Bride and Groom Kerry and Dave absolutely nailed the sweet country wedding vibes at their Dorset wedding on Gorwell Farm. From their attire, including a Harris Tweed suit, Catherine Deane bridal separates and flower crown, to all the wonderful rustic decor, potted plants and hanging greenery, you’ll feel totally relaxed, and utterly mesmerised.
Kerry the Bride: My entire dress shop was pretty quick. I had an idea of what I wanted but was open to other options – I think that helped with the speed! I’d actually thought I’d found my dress after a lovely afternoon shopping with my mum at home in Devon, but the next weekend I was in London with some friends who’d booked me an appointment at Catherine Dean.… after trying a few possibles one of my bridesmaids convinced me to try on separates (which I wasn’t sure about) – a silk bodice and skirt with a lace topper – but I knew straight away that I’d found my dress! I loved everything about it, it made me feel fab! So the deposit went down, and we spent the night drinking a lot of bubbles!
When it came to finding shoes, all I knew was that I didn’t want traditional white bridal shoes, and that for fear of falling over at the venue, it had to be a block heel. After a brief flirtation with some lovely pink suede sandals, I found my shoes in M&S. They were perfect, the right colour, perfect fit, ideal heel and so comfortable.
I didn’t really wear any accessories other than my flower crown – as a kid my little brother made me watch Robin Hood Prince of Thieves on repeat – wearing my beautiful flower crown made me feel like Maid Marian, I loved it! I only wish I could wear one every day.
Dave the Groom: So after proposing in the Western Isles wearing a favourite Harris Tweed waistcoat, it had to follow that the specific tweed also formed part of the big day! After securing the jacket it was onto the trousers which was far from an easy match or choice, but settling on a pair dark brown herringbone tweed trousers, it was time to splash out on a brand new pair Loake Bedale brogue boots which blew the budget and made the day.
Kerry the Bride: Before booking our venue, we’d spent a long time researching what was available in the areas around our respective home towns (one in Devon, the other in Dorset), we knew we wanted the whole day to feel relaxed and informal, in the countryside and ideally somewhere where we could hold the ceremony and the reception in the same place. Between the two counties there were plenty of options but as soon as we visited Gorwell Farm and met Mary the owner, we knew right away that we’d found the right place! The barn is at at the end of a long drive through the farm, including sheep in the fields and pheasants literally everywhere! The barn has recently benefitted from a refurbished roof and new permanent bar area outside. Inside there is plenty of room for both ceremony and dinner set up which was one of the big positives for us. Knowing that all the elements of the day could be encompassed in one location and also somewhere that offered accommodation on site for those important guests meant that Gorwell was perfect for the relaxed country wedding we wanted. With a partially fitted kitchen facility attached our caterers didn’t need to bring the kitchen sink with them, and huge fridges meant our beers and wines were close at hand and perfectly chilled. Permanent, clean and smart toilet and baby change facilities were also a bonus and removed any thoughts of any suspect temporary wedding portaloos being needed! The venue was able to suggest a fantastic, local, on the day wedding coordinator who liaised with suppliers and directed proceedings to ensure we could get on with enjoying our big day. The venue really was outstanding and a massive thank you goes to Mary and her family team for everything they did in both the build up (in facilitating venue visits in the weeks and months before) and obviously over the 3 days of the wedding itself including the set-up, the accommodation and the advice and knowledge she was able to share.
We didn’t have a colour scheme as such, we wanted the bare wood of the tables and the stone barn to do a lot of the talking – so we paired it with an Ivy Curtain (thanks to West Dorset Wedding Flowers) and herbs on the tables that we’d potted ourselves. Our fantastic table-plan (and the rest of the wedding stationery) was designed by my bridesmaid Sophie who runs Ciaroscuro Cards and Taddle Farm Tents supplied the fab rustic trestle tables, lovely oak wine barrels and the incredible lighting which really brought the space – both inside and out – to life.
Like a lot of things, we left finding a florist a little late, but then we found West Dorset Wedding Flowers. After a lovely afternoon drinking coffee and chatting in her office about what we liked, Jess absolutely nailed the brief. Everyone commented on how beautiful the flowers were, with more than one person telling me they were the loveliest wedding flowers they’d ever seen. Jessie was great to work with, nothing was too much trouble – she was totally unfazed by having to climb 4m up a ladder on the morning of the wedding to wrap Ivy around our vintage ladder lighting.
Wedding Party Fashion
Finding a dress to suit all of my bridesmaids wasn’t the easiest of challenges! I was conscious that the girls should feel and look as relaxed as we hoped the wedding would be. After quite a few returned ASOS orders and a number of shopping trips, I found their dresses in the ASOS Petite range. Being ‘petite’ dresses, I was worried they’d be too short but they were perfect. – even with heels!
We wanted the groomsman’s outfits to of course match our relaxed autumnal country theme, and it was an easy choice to get them into some Harris tweed too. Matching Harris Tweed brown waistcoats were paired with chinos, brown shoes and burgundy knitted ties.
The ceremony itself was simple, honest and genuine and the relaxed atmosphere the registrar from the Weymouth office was able to encourage, made the formalties as individual to us as possible. David’s sister read an unattributed passage that we found online and Kerry’s brother read the short ‘that still and settled place’ by Edward Monkton.
Throughout the ceremony, welcome drinks and meal we played our own, carefully curated Spotify playlists which created a lovely atmosphere, before making way for the band to play after the meal. We’d booked ‘Party Starters’ late via Alive Network – having only watched videos of the band we weren’t sure what to expect but they were brilliant. They set up quietly (no small feat in a 17th century stone barn) and were ready to go as soon as we were. The best thing was that everyone, from the oldies to the toddlers, were up and dancing, all night!
For us, the food and drink was a massive part of the day. We were keen that the ingredients were both seasonal and locally sourced where ever possible. Having driven past The Salt Pig many times and knowing their ethos of championing local produce it was an easy decision to entrust them with feeding our hungry guests! To start we had large sharing boards which went down a storm. Dorset charcuterie, breads, olives and pickles got people talking on socialising from the off which was fantastic to watch. For the main meal we wanted something wholesome and flavoursome which matched the autumnal setting so a hearty slow cooked Dorset beef & ale casserole with dauphinoise potatoes and local honey glazed roasted root vegetables was our choice. This was washed down by our favourite red wine, terre di faiano organic primitivo from Puglia in southern Italy via Waitrose online! To finish a simply stunning Autumn berry eaton mess. The whole team from The Salt Pig were superb, totally judging the feel and theme of the wedding which meant they were integral to the smooth running and ultimately success of the day.
Not being big cake eaters, we rounded the day off with our love of cheese and a cheese cake from West Country Cheese – which after a lot of wine and dancing, our guests fully appreciated too!
Steph Newton Photography had photographed a friends wedding the previous year, we’d loved the photos and she’d captured all those candid moments beautifully. What’s more, Steph’s lovely – as two people who don’t much like having their photo taken, the most important thing for us was to have a photographer who made us both feel comfortable. On the day, everything was made much more simple and efficient thanks to Steph taking time to research shoot locations in advance which we really appreciated. Having Steph there was just like having one of our friends around, she was really great at putting people at ease and the photos speak for themselves – we really love them!!