Show-stopping, sassy and stylish, Sophie, Luke and their gorgeous, gorgeous wedding at Cripps Barn in the Cotswolds just oozed class and character. All the wedding prep began at Barnsley House before heading over to the dreamy Cripps Barn which was dressed head to toe in stunning florals by Joanna Carter Flowers, and amazing rustic details. Have you seen the wooden crate dessert table yet? Definitely get your pinning fingers ready, not forgetting the hanging flower wheel, and reception decor with Candelabra centrepieces and fairy light backdrop, because you're going to LOVE them too! The evening culminated in an epic party that included Baz and Fred Pizzas and Beatboxers. Nobody looked more in love or happier than the bride and groom in their fabulous attire with all the romance captured beautifully by Andy Gaines Photography. Sophie's fishtail Costarellos gown in particular is an absolute gem with its intricate detail and peachy tone. Plus how adorable do the bridesmaids look in their blush tulle skirts and white top separates? Clue: Very.
Sophie The Bride: Luke and I had been together for nearly 11 years already by the time of our wedding and through this time we had always thought we would get married abroad. However, I seem to be the “Bad Weather Omen” and therefore we were terrified of planning a picture-perfect. sunny wedding, only for it to be wet and horrid and with an average fallback plan. Therefore, we opted to stay in the UK and, applying the same logic, opted for March so that we could plan a wedding where the weather was irrelevant. Plan for the worst and all that. In the end, despite it being 12 March, we were incredibly lucky with the weather and managed to have our champagne reception outside (totally unplanned!). It added such a lovely aspect to the day that we hadn’t accounted for and made it all the more amazing.
Luke and I were really focused on our photography, we were so keen to avoid the cliché and overly posed shots but, more importantly, we wanted to actually be at and enjoy our own wedding! We’ve been to so many where the couple disappears for hours and it’s such a shame. Being with our favourite people was our priority. With “photo-journalism” in mind, we took to the wedding awards website and it did not take us long to pick Andy Gaines! Wow! He is so super talented and captures the moments perfectly – just the right combination of artistry and emotion. We loved Andy’s portfolio and were so delighted when he was free on our date. We had a Skype session so that he could understand us and what we were trying to achieve and he was the most positive and reassuring person. Enthusiasm and responsiveness are so important when planning a wedding and Andy had both in abundance. On our day, Andy and the second photographer arrived promptly and were so fun to be around. They were in no way intrusive and it was a joy to have them with us throughout the day. The photo booth in the evening was such a hit with our guests, we loved it. It was great for everyone to receive the pictures instantly and write (drunken) messages in a photo book and the props and costumes were hilarious. Following the wedding, Andy sent through the photo trailer which made us both cry for about two days, it was so beautiful to see the best pictures set to perfectly selected music. Once we received our full set of pictures, we selected our favourites and it ended up being 250 so we ended up with two books, Day and Evening! The composition and presentation of the album were as flawless as Andy and we couldn’t love them more. Andy Gaines is a legend, so much so, that our great friends have already booked him to photograph their wedding this summer.
We almost went without a video but so many of our friends recommended the concept as the thing they love most about their day or the thing they wish they had done (respectively). Thompson Granger were recommended to us and we looked at their work alongside our own shortlist from the wedding awards. As soon as we saw their work, we cried, and I was sold. If Brendan and team had the talent to make a stranger’s wedding so emotional to me, then they had to be the ones for us. Like Andy, the guys were super responsive and absolutely amazing to deal with. On the day, they worked closely with Andy to capture great moments and pure raw emotion. Our aim for the day was to have so much love in the room it was infectious and to throw the most epic wedding party, and the guys could not have captured this more exactly than in our video trailer. We did not highlight to them our favourite parts of the day but they selected each precious moment and put it together in an incredibly smooth, stylish and emotional way. We could not love the video more.
We absolutely love the Cotswolds so once we decided a UK wedding was for us, we were over the moon to find Cripps Barn on our first day of venue hunting. The team are absolute professionals and wonderful to deal with. The wedding portal / account / messenger system is an absolute godsend for an organisation queen like me. It was great to be able to see all of our information and choices as the planning process progressed and it was never more than 24 hours before the team responded to a message. As the catering is exclusively provided by their in-house team, we initially had reservations but these were put totally to bed at their Feast/Tasting Evenings whereby you can taste the whole menu! After our first tasting, we were undecided so returned with our family to a second, private tasting so kindly organised by the team and chef – amazing! The food on the day far exceeded our expectations. Often times wedding food can be disappointing, but not at Cripps, their sharing style is thoughtfully set out to be perfect for their events and all guests remarked on the epic food. In the evening we had pizzas (80!) from Baz and Fred which is associated with Cripps, again they were fantastic, many flavours and all great. The team were brilliant in the set-up of the venue on the day – they implemented the decorations and our plans flawlessly, I cried as I got out of the car just looking into the dining part of the barn, it was incredible.
We had an acoustic guitarist, Jon, play our wedding music. He has a fantastic set list to choose from and will also learn two new songs for your day which is really special. He is so subtle and talented and his version of “think I wanna marry you” by Bruno Mars is magical. I will remember walking down the aisle to that song so vividly for always. My only reservation is that, given we hadn’t planned for outdoor drinks, we didn’t arrange for outdoor speakers so guests further away from the building were not able to listen to his lovely music! For the evening – we really wanted to be unusual and a wedding band is not our style. Therefore, we asked Duke (beatboxers) to entertain our guests as a surprise. They are legendary, incredibly talented and really kicked the party off in the best possible way. All of the guests loved them and we had an insanely fun time.
We did not work with a planner in the run-up to the event as Cripps Team are so helpful but we were quite precise about how we wanted the day to go. Who knew so much work and planning goes into making a day seem relaxed, informal and effortless! Following a couple of meetings, we then worked with G&D Events to execute the day and keep on top of everything, which they did perfectly. Every concern in the days running up to the wedding was addressed and I was instructed to contact them for anything at all so that my worries were their problem (their words not mine)! Brilliant team run by Dylan Amlot.
Flowers were my number 1 priority (and surprisingly Luke’s too). Given we were getting married at the end of winter and in a barn, I was keen to dress the venue to the max to make it look romantic and magical, but not fussy. Joanna Carter worked with us to create our truly incredible flowers which took my breath away and far exceeded our (and everyone’s!) expectations. Joanna is very detail-oriented and works tirelessly to ensure that you get the right shades, types of flowers and arrangements to get the perfect display. Our flower wheel above the ceremony was stunning and the similar table plan, fireplace and table centre-pieces really linked the two rooms together to create a light and beautifully romantic scene. I loved dealing with Joana and her passion really shone through (and she agreed to travel to our venue which was out of scope for her!). Absolutely beautiful work. I dried my bouquet and it now takes pride of place in our house!
My dress was from Christos Costarellos, a Greek designer I had not heard of before and stocked exclusively at The Wedding Club in London. Whilst I had a vague idea that I wanted something fitted, we booked a handful of appointments at various shops to really get a feel for the various styles. I loved that the dress was peach and not white and the beautiful lace detailing was so intricate and mesmerising. I definitely knew as soon as I put it on that it was THE dress.
Kelly was recommended to me by a friend and from our initial communication, I was bowled over by Kelly and her amazing kindness and impeccable service. I loved a number of hair vines from her website and, given I didn’t live near her shop, she agreed to send them to a dressmaker in my local area so that I could try them on. Each piece is bespoke, delicate, elegant and beautifully designed. I also asked Kelly to make me a bespoke cathedral length veil as I struggled to find a true white veil (they’re mostly ivory). Kelly asked for dress samples and shopped around for a perfect match for the lace detailing and made my gorgeous veil. My biggest regret on the day is not wearing it for longer! Jimmy Choo bespoke shoes in a shade to match my dress perfectly, were the icing on the cake!
Luke and I, as well as our close family, stayed at Barnsley House. A very short drive to Cripps and an outstanding, beautiful and intimate hotel. We booked the Rosemary Verey suite which was the most perfect setting for preparations and styling on the morning of the wedding – the conservatory was perfect lighting and made for gorgeous photos!
Special Moments / Advice
Enjoy the time with your dad or family in the car on the way to the ceremony, it’s a wonderful time of the day Make sure you have a photograph with your mum! I don’t have one and it’s surprising the number of brides who have also missed out on this opportunity! Try to put someone outside of the wedding party, in charge of logistics. It means a stress-free day not just for bride and groom but also bridal party whom you would rather be enjoying your day with you than checking the time / ensuring the wine is flowing.