Oh PapaKata Sperry Tent, I do love you. Every wedding you hold is just fabulous. And Claire & Tom's big day is another absolute cracker of a Sperry Tent wedding. This time, the gorgeous white and airy space has been filled with trestle tables, hanging botanicals and pops of yellow. It's such a happy colour, and perfect for a Summer's day wedding and the ideal colour to complement Tom's military attire. I'm loving Claire's pretty hair do too, a plait is always a good idea as far as I'm concerned - combined with an elegant veil and a bespoke lace gown and Claire looks like an absolute Bridal vision. Enjoy this pretty wedding lovely ones, and look out for the flower girls gorgeous yellow tutu, I think there are lots of us who will be wishing it came in our size...

The Bride

Claire The Bride: After trying on a few designer gowns I couldn’t find the exact one so I decided to have it made by the wonderfully talented Venetia Flint. It meant along with Venetia I could design the exact dress I wanted and even decided I wanted a veil a week before our wedding which Venetia happily made for me. The bodice was a delicate and pretty lace and a large silk organza skirt which I absolutely loved dancing in! As the theme of the wedding was yellow I wore shoes from Rainbow Club, which I dyed yellow. I wore a diamond drop necklace, which I borrowed from my mother, it was my great grandmothers, my engagement ring is an antique Edwardian Daisy ring so they worked well together. My earrings were a wedding present from Tom, ‘diamond’ drop earrings from Carat. My hair was styled by Emma Field and I went for a loose half up half down style with a plait (Tom loves plaits in my hair) and a flower comb. I did my own makeup and because I did so much makeup research it turned in to a bit of a makeup lesson/demo with my bridesmaids around my parents kitchen table!

The Groom

This is an easy one! Tom was in the army when we got married and wore his uniform; for the ceremony he wore his number ones blues and for the reception he changed into his mess dress. In terms of accessories...Tom wore a sword, spurs, medal and his wedding ring was his grandfathers.

The Venue

We decided to have the reception in my parent’s garden in Hampshire and the ceremony at Combe Manor. Set in the stunning Berkshire countryside the lovely owner David has a barn, which is licensed for weddings. The barn is quite quirky in decoration but has an enormous world map at one end where we said our vows, which seemed appropriate as we both travel quite a lot. For the reception we held this is in a stunning Papakata Sperry Tent in my parent’s garden.

The Decor

Our colour scheme was yellow (the reason is a long story but involves our first date and yellow smarties). Tom wanted a rustic style and I was after chic so we settled on a rustic chic theme...Tom is creative and good at wood work, although Papakata provided us with a stunning backdrop; Tom made various wooden pieces for flowers and candles to hang in the tent. He made a bar from old pallets, a photo-booth swing and decorative hearts and signs. As part of the decoration we hung up photos of our guests on their wedding days, which everyone seemed to love. The swing (photobooth) was an absolute hit – luckily there were no injuries! For the table decorations we had flowers and greenery in glass vases and pots and my mother made the table runners. Our favours were yellow smarties in shot glasses. The table names were places we’ve visited since we’ve been together – the top table was called Tsarabanjina where we went on our honeymoon.

The Flowers

First of all I wish there was a way you could keep fresh flowers forever, as I desperately wanted my bouquet to stay alive! Our bouquets, buttonholes and flower comb were absolutely stunning; Helen at The Petal Boutique was amazing to work with. For the flowers at the ceremony and reception we ordered our own (with help from Helen) and along with my mother, her friend and my bridesmaids with did the arrangements ourselves. We also had a few olive trees, which we used to decorate the barn and tent.

The Cake

I’d seen a cake in the cookery book Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache called the August wedding cake covered in yellow roses, a complete coincidence and quite obviously we had to have it. My wonderfully creative Mother and her friend Nanette made the three-tier cake and covered it in yellow roses.

The Wedding Party

The bridesmaids wore yellow dresses from Coast. For jewellery I gave them a bracelet from Tatum & Bradley Company with the coordinates of where we met engraved on. My gorgeous cousin Ellen was my flower girl and wore an amazing yellow tutu from Angels Face (which I secretly want!) All the ushers and pageboy wore their own morning suits. We weren’t fussed about having matching outfits especially as we had a mix of men in uniforms and morning dress. Having my brother Thomas and cousin Jack part of the group was very special.

The Ceremony

First of all the most special thing, which didn’t occur to me until I was in the wedding car with my father, was the fact Tom and I had everyone we care about and love in the same place at the same time – when is that ever going to happen again! Back to the ceremony, I was conscious I didn’t want to start crying at the start but a combination of the violinist Ellie’s violin not turning up (until I was almost walking down the aisle – Ellie played beautifully though), one of my bridesmaids not having a seat and having to hover, having my father’s arm to clutch and seeing all our loved ones faces, kept me smiling. Tom’s mother Cindy did a beautiful reading of The Promise and my friends Nick and Emily read/sang with the congregation ‘Love lifts us up’.

The Entertainment

The speeches from my Father, Tom and best men Ben and Alex provided almost an hour and half of entertainment, my tummy hurt from laughing so much. One of the best bits, throwing the bouquet and my Brother Thomas’ girlfriend Sarah-May catching the bouquet – couldn’t plan that, just brilliant! Our band The Sessions were amazing, the dance floor was full the whole night.

The Food

Our caterers McCrimmon & Reid were brilliant right from the start to the finish, we have had endless compliments on their food since the wedding.

The Images

My friend and MC at our wedding James runs a film production company call BearJam. Along with his colleague produced the most amazing and fun film of our wedding. Last but by no means least, Nick at Wild Weddings, our wonderful photographer. I’d seen him at a few friends weddings, so I already knew how good he was. Nick blended in and captured all the emotions and happiness of the day in such a natural way. The whole process from visiting Nick, Bella and his family at Walnuts Farm for our engagement shoot up until the wedding was a dream. 
Fern Godfrey

Written by Fern Godfrey

Bride: Venetia Flint | Shoes: Rainbow Club | Hair: Emma Field | Venue: Combe Manor | Sperry Tent: PapaKata | Florist: The Petal Boutique | Bridesmaids: Coast | Flower Girl: Angels Face | Band: The Sessions | Videography: BearJam

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