You know when something is so well put together you don’t even really know where to start with it? I wish my screen was like one of those perfume ads in a glossy mag. I reckon if we could peel back the corners of our screens right now we would be overwhelmed with amazing scents from this beautiful beautiful garden and all of the gorgeous floral decorations adorning the tables.
This morning we are bringing you an outdoor ceremony held at the incredible Barnsley House. There is an abundance of peonies, gorgeous Maids in two colours of Twobirds dresses and did I mention the amazing gardens yet?
Amy’s write up of the day is brilliant and you must read it. Her gift to Matthew is such a good ideas and if you’re struggling for ideas you might want to pinch it.
The table decor is to die for. The whole thing is so well thought out. I am in love with the special cocktails too. Amy and Matthew, who have such a lovely love story btw, celebrated a wonderful day full of smiles and happiness and all stunningly captured by the ever amazing Ann-Kathrin Koch. Oh and the wedding film… It’s a dream shot by super talented Shutterbox Films.
Amy The Bride: Matthew and I were childhood sweethearts, but we parted ways after school until three and half years ago when Matthew got in touch over Facebook. He was living in Japan at the time but was planning a visit home and asked whether I wanted to meet up for a drink. This was completely unexpected as we hadn’t seen each other for nearly ten years(!), but I was intrigued and decided to go along – this was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made!
Although we didn’t have long to get to know each other again during his time at home, it was clear that there was something special between us and so over the next eighteen months we had a very long-distance romance, including a fair few trips back and forth from London to Tokyo. Finally Matthew made the move back to London and he proposed shortly after.
I heard about Rock My Wedding from friends that had already planned their weddings, so as soon as we got engaged I was excited to start reading the blog, which I did on pretty much a daily basis until the big day! It has been such a great source of inspiration throughout the planning process.
I wanted to keep an open mind when trying on dresses to see what style suited me best, but I already had ideas of wearing a gorgeous lace fishtail dress by Suzanne Neville which I had spotted a few years earlier at a wedding show when browsing for a friend that was getting married.
After getting engaged I booked an appointment at Suzanne Neville in London and tried on that very dress. Although it was a serious contender, when I tried on ‘Blossom’ and walked out of the changing room I knew that it had to be the one from the looks on my Mum, Step-Mum and sister’s faces. The lace detailing on the bodice was so delicate and the full tulle skirt felt so special and perfect for the occasion. It was also a dress that I thought Matthew would like.
I finished off my look on the day with a short veil from Suzanne Neville, a sparkly Jenny Packham headpiece, Jenny Packham earrings (both purchased at sample sales, so were a bargain) and a pair of Jimmy Choos! My surprise ‘something new’ was a beautiful Cartier bracelet that I received as a gift from Matthew on the morning of the wedding, which completed my outfit perfectly!
Matthew, the two best men and my Dad all wore bespoke suits from Dress 2 Kill in Waterloo. Matthew and I went together to choose the fabric and decided on a lovely rich navy blue colour with a silver lining, however I didn’t get to see the final result until the day. Matthew wore a three-piece suit in order to stand out from the others who wore two-piece. We also bought complimentary silver/grey ties from Thomas Pink and white pocket squares, which we gave to the best men and my Dad as thank you presents.
I made Matthew a ‘Groom Survival Kit’ to open on the morning of the wedding, which included the essentials – a pair of silver square Mulberry cufflinks, boxers and a pair of socks. The other part of my wedding present was a classic E-type Jaguar that I had secretly hired for a few days, which also meant that we were able to make use of it the following day as well.
All eight of my gorgeous bridesmaids wore Twobirds dresses – four in blush pink and four in platinum grey. I was a bit worried about having so many girls in the bridal party, but they all looked fantastic and it was definitely one of the best decisions I made to have all of my best girls, sister and sisters in law (to be) with me on the morning of the wedding.
My sister was my chief bridesmaid so in order for her to stand out a little I gave her a sparkly brooch (also from Twobirds) to wear.
When we got engaged one of my bridesmaids suggested that we view Barnsley House and coincidentally we had a weekend away in the Cotswolds booked for the very next weekend. I immediately made an appointment to view it during our visit and it must have been fate, because when Natalie (the Events Coordinator) showed us around the beautiful house and gardens we just fell in love with it!
The house has a lovely warm and relaxed feel and the staff are really friendly and always more than happy to help (even at 4am when the wedding party was still in full swing!). Natalie was an incredible help throughout the whole planning process and was integral to ensuring that everything was perfect on the day – I honestly can’t thank her enough!
We loved the fact that (weather permitting) we could get married outside in front of the stone summerhouse under a large old oak tree. We even used the tree as inspiration for our invitation suite and seating plan designed by the very talented Kate Ruth Romey.
Having Barnsley House to ourselves for a couple of days meant that we could make good use of all of the facilities. I arranged to watch a film with my friends and family in the cinema room the night before the wedding, but what I didn’t know was that my Dad had planned a surprise screening of a film he had created for me using old video footage and photos (including some of when Matthew I were teenagers), which was really touching. Matthew also organised to go clay pigeon shooting in the grounds with a group of the boys on the morning of the wedding – it was a good idea to clear their heads from the night before and to keep them occupied.
The look and feel that I wanted to achieve for the wedding was ‘English country garden with a touch of luxe’. To complement the natural setting of Barnsley House we used a colour palette of greys, whites and shades of pink with mercury glass and a few touches of gold glitter here and there.
The gardens were in full bloom with beautiful spring flowers so we didn’t need much in terms of décor outside. We simply hung paper pom poms from some of the trees around the summerhouse and by the pond where we had after-dinner cocktails. Barnsley House also provided lanterns and fairy lights, which lit up the garden beautifully in the evening.
We had a couple of oversized balloons at the entrance to the house and we hung the remaining pom poms from the curtain rails in the morning room, reception room and the bar. As we were having a photobooth in the morning room we decorated it with old photos of me and Matthew and had cut glass bowls filled with pick and mix to give the guests a treat when signing the guestbook. In the bar we had large LOVE letters on the window seat that lit up with fairy lights, which my friend’s mum kindly made us.
As the other rooms in the house felt quite relaxed, I wanted the Potager restaurant (the room where we had our wedding breakfast) to feel more sophisticated and elegant. The room has lovely natural light due to its large windows and the walls are painted a wonderful sage green, a colour that we also incorporated into our invitation suite. On the tables we had a selection of flowers including peonies, hydrangea and roses in mercury glass votives, as well as single candlesticks to add a bit of height. Before we sat down to dinner I managed to get a sneak peek of the room, which just took my breath away – it looked perfect.
We had sprigs of rosemary at every place setting, as well as individual macaroons from Le Dinette as favours, which we provided in glassine bags sealed with a glittery gold sticker. This was also an idea that I also used for our order of the day/confetti bags.
Euphoric arranged the flowers at one of my bridesmaids wedding’s so it was an easy decision when it came to choosing our florist. Simon and Victoria were fantastic to work with and were happy to look at all of my Pinterest boards to create exactly the look I had imagined for every element of the day.
The bouquets were beautiful – I had an oversized bouquet of large pink and white peonies, fuchsia sweetpeas (for a pop of colour), hydrangea and tendrils of jasmine to give it a more informal look. The bridesmaids all had pink Sarah Bernhard peony bouquets tied with grey ribbons to complement their dresses.
The weather wasn’t fantastic on the day, but we were still able to get married outside which was a relief! I had a nervous few minutes as there was a short shower not long before the ceremony, but we were lucky that the rain then held off until we were safely inside for the drinks reception and it cleared up later on.
To be honest, any worries I had about the weather quickly melted away as soon as I started walking down the aisle with my Dad by my side. It was such an amazing feeling to have everyone we love sitting there to see us say our vows and to have Matthew waiting for me at the end of the aisle. It was one of my favourite parts of the day and I couldn’t keep the smile from my face, especially when the registrar pronounced us husband and wife!
I knew that I wanted to have a string quartet playing for the ceremony and drinks reception and got the inspiration to contact The Dotted Crochets from Rock my Wedding Real Bride Carly. They were fantastic on the day and I was so grateful that they agreed to squeeze into the summerhouse (to avoid their instruments from getting damp) so that we could have the ceremony outside. We had classical songs playing before the ceremony as our guests were seated and then transitioned to contemporary songs for the signing of the register and drinks reception.
We wanted to have a photobooth so that our guests could have bit of fun and it was also the intention to create a guest book with the resulting photos, which is a really lovely memento from the day. After searching online I found The Vintage Photobooth Company – Simon was so helpful and patient when I kept changing my mind about the design of the photos. Our guests loved the props and the photobooth itself (with is genuine vintage 1940′s cinema seats) looked incredible. I also ordered bespoke Team Bride and Team Groom props from Hello Gem on Etsy for me, Matthew, the bridesmaids and best men.
We spent a while searching for a band and after watching a lot of You Tube clips we decided to book Hipster (through Alive Network) as they could play a variety of cover songs to appeal to all ages. They also offered a DJ service between sets, which meant that the dance floor was always full. Matthew and I actually missed the evening food as we were having such a good time dancing and at one point we were lifted onto our friend’s shoulders whilst the band played Wonderwall by Oasis!
We had great fun choosing the wine and the food. All of the food at Barnsley House is locally sourced and absolutely delicious! It was difficult to decide, but in the end we opted for beetroot and goat’s cheese salad to start, beef wellington for main and apple tart tatin for dessert. The chefs were also really accommodating for guests with specific food requirements.
Our beautiful wedding cake was made for us by a family friend Clare Rudland. It was a three tiered cake consisting of a bottom layer of carrot cake, a middle layer of red velvet cake and a top layer of chocolate cake, all covered with buttercream icing. Clare also did a great job of decorating the cake with flowers left by the florists.
As soon as we saw Ann’s portfolio of work we knew that she would capture the day beautifully. Her use of light is exquisite and the fact that she predominantly uses film gives the photos a timeless and rich quality, which both Matthew and I really liked.
When we first contacted Ann I said that I didn’t think that I could persuade Matthew to have an engagement shoot, so I was surprised (and delighted!) that for my birthday Matthew had arranged for us to have a shoot together. Ann was so friendly and made us feel really relaxed in front of the camera, which is something I had been a bit worried about.
On the day of the wedding, Ann said that she was bringing an assistant Anna with her, but it wasn’t until after the wedding that I realised that she had brought along Anna Clarke, whose work I had often seen and admired on Rock My Wedding. This was such a bonus having two such talented photographers to capture such an important day and we are absolutely thrilled with the photos.
Ann recommended Lee and Dawn from Shutterbox Films to us – they were an absolute delight to have around on the day of the wedding, although you hardly knew that they were there as they were so discrete. This meant that none of our guests realised that they were being filmed and as a result they managed to capture some really special moments from the day.
I would certainly recommend getting a videographer if your budget can stretch as the film tells the story of the day in a way which transports you straight back to the moment.
My advice to any bride planning their big day is to enjoy the whole process, especially the day itself when you should savour every moment! It goes by so quickly, so it is important to try to take the time to speak to everyone and if you can to get away for five minutes, just you and your husband, it is nice to let it all sink in.
It helps being organised in the early stages as it is likely that you will have lot to do at work in the last few weeks to prepare for taking time off, not leaving much time for last minute planning! I also found that I wanted to do so many different things and had grand plans for lots of DIY projects, but sometimes there just isn’t time. By taking a step back and thinking about what was most important for me and Matthew as a couple it helped us to prioritise. Ultimately, we wanted to have an amazing day to celebrate our marriage, which our guests would enjoy as much us! We were really pleased that so many of our guests commented on how happy we looked and also how much they enjoyed themselves – the ultimate compliment.