Matt and Vanessa were married in June at Ingon Manor, Stratford-Upon-Avon. They wanted to bring the woodland into their barn wedding venue to reflect their love of the outdoors as a couple.
Vanessa looks incredible in her Stephanie Allin gown, and i so love her Vivienne Westwood shoes. The maids look super pretty in purple while the groomsmen don grey and white, so chic.
They had the most amazing florals, with a dash of purple, i so love the arrangement behind the top table, it works so well. They used rustic wood slices they branded with their wedding date, they used tree names as their table names and even had a sweet tree for favours. Wildlife lovers you are going to adore this wedding!
Thanks so much to the wonderful Cassie Craner Photography for sharing her photographs with us today.
Names…. Matt and Vanessa
Wedding Date…. 16th June 2012
The Proposal…. Matt proposed to me on my birthday, he wanted it to be a surprise and knew that I would never suspect anything in a million years, on my birthday! We have an agreement that we never let ourselves in after getting home from work but that we ring the bell, the other one lets us in and then we have lots of hugs in the hallway, that way neither of us just walks in, gets changed and doesn’t see each other or just gets caught up in other things. It was a work day, Matt rang the bell as usual and I went to answer it, when I opened the door Matt was in his work suit, on one knee with a ring box open and he asked me to marry him. I of course, said yes! Matt designed my engagement ring, the setting is a V and M for Vanessa and Matt and the shank has an infinity twist in it!
The Vision for the day…. We both love the outdoors, wild camping, hiking and Matt especially loves the woods and forests, we have often gone trudging off exploring. I wanted to make sure that our wedding reflected both of us, it was so important to me. Lots of brides go off and do what they want but I wanted everyone to know, just by seeing the wedding, that it was “us” and not just the bride.
The Planning process…. Matt and I were initially set on a woodland wedding but when we priced everything up, it ended up being far too expensive and with the unpredictable British weather, we were concerned how things might turn out (and a good job too, on our wedding day there was high winds and rain). I knew that a woodland wedding was so “us” so I wanted to try and bring the woodland wedding theme inside but we needed the right venue to pull it off. We looked at lots of places that were far too formal for what we wanted and finally a friend of mine recommended Ingon Manor which had a converted barn. We went to see it and straight away we knew it would fit well with our woodland theme. I had lots of ideas of what I wanted to do but felt a little over-whelmed and that I had so many ideas, I was worried the wedding might look like a car crash. That’s where Heart Shaped Box came in, Candice (the owner) was amazing at helping bring to life all the ideas I had whilst being focussed and doing away with the ideas that weren’t going to work, she also gave some fantastic inspiration and then set about helping to organise everything which took a huge amount of stress from me. I had always been sceptical about wedding planners, thinking they cost far more than they are worth but Candice was priceless and literally, as she certainly ensured that the cost of her services were covered by the savings she made for us. Our woodland wedding with a twist was on! Ingon Manor was fantastic, so helpful and they bent over backwards for us which enabled us to do everything, some venues would have restrictions etc but they were open to suggestions.
Budget…. Our budget was between £8k-£9k, as we are both Accountants, we knew we were likely to overspend (that included the budget for our week in Sicily)
The Venue… Ingon Manor, Stratford-Upon-Avon they have a beautiful converted barn.
The Dress + Accessories….. Dress – Casablanca by Stephanie Allin. Shoes – Vivienne Westwood – Melissa (a touch of fun and mischief which is me all over). Underwear – Agent Provocateur. Hair Accessories – Blooming Loopy.
Finding the dress…. I had looked through so many magazines like most brides and the dresses that kept jumping out at me were Stephanie Allins but I wasn’t sure I could afford one of her dresses with my budget. Initially I went and tried on lots of styles of dresses, most shops were fantastic but some of them not so helpful for what should be a great experience! I kept going back to Stephanie Allin and so I found a few shops that stocked her dresses, just to try them on. Her dresses are amazing, the feel and fit is fantastic! When I arrived at Silk (Lichfield) I was excited as soon as I walked through the door, the shop just had the right feel about it and from what I could see, some amazing dresses. Casablanca was probably the third dress I tried on at Silk and it was perfect! Not too over the top, classic, simple and sophisticated but also a little whimsical with the silk chiffon top layer. The team at Silk were fantastic, I couldn’t have asked for better service, they made me feel fantastic and the alterations were out of this world, the dress was perfect!
Groom’s attire… Again, we wanted something relaxed and informal, not traditional wedding attire. We decided upon grey lounge suits with matching grey waistcoats for the best men and ushers and ivory cravats, Matt also wore an ivory waistcoat.
The Readings + Music…. The music whilst the guests were arriving was, as I walked up the aisle we played “Clare de Lune “ by the London Philharmonic orchestra, during the signing of the register we had “The Love Theme” from Blade runner, we had wanted it for a first dance but it was more atmospheric than anything. We discovered before dating that Blade runner was both our favourite film and as a consequence, the film we watched together on our first date. Our first dances (we had three) were “Destiny” by zero 7, “The way you look tonight” by Frank Sinatra and “you and me” by the Wannadies.
We had two readings, we were looking for something that was “us” but also wanted to try and incorporate the woodland theme. We had a quote from captain corellas mandarin by Louis de Bernieres and “I Carry Your Heart” by E.E.Cummings.
Refunct were our amazing seven piece soul band, they were fantastic and we were so glad that we paid that little bit extra that enabled us to also have the wind section.
Beautiful bridesmaids…. I had the two most beautiful and precious people as my bridesmaids, my amazing sister Coral and my lovely new sister, Anna (Matt’s sister). I had looked at loads of dresses and Coral happened to find a lovely vivid purple silk dress that was in a very similar style to my dress. They were very floaty and the material moved really nicely. We ordered them from Hobbs outlet store and they were half price. We had a trying on session at my house one day and we all loved them so decided they were the ones.
My bridesmaids were fantastic and were a huge help to me on the day and indeed the day before when we were trying to set everything up. They both looked beautiful!
The Flowers… I am lucky to work at an event management company (360 Creative Event Services Ltd), we work on some of the most prestigious and well known events in the world and we have a couple of fantastic in-house florists (we have managed a couple of high profile weddings) Wendy and Mary. I wanted something that looked like wild flowers with little structure about them. Candice had helped me to whittle down all my ideas and we decided to go with different sized empty jars for the table flowers and just clear glass bottles for the top table with a few single stalk flowers, nothing too over the top but flowers that looked like they had just been scooped up from the forest floor. We also had a wooden screen to screen off the band getting ready and Wendy and Mary did a fantastic job of giving it that woodland feel. I love gerberas and wanted the button holes to be quite strong, Wendy couldn’t find the right purple so she got creative and sprayed the live gerbera’s to ensure that everything fitted in. Everyone from work was fantastic the day before the wedding, people came to the venue to help get things ready and provided some of those little extra’s that I had forgotten about.
The Cake… I don’t like fruit cake and again, we wanted something untraditional. I saw a card with a plain sponge wedding cake on it and knew that was what I wanted. Candice got several cake makers to supply samples for us and we eventually went for Daisy Blue Bakery, the cake was everything we wanted, simple and rustic and it tasted divine! Everyone loved it.
Your Photographer…. Our photographer was Cassie (Cassie Craner Photography) and Andrew. They were very relaxed and informal which again, was exactly what we wanted for the wedding. We went round to their house a couple of times to discuss what we wanted, they asked us questions to ensure they really understood us to ensure that they could reflect that in the photo’s. Photography on your wedding day is such an important factor which you have no real control over and could so easily go wrong, photos are also so personal. You only have to look at our photos to see that they captured us and our day perfectly! We were both completely over the moon when we saw them and we were so glad that we had decided to have Cassie and Andrew stay on that little bit longer on the evening to capture all the fun on the dance floor. Loads of people have commented on how great Cassie and Andrew both were on the day and how perfect the photo’s are. They captured our day perfectly and for that they will always be in our hearts, we are ever thankful to them! No-one we knew had Cassie photograph for them but I would certainly give them a huge recommendation for anyone who really wants to capture the feel of the day.
The Details + Decor…. With the woodland theme we wanted to try and bring the woodland inside, we started with our save the dates which were discs of wood which Candice carved with the date and “save the date” on them. Our invites were also pulled together and hand made by Candice from Heart Shaped Box, they were fantastic with a handmade purple flower on the front of them and the information inserts had a tree cut out of them and were backed with hessian material, everyone commented on how unique and well made they were.
I spotted that we had two ghost trees at work that we had used on an event and no longer wanted so I had those with a plan to put them either side of the top of the room, our wedding planner made lovely small purple and white paper pom poms to decorate the trees and the floor around them so that they looked like flowers that had dropped to the ground from the trees.
The table flowers needed to look like wildflowers that had just been picked and we wanted the glass jars as they are much less formal. I also wanted wood chairs rather than the traditional chair covers so we ordered them in and I had seen paper pom poms in a wedding magazine and thought they looked very effective whilst keeping the price down so we ordered them to decorate the back of the chairs.
The table decor was very important, we wanted to bring wood into things so we decided on some wood slices as place mats, I ordered some branding irons from a craft shop in the US as I couldn’t really find anything in the UK, we wanted to stamp the wedding date on the wood as a keepsake for people if they wanted.
Keeping with the wood theme, we named our tables after trees, with the top table being the mighty “Oak”, I had seen that Candice had a great vase with tree branches in and we got our heads together and thought it would make an alternative table plan if we hung leave shaped card with the table plan for each table, it looked very effective.
I also wanted a sweet tree as our favours were not edible and I was worried that people would be getting peckish so we ordered a heart shaped sweet tree in purple from Riviera sweet trees, I had seen that they made them in a magazine and loved the whole “tree” theme of them so knew from the beginning that I wanted a sweet tree. We put it next to the table plan so people could take one if they felt hungry whilst trying to find where they were sitting. The tables also had a chunk of wood with a slit in the top to hold the table names and the speech bingo, Candice came up with a great idea of cutting the table names into the shape of the leaf that matched the name of the tree for each table, it looked very effective. I had also wanted seeded paper with wildflowers in for my favours; Candice took the idea and made us the loveliest named place settings with a purple seeded recycled flower and a leaf with people’s names on them.
One of the biggest concerns I had was that the band were to be setting up whilst we were still eating and that would be on the dance floor behind our top table, I was worried this would be distracting for everyone and wanted a screen that we could put up to hide what was going on. Candice found a great bark screen for me and our florist decorated them beautifully, I couldn’t have wished for better. The room was finished off with fairy lights and Candice from Heart Shaped Box made us the cutest table candles that looked like a section of a tree, she used a mould that she had made from a broken branch and then we put them in all the smaller glass jars. The room looked amazing; everything was perfect and just as we had wanted. Ingon Manor allowed us to do pretty much anything we wanted; they had no restrictions which was a relief.
The Honeymoon…. I love Italy, Matt is half Italian! I have always wanted to go to Sicily so I scoured the internet to get some cheap fights and found a fantastic little hotel in Taormina, with views over the pretty little bay and the ocean. We always get out and about on our holidays, hiking or exploring but we were both shattered, and we did a couple of memorable trips and ate some fantastic food. Sicily is non-touristy which we love, we spent our days wondering the town, people watching and eating gelati or relaxing on the beach or our terrace balcony overlooking the sea. It was a perfect, the relaxing break that we both really needed. We are off again in October to New Zealand for our exploring honeymoon!
Memorable moments… The smile on Matt’s Grandfathers face when I called him Nonno for the first time just after Matt and I were married (Italian for granddad). Matt’s dad’s speech, he is usually very matter of fact and forthright but his words really touched me, he got everyone to hold hands around the table to share the friendship of the day, I am not sure how much of it was to see how much control he had over everyone but it was really special. Everyone was so looking forward to the band that they rushed onto the dance floor when the band started playing and singing, to be told they were just sound checking. Matt’s brother got everyone to sign one of the wooden place mats so we have lovely messages from everyone on it to keep forever.
My mum, who is disabled, up on the dance floor pretty much all night. Matt didn’t take his eyes off me the whole day, whether I was near or far from him, even my friends had noticed and commented on it. Matt’s mum and brother having a dance off
Being with all the friends and family that we love.
Advice for other couples… Stick with a wedding that is both of you. So many brides do what they want but Matt was clearly impressed with everything that we had done for the day, I kind of did it for him really, so he knew that he was just as important in this as me. A marriage is a joining of two people, the wedding should reflect both of you and your relationship.
Get a wedding planner, I would highly recommend Heart Shaped Box. Candice helped us shave costs off the wedding that actually then covered her fees! But more importantly she helped focus all my ideas and helped deliver a wedding that was true to us.
Haggle on the prices, don’t be afraid to ask for discounts and get your friends and family’s help – delegate!
Look at photographer’s websites and the weddings they have done before and take a list of questions for them. The fact that Cassie invited us to her home made a big difference, she made our wedding photography personal by getting to know us, our photo’s say everything there is to say about Cassie and John and me and Matt.
Sample cakes, we never even knew we could. Try to spread them out though otherwise you end up eating too much cake!
Credit where credit is due…
Photography – Cassie Craner – www.cassiecranerphotography.co.uk
Wedding planner, invites & sundry decorations – www.heart-shapedbox.co.uk
Cake – www.daisybluebakehouse.co.uk
Dress – www.silkbrides.com (Stephanie Allin is www.stephanieallin.net)
Shoes – www.selfridges.com
Underwear - www.agentprovocateur.com
Hair Accessories – www.bloomingloopy.com
Bridesmaid’s dresses – www.hobbs.co.uk/outlet
Venue – www.ingonmanor.co.uk
Chair back Pom Poms: www.decopompoms.co.uk
Chair Hire: www.birminghamcateringhire.com
Wooden slices – www.woodandsport.com
Sweet Tree – www.sweettreebyrivera.co.uk
Thanks so much to Matt and Vanessa for sharing their amazing wedding with us today XOXO Lou
Tags: Barn Wedding, Cassie Craner Photography, Hobbs Bridesmaids, Ingon Manor, Purple Bridesmaid Dresses, Purple Wedding Ideas, Real Weddings, Rustic Wedding Ideas, Stephanie Allin Wedding Dress, Vivienne Westwood Lady Dragon, Wildflowers, Woodland Wedding Ideas
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