Do you ever see something and it automatically reminds you of a certain song or lyric?
I do. Pretty often actually.
The Hertfordshire farm wedding of Rock My Wedding reader Andrea and Darren reminds me of one of my favourite songs of all time, (which you may have guessed straight away from the title) ” Into The Mystic” by Van Morrison. And when these things happen I find it difficult to give an eloquent explanation….. it reminds me of that song because um…
Because what Charlotte?
Because it is outdoorsy and carefree and beautiful and full of laughter and happiness and rustic charm and it just has….. well, a certain wholesome quality to it…..You know?
Oh and part 2 sees some amazing gypsy caravan action 😉
All of the gorgeous photography is courtesy of Sarah Gawler.
We chose South Farm as we really wanted to get married on a farm where our guests could also camp. With South Farm you get that and more. It’s a working farm where they grow all their own food and they have rare bread pigs and a peacock strolling around, which makes for a great, relaxed countryside feel. South Farm also has the option to get married outside in a wooden summerhouse on a lily pond, with your guests looking on from the lawn – a pretty special feature that really appealed to us.
It rained all week in the run up to our big day, so we were worried we wouldn’t be able to get married outside for fear of our guests being washed away, or the ladies sinking into the lawn in their stilettos! But in true British summertime style, the weather brightened up just long enough for us to get married outside at midday, before the heavens opened in the afternoon while we were safely in the barn eating our hog roast. The timing was spot on. It had been our dream to get married outside and we were so chuffed that the rain gods were kind to us on the day.
Sexy Sexy Matchy Matchy
I love the look of high heels, but I am known for my clumsiness, so sky scrapers were a definite no-no unless I wanted to risk falling into the lily pond on my way down the aisle (!). At 5ft7” I’m quite tall so I didn’t need anything too high, but I wanted something that still looked a little bit sexy. I settled on a pair of open toed summery sling backs, with a smattering of diamante and a 3” heel. A safe bet, with a nice bit of glitz.
Our colour scheme was blue, so I was considering getting them died bright petrol blue, but my boss advised me I was at risk of too much matchy matchiness so I stuck with a classic ivory instead. A wise choice in the end. However I couldn’t resist a bit of fun and colour, so I had my toes painted the brightest blue I could find with little white dots all over them – after all a little matchy matchy never hurt anyone!
Darren is from New Zealand and as we were getting married in the UK, we wanted to bring in as many references to the Kiwi’s as possible. We’d already planned to do this with the food and the wine, and I thought it would be a nice touch to get some of my accessories from there too. So when we went to the New Zealand festival in Richmond and I spotted a small stall selling jewellery made of New Zealand fresh water pearls, by designer Katharine Edwards, I darted off to check out the goodies she had on offer. Her pieces were simply stunning and it took me two minutes to decide on a necklace with 3 strings of small ivory fresh water pearls, plus a delicate silver bracelet with pearls and blue crystals (my something blue!) to match. The rest of the gang were oblivious to my shopping antics as they tucked into their lamb burgers and Malborough sauvignon blanc in the sun!
As the necklace was quite a striking piece I decided to keep my earrings and hair accessories simple. I chose vintage style silver and pearl drop earrings from Wedding Tiara’s and Jewellery and a small crystal, diamante and ivory fresh water pearl hair slide from Aye Do.
The Wow Factor
I was so excited about trying on dresses I booked appointments all over the south east of England; from a local boutique in south east London where I live, to the Red Cross wedding dress shop in Dorking in search of a bargain and finally to Stunning Bride in High Wycombe near where by parent’s are from in Bucks. I even ducked into a shop after a client meeting to quickly try one of their lovely gowns, while I was waiting for my train back to London. I had wedding fever very bad and wasn’t ashamed to try on as many dresses as I possibly could!
As soon as I entered Stunning Bride I had a good feeling about it. It’s a really relaxed, yet professional boutique with a range of gorgeous dresses and lots of lovely strapless, silk, corseted styles which I love. It also has a massive changing room, where my Mum and bridesmaid’s could chill out in between oohing and ahhing at all the beautiful dresses.
As soon as I tried on my dress I knew it was really special. The sweetheart neckline, the nipped in waist and the bias pleating detailing on the bodice provided a fantastic shape over my curvy hips. I also loved the ribbon corseted back and the ivory silk complimented my pale complexion. The pretty floral embellishments on the side hip and finishing the corset sealed the deal for me.
My only quandary was that I had found another much simpler Grecian style dress (Neferiti by Ronald Joyce) in a different shop that I really liked, but it was so different it made it really hard to decide. In the end I booked to back to back appointments and took my mum and five bridesmaids along with me to make the final decision. We all agreed the Maggie Sottero dress was the winner, as it had more wow factor. I was on cloud nine the day we placed the order – in spite of the more expensive price tag!
A Flawless Finish
I totally lucked out on the hair and make up front. I had a budget of £200 for hair and make up to include a trial and the big day, however I was really struggling to find someone I liked for my budget. I asked our wedding planner Kat at South Farm and she recommended her friend Denise Lilley, who happened to be a professional UK hair and make up artist, who was just branching out into weddings. I really couldn’t believe my luck!
Denise was amazing. She lives in Hertfordshire, and even came to meet me at my work in London one evening to do a trial. We decided that a tousled up do would set off the dress and necklace perfectly and fit well with the relaxed nature of the farm wedding. For my make up, we both agreed a natural sheer base with English rose cheeks, pink stained lips and a smattering of smoky eyes so they stood out in the photos, was the way to go. It was all very country gal on the farm, which I loved!
Denise has a partner in crime, Dina Catchpole and together they make up D&D Make Up. It was fantastic having the two of them as it meant that all five of my bridesmaids, my mum, cousin and friend could all have their hair and make up done on the day as well. They all looked fantastic and Denise and Dina worked for five hours solid to get us all ready in time. We also felt like Princesses as we set off to the farm.
One major dilemma for me was that two days before the big day I woke up with a massive spot on my chin and sometime in the night before, another eruption surfaced. I couldn’t believe my bad luck, but I guess the combination of excitement, adrenaline, nerves and stress conspired against me and my T-Zone! Thank goodness I had Denise though as she magiced away my blemishes. I didn’t think about them all day and there were no tell-tell tale signs in the photos thank goodness.
Something Bright Blue
For the groomsmen we hired a black suit from Moss Bros, which they wore with a white shirt and pale blue silk tie to contrast with Darren’s grey suit and blue shirt. Darren also gave each of his groomsmen cuff links in the shape of a New Zealand fern, which was a nice touch.
My bridesmaid’s dresses were not so easy… The girls ranged from size 6 to size 16, age 13 to 35, and one was eight and a half months pregnant, so finding one dress that suited all of them was going to be quite a challenge! I found a striking strapless, bright blue satin dress in the sale at House of Fraser for the bargain price of £30, which was gorgeous and extremely tempting when I had five dresses to buy! Four of the girls loved the dress, but it wasn’t such a good shape for my sister and the dress would need to be altered for my pregnant bridesmaid. We managed to do the latter by buying an extra large dress and asking a local seamstress to alter it to a maternity style. My sister chose an ivory satin dress in a similar style and added a bright blue sash in the same material as the other dresses, which meant she toned with the other girls perfectly, whilst also standing out as my maid of honour.
As a further nod to the kiwis I bought paua shell necklaces and earrings for the girls. The gorgeous shimmering blue and purple shades of the shell really stood out against the bright blue of their dresses and they loved their gifts.
More Bloom For Your Buck
Flowers was one of the more challenging things for us to organise…We had had two consultations with a florist, we were planning to book, only to receive a final quote of £4,000, which was four times more than we were expecting! Needless to say we quickly cancelled and went on the hunt for a more reasonably priced florist.
Again the venue recommended someone local, Iony from Crazy Daisy in Buntingford, and I knew immediately that she was perfect for us. She asked us what colours, flowers and styles we liked and sent us clippings and names for us to look at which was very helpful for horticultural novices like Darren and I.
Our three main colours were blue, purple and cream and we wanted a relaxed country feel to the flowers that matched the farm setting and complimented the old tudor barn. So for my bouquet Iony chose simple cream avalanche and antiquey amnesia roses, spikey blue erginuems (or thistles as they’re more commonly known), as a nod to my Scottish Dad, eucalyptus and mint, which gave it a wonderfully memorable fragrance. Darren had a matching button hole which was stunning and looked great against his grey suit and blue-silvery tie.
South Farm has a beautiful garden full of flowers and colour so we didn’t need to decorate the outside of the venue and could save some of our budget for the most important thing, the party! Instead, we concentrated on decorating the barn with a mixture of high martini style glasses and low glass cubes filled with gorgeous gladioli, delphinuem, agapantha and cream roses for our table centre pieces.
Here Comes The Sun
Darren’s a classic kiwi and would spend his days in t-shirts, shorts and jandals (flip flops) if he could, so a morning suit was a definite no-no and we went on the hunt for something a bit more relaxed.
The wedding was the perfect excuse for him to invest in a really nice suit. He chose a super sharp three piece, grey suit from Kenneth Cole at House of Fraser. Light grey was the perfect choice for our summer wedding and he wore a gorgeous Ted Baker shirt and tie in pale blue which made him look extra handsome.
I’ll never forget Darren’s face as I walked down the aisle. He was like a rabbit in the headlights and couldn’t utter a word. I couldn’t stop laughing as it was so funny to see him speechless and a little bit nervous. I giggled my way through the first half of the ceremony as a result! After that we couldn’t stop smiling and laughing at each other, which I think our guests found quite amusing as our voices carried across the lawn from speakers in the trees.
The ceremony was truly my favourite part of the day. I was full of love looking at Darren, whilst we exchanged our vows. It was brilliant to share such special moments with all our amazing friends and family sat on the lawn and to top it all off the sky was blue and the sun was shining down on us – it was just perfect.
We had ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by the Beatles as we walked back down the aisle, it was very poignant.
Brides Gown – Maggie Sottero at Stunning Bride
Florist – Crazy Daisy
Venue – South Farm
Photographer – Sarah Gawler
Bridesmaids Dresses – House Of Fraser
Make-up and Hair – D&D
Jewellery – Ayedo
See what I mean?
And part two is going to positively rock your gypsy soul 😉
(and if you are scratching your head wondering what on earth I am on about you need to get on itunes/spotify and have a listen to Mr Morrison…..)
Big Mystic Love