Bring on summer days and romance I say, especially if the outcome is as divine as this classic English country wedding. Melissa & Julian knew they wanted an intimate and laid back celebration with their closest family and friends and found their dream venue Thyme in the Cotswolds. A fabulous blank canvas rustic barn which they decorated with hessian runners, candle light and wooden crates filled with delicious peach blooms. All looking unbelievably cosy and elegant. I'm also completely smitten with all the fashion. Featuring many of our Look Book & List members. Our gorgeous Bride wears a stunning Naomi Neoh's Violette gown & Gillian Million headpiece and her best girls look beaut. in the oh so glamorous platinum twobirds bridesmaid dresses. This wedding is so delightful I just know I'll be back to swoon over it time and time again.
The DressMelissa The Bride: I have to confess, the thought of dress shopping didn't fill me with excitement! I didn't really have a clue what I wanted or what would suit me. I did my research thoroughly and limited my shopping trip to one day; two boutiques; and my mum. As soon as I walked into Carina Baverstock Couture, I knew that if I couldn’t find my dress there I wouldn't find it at all! Adviser Lucy asked me some very specific questions about our venue and how I wanted to look and feel on the day. Then, she picked out Naomi Neoh's Violette for me; understated, quintessentially English and antique peach (exactly what I wanted, as it turned out!) My headdress and earrings were beautifully made by Gillian Million, with pearls to complement the colour of my dress.
The Grooms FashionGroom: Julian wanted the classic gentleman look. After a lot(!) of searching, his waistcoat and tie were both from Favourbrooks and his burgundy shoes from Barker. We went for slim fit navy blue tailcoat suits hired from Peter Posh, where we also found the groomsmens' dove grey waistcoats and brown shoes. We bought the shirts, pocket squares and ties ourselves to get away from that ‘hired’ look you can often get with tailcoat suits.
The VenueWe'd decided the year before we got engaged that we wanted to get married in the Cotswolds; it’s such a beautiful part of the country and in the middle of where our families live. Finding the right venue was a little more tricky. The Cotswolds is full of stunning venues, but we were looking for something quite specific. We had a guest list of 50; immediate family and our closest friends. We knew we wanted to spend the whole weekend celebrating with everyone (we got married over the May bank holiday weekend), so it was important there was enough room for people to stay, relax and have their own space. I stumbled across Thyme in Southrop by accident really, via a news article about the village. Some of the venues we visited were real 'wedding factories' and felt really impersonal. When we visited Thyme, if felt like our secret. Tucked away in a tiny Cotswold village with a small church, converted barn and stunning boutique accommodation all within a short stroll of each other, it was the perfect venue for us; simple, peaceful and beautiful.
Colour Scheme/DecorI didn't really want a colour scheme or theme as such. It's one of those things that people expect you to have and always ask you about! I remember the owner of the boutique where my mum bought her outfit asking what colour my bridesmaid dresses were. When I explained that I was letting the girls choose the colour and that they hadn't picked yet, she looked absolutely horrified! I'm not really into 'matchy' things, so I knew I didn't want my mum’s outfit to match the bridesmaids. Instead, I tried to pick things that would complement each other; soft greys, peaches, creams and hessian. One of the reasons we chose our venue was because it was a blank canvas. I bought hessian table runners from Not on the High Street to give a rustic look and kept the rest of the decor very simple; flower arrangements in wooden boxes and some tea lights. In the evening, the barn came alive with candlelight.
FloristOnce the girls had chosen their bridesmaid dresses, I picked the flowers. I wanted a soft, mixed colour palette that complemented their grey dresses, so I went for a mixture of peach and amnesia roses and lavender. I only met one florist – Laura at Cotswold Blooms. Lots of people said to me that I should meet at least three florists, but I think when you have confidence in someone's ability, they understand what you want and you like them, you can't go wrong!
Bridesmaids DressesMy bridesmaids were my two best friends, Hannah and Becca. Their dresses were from twobirds in London. I knew that I wanted them to wear a soft, pastel colour but I let them pick the colour themselves – fortunately they both agreed (!) on Platinum, which suited them both perfectly. I loved the flexibility of the wrap dresses, which meant the girls could choose a style that suited them individually.
CeremonyWe knew we wanted a church service and loved the intimate feel of St Peter's in Southrop. To keep things informal, our vows were said with just our first names, and this was followed through in all of our wedding stationery. One of my bridesmaids, Becca, sings with an amazing professional choir; we were lucky enough to have eight of them (including Becca) sing, unaccompanied, throughout the service. The sound was stunning.
EntertainmentWe had a string quartet play during our drinks reception; the weather was beautiful so everyone was sat outside with pimms, Prosecco and canapés. We also did our speeches outside, with everyone gathered in the courtyard, to keep it informal. In the evening, we'd made our own playlist; we knew that our meal wouldn't finish until late, so we just wanted an hour or so with a few of our favourite tunes to finish off the evening with some dancing!
FoodThyme has an amazing reputation for its cookery school; working closely with the seasons, sourcing from its own kitchen gardens and local farms. Julian is a real foodie, so there was no question that the food at our wedding had to be amazing! Our starter was asparagus rotolo, followed by ginuea fowl with chianti lentils and then for desert, rhubarb and lemon curd meringe roulade. We left our wedding cake until the last minute(!). We opted for a naked cake with layers of coconut and white chocolate ganache, lemon and vanilla – made beautifully by Rosey, a friend of one of my bridesmaids.
PhotographerI met with David and after he started to show me some of his work I was instantly hooked – we didn’t speak to any other photographers about our wedding. Julian and I love David’s style (we were keen to get natural, relaxed shots of the people we love the most) and he was absolutely great to have around on the day. When your wedding day is over, all you are left with (besides the memories of course), is your photographs – so invest in something you love!
AdviceJulian and I met at University in 2003. When we were thinking about what we wanted for our wedding day, we wanted a small, intimate church service followed by good food and good wine with our closest family and friends. Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, there are so many different ideas out there it can get very, very confusing ! My advice would be to focus on getting your venue right first, keep reminding yourself what you wanted at the very start of the process and and don’t over-complicate it !!
Dress Designer: Naomi Neoh - Violette | Bridal Boutique: Carina B Couture | Bridal Accessories: Gillian Million | Bridal Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Grooms Shoes: Barker | Grooms Tails: Peter Posh | Grooms Waistcoat: Favourbrooks | Bridesmaid Dresses : Twobirds | Venue: Thyme | Florist: Cotwolds Blooms | Stationery: Pear Paper Co. | Entertainment: Estilo String Quartet | Makeup Artist: Emily Tarrant Makeup