Hannah the Bride:
When we first started planning our wedding we each had a firm requirement – Charlie’s was that it be set in the countryside as we’re both worshippers of the outdoors, and mine was that it had to be a winter wedding; I get terrible hay-fever and nobody wants that in their wedding photographs, plus having grown up in Abu Dhabi winter is still a lovely novelty.
The biggest hurdle for me was the dress. I love interior design so I was in my element designing every tiny detail of how the venue would look but kept finding other things to do when it came to deciding on my dress. I went to two different bridal boutiques and left feeling uncomfortable, but in the end Pinterest came to the rescue. I saw a beautiful picture of a perfect long-sleeved simple lace topped gown, was delighted when my clever mother informed me that it was available to buy! Self-Portrait
make the most beautiful affordable dresses and although it wasn’t a ‘traditional’ wedding dress I knew it was the one for me, after some neckline alterations undertaken by the brilliant Atelier Gold in Brighton. My Petworth headpiece from Cherished Bride was my first ‘I need this’ moment. The huge pearls, acorn cups and oak leaves were like something from a dream.
was the first and last venue we looked at. We wanted somewhere rustic and ideally with everything in one location to reduce any travel complications. The barn is made up of a beautiful chapel-like ceremony room, a large dinner and reception space with exposed beams and a courtyard which features sheep, ducks, a little river and as discovered by our very clever photographer, some very picturesque farm buildings over the hill. The team who work there were brilliant, and made the whole experience completely stress-free.
I have always loved interior design and the Danish concept of ‘hygge’, and it was really important to us to have a wedding that really represented us both as a couple; relaxed and cosy. We went for a rustic theme and a colour scheme of white, grey and green. We wanted a mix of contemporary and country. We filled the barn with blankets, candles and pinecones (or ‘tisti-tosties’ as my Welsh grandma calls them) which featured both in our wedding stationery and in the venue decoration with large pinecones dotted around the venue and beautiful ceramic pinecones from my favourite interiors shop Rowen and Wren
hanging from the chairs in the ceremony room.
Charlie and I designed and hand-made a lot of our decorations, from the wedding stationery, the ceremony room beam decorations, the bunches of fir branches behind top table to the favours which were clear baubles filled with local foliage and tied with sage velvet ribbon. Our table plan was a frame of reclaimed wood made by Charlie and wrapped in ivy, tied in strips of string with textured paper names. One of my clever maids of honour Zoe made a brilliant ‘pin the tail on the fox’ board for my glamping hen weekend which we used again in our reception.
Our florist Nordic Twigs
has a beautiful Scandinavian, contemporary style which was essential to me; we met Caroline whilst being shown around Farbridge and I knew she would be perfect immediately. We discussed the overall theme and mood of the wedding and then I gave her free rein to do as she wished which worked out perfectly. My beautiful pussywillow moss wreath is now hanging above our bed and every vase I own is filled with leftover eucalyptus and pheasant feathers. The bridal party flowers, flower crowns and centrepieces absolutely made the design and I cannot recommend her highly enough.
The Wedding Party
We were working to a budget and so to try to keep to it my two maids of honour and adult bridesmaid very sweetly offered to buy their own dresses, which I then insisted were of their own choosing as long as they were any shade of grey. Sophie went for a beautiful Grecian gown from ASOS
, Zoe an elegant fitted lace number from Paper Dolls
and my sister Kate wore a stunning steel velvet column dress from Pretty Eccentric
. My little bridesmaids were pure ‘hygge’ in grey knitted dresses with lace edging and the softest white fur gilets from H&M, with fur edged boots and Caroline’s perfect flower crowns.
For our ceremony we had two readings; my mother read John Donne’s ‘The Good-Morrow’ (fitting as I’m finishing my PhD in 16th-century portraiture), and one of my closest oldest friends David (for whom I was best ‘man’) read an extract from Philip Pullman’s ‘the Amber Spyglass’. During the signing my sister and her boyfriend played and sang Bright Eyes ‘the First Day of my Life’ and Johnny Cash and June Carter’s ‘Times A’Wastin’ which was just perfect.
We had the band Stylus
for the evening who performed a great mix of covers. Our first dance was Arctic Monkeys ‘I Wanna Be Yours.’
features a fantastic catering service and were brilliantly creative when we were thinking up a starter not featured on their menu. Our canapes were pine nut risotto balls, crab with chives and gruyere cheese puffs. Our starter was Welsh rarebit made of local Sussex ingredients, a delicious mixing of my Welsh and Charlie’s Sussex heritage. The main was a rustic chicken or lentil pie followed by chocolate mousse with berries and chunks of honeycomb. We wanted something elegant but hearty in case the temperature tumbled and Farbridge handled it beautifully. For the evening buffet we had enthusiastically received bacon or halloumi rolls followed by a fruitcake wedding cake made by my mother-in-law. The ivy decoration was made by a very clever friend of the family, and the cake topper was chosen by me with a bespoke quote taken from a letter Charlie sent me when I was in hospital after brain surgery 2 weeks into dating; “one day we’ll spring tails and vanish into the woods together.” What a catch!
We could not have been happier with our photographer, Katy & Co
. Having seen their previous work on RMW and being a member of The List
we knew that her relaxed, creative approach would be perfect and we were not disappointed. Our photos are a mix of joyous group shots and beautiful couple portraits in fields, forest and amidst rusting agricultural buildings. If only I could legitimately put 400+ photographs up in our 1-bedroom flat...
We owe our beautiful, perfect wedding to both sets of our parents who were so generous and without whom none of it would have happened. My best advice to give to any prospective brides – be creative when dress hunting. The high street offers fantastic options now and you mustn’t feel like you have to fit a prescribed brief. The more confident in your dress you are the more beautiful you’ll look.