The cows were cleared out of the field, the hay was harvested and the marquee and bouncy castle were put in place. All guests slipped into their wellies and had a wonderful relaxed celebration at Rachel & Rafe’s farm.
After an intimate Town Hall ceremony, they made their grand entrance by tractor & trailer (kindly driven by a neighbouring farmer) to their rustic reception, full of the sweetest DIY decor, flowers and homemade cakes, all arranged by Rachel with a little help from family and friends. Live bands played and instead of a first dance, Rachel (who had never sung in public before) and Rafe (a fantastic keyboard player) performed a duet for their guests. How special.
Rachel wore a truly stunning Charlie Brear Payton gown and I love that she teamed it with an equally stunning and totally adorable Sabine lace jacket. The perfect bridal look for a rural wedding.
Rachel The Bride: Our wedding was an old fashioned type of wedding with friends and family rallying around to create a wonderful day. From bridal party hair, transport, photography, food, flowers, décor and entertainment; each person involved was either a family member, friend, colleague from work or a friend of a friend – this made the day that little bit more special for us and hopefully for everybody else. We wanted the day to be as relaxed as possible and for guests to arrive wearing whatever they felt comfortable in.
We are extremely lucky to own and live on a farm in East Sussex which we obviously wanted to utilise for our big day. We initially looked into having our actual wedding ceremony on the farm but it was all becoming rather complicated. In the end we opted for a marquee on the farm for our reception and we had our ceremony at Rye Town Hall. Rye is a beautiful market town with cobbled streets and lots of History. When you book the The Town Hall you have the option of booking the Town Crier; which we jumped at. He added something else to the day and provided lots of laughter for the guests resulting in some great photographs.
I stayed at The George in Rye the evening before our big day. It is a beautiful 16th Century Hotel just seconds from the Town Hall which reduced the possibility of me being late and eliminated any additional stress. My Matron of Honour; Amanda Thomas, who also gave me away as my Dad died 20 years ago when I was 19, stayed with me in the Hotel and created my stunning but simple hairstyle in the morning.
Our Marquee was supplied by Perfect Day Marquees in Ashford who were very helpful throughout the whole process. Miles constantly had advice for us and replied to my emails promptly confirming my frantic additions at the last minute. The Marquee was beautiful and large enough to accommodate my 180 plus guests. The chairs left uncovered and natural coconut flooring added to the rustic theme. Rafe and his friends built a stage and dance floor out of hay bales and old pallets; you can’t get much more rustic than that.
I found a local Bridal Shop called FrouFrou Bridal Boutique in Tunbridge Wells that stocks Charlie Brear gowns and I was invited along to view the collection one evening. I had already seen the dress I thought I had wanted but when it came to trying it on, it swamped me and did nothing for my figure. I was disappointed but the girls at FrouFrou recommended my beautiful Payton dress with the Sabine Top addition. I had initially dismissed the Payton dress due to the fact that I thought the fabric looked clingy and I was worried about my “lumps & bumps” showing through! They convinced me it would look beautiful on me because of my shape……..I have to say I was smitten as soon as I put it on and looked in the mirror, so they were right! I believe It is essential you choose a bridal shop who caters to your needs but that also gives honest advice.
I didn’t wear any jewellery as I had my Cathedral length Stewart Parvin veil which is quite an accessory on its own and the Sabine top is embellished with sequins so didn’t feel I needed any.
My shoes were from an Amazon seller called “Absolutely Gorgeous Boutique” I knew there was no point investing in an expensive pair of shoes that would get ruined on the farm. I wanted a vintage, low heel and these fitted perfectly for an inexpensive shoe. I did however also invest in a nice bright pink pair of Hunter wellies which came in handy as the fields got muddy, made for an excellent conversation piece and of course gave some of the photographs an additional “spin”.
Rafe wore a Blue Hugo Boss three piece suit from the Hugo Boss Store in Brighton lanes who were very helpful. We chose a Hugo Boss tie in Pink and Brown Bertie shoes.
The Colour Scheme/Décor
I wanted to ensure I captured the Vintage/Rustic feel to our décor so opted for a lot of handmade items as opposed to buying all manufactured items. The bunting was however all new and added a nice touch. I got it from an Amazon seller called “AvenueShop”. My table numbers were printed onto labels for me by a company called “Wedding of My Dreams“ which can be found on N.O.T.H.S. I stuck the labels onto hessian covered wine bottles and they added a rustic edge to the table décor. The vases were actually jam jars that I tied with brown string with a label saying “wedding” and l placed lengths of lace around the middle of the jars. I had actually utilised the lace and labels which were left over from some unused wedding invitations. These were handmade by “Samantha Vine of Vine’s Occasions” on Facebook. I also utilised the leftover invitations for my seating plan which my lovely friend Linzi Mountcastle created for me.
My flowers consisted of pink/cream/vintage roses and lots of gypsophila which is inexpensive and is very keeping with the vintage theme and goes a long way. I bought the flowers in bunches from various supermarkets and dismantled them and made my own bouquets and my friends did the table pieces.
Our wedding was a real family affair and my uncle Mark did a lot of the cooking for us as he had previously worked as Head Chef in his own hotel in Vancouver. We had buffet style catering but with the added twist of a hog roast which was cooked by good friends. Our beautiful vintage themed cake was made by my Auntie Donna from The Buttercup Bakery who is based in Hastings and can be found on Facebook.
We provided Champagne, Prosecco, bottled water and Red and White wine which we bought
from France. We did however have a bar for all other drinks which guests could pay for if they didn’t drink what we had on offer. We used a company called The Lime Bar.
As there were a lot of children at our wedding I ordered a bouncy castle from 1st Choice Inflatables It kept the kids entertained for hours which gave the parents time to relax and enjoy themselves. I would highly recommend one if your having an outdoor wedding.
We had three bands play throughout the day and evening who were all friends. Rafe is a pianist and therefore wanted to play a few songs. I can hold a note or two (apparently) so instead of a first dance we did something equally as cheesy and played a duet of the Adele/Bob Dillon song called Make You Feel My Love, which did make a few people cry into their napkins (hopefully it wasn’t my singing). Our evening band were called Long Way Down from Gravesend and had everyone up and dancing.
Our fantastic photos were taken by Susan Arnold. I can honestly say that everybody who has had the pleasure of seeing our photos agree that not only has she captured the essence of our day but the type of relationship Rafe and I have. The soft focus and utilisation of the Autumnal light have created some truly beautiful and romantic photographs. I highly recommend Susie to take your wedding photos. Her expertise and knowledge will provide you with wedding photographs to treasure forever.
The whole day was so magical. It does indeed go so fast, so do take time to enjoy moments with your partner. If you are doing a DIY wedding as we did, I suggest an itinerary is given to all those taking an active role so that everyone works to the same timings and you ensure you cover all of your ideas and special moments – we forgot to cut the cake of all things! It all got eaten eventually.
Photography by Susan Arnold Photography
- Dress Designer Charlie Brear – Payton
- Bridal Boutique FrouFrou Bridal
- Veil Stewart Parvin
- Jacket Charlie Brear – Sabine
- Bridal Shoes Absolutely Gorgeous Boutique on Amazon
- Hunter Wellies
- Grooms Suit Hugo Boss
- Ceremony Venue Rye Town hall
- Marquee Reception Perfect Day Marquees
- Bunting AvenueShop Amazon
- Stationery Vine Occasions
- Cake The Buttercup Bakery
- Bar The Lime Bar
- Bouncy Castle 1st Choice Inflatables
- Band Long Way Down