Real Weddings, Rustic
A Fun & Pretty Barn Wedding with Homegrown Flowers
19.07.2013

cotswolds barn wedding

WWW readers Nic and Mat got married in the Spring at The Great Tythe Barn, Gloucestershire.

“WWW was a brilliant way to get inspiration for me – seeing people’s ideas and how stuff worked in practice was so much more interesting than looking at brochures and trying to work through all the sales pitches. I looked at WWW more than any other site and it gave me ideas I would never have come up with but was more than willing to have a go at!” Nic told me. That is what blogging here at WWW is all about.

Nic and Mat wanted a relaxed, fun and happy wedding. They got crafty, with family and friends contributing towards their day. With beautiful home grown and DIY wedding flowers and creating the rustic stationery themselves.

Nic looked elegant in her romantic dress and half up half down wedding do. Whole Mat had a super cool cords and DIY waistcoat combo. Gorgeous!

Thanks so much to the brilliant Robert Leons for sharing his photographs with us today.

 

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The Proposal… At Bimble Bandada festival. It’s a tiny festival, full of dub reggae and a brilliant atmosphere. Mat was in his element, had consumed more than a small amount of cider brewed by the Bimble Inn themselves. In a moment of inspiration he surprised us both by popping the question. I thought he was joking and took two days to reply! But he knows I like to think things through. So I said yes when we got home and then we went to see Eddie Izzard do a tiny show in SoHo – perfect!

The Vision for the Day…  A day where as many of our friends and family as possible could get together, have fun, feel relaxed and enjoy the party. We didn’t have a theme – everything we did was about trying to create a happy, fun and relaxed atmosphere. And hopefully one that represented us and how we feel about each other and all our lovely family and friends.

The Planning Process… We promptly moved in with my parents – initially because we were between houses but when we realised it would allow us to pay for a bigger wedding we stayed put. We decided very early on that what was important was having the people we wanted around us there, and making sure that they had a good and fun day. That meant compromising on what we might have done if it was just the two of us.

We got engaged late summer last year and had initially envisaged an autumn wedding – we love autumn! But I soon realised that I wanted to get on with it so we bought it forward.  In the end we had 7 months to plan and that was plenty.

Budget… Hard to say because so many key costs were donated by guests. We spent about £17 – 18k ourselves. That doesn’t include table wine or flowers.

The Venue…  The Great Tythe Barn in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. We looked at a few venues and a few fields but we knew quite quickly that we loved the place. Mat immediately gravitated to the bar to check the ales they had on. When Rebecca said “oh don’t worry – if you want something else we can get that for you” he was sold. And that typified their whole attitude – excellent event managers and runs like clockwork, but flexible and helpful about the things that matter. The  perfect balance! And when the sun came out the day before and we were milling around with friends and family who had come up early, it was the perfect setting!

The Dress + Accessories…  Reto by SanPatrick from Shakespeare In Love in Stratford Upon Avon.  The necklace and earrings were from a stall in Camden market. The hair piece and bracelet were from Glitzy Secrets.

Finding the Dress…  I really wanted to keep dress costs down and ideally get a second hand one, but I just didn’t find it in time. It’s worth looking though because there are some lovely ones out there. I went to a few bridal shops with my mum and we liked what we saw but wasn’t blown away and didn’t want to spend that much! One of my bridesmaids lives in Stratford Upon Avon and she booked an appointment with the lovely Chantelle at Shakespeare in Love. When I tried the dress on both bridesmaids fell in love with it. They both tried to hide it in case it wasn’t the one I loved, but they failed miserably! When Chantelle said that the sample was for sale and was the one I was wearing I was sold.

Groom’s Attire… Mat is not a top and tails kind of man and we both wanted him to look like himself, but maybe a bit smarter. He bought the cords, shirt and shoes all on the high street or online, but couldn’t find a waistcoat. Step forward our lovely friend Olivia who made a waistcoat for Mat and a mini one for Josh, my godson and our page boy. She and Mat went shopping for materials and buttons (Mat’s were wooden with ivy on and Josh’s were little wooden apples) and they looked perfect.

The Readings + Music…  We had two readings. Mat is a massive Lord of the Rings fan (hence the slightly hobbity attire…) and so we had ‘The Ent and the Entwife’, a lovely poem all about the seasons and moving west – which we will be doing soon! The other was a self penned mix up of some of our favourite Elbow lyrics.

Mat put together a varied playlist for our guests whilst they waited – including music from The Lord of the Rings and a post rock epic by Mogwai. I was convinced I was going to find Mat and our best man rocking and weeping at the front as they often do when overcome at festival! But they held it together.

I walked down the aisle to Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles. And the sun did come! We signed the register to ‘Colours’ by Skinny Lister – a song that we both love and reminds us of ourselves! And walked back up the aisle to the 2nd half of Olsen Olsen by Sigur Ros – the most uplifting piece of music!

Our first dance was to Photosynthesis by Frank Turner. It’s about getting older and settling down but not having to give up your principles – protests just take a different form. A principle that was beautifully, if somewhat tongue in cheek, outlined during the best man’s speech. Also, it’s really bouncy – we couldn’t bear the thought of shuffling around the dance floor together for 3 minutes. Mat’s dance moves are legendary. Again, the “chicken dance” was referenced by the best man and so made an appearance on the dance floor.

Beautiful Bridesmaids… My two lovely friends Claire and Nic, both of whom are dear and close friends to both of us. We met through Claire originally, we’ve all lived together at some point (Mat unofficially on occasion!) and they mean the world to both of us. Claire, in fact, did the father of the bride speech because my dad didn’t really want to. I have known Claire since we were five so she’s been there nearly the whole time anyway! She did a fabulous job and knows both of us so well it shone through.

We also had flower girls and a page boy –  a mixture of nieces and god children. As well as being ridiculously cute, some of them represented their mum’s who I had been bridesmaid for. A lovely way to say thank you and return the favour.

The Flowers… Mat’s mum, Margaret, organised, grew some and arranged the flowers with help from Mat’s aunt Jen. They were beautiful. I knew I wanted a lot of greenery and I knew I didn’t want the arrangements to look formal. We all spent months buying up jugs from charity shops and Margaret collected all sorts of containers from goodness knows where! They were presented on the tables with squares of material that I had collected and sewn up to give it a bit of brightness against the white. We had so many comments about the flowers and we were so proud!

The Cake… Claire’s mum made our cake. I have known Denise since I was about 5 and watched her make some incredible birthday cakes for her children! She’s a very talented cake maker and so dear to both of us that there wasn’t anyone else I would have asked. I was fairly useless in being able to describe what I wanted but she coaxed it out of us and the result was perfect. And delicious – we had lemon and chocolate sponge and used it as dessert  - too many wedding cakes never get eaten.

Your Photographer…  Robert Leon. Rob was great, and the photos speak for themselves. He is so enthusiastic about his work, a pleasure to have around and an absolute genius with light. We did a pre wedding shoot at Cheltenham Spa in the pouring freezing rain. When I saw what he had managed to produce from that morning, where all I could see was grey, I knew we’d be ok!

The Details + Decor… Mostly home made and cobbled together! I have not-so-secret aspirations to be much better at crafting than I actually am, so I took it as an opportunity to get my sewing machine out and start learning. Wanting to make it personal, combined with constant outrage at how much things cost meant that we spent a lot of time with a craft knife, experimenting with printing and doing random things like learning how to transfer photos onto wood blocks. Making the ‘cards’ sign out of cereal boxes and left over bits of material from the tables might be my proudest moment! I loved every minute of it and when we saw it all together it felt like us.

The benefit of having a venue that has so much character of it’s own is that you can concentrate on enhancing it and adding your own stamp rather than decorating from scratch.

The hops were the last touch. They made a complete mess, Mat came out in a rash, but once they were up they looked like they belonged there.

The Honeymoon… We extended the wedding by taking quite a few people with to a beer garden the day after. Then we went to the Isles of Scilly for 5 days and stayed in an annex of a farmhouse with an enormous comfy bed, a golf buggy for getting around, and a fully stocked kitchen. The Scilly Isles really are very beautiful and perfect for walks and relaxing.

Memorable Moments… Having been outed for a teenage habit of leaping out of his wardrobe in his tassled leather jacket singing to Bat Out of Hell, somehow that tune was inserted into our playlist. Mat promptly produced a memorable “Mat Out Of Hell” performance for his adoring fans.

Looking around the dance floor and seeing people who had never met getting on so well – it was exactly the atmosphere we wanted.

Advice for Other Couples… Decide what’s important and keep returning to that principle.  It can easily get overwhelming and you’ll have loads of ideas. Don’t feel bad for not getting around to doing them all – everyone will see what is there, not what isn’t. And have fun! Don’t be the event organiser on the day. Just enjoy yourselves.

Credit Where Credit is Due…

Hair – Chris from Fordham Hair Design, who was lovely and did us proud. It’s so important to have people around you who are relaxed and know what they are doing. http://www.fhdmobile.co.uk/

Make up – Lucy at BooLou Beauty. I was nervous about having my make up done and Mat doesn’t like me wearing it really. He said the balance was perfect – that I looked like me but better. The ultimate compliment for the lovely Lucy! http://www.booloumakeup.co.uk/

Venue – Great Tythe Barn. I can recommend them enough. They were relaxed and helpful and so welcoming. www.gtb.co.uk

Photos – Robert Leons. The photos speak for themselves and having someone around who knows what he’s doing, is a pleasure to have at your wedding and so clearly loves his work is brilliant. http://www.robertleons.com/

Such a fun day! Thanks so much to Nic and Mat for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou

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