Jacqui and Ross’ big day is a corker! An absolute belter of a beautiful wedding day. The pair have magically managed to fuse rustically romantic elements with a sophisticated and contemporary wedding theme to produce something that is just exquisite to behold.
The pair married against the beautiful backdrop of Shustoke Farm Barns complete with girls in probably my favourite maids’ frock of the year so far and supersized bouquets of frothy white hydrangea. I’m also very much admiring Jacqui’s simple but elegant David Fielden gown as well as the table centrepieces complete with antlers and spiky thistles.
Jacqui The Bride: We both knew that we wanted a relaxed affair that was really just an excuse for a big party, we had been to a friends villa wedding in Ibiza the year before and knew that we wanted to celebrate with all our friends and family a little longer than one day and have a wedding weekend in a big house which is exactly what we did.
I came across Castle Hill House whilst searching online at holidaylettings.co.uk – it was perfect with sleeping for 27 guests and was to form the base for our wedding party. The night before the wedding we had a meal for 30 of our closest friends and family close to the house and enjoying waking up on the wedding morning with my best friend and sister in the same room. It felt like Christmas morning but with a wonderful sunny sky outside.
We came across Shustoke Farm Barns as Ross drove past it each morning on the way to work and saw the building being transformed from a run down barn to an intriguing looking venue that when we viewed it one Aprils morning we knew straight away that it was the one – it was church like with beautiful beams, an amazing courtyard and a relaxed sharing food menu which completely matched our idea of a relaxed informal wedding. The team who run Shustoke are fab and can’t do enough to make sure you have the perfect day.
The Bride’s Fashion
I found my dress close to Christmas. My close friend had just left her stressful job as a buyer and started working as a bridal shop manager at Angelica Bridal in Islington, she squeezed me in one Saturday morning before the shop opened. I am quite short and petite so knew I needed a un fussy dress that wasn’t going to drown me and I found a simple classic David Fielden dress with a gorgeous lace back and when I tried it on I was lucky enough to get “the feeling”. A cheeky discount sealed the deal and I was sorted.
Sunny Sanga of Nicky Clarke did my vintage style hair with a braid, Dan Thomas of Nicky Clarke did the bridesmaids hair with a vintage quiff style and Nicola Beddoes of NMB Makeup did all the girls makeup.
The Bridal Party Fashion
Finding the bridesmaid dresses was nearly the death of me! Making sure all the bridesmaids felt comfortable was really important to me but with my sister being in Sydney, one being pregnant and the others between London and Manchester – it was very very tricky. After months of searching and failing to find one that everyone agreed on, we eventually found a plain simple mint green dress in the Ted Baker sale. It was perfect and suited everyone. Ted Baker were brilliant and dry cleaned and pressed them all as they were a little worse for wear after being on the sale rack!
Ross and his ushers were much easier, with the rustic theme in mind, we wanted a relaxed outfit for the boys. Ross found a very well made grey blazer in Ted Baker that looked great. We found some cheap blue slim fitting Chinos from ASOS for all grooms party and then a lovely chambray light blue blazer from River Island for the Ushers. We wanted bow ties for the boys and River Island had a navy and white polka dot one that matched nicely. Ross found his mint green geometric printed one on Etsy with a supplier called Mrs Bowtie – it finished his outfit off perfectly.
The venue really gave me all the inspiration for the décor and I thought a summer woodland theme with fresh colours would suit the surroundings and so I decided on mint green and white. I am also Scottish and so wanted to incorporate some touches of heritage such as thistles which I used as button holes for the men and on the table centrepieces. Thinking about Scottish woodland also gave me the idea of using antlers in the decoration and so I found a guy named Willy on eBay who managed a large estate with lots of deer in Scotland and he sent me two pairs of antlers and 12 single antlers for the table centrepieces.
I also sourced some logs, and made displays for the entrance area with gold spray painted stags, vases with baby’s breath under bell jars and picture frames with the date for the wedding. In the evening the venue was lit up with fairy lights in the rafters, candles all over the place and 3 fire pits outside, where we had sparklers and could toast marshmallows in the flames. Ross’s sister Clare is a very talented graphic designer and she very kindly made everything from the save the dates which were playable records, to the invites, all the beautiful signage and the table names which we named after important places / events in our life so far.
Our favours were homemade elderflower cordial that we made a few months before and froze until the day before the wedding, they also doubled up as the place names with Clare making the label for the bottle and name tags – they looked fab! We also hired a table tennis table, Giant Jenga and a vintage photo booth to keep kids (and adults) entertained.
We found our florist – Passion For Flowers – at The Wedding Show at the NEC and their display at the event really caught my eye with lots of gold finishing touches, big fresh blooms and two very smiley people Karen and Gemma. Their approach is very personal and they create bespoke floral designs usually for brides who see flowers forming a big part their day. The big hanging ball of flowers we had looked great in pictures and the centrepieces with loads of baby’s breath, hydrangeas, roses, eucalyptus leaves and thistles looked incredible. My bouquet lasted for weeks and weeks afterwards.
We decided on a string quartet playing the music for the walking down the isle and drinks reception and I found The Vyne String Quartet online. Emily was super helpful with music selections and when I found a really unusual traditional Danish wedding song – Sondeho bridal triology – part 2 – that I had fallen in love with, Emily contacted the Danish String Quartet who had put it on YouTube and they very kindly sent her the score which the Vyne String Quartet learnt from scratch. The moment they started to play it, it nearly set me off crying, but walking down the aisle with Dad on one side and all the faces of your family and friends around me really was a special feeling I won’t forget.
For our evening entertainment we decided on a three piece band called The One Step, they had been recommended and I really like the quirky reggae sound to the pop songs they played. They started with a slowed down version of Chaka Khans – Ain’t Nobody – that they had learned especially for our first dance and the dancefloor quickly turned into party with everyone coming in to join us. Nick and the guys were fabulous and everyone was dancing from then on in. Ross and I both love music and so wanted to have our close friends DJ for the rest of the night with Ross’s Usher Aled playing some classic disco and house records and then Woody playing some more classic party tracks and Danny finishing things off at the end. After we all headed back to the house to continue the fun and games!
The ceremony was very relaxed with lots of laughter at silly things like when the Registrar got the name of our Best Man wrong and called him Ian – which we kept calling him all day and night! We chose short readings that my bridesmaids read including The Magic of Love, Once in a Lifetime and Marriage fulfils the dreams and love two people share – keeping things short and simple meant more time after for having fun.
We found our photographers Paul & Kelly by recommendation after searching for styles of photography that were creative and individual and when we looked through their portfolio online we knew that we had come across the perfect people. After a Skype chat to get to all get to know each other a little bit more I was confident that we were in great hands.
One of the wedding tips that I had been given by friends was to make sure you got a good photographer and Paul and Kelly were much more than that, they were wedding planners helping the day to go smoothly, all our friends loved them and they stayed late into the night to capture some dancefloor shenanigans. The photos have a great artistic quality and they have captured so many amazing moments. Some of my favourites were taken in the field behind the venue and the results are stunning with some brilliant and funny pictures.
Food & Drink
The food and drink was another important part of the day, I love good food and wanted to make sure we ate well. Cripps Kitchen didn’t disappoint with a mixed charcutierie board sharing platter and then triple thickness sirloin steaks and Chocolate brownies with mascarpone cream for dessert. The guests commented on how good the food was and even the veggies were well looked after with a Middle Eastern vegetable dish – Turla Turla which went down very well. Our cake was beautiful and made by Cakes by Sophie and the different flavoured layers tasted so good. In the evening Baz and Fred provided Pizzas and they were the best pizza’s I have every eaten! My cousin in law thought so too, so much so, he went and bought the same pizza oven they use to try and re-create his own!
The speeches at the end of the meal were very funny. Ross’s best man Paul flew all the way from Melbourne to come and deliver his speech and he didn’t disappoint – bringing out a life size cut out of Ross in his terrible stag do outfit that Paul didn’t have much time to sort out from Melbourne. My Dads speech was heartfelt and off the wall. And Ross decided to tell everyone about bag of old shoes that belonged to me that were in the back of his friend and my housemates car for ages before we had ever met, and he wasn’t so sure he actually wanted to meet me!! I am glad he did.
Photography by Paul Joseph Photography
- Brides Gown David Fielden
- Bridal Boutique Angelica Bridal, Islington, London
- Wedding Venue Shustoke Farm Barns
- Diamond Bracelet Cadenza
- Shoes Lace by Jimmy Choo
- Florist Passion for Flowers
- Cake Cakes by Sophie
- Evening Caterer Baz and Fred’s Pizza
- Bridesmaid Dresses Ted Baker
- Day Entertainment The Vyne String Quartet
- Band The One Step Band
- Photobooth The Petite Photo Booth
- Transport Vintage Rides
- Games West Midlands Inflatables
- Makeup Nicola Beddoes – NMB Makeup
- Accommodation Castle Hill House, Tutbury, Staffordshire