Oh my goodness, THAT bouquet!!! Isn’t it beautiful? So perfectly Autumnal. In fact, Sadie and Paul’s whole wedding is a lovely homage to September, when the light begins to change and the colours become deeper and more muted. I would never have thought that shades of burgundy, olive green and navy could work for a wedding – but brought together by the Yorkshire Tweed worn by the gents, it works wonderfully!
This wedding comes from my childhood neck-of-the-woods, so I’m loving the use of hops and apples – the smells take me straight to my Mum’s kitchen and I can imagine made the yurt smell delicious too. If you’re stuck for decor ideas, I always think using the natural surroundings and colours of the location of your wedding venue works really well, particularly with a marquee, tipi or yurt.
Sadie The Bride: Paul and I got engaged at the Christmas and we got married the following September. A number of people said that we would struggle to get everything we wanted in just 9 months, which thankfully wasn’t the case.
The ceremony was held at my parents’ local church, a quaint Norman church in a small hamlet in Herefordshire. The area is off the beaten track, with a backdrop of the Black Mountains, an old mill, a babbling river and a traditional pub. On the way to the church the sun was breaking through the morning’s heavy mist and I arrived, along with the bridesmaids and page boys, in my Dad’s Land Rover Defender; superbly polished up for its regal outing. It was a Church of England ceremony, with a sincere and entertaining vicar. The Church was packed to the rafters. The processional music, which was taken from “The Secret Garden” film soundtrack, set the tone for what was a beautiful and simple service. After the ceremony, the congregation piled into the pub next door for some celebratory refreshments.
We wanted a reception venue that allowed us to create our own bespoke celebrations, without the usual restrictions; so we didn’t look for a wedding venue. Instead we looked for a large house with grounds that we could hire for the weekend, where a number of guests could stay and where a reception could be hosted for 120 guests. We found the Sugar and Loaf website, and Great Campston caught our eye. The views were stunning, the gardens surrounding the house were immaculate and the house itself provided the perfect backdrop for our countryside shindig. To accommodate the party, a long yurt and an accompanying round yurt were put up in the grounds, expertly crafted by the lovely people at Cheltenham Yurts. The intricate structure and rusticity of the yurts sat in the landscape seamlessly and the accompanying deckchairs enabled guests to relax on the grass terrace admiring the views or watching the children at play.
The very helpful people at C W Garden Marquees Ltd provided all the furniture, lighting and arranged the Posh Potties; the poshest portaloos I have ever seen.
I knew in my head the sort of dress I wanted; I knew after the first full day of dress shopping what sort of dress wasn’t for me but I hadn’t established exactly what I was looking for. I came across Johanna Hehir on the web, whose dresses seemed to tick the box. The nearest stockist was White Rose Bridal Boutique. I adored all of Johanna Hehir’s dresses but there was a clear winner, which fitted the relaxed, country vibe for the day.
I teamed the dress with a long veil to provide a train for the more formal part of the day, which was then removed when dancing commenced. The outfit was finished off with a fresh flower hair band, Rachel Simpson shoes, a pearl bracelet and a dainty old family watch (which doesn’t work, but the time was set to the start of the ceremony).
Paul was decked out in a tweed waistcoat made out of luxury Abraham Moon tweed. The Bride’s father, the ushers and the page boys all wore the same. The waistcoats were expertly tailored by my mother. The tweed was made in the Yorkshire town where Paul was born and it was packed full of seasonal colours.
Paul wore a bespoke tailored navy blue suit by Clements and Church, teamed with a crisp white shirt, a wool textured plum tie from Reiss and dark brown leather/suede brogues also from Clements and Church.
The Wedding Party
I wanted the female contingent of the Wedding Party to wear different but complementary colours. We therefore had a mixture of light coral pink, deep musky pink and navy chiffon full-length gowns. The bridesmaids had fresh flower bouquets, and their hair was decorated with dried flowers from Artisan Flowers. Our hair and make up was done by a friend of the family at Lucy’s Hair and Beauty in a nearby village.
I was lucky in that the local Grove Farm Flowers provided the exact style of flower arrangements I was after; in season, informal, and as if just hand-picked from a cottage garden. I had no preference on the type of flowers, but gave them a sample of the waistcoat material and mentioned the other colours that will be used. They expertly crafted beautiful flowers for the bouquets, buttonholes, church and reception. They also sourced fresh hops to embellish both the church and the reception and used fresh seasonal foliage to decorate the church entrance.
Flowers for the reception tables were grown in my parents’ garden and arranged by my mother the day before the wedding.
The colour scheme for the yurts pulled out the key colours from the waistcoats and the wedding party. The decor was very much about DIY; we made 800 tissue paper tassel garlands, we decoupaged 12 cardboard animals, we crafted 180 tweed hearts from left over fabric, we collected and decorated jam jars for vases and candle holders, we made table name holders out of twigs and we sourced old welsh slate tiles from a scrap yard as a base for the table centrepieces. A visit to a local apple orchard the day before the wedding provided each guest with an apple at their place setting. The centrepiece for each table was a terracotta pot containing a rosemary plant; I wanted something green, fragrant and which added height to each table. We also embellished the tables with various “love” themed nick nacks and the ceilings were adorned with large spherical balloons and pom poms. We didn’t provide favours as such, but everyone was told they could help themselves to any items on the table – most items went!
The Food & Drink
Given we were organising everything ourselves, the catering made us feel particularly anxious. However, we were recommended Prickly Pear and when we met with Jane we instantly felt at ease on how it was all going to work. We knew exactly what we wanted to eat, which was essentially all of our favourite foods, which made it quick and easy to agree the menu.
The professionalism of the waiting staff and the deliciousness of the wholesome food made for a key talking point of the wedding. The food was presented in a marvellously rustic way and tasted delicious.
Paul and I sourced all the drinks; we waited patiently for discounts on all our favourite wines, beers ciders and bubbly. An evening bar was provided by a local pub in the smaller yurt, which became a fairy-lit drinking den after the sun had set behind the mountains.
The cake display was a joint effort by the mothers and a family friend. A local woodman also provided three tree trunks upon which the cakes sat. The main cake was topped with two cast iron “love” birds and the display looked like a scene out of The Secret Garden (but an edible one).
We were very particular in the type of photographer we wanted and Mister Phill was the perfect man for the job. The photographs tell the story of the day, are creative in doing so, and catch all those special moments. An album packed full of posed shots was what we wanted to avoid. We were delighted with the photographs and Mister Phill is a talented and personable photographer.
We wanted a wedding that didn’t put any restrictions on what we wanted to create. Given the venue we chose, this meant we had to arrange every item ourselves and be there in the lead up to the wedding to set everything up. It therefore required a lot more time and effort, but it delivered what was a very personal expression of what Paul and I are about. This approach also saved money by removing a lot of the hidden costs. On the day itself I had to consciously switch from wedding coordinator to bride, which was made a lot easier by the caterers and the Master of Ceremony going above and beyond to ensure everything went smoothly. We wouldn’t have changed anything.