‘Frandy’ as this adorable couple are better known as are just a dream, as is their pretty country wedding. Saying their I dos under an oak tree at a sweet outdoor ceremony, and holding their fabulous reception in a corrugated iron rustic barn.
Of course no wedding is complete these days without a pimp your prosecco station, and a tower of cheese wedding cake, and no bridal party is as fierce unless they include men in navy suits, white bridesmaid dresses and bridal separates. And hey presto this wedding reception and party included all those fashion forward looks and immense wedding trends, with the lovely Dale Weeks Photography on hand to capture all the magic and style in his legendary way.
Fran the Bride : Andy proposed to me in California, so when we first visited Chiddinglye and saw the Redwood trees we instantly fell in love with the venue and felt it was meant to be.
We always wanted an outside wedding and thought holding our ceremony under the 400 year old oak tree made for such a romantic setting. Luckily, amongst a week of rain, the sun shone for us on our day!
We wanted a really laid back day, so the combination of the beautiful lawn and the rustic cow byre was the perfect setting for us to achieve this. The venue was so atmospheric that we wanted this to be the main feature of the day. We didn’t want any bold colour theme to detract from the natural setting.
We worked with Hilary Channing for our ceremony, she was recommended to us through the venue. Hilary was amazing, she took the time to get to know us as a couple and worked closely with us on the narrative. Being able to have our ceremony exactly how we wanted it made our day so much more special. Hilary delivered a very personal ceremony, telling our story and speaking about us as a couple.
We worked with Not Your Average I Do for the venue decoration. For the ceremony we decorated the oak tree with white lanterns and long ribbons which blew beautifully in the wind. The cow byre is full of festoon lights which we both really love, so we filled Patrick’s barn with even more festoon lights and white lanterns. We wanted the style of the whole venue to tie together and Not Your Average were amazing at helping us achieve this! Katherine Bly Flowers created the chair back and foliage arrangements for the tables which really complimented our bouquets and helped bring the tables to life. I designed and made all of the stationery myself, along with help from my mum who hand painted a lot of tins and wrapped a lot of twine around bottles to be used as centerpieces. We were really happy with the overall effect and it really suited the rustic venue.
Gather and Bloom created our beautiful bouquets and buttonholes. I’ve never been a fan of perfectly spherical bouquets, we wanted something that felt relaxed, to fit in with the vibe of our wedding day and Caroline brought our vision to life perfectly. She used lots of different flowers, greenery and hand dyed silk ribbons, resulting in bouquets that really popped off the bridesmaids and my ivory dresses.
Food & Drink
One of our biggest priorities was to make sure there was plenty of food and drink. We wanted our day to feel like one big party, and it’s not a party if there isn’t plenty of booze flowing!
We had a pimp your prosecco and beer drinks reception. Guests topped up their fizz with homemade sloe gin and sloe vodka. We served homemade pink lemonade and elderflower fizz (made by the bride) for the non drinkers, and the beer was brewed by the stag party at London Beer Lab, which we then designed our own labels for.
Rather than give everyone a glass of fizz for the speeches, instead we left full bottles of prosecco on the tables so people could help themselves. It didn’t cost much more but feels so much more generous!
Our caterer, The Garden Chef creates food which is not only stunning, using lots of colour, but also incredibly delicious. We decided on a simple pie and mash main, followed by a raspberry pavlova for dessert (our thoughts went on carb loading our friends who we know are big drinkers!) So many of our guests said it was the best pie they’ve ever eaten!
We decided on cheese for our wedding cake. So many times we’ve been to weddings and see the cake never gets eaten, therefore our cheese also doubled up as our evening food, served with biscuits, grapes and figs. The Groom’s mum also made red velvet and salted caramel cupcakes for the evening – the infamous ‘Wendy cakes’ as they are known amongst our friends and family.
Having a live band in the evening was important to us. In our experience they really help get the party started. We hired The Bad Cats, after seeing them at our friends wedding the year before. The feedback from guests was amazing, definitely one of the best decisions we made.
We also liked the idea of a photobooth, but find traditional wedding photo booths boring now. We found Photobot online and thought the combination of photos and gifts was perfect – our guests went absolutely mad for it!
I was always drawn to separates as I liked the idea of wearing something a little different. Finding boutiques that stock separates wasn’t easy, so in the process I tried on plenty of traditional dresses, but nothing quite had the wow factor. I found Emma Elizabeth Bridal through the Watters website and not only did they stock a lot of skirts and tops, Emma also gave me that last push I needed to wear a crop top on my wedding day! (although I ended up having the top altered so only a small amount of skin was on show)
I didn’t fancy spending too much on shoes, as I knew whatever I wore would get ruined. I ended up finding a statement pair from ASOS Bride which were really comfy and also got a lot of great remarks! I also don’t wear much jewellery, but came across a pair of ear jackets on Not On The Highstreet that I fell in love with so had to buy them.
I always wanted my bridesmaids in ivory, I saw it on Instagram and thought it was a really impactful look. Not only that, but all my bridesmaids have very different skin tones, so finding one colour to suit them all would have been too difficult! We ended up going for a lace, knee length skater dress from Marks and Spencer with rose gold metallic shoes, which looked great and also didn’t break the bank!
The Groom’s and Ushers are wore 3 piece suits from Next. We were really impressed with their selection of styles, and again they weren’t too expensive. They also come in a big variety of sizes, so no alterations required! Andy didn’t want to wear anything too contrasting to the ushers, so went for a blue checked suit alongside their plain blue. We decided on matching teal ties, white pocket squares and tan brogues – possibly the only part of the wedding that Andy had full control over!
We found our photographer, Dale, through a friend. When we saw his portfolio we knew he was exactly what we were looking for; really relaxed, easy going, with a cool and effortless style. We hated the idea of cheesy poses and hundreds of official line ups, we just wanted someone who could capture the feeling of the day and Dale did this perfectly. The outcome is more than we could have ever hoped for.
We weren’t going to hire a videographer initially, but everyone told us not doing so would be our biggest regret. We found David from Love Filmed online, we were looking for someone who could capture the day in a natural way, but again with nothing too cheesy. David was great at working with us to understand what we wanted, we haven’t seen the final edit yet but we’re really excited to see it! We’re already really glad we made the decision to hire one!
My one piece of advice would be to just enjoy the day. So many little things went wrong throughout our day, but remember you are the only people who’ll notice it, your guests won’t notice or even care! I become the most carefree person on our wedding day and it was the best feeling in the world.