Sophie and Jon’s wedding took place in May at the beautiful Grittenham Barn in Petworth, Sussex.
Photography is by Joanna Brown Photography.
Sophie and Jon live in Brighton and wanted to get married somewhere they could have the ceremony and reception with free reign to create a fun and relaxing wedding. I’ll let Sophie pick up the story from here…
Carry On Camping
Grittenham Barn was just the place. Sally and Katherine from the barn were just fantastic.
An added bonus was that you can camp in the field behind the barn. Jon and I love camping as do many of our friends so that sealed the deal for us! We stayed in a camper van for our wedding night which we arranged through the barn and Sally and Katherine got a roaring camp fire ready for us and loaded a wheel barrow with beers from the bar for our own campsite bar!
A Bespoke Design
The dress was designed and made by Joanne Fleming design.
When I started the process of looking for a dress I originally fell in love with Jenny Packham’s Eden – just gorgeous – but it was way out of my budget. So of course I tried it on at the first wedding shop and, it just didn’t suit me – an absolutely stunning dress – but just didn’t look quite right on me. After trying on a few more beautiful dresses, I discovered that I didn’t suit lace and ivory suited my colouring but still no actually dress!
So back to square one I went to visit Fur Coat No Knickers and had the most wonderful time with the FCNK girls – and almost bought a beautiful white cotton prom dress but it just wasn’t the one. So still no dress and no closer to knowing what I wanted. My sister then suggested looking at getting one made and then I remembered I had had a look at Joanne’s website just after I had got engaged; she is local to me, so I booked an appointment.
On the first appointment we talked through ideas, and I tried on some samples to refine the ideas and as we talked, she sketched and, although I thought I did not have a clear idea of what I wanted, she managed to design the dress exactly as I wanted! The process then began of trying and refining the toile fitting before the dress is made in the real fabric. I loved every bit of the process and absolutely adore the dress she created for me. It is ivory silk, very simple, with a real old Hollywood feel to it – I felt just fantastic wearing it. Also her studio in Brighton is beautiful and a lovely place to visit!
I got a little blush pink angora cardie from French Connection to wear when it got a bit chilly in the evening.
(In the campsite later I wore wellies from Millets, leggings from Topshop, T-shirt from GAP and my dad’s old moth eaten jumper but you probably don’t need to know that bit!)
I didn’t want a full veil so I opted for a birdcage one from Lily Bella (a bargain at £15!). I added a brooch I found in Accessorize over the comb. In the evening I replaced the veil with a simple ivory flower.
My earrings were a gift when I was bridesmaid at my good friend and bridesmaid Cherry’s wedding 3 years ago in Adelaide, Australia. They are by Aussie brand Mimco. I also wore a rose gold bracelet that had belonged to my Momma (my dad’s mum) and pinned a Cameo brooch that had belonged to my Nana (mum’s mum) to my bouquet.
Our wedding rings were made in Cornwall from recycled silver but only arrived the day before the wedding.
I got my shoes from Rachel Simpson. I had looked everywhere on the high street determined I didn’t want ‘bridal shoes’ but then saw ‘Mimi’ by Rachel Simpson. As well as having the old Hollywood glamour to go with my dress they were actually really comfortable. I didn’t take them off all day (apart from to change into wellies when Joanna led us into the nearest field!).
A Natural Look
I decided fairly early on that I wanted to do my own make up so I treated myself to a lesson from MAC and some lovely new makeup – which gave me a good excuse to chuck out all the old powders and pastes I’d been hoarding for years. I went for a very natural look and just switched the lipstick to red for the evening.
My hair was done by Lucy from Pin Ups Hair Salon, Newport. Lucy is one of my oldest friends and also happens to be an amazing hair stylist. I gave her a picture of the initial dress design Joanne drew and went for a trial a few weeks before the wedding and she just came up with a gorgeous low, side chignon. It was just wonderful having her there getting ready with me on the day – and meant the whole getting ready process was really relaxing and intimate. Just me, my family and closest friends.
Mint And Sage
Flowers! I love flowers – flowers wild & colourful just as nature intended. Angel, from Angel Like Flowers works a lot with the Barn and has her own cutting garden in the barn gardens. For the bouquets and table centres, flowers were combined with herbs. Angel had managed to get some cornflowers to bloom by feeding them lemonade to put in my bouquet together with love-in-a-mist, roses, daisies and other English country garden beauties together with mint and sage which meant the bouquet smelt divine as well as looking beautiful.
She also created beautiful garlands on the beams either side of the registrar table with roses, dahlias and sweet peas and trailing ivy around the iron ring chandelier with gorgeous wired roses hanging down. And yet more flowers above the barn doors and on the outside tables.
We did a few flowers ourselves – the bottles and jars above the fire place and dotted around other nooks in the barn. For those we just got stocks, roses and hyacinths from Tesco!
We didn’t have groomsmen but Jon did have the bestest lady-man ever – Emma! She wore a navy dress with cream piping made by Dig for Victory in Brighton with a matching little bolero jacket – she looked fabulous.
My lovely maids, Katie, Cherry and Saffron, wore dresses from Kaliko. There was no theme or scheme to our wedding so the choice of dress for the bridesmaids evolved over time and eventually found these gorgeous blush pleated dresses in House of Fraser. Cherry lives in Australia so couldn’t come on our shopping trips, but thankfully we have the internet and she is the same size as my sister! They accessorised the dress however they liked.
Katie teamed her dress with a peep toe blush shoe with glittered heel from Topshop, accessorised with pearls and different bracelets and red flower in her hair. Cherry wore a beautiful pair of coral suede peep toe pumps with pale pink flower in her hair and Saffron opted for raspberry suede court shoe from Office with shoe clips she made herself and a fawn velvet ribbon from VV Rouleux and red felt and net hair accessory. They looked so gorgeous and were the most amazing maids any bride could wish for.
Navy Thee Piece
My gorgeous groom Jon wore a navy 3 piece suit from Topman, shirt from Debenhams and tie from Gresham Blake. He wanted a suit that could be worn again, and nothing too formal. He also wore a pocket watch handed down from his Grandad. I was so happy to see him when I entered the barn I had to make sure I didn’t run to meet him.
So Much Life
As soon as we met Joanna Brown in her kitchen for tea and lemon cake we knew she would do a fantastic job. I love her pictures they have so much life to them. She was great on the day – organising my family which can be like herding cats – and managing to get so many shots of everything and everyone, I can’t believe it was just her. I love, love, love the photos she given us – they really capture the fun, the emotion and spirit of the day. They give me goosebumps.
Devil’s Food Cake
My extremely talented little sister (and bridesmaid) Katie made our wedding cake which was a three tiered devil’s food cake with lots of yummy vanilla butter cream icing. She assembled it at the barn on the morning of the wedding and had small icing bag disaster which was quickly dealt with gaffer tape! She took two days off work to do it and it was just amazing – thank you Katie.
Jon is a notorious Lego fan and when we got engaged his aunt baked us a cake with a little Lego bride and groom on top so they became our cake topper, with some mini bunting made by Katie.
In addition to our wedding cake, our friends and family had made other sweet treats for everyone so we had sponge cakes, brownies, cupcakes, cheese cake, shortbread and crispie cakes.
Lots Of Music
Jon is a drummer in the band the Lost Souls Club and we met at a gig so music is very important to both of us.
We set up a little stage outside and The Lost Souls Club , together with Delirium Tremens and The Pushchairs all performed acoustic sets for us all after the ceremony – Jon has drummed with all the bands so they were also all friends and guests at our wedding which was fantastic – they were all amazing.
In the evening Rich Austin and the Maestro’s played – Jon had been to university with Rich so it made the choice easy for us! They kept everyone dancing all night and helped Jon spring a little surprise on me as he joined them on the drums for a rendition of ‘Your my Best Friend’ by Queen, which is one of our favourite tracks. For in-between sets and after the band we had asked all the guests on their RSVPS to tell us the song that would get them on the dance floor so these became the play list for the evening. It was quite an eclectic mix but made for a great night.
A Song That Sums Us Up
We danced to Just Like Honey by the Jesus and Mary Chain. We had quite a job choosing just one song but this one seemed to sum us up really well.
We have the most wonderfully generous friends and our friend Laura made us chocolate truffles for our favours as a wedding gift and packaged them up in lovely little boxes with our names and date. Quite a feat to make truffles for 90 people! They were delicious and any that got left unattended for too long on the table were ‘mine swept’ pretty quickly!
We tried to do as much as we could ourselves, Jon and I made all our stationery and we had put up photos of all our friends & family around the barn, with photos of family who are no longer with us on the registrar’s table.
But there were so many people helped make our day so special…
My dear friend and bridesmaid Cherry made 23 metres of bunting that decorated the cake marquee. She also made the ‘Love’ cross stitch for us as a wedding gift which we placed above the fireplace in the barn.
A family friend, Gillian, handwrote all 90 name tags and together with Saffron, forming a place setting production line to get them all done. Emma and Jon’s dad hung all the bunting in campsite in the rain the day before the wedding – Jon’s dad now has a lifelong hatred of bunting!
I also have to quickly mention the wedding car – a 1955 Citroen Traction Avant. This was a little surprise for my dad who used to own a one many years ago and he just loved it. I didn’t really mind how I got there really but the experience of the journey with my dad in such a beautiful car was something I will treasure forever.
Relaxing, Loving And fun
As I said there was no real theme or scheme from the outset but we wanted to make it as inclusive, relaxing, loving and fun as possible and just to reflect who we are and the importance in our lives of all the friends and family we invited to share our day. So many people played a part in the day and it made it extra special.
Venue – Grittenham Barn
Dress – Joanne Fleming
Cardi – French Connection
Veil – Lily Bella
Shoes – Rachel Simpson
Florals – Angel Like Flowers
Photography – Joanna Brown
Entertainment – Rich Austin and the Maestro’s
I went to a festival style camping and music centric wedding recently and looking through Sophie and Jon’s pictures has brought back all of the laughter, love and camping based hi-jinks that went on.
It looks like a really relaxed day full of fun, sunshine and love. Thanks to Sophie and Jon for sharing a piece of that sunshine with us, we most certainly need it!