Emma and Joe’s joyful Brookfield Barn wedding is just brimming with rustic details you can recreate for your own big day – the ‘memory lane’ polaroid crate is really pretty and actually very easy to put together, you don’t even need a paintbrush. I also love their table plan, using wine bottles as vases, with peoples names on the wine bottle label.
Emma the Bride: Lots of brides say they end up finding something completely different to what they think they wanted, but from my first dress appointments, I liked (and disliked) the exact styles and dresses I knew I would. We’d decided on a summer wedding (my husband is a teacher and we’d set on having a long honeymoon to Bali right after the wedding) so I had a fairly accurate picture of what I wanted which was simple with not too much lace, low back, slim fit / mermaid style with thin straps. My initial plan was to have the dress made bespoke because I couldn’t find it! My sister was working as a designers assistant for a luxury wedding boutique so I had a couple of bespoke appointments and designs sketched. In the end however, the process of having it designed became a bit daunting and I was worried I would miss some of the details I’d started to really like on boutique dresses.
I’d narrowed it down to an Enzoani Ingwiller dress that was actually a little unexpected for me (it was a high neck, sleeveless style) from a small local boutique where I’d originally never expected to find a dress that I’d like to try on, let alone THE dress. On Christmas Eve, I had almost decided to say yes and then I spotted a dress (Enzoani Juri) hanging up that had just come in that day. I was the first bride to try it on and suddenly all the doubts/worries I had about the other dress were eliminated by this one. I didn’t have the whole emotional crying moment – my mum did – but I felt the best in this one than any dress I’d tried (I tried a lot!!) my mum and sister told me at this point that if this wasn’t the dress, there was no other dress out there for me. So that was it! I made a slight alteration by having additional lace added to the hips.
My sister (working for a bridal designer) made me a beautiful full length veil which was really special and she embroidered my initials in blue into it. I still wanted plain tulle rather than lace for simplicity. My mother in law Nicky had a pale blue ribbon and asked my husband for something to embroider on it – he gave her a lyric from the song (The One, by Kodaline) which was sung during our ceremony and she sewed it into the lining underneath my dress.
My shoes were an emergency next day ASOS delivery before my fitting, all I knew was I wanted shoes with a metallic edge and the ones I got were perfect. I went for a couple of pieces of new jewellery in gold and moonstone/diamond from Astley Clarke and Monica Vinader.
Joe’s journey was a lot easier than mine but he still tried his fair share of suits – waistcoat or no waistcoat – tie or no tie combos. He’s not bothered about designers / brands so prioritised finding a good fit and the exact shade of blue he wanted! He found it in River Island Men (which was also great for coordinating seven groomsmen!) and then purchased a brown tweed waistcoat and navy polkadot tie from separate suit boutiques. (The groomsmen had blue wasitcoats with dark brown polkadot ties).
We always said if we’d had a destination wedding we would’ve done it in South of France where we have both spent childhoods with our families and now spend holidays together every year as a couple with family. We knew our style and season suited a relaxed venue so we wanted a barn and really nice outdoor space. We were lucky to find a brand new venue, Brookfield Barn not far from us in East Sussex which meant they had a beautiful newly renovated space and no one we knew had been married there before. We had our hearts set on an outdoor wedding in front of the lake, but windy weather meant we had to very quickly arrange a plan B the night before and dress the barn for an indoor ceremony, in the end I wouldn’t have changed it.
We mainly wanted to keep it super simple and botanical with lots of white and green. My mother in law made an incredible 100m of minimalistic white bunting – I always said my wedding wouldn’t be a bunting wedding! But a last minute panic that the barn would look too plain changed my mind and I’m glad for it. She also made a photobooth backdrop with ‘best day ever’ which people loved. For the main barn we had a huge foliage wagon wheel made by Not Your Average I Do as a central chandelier and then our plan B for the ceremony was to also hire a last minute birch arch from them which they dressed in a white voile and our florist dressed with beautiful foliage arrangements to get married in front of. We hired giant white foliage balloons too.
To be clever with budget we did a mixture of florist and DIY flowers. We had our incredible florist Roberta make priority pieces like mine and the bridesmaids bouquets and the groomsmen buttonholes. We went for summery, loose, foliage heavy bouquets in mainly white and green with lots of olive and eucalyptus and hints of dusky pink roses and dhalias. My mum hand-picked and dried rose petals from the garden for about a year in the lead up to the wedding to make confetti.
The centre pieces were clusters of clear and brown beer/cider bottles that we collected and my mum and I then filled them with flowers and foliage which I’d bought locally. We chose french table names which represented all of the things we do and love on our annual holidays to the South of France and used polaroid photos of each of them which I attached onto lanterns. For the head table I also made my own ‘Mr & Mrs Simpson’ plaque from a piece of wood I stripped off of a pallet and drew using a paint pen.
I also loved creating, designing and printing all of the stationery myself – the save the dates, invites, order of services, confetti cones and table plan, which I made as wine bottle labels stuck onto wine bottles before decorating with flowers and arranging onto wooden crates. The place names were a labour of love too, I designed, printed, guillotined, holepunched, stick hole reinforcements and tied tan suede cords onto over 100 table names in the car on our journey to South France! My mum and sister then collected sprigs of lavender and herbs from the garden to thread through fresh on the day.
The Wedding Party
The dusky pink bridesmaid dresses were from ASOS, my two sisters both chose maxi length which was nice for them to have a slightly different style and my four other bridesmaids chose a midi length. They all went for hair up in lots of different styles with braids which we decorated with some simple baby’s breath. Groomsmen as above.
I loved everything about our ceremony. Joe and I had been together for just over 9 years on our wedding day so it was a hugely overwhelming and emotional event for us and lots of our friends and family who have watched us grow up together. I walked down the aisle to James Mc Morrow’s version of higher love. There were some hilarious moments which I’m so glad for the memories they’ve given us of laughing our way through it! We had some of our best friends give funny readings and Joe’s groomsman Nathaniel sung and played piano to an acoustic version of The One by Kodaline. We also got our entire wedding party and guests to sing Wouldn’t it be Nice by the Beach Boys at the end of our ceremony.
Also on the morning of the wedding my bridesmaids played me a video that Joe had made which was a compilation of songs, poems, dances and from my close friends and family including an amazing rendition of the speech from Bridesmaids from my sisters (!), it was so special and emotional and probably the best present anyone has ever given me.
We went with a DJ and eclectic party playlist of dance tunes (me) and some token rock tunes (him!). We don’t have ‘a song’ so our first dance was a total last minute fluke of playing Lionel Richie My Destiny in the kitchen one day close to the wedding, but it was perfect for us because we didn’t want to slow dance. Our final dance was One Direction History which was super fitting for us both having met at school aged 14. Joe also somehow managed to convince the DJ to give him a microphone at some point, but watching him lead karaoke and the entire room scream Alanis Morrisette’s Ironic is now one of my favourite memories of the day.
We wanted something casual so we went for summery canapés and a hog roast for main. My mum Tina made a beautiful three tiered rustic but simple butter-icing cake (even made the flowers from icing!) and decorated it with olive leaves – everyone thought it was professionally made.
The Photography & Film
We met Nichola at our friend’s wedding a couple of years previous and loved her style and a couple of the photos she took of us dancing. When it came to searching she was our first choice, there was never anyone else who matched so we just went with what we wanted.
We chose Kitebox to film a highlights video for us and I’m so pleased we decided to have one, we still watch it all the time and it is completely different to looking back at photos because you can relive that bit more! We loved their natural style.