Bride Annie is a ballet dancer and OMG can't you tell by her amazing posture?! Looking at dancers always makes me want to go and stretch immediately - Annie is stunning in her wedding gown and carries herself so beautifully. Like a Princess in fact. I love that the couple opted for sunflower bouquets, they always make me smile and add a gorgeous pop of colour to proceedings. As does the wedding party attire, this lot are such a dapper bunch of boys and girls. And the reds and yellows of the outfits and the blooms are matched to a tee - a total styling dream. Images come from Alexa Penberthy whose dreamy images always enhance a fairytale wedding, and this is most definitely one of those...

The Bride

Annie The Bride: I have a confession to make...The very thought of finding a wedding dress filled me with dread, the kind of dread that girls aren’t supposed to feel at the prospect of wearing the most beautiful garment they might ever adorn. I visited a few shops and felt overwhelmed by choice and had no idea what might suit me. When I finally found The White Boutique I was so reassured. Ema made me feel so at ease and helped me to find something simple and elegant, something that felt like “me”. With years of ballet experience under my belt - the belt of my leotard that is - I was told that my back was my best feature (I’m choosing not to take offence at this). The lovely ‘Maud’ was customised to accentuate this, with the back lowered and a rose gold belt added to the front. My hair was beautifully crafted by Alisha at Hevans. I wanted it up and out of the way, but whispy and natural looking the way I normally do it myself. The braid was added in honour of my Danish godmother Irdi, to add a bit of Hygge for warmth. My gold slippers are from India, where I opened a ballet school some years ago, a place close to both of our hearts. I don’t wear a lot of jewellery so I wanted to keep it simple and show off my beautiful rings designed by my husband at Old Eldon Jewellers.

The Groom

Sam: I’m not one to deliberate over what to wear on a day to day basis, but my outfit took almost as much time as it felt I waited for Annie at the altar. I knew my main colour, that was easy: green. And I knew that I was going to assemble something unique. After a few unsatisfying trips around town with my groomsmen to explore my options, I finally decided not to wear a jacket, but to make my waistcoat the ‘main event’ of the ensemble. With the kind help and patience of the owner of Smalley’s, a top quality gentlemen’s outfitters in Nottingham, I pieced together a waistcoat consisting of green ‘salt and pepper’ effect Donegal wool tweed, dark brown leather buttons and a purple silk lining with floral decor. Guided by the colour scheme of Wes Anderson’s film adaptation of ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’, I added in a pair of casual-looking honey mustard chinos from ASOS, a grey woollen bow tie from Linen Fox via Etsy, and Mantaray brown boots. A country gentleman’s outfit that was laid-back and comfortable to wear.

The Venue

The most important thing about our venue was that we had the freedom to do a lot of the work ourselves, both to save on budget and to fill it with our own personal touches to reflect our character. Marion gave us a tour of the barn and grounds and told us we could do pretty much anything! (Just no fireworks or chinese lanterns). We didn’t have to do much as there was so much character about the place. Marion keeps her garden looking lush all year round and let us cut fresh ivy for indoor decoration. We used the barn for dining and dancing in the evening, and hired from Artisan Marquees to protect our outdoor ceremony from any sudden downpour! There was also a hedge-maze on the grounds that even the grown-ups got lost in (especially after a few glasses...)

The Decor

Strolling through the forest, scrambling up a mountain, dipping our toes in a lake; we love nature as God created it. We developed our theme from our love for the colours of the outdoors, a desire to portray our sense of adventure and exploration, and to show our appreciation for natural beauty. Both being nerdy Wes Anderson fans, it was only natural to let his colour schemes seep into our day. I designed the stationary based on ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ as the woodland/wildlife theme seemed to suit our surroundings. The ivy helped to bring the outdoors indoors. We decided to combine this (perhaps somewhat oddly) with Sam’s particular love of The Lord of the Rings. Our table names were decided only the day before the wedding, but Sam made sure they were written in perfect Tolkienian script and set out in geographical order from ‘The Shire’ and beyond...

The Flowers

Plan A: buy flowers from the market, arrange bouquets myself, save money.  Plan B: magnificent Maureen. She was recommended to me by my boss Evan when I realised how ridiculous it would be to squeeze in yet another DIY project during the final stages of prep. Maureen was a friend from his church who often arranged wedding flowers for those in the congregation, and I thank God that at a small cost she plucked the ideas out of my busy head and turned up on the day with the most beautiful flowers!

The Wedding Party

Our handsome groomsmen donned the same basics as the groom, but we replaced the waistcoat with some olive braces for a casual look. We wanted our bridesmaids to feel comfortable while looking stunning, so their deep red dresses were knee length to allow for frolicking outdoors and dancing the night away in the barn! Kelly and Keziah helped with hair and make-up in the morning, which was a beautiful way for the new sisters-in-law to bond over blusher and hair brushes.

The Ceremony

The ceremony, for us, was the most important part of the day. As followers of Jesus we wanted to make our vows before our family and friends in a way that expressed our love for God. The worship band from my church played in the service, and Sam’s sister sang a piece very close to our hearts. The service was led by Pastor Dave, who had seen us through a marriage preparation course and had prayed with us throughout our engagement. My godfather (who is also a pastor) gave a short message, and together with his son had crafted a wooden cross out of solid oak (that’s insane love right there!) We wanted our first act as a married couple to be one of sharing in communion, so we gave one another bread and wine. Our second act as a married couple was to wash one another’s feet, as a symbol of promising to serve one another, and always put the other person first, as Christ taught us with his disciples. Close friends and family members came forward to pray for us, prayers so powerful that I know we will never forget, especially as the father of the groom had the whole room in tears...

The Entertainment

Music is in our bloodstream, so this was a difficult decision to make for our big day! We decided to keep it simple and have some of our favourite people keep the atmosphere going through the day. My accomplices in The Life Community Church band, Nia, Chris, and my ex-housemate Cathryn played a short set of covers. My gorgeous friend Antonia Kirby and her voice of liquid gold provided the perfect backdrop to our photoshoot. We had lawn games galore until sunset, then the board games were set to go in the marquee while the barn was the place to dance! We made a playlist of our friends and family favourites!

The Food

One of our many aims in life is to live as ethically as possible. For this reason, The Secret Kitchen is a ‘social eating enterprise’ that we’ve admired since our days living in Nottingham (where we met at university). Our friends Chris & Greer (who were also hugely helpful in setting up our venue), having volunteered in the kitchen in the past, had also used them for their own wedding. We loved that the food was high quality, locally sourced, and fairly traded and organic where possible. There was plenty for seconds! The Retro Coffee Bean company served coffee and cakes from their VW camper during the day (some darn good coffee!) and The Caravan Bar parked up in the evening to keep everyone refreshed! Our scrumptious cake was made by the lovely Laura, friend to the mother-of-the-groom who carefully assembled it for us on the day.

The Photography

If you want a photographer who sees your day with a unique eye and makes beautiful all that she shoots, you will find a true artist in Alexa. She captures those sacred moments with little effort. On the morning of the wedding she had a transportation nightmare, but still showed up on time and flawlessly floated through the day with perfect focus and artistic direction. When it comes to budgeting, your photographer is not one to hold back on as a big spend, as this is the only part of your day you get to keep for the rest of your life (as well as your new spouse of course!).
Fern Godfrey

Written by Fern Godfrey

Bride: Charlotte Balbier | Boutique: The White Boutique | Rings: Old Eldon Jewellers | Hair Vine: Little Willow & Co | Hair: Hevans Bepsoke Hair | Florist: Maureen Garman | Venue: Alveston Pastures Farm | Marquee: Artisan Marquees | Cake: Laura's Cakes & Bakes | Catering: The Secret Kitchen | Coffee Bar: Retro Coffee Bean | Bar: The Caravan Bar Company | Bridesmaids: Ever Pretty | Groom: Smalleys | Bow Ties: Linen Fox | Entertainment: Antonia Kirby | Sound Engineer: Connected Wires

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