WWW readers Adam and Gemma had a vision of country chic floral feel for their wedding in August. They held the day at Stockbridge Farm Barn, Dorset, where they had fete games and oodles of gorgeous home made décor.
Adam looked dapper in River Island, with a waistcoat, quirky buttonhole and floral tie. Gemma looked super pretty in her princess style dress by Eternity Bride, with a natural tousled look to her hair and Rachel Simpon shoes. The bridesmaids wore powder blue Oasis dresses while the boys donned braces. Oh so stylish.
Thanks so much to Big Bouquet Photography for sharing their gorgeous images with us today.
The Proposal… Adam decided that on Valentines day 2012 he wanted to take me to watch the sunrise at Arne nature reserve in Wareham. I, unsuspecting of his plans, was very reluctant to get out of bed at 5am on that particular morning so Adam practically had to drag me out of bed, insisting that we go. When we arrived there we discovered that the car park did not even open until 7am, so we tried to park on the verge at the side of the road, only to bank the car instead, meaning Adam had to get out and push us off. By this time I could tell Adam was getting worried about missing the sunrise, so we ran up the hill and fortunately got there just as it did, no one else was in sight. At which point everything became clear to me as he dropped on his knee, gave me a lovely little speech and pulled out a ring! To which I started uncontrollably giggling before saying “yes!”.
The Vision for the Day… We wanted our wedding to be more relaxed than formal, and definitely wanted it to be fun and beautiful at the same time. I especially have a thing about vintage country chic, floral patterns and the colours duck egg blue and peach pink so this became our main theme. We very much wanted a personal wedding with just family and our closest friends with us on the day. My best friend Carl was the Master of Ceremonies for us which he was happy to do with his big booming voice. It was lovely to have someone we know and trust conducting the whole day. It ran perfectly to schedule and was so personal to us.
The Planning Process… I LOVED planning our wedding, I’m not so sure about Adam, haha. But I just knew it would give me a chance to get back into doing arty/crafty things. Before the wedding we had no clue about how to plan one, neither of us had been to one in years, we didn’t know where to start! I guess we just started by looking for the venue, then picked a date and then let everything go from there. We had all of the official vendors booked when there was still 9 months to go which I think helped keep stress away.
I knew I wanted to do a lot of decorations myself, so started very early on with those. The whole 17 months of our engagement I didn’t go a day without looking at a wedding blog of some kind for inspiration and ideas! We also went to many wedding fairs, which is where we got one of our biggest ideas, to have a fete at our wedding!
Budget… We had a budget of around £10,000 to start and my dad helped increase that to around £13,000 so we could have more of the things we wanted, which we were so grateful for.
The Venue… We had a list of different barns around Dorset because we had established that this was an idea we really loved. After visiting a couple which were ultimately disappointing in some way, we drove up to Sherborne to see Stockbridge Farm Barn. When we arrived we were a bit nervous because it is still a working farm and we didn’t know how this might affect a possible wedding. However when we got there we were greeted by the lovely owner, Cherry, and she let us inside. We were absolutely blown away! The architecture of this magnificent barn built in the 1500s was just incredible! Cherry assured us that the workings of the farm never interfere with the weddings at the weekend, and she said we could do whatever we want inside and around the barn, it was a blank slate! Perfect! We left with a warm fuzzy feeling inside, I think we both knew this had to be it. The fact that it was an hours drive from home and we had to go back several times during the year to plan decorations didn’t matter, it was definitely worth it.
The Dress + Accessories… My dress is an Eternity Bride dress, style D5061. It is princess style, with lots and lots of organza ruffles from the waist to the floor. The bodice is lace all over, and I had thin spaghetti straps with pearls and beads all over added because I didn’t want a completely bare chest.
I didn’t want a veil because I don’t like them, too restrictive and formal for me. Instead I had a stunning comb with a silver flower, wires and crystals to go in my hair at the back. And my beautiful vintage style shoes were closed toe ivory heels, with an organza bow to tie at the front.
I also won a floating pearl necklace in a competition, and had a pair of Judith Brown vintage mother of pearl button earrings with silver crochet.
Finding the Dress… My experience with finding my dress was slightly underwhelming unfortunately, I didn’t have the intense “I’ve found my dress!” moment with crying that a lot of brides-to-be get. I’d been around all the local shops and some a bit further afield, had some lovely experiences, and some not so nice.
But the shop where my dress came from was Special Occasions, in Poole. I went in there with my mother in law and sister in law, tried on a few dresses, all lace and slim fitting, which is what I thought I wanted after looking in all the magazines, but they just ended up making me look old, I was only 25. Then I tried on this one dress, which I picked out as a joke; all ruffles and volume! I just wanted to see what it might look like, absolutely not expecting it to look at all good…and hey presto…I had my wedding dress. As soon as it was slipped on and the assistant started to do up the back, I just had a funny grin on my face looking in the mirror, because it actually looked so beautiful, young and fun and very suited to me, which I didn’t get with any other dress. And the bodice was lace too, which was a bonus. So I walked out to show the girls and they just fell in love with it. But I didn’t buy it that day, still slightly unsure, I thought I might find something else that would just make me say “YES!”. I didn’t of course, I went back a week later and bought it! Haha.
Groom’s Attire… We looked for Adam’s outfit together, and decided pretty early on from a picture we found just what he wanted. He didn’t have a full suit, just shirt, brown herringbone trousers and waistcoat from River Island, to give a relaxed look. And I also made him a little blue pocket square to go with his floral tie to fit in with the theme. And all the men wore matching braces and brown brogue shoes.
The Readings + Music… I won a wedding celebrant as a prize at a wedding fair, so we had our whole ceremony personalised and conducted for free.
Adam is lucky enough that he has a Grandmother who is a poet, so we requested that she write us a poem for the wedding day, which she was thrilled to do, and also read it out herself during the ceremony. It is so lovely as it’s ours and no one elses.
This lead me to try and find a reading that I could have my sister read for my side of the family. I trawled the internet for days looking for something suited to us, and found one by Richard Bach which was quirky and not too soppy.
For the processional we chose a song from a film because we are both movie buffs and love film scores. We chose “All Love Can Be” sung by Charlotte Church from the film “A Beautiful Mind”. It is a very beautiful and moving piece of music and gives me chills every time I hear it. There was nothing else I had ever envisioned myself walking down the aisle to.
We also compiled a list of old Jazz music such as Louis Armstrong to play throughout the fete during the day, which made the atmosphere really fun.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… My stunning bridesmaids were one of my oldest friends, Sophie, and I asked Adam’s sister to be my Maid of Honour. And I had two of my nieces be flower girls. We bought the bridesmaids dresses very early on, and their very distinctive blue and white striped pattern became a running theme throughout most of the decorations that I made during the months after, from invitations, to the photobooth wallpaper for the fete, to part of the cake decoration, and lots more. I just fell in love with blue and white stripes!
The Flowers… Apart from the bouquets, we decided to do our own wedding flowers, and went down several quite expensive routes until we passed by a greengrocers store one day and saw some wildflowers in his display with the perfect peach and blue colours we needed. It turned out he could give us 15 bunches of them for about £40, and this managed to decorate all of our tables and all around the venue as well, with some to spare! It was unbelievable considering we had quotes for 10 times that amount of money. Also, they are nicknamed “everlasting” flowers, and were actually still fine weeks after the wedding!
My bridal bouquet had peach and pink coloured roses, eucalyptus leaves, blue hydrangea, gypsophila and cotton in it! It was more than double the cost of the flowers that we bought from the greengrocer…but it was beautiful. I tied lace around the stems and added a silver brooch with a picture of my mum in it to have her close to me on the day. The bridesmaids had a bunch of gypsophila with eucalyptus leaves.
The Cake… I make and sell cakes, so there was no way I was going to pass up making my own wedding cake. Plus the cake I wanted is around £800 which I would never pay, I saw it in the first wedding magazine I picked up just after I got engaged. I HAD to have it. It was incredible. It is a three tiered stacked hexagonal cake, with each side made up of little randomly decorated tiles, shell piping, and some peonies as a topper.
I made the sugar flowers on top months beforehand, because they’d last. I made the cake out of fruit 5 months before because there was no way I could make a sponge the week before getting married. I iced it and decorated it a couple of weeks before, and stacked it at the venue the day before. There were several techniques that I had to do whilst decorating the cake that I’d never done before, including never having stacked a cake, and had a few hairy moments but recovered and ultimately it all paid off. It naturally had to be one of the best things at the wedding because it’s what I do, and I think it was, I’m very proud of it.
Adam’s aunt is also a cake maker, and she very kindly offered to make make two sponge “cutting cakes” for the people who don’t like fruitcake, and I then decorated those with two floral sugarpaste bows, which I also had to finish at the venue the day before.
Your Photographer… Our photographers Emma and Ian, from Big Bouquet are just amazing. I knew I wanted them as soon as I saw their photos for the first time, they were one of the first things we booked for the wedding as this was one of the most important thing for us. They have been great with helping us plan how the photography would fit in during the day and even helped us with some of the scheduling. On the day they were almost invisible, a number of our guests didn’t even realise they were there!
As you can see the photos are beautiful. We love their style and choices of what to shoot and when and we feel every part of the day got captured incredibly well. We’re in the process of meeting and discussing getting an album made at the moment, so their services don’t end on the wedding day. It’s been lovely being able to work with them to see our memories will be preserved for years to come.
The Details + Décor… We went a little crazy on the DIY. There are so many things that we made for the wedding décor.
I made probably over a hundred metres of blue, white and beige floral bunting with which we decorated all over the barn, burlap and lace bows for the pew ends, a burlap ceremony backdrop with giant lace heart, the pouches with tea favours inside made of the same material as the bunting, a “Mr and Mrs” tissue paper collage sign for the top table, the table numbers, lace bottles for flowers, a photo washing line (featuring some photos of previous weddings in the family), a seating plan with tissue paper flowers, an illustration of the bridesmaids and groomsmen, the cards basket, confetti cones with holder (which stood in my grandads old picnic basket), a ring book with a heart cut out and slots inside for the rings to sit in, blue and white striped flower girl buckets, decorated guestbook, “Adam and Gemma” flags for the drinking straws, the men’s buttonholes.
I also designed all of the invites (with hand stitched buttons on them) and the ceremony programs too, and had them printed professionally.
And we had our little fete at our wedding which we built up from scratch, including photo-frame-booth and props, a whole bat-the-rat frame and coconut shy. We also had hoopla, hook the duck, ball in the bucket, and a guess the sweets jar. And I made a hand painted sign and even more bunting out of paper doilies for the entrance!
The Honeymoon… We went to Sorrento in Italy for our honeymoon, which was only made possible with the kindness of our guests. We used the website Honeyfund, where people could pick out what they’d like to get us, for example, “a trip to Pompeii”, or “a romantic dinner for two”.
It was so lovely to relax and walk around the beautiful town, just drinking wine and eating “Gelato!” (ice-cream), not having to think about anything for the whole week, and get used to being husband and wife.
Memorable Moments… I remember we arrived at the venue about 20 minutes too early in the VW, and had to wait in the driveway while other guests were still arriving and driving past the van trying to look in, we had to shut all the little curtains to hide ourselves!
I remember just after the ceremony, before we reappeared for the confetti throwing and it was just Adam, myself and his sister (doing up the bustle on my dress) stood in the bar; that was when I broke down crying, much to my surprise, not during the ceremony. The adrenaline was just too much but Adam calmed me down within seconds!
There were also some memorable dance moves at the disco in the evening from certain people, reeling each other to the dance floor using imaginary fish hooks and the like.
Advice for Other Couples… Ask for things from people, you never know what you can get for free. We even saw some giant rustic hearts in a candle shop display and when we went in to ask where we could get some, the shop owner said “Oh, you can borrow these for free!”
Don’t let other people tell you what to have or not have at your wedding, it is your day, no one else’s.
Don’t stress if anything does go wrong on the day; I fluffed up saying “Evernending” instead of “Neverending” during the ceremony, but just had to laugh it off. And during the evening one of my lines of bunting fell down on us whilst dancing. Again, it actually just made me laugh. The guests ran around with it like a maypole or something – these are the things that make the day memorable so just let them happen and don’t worry!
Space out the planning, so you have time to do everything, especially if you are making lots of things. I also have to say unfortunately DIYing everything didn’t make it a whole lot cheaper, so bear that in mind.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Venue: Stockbridge Farm Barn – http://stockbridgefarmbarn.co.uk/
Caterers: Creative Catering – http://www.creativecateringfood.co.uk/
Photographers: Big Bouquet – http://www.bigbouquet.co.uk/
Makeup: Makeup by Tara – http://makeupbytara.co.uk/
VW wedding car: Dorset Dubhire – http://www.dorsetdubhire.com/
DJ – We Perform – http://www.weperform.co.uk/
Vintage Crockery and tablecloths: Vintage Dorset – http://www.vintagedorset.co.uk/
Bouquets: Carnival Flowers – http://www.carnivalflowers.co.uk/
Dress and hairpiece: Special Occasions – http://www.specialoccasionsweddings.co.uk/
Shoes: “Lola” from Rachel Simpson – http://www.rachelsimpsonshoes.co.uk/
Confetti: Shropshire Petals – http://www.shropshirepetals.com/
Cakes: Keely’s Quaint Cakes – https://www.facebook.com/keelysquaintcakes
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Oasis
Bridesmaid’s shoes: Mel by Melissa
Groomsmen’s suits: River Island
Ekk how i adore this wedding. So much pretty. Thanks so much to Adam and Gemma for sharing their beautiful wedding with us XOXO Lou