Kayleigh and James' wedding day is the perfect example of how to make a barn setting feel luxurious, as well as making the most of it's gorgeous natural features. The silk drapes complimenting the beams, the fairy lights drawing your eye down the centre of the room, the giant balloons in a soft beige colour adding a subtle yet striking backdrop to the top table - every detail is styled to perfection but still feels natural and relaxed. Which is no mean feat, I tell you. The wonderful Benjamin Wheeler was there to capture the day and he's done it in his usual magical style. The golden hour couple shots are a total dream and he's also captured the riotous party too. Enjoy this one beauties, I think it's truly going to float your barn-wedding-loving boat...

The Bride

Kayleigh The Bride: My dress was from French designer Rime Arodaky at The Mews Bridal in Notting Hill. After three visits to the boutique, I finally found this dress – I don’t know how I missed it the other two times! It was exactly what I was looking for; I loved the simplicity and fluidity of the skirt mixed with the lace bodice and sheer low back. The detachable lace skirt was what won it over for me and it had a heavily embroidered train which almost made it feel like a veil - this then came off once all the dancing began later that night and it made the dress look completely different! I wore shoes by Aquazzura – I’d had my eye on them for a while and I thought the fringed front was kind of fun, which you could see peeping out at the bottom of my dress when I walked. My earrings were by Eddie Borgo, a simple drop style with amber-coloured stones, and I wore a fine bracelet by Theodora Warre. I couldn’t find a headpiece I really loved, so decided on sprigs of gypsophila for my hair.

The Bridesmaids

I had three bridesmaids, one of whom works as a designer at Oasis, and she suggested these dove-grey dresses which ended up being absolutely perfect. I loved how they still looked special but had a relaxed feel about them too, and they suited all three of the girls beautifully. They also wore gypsophila in their hair and ended up wearing engraved Monica Vindader bracelets that I gave to them the morning of the wedding.

The Groom

James was toying between a blue suit and a grey heritage checked design. His was made-to-measure at SuitSupply, where he picked a Prince of Wales two piece with a contrasting blue waistcoat. He loved that he could chose every fine detail, and wanted something different to the groomsmen. To bring the party all together, he chose blue suits for the rest of the groomsmen and they all wore the same ties.

The Venue

We wanted something fairly local to where we are both from, and when we found Southend Barns outside of Chichester we knew it was perfect. We’d scouted a lot of barns, but not many had great outdoor space, so when we saw the tented canopy entrance and huge lawn in between the two barns we knew it was the one! It was the equal balance of old and modern; we loved the authentic beams and iron chandeliers mixed with the polished concrete floor and outside seating space.

The Décor

Our colour scheme was kept fairly neutral, with lots of white and green flowers and hints of grey (the bridesmaids’ dresses and James’ suit). We were slightly worried not being able to go to the barn that morning, but it was absolutely stunning when we arrived and we couldn’t have been happier! Rococo Florist decked the hanging chandeliers and tables with green foliage such as eucalyptus, senecio and olive with just a few white roses interspersed, and the place settings where attached to sprigs of rosemary. Hire Your Day added some soft white drapes to the beams and to the entrance, which we think worked well with the greenery and the twinkling lights that snaked up the sides of the barn. Bubblegum Balloons supplied some huge white balloons as a backdrop to the top table, which added a contemporary touch to the rustic barn, and they had lovely tasselled white and grey tails – we made some tasselled garlands in a similar way to decorate both the inside and outside bars. I created most of the stationery on the day like the place settings, black and white table plan and welcome signs, and small little chalkboards that I made for the tables which had our menu and Instagram hashtag on. The order of service were created from Plewsy.

The Ceremony

We decided to have the ceremony at All Saints’ Church in Botley. I have such fond memories of spending lots of time in the village as a child with my Grandma, and she had a lot to do with the area, so it was nice to be able to get married somewhere that was familiar. The service was really beautiful and relaxed; I walked into the church to ‘Here Comes The Sun’ by the Beatles and our reverend Amy made us feel so loved and special throughout. We had two readings, some poetry by a contemporary artist, Atticus, read by my Maid of Honour Stephanie, and a passage from Corinthians read by our close family friend John. We then left the church to ‘My Girl’ by the Temptations, which although I thought was fitting for a wedding ceremony, it’s also a song that both me and my Dad love.

The Reception

The silver 1961 Bentley that I had arrived in the church to then drove us to Southend Barns. It was lovely having a bit of time (even if the driver did get a bit lost) just the two of us to discuss our mornings and what had just happened as we were both just so excited! When we arrived at the venue, the caterers Field & Fork were very prompt to greet us with an Aperol Spritz for myself and a cold beer for James. It was amazing seeing everyone through the gated entrance and seeing the four-piece brass band on the lawn playing pop and rock tunes; there was such a buzz in the air! We had 93 guests for the day, and we were really lucky that the weather held off to be able to have our reception in the courtyard and on the lawn. It was Rob at Field & Fork’s idea to cut the cake when we arrived, and it was one of the best ideas of the day. We cut it on the lawn shortly after we got there so everyone was around, and then they sliced it up to serve as a sweet treat alongside the canapés and drinks. The cake by Tartufi was alternating tiers of lime and coconut and Marc de Champagne and strawberry, and was beautifully decorated with foliage. We decided to do speeches first, so the three guys could get them done and dusted and enjoy their meals! My Dad’s was very moving (I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house) but he ended with gifting us some rather large personalised pegs in a nod to how me and James met in a bar. (A long story, but I attached a peg to his cardigan and hours later we got talking and the rest is history). James’ speech was very charming and funny, ending with a quote from an Arctic Monkey's song that we both love, and the best man Lee let loose a few stories of their friendship.

The Food

The food was prepared and served by Field & Fork. We had a delicious three-course meal: starters were salmon fishcakes with creamed fennel, followed by slow cooked beef with baby onions, pancetta and mushrooms, and a trio of desserts to finish. The service was faultless and everyone commented on how exceptional the staff were and the incredible food that came piping hot. Coffee and macaroons were then served after outside once the fire pit was lit and everyone was cosied up with blankets provided by the venue.

The Party

We had another 30-40 guests arrive in the evening in time for our first dance to Queen’s ‘You’re My Best Friend’. The words summed up mine and James’ relationship, and whilst we danced a montage of chronological photos of us as a couple and with our friends played as a backdrop on the wall of the barn. The DJ, Paul Mico, then followed into Al Green’s ‘Let’s Stay Together’ which showed how much love and happiness was in the room. The dancefloor – and the bar! - stayed full the entire evening; The O’Jays’ ‘Love Train’ created an actual train that snaked out the open doors of the barn onto the lawn and back in the other end, everyone was jumping around to an old favourite of James’, The Courteener’s ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ towards the end, and we finished with a huge circle and us in the middle dancing to Andy William’s ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’.

The Photographer

I’d worked alongside a few people who had Ben take their photos, and as soon as we were engaged and discussing photographers we very quickly agreed that we wanted Ben to shoot our day. We both love the nature of his work, and all the quick passing moments that he beautifully manages to capture. The shots in the fields as the sun set on the South Downs literally took our breath away. The day was already so incredible, but seeing the emotions of all our family and friends during the speeches to everyone dancing in the evening in photographs made the day seem even more amazing than it was - if that was possible! The photos really were the icing on the cake and we cannot thank Ben enough for the images that we will certainly cherish forever especially when the memories start to fade slightly
Fern Godfrey

Written by Fern Godfrey

Featured suppliers

Bride: Rime Arodaky | Boutique: The Mews Bridal | Shoes: Aquazzura at Net-A-Porter | Groom: Suit Supply | Shoes: Russell & Bromley | Bridesmaids: Oasis | Groomsmen: Next | Wedding Stationery: Plewsy | Venue: Southend Barns | Catering: Field & Fork | Flowers: Rococo Florist | Balloons: Bubblegum Balloons | Draping: Hire Your Day | Cake: Tartufi Cakes | Brass Band: The Bavarian Strollers | DJ: Paul Mico | Transport: Chris's Wedding Cars | Hair: Zoe Campbell

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