"I think our advice to future Brides and Grooms is really think about what is important to you, and don’t worry about the other things!" I had to open with that sentence as Amy & Sam really have put a personal touch to every aspect of their wedding at Shustoke Farm. It's clear to see having their family and friends there was key and making best use of all their talents. From the fabulous cake maker Aunty to the incredibly talented Willow sculpture Mum. They even enlisted the help of friends Magnus & Bella to make their wedding bands. Which then became a fabulous opportunity for their photographer Theresa Furey to take their pre wedding, engagement pictures. All the homespun rustic details really set off the barn beautifully. Especially the custom made ditsy print bridesmaid dresses. And I simple adore the buses, and Amy's tea length gown bringing a lovely vintage vibe to the day.
ProposalAmy the Bride: We got engaged whilst living in Portugal but returned to live in the U.K before the big day. We knew we wanted to get married in the Midlands as we both grew up in the region and were really keen to keep everything as ‘local’ as we could. We are incredibly lucky to have so many talented friends and family; my sister is a professional bridal hair and make up artist, Sam’s Mum is a willow sculptor and created willow versions of us dancing and his Auntie who is a chef offered to make our cake!
VenueWe struggled initially with knowing what we wanted, everyone asked us what are ‘theme’ was ... we didn’t have one – it was wedding themed!? We started looking at venues and once we stepped foot in Shustoke Farm Barns we were sold. There couldn’t have been a more perfect venue for us and from there everything else just seemed to fall into place. Sam the Groom: Hassle-free doesn’t even come close. This venue is so professional and yet warm and lovely. Could not recommend them enough.
The DressAmy the Bride: I’m probably in the minority of Brides and wasn’t excited about wedding dress shopping and my first experience was a bit of disaster! I knew I didn’t want a train or a veil, yet the lady in the shop kindly informed me that I would at least want a puddle train (whatever that is!) and that I needed to step on the box to get a better idea of my dress (like I’ll be standing on a box all through my wedding day?!). ‘Your Wedding Shop’ was in absolute contrast. I could look at the dresses in my own time and then once I was ready they were there to help me try them all on and didn’t attempt to tell me what I wanted at all. I happened to try on ‘my’ dress which fitted like a glove without any alternations and I walked away with it that day! My sister did my hair and make up, she really is amazing at what she does! She also recommended Woodland Blossoms who made my flower hair accessories, and those for the bridesmaids. I just sent Rachel a picture of the bridesmaid fabric with an outline of what we wanted and she dyed the flowers and custom made them for us. Perfect!
TransportAs we’ve said....the venue spoke for itself! We were also both keen to travel to the venue in style, but along with some of our friends and family. Hiring the vintage buses was great fun and it was lovely to support a local museum doing great work.
DecorSam the Groom: Family is very important to both of us and we always knew that they would be a big part of the day. My Mum’s models of us outside the venue perfectly framed the entrance and were the first thing that everyone saw on the day. It is a truly lovely thing to see us how my Mum sees us – created from nature, dancing and having fun – and be pleased with what she sees. I’m so proud of my Mum’s work and I love the fact that we now have the models in our garden dancing in the flowerbeds!
FloristAmy the Bride: We didn’t have a colour theme as such and we didn’t want structured flower arrangements, but rather a relaxed fresh from the field feel! The Great British Florists are based in Hereford and we simply requested bouquets and corsages of whatever flowers were in season and then bought buckets of the same stems from them to arrange ourselves in jam jars for table decorations.
The Wedding Party FashionI had 4 bridesmaids and knew that it would be tricky to find a dress, style and colour that would suit everyone so we decided to have dresses made. The fabric was found by my Auntie who just had a gut feeling about it so bought it on a whim and it was perfect. Sam (Ryley & Flynn Vintage) then made the dresses to measure in the same style but each bridesmaid choosing their own neckline and sleeves and the colour of their sash. It was really nice to feel that everyone had a unique dress but that they tied together. Sam the Groom: I’ve known my sister her entire life, and most of mine, so she was the perfect best man – apart from the fact she looked a bit silly in a man’s suit! Alice found Fogarty Formal Hire on the internet searching for the same waistcoat that we were wearing and they were great. They did all the alterations which looked seamless – the waistcoat looked like it was made for her!
EntertainmentThe Burdock Band should come with a warning. We did not stop dancing all night and the caller, Dan, was so convincing that many of our guests would try and grab us to say goodnight and end up dancing for the next few songs instead!
FoodMy Auntie Hil is a genius. She has cooked for Lords and Ladies, celebrities, and most importantly us! We basically asked her for “something Portuguese”, “no fondant icing”, “not too weddingy” and from our vague instructions created a chocolate masterpiece topped with the famous “pasteis de natas” from Portugal. Even our Portuguese guests were impressed!
PhotographerI think the photos that go with this article will speak for themselves. I promise you that I don’t look that dashing in real life!
RingAmy actually met Bella years ago at a tattoo fair, I think, whilst helping her friend sell cupcakes. She fell in love with a butterfly brooch with a marbled effect on the metal but Amy asked if she could make it into a pendant which Bella did and it started off a long-standing friendship with Bella and a love affair with her and her husband Magnus’ work. It only seemed right then that I would ask Magnus and Bella to help me with an engagement ring when I decided to propose – in fact she was the first person I told my plans to! Bella ‘helped me’ with the design (i.e. designed something based on some random sketches and chats we had!) and got really into the project which was really great. The final engagement ring is completely unique and I love that I know how every part of it came into being. The wedding rings we made together at their studios in Vyse St and are a mathematical shape known as a möbius band – with a half twist so they look like they have two edges but really there is only – showing that even maths (and mathematicians) can have a romantic side.. Amy the Bride: I then didn’t like the idea of the silver ring used to make the cast for my engagement ring being melted down and ‘lost’ so had this made into a pair of cufflinks for Sam which he then wore on the day. We made our wedding rings ourselves in their studio. This was really important to us – we will be wearing our bands for the rest of our lives and wanted them to be unique and to reflect ‘us’. It was also a brilliant way to spend a day together and Bella was incredible and making our ideas come into reality. Theresa our photographer also joined us for the day and took our engagement photos in the studio – it’s lovely to be able to have documented that day as well as our wedding day. Magnus and Bella also made cufflinks for all the groomsmen in the same style as the Grooms and they made bracelets for all the bridesmaids using resin that matched the sash of each bridesmaids dress. Bella and Magnus have really played an important role in our journey from engagement to marriage and I couldn’t recommend them highly enough to anyone that wants a personal touch to their jewellery and accessories!
AdviceI think our advice to future Brides and Grooms is really think about what is important to you, and don’t worry about the other things! The day goes by in such a flurry and I’ve yet to meet a couple who didn’t have the best day regardless of any stresses and mishaps that happened on the lead up!
Bridal Boutique: Your Wedding Shop | Hair Accessory: Woodland Blossoms | Bridal Shoes: Irregular Choice | Hair & Makeup: Sarah Russell | Grooms Suit: Duncan James | Venue: Shustoke Barn | Transport: Wythall Transport Museum | Willow Sculptures: Carole Beavis | Florist: The Great British Florist | Bridesmaid Dresses: Ryley & Flynn Vintage | Best Womans Suit: Fogarty Formal Hire | Rings: Mangus and Bella | Ceilidah: The Burdock Band