If you've attended a wedding in 2018, then chances are you've heard an Ed Sheeran song blasting through the speakers and turning everyone into an emotional wreck. I mean just read's enough to make even the coldest of hearts melt...

Take me into your loving arms Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars Place your head on my beating heart I'm thinking out loud Maybe we found love right where we are...

We know how much you lovely lot enjoy incorporating music into your big day, we see great examples every day, but Grace and Clare have totally out done everyone with a huge banner, emblazoned with Ed's finest lyrics. It makes such a gorgeous backdrop to their sweetheart table and no doubt is now hanging pride of place in their home. Let's take a look shall we?

The Venue

Grace the Bride: Before we had chosen our venue, Clare knew that she wanted to have the ceremony and reception at two different venues and definitely had to travel in her vintage Mini. We both love period buildings, so when we saw The Old Parish Rooms, with the amazing windows and history of being a former school house, we knew it was the perfect ceremony venue for us. As for the reception venue, we wanted somewhere with a relaxed feeling, where we could have the freedom to decorate in our own style and The Railway Barn at New Hall Vineyards was perfect for this and the good wine was a plus too.

The Dresses

We decided to go dress shopping separately and keep it a surprise from each other for the big day. Clare went shopping first to Bellissima Weddings and soon found the perfect dress. I also went to Bellissima and had the same assistant Amelia, who made sure Clare’s dress had been removed so that we wouldn’t choose the same. I chose a dress that Amelia picked out for me which she thought would go well with Clare’s dress and looking back at the photos, we think it did! Grace’s veil and Clare’s hair piece were also from Bellissima. The flower girls’ dresses were bought from Monsoon and were blue and white to match our colour scheme. We both had our hair styled by Grace’s friend Holly, from Simply Hair and our make-up by Haleigh Maskall who was recommended to us.

The Transport

For transport on the day, we hired a double decker vintage bus to transport our guests between the venues. Clare and her dad arrived at the ceremony in her 1960’s classic mini and Grace arrived with her dad in his 1962 Sunbeam Rapier. We then joined the guests on the way to the reception on the bus.

The Ceremony

Whilst our guests entered The Old Parish Rooms, there was a violin and cello duet, which we also had during the singing of register and leaving the venue. As we hadn’t seen each other’s dresses, we had to plan the logistics of arriving at The Old Parish Rooms for the marriage ceremony so that we wouldn’t see each other before the big moment. We had our nieces as flower girls who entered the ceremony first, then Grace and her dad walked down the aisle, shortly followed by Clare and her dad, which was the first time we saw each other on the day. Graces sister Rebecca gave a reading that she had written, before the marriage ceremony began.

The Flowers

For our flower bouquets, we went with different shades of blue with cream. We love Blue thistle’s so our florist, Sacha, used these and chose the peonies, roses and daisies to complement them. We had miniature versions made for the flower girls and we used these for the bouquet toss, we were worried our bouquets were a bit big to throw! Sacha also created the button holes with the thistles and other flowers. We had a large trailing garland which we used during the ceremony and on the top table at the reception.

The Decor

We had Hayley from Starry Eyed Weddings decorate the Railway Barn. We chose a woodland/meadow theme and gave Hayley ideas of what we liked. She then used her creative expertise and decorated the venue better than we could have imagined. We chose to have a ‘sweetheart table’, so it was just us during the reception meal. Many people had told us to try and spend time together as it goes so fast so we decided to take the opportunity for it to be just us two at dinner. Hayley created a giant 4m banner which was personalised and handwritten for us from ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran. Ribbons and strips of fabric were stitched to the bottom to create a fringe. Lashings of foliage were attached to create a canopy over the banner along with star shaped cascading lights, to create a cosy and intimate top table as it was just for the 2 of us. The washed blue ticking stripe runners carried the look through onto the long trestle tables and vintage bottles were filled with wild flowers. To create an authentic woodland feel, branches and lanterns were suspended from the barn beams along with festoon lights. Hayley also created our table plan and wrote the guests name places on individual laurel leaves to continue the theme. ‘Motown Gold’ were our band for the evening and we had a vintage caravan in the form of a photo booth to keep guests entertained.

The Food

Our food was provided by Gather & Feast. Whilst the speeches were underway, guests were served with a selection of bread and olives. For the main meal we had a hog roast, silver served to guests. This was served with roasted pepper, courgettes and green beans with basil dressing as well as cous cous with asparagus and pine nuts. Dessert was a selection of ice creams from a vintage ice cream van. We chose 4 flavours: Chocolate, Honeycomb, Elderflower and Gooseberry and Rhubarb and Custard. The evening food was an ‘Essex Picnic Table’, including breads, homemade sausage rolls, pork pies, selection of cheese and chutneys. Our cake was made by Amy’s Bespoke Cakes, we wanted a cake to fit into our theme and chose a ‘semi-naked’ cake. We had four tiers: Chocolate, Victoria sponge, lemon and carrot which was covered in a layer of butter cream and decorated with fresh berries, topped of with figurines of us.

The Photography & Videography

Our photographer Magda, from Love That Smile Photography had been recommended to us and when we saw photos from previous weddings at The Old Parish Rooms, we knew that Magda was the photographer we wanted! We had a videographer, Mark, from White in Motion films. We loved the style of Mark's videos and knew he would create the fun and informal video we hoped for.

The Best Man

Other than the young flower girls, we didn’t have a bridal party, due to us both finding it too hard to select just a few people. We knew we would need some help on the day which is why we asked Clare’s brother Matt to be out Best Man. Matt really helped with the running of the day, from preparing the venues, ensuring we didn’t see each other before planned, organising guests and introducing our speakers (both Dad’s, Grace’s sister Hannah and Matt), as well as creating a game of ‘Mrs and Mrs’ during his own speech. We didn’t realise until after the day how much we needed his help, so we are very grateful.
Fern Godfrey

Written by Fern Godfrey

Videography: White In Motion | Dresses: Bellissima Weddings | Ceremony Venue: The Old Parish Rooms | Reception Venue: The Railway Barn | Catering: Gather And Feast | Styling: Starry Eyed Weddings | Cake: Amy's Bespoke Cakes | Photo Booth: Photo Booth Caravan | Transport: Time Bus | Make Up: Haleigh Maskall | Hair : Simply Hair
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