This dreamy wedding was all about creating a big party filled with free flowing booze, loved ones and amazing food. The guests sure were treated to some amazing cuisine and all set in the most beautiful grounds.
WWW readers Ysabel and Stefan were married on the 4th June 2016 at Ash Barton; a country house set in Devon. They were married in the gorgeous barn beneath a striking floral installation beside their nearest and dearest. Donuts played a part in their day thanks to the sweet proposal, with donuts instead of cake and a special engraving on Stefan’s ring. YUM. Ysabel’s dramatic peony and rose trailing bouquet really stole my heart, it accessorised her custom made gown to perfection.
I adore the long tables all set out on the lawn decorated with blooms, the array of desserts and the super gorgeous attire. What a special day.
Thanks so much to Christine Wehrmeier Photography for sharing these sublime images.
THE PROPOSAL | Ysabel had been nagging Stefan about marriage for a very long time. She was about to give up, but then she woke up one morning to see a St John custard donut by her bedside. She asked what was going on. And Stefan said “Can I bring you donuts for the rest of your life?” To which she responded “Are you proposing?” And he was. And she said “Ok….Is this a joke?” And it wasn’t. And then they were engaged and the donut was eaten (thank heavens the ring wasn’t inside!). (This moment was immortalised in Lego; a minus 1 year anniversary present from Ysabel to Stefan called “Donuts Forever”.)
THE VISION | A big house party with delicious food that just happened to have a wedding (without feeling “weddingy”).
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Ysabel is a planner and she wanted to give them lots of time in advance so they could have their pick of venue and other vendors. There were spreadsheets upon spreadsheets with comparisons. We were very selective up front about what we were willing to consider as options which made it much easier to make decisions. One of the biggest criteria after quality for the photographer and caterer was that we wouldn’t mind being at our wedding with them there! It sounds silly, but it made all the difference!
THE VENUE | Ash Barton Estate in Braunton. We had a lot of guests flying in from all over the world, so we wanted a venue that was licensed and had lots of beautiful space for eating, drinking, playing and dancing. It also has rooms which made it much more relaxing (no need to worry about travelling to the venue). North Devon is absolutely gorgeous and although neither one of us is from there, it was nice to share a beautiful part of the world with people who wouldn’t necessarily put it on their travel bucket lists. So many of our guests were disappointed they didn’t stay for longer!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Ysabel wore a custom designed gown by Rajo Laurel which consisted of a leotard with two skirts (one for the ceremony and one for dancing). There was a removable corset to keep all the jiggly bits in place during the day. Rajo also reworked her mother’s veil (for something old). Her shoes were gold python skin YSL Tribute Sandals (bought on sale!) with a silver sixpence tacked on to the right shoe. She borrowed diamond earrings from her sister and wore a blue garter. In the evening she had some lace flowers put in her hair made from the lace from her mother’s wedding gown and switched to a custom made pair of Greek sandals from Melissinos Poet sandals in Athens. She also had a faux fur stole from Zara, which she barely used as the weather was fabulous and wore sunglasses from River Island during the day (that matched the bridesmaids). Her engagement ring is from Alex Monroe and her wedding rings (two of them, because one looked lonely) are from Yannis Sergakis.
FINDING THE DRESS | Ysabel couldn’t imagine getting married in anything other Rajo Laurel, a Filipino designer, who she has known since she was 15. He designed her sister’s wedding dress and many other dresses for both of them since then. She asked for something flexible which would allow her to walk, eat, move and dance but something that also flattered her curves. The dress travelled back and forth from the Philippines in her father’s suitcase for fittings and still fit absolutely beautifully.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Stefan wore a 3 piece suit by Massimo Dutti Personal Tailoring. His white shirt was also custom made by Massimo Dutti. His cufflinks, by Filipino brand Kultura, were adorned with jeepneys (a Filipino minibus) to remind him of his time in the Philippines. His tie was a black knitted silk tie with velvet stripes from Hong Kong brand Tang Tang Tang Tang which Ysabel spent 5 months convincing him was the right choice (now he knows she’s always right!). He wore beautiful handmade shoes made by Justin Deakin. His wedding ring was a custom made black gold band from Yannis Sergakis engraved with the words “Donuts Forever.”
THE READINGS & MUSIC | The ceremony started with What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. The groom and entourage then entered to Lovely Day by Bill Withers. The bride’s big entrance was to Sexual Healing by the Hot 8 Brass Band — which was supposed to make people laugh but by the time she was at the altar there was barely a dry eye on the house.
The first reading was A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton which their friend Stephanie read. She had to pause multiple times to wipe her tears. The second reading was a passage from Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins called Love is the Ultimate Outlaw which was read by their friend Kyla.
The Registrar said some really beautiful words. We were a little worried because we wouldn’t have control over what they were going to say, but it was absolutely perfect.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Ysabel had 7 bridesmaids and 2 adult flower girls. She wanted them to look like a curated fashion spread rather than bridesmaids and most importantly she wanted them to look at their best. The maid of honour, Angela, had a custom made zebra print gown also designed by Rajo Laurel. Half of the girls wore custom made animal print (snake and leopard) dresses in bright colours and the other half wore off the shelf dresses in bright colours (blue, green, red). Ysabel gave them all a fur stole and sunglasses.
THE FLOWERS | Ysabel collaborated with Karen Hughes from Somerset Cut Flower Garden to have locally grown flowers for the wedding. She chose an unusual mix of flowers in very non-typical wedding colours (white flowers and roses were banned!) Karen supplied buckets of flowers which were then arranged into smaller arrangements by family and friends (with the one mandate to make sure all of the arrangements looked different!) The containers were mainly glass jars that Ysabel and Stefan had saved over the year and a half before the wedding (some were spray painted green and blue to add character). These were supplemented by other containers that the couple had picked up on their travels and some lavender, geranium and black petunias grown in reused tomato tins which Stefan grew on their balcony in London. Ysabel made the bridesmaids bouquets and had her bouquet made by Laura Hingston.
THE CAKE | We had donuts (as a reminder of the proposal), ice cream (Stefan’s favourite food) and cheese instead.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Christine Wehrmeier, who brought Larissa J along as a second shooter. She was professional from the get go, and when we “interviewed” her at our favourite pub, it was an almost instant decision because we knew that Christine would not only be able to do the job but also be able to get the best out of our guests. She took some incredible pre-wedding photos so we also got to know her better prior to the wedding.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Ysabel also had floral installations designed by Laura Hingston floating in the chapel to give the room an unusual but still organic piece of décor. When the chapel was converted into the dancefloor in the evening, a disco ball appeared and it helped set the mood for a party.
We also added our own touch in various ways; our logo was designed by our friend Pia and it was used on all of the stationery and invites. Our nephew’s walked down the aisle as Best Kids, carrying gold bubble guns and our stuffed penguins. Our friend Steph gifted the guests with embroidered hankies to wipe the tears; Ysabel made homemade confetti poppers (with confetti made from torn up wedding magazines!) which were used when we exited the chapel. Keeping with Spanish tradition, we distributed Filipino cigars to celebrate with and we gave our guests coffee and tea to take home and lovely personalised bags to take it all away with.
Disappearing Dining Club — our caterers and events managers — really helped ensure that every detail was something that we had chosen. The whole menu was bespoke, from the sparkling Shiraz for the toast down to the ice cream flavours (we even had cheese ice cream, a Filipino classic) and the freshly made donuts to the custom curated cocktails.
We took them to Ash Barton when we visited the venue for the first time so we knew what the possibilities were before we choose the venue. They converted the barn from a worn play room to a gorgeous rain alternative. Luckily, we ended up being able to spend the whole day outside and were able to have long tables in the lawn, overlooking the meadows. (We bought heel protectors and foldable ballerinas for the ladies to help them with walking in the grass). The kids and adults also had outdoor chess and connect 4 to play when they were getting restless.
We had no place settings (it removed the stress from picking tables for people) and let people choose where they sat. There were some extra seats, which prevented any arguments over not having enough space and we spent lunch walking around sitting with different groups of people and EATING food! Everyone was very full in the afternoon, but by the time the evening food came out, it disappeared almost instantly!
THE HONEYMOON | We had a mini moon to Istria in Croatia for lots of truffles, wine and sleep. Maxi moon at a location to be decided soon… (Ysabel has to have something to plan so she can fill the wedding vacuum!).
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Too many to count! Having everyone standing in the chapel so close to us while we were saying our vows was incredible. Ysabel’s sister put together a video from some friends who couldn’t be there and it was so touching to watch it. Later in the evening, Ysabel’s cousin, Anton, sang a few songs for the couple and really got the party started. And finally, when the party was winding down, Stefan and Ysabel had a stolen moment dancing alone in the chapel.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Choose your priorities up front — it will help you make decisions about how you want to spend your money (Our clear focus was food and a high quality free flowing open bar). You don’t need to have every wedding tradition and you can create your own! Make sure your suppliers are professional and are giving you what you want for your money (rather than giving you what is easy for them to provide).
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Christine Wehrmeier Photography
Catering and Event Planning | Disappearing Dining Club
Venue | Ash Barton
Bouquet & Floral Installation | Laura Hingston Flowers
Cut flowers | Somerset Cut Flower Garden
Registrar | Devon Registrar
Hair | Connie Dinnage at Iconic Hair and Makeup
Gown | Rajo Laurel
Suit, Shirt | Massimo Dutti Personal Tailoring
His Shoes | Justin Deakin
Their wedding rings | Yannis Sergakis
Her engagement ring | Alex Monroe
Giveaways | Ali Express, Pact Coffee, Flor de la Isabela Cigars
What a fabulous wedding party.
Huge thanks to Ysabel and Stefan for sharing their really wonderful wedding story here today xo Lou