Peonies are my absolute favourite bloom. Fluffy, full of scent and the always in the perfect shades of pretty pink. I think they make a gorgeous wedding flower and today’s celebration is filled to the brim with these beauties.
Dave and Ali tied the knot on Saturday 13th June 2015 at the majestic Rushall Farm barns in Berkshire. They envisioned a rustic and relaxed wedding day… think hog roast, hessian and a live band.
Ali looked so very beautiful in Chesney by Maggie Sottero, all swishy lace loveliness with her hair in perfect waves. I love this romantic day.
Thanks so much to Benjamin Stuart for sharing his exquisite imagery with us today.
THE PROPOSAL | We met at university in Bath so that will always be a special place for us. It was during the Easter holidays last year and we went to Bath for the day. We went for a picnic at the Royal Crescent and Dave had picked out all my favourite food and drink. We discussed some of our favourite memories of Bath and then Dave popped the question!
THE VISION | Relaxed and Rustic. We loved the idea of having our reception in a barn. We didn’t want the day to feel really rigid but for people to be able to enjoy the day and for us to be able to mingle with as many guests as possible. It is the people that make the day, not the stuff. We knew we wanted a hog roast too. We both love our food and a hog roast is often feels more relaxed than a proper sit down meal.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We were engaged for about 13 months so had a good amount of time to prepare. We nailed the venue pretty soon so were then able to secure a date etc. I then focused on getting my dress which I bought at the end of August. Things like invites, food, bridesmaid dress and flowers all came together after that.
THE VENUE | The Black Barn, Rushall Manor Farm, Bradfield, Berkshire. We loved our venue and how it was naturally. We didn’t want to dress it up with lots of accessories but just enjoy it in its natural beauty. It was the perfect venue for us.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was Chesney by Maggie Sottero. It came as a strapless dress and I added the straps as well as some extra lace detail the top and back. I wore a headband that I bought in a high street store and a necklace and earrings that my Mum bought for me. I borrowed a veil off my best friend. I didn’t want to buy one because I knew I was only going to wear it for such a short time, and it was special to be able to borrow things off close friends and family.
FINDING THE DRESS | I went to about five dress shops but eventually got my dress from Windsor and Eton Brides in Berkshire. I had seen it a few months before and went back to look at it again. I loved the fit and the pattern of the lace. I also loved that it wasn’t an ivory white. The underneath layer is a light gold and I felt that this worked with the relaxed and rustic feel for the day.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | The guys all wore their own suits. A good money saving trick!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We were married in the church my family and I go to, so we were able to use friends to play music. We read a passage from the Bible in 1 John 4. We liked this because it talked about both God’s love for us and our love for one another.
In the evening we hired The Party Starters who I had heard at a friend’s wedding; a really fun and enthusiastic band.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had my two sisters and my two best friends as bridesmaids. It took me ages to decide on a bridesmaid dress colour and style. I didn’t want to spend lots of money on bridesmaid dresses because often they won’t be worn again. But I eventually went for short coral dress from Debenhams at £65 each. It worked well with the navy blue.
THE FLOWERS | The flowers were one of my favourite things! They were so beautiful. I knew I wanted roses and peonies and Emma, from Green Parlour was amazing and suggesting ideas to make it all work. The flowers definitely added to the day. We allocated a person on each table to take the centrepieces home at the end of the day. This was a great way to ensure that they weren’t wasted and somebody was able to enjoy them.
THE CAKE | We went for a cheese cake which the caterers provided. Again a money saving trick! Our evening buffet was based around the idea of a cheese and wine buffet. We liked this because we used to go for cheese and wine date nights. It worked well because we were able to use the cheese from the cake to make up the evening buffet.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Benjamin Stuart Photography. A total photographic genius and really quick at getting through group photos whilst also being friendly and personable with you and your guests. He does an amazing job without you really noticing he is there.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | A top trick here was that we borrowed lots from friends who had got married recently. We used some ivy and fairy lights to decorate the barn. We bought some hessian fabric in bulk online and used this on each table. We then added smaller details such as jars and tea lights, table games and cups with sweets in. This gave people something to do while they were waiting for food.
Another thing we did was to write every guest a personal note as their name card. We wrote on small cards that we then put in an envelope with their name on. We liked this idea because weddings can be so impersonal if you don’t get round to speak to every guest so we wanted people to know that we really valued them being there to celebrate with us.
THE HONEYMOON | We went to the south of Spain and spent a week in a private villa with pool and then four days in a small hotel further up into the mountains. It was great to have our own space but also be able to explore and have fun days out.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | We loved seeing each other for the first time on the day. It is such a special moment. When I was walking in, I tried to just look at Dave because it is a special moment just between the two of you. Two of my friends played the piano and sang as we signed the register, they were amazing and it was lovely to be able to involve people in our service.
The speeches were also a highlight for us; both funny and emotional. And the impromptu limbo that took place in the evening definitely added some spontaneous fun to the party!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Go for a wedding that is in keeping with who you are as a couple and try not to get drawn into buying things you can’t use after the wedding. The best thing about the day is that the people are there, not the stuff. Make sure somebody else is running your day (Best Man, Usher or somebody at your venue), you want to be able to relax on the day and not be worrying about timing and organisation.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Venue | Rushall Farm
Bridal Shop | Windsor and Eton Brides
Flowers | Green Parlour
Photography | Benjamin Stuart
Catering | Crumbs Reading
Band | Party Starters Wedding Band
Ah so lovely and what a brilliant wedding exit. Love it.
Thanks so much to Dave and Ali for sharing their super special nuptials with us xo Lou