Gosh there are SO many reasons I love this sunny, rustic barn wedding, but I have to start with Emily’s stunning Fashion Pack member Ian Stuart gown, it literally fits her like a glove and the image of her sitting on the floor kissing Luke is immense! Such a dreamy portrait.
In fact ALL the fashion at this wedding is amazing, and most of it was cleverly crafted by the Mother of The Bride! She hand stitched the vibrant cobalt blue Bridesmaid dresses and used the same fabric to make the Groomsmen matching ties as well as embroidering Luke’s tie with the date of the wedding, Hats off to such a clever lady.
But how can I not mention Emily’s rainbow sparkly Kate Spade peep toe shoes, loving brought for her by her friend, I think I’m in shoe heaven….
Emily The Bride: It was really important to us that the day felt relaxed so we and all our guests could just enjoy ourselves. After being together for nearly 10 years before our wedding day, we had family and friends travelling from all over the world to celebrate with us. Almost every decision we made, from choosing the venues, to the entertainment, were designed to create a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
Ian Stuart’s theatrical designs immediately caught my eye when I started looking in wedding magazines after getting engaged. My Mum and I went bridal shopping with one of my Bridesmaids before she was due to leave for Australia and ended up choosing my dress within hours. Nothing else I tried on that day compared. My Mum was able to use her dress making expertise to customise parts of the dress that I wanted to tweak. I choose my veil and head-piece in Brides by Solo in Newmarket and my Chief Bridesmaid wanted to treat me to my wedding shoes. We choose my sparkly Kate Spade shoes to complete my look.
I found Chelsea Lenton Sitting Pretty at a local wedding fair and we immediately got on. She spent the morning of the wedding with my 5 Bridesmaids and I doing hair, make-up and mopping up tears of happiness!
Luke decided he wanted to go for something traditional. As he wears a suit to work every day he felt he wouldn’t feel dressed for the occasion in a regular suit. The obvious choice was to go for a morning suit. He had had a few recommendations of good service at Austin Reed and found it very easy to find the look he was after. My Mum was able to use some of the extra silk from my dress alterations to make Luke his tie and she hand embroidered our wedding date on the inside as a special touch!
The Wedding Party Fashion
I began searching with my 5 Bridesmaids for dresses but wasn’t having any luck. I knew I wanted to have a bold and bright colour to tie in with the mid-summer date of our day but nothing I could find seemed quite right. I was browsing in John Lewis one day when a cobalt blue silk dupion caught my eye in the haberdashery department. It was then that the penny dropped that my Mum would be able to design and make the dresses for the girls. It was a bit of a risk as two of my Bridesmaids were living in Australia at the time so final fittings were scheduled as soon as they got off the plane the week before the wedding! I got the Bridesmaid’s shoes from Phase Eight and had a beaded bracelet designed for them that I gave to them on the morning of the wedding. Using the same blue silk fabric as the Bridesmaid dresses my Mum made the ties for the Groomsmen who wore the same suit as Luke.
We began searching for venues in the Cambridge area but knew we wanted something with a blank canvas so that we could make our wedding celebrations our own. The Granary Barns website came up on a search we did during our early days of wedding planning. When we spoke to the co-ordinator Hannah it became apparent that it was still a building site when she told us we would require wellies for our viewing! It took some imagination and trust to finalise our booking for the following summer but we were reassured that the venue was going to be spectacular. We were not disappointed. The combination of the vast rustic barns, joined by a glass walkway and surrounded by beautiful flint walled court yard in a countryside setting was idyllic, and given that it was just miles from where Luke grew up was the perfect venue for our big day.
Décor and Stationery
Our tea party theme evolved from the fact that we didn’t want to have a traditional 3 course wedding breakfast. We felt that on a mid-summers afternoon a heavy meal would be too much so we thought of alternative options. The idea of having afternoon tea developed and we started collecting bone china tea sets. It became a bit of an addiction with my Chief Bridesmaid and we spent many Saturday’s in charity shops and antique fairs searching for teacups! We ended up collecting enough for our 95 guests and rented teapots and tiered cake stands from Gorgeous Vintage Crockery. Alongside the afternoon tea we needed to have bunting so Mum got to work stitching 80m of flags for the barn. As favours for the ladies, we made and stuffed lavender hearts using fabric from the bunting and Bridesmaids dresses to tie in the colours. I spent hours on Pinterest collecting ideas for the table plan, guest board and wooden block pieces, sweetie cart and made these all with help from my Bridesmaids. Our suitcase with hiking boots for the card box signified our honeymoon adventure climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania! For the save the date cards and invitations we used photographs taken by my talented Bridesmaid who enjoys photography as a hobby. We used foto-fusion to design the invitations for day guests and made the save the dates and evening invites ourselves.
My Mum took an interest in flower arranging when Luke and I got engaged and booked herself onto a bridal course. As much as it would have been very special to have my bouquet made by my Mum, we felt it would be too much pressure on the morning of the wedding to be attempting it. I booked a consultation with Dawn from Manor Florist and she was extremely patient and I felt she understood the types of bouquets I had in mind. We choose seasonal flowers for mid-summer in bright colours alongside soft gypsophila for the bouquets and button holes. For the church and venue we wanted natural and loose arrangements and after doing some research found out that the Suffolk Flower Farm would grow flowers for weddings. We ordered the flowers and they delivered them to the church and venue. My Mum, Aunt and friend spent hours arranging buckets, vases and stands we beautiful freshly cut blooms that made the natural feel we were after, come together.
It was important for us to get married in a church and our parish church is the same church that I used to sing in the choir and go to Brownies in my school days so that was the decision made for us! We spent time together in the months running up to our ceremony discussing the service, hymns and readings. For us both it was the most central part of the day and will treasure that special moment in our hearts forever.
Swagger play regularly at a bar in Cambridge that we often go to on a Friday night and we knew that they were guaranteed to get people on the dance floor. Even though the summer night was toasty, they didn’t fail. Our guests still regularly comment on the dancing now!
Our tea party menu developed mainly from Luke’s sweet tooth (he also chose the selection of sweets on offer on the sweetie table)! We put together the menu with Tom’s Kitchen to include finger sandwiches on homemade bread, savoury scones and tart, brownies, scones and macaroons. It was a perfect combination of treats and Luke made strawberry and rhubarb jam for the sweet scones and apple chutney for the savoury scones. Tom’s Kitchen also did a hog roast once the evening guests arrived and we had an ice-cream bike in the court yard. We couldn’t decide between a traditional wedding cake or a cheese cake so in the end we decided to have both! Luke and my Mum made the layers of fruit cake and then I helped ice them the week before the wedding. We served the cheese cake as an evening buffet. With a year to go before our wedding Luke and I found ourselves in France on holiday. We visited a selection of vineyards for wine tasting and decided that we could source the wine to serve alongside our afternoon tea. We choose a white sparkling wine that was also used for toasting the speeches. We served Pimms and Norfolk cider for our drinks reception.
My day was connected by many forms of transport! My Dad is a keen cyclist and arranged for a trishaw to take us to the church; this got a puncture half way up the road so we squeezed in to the Rolls Royce transporting my five Bridesmaids! Our guests travelled from the church to the venue in a vintage double decker bus and Luke arranged for us to have a VW camper van for the journey.
We can’t speak highly enough of our photographers that come as a pair! We were forced to look for an alternative wedding photographer just months before our wedding after being let down by someone we had booked the previous year. It was a miracle that Lina and Tom just happened to have that one mid-summer Saturday still free and after meeting them to discuss our wedding in more detail they made us feel instantly relaxed and at ease so we booked them straight away. We met them again a few weeks later for our pre-shoot in Cambridge city centre and it was great to get to know them both a bit more and understand some of their creative ideas ahead of our big day. Another occasion Lina and Tom also came to meet us so that we could show them around our wedding venue ahead of the wedding so that we could talk through ideas. Lina and Tom bought our whole day together and the photographs reflect the joy and happiness we radiated throughout our day.
Design the day you want, rather than the one you think/get told you should have. And enjoy yourself! It only happens once and the days goes by so quickly; soak it all in. Enjoy every moment of the lead up to the day as it will go by in a flash. Spend time with your friends and family developing ideas and doing things yourself. It will make the day even more special and memorable.
Photography by Lina & Tom
- Dress Designer Ian Stuart
- Bridal Boutique Brides by Solo
- Shoes Kate Spade
- Groomsmen Austin Reed
- Bridesmaid Fabric John Lewis
- Bridesmaid Shoes Phase Eight
- Venue The Granary Estates
- Bouquet & Buttonholes The Manor Florist
- Caterer Tom’s Kitchen
- Ice Cream Bike Ice Cream Bike
- Stationery Foto Fusion
- Entertainment Swagger Funk
- Trishaw Outspoken Delivery
- Vintage Bus Route Master Hire
- hHair & Make-up Sitting Pretty
- Vintage China Hire Gorgeous Vintage Crockery Hire
- Church & Venue Flowers The Suffolk Flower Farm