I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a wedding with so many smiles. It makes this whole feature such a joy, as there is a real feeling of tangible happiness in these images.
Abby and Ed tied the knot on the 25th October 2014 at Stone Barn in the beautiful Cotswolds. Their whole day had a cosy Autumnal feel, with divine orange hue blooms and scrumptious food.
The pretty barn was decorated simply while Abby and Ed looked super stylish in their attire. Abby donned The Gibson by Sarah Seven teamed with Rachel Simpson Shoes while Ed was suited and booted in Cad and the Dandy.
Many thanks today to Albert Palmer Photography for kindly sharing these wonderful images with us.
THE PROPOSAL | Ed surprised me with a trip to Venice for my birthday (one of my favourite cities as I lived there for a term when I was at university) – we spent a great couple of days mooching about while I was oblivious to Ed’s increasing anxiety about the ring hidden in his bag. Thankfully he didn’t propose on a bridge in front of a bunch of American tourists – instead he asked me in our hotel before we went out to celebrate with pizza and prosecco.
THE VISION | Above all we wanted it to be laid back and relaxed and not too formal in terms of wedding traditions. Oh and lots of really good food.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We took about 14 months to plan the wedding, which seemed like ages at the start but things rapidly ramped up towards the end. We took a lot of recommendations for suppliers from friends who had already done the hard work of researching! And we also had lots of help from family and friends.
THE VENUE | The Stone Barn. We wanted a venue about halfway between Birmingham (where we and lots of our friends live) and London (where the rest of our friends/lots of family live). So we settled on the Cotswolds, and then looked at several barns that could be booked for both the ceremony and the reception. After a lot of research we discovered the Stone Barn, and it was the layout that won us over – I’m not a fan of when you get chucked out of one room at a wedding while they reset the room – the Stone Barn has a great big open plan layout that avoids that room juggling, or the need to go outside (essential for an Autumn wedding!) It’s also in the middle of nowhere so there’s no worry about noise and everywhere you look there’s lovely rolling countryside. The staff there were all brilliant too – super helpful in the run up to the day and no question was too trivial.
The other great thing about the Stone Barn is the food – there’s a huge indoor BBQ – we had smoked salmon, followed by steak bricks and dauphinoise potatoes and amazing chocolate brownies for pudding. Oh and loads of canapés before dinner and pizza in the evening. We definitely didn’t go hungry!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was The Gibson by Sarah Seven – bought from Frou Frou Bridal Boutique in Tunbridge Wells. Living in Birmingham Tunbridge is not the most obvious place to buy a wedding dress, but as Frou Frou are the only UK stockist of Sarah Seven I decided it was worth the train fares…
My shoes were by Rachel Simpson – I liked that she’s a Birmingham designer. I didn’t want to wear a veil and spent ages looking at a variety of increasingly expensive headpieces worrying about finding something suitable. In the end I bought a hairband from Asos in the sale which I just pinned in my hair. I did my own hair because I always wear it down curly and loose – I thought I wouldn’t feel like myself with a complex up-do. It also turned out to be a really windy day so I had to embrace the windswept look anyway! I did my own make up – I had a trial at Bobbi Brown in Selfridges and then just bought the products – would definitely recommend as I think it’s good value compared to a make up artist – and of course I now have all the make up to wear post-wedding too.
I didn’t wear much jewellery as the dress was so sparkly – but I did wear my Great-Grandma Pearl’s moonstone bracelet.
FINDING THE DRESS | I didn’t really enjoy wedding dress shopping – I felt like an imposter-bride wearing fancy dress costumes. I also didn’t enjoy the attitude of a lot of dress shops – charging for appointments, insisting I tried on veils when I was definite I didn’t want one etc… I was clear I didn’t want a strapless meringue or a 50s style number – which seemed to severely limit my options in terms of dress styles. It turns out it’s very difficult to find a wedding dress with sleeves! In the end I found Frou Frou because I discovered Sarah Seven dresses on pinterest – and then looked for the UK stockist. The team at Frou Frou were much friendlier and more relaxed than other shops I visited in London, and gave what I felt was more honest advice about what suited me. I later found out I was the last person to buy that dress before they stopped stocking it, so it felt extra special. I really liked the details of the beading all over the dress – I had originally thought I wanted something really plain but once I’d tried my dress on it was clear the more beads the better! It was very comfortable to wear on the day and I felt like myself, not like a Bride in a costume.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Ed never really wears suits – he’s a cinematographer so is usually found in outdoor gear on film sets – so he wanted to really treat himself for the wedding. He had a suit and shirt made by Cad and the Dandy. His shoes were Paul Smith and the ties he and his best man wore were from good old John Lewis.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had Union from The Beginning to End by Robert Fulghum and A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton as our readings – read by Ed’s Dad and our friend Rosie respectively. We walked out of the ceremony to You Make My Dreams by Hall and Oates (yes that’s the song from the dance number in 500 Days of Summer).
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My sister and best friend were my bridesmaid and Maid of Honour. They wore navy Whistles dresses and shoes from Office. They were extremely efficient at choosing and ordered everything online with no need for a joint ‘DTTB’ style shopping trip. I really didn’t want them to look too ‘bridesmaidy’ as they’re both very stylish women – in the end they looked cool and modern, and the colour worked well with the flowers.
THE FLOWERS | I wasn’t sure what kind of flowers I did want, just what I didn’t. I didn’t want traditional bridal roses or anything too formal. Kate and Anni at In Bloom in Birmingham were brilliant – we took a bunch of photos from pinterest and they came up with the most vibrant wild autumnal arrangements including dahlias, rarunculus, astibilie, poppy seed pods, craspedia, succulents, autumnal foliage and berries – in different sizes of terracotta pots on the tables.
THE CAKE | We didn’t have a proper wedding cake – we didn’t want to do the awkward photo, and I reckon no one ever has room for cake at weddings anyway! So instead we had a tower of different flavoured macarons, made by Contemporary Cakes in Cheltenham. which guests had with coffee in the evening.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Albert Palmer took photos at our friends’ wedding, and he took a particular photo of us playing giant jenga (with Ed doing a ridiculous celebration move) which had stuck in our minds. So when we started planning the wedding we knew straight away we wanted him to take our photos. He has a lovely relaxed style and really captures little moments and emotions on the day. He was also extremely unobtrusive – we hardly noticed him all day, and he managed to get all our official group shots in about 10 minutes. It’s so nice to have such a thorough record of our whole day with so many photos of our guests having fun as well as us!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We kept the décor pretty simple – candles throughout the barn and mingled with the pots of flowers on the tables. We also printed a load of polaroid photos of us and our friends and family via polagram, which we hung up in the barn. And we displayed our parents’ and grandparents’ wedding photos which lots of guests commented on – I think people like spotting the family resemblances! Our table names were all box sets Ed and I have watched together – with the top table as the West Wing, our favourite.
THE HONEYMOON | We had a mini-moon straight after the wedding at the very relaxing Cowley Manor near Cheltenham. Then two months after the wedding we flew to New York on Christmas Day – and spent the following week stomping around the city and eating ridiculous amounts of food.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | We were very lucky that Ed’s Best Man was also our DJ, and he went all out with the lighting. A very memorable moment was when he turned the enormous laser on for the disco – it was very OTT but looked amazing in the barn. Gloucestershire meets Ibiza.
I look back at the photos and we have massive grins on our faces in nearly all of them – that’s my overwhelming memory – just feeling giddy all day. I was quite nervous in the run up – hoping it would all go well, and that people would like our choices. But on the day I just relaxed and enjoyed every minute.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | This is specifically advice for brides – make a speech! I hate going to weddings and not hearing from the bride, it seems so old fashioned to only hear from the men. My mum gave a toast after my dad’s speech and then I made a speech – I got a bit choked a couple of times but am so pleased I got the chance to talk publicly about my family, my bridesmaids and about Ed. So I would urge all brides to go for it and make a speech, you honestly won’t regret it!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Albert Palmer Photography
Venue | Stone Barn
Cake | Contemporary Cake Designs
Flowers | In Bloom Flowers
Shoes | Rachel Simpson Shoes
Suit | Cad and the Dandy
Wow what a party. And I just love Abby’s words of advice there :-)
Thank you so much Abby and Ed for sharing your gorgeous wedding story with us xo Lou