American tradition, led by my family and friends from the states. In US weddings whenever a guest clinks their glass, the Bride and Groom must kiss. This happened a few times and created much confusion as the British guests all thought it was speech time already! Eventually though, everyone caught on and James and I had to stop most conversations and bites of food to kiss at the clink of a glass, followed by cheers all around! Not a bad tradition at all ☺
Finally, it was time to kick off the dancing – James and I had done an emergency dance lesson by Start The Dance Company to learn a few choreographed moves for our 1st dance, so we felt fairly prepared and excited to show off our twirls. The best part though was a surprise ending, designed to get everyone on the dance floor with us. Executed brilliantly by the Blue Lion Band, our 1st dance song faded and immediately went in to ‘I would walk 500 miles’ by the Proclaimers. This is the song James and I belt out in the car together and knew it had to be part of our day. As the band kicked off the song, we invited all the guests to rush on the dance floor with us which is exactly what they did! It was brilliant!! And from there, the dancing didn’t stop for another two hours.
Our guests were surprised by a donut wall (a specialty of Beautiful and the Feats) and a gorgeous cake made especially for us by a friend and very talented owner of From Nicky’s Kitchen. Both were delicious and had been finished off all too quickly. Some guests swear they never even saw a donut!
I always knew I wanted an all lace, fitted dress. This Aire Barcelona dress was exactly what I had dreamed of and finished off perfectly with the long, simple cathedral veil and the detailed back line. James was a big fan too! My accessories were special as they were purchased by my childhood best friend and her mother as a gift to me. Neither could make it to England for the wedding, so wearing these special pieces of jewellery reminded me of them throughout the day.
My bridesmaids all travelled over from the US, and included my sister as Maid of Honour and my three college best friends. Their dresses were a beautiful wine colour with lace accents and a v-design back to compliment my dress. Our flower girls were our cousins and niece, each one so excited to be part of our day. Our niece was so excited she even fell asleep on the dance floor! They were perhaps the cutest girls there – and may or may not have stolen the show!
James’ suit was especially made for him by the talented guys at Edit Suits. He looked so handsome and wasn’t too hot in this perfectly light and fitted suit. The navy blue and wine colour complimented all of the groomsmen and was just right with the flowers and colours of the bridesmaids dresses.
Bleujen excelled at everything we asked for – Erica took my vision and made it come to life in a way that was better than I thought possible. She used mostly eucalyptus, deep red roses, and berries. The archway on the outside of the church was exquisite. This matched with the boho, flowy bouquets gave the church a perfect autumn feel. The centrepieces added just the right touch to our long tables, connected by eucalyptus. The showstoppers were definitely the hanging centrepieces and greenery around the top table. It was the perfect complement to the gold touches and lighting, mixed with the beautiful surroundings.
The Photography & Videography
Lisa and Debs (second shooter) were incredible! They captured so many special moments we would have never seen without them. Going back through our photos allowed us to relive the pure joy of our day. They also allowed us to relax and just be normal as a couple – therefore snapping some amazing and intimate shots of the two of us.
Our close friend and also the leader of the ceremony band, Quin Delport flew in from Spain to be with us! He brought a drone and got some incredible shots of the day, capturing our exchange of vows and some of the speeches in this beautiful video.