Sam Gibson wedding photography

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A Blushing Bride.

Sam Gibson Photography

This is rustic…but done a little differently. Karla and Pat married at Stokbridge Farm in Sherborn, Dorset. It was the first venue Karla looked at and it ticked all the boxes. She wanted something magically rustic and she got it.

There are so many sweet details and I love the seating plan and cute lavender favours.

Karla tells the story better than me…so here goes…

A blushing bride

Hollywood Glamour

Karla The Bride: I saw one of Patrick’s friends get married in a blue sequin dress and knew at that moment that I didn’t want to wear white. I decided that I wanted a timeless look reminiscent of 1940’s Hollywood glamour. I have a pear shape and wanted a dress that hugged my hips and made me look like Jessica Rabbit! My dress was the Winter Kate Limited Edition Nicole Dress in Pink, designed by Nicole Richie. I got it for a quarter of the price on Outnet.com. It was a dusty rose colour with tailored paneling. A distinctive feature was the fishtail. I wanted my dress to be catwalk moment. 

A blushing bride

A Little Lace

I wore a lace cover from Etsy. I wanted something white for the ceremony. I had a quicksand dusty pink rose in my hair. I’m half Latin-American so I wanted to have a slightly Hispanic look. I wore a third generation Rose gold bangle, my mum’s pearl earring and a necklace my dad gave me.

I’m nearly 6ft so wore flat shoes from Kurt Geiger. They were white lace.

A blushing bride


My hair and make-up were done by Annabel Hornsby and her team. I cannot recommend them enough. She totally embraced the idea of creating a 1940’s glamour look. I wanted someone who also worked on TV to create something distinctive.

A blushing bride

English Countryside

Our florist was G Lily. She was recommended to us by our caterers. What I loved about Sabine is that she also hires out various decorative items for your day from candelabras to vintage bottles. She picks little things out that people would love and lets you borrow them. We have her to thank for an unique idea we created. We saw a picture from an event she did where their guests had to find a bottle with their name and the table they were on on it. She suggested we collect the Schweppes bottles free from the pub, which we did. 90 of them! We filled them with lavender from Somerset Lavender and bought wooden tags for the bottles from Cox and Cox.

Both Sabine and I couldn’t have been happier with the bouquet. It was a mix of in season country flowers and included quicksand roses and rosemary. The labels were a rose and rosemary wrapped in twine like the bottles. I asked for “strong look” flowers for the bridesmaids that had a high-fashion look. The table centres were square glass Kilner jars filled with wild summer flowers. The tables were named after types of trees to fit with the our theme of ‘English Countryside’.

A blushing bride

Nothing Too Matchy Matchy

I decided to dress my bridesmaid in white. My maid of honour and I found white applique lace dresses on ASOS boutique and lace white wedges from Aldo. One of my bridesmaids was 15 so had a messy fishtail in her hair. My maid of honour wore a low side bun with red vintage lipstick. They both looked stunning. The best-man and ushers wore their own suits. We didn’t want it to be too matchy matchy!

Patrick wore a blue suit from Reiss. His shoes were from Dune. My Dad passed away three years ago, so he wore his Paul Smith cufflinks that had women whose clothes come off like the pens that do the same when you turn them upside down!

A blushing bride

Flashes Of Light

I cannot tell you how many people have told us that we have the best wedding pictures they have ever seen. Sam Gibson is nothing short of a genius and an absolute delight to have around on our day. Our photos do more than document our day. They make it seem like we were in a movie. He is a true talent, reasonably priced and a first class professional. We especially loved it when he took us away at one point in the evening “to try something different”. He created a photo were all you can see is our silhouettes surrounded in flashes of light.

A blushing bride

Cake Cake Cake

One of our friends made the cakes. We had several different flavours. Carrot cake, peaches and cream, raspberry and lemon curd and chocolate and hazelnut all covered in white chocolate butter cream icing and decorated with lavender. We’re so, so sad that we only got to have a small bite each!

A blushing bride

One Day Like This

We had a DJ in the evening. A couple of our friends are really good singers, so we asked them to sing some of our favourite songs. One of the singers husbands accompanied them with a guitar. It was supposed to be a suprise for our friends and family but we were the most surprised when all of mine and Patrick’s friends shocked us by singing Elbow’s “One Day Like This” to us. It was a truly magical moment. Our first dance was to Cat Power’s “Sea of Love”. 

A blushing bride

Dutch Courage

Our favours were the bottles filled with lavender. We also gave bottles of ‘dutch courage’ to the maid of hour, father of the bride and best-man, which were filled with whisky.

We spent a lot of time on creating what we felt was original decor. One of our friends made us hessian bunting with lace trimming to complement the bridesmaids dresses. I wanted bunting that we could keep for future family occasions. We fell in love in Brighton so we had sticks of rock in jars with wooden chalk hearts sticking out of the jars that read “Love rocks” and “We fell in love in Brighton”. Outside on the tables we had arrangements consisting of old silver cider mugs, glass bowl lanterns with twine around them, an old sewing box and wicker baskets; all filled with lavender, a rose or candles.

For the ceremony room the aisle chairs had bunches of lavender tied with twine. We had white balls and white bunting hanging from the rafters of the barn. We had wooden apple crates at the entrance of the barn which were filled with glass bottles that were filled with lavender and had people’s names and tables on them. Each napkin was wrapped with twine with a piece of lavender on it to tie everything in.

Outside, we hung jam jars from a tree and filled them with tea lights. Under the tree was a wooden apple crate with a wooden sign on it that read “All you need is love”. My husband is an artist and part-time graphic designer so he created the invites.

A blushing bride

A Posh Ploughmans

What made our wedding special was that we refused to conform to any of the traditional ideas of weddings that didn’t feel “us”. We had Prosecco, not champagne. We had scotch eggs for a starter with English mustard, a posh ploughman’s lunch with country desserts and in the evening local cider in a barrel and Cornish pasties served in wooden apple crates.

Without a doubt the most special thing about our day was having all of our friends and family in one room. All the cliches are true. It goes so fast. The one thing I’d recommend people not to scrimp on is the photography. The day goes so quick, but the photos last forever.

A blushing bride

Click here & view all images from this wedding

Venue – Stockbridge Farm Barn
Dress – Nicole Ritchie
Shoes – Kurt Geiger
Hair and Make-Up – Annabel Hornsby
Flowers – G Lily
Groom – Reiss
Photography – Sam Gibson

Karla absolutely acheived the Jessica Rabbit look with that stunning figure of hers! And how gorgeous to see a coloured gown…and at 40% off?! A girl after my own heart.

I love when a couple find suppliers that they really connect with and who are willing to work with them to create their vision and willing to hand over all of their knowledge and experience. The lavender bottles are such a lovey idea and who’d have thought to ask your local pub to collect perfectly sized schweppes bottles! Brilliant.

Are any of you having alernative table plans on your big days? Share share share! Or coloured gowns? I want to know everything!

Happy Friday you lovely lot.


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A Marriage At River Cottage.

Mike and Esmè Married at St Gregory’s Church in Seaton and had their reception at River Cottage.

That’s right folks – The River Cottage made famous by Hugh Fearnley “kill-a-rabbit-with-my-bear-hands-for-breakfast” Whittingstall!

Prepare yourselves for a visual feast as we head down to Dorset in the South West.

The magnificent Sam Gibson was on hand with a box of lenses to capture this rural delight in all its glory.

Wow Factor.

River Cottage Hq was the most amazing venue. The location, staff and food were relaxed and overall the place had an amazing wow factor.

Cat our wedding Co-ordinator was a super star, from the moment we walked down the wobbly hill to River Cottage we knew this was our place. Cat was always on the end of the phone or email when needed, but also was very relaxed about the day and helped us choose the food giving us ideas on how to use River Cottage for the day. We had the speeches outside in the garden with champagne and canapés, then the yurt for coffee after the meal.

The chef gave a toast to the guests explaining how the spit roast lamb was prepared and how he and the team had prepared the meal. They used veg from my father’s farm which was great to incorporate into our day. My dad doesn’t normally like courgettes but did on this day – the way the chef had cooked them, delicious!

The staff where so good on the day and so happy, the guests again commented on how good all the staff were. Simon the master of Ceremony for the day was brilliant. Helping us throughout the day and helping with guest requests. All in all River Cottage, Cat and the team were Wonderful.

The Dress Search.

After much looking around and having a very bad experience in many shops we finally found a wonderful shop called Days of Grace in Budleigh Salterton, Devon. Carole the owner was amazing and on my second visit to her we walked into the shop and there it was, hanging on the rail by the front door – ‘THE DRESS’ a Maggie Sottero. ‘The Tabrette Marie’ made with French taffeta and wonderful jewels around the waist band.

It wasn’t what I thought I would have chosen, as in my dreams from a child I thought I would have the big princess style dress but this one was so different and elegant. All the dresses in Days of Grace where sample dresses from a shop in Exeter called Pirouette which also made the price very good as well.

Straps And Jewels.

The shoes!!! What a nightmare – I suffer from MS and find it very difficult to walk in heels so trying to find shoes which were not only pretty, but ones I could walk in, was a challenge! If I had the time I would have designed some myself!! But Pirouette came to the rescue and found me a lovely pair of Rainbow wedding shoes which had a strap across the top of my foot and a jewelled buckle to the side. Quite high but I had my father to hold on to for the church walk and i changed my shoes once at River Cottage to a flat pair bought from Next. Ballerina shoes with lots on jewels on the front, it didn’t matter as no one could see my feet!

Tame Those Locks.

My make-up, the bridesmaids and mothers where done by Becky from Changing Faces. Again an amazing service from the first contact, to the day. Becky listened to us all, taking account of what we liked and didn’t like and Wow she did good, it stayed on all day.

Our hair was done by one of our great friends Claire who has only in the last year taken the plunge and opened her own hair salon called Salon 27 in Seaton, Devon.

I have very long hair and Claire tamed it beautifully, all to one side with lovely curls and the bridesmaids all had there’s to one side in a loose bun with flowers that matched the bouquets. She closed the shop for us so we could all be there and Becky could be there as well, keeping a running chain of people from 8am till 11am. We had nails, hair and make-up done (all together 7 of us – they were amazing).

A Mix Of Flowers And Herbs.

We wanted wild flowers as we had no real theme to our wedding apart from a loose relaxed and countryside feel.

Claire from Haughty Culture in Honiton was also brilliant. I didn’t have much idea what flowers where called but had a photo and an idea of what I wanted. Oh my god she did a fabulous job! The bouquets, button holes, hair flowers and confetti all looked stunning with Mint, Thyme and all types of flowers, too many to name, but best of all Claire found a hydrangea called Esme which was used in everyone’s flowers, even in the little hair pieces she made. Brilliant!

Hello Husband!

Mike had found a shop in Exeter called Dyfed Menswear – their suits were nice and also you could collect them a week before the wedding. This meant someone didn’t have to rush into town to collect on the Friday before and we knew we had time to change some sizes if needed. Mike chose the colour for the wedding party which was Teal. He chose morning suits in dark grey shimmer for all the men with Teal cravats and for himself a cream cravat.

Mike being a fire-fighter wore his dress uniform for the ceremony and changed into his suit for the wedding breakfast. He looked a dream come true and Fwaaar…

“Hello that’s going to be my Husband” Is what I thought as I walked down towards him.

Relaxed And Helpful.

From the moment we saw Sam Gibson’s website we knew he was the one. He was relaxed and very helpful (No hard sale – no you must do this and I won’t do that).

On the day Sam appeared smartly dressed, calm, cool and dived straight in taking photos of us girls getting glammed up at Salon 27. We didn’t really even know the photos were being taken. Boy I was a nervous wreck all morning. He then went to the boy’s residence and from there on to the church. No questions asked, he did his research; going down the day before to meet Cat our wedding co-ordinator at River Cottage, speaking to the vicar, driving round to each place he needed to be at on the day. He knew where each event was happening. He even had breakfast with my Dad in the morning as they stayed in the same hotel.

Sam was everywhere but not in your face, come to think of it I can’t remember seeing him much through the day at all. He even helped us set up a couple of things as we could not get something to work. Then at around 10pm he came to do a last shot of us and say goodbye, bless him he must have been so tired.

Three weeks after the wedding the email came to say we will get the photos the next day, Aaaahhhh I screamed to Mike. Oh my god, what we got was amazing! A slide show DVD and a second disc with the photos on. We watched the slide show, Mike cried and I screamed with joy as we got to see our wonderful day. I cannot put into words how wonderful Sam’s photos are and how amazing Sam is! Most people have watched the slide show and all want copies, they all said how great he was on the day. I see him as a friend now who made our day come to life for the rest of our lives.

A Dusting Of Sugar.

We had a 3 tier Victoria sponge cake made by one of Mike’s mothers friends and yum yum, it was delicious. No icing just dusted with icing sugar and strawberries, raspberries and pink roses. Very plain but very pretty, no fuss.

That’s Jazz.

We had a local jazz band called Arcadia from Axminster, Devon. Boy they were good, they started at 6pm and finished at 9pm and everyone loved them. Mike and one of his ushers even had a little dance together. A great band, very friendly and very professional.

More Than Words.

Our first dance was to Extreme ‘More Than Words’. This is a song that is close to us as we were together around 8 years ago then parted for 3 years before we realised we loved each other too much and had to be together for the rest of our lives. On the day we arranged to meet up again Mike played this song as we reminisced about old times and we knew this would be our first dance at our wedding!

Pump Up The Jam.

Our favours were small jams that we used as name places. Me and my mother spent two days making the name tags for each one, sewing, sticking and tying to each little pot. We also made small sewn hearts for each lady with a name tag sewn on the front of each saying ‘Mike & Esme’ and on the back was the date ‘6th August 2011′

candles And Wild Flowers.

At the church we had many plain church candles which we bought from Ikea and dotted around the church.

At River Cottage they had put lots of bunting around, jam jars of wild flowers, lots and lots of candles and also we arranged to have 4 fire posts from another local company to be put around the garden outside the yurt which gave light at night and a little bit of warmth. They were also used for cooking marshmallows on, which River Cottage had laid out for the guests.

The Best Bits.

We had many parts of the day which were so special to us – Mikes Crew from Seaton fire station doing a guard of honour for us as we left the church, a classic fire appliance to take Mike & I to River Cottage from the church, having great bridesmaids, best man and ushers helping us wonderfully throughout the day, the tractor ride down to River Cottage from the Top of the hill… the list is endless.

A Final Thought.

My advice would be to take it all in through the day as it goes so quick, do as much as you can to save cost and give it a personal touch. Most of all enjoy it!

Venue River Cottage

Dress Maggie Sottero

Shoes Rainbow Club

Make-up Changing Faces

Blooms Haughty Culture

Suit Hire Dyfed Menswear

Photography Sam Gibson

Entertainment Arcadia

River Cottage certainly does have the WOW factor… I had no idea it was a venue for hire (maybe I shouldn’t admit that?) and if you are a real “foodie” it must go straight to the top of your dream reception destinations.

Talking of food, I’ve got to mention that victoria sponge… it’s made me hungry just looking at it and the florals take it firmly into dream territory too. Also, can I have a great big ruddy fire engine at my wedding too please? Thanks, bye!