I love that tradition and sentiment played a massive part in this beautiful and quaint wedding day.
There is an adorable and emotional story behind Bride Laura arriving in a very cool Vintage Land Rover and I love that Cypriot Groom Charis and all the wedding party waited outside the Church to greet Laura in the courtyard before they walked down the aisle together.
As it was such an intimate family affair everybody chipped in to make it super special. Mums & Godmothers arranged flowers and Charis’s Uncle baked a beauty of a wedding cake. But I have to take my hat off to Laura as not only did she style this whole country affair on a budget & carry out all the DIY herself but she also customised her own stunning vintage gown! Those lace sleeves. That tulle skirt; it’s simply beautiful and she looks absolutely amazing!
Full to bursting with all the ahh & the WOW factor you’re going to absolutely love this intimate country wedding.
Laura The Bride: We had an intimate, country wedding, in among the rolling hills of the Sussex Downs. As a young couple, we were working to a very tight budget so much of it was done ourselves or thanks to the help of friends and family/ Every aspect of the day was designed to reflect us as a couple, and to celebrate the beautiful location.
Having previously worked as a costume and set designer, I wanted to make as much as possible for my own wedding, starting with my wedding dress. My tulle and lace wedding dress was inspired by Reem Acra‘s stunning gowns (which are well beyond my means) and it took me many months of hard sewing to complete. I originally bought a second hand dress from Etsy, which I ripped apart and reworked into my perfect dress, thanks to a whole load of extra tulle from Platinum Bridal Fabrics. With a button up back, flowing skirt with a small train, and delicate lace sleeves covered in hand beading, it felt very special. My family hadn’t seen the finished article until the day of the wedding, and their faces as I came out were incredible. I paired the dress with a handmade, chapel length veil, blue suede shoes from Zara and simple jewellery given to me by my Mum for my 21st birthday.
We wanted to buy a suit for the Groom, and found a great compromise between bespoke and high street by buying a navy suit from Marks and Spencer, which we then had tailored to the perfect fit by a local tailor in Manchester. He accessorised with a silver waistcoat and pale blue silk tie and pocketsquare. To tie his Groomsmen and our male family members together, we bought ivory silk pocket squares for them to wear with their own suits.
We knew we wanted to get married at my local church– I was baptised there and my Father is buried there, so it is a special place. In addition, the entire interior of the church is covered with paintings done by the Bloomsbury group, the group of celebrated artists and writers who included Quentin Bell and Virginia Woolf- it is a very special building and a significant part of the local history. Finding the reception venue was more difficult! After looking at many venues within reach of the church, we were tipped off about the Old Chapel Centre and fell in love with the space when we entered. With huge high ceilings, columns made from old ship masts, and the most beautiful light streaming through the windows, it was the perfect space for our little wedding.
We knew we wanted fresh, pretty decor, which would compliment our two unique venues. We decided on whites, creams and ivories, offset by touches of gold and greenery, all reflecting the beautiful countryside location. The decor was all made by me, including the 40 metres of gold dipped feathers on invisible thread, which seemed to float over our heads at the reception. The stationery, including menu cards and the orders of service, were designed with floral and vine motifs to tie in with the decor, and printed simply on white card.
The flowers were all arranged by my Godmothers and Mum, as a gift to Charis and myself. We chose a huge variety of white blooms and greenery, including my favourites of ranunculus and eucalyptus, from Triangle Flowers, and then decorated everything together, at the church and the reception venue. The dining tables were covered in trailing ruscus, eucalyptus and small arrangements of gypsophila and ranunculus. My favourite display was the large copper bucket behind the Bride and Groom’s table, which lit up as the early evening light streamed in through the window. The place settings tied all the decor together, with a piece of ruscus and a gold dipped feather tied together with handwritten name cards. It looked so fresh and pretty!
I put together my own bouquet the day before the wedding, using ranunculus, roses, asparagus fern, gypsophila, eucalyptus and ruscus. I loved it. We also made the boutonnieres for the men with asparagus fern, a simple white feather and gypsophila, which tied in with both my bouquet, and the reception decor.
The Wedding Party Fashion
As we had a very small wedding, we kept the bridal party to a minimum, with Charis having his Brother as his best man, and our friend Anthony as a Groomsman, and I had my Sister as my Bridesmaid. As neither of us are a fan of traditional Bridesmaid dresses, we decided on a midnight blue jumpsuit from Oh My Love, and did her hair to match mine. I mainly wanted her to feel comfortable and happy for the day! Charis’s Groomsmen wore their own suits, tied together with matching pocket squares and boutonnieres.
The ceremony was very special to us. As Charis was born and raised in Cyprus, it was important to us to reflect that tradition. We started the ceremony in the traditional Cypriot manner, with the Groom waiting with his family to meet the Bride outside the Church, before walking down the aisle together to start our life together. Not only did it incorporate some Cypriot traditions into the day, stepping away from the traditional bridal walk down the aisle helped me with the gap left by my Father not being there to walk me, which would otherwise have felt quite difficult. Instead, walking up to Charis, with all our loved ones having come outside to watch, was one of the most special moments of the day for me. We also had Charis’ Father read Corinthians in the ancient greek, and the words are just beautiful. Greek is Charis’ native tongue so it was lovely for part of the service to be in Greek. We walked out as a married couple to a shower of confetti, which our loved ones took great pleasure in pelting at us and cheering!
The wedding car was especially important to me. I grew up with classic Landrovers, I learnt to drive on an old series 3 and it was my first car. My Dad took me on many driving trips and we spent many days tinkering on the old cars on the driveway. They are my favourite cars and remind me of him. With him having passed away a few years ago, I knew I wanted a Landrover for my wedding day- it felt like the closest I could have to having him take me to the Church. We are incredibly lucky that one of our family friends actually has an original Series 1 Landrover from 1948, and she was generous enough to drive us in it! I cannot say how happy I felt to have that as part of my day. She even decorated it all with ribbons and white heather, for good luck. It was total happy coincidence that the car colour and the decor tied in so perfectly with the rest of the wedding!
With only 25 guests, we knew we wanted the reception to feel like a big family party. The evening was filled with dancing, laughing and chatting, just as we had hoped. There was a moment, when Charis and I were sat at our table looking out over our guests, and everyone had swapped places to talk to everyone else, they were all passing drinks and platters, laughing and smiling and we felt so totally full of joy to see all our favourite people in the world together and happy. It was very special. We had had so many acts of love incorporated into the day, from the words in the speeches and the things made for us, to the flowers and the hard work in setting everything up, that the gestures of kindness were almost overwhelming for us. Overall, that was the day summed up: Love, everywhere.
We decided on banquet tables, with platters of food spread around, to encourage everyone to chat and laugh. We had our favourite songs on a playlist and everyone talked and laughed over glasses of fizz. To encourage the casual atmosphere, we wanted to go for an afternoon tea style menu, and were given just that by our wonderful caterers. They even used some of our platters- which my Mum used for her own wedding almost 40 years before! The sausage rolls were a particular hit! With the desserts, a local Brighton bakers called Real Pattiserie made a selection of petit fours, including the most incredible passionfruit and raspberry tartlets. We also bought some handmade sponge cakes from Middle Farm for those who wanted something more traditional! The wedding cake was a total surprise to use. We had asked Charis’ Uncle if he would make our cake as he is a dab hand with fruit cakes. He arrived with the most stunning cake, with three tiers and decorated with white sugar roses. It was more beautiful than we could ever have dreamed of, and totally delicous.
Everything was captured for us by local photographer Darren, from D.B Photography Sussex. From the get go he understood the kind of day we wanted, and just how to capture that for us. It was so natural having him and his second shooter Steph there with us for the day. We were blown away by some of the shots in the countryside surrounding the venues in particular- it was so nice to encapsulate that this was a real Sussex wedding, that our marriage was made amongst this beautiful landscape. He caught special moments between our guests and we feel like we have an album to treasure.
Photography by D.B Photography Sussex
- Customised Wedding Dress Etsy
- Bridal Shoes Zara
- Bracelet Gemporia
- Bridesmaid Dress Oh My Love
- Grooms Suit Marks and Spencer
- Pocket Square Slaters
- Venue The Old Chapel Centre
- Afternoon Tea Green Fig Catering Company
- Tartlet & Macaroons Real Patisserie
- Sponge Cakes Middle Farm
- Flowers Triangle Nursery
- Printers Hobs Reprographics
- Tailors Fit2fit Tailors