We’ve been to Northern Ireland this morning and now we’re off to Scotland. And if you fancy checking out what Cornwall has to offer then you should definitely tune into Rock My Family today too.
Katie & Sam were married on Katie’s relative’s farm in Crieff. They had a glorious outdoor humanist ceremony complete with hand fasting, followed by a vibrant marquee reception filled with balloons, colourful flowers, pom poms and all things homemade. Sam even baked that delectable naked cake, and how adorable are those sylvanian family cake toppers!
The girls all look delicious in their mis-match blush gowns and I love the pic of them all being transported to the ceremony in the tractor. But Katie’s Charlie Brear Pellerine gown… Oh my, you just have to see… STUNNING.
Katie The Bride: I fell in love with Charlie Brear quite soon after Sam and I got engaged. Because we were getting married in a field, I knew that I wanted to wear something not too structured or formal but something that made me feel like a million dollars, and my dress was perfect for that. It felt like butter against my skin, it was so soft and floaty. I could really move in it, which was important for me. I could run around the field with all the kids and get stuck in, and I loved dancing in it. It had an excellent swish! I loved my dress. Honestly I think I did have a ‘moment’ when I thought ‘this is the one!’ but then I also think I’d have been happy in a sack when it came to it – I don’t think I gave my appearance a spare thought from the moment I was dressed and ready.
The dress was so beautiful and delicate – it has a modern lace leaf-like pattern which was quite intricate close up, just a very subtle lace – that I didn’t want to clutter it with accessories. I chose just to wear small earrings for jewellery – my older Sister’s drop pearl earrings. They were a Christmas present from my late Nana, so they were my ‘something borrowed’ that made me feel a little closer to both lenders.
I had always thought I’d wear flowers in my hair, and I’m not sure why I didn’t in the end. I think I thought it might all get a bit too much of a cliché having our mid-summers eve wedding in a field with flowers and an ethereal edge that just isn’t me. No matter how much I’d like to be and how much I like the aesthetic on other women, I am no ethereal waif. I also tried on a few veils and again it just didn’t feel right. For me, it felt too much like I was dressing up as a bride, rather than just being me dressing up to marry my Sam.
Shoes proved the trickiest thing of all – I’m rubbish in heels anyway, but I like the height and how they make you feel, so despite the field venue nothing else felt right. I tried on hundreds of pairs ranging from Jimmy Choo to trusty Marks and Spencer, but in the end wore a pair of gold sling-backs from Office Shoes that I took off during the ceremony and spent the rest of the day bare foot. During the 15 minutes or so of wearing them I managed to get them covered in mud so I’m glad they only set me back a mere £50.
The Wedding Party Fashion
I indulgently had six beautiful brunette Bridesmaids. The only thing I was ever fixed on was that they not wear matching dresses. The six of them are all unique in their styles and tastes, and I wanted them to feel like themselves as much as I wanted to feel like myself. I gave them a fairly broad pallet (cream to pale pink and all that’s in between) and asked them to choose something that they liked and would want to wear again, and it worked really well. Their bouquets brought them together but they all looked just like them. Perfect.
The Grooms and Ushers Fashion & Accessories
Sam and his Best Man both wore three-piece Ted Baker suits. Sam tried on all sorts, but kept coming back to Ted Baker because he loves the detail and fit. In fact, he even wore Ted Baker shoes so he was almost top to toe modeling the brand! His shirt though was a gorgeous soft blue with little multi-coloured birds from Paul Smith, and his tie was a William Morris-esque Liberty Print. His ushers all wore their own suits in whatever colour they wanted, (although tended towards blue by chance). Sam then gave them each a Liberty print tie as a wee thank you present, which gave them a united front. Those handsome boys.
The Venue / Decor
The venue for our wedding was pre-determined in many ways. We both have huge sprawling families that we are very close with, and we didn’t want to limit our guest list if we didn’t have to so we wanted to get married somewhere that meant we could do that easily. We got married at Lochlane Farm, which is my family’s farm and has been worked by my Great-Grandfather, Grandfather, Uncles and Cousins. It’s a safe place for both of us, tucked far away from our busy lives in London in a dreamworld of Tunnocks Tea Cakes, river walks and cow-kepping afternoon pursuits. And it happens to be an extraordinarily beautiful so we’d need to do very little in terms of ‘styling’. We knew that if we married at Lochlane, that we could invite everyone that we wanted to and before we’d even lifted a finger, we’d have the perfect setting for our outdoor humanist wedding.
Saying that, we did an awful lot in the end! Our brilliant families all drove in from our various parts of the world the week before the wedding, and we spent days huddled on the farm painting and primping and polishing things up. The effort everyone made was humbling, and really made our wedding day as special as it was. It was built on this brilliant togetherness that goes well beyond just me and Sam.
Our marquee was provided by Gourlay Catering who were amazing from beginning to end. They had a suggestion for every eventuality and were such a well oiled machine. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough. They gave us a blank canvas set in the perfect position with views to all around of our family’s homes and hills.
In the months leading up to the wedding Sam’s Mum who is an incredibly talented painter and all round top-woman was set to work painting a big backdrop for people to take photographs with. Sam’s family home is in Brighton, so channeling the seaside, we wanted to have one of those painted billboards for guests to put their faces through holes atop the bodies of swimming costume clad beach goers. Instead of beach goers though, Sam’s Mum Hilary painted a Chagall inspired bride and groom and it turned out to be just the most beautiful backdrop. There’s a real trend for photo-booths at weddings at the moment, so this was our take on that and we just couldn’t have dreamt of anything more lovely. We’ll keep it forever now as both a very happy momento from the wedding, and a great piece of art in its own right! Sam’s family are all quite creative in fact. His sister Sparkle made the two papier mache hearts on gold sticks which marked the beginning of the ‘aisle’ and both Sparkle and his eldest Sister Jess spent the week painting and carving letters to hang in the marquee, climbing ladders to decorate and being generally wonderful. Everyone was! We had Uncles and Cousins making bridges for guests to walk across to the ceremony, arches to hang signs we’d painted, and organising hay bales with ruler tight precision; Aunties rolling the field and mowing unruly tufts, arranging flowers day and night; Dad’s engineering our festoon lighting in with quick panache; friends rigging bunting, to-ing and fro-ing, making cups of tea (glasses of wine) for the troops. The week leading up to the wedding actually ended up being pretty special, and very much as important to us as the wedding day itself. Our people are the best!
The flowers need a special mention. My Mum and Auntie Lynne got up at the crack of dawn on the wedding day and covered the archway we got married under with flowers. My Auntie Lynne did all the flowers for the wedding. She created a mix of jugs and jam jars filled with big pink swan bottomed peonies, ditzy little daisies and lots of fresh wildflowers (picked by a few Bridesmaids the day before). They were very personal – not too ‘done’, and so, so beautiful. One of favourite memories from the build up was coming into my Auntie’s dining room and seeing her swamped in flowers (she’s quite small!) and the most fragrant, floral smell imaginable. What a honeypie she is.
As well as my Scottish routes, Sam and I decided to marry in Scotland because we wanted to have a legally recognised Humanist Ceremony, and we wanted to do it outside on the family land. There are only a few places in the world that you can do that so we felt incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to do it the way we did. We know lots of people choose to have legal ceremony in registry office and then have second blessing somewhere of their choosing, but for us this was perfect.
Being on the farm, we were able to marry on top of a hill overlooking tmy Nana, Auntie and Mum’s cottages. First myBbridesmaids were piped up the hill in my Uncle’s tractor and trailer, squealing as they went over bumps in the fields and laughing as they arrived. And then it was my turn. I was SURE I wasn’t a ‘cryer’ until I got in the trailer beside my Dad. Ave Maria sung out across the field and as we drove up the hill I could see just how many of our family and friends were there and I was completely bowled over (and balling my not waterproof mascara’d eyes out!). I had no idea I was going to feel that way – it was euphoric seeing all the love beaming out of everyone, and then my Sam at the back of it all. Handsome in his suit, and looking as shy as I was feeling. I was filled up with the knots of an out of body experience that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain.
Our Humanist Ceremony was extremely personal. As well as telling the story of us, in the months before the wedding we had each told our Celebrant Alison Duthie three things that we loved about each other which were kept secret until the Ceremony. There were a few surprises in fact – each of our three ‘readings’ were left as a surprise. We asked one of Sam’s oldest friends, my older sister and Sam’s two older sisters to all choose something to say or read that they felt was fitting and to surprise us with it on the day. I’m so glad we did! We had heartfelt tales, some unexpected singing and a classic Richards family rhyming poem. We were hooting with laughter one minute and in tears the next. That pretty much sums up our ceremony – if it’s possible to sum up. We also actually ‘tied the knot’ which was the best thing. Like ‘Cat’s Cradle’ for lovers. Both our Mum’s (and my Sister too) had hand stitched a patchwork of material that was special to each of our respective families. During the Ceremony Alison tied the two lengths of material around our hands, weaving it back and forth as she spoke about the union we were committing to. When she asked us to pull our hands apart, our wrists were freed and we were left with a knot of our two family’s heirloom materials tied together – our literal tying of the knot. We loved our ceremony. We loved the singing (The Wild Mountain Thyme) .We loved Alison who was brilliantly calming and open with us – I think many of our guests fell in love with her too.
We both love music and dancing, and flinging ourselves around a bit so it was important to us that our dance floor was filled to bursting. We couldn’t have made a better decision with our band, The Honeymoons. Being a Scottish wedding where over half the guests were non-Scots, we wanted a band that could involve everyone and The Honey Moons were great for that. They have an incredible lead vocalist with a voice like brushed caramel and a bit of a sixties vibe to the old classics which got everyone up, and they also called a mean Ceilidh. We booked them through their agents Freak Music having found them on a Google search without having heard them live but we instantly loved them. They were great leading up to the wedding too. We spoke a few times to make sure they’d have all the kit they’d need in the bare bones field setting and they were comfortingly professional (they know what they’re doing). They also really kindly learnt ‘our song’ Toothpaste Kisses by the Maccabees for our first dance, with their own twist. Someone took a video on their phone of the filled dance floor when everyone joined us, and it’s the cutest thing. Lots of bum pinching husbands and wives and swooning young lovers. I think we might have nailed it with this band.
Sam is a food writer and cook, so food is always important to us. We wanted a feast – nothing too formal that’s over in a flash and doesn’t line your stomach enough for all the drinking. Gourlay Caterers were very patient with us, and created a wonderful spread of cheeses, charcuterie and antipasti to start followed by a hog roast, crispy dauphinoise potatoes and greens. Sam also boiled up bottles of his famous hot chili sauce to accompany – he couldn’t help but get involved. Originally he wanted to cater the whole thing and I had to battle him against it! For pudding my Auntie Lynne (hero!) made her famous pavlovas which are my very favourite thing and added yet another personal touch to the day. Later, when the evening had set in and people had been drinking for several hours, we had a second supper of Scotch and Macaroni Pies (for those that don’t know, that’s macaroni cheese IN a pie) and French cheeses and crackers to help the last men/women standing well into dawn. There’s a photo somewhere of a guest half asleep on a hay bale as the sun comes up, bottle of red in one hand and a whole brick of Stilton in the other.
I did allow Sam to make the cake. ‘Allow’ him – pfft, like I could have stopped him. Two days before the wedding, in a cottage the size of a cupcake, surrounded by my six bridesmaids and partners, children tugging at his ankles and new arrivals every five minutes to make cups of tea and rounds of toast and Tunnocks for, Sam baked our enormous three-tiered lemon poppy seed wedding cake with such delicate care. He’s pretty special like that. On top of the cake sat our Sylvanian Family bride and groom Sam and Katie. There’s a story behind that, but it’s ours.
We knew who we wanted to be our photographer before we knew we were getting married. We’d first seen Claudia Rose Carter’s photographs when one of Sam’s friends from university got married a few years ago and Claudia’s photos popped up on our Facebook feeds and we agreed right away that if we ever got married we wanted Claudia as our own! We really didn’t want a standard one size fits all wedding, and we didn’t want that in our photography either, which is exactly Claudia. Her photography captures the ordinary and makes it extraordinary which is such a gift. We knew that we wanted to invest in our photography as we wanted to trust that if the day flashed by in a glance for us, we’d always have photos to aid our memories of the day – and to give us insights into other peoples experiences too. The photos are amazing for that. She captures facial expressions that are completely real – tears and laughter, the glance between friends, lovers, exes – all the good stuff. That appeals to me for so many reasons – largely because Sam and I are both keen photographers, but very reluctant models. We didn’t want to stand around for hours posing unnaturally [which we did, but not in front of Claudia’s camera. Everyone wants a piece of the wedding photography action!] preferring to trust that she was there capturing everything in a much more honest way. Saying that, I absolutely love the portraits and the family group shots that she took and I wasn’t nervous at all with her as I thought I would be. When she turned up in the morning it was like an old friend arriving with a big hug.