Underneath The Great Oak Tree.

Yes it’s Monday again folks. But don’t let that deter you from having a thoroughly romantic afternoon courtesy of RMW readers Gemma and Will.

Not only is their initial meeting the stuff of modern fairytales, but their summer W-day is like a happy-ever-after picture book. All wild blooms, hand-made details and charming country whimsy…I am especially enamoured with the bicycles and random pieces of farm machinery used as signage decor.

And how pretty is Gemma’s undone up-do? and her self-designed dress?……100% gorgeousness.

All of the lovely images are courtesy of Love Lust List member Sam Gibson.

A Modern Love Story

I’m not sure I believe in fate, but something special bought me and Will together. I was working for a sensible company, doing a sensible job, living in a sensible house in a city. It was lovely, but it wasn’t for me. So I handed in my notice, rented my house and ran away to Devon to work for a bakery. Will was the young, (and very handsome!) Managing Director. Within two weeks we were inseparable and 4 months later we decided to change our lives together and move to Geneva, Switzerland. We both found jobs and moved into a tiny (tiny!) apartment. We loved it, and we loved each other more and more. It was perfect.

Will proposed to me on the farm in Devon just before Christmas 2011. The sun was setting over the hills, a deer ran across the field and Will dropped down onto one knee under our favorite oak tree. We decided there and then that wedding would be on the Farm. It was a challenge, we planned a handmade wedding in 5 months from another country, but we loved every second.

Fresh Faced

My mum, sister and I had our hair done at a local salon “reflections” in Axminster. I’ve never been particularly fussy about my hair and if I’d turned up with a perfectly preened barnet, Will would have wondered who I was. Dana completely got what I was after and just made it happen. My hair was finished off with some fresh flowers given to us by the florist next door to the salon. After hair we went home to our little rented cottage to have eggs and soldiers for lunch, cooked by my dad, before doing our own makeup.

None of us wear that much makeup, which is why we decided to do our own. I actually ended up doing finishing touches on all three of us!

The Prettiest Church

We were married in the prettiest church I’ve ever seen; by the friendliest vicar in the country (Will and I spent a lovely evening at his house drinking wine and discussing the ins and outs of marriage).One of our three readings was a poem by Robert Frost called the master speed. I had the last line of the poem engraved on a pocket watch I gave Will the morning of the wedding. Our friend, Noelle sang “Perfect day” by Holley Maher for us.

A One Off

Full of excitement I walked into my first dress shop. It was beautiful. The dresses were beautiful (I didn’t have my self-down as a wedding dress girl before this), but the reception was not what I expected. “When is the wedding” the shop lady asked. “In June”, I replied eyeing up rows of beautiful dresses. “Oh! Well. We’ll see what dresses are available in your time frame. Some should be, but there will be an extra cost for the quick delivery”. The response was the same in more or less every shop I went into, but I was less than keen on spending extra money on an already very expensive item of clothing, and time was running out. Not only was the wedding fast approaching, but I still live and work in Geneva, and so British shopping days were short and I didn’t want to have to cart the dress back.

There was nothing for it. I googled the closest wedding dress maker to the farm in Devon and found County Couture . I rang her and liked her instantly. I sent Lyndsey a rough drawing of what I wanted. Will measured me up (there is something a little bit romantic about the groom measuring the bride for her dress) and Lyndsey made it. The final fitting was done two days before the wedding and I loved it. It was an absolute bargain, a perfect fit and completely unique. Lyndsey also made my veil as a last minute request. I would recommend her to anyone.

Smart And Comfortable

We had a large grooms party (2 best men, 3 grooms men and 2 dads) and we wanted them all to be comfortable, but smart, so we asked them all to wear a three piece suit of their colour choice and we provided the tie.

As a bit of a contrast to the mens party, mine was small. It was just me and my beautiful sister as my maid of honour. Sarah found her dress in the sale in the Ghost and it was the first official purchase of the wedding. My little niece, Imogen, was a very cute flower girl.

A Cut Above

Wills suit was beautiful. He wears suits nearly every day for work and decided that he didn’t want to feel as though he was dressing for work on his day, he wanted something much better. He finally settled on a charcoal three piece from Gieves & Hawkes. I hadn’t seen him in his full wedding outfit until I stepped into the church and he was heart stopping.

A RMW Find

Alongside food, photography and music were the highest priorities on our list. After trawling through many a photographer we eventually found Sam Gibson on RMW! We couldn’t have picked a better guy. The images are beautiful and Sam was lovely guest at our wedding. He was nearly invisible, caught lovely pictures of everyone and captured so many little moments that we didn’t even realsie were happening.

Hand-Picked And Beautiful

The only supplier that let us down for the wedding was the florist. Two weeks before the wedding she told me that she was going on holiday, but could deliver the flowers 4 days before the wedding! Droopy flowers were not what I had in mind. I found a last minute supplier of cream spray roses and cornflowers and decided to do all the flowers in house. Everyone rose to the challenge.

All the flowers were handpicked from the farm, my sister made all the bouquets, my wonderful friend Robbie, my new sister in-law arranged and laid out all the flowers in the marquee.

The Oak Tree

The oak tree was the symbol of our wedding. I designed all the invites, the website, the order of services and hand sewed and stamped every serviette with a graphic of our tree. It became our brand. We didn’t have a true theme, we like every colour and didn’t want to ban any. I guess the wedding theme was relaxed garden party with lots of Will and Gemma details.

Every single detail of the wedding meant something to us (most of it, including the chandeliers, were made by us).

A Special Mention

We were lucky to have such talented friends and family. In addition to the flowers, the list of things that people did for us and the wedding were endless, but a few deserve a special mention. Wills parents were fantastic and didn’t bat an eyelid at even my most random requests. The marquee site was like a dream. Will’s dad had mowed a perfect shape into the grass so that we could keep all of our guests in one place without fencing them in and he even mowed a path to the loos.

Will built an outside sink using a Belfast sink found behind a hedge, the décor was all found around the farm. My mum wrote out all the name tags, my dad made the table plan, my sister (among many other things) laid all the tables, numerous friends came early on the wedding morning to put final touches on the marquee.

MIL Bakes

Wills mum, Jenny, made our cake. It was a Victoria sponge filled with crème fraise and mascarpone cream and homemade jam and it was decorated by fimo figures made by my sister in law who even made a little digger (Will works for Caterpillar), a little dog and a small loaf of bread.

Gypsy Swing

For our entertainment we really wanted something that ticked all the boxes. We wanted dancing and fun, but not cheesy, something a little bit unique, but not obscure and of course, someone really really good. In the end I came across Hamer and Isaacs, a gypsy swing band from Plymouth. Guests of all ages were dancing long into the night. Even my grandmother stayed dancing until the band finished.

The Bare Necessities

Our first dance was to the Bare Necessities because we loved the way the band sang it (you can hear it on their website!). The lyrics seemed fitting as well…

Follow Your Heart

Brides will get a lot of advice about what’s wrong and what’s right. I think the best advice is just follow your heart. You’ll know when it’s something you want to put your foot down and do it you way and when it’s something that you don’t mind giving a little on to keep someone else happy.

The most important advice I was given is this: when it gets to the day of your wedding, even if you’ve planned every detail, you have to let go and not worry. Other people will take over, the caterers, the band, your friends and family. Do not stress about the details that are a little different to what you planned. Enjoy your day. Try and experience everything as a guest. You’ve planned every detail because it’s something you love, so enjoy it.

Brides Gown – Lynsey at County Couture

Maid Of Honour – Ghost

Groom – Gieves and Hawkes

Cake – Homemade

Stationery – Handmade and designed by the Bride

Entertainment – Hamer and Issacs

Photography – Sam Gibson

There was Fimo figurines people – FIMO. And a gypsy swing band?! I have never seen one but I ruddy well want to.

And that last image…as my Dad would say (in a very Brummy accent) “is a blinder”

Big Rustic Love

Charlotte xxx

22 thoughts on “Underneath The Great Oak Tree.

  1. Oh sigh…they look so happy! Congratulations Gemma and Will!

    This is really beautiful and really relaxed – you can see how much everyone is enjoying it. All that hard work really paid off – and a beautiful bride (why can’t I ever look so naturally pretty!!)

    Lovely xx

  2. Oh what an absolute joy. Whatever made Gemma give up the rat race to go and be a Devon baker obviously agrees with her.

    Gemma you look utterly radiant and gloriously happy!

    Beautiful wedding xxx

  3. Congratulations to you both- truly truly beautiful and definitely brought a tear to my eye!
    I wish you many many happy years together xxx

  4. My wedding is three weeks away and that final image just made me well up at my desk! (Anyone else get really emotional in the run-up to the wedding?!)
    They look SO happy, and you really get the impression that they really and truly did things THEIR way. Magical.

  5. With just less than three weeks to go (@Jenny how scary is it?! 3 tiny little weeks!!) I think you have finally cracked the reading! Beautiful, understated and as a couple that met as sprinters for Nottingham AC very apt!

    A wonderful, breathtaking wedding, your dress I think is the nicest I’ve seen on these pages and I’m kind of jealous to be honest! All the details are really beautiful. Congratulations to you both!


  6. I hope I can look as fresh faced as that 🙁

    Has anyone got any tips on looking natural but not like a ghost? I had a make-up trial and I just looked caked in foundation…

    Sorry for the moan, beautiful wedding X

  7. Everything in this wedding is beautiful. Truly beautiful. I particularly love the dress and may well be contacting that lady maker myself!

    Congratulations to you both,
    Beckie K x

  8. Thank you for all your lovely comments.

    @Rachel – I designed the stationary using illustrator. I have really basic skills but with a bit of perseverance they turned out really well. We then had a stamp made up of the tree which we used on the serviettes and envelopes.

    @Helen – I used concealer (mac), a very moisturising foundation (clinique) and blusher and then blended everything really really well. I didn’t wear any mascara because I knew it would be all over my face in minutes waterproof or not.

  9. They are the most fabulous fimo figures I’ve ever seen- your sister in law must be some kind of fimo-ing genius!!

  10. @Andrea. I designed the tree and then sent the image to the English Stamp Company. They were really helpful and quick and the stamp is really good quality. I’d recommend them.

  11. What a lovely wedding…. One that I would have loved being a guest at, looks so relaxed!

    Just a few questions…. your table cloths, where did you get them? I want runners in that material but don’t know what it’s called! (Duuuh I know!)

    Also…..I think the idea of the groom measuring the bride is soooooo romantic! What a story to tell the Grandkids!


  12. DRESS=perfection. If I didn’t have a (massively) over budget (beautiful) one waiting for me in North Yorkshire I’d be emailing her right now. Wow.

  13. Oooh, what an amazing ‘how we met’ story – it’s seriously like a Jill Mansell novel.

    And I really, REALLY want one of those napkins, just gorgeous

  14. @ iola: I used hessian material which I found on ebay. Be warned though: it sheds little bits of brown material everywhere. The boys are still picking it off their suits! Because I chose quite a loose weave material I used white bed sheets from amazon as table cloths under the hessian so that the tables weren’t visible. Far better value than hiring them and they were the perfect size.

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