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Rachael & Josh

What could be more perfect to follow a snowy weekend, than a gorgeous winter wedding at the magical Huntsham Court in Devon? Rachael & Josh met on the slopes so a wintery weekend long house party felt like the perfect way to celebrate their wedding. Taking over the whole estate for the weekend, we can only imagine how much fun was had…there was excellent food, excellent wine and clearly excellent company as the images from Ben at Millar Cole show!

As well as all of the wedding frolics, the fashion is rather delicious too, with Rachael looking gorgeous in a bespoke gown and cashmere jumper – the perfect outfit for keeping the chill at bay. Enjoy this one beauties, it’s a lovely dose of cosiness for a snow day…

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Our Wedding

Rachael the Bride: We met almost exactly six years ago on the snow swept slopes of the French alps so a winter wedding felt like the natural thing to do. The priority for us was to make our wedding feel like one massive house party and with friends travelling from across the globe to see us we wanted to turn it into a whole weekend event.

Our three-day affair at Huntsham Court, Devon, where all of our guests also stayed, kicked off with an apres-ski themed Friday night party where we welcomed guests with vin chaud, raclette and french charcuterie. In true alpine style we had a ski lift photo booth and cracked out the shot ski to get everyone mingling.

Saturday was the main event which saw us tie the knot in All Saints Church, Huntsham – handily located on the driveway of Huntsham Court. One of our favourite memories will always be driving away from the church with all of our friends and family walking back up the drive waving us on.

We’ve got some incredibly talented friends and family who helped make our wedding even more personal: from Rachael’s brother who made all the beer, Mat Follas (of Masterchef fame but also Josh’s cousin) who catered magnificently to fellow Cambridge alumni Ben Millar Cole who felt more like a guest than our photographer and former ski season flatmates The Rambling Roots who played us down the aisle. The generosity and skill of those involved was humbling and made our day utterly unique and made us feel incredibly loved.

The Bride

My search for a dress was made simple by my maid of honour who introduced me to an incredibly talented dress maker early on. With the help of my stylish bridesmaids we cobbled together an idea of my perfect dress to create my gown which was then custom made. I chose everything from the cut to the fabric and put a huge amount of trust in my dress maker who’s brief was to make me a dress I could dye and wear again.

My silk gown was designed, with the addition of a cropped cashmere jumper from Pringle, to take me seamlessly from church to black tie reception. For outside photos I wrapped up in a white feather stole that I’d picked up in John Lewis and had tailored to size. I’d chosen my Valentino shoes even before the dress and again wanted to buy an investment shoe that I’d wear again and again.

The Groom

The black tie theme prompted a navy blue and black trimmed tuxedo made to measure from Suit Supply. The suit was paired with black monk strap shoes from Church’s, white silk pocket square, white bowtie and subtly finished off with a Jager LeCoultre wristwatch, a present from Rachael.

The Venue

After a nationwide search Huntsham Court was the perfect venue where all 80 of our guests were able to stay in the stunning grounds. The grandeur of our venue created the perfect backdrop for our black tie themed country escape, from fireside drinks in the library to our candle-lit wedding breakfast we didn’t have to do much dressing, the beautiful surroundings speaking for themselves.

The biggest benefit of the venue proved to be the fact that we could take all of our own alcohol which resulted in us being able to curate our own wine lists and bar menus filled with our favourite cocktails, wines and tipples.

The Styling

We picked a rich wintery colour pallet that included Bordeaux, navy, forest green and a touch of gold. With Josh being from New Zealand – the fern was a key motif in all of our design and dressing. Being in the middle of January lighting was the key consideration in our décor which was focused on candle light. Our florist Natasha from Pumpkin and Pye created beautifully simple table dressings using ferns and winter foliage which were mirrored in the candle lit church decorations. The bride’s bouquet was a waterfall design again, with tumbling green ferns and foliage pulling in rich burgundy florals and dark winter berries.

The Wedding Party

The Groomsmen were dressed in their own black tuxedoes with matching burgundy bow ties and coordinating pocket squares. The groomsmen wore white rose and fern buttonholes that complimented the bridesmaids bouquets.

The bridesmaids wore burgundy velvet floor-length gowns from Coast that they wore with vintage furs inherited from Rachael’s Grandmother and earrings, a gift from the bride, by Missoma. Flower girl Annie wore a similar burgundy lace dress from Jigsaw Kids teamed with a cardigan from Zara.

The Ceremony

We wanted to bring a touch of New Zealand to a small English country church, the ceremony was held at All Saints church on the driveway of Huntsham Court. Rachael was walked down the aisle by her father to The Rambling Roots playing an acoustic rendition of Singing In My Soul by New Zealand band Fly My Pretties. Rev. Kevin Chandra hosted the ceremony with readings from Josh’s sister – For the Father of my Children, Karlo Mila – with Josh’s mother leading a Maori hymn E toru nga mea which was echoed back by the congregation.

The Entertainment

A canape reception back in the great hall of Huntsham court saw The Rambling Roots play an acoustic set as the Champagne flowed and the bride and groom had portraits around the grounds. The Vivas later played until late, even managing to get Rachael’s Nana on her feet dancing. Guests partied well in to the morning, with an impromptu haka thrown in for good measure.

The Food

The wedding day was catered by Mat Follas. Canapes included oysters with Samur chasers poured dramatically by serving staff into the shell, iberico ham, hand dived scallops, wild rabbit and prune sausage rolls.

The wedding feast had guests sat in banquet style tables with a meal designed to share. The meal kicked off with a quad of butters and freshly baked breads, followed by beetroot and vodka cured salmon with dill pickles. The fish course commenced with rock pool soup where teapots of steam bisque were poured into bowls filled with local cockles, squid, seaweed and prawns.

The main event saw cushions and racks of lamb served on big wooden boards presented to ‘chief carvers’ on each table who were adorned with their very own aprons. This was accompanied by Mat’s famous smoked mash, glazed heritage carrots, crispy seasonal kale, kumara, homemade mint jelly and gravy.

The feast was finished with coffee liqueur and trays of mixed chocolates and truffles but the food didn’t end there. After the cutting of the cake a cheese board orchestrated by Rachael’s mother was presented for guests to pick at throughout the evening including cheeses from Rachael’s native Yorkshire, a wheel of Abondance from the French alps and a favourite Lincolnshire Poacher.

The midnight feast consisted of alcohol soaking pulled pork buns with sweet pickles and mountains of truffled mac and cheese.

The Photography

Ben Millar Cole was an obvious option for us, his relaxed documentary style suited us down to a tee. We didn’t want to spend hours posing for portraits and family shots and Ben managed to capture all the important moments without pulling us away from our guests. He made us feel relaxed, identified really early on who all of our family members were and really felt much more like a guest than a photographer.

The Film

We stumbled across HDMoments at our friends’ wedding last summer and knew instantly we wanted them to capture our day for us. Watching it back now we’re both able to see so many hidden moments throughout the day that we would have otherwise missed and can’t help but feel we’re in our own Hollywood movie.

Photography by Millar Cole Photography
Author: Fern Godfrey
Fern spends most of her time dreaming about weddings and trying to convince her long-suffering boyfriend to propose. Lucky enough to live in sunny Cornwall, if you need her – you’ll find her at beach.
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