Yay for relaxed and rustic country wedding days. They are always some of my very fave real wedding features, I mean what’s not to love about scenic locations, wooden beamed barn venues and laid back vibes?
Alice and Fred were hitched on the 23rd July 2016 in the doorway of The Cheerful Chilli Barn in Yorkshire. It created such a lovely indoor/outdoor feel, complete with hay bale seating and meaningful live acoustic music. The weather held out so that their dreams of an outdoorsy day became reality. Guests settled around a fire pit to toast marshmallows, the couple held their first dance outside and their were fun games for all too.
The cake table was supplied by home made treats from guests and as favours their nearest and dearest took home the flower arrangements. Talking of blooms, these home grown florals are a delight! Natural, beautiful peach stems were used together with foliage in the bouquet, so stunning. Alice looked very pretty indeed in her home made dress complete with Charlie Brear lace overdress and sleeves. She accessorised with a sweet hair vine and sash to complete her look. Wow.
Thanks so much to Caitlin and Jones for sharing these joy filled shots with us.
THE PROPOSAL | We got engaged at Glastonbury in 2014. After a couple of hours dancing with friends at a silent disco on the Thursday night, we went for a midnight walk and sat down in a quiet spot with nobody around. Taking me completely by surprise, Fred asked me to marry him. After an hour or so sitting together and taking it all in, we headed back to the tent, bumping into one of my future bridesmaids and breaking the news on the way. Celebrating with some of our dearest friends all weekend made the engagement so special.
We chose our rings together when we got home, but unfortunately there were problems with the setting of the diamonds in my ring; after multiple repairs, we made the decision to return it. Although this was really upsetting at the time, it led to us discovering Form Bespoke Jewellers in Chapel Allerton. They designed and created the most beautiful custom engagement ring that is inspired by my original but has subtle changes to make it unique and perfect for us. We were so impressed by the service and quality (and price!) that I helped my brother-in-law (to-be) design my sister’s engagement ring there, too.
THE VISION | From the very start, we both agreed that we wanted a relaxed and fun wedding, with outdoor elements if possible.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | As we paid for the wedding ourselves, we knew we needed a little time to save and to spread costs, so it was two years between our engagement and wedding. At the time, I worried that it would seem to take forever; in reality, the time flew, and it allowed us to take time over some decisions and really enjoy the process. I love to plan and organise, so I had many spreadsheets and lists to keep us on track. My family and bridesmaids were fantastic and helped with DIY projects.
BUDGET | About £10,000
THE VENUE | The Cheerful Chilli Barn, Otley
We spent a long time researching potential venues but struggled to find something within our budget that would give us the type of wedding we wanted. The Cheerful Chilli was actually the first and only place we visited. We fell in love with it right away. It was small, local (which was important to us, as it’s exciting every time we drive past or pop in for some food) and family-run. The same family that own the lovely vegetarian café next to it, The Cheerful Chilli, had only just renovated the barn and started to host weddings. The café provides catering for the weddings at the barn – at an exceptionally reasonable price – and we have had countless comments from guests about how much the food was ‘the best vegetarian food’ they’ve ever eaten. We chose to have platters of food and people helped themselves, adding to the friendly and relaxed atmosphere. For the evening food, we had pizzas delivered from a local take away.
Thanks to the ideal weather – warm but not too sunny – we were able to have our ceremony, speeches and first dance outside. Food and dancing was held inside the lovely barn, but for the majority of the day and night our guests sat outside. We had plenty of candles, a fire pit and blankets to help create a cosy atmosphere. It was perfect.
The members of staff at the barn were so helpful and friendly. A particular mention needs to go the woman in charge of organising and running the day, Bex, who has just started her own wedding planning business (Oak Leaf Weddings); her organisation and attention to detail was invaluable and meant we could focus on just enjoying the day, knowing everything was being taken care of.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Lace overdress: Charlie Brear, second hand but unworn from Preloved.com.
Lace sleeves: Charlie Brear, The White Closet.
Dress: hand made by a family friend.
Jewellery: Aladdin’s Cave, Leeds.
Hair vine and sash: hand made from The Bridal Emporium, Leeds.
Shoes: Rainbow Club (style: Harlow).
FINDING THE DRESS | I knew what type of dress I wanted and fell in love with the first one I tried on, a style by Charlie Brear. However, with our budget, I just could not justify the price to myself, so then the work began! I relentlessly searched online and was lucky enough to find the overdress I loved in perfect condition for a bargain price. The main dress was handmade by a family friend. Sourcing the materials and tweaking the design was so much fun – being so heavily involved in the process made the end result very special.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Fred wore a blue Kenneth Cole suit and the groomsmen wore their own suits in similar shades of blue. We found the ties on ASOS and they complimented the bridesmaid dresses perfectly. When first planning the wedding, we thought we wanted mustard ties, however, as more details came together, it became clear that this would not quite work, so we bought bright mustard socks for Fred and the groomsmen instead.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | My sister’s boyfriend (now husband-to-be), Max, sang and played guitar for our guests before the ceremony and Fred chose for him to play ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ by The Beatles as I walked (ran) down the aisle. Max also performed ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ for our first dance – seeing all our loved ones dancing and singing together to this is one of my favourite moments from the day.
Our sisters did readings for us. We gave them a selection of readings we liked for them to secretly choose from. It was a lovely surprise to hear them read these during the ceremony.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My sister, Laura, was my maid of honour and my three best friends, Alison, Emma and Erin, were my bridesmaids. They wore beautiful blue/grey dresses from ASOS. They wore their own necklaces and I bought them all a simple silver and pearl bracelet from Azendi to match my own.
THE FLOWERS | Our flowers were grown and arranged by my dear friend’s mum, who is incredibly talented and created the most beautiful bouquets and decorations for us. We wanted the flowers to be simple, relaxed and seasonal, with a variety of textures and heights. Using lavender, mint and rosemary also meant that the flowers smelt fantastic! They were our main decoration of the day and we were blown away by how they turned out.
THE CAKE | We decided not to have a traditional cake and opted instead for a cake table, with the help of our wonderful friends and family. Typically, Fred ended up baking his contribution the night before and being late to his pre-wedding celebrations with his groomsmen! The table turned out even better than I expected and looked amazing. Our guests were sent home with piles of cake and we had lots in the freezer to return to after our honeymoon.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | My sister knows Nathan and Ellie, the talented couple behind Caitlin and Jones, and recommended them to us. We wanted the photography of the day to be very natural and relaxed, with minimal ‘staged’ photos, which is exactly what Nathan and Ellie delivered. From our first conversations and meeting, it was immediately apparent that we had made the right choice – their friendliness, creativity and passion for what they do shone through. They seamlessly fit into the day and documented so many special moments. Their photography and videography is simply stunning; the memories they have given us of our day are priceless!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | The beautiful flowers in jars were our main decoration. We collected about fifty jars and bottles of various sizes in the run up to the wedding and we glued lace and hessian ribbon to them. These were filled and distributed throughout the venue and on tables. We kept our place settings simple with just a stem of lavender and a handwritten name tag. Our seating plan was written with white pen on a lovely mirror I bought when on holiday in Devon with my sister; it now hangs in our spare bedroom. We decided not to have favours and instead guests were told they could take the flowers home – they were far too beautiful to waste! We bought LOTS of fairy lights and pinned these all around the barn along with plenty of tea lights. We found the best ones were the long-burning tea lights in the clear plastic casing: they didn’t need a holder and helped keep the décor simple. We strung bunting across the courtyard area where speeches were held. My sister bought us a lovely, simple guestbook when we got engaged. We set up a table with a Polaroid camera, metallic pens and washi tape and guests left their message in the book. During the meal, the two children at the wedding ended up taking some great pictures of people at the tables.
The outside space at the venue is so lovely it really only needed some flowers and lanterns. We collected lots of blankets in the run-up to the wedding for people to sit on or use as they sat outside in the evening. By the fire pit, we set up a marshmallow station and a bucket of sparklers for people to use. We also had Kilner dispensers with gin and tonic and elderflower for people to enjoy throughout the day.
THE HONEYMOON | We spent our honeymoon in Thailand: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. We booked our flights for the day after the wedding. In the weeks immediately before the wedding, I worried that this would be a huge rush, but ultimately it was a great decision; we were on a complete high from the day before and the excitement just continued. We were so elated that I didn’t even mind that a delayed flight to Germany meant we missed our flight to Bangkok. We spent the first night of our honeymoon without our suitcase, in an ugly hotel room, reading all the lovely messages in our cards, which we had taken with us – we could not stop smiling!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | I loved the relaxing morning with my bridesmaids and mum. Part of me was dreading the first dance, but, actually, sharing that moment outside with all our friends singing along was incredibly special. Taking a walk into the woods and fields together for photos was a special, quiet moment of the day. One of the best moments of the day was looking down at the barn and seeing our friends talking, dancing and playing lawn games together – it had all come together perfectly! One of the nicest parts of the day was sitting on hay bales, wrapped in blankets, chatting with out loved ones by the fire. No party of ours is complete without a sing-along, so singing and dancing to our favourite songs with all our friends at the end of the night was brilliant, particularly ending the night all singing to ‘Perfect Day’.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | When planning your decorations, think of things you can use from your home or buy things that you will continue to use in the future. I am constantly reminded of our day by small things such as a cake stand and the blanket box in our spare room. It’s a lovely way to treasure the memory of the day.
Don’t be afraid to break from tradition. Your wedding should reflect your relationship and the things that are important to you.
Create a master plan of the day, including a time line and photos of how you want things set up, and distribute this to all people involved. I felt confident that the details and décor would be taken care of as people setting up had clear instructions to hand and were not just relying on remembering conversations.
Take a moment together to stand back and look at the day you have created. It’s easy to miss all the small details you took so long planning, so taking time to look at them all and see everyone enjoying themselves is important.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography and videography | Caitlin and Jones
Rings | Form Bespoke Jewellers
Venue | The Cheerful Chilli Barn
Dress sleeves | The White Closet
Sash and hair vine | The Bridal Emporium, Leeds
Shoes | Rainbow Club
Bunting | The Bunting Bar
Entertainment | The Hi Life
So very gorgeous!
Alice and Fred, thank you both so much for sharing your wedding day here at WWW xo Lou