WWW readers Anna and Stuart tied the knot back in June, with a Church service followed by a reception at Tithe Barn in Kent. They wanted a rural wedding day, with home made personal touches and a homely feel.
Anna looked gorgeous in her tea length frock and sparkly shoes, while Sturart looked dashing in tails. The bridesmaids wore sage green dresses by Coast and there were the most precious florals.
With hand crafted bunting, pretty lighting and herb centrepieces the barn looked wonderful.
Thanks so much to Kerry Ann Duffy for sharing her lovely photographs with us today.
The Proposal… It was on my Birthday, 07th November 2011. Stuart planned a day at Leeds Castle. We were walking around the castle when he stopped “to admire the view”. Once other people had walked on he just got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. He had the ring in his pocket to produce. It was very romantic and emotional. I think I said yes before the ring box had even been opened. He then treated me to an amazing restaurant meal and with some bubbly to celebrate.
The Vision for the Day… I wanted a rural wedding; Very country and vintage. I grew up on a farm so wanted to incorporate that relaxed and homely feeling. There is a local barn to my family farm which I always looked at when growing up. I knew I wanted the reception there. It has stunning views, a pond to the front with ducks and an abundance of history and charm. I brought this out with having an accent colour of sage green; a great colour for the time of year. The colour gave us the idea for having herbs as the table names. This further led to the centre pieces actually being that herb. It worked really well and the barn smelt amazing. I also had green gingham as part of bringing out the country house feel. It was used on jam jars which were favours, on the table plan board and on the table as table runner. We bought loads of small vintage tea plates too for the evening food to be served on. They looked so good on the table we has for a selection of cheeses, bread and an array of home made cakes. Simple thing also helped with the effect. Things like buying some amazing chutneys, but taking of the labels and sticking on some handwritten one.
The chapel was an easy decision. It was a small Chapel where my mum and dad got married. It was my local parish chapel next to a stately home. It is set in beautiful grounds and has a wonderful private drive up it – if you don’t mind a few sheep.
The Planning Process… The planning was quite easy really. I gave myself 18 months and I am pleased I did. The venue was booked pretty much straight away. We knew we wanted a June wedding and chose the middle of the month. Fortunately the 15th was available. Once the date was booked the rest was simple. First I got onto a selection of caterers for the wedding breakfast and researched hog roasts for the evening. Having so much time gave me the opportunity to research and get lots of different quotes. Next was the photographer. They can get booked up so quickly, especially those with respectable reputations. The photos are so important so that was another tick off the box.
With food, venue and photographer the rest sort of fell into place. I made all the small details and decorations in the run up. The tough part was the day before, putting it all together. But we had great friends and family for support and we pulled it off. The herbs I left to my dad. He grew them a couple of months before the date.
I made a lot of lists of people I was using. I also wrote down dates for payments too as that was the most difficult thing to manage – who wants what and when.
Budget… We didn’t have a budget. We just got what we could afford and had a set amount we saved each month ready for final payments. My mum and dad help a lot too. They took on parts of the wedding rather than a donated amount.
The Venue… The chapel was St Lawrence’s Chapel in Otterden, Kent. It is very small and intimate. You really wouldn’t know it existed unless you were local. The country side surrounding gave the best backdrop. It has a very detailed interior so we wanted to utilise that and not over decorate it. A family friend, Jan along with her daughter, decorated the church with some simple but beautiful country flowers, many from the hedgerows.
The barn was Tithe Barn in Lenham in Kent; the most exquisite venue possible. It has a pond, a daisy field to the back, sympathetically restored stables and so many hidden features. It has been left as a shell; a blank canvas. This made customising it perfect. Again it didn’t need too much decorating as the building is enough on its own.
The Dress + Accessories… The dress was bought from Confetti and Lace in Lakeside shopping centre. It was a tea length dress by a designer caller Jai. It had beautifully detailed lace over the top and a mink sash around the waist. I t showed off my crystal encrusted peep toe shoes by Benjamin Adams.
I wore earrings and hair comb by Jon Richards in Debenhams. The necklace was a diamond necklace. It was a present from Stuart and was given to me to open the morning of the wedding.
Finding the Dress… I really didn’t enjoy wedding dress shopping so only ventured into 2 shops. I found it really difficult to find “the dress”. When you go shopping you tend to know what everyday clothes suit you. Looking in the mirror and seeing me in a wedding dress wad the oddest experience – I didn’t know how I should look. I actually put a deposit on a long dress but once I got home I rang them up and changed it – mums choice. I am so pleased I did. The dress I chose fitted perfectly with the whole theme of the wedding.
Groom’s Attire… The men all wore grey suits with tails. They have matching waistcoats to the suits and green ties to match the accent colour of the wedding. They all wore buttons holes that I made the night before.
The Readings + Music… I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major and we walked out the chapel to the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba by Handel. Both were played by a string quartet we hired. We had 3 hymns, One more step along the world we go, All things bright and Beautiful and Jerusalem. These were played on the organ.
We hired the quartet to also play whilst guests were arriving at the chapel. Afterwards, whilst photos were being taken, they set themselves up at the barn and played various music throughout the wedding breakfast. In the evening we had a friend DJ.
Stuart’s cousin, Mel did the reading. We had 1 Corinthians 13.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… I had three bridesmaids. My two best friends and my uncles step daughter. They wore sage green dresses by Coast. They were bought about a year before the wedding. When I saw them, I knew they were the ones. They were floaty and young in design so they could dance and not be too formal. They also wore Ivory peep toe heels from Next and had an ivory shawl over their shoulders for the evening by Coast.
The Flowers… The bridal bouquet was by Zita Elize based in Kew, London. I discussed colours and she chose and created the bouquet.
The bridesmaids’ bouquets I made on the morning of the wedding. I simply bought some hydrangeas a couple of weeks prior to the day and cut them on the morning. I bound the together with floral tape and then wrapped Ivory ribbon around the stems and pinned it into place with some pearl ended pins. They worded really well.
Flowers on the tables were in fact herbs that my dad grew. In the barn I had a few scattered vases of daisy and wild flowers. I also filled some terracotta pots with florist foam and stuffed them with white roses. They were really effective.
The Cake… We had a four tear fruit cake made by our talented neighbour and friend Carol Morris. We displayed the top 3 tiers and had the 4th tier cut up by the caterers for the guests to eat. Each layer had green ribbon and lace round and on top was roses made from icing. They were white with pink edges. There were also so icing petals scattered around the bottom.
The cake itself stood on a piece of wood my dad cut from a log in the woods behind their house.
Your Photographer… I chose Kerry Ann Duffy as my photographer. I had seen her work after she did a shoot with a friend of mine and the pictures appeared on Facebook. Her style was just what I wanted for my wedding and knew she would show the venue at its best. I think they speak for themselves at how talented she is.
The Details + Decor… The barn was decorated with loads of fairy lights from the beams. They looked stunning. I made some bunting in various appropriate fabrics and hung them above the top table and the evening food table. The favours were little jam jars filled with love heart and covered with a gingham fabric and tied with straw. I made some table runners to go over the tables so that the green was brought in.
The name placed were green and white card with straw bows in the corners. They were stuck on to corks so that they stood up. It was pretty simple really with just wild flowers in jars and terracotta pot.
The Honeymoon… We stayed in the Bellagio in Las Vegas for 4 nights, and then went onto the Rendezvous in St Lucia where we stayed for 10 nights. It was nice to have a mixture of fun as well as relaxation. It was booked with Holidaysplease.co.uk who also set up a wedding gift list. Our guests were very generous.
Memorable Moments… My dad’s face when he saw me for the first time. He tried not to cry it was sweet. Also, saying the vows. It’s strange because everything and everyone else around you zooms out. It really is just about the bride and groom and gets very emotional.
Advice for Other Couples… Give yourself plenty of time to prepare. It means you have time to enjoy it and make sure everything is perfect. Definitely ask for help. People are willing and lots of people like to be involved and feel like they can do something. I enjoyed planning our wedding. I enjoyed making most things and making it OUR day. It gives you a sense of pride when someone compliments something and you can say you created it. Definitely shop around. It’s amazing what ideas and bargains pop out in the quirkiest and most unexpected place. Enjoy the day and spend as much time as you can together. It can be difficult to get time to be together with all the meeting and greeting but we did try to see each other. HAVE FUN WITH IT ALL! You will only have this day with this person in this setting once.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Kerry Ann Duffy photography – makes you feel so relaxed and the results are fab.
Buttonholes and bouquets wedding cars – They are so charming and helpful.
Alkham Valley Hog Roast – best ever and we are foodie farmers.
Emma Smisson bridal hair and beauty – amazing results and lasted all day and night.
For all the extras – Four Jays
Most luxurious toilets – Premier Flush
Zita Elze Flowers – perfect from rustic to contemporary.
Thanks so much to Anna and Stuart for sharing their super sweet wedding with us today XOXO Lou