Look! Sometimes we do get gorgeous sunny days in the UK!!! Warm and lovely enough to hold a glorious outdoor wedding like Grace and Tom’s. I can’t think of a more deserving couple to hit the jackpot with the weather either, this pair had put their hearts and souls into their wedding day and I’m so pleased the sun shone down for them. It’s a riot of colour from start to finish and won’t fail to put a smile on your face, I’m sure of it!
Images come from Story + Colour, whose name has never felt more apt! The photographs are a beautiful keepsake of what was clearly a wonderful wedding – with story and colour literally running through every one! Enjoy this wedding, it’s a complete explosion of joy…
Grace & Tom: It was important for us that our wedding day didn’t feel too formal but rather was a chance for those that we loved to come together and celebrate life, love, and happiness. We wanted it to feel relaxed and informal and to reflect our love not only for each other but for all of our friends and family too. Furtho Manor was the perfect location for what we had in mind with beautiful outside space and a big cowshed too! It had space to play games, share food together, and even camp.
Thankfully, it turned out to be a beautiful day too so we could have our ceremony outside in front of the lake. We had already done the legal bit before the big day but, as Christians, we decided to have a big colourful celebratory service led by our pastor outside in the sunshine before playing some games, eating, and dancing uncontrollably for the rest of the day. It couldn’t have gone better.
Grace loves all things vintage, but equally didn’t want a dress that was too formal or restrictive. So ‘Marina’ by Maggie Sottero (bought from The Bridal Boutique of Worcester) was perfect – it was light and floaty down the bottom, but had amazing 20’s inspired beading across the top, with unique ‘art-deco’ fan detail on the shoulders (Grace’s favourite bit!) Grace also added some piping to the back of the dress to add some extra detail, and felt extra-special having a bit of back on show.
Tom bought his fancy velvet jacket from a little concession in House of Fraser called ‘Without Prejudice’. He had always dreamt of wearing a cheeky velvet number for his big day and he couldn’t have found a more perfect garment.
The Wedding Party
We didn’t have bridesmaids and groomsmen in the traditional sense as we were keen to make sure our day didn’t conform to the stereotypical gender roles of a more ‘traditional wedding’, where bridesmaids’ main role is often to look ‘pretty’ and the best men get to do all the talking. It was important to us that we had a team of people supporting us regardless of their gender so decided to have a best ‘team’. The best people wore whatever they wanted as we didn’t want to be too prescriptive. As you’ll see from the pictures, they all looked wonderful. We distinguished them from the other guests with the beautiful corsages created by Siouxzie Phillips, our amazing florist.
When looking for a venue we knew we wanted somewhere with lots of space to play games, dance lots, and relax over a whole weekend. We wanted everyone to have the opportunity to stay over to make a weekend out of if they wanted to, so we planned a relaxed games day on the Sunday, complete with a family quiz over some breakfast baps!
Furtho Manor fit the bill perfectly. Not only was the space perfect, and not too expensive, but Linda and Robin could not have been more helpful. We felt utterly supported by both of them and had such a brilliant time. We had the venue from the Tuesday before the wedding weekend and had it right through until the following Monday.
We love colour, so it wouldn’t have felt right to have a traditional style white wedding. Thankfully we met Alice (Fleur De Lace) just as we booked our venue and we worked with her to create exactly what we wanted in the cowshed, with lots of colourful ribbon and hanging lanterns. Siouxzie also did a great job at finding us the most colourful array of flowers possible! Tom’s Mum was also an incredible help, visiting every car boot sale within 50 miles of Bristol for almost two years, snapping up anything that she thought might add to the vibe of the day – everything for the sweet station, cake table, cheese table, cider station, blankets, plants and flower tubs, tins, and buckets, we managed to buy up as absolute bargains! It was also a blessing that Tom’s Mum used to be a florist so, alongside Siouxzie, helped make the venue look exactly as we had hoped – from potting lots of colourful plants across the whole space, to arranging flowers in vintage tins on all our tables. We wanted to make the day as personal as possible so made a lot of props and signs ourselves, as well as writing personalised messages to each guest thanking them for something they’d done in our lives. It took an absolute age but we are so glad we did it.
Thankfully we have many talented friends so we had an ‘open mic’ set throughout the afternoon following the ceremony. This was interspersed with a number of games including a nerf gun shoot out and the Prosecco bottle Derby (essentially a race to reel in bottles of Prosecco) . We then kicked off the evening with some of our favourite, crazy klezmer music from the amazing ‘Balkanoes’, ensuring that the dance floor was absolutely packed (and giving us the best first dance experience – being lifted up and down on chairs by all our nearest and dearest!). Following that, some of our former university friends ‘The Ellafunks’ played a set crammed full of Motown hits to keep the party going. We also had some great music kicking off celebrations in our Wedding Service from our church band – Springs Church Gornal.
The Food & Drink
Mrs Bees Kitchen provided an amazing picnic basket lunch which went down a storm, with guests providing a selection of homemade cakes for dessert as part of our Cake Competition. Tom’s great aunt made the incredibly Instagrammable cake that can be seen in the pictures. In the evening we had Howes Fish & Chips and the Mexican Baja Cantina provide both fish and chips and a selection of Mexican dishes – they were both great to work with. The Caravan Bar Company provided an amazing bar service…in a super cool 60s caravan!
As special treats we also: made our own cider for welcome drinks, with the help of The Wild Cider Co (family friends of ours), had Lee’s Ice Dreams providing some amazing ice creams throughout the day; had some delicious brunch baps served up by a Huntsmen catering on Sunday Morning.
Dan from Story + Colour photographed the day and did a stunning job. We really just wanted to capture the day in a really relaxed, informal, fun way – and that’s exactly what we got. Throughout the whole process he was friendly, warm and professional. We couldn’t have asked for a better photographer. We also had a wonderful video made by the super talented Dez Lartey Photography, who we’d really recommend.
There’s often a lot of pressure to conform to traditional roles and create a day that fits other people’s idea of what a wedding should be, rather than what you want it to be. We did all that we could to make sure that we created a weekend that reflected our characters, our relationship and how thankful we were to have all our friends and family coming together to celebrate.
Our top tip is to be really open and honest with each other right at the outset of doing any planning and decide how you want the day to feel rather than obsessing over how you’d like it to look. It’s an amazing opportunity to share something of yourselves, and to reflect on exactly what it is about your relationship that is unique. For us, it was important that the day reflected the unity and equality that is so central to all that we do, which meant that some of the more traditional aspects of a wedding day didn’t sit right with us. For example, we decided that both of us would walk down the aisle with our families, both of us would give a speech and we didn’t have the traditional bridesmaid/best man roles. It was also really important for us that people felt super relaxed and could really celebrate us all being together, so we opted for a more informal sharing lunch, played plenty of games, and had loads of live music so that people could have fun in each others company without sticking to a rigid structure.
Whatever it is that you as a couple hold dear, think about the best way that can be reflected in the day itself and let that guide your preparation and planning decisions…HAVE FUN!
Photography by Story + Colour
- Videography Dezlartey Photography
- Bride Maggie Sottero
- Boutique The Bridal Boutique Of Worcester
- Shoes Rachel Simpson
- Veil Traditional Veils
- Flowers Sioux Phillips
- Venue Furtho Manor Farm
- Decor Fleur De Lace
- Picnic Mrs Bee’s Kitchen
- Fish & Chips Howe & Co
- Mexican Food Baja Cantina
- Bar The Caravan Bar Company
- Cider The Wild Cider Co.
- Groom Without Prejudice
- Entertainment Springs Church Band
- The Balkanoes