Four months it took to plan this beautiful winter wedding, just four months! It just goes to prove that with some swift decision making, clever planning and determination you can pull off your dream day.
On an import trip Daniele even managed to find & buy her stunning lace Isla Enzoani gown before booking anything else! The illusion high neckline is simply divine and Daniele looks the picture of elegance in it. The addition of a fur stole and sparkly Jimmy Choo’s completed the overall vintage look perfectly.
Even though it was a quick engagement Daniele & Sam were lucky enough to book some amazing suppliers and didn’t have to compromise on their choices at all, they even went as far to say that even if they had longer to plan they wouldn’t change a thing. They booked Cripps Stone Barn as their venue and Silver Sixpence Films who are both part of our fabulous List as well as many other talented folks.
Daniele The Bride: Sam’s Mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and we knew that we desperately wanted her to be part of our special day so to eliminate any risk we decided to book the wedding ASAP. This meant we had just four months to plan it all so we had to be very decisive throughout the entire planning process. Unbelievably we pulled it all off and had a Wedding day that we wouldn’t have changed a single part of.
The Brides Fashion & Accessories
Before I was even engaged I was convinced that I knew exactly which style of wedding dress I wanted. Once we decided to go ahead with the wedding ASAP I arranged several appointments with bridal boutiques in London that stocked designers that I love. Before I made it to any of those appointments, I was spending the weekend with my Sister-in-Law and Mother-in-Law when we wandered past a bridal boutique in Ashtead, Surrey (Brides Visited). Riding high on newly-engaged excitement we decided to call in just to have a look around for some fun. I ended up trying on several dresses, at least four of which were my “ideal” shape and style – lace bandeau with a fish tail. Funnily enough the style of dress that I had been so convinced was perfect for me just didn’t feel right. Before we left the shop assistant suggested I try the Enzoani Isla – and that is when I fell in love. The lace on the dress was just so delicate, the illusion high neck line was more suited for a winter wedding and the back detail was just gorgeous! In order to have the dress for a December wedding I paid the deposit there and then (we hadn’t even set the exact date or found the venue yet!).
With the dress sorted I set off to find some accessories. I headed to Gillian Million’s boutique in Teddington. The shop is an absolute treasure trove of beautiful bits and bobs and the service was absolutely amazing! Gillian asked me to bring photographs of my dress to my first appointment and together we discussed the types of accessories that would work well. Having tried several different headpieces we agreed that a customised version of one of Gillian’s popular head pieces would be the perfect option for me along with one of her handmade silk veils. I fell in love with the super soft texture of the silk veils compared with other non-silk ones I had tried. They are just so fine and float in the air beautifully. I decided on a full length cathedral silk veil.
The Groom Attire
When it came to Sam’s outfit we wanted to experiment with fabric textures and shades of brown and grey. He wanted to look smart yet quite rustic with a country gent feel. We chose a brushed checked textured two piece suit from Ben Sherman. The Best Man, the Ushers and both Fathers wore pale grey suits and to add some continuity throughout all of the men’s outfits they all wore brown and grey checked wool waistcoats. Sam finished this off with some brown Church’s shoes, a pale pink knitted tie and gunmetal Alfred Dunhill cufflinks and a tie clip
Bridesmaids and Flower Girl Attire
My search for Bridesmaid dresses could have been a total nightmare! I had four Bridesmaids all with different tastes and one of them being 7 months pregnant on the wedding day! After a painfully unsuccessful day of trying on countless dresses in several bridal boutiques we had just about given up when we called into John Lewis“>John Lewis for a coffee break. It was there that we stumbled upon the perfect dresses by a brand I just would never have considered – Jacques Vert. The dresses were floor length mink gowns with embellished front panels and small cap sleeves. I would definitely advise Brides to be open-minded when shopping for Bridesmaid dresses. It is easy to focus your search on Bridesmaid brands, but I found the selection rather limited and uninspiring. There are so many pretty and interesting options available in “non-bridal” stores and places you wouldn’t necessarily consider. The Bridesmaids kept warm with beige fur stoles from Zara and their hair was curled before being pinned up in an untidy way so that tousled waves fell down. We also pinned some small sprigs of gypsophilia in their hair for a natural winter garden effect. My best friend and Maid of Honour’s three year old daughter was our Flower Girl. She looked so adorable on the day and I was so proud of her for walking down the aisle first, hand in hand with her Mum and scattering petals from her tiny wicker basket. She wore an ivory satin dress with pink shoes from Zara (she refused to participate without some pink accessories thrown in!) She also wore a gypsohilia crown in her hair.
I am from Liverpool and Sam is from Surrey and we really wanted to get married in a location accessible to both of our families and also to our friends (the majority of whom are based in London). Having spent countless hours researching online we decided we wanted a simple venue with a rustic feel – a barn seemed like the ideal option and off we set on our travels to see a handful of barn venues in the Cotswolds. Our first stop was Cripps Barn; a beautiful 18th Century stone barn just outside of Bibury, a town which Sam had taken me to for a surprise birthday trip a few years back. We adored the barn from the moment we set foot in it. It was perfectly kitted out as wedding venue without being overly polished and still had that ‘rough-around-the-edges’ rustic charm. It was the perfect size for our 70 guests and we booked the date and paid the deposit there and then. Looking back now I realise how ballsy we really were!
I love pastels but a warm and romantic December wedding didn’t easily lend itself to a pale colour pallet. We opted for a very naturally styled wedding and so the colour pallet in the end consisted of beiges and browns with hints of muted antique pink and lots and lots of green foliage in the flowers. We also scattered foliage on the tables and throughout the venue.
We arranged initial consultations with a few florists but Annie at Pollen Nation really blew us away! She instantly understood the theme we wanted and spent lots of time with me researching different flowers online and even accompanied me on a trip to a flower market to show me different examples of flowers that would perfectly create the look I was trying to achieve.
The overall look was very intricate and delicate but abundant and wild. The roaring fire was the backdrop for the Ceremony and key to the ambience of the day. We dressed the mantelpiece with a foliage heavy arrangement mixed with a subtle selection of:- astrantia, nigella, amnesia roses, quicksand roses, David Austin cream roses, hellebores and wax flower.
Annie created the most beautiful bridal bouquet for me. In fact the first time I cried on my Wedding day was when my bouquet arrived! And during the Ceremony the Registrar actually joked about how reluctant I was to put it down! It was a trailing almost messy bouquet made up of a base of foliage’s which included ivy and seasonal blooms interspersed with the same pink and ivory flowers we had used in the venue. My “something old” was a silver locket that my late Nan had given me. It contains her photograph and I attached it to my bouquet so she was with me when I walked down the aisle. I didn’t throw my bouquet on the day, instead it was taken to my Nan’s grave after our Wedding Day.
To add to the cosy effect created by the log fire and rustic fireplace we also went candle heavy throughout the venue. We really wanted to create a warm and romantic atmosphere. We lined the aisle with copper and glass lanterns (containing pillar candles) on either side and scattered pink and cream rose petals on the floor.
After the Ceremony had ended and the drinks reception was well underway, our venue co-ordinator moved the lanterns from the aisle and placed one on each table which created the main focus of our centre pieces. We surrounded the lanterns with tea lights along with jam jars and glass bottles of varying sizes containing a selection of our wedding flowers. The flowers were in keeping with our “natural” theme and almost looked like they had been picked straight from the garden. Annie draped ivy from the wooden beams in the room where we held the Wedding Breakfast and across the top table so the whole room had a very rustic and natural winter garden feel to it. To add to this winter woodland effect and with a nod to romance we placed sprig of mistletoe on every place setting. We have some lovely candid photos of older guests having a little peck under the mistletoe!
Sam and I are avid travellers and have travelled through Europe, Asia and Latin America together. We really wanted to somehow incorporate our passion for travelling in our wedding so we named our tables after various cities and town across the globe that we have visited together – many of which were quite obscure places that our guests hadn’t heard of. Our table plan was a home-made DIY project – we lined a vintage leather suitcase with pale floral Laura Ashley fabric and attached table name cards with twine and mini wooden pegs. We placed it on a small wooden table and Annie finished it off by draping foliage over it and scattering petals and some jars of flowers on the table beside it.
We are both big foodies and this was one reason why we chose Cripps as they pride themselves on locally sourced, high quality ingredients. They have a huge rotisserie outside the venue which was used to cook the meat for our main course and our evening snack.
We were so fortunate that the sun shone all day long so after the Ceremony we were able to head outside onto the barn terrace for the Wedding Reception. The string quartet started to play modern classics and we served both champagne and mulled wine along with the following canapés:-
- Cod fillet goujons with tartar sauce
- Halloumi cheese rosemary and olive oil
- Chorizo on toast
We selected the below menu for our Wedding Breakfast:-
- Pork country pate, chutney & toast
- Butternut squash & red lentil soup (v)
From the Rotisserie
- BBQ sirloin steak bricks
- Goose fat roast potatoes cooked in rosemary & garlic
- Fine green beans
- Peppercorn sauce or red wine gravy
Vegetarian Main Course
- Montgomery cheese & red onion tart
- Chocolate brownie served with mascarpone cream
Later in the evening we served hog roast baps with pork cracking and apple sauce.
Once the meal and speeches were over we gathered our guests to watch us cut the cake! I was very fortunate that, about a month prior to the wedding day having searched high and low for the perfect cake without any luck – we were at Cripps having one final look around when I bumped into Pia from The Vanilla Pod Bakery decorating a wonderful cake for the wedding taking place that day. I got chatting to her and exchanged details. She created the most beautiful three tiered Naked Cake! Our bottom layer was lemon curd, the middle was raspberry and coconut sponge and the top layer was a simple yet utterly delicious Victoria sponge cake and it was all finished off with a thin layer of butter cream. The cake was placed on a tree log cake stand on our dessert table. Pia decorated it with foliage and a selection of our cream and pink wedding flowers.
The dessert table was Sam’s responsibility! Family and friends made some small cakes and biscuits and he created a wonderful display using vintage books and retro brass trinkets and instruments! He scattered petals and pine cones and the end result was really impressive.
After cutting the cake I put on a faux fur coat and our Best Man led us and our guests outside for a sparkler reception. Our Ushers had prepared marshmallows on skewers and we all crowded around the bonfire and toasted them, it was magical! (Although my poor Jimmy Choo’s didn’t agree!)
We hired a string quartet (The Cotswold Ensemble) to play throughout the day. Initially they were positioned at the back of the Barn and started playing baroque/romantic music as guests arrived. I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon in D and our recessional song was Handel’s Hornpipe in D. Our drinks reception was on the outdoor terrace and the string quartet relocated to near to the barn exit and played more modern music.
During our Ceremony we had two readings, the first was an excerpt from The Alchemist which was read by Sam’s Mum. We alsways wanted her to be a key part in our special day and it is particularly special to us that she read so wonderfully during the Cermony and that we have it recorded on vide as she sadly passed away one month after our wedding day. The second reading was an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres and it was read by one of my closest friends.
Before we knew it, it was time for our first dance. I was absolutely dreading this moment (we had attempted a practise session once which resulted in Sam picking me up and injuring my knee 20 seconds in!)…we danced to Stevie Wonder Sir Duke for the simple reason that the song is uplifting and hold happy memories for us. Shortly afterwards our evening band started – an amazing 8 piece funk band – Supatight. They played a broad range of music ranging from funk and soul hits such as “Who’s that lady?” to more modern pop songs like Happy by Pharrell Williams. The band were so engaging and the lead singers so charismatic, the dancefloor was packed all evening.
Image by Nicola Milns Photography
Photography by Nicola Milns Photography
- Dress Designer Enzoani – Isla
- Bridal Boutique Brides Visited
- Headpiece, Earrings & Silk Veil Gillian Million
- Bridal Shoes Jimmy Choo
- Wellies Hunters
- Bridesmaid Dresses Jacques-vert
- Flower Girl Dress Zara
- Grooms Suit Ben Sherman
- Grooms Shoes Church’s Footwear
- Cufflinks Alfred Dunhill
- Venue Cripps Barn
- Florist Pollen Nation
- Cake Vanilla Pod Bakery
- Stationery Gemma Milly
- Band Supatight
- String Quartet Cotswold Ensemble
- Transport Pilot Wedding Cars
- Videographer Silver Sixpence Films