We’re at RMW fave venue, Almonry Barn this afternoon. It’s a place that never fails to make us, and you, swoon. With those gorgeous stone walls and floors, the incredible doorways and THAT fairy light chandelier – if you’ve never stumbled across it before, then I have a feeling you’re going to love it. Almonry certainly charmed Laura & David, this was the one and only venue they viewed.
The styling is very feminine, with lots of gorgeous pastel flowers and ribbons everywhere. The bridesmaids are a bevy of beauties in soft grey and Laura stuns in Wtoo by Watters, who make the most stunning of dresses, as you’ll see. The final result is just gorgeous, so without further ado, let’s enjoy it…
Laura The Bride: I knew I wanted a soft and flowing dress and after looking online I was particularly drawn to the Wtoo range from Watters (and the gorgeous Reed dress which I kept finding myself looking at). I gave myself one weekend to find my dress – I’m fairly decisive so was confident this would be possible and it was also important to me to have my mum and sister there who would be coming up from Somerset especially for the occasion. I booked an appointment at my local stockist Emma Elizabeth Bridal and on walking into Emma’s beautiful little boutique I immediately knew that this was where I wanted to buy my dress. I ended up torn between two dresses but eventually chose the Reed dress and I’m so pleased I did. I did have a few issues with the sleeves which restricted my arm movement and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to dance properly. This was soon solved with an extra purchase of some additional straps and the amazing work of the seamstress Andrea and I loved that I was able to have a little evening change into my ‘party straps’ (and wave my arms above my head with complete ease!)!
My six bridesmaids were my sister and my five best friends from university (minus one who was due to give birth to her first child!) We bought the bridesmaids dresses before I had even tried on a wedding dress myself. Pale grey and mismatched was theme and ASOS came up trumps. I picked out a selection and then let the bridesmaids choose their favourites. Luckily they all found one they liked and I was so pleased with the end result. They all looked absolutely stunning. In the morning we got ready in floral gowns which I left on their beds the night before and I gave them all a silver initial necklace as a thank you gift which they all wore on the day.
I wanted to do my make up myself so my bridesmaid, Mim, and I took a trip to Bobbi Brown to get some tips and then everyone did their own make up on day. I initially thought I would also do mine and my bridesmaids’ hair but was very glad that I was talked out of this and instead we had the lovely Jessy from Tranquility Hair. We went for natural looks with twisted and plaited half up half down styles with loose curls. The bridesmaids’ hair was finished with dried flowers and I had a beautiful silver hair vine.
The Groom & Groomsmen
David: The groomsmen wore their own navy blue suit, white shirt and brown shoes, but we provided the waistcoats, ties and accessories. My shirt was custom made by Shirt By Hand who do a very reasonable bespoke service, including visiting me at work to make finding a time easy. The best men and I found our waistcoats through House Of Fraser, whilst the groomsmen’s came from ASOS. The Groomsmen’s ties were from Mrs Bowtie, and mine was from Reiss (along with my suit). Cufflinks were from Not On The High Street, with a Stag’s Head design.
David: Laura didn’t want a traditional vintage car and so I eventually found a white Daimler which was perfect. For the bridesmaids, thanks to their numbers, we needed something with a little more seating! They arrived in style in a white VW camper van.
The first (and probably easiest!) decision we made in the planning process was the venue, fairly soon after getting engaged. We wanted a relaxed setting with our guests in one place for the whole day and came across the stunning Almonry Barn in Somerset online. The barn was having an open day shortly after we enquired so we booked ourselves in and the following weekend headed to Somerset for our first venue viewing. My mum came with us and as soon as we walked in I knew it was THE venue and nothing else would compare. Almonry Barn is breathtaking – Louise has given the barn so much love and it is so thoughtfully designed with beautiful attention to detail, not to mention the incredible fairy light chandelier! David and my mum also felt the same way and so a couple of days later we confirmed our booking, without seeing any other venues.
The beautiful Hayloft at Almonry Barn was the perfect setting for our civil ceremony and has the added bonus that that there is no resetting of the barn needed between ceremony and reception and so no worrying about the weather. This was a big relief particularly as our actual wedding day was a bit drizzly. The ceremony was really special and I think David spent most of it in tears! We had two readings, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin read by David’s sister Claire chosen because it is David’s favourite book and ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton read by my very good friend Simon. We really like the sentiment of the story and were able to personalise it to include a reference to bikes (David is a very keen cyclist!) which made everyone laugh. For the music I walked in to the Portuguese Theme from Love Actually (recorded on organ by David’s brother-in-law) and we walked out to ‘This will be’ by Natalie Cole – an upbeat song to get the party started.
Almonry Barn comes with a dedicated caterer which at the time was Strawberry Fields – this was great for us as it meant one less decision to make! We went for family style sharing platters as we wanted the food to fit with our relaxed vibe. We opted for speeches before the meal so that those speaking were able to relax and enjoy their food. We skipped starters and went for extra canapes during the reception to keep the hunger at bay. Mains were platters of salmon, spiced roast beef and walnut and stilton tartlets with a mixture of tasty salads. Pudding was either cherry bakewell tart or tarte au citron. In the evening we served cheese boards which went down very well – David is a huge cheese fan so it needed to feature at some point! It was all delicious and we had so many compliments about the food. Our catering manager, Justine, was also an absolute superstar all day helping with whatever was needed – even rescuing our 4 year old nephew when he got stuck in the toilets!
David’s mum very kindly offered to make our wedding cake. She made the most beautiful three tiered fruit cake with white icing and decorated with lavender and rosemary. It looked so elegant and tasted delicious. We also had several friends contribute cakes to ensure all dietary requirements and tastes were catered for, including my own requirement ‘chocolate fiend’!
Amber Persia came recommended by Louise at Almonry Barn and she really is a flower genius. Not knowing much about flowers I gave her a fairly loose brief of ‘just picked’ country garden flowers in creams, pale pinks and a hint of blue with lots of greenery and foliage. Amber totally understood what we were after and the results were stunning. My bouquet was a mixture of roses, peonies, dahlias, Nigella, astrantia, astilbe and lots of herbs and trailing leaves. For the bridesmaids bouquets we went for herb/foliage bouquets with lavender – something a little bit different and totally beautiful. The table centres were pretty potted lavender plants surrounded by delicate stem vases to help keep the costs down. Amber is so talented and was incredibly patient with me and my many emails to keep adding on extra bits I had forgotten about! I cannot recommend her enough.
The Decor & Styling
Our vision was pretty, relaxed and personal to us. We didn’t have a set colour scheme but knew we wanted soft colours including greys and pinks. The Barn is so stunning that I wanted to make sure that we enhanced what was already there and so focused on a few key feature points.
My favourite feature was our hanging flower display at the far end of the barn which our amazing florist Amber helped me create. I hired a pair of cream ladders from a local decoration hire company. Amber hung beautiful roses and lengths of silk ribbon in grey, pink and cream from the ladder top bar and finished it with trailing leaves. It looked stunning and also doubled up as photo guest book display. We ordered a very nifty polaroid printer that allowed guests to take photos on their phone and send them directly to the printer and then pegged to the ribbons. It worked brilliantly and the final result looked stunning.
We added wooden table name signs to the tables which I created with the help of my mum. She cut, sanded and painted some old planks and I wrote on the table names. Our table names were places that David and I have visited together and so we also included on the table a photo of us from that location in a custom painted grey frame. I also spent several weeks making fudge (the one thing that I regretted taking on myself as it took so long but it went down well!) which we put into brown paper bags and my sister made us L&D tags to tie round the tops.
The rest of the barn was filled with lots of candles in silver and glass votives and more stem vases by Amber to give a delicate and natural feel. On the morning itself Louise from Almonry Barn took over and set everything up for us which was so helpful. I totally trusted her to bring our vision to life and she made the barn look so beautiful.
We are incredibly lucky to have a very (multi) talented friend, Shep, who was willing to help us out with stationery. We used printed.com to get everything printed, from invitations to the menu board, which was really easy. We did have a little disaster with the invitations when a friend pointed out, after we’d printed them all, that we’d managed to miss the date off the invites! With a bit of envelope steaming and an extra insert we managed to fix the problem and kept our fingers crossed that we wouldn’t have any other disasters!
We had the traditional groom’s speech and the best men’s speech (our two best men delivered a brilliant double act speech that was the perfect balance of humour, mockery and bromance!) but we also wanted to include both sides of the family and so asked David’s dad if he would start the speeches. It was lovely to be able to include him in this part of the day. This was followed by a speech from my sister, Hannah. I knew my mum would not be comfortable speaking in public and so my sister had offered to speak instead but she surprised me by reading a letter that my mum had written. It meant so much to me to have them both involved in the speech and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house!
Our priority was a live band with two main criteria – a jam packed dance floor all night and tunes everyone can sing along to! I am very lucky to count the very talented Dave Cribb as a close friend and was over the moon when he offered his band to play for us. They were incredible! The dance floor was packed from the first song until the last with numerous chants of one more song at the end of the night! We also wanted our guests to be able to take part and so had a selection of hand held percussion instruments for guests to play. It was a real hit and I loved seeing people dancing around with a pineapple maraca or a tambourine (and special thanks to our very accommodating band who totally embraced having a cowbell whacked at top volume during their set!)
We’re not a couple who have ever had ‘our song’ but when we came across Ray LaMontagne’s ‘You Are The Best Thing’ we knew it fitted us perfectly. We loved the sentiment of the lyrics and that it wasn’t too slow or cheesy. It was an added bonus that the song features a horn section and so we had three of our best friends play with the band. It’s one of my favourite memories of the day, having our friends perform while we danced our first dance as husband and wife surrounded by friends and family.
Our photographers were the super talented Samantha and Thomas of Bowtie and Belle Photography. They are the loveliest people as well as incredibly skilled with a camera. We found them through the Almonry Barn recommended suppliers list and loved their style and use of natural light which suits the natural beauty of Almonry Barn. We couldn’t be happier with our photos – they captured the day perfectly with a lovely mix of all the important moments plus some candid shots.
We opted not to have a videographer purely for budget reasons however were keen to have the important moments caught on film. We set up number of GoPro cameras around the venue and are delighted with the footage! It did require a bit of work on the day to move the cameras around and check the batteries (luckily we had several groomsmen to help do this) and it’s going to be a massive edit job but it was definitely worth it.
There really is no better feeling than having all of your friends and family in one place and being surrounded by so much love and happiness so make sure you take some time to enjoy it together. David and I made sure we had several moments throughout day to just stand back and take it all in – they were really special moments and pretty overwhelming.
And make sure you do things your own way. We wanted a day that reflected our personalities and life together as a couple and so we kept some traditions and didn’t have others because they weren’t right for us.