Oh my, that Autumn light. It makes for the most magical of images doesn’t it?
Anna and Tom were married on the 11th October 2014 at The Old Green Barn in Surrey. They hoped for a wedding which was rustic, informal and relaxed with great music and food. Sounds just perfect to me.
Add in the lovely home made woodsy touches, warm hued blooms and Two Birds mocha bridesmaids dresses and you have the recipe for a pretty lovely celebration.
Thank you so very much Karen Flower Photography for sharing your wonderful imagery with us.
THE PROPOSAL | We were on holiday in France and were coming to the end of an amazing two weeks. I wasn’t expecting a proposal at all as I thought he would have asked at the beginning of the holiday to get it out the way!
We were in Rouen and had had the most fantastic dinner (despite Tom mistranslating the menu so I ended up eating sweetbreads!) and went for a walk around the city afterwards. We came to the cathedral square where a crowd was gathered to watch a light show on the cathedral facade. It was fantastic and so romantic. After the show we started to walk back to the hotel when Tom said we should sit in one of the cathedral gardens for a few minutes (it was dark but I still didn’t twig!) He started talking about how the holiday had been amazing but there was one thing that would make it perfect. He then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him – amazing and perfect in every respect!
He didn’t have a ring as he knew I wanted to remake one of my grandmas rings so there was even more excitement on returning home and designing my own ring to wear forever more.
THE VISION | We both knew we wanted a small and informal wedding in a rustic setting. Autumn was our favourite season and seeing as you can’t rely on the weather any time of the year we decided to go for October and embrace whatever was thrown our way!
We wanted a church ceremony followed by a reception that incorporated amazing food, good music, and all our friends and family.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | I actually really enjoyed this part and it was no where near as stressful as I had been led to believe. We have a year to plan and made sure that all the bits that could be done way in advance were sorted early so we could enjoy the process as a whole. The most stressful part was managing everyone else that wanted to be involved – both our mums were so excited that we had to curb their enthusiasm a little to make sure the day stayed true to our original ideas!
BUDGET | We started a spreadsheet pretty early on and documented every idea we had to see how much it would come to (a lot it turned out!). This was then adjusted as we went along to show the true cost of each section and we saved money where we could.
The wedding came to £16,000 all in but that didn’t include my dress as my parents wanted to pay for that and Tom bought his suit himself as he now uses it for work.
THE VENUE | Church – St Mary Magdalen, Reigate. Reception – The Old Green Barn, Greens Farm, Newdigate.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Dress – Bronwyn by Maggie Sottero. Shoes – very sparkly heels from Carvella.
Jewellery – a simple pearl and silver heart bracelet given to me on the day by my sister. A white gold chain and tiny diamond pendant necklace that Tom gave me for our anniversary a few years ago. Earrings that were hand made by a local jeweller using the two remaining diamonds from the same ring my engagement diamond came from – thank you nana.
FINDING THE DRESS | This was easier than I expected! I actually found my dress in the first shop I went into but carried on looking for fun! I went with my mum to a shop in Ewell and met a lovely lady who really listened to me and what I had in mind. The dress was on a manikin in the window and both mum and I had admired it as we walked in. When I tried it on I really didn’t want to take it off despite it being 4 sizes too big!
Tom doesn’t have any sisters so I wanted to include his mum in the dress shopping too so she had the experience. I went to a few other shops and tried on dresses but couldn’t get that one out of my head.
I finally went to another stockist near my home in Manchester with my sister and tried on the dress again – she gave it the huge thumbs up and it went from there.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Tom knew from the beginning that he didn’t want an ill fitting rented morning suit. He decided he wanted a bespoke suit that he could wear again in the future and feel smart at the events he has to attend with work. He chose a three piece lounge suit in charcoal grey with a sky blue lining and silver trim. The suit came from A Suit That Fits and the service was excellent.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Readings – ‘Us Two’ by AA Milne, 1 Corinthians 13 vs 1-7.
Music: Pre ceremony – A brideshead Revisited by G.Burgon and Air on a G string by JS.Bach. Entrance of the Bride – Canon in D by J.Pachelbel, The Singing of the Register – Jesu Joy of Mans Desiring by JS.Bach and Air, Water Music by G.Handel. Recessional – The Rejoicing by G.Handel and Prince of Denmark’s March by J.Clarke.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I chose my sister and my best friend as my bridesmaids – they both know us a couple very well and wanted to be involved in the planning as much as possible.
The whole idea of the wedding was relaxed and informal so I didn’t want the girls to match completely. We found the Two Birds multiway dresses – comfortable, relaxed and could be worn however the girls wanted. The only problem with these was the cost! Luckily we have friends in South Africa who were able to source and order the same dresses for a fraction of the cost. Thanks Peter and Dee!
THE FLOWERS | We chose to use a florist who worked from home to keep the cost down. Not having a shop to pay for meant we were charged for the flowers and her time only. We met with her twice before the day and talked through all our ideas. We wanted seasonal foliage with autumnal colours of deep reds, burnt orange and greens. We also wanted to use berries and seed heads as something a little different. Tom gets hay fever so we wanted to keep pollen to a minimum to stop him sneezing on the day!
Linda Travis came up with some beautiful creations – the button holes were really unusual with scabia heads and hypericum berries. My bouquet incorporated proteas from South Africa along with berries, seeds and foliage. This theme was carried into the hairpieces and table centres.
We also had a few other arrangements in the barn and marquee that I put together from leaves, berries and foliage from the garden and surrounding countryside.
THE CAKE | We had two! The first one was a simple rectangular fruit cake made and decorated by my mum using Ivory icing and fresh foliage from our garden. This was used as something sweet after the evening buffet. The second was the most amazing cheese stack cake sourced by our caterers. We had a Brie de meaux, Cornish yarg, Dorset blue vinny, and a Godminster cheddar arranged on a gorgeous round of birch wood my dad found whilst working with the National Trust. The cheese was then used as our evening buffett with breads, crackers, chutneys etc – there wasn’t much left!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Karen Flower Photography. We knew as soon as we met Karen that we wanted her as our photographer. Even though we had never met our first meeting was like catching up with an old friend. She made us feel really comfortable and relaxed and understood exactly what we wanted to achieve. We didn’t want many formal photos as Tom hates posed shots so choose a reportage style photographer who would really capture the mood of the day and get relaxed shots of all our guests. The photos are perfect and capture the true essence of the day. Thank you so much.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Staying true to the relaxed and rustic atmosphere of the day, our décor was understated and minimal. The inside of the barn was so lovely that it didn’t need much enhancement.
Being a wooden barn we weren’t allowed proper candles so chose elective flickering t-lights in jam jars to place on the beams around the edge. The jam jars were mis-matched ones that everyone had saved over the year. They had sand in the base from our favourite beach in Cornwall and had raffia and lace tied around the neck.
My dad found some lovely pieces of wood at the National Trust which we incorporated into small table displays with foliage and berries taken from the garden.
Other details included lace edges hessian mats for each table with birch bark maple leaf confetti scattered over them (you can buy it from etsy). The main display for each table was a small jam jar with a rustic flower posy in each one.
We had lots of lace edged table cloths at home so used these on the display tables to save having to hire them.
Our best detail though has to have been the food – we chose canapés, a hot roast, steamed new potatoes and salads as the main and then a trio of puddings for dessert (pavlova, chocolate brownies and jelly!). The same company also provided our cheese cake – it was so tasty and such a simple way to provide the evening buffet at minimal extra cost.
THE HONEYMOON | Cost as much as the wedding! We spent two weeks in Africa. The first 10 days we spent on a beach and then safari in Tanzania. We then flew to Rwanda and spent the last few days staying in the Virunga Moutains visiting the mountain gorillas – it was absolutely amazing, would so recommend it!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | So many to choose from but the best were my dad’s face when I walked down the stairs and he saw me for the first time and Tom’s face when I walked into the church.
The band were also incredible and so many people said to us afterwards how great they were – it was really good fun standing back and watching the ever packed dance floor.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Take time with the planning and be as organised as possible. Don’t leave details until the last minute, have them sorted in advance and then you can enjoy the night before and be relaxed in the morning. Delegate to others – your friends and family will want to be involved so let them be! Most of all enjoy every second and savour the special moments, take over them afterwards to cement them in your mind!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Food, equipment hire and event management | The Flying Pig Hog Roast Company
Flowers | Floral Beauty by Linda Travis
Photographer | Karen Flower Photography
Band | Ruby and the Rhythms
Dress boutique | Sense and Sensibility, Stockport
Grooms suit | A Suit that Fits
Anna and Tom thank you both so much for sharing your wonderfully cosy and rustic wedding day with us xo Lou