There is something so special and meaningful about this lovely wedding. It just warmed my heart and I know you are going to adore it too.
Patricia and Benjie chose to hold their wedding on the 14th May 2016; a date which was important to them as it’s the anniversary of their first date and engagement. I always think it’s lovely to chose a date with meaning like this and what better time of year than the Spring to hold a countryside barn affair. They fell for Court Gardens Farm, Ditchling in Sussex thanks to it’s white washed stone barn and surrounding country setting. It made the perfect backdrop to their simple and intimate celebrations.
A relaxed orange theme emerged organically, with Patricia donning colour pop shoes and warm toned blooms were used in the florals. Talking of florals, the hanging foliage backdrop to the top table looked really wonderful. Such a stylish and happy pair, ahhh.
Joanna Brown, thank you so much for providing these exquisite images.
THE PROPOSAL | Our first date was the 14th May 2002, and to celebrate our third anniversary and (unbeknownst to me so Benjie could propose) we went to the Isle of Wight for a long weekend.
On the 14th, the heavens opened. Having dragged an increasingly grumpy bride-to-be around the island in search of the perfect romantic spot, Benjie eventually gave up. Happily, later that night I gave him the perfect cue by teasing him about getting married, and we got engaged huddling under a hotel duvet trying to stave off pneumonia.
THE VISION | It was very important to us both to be married in a church. Beyond that, we wanted a relaxed intimate wedding; with no theme, but something that reflected who we are.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Having got together on the 14th May, and engaged on the 14th May, when we realised the 14th May 2016 was a Saturday, we had to go for it.
We set the date at the end of June 2015, and then I had surgery, which put me out of action until the start of October, so we put it all together in about seven months.
We were very lucky that once the date was set, things just fell into place. Of course, having been engaged for 11 years, we’d had plenty of time to think about what we wanted.
We were aiming for £14,000 but ended up spending £17,000.
THE VENUE | We were married in St. Matthias Church, in Brighton. It’s a lovely little Edwardian church on the edge of Brighton, with the sea in one direction and the South Downs in the other.
As the name implies, it’s dedicated to St. Matthias, who is the patron saint of hope and perseverance, which seemed appropriate given the length of our engagement.
When we discovered that the 14th May is the official festival date of St. Matthias it seemed like a sign.
We held our reception at Court Gardens Farm in Ditchling, just outside of Brighton. They have a lovely traditional Sussex barn with white walls and exposed beams, and gorgeous views over the countryside. It was only the second venue we visited and as soon as we heard the birdsong knew it was for us.
Court Gardens Farm is a working vineyard, so we were able to toast with a particularly delicious bubbly, in sight of the vines that produced it.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was silk hemp, with a layer of silk chiffon over the top – 7 meters of French chiffon! I never imagined myself with a train, but once I tried one I had to have it. It was a very swishy skirt and it pooled around my feet beautifully.
Benjie suggested orange shoes as a flash of colour, and I floored him by buying a pair for £20. After I realised I couldn’t walk in heels that high I bought a custom pair of orange Converse. Then, a couple of months before the wedding I found the perfect pair by Chie Mihara that looked like they were designed for my dress. So I ended up with 3 pairs of orange shoes.
My fabulous hairdresser Hayley at Simon Webster helped me decide on a braided hairstyle to go with the dress, and to my amazement my hair stayed perfectly in place until I took it down at the very end of the day. I had olive leaves and blossoms woven in to match my bouquet.
As my dress had a touch of Grecian to it, and to match my hair, I wore Olive Leaf earrings and necklace by Paloma Picasso.
FINDING THE DRESS | I’d had lots of time to think about exactly what I wanted, so I made some sketches and took them to White Leaf Bridal in Brighton and they made me the perfect dress.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Benjie had a three piece suit made by Hugo Morris in Brighton. I think he had more fittings than I did.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | For readings, we stuck with the classics: “Song of Solomon” and “Love’s Persistence” followed by “I Carry Your Heart With Me” by ee cummings.
Music was really important to us and we probably spent more time deciding on that than anything else.
I walked down the aisle to Bob Dylan’s cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. We had two hymns: “Morning Has Broken” and “Be Thou My Vision”. While we signed the register we had ‘Sicut Cervus’ by Palestrina, followed by ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ by The Velvet Underground and Nico. We walked out to the finale from “The Marriage of Figaro”.
One of our last minute decisions was to hire a jazz quartet to play in the evening. We found SO Quartet online, and were really lucky they were available on about two weeks’ notice. We told them just before they started their set that whatever they played would be our first dance, but we didn’t want to know what it was going to be; they played “Let There Be Love” which was perfect.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My sister Deirdre was my bridesmaid. Benjie’s sister Chloë was his best-woman.
We dressed them in matching vintage-style dresses from Pretty Eccentric in Brighton.
THE FLOWERS | Our extremely effervescent florist was Barbara of Miss Mole’s Flower Emporium. (Our helpful photographer recommended her.) We went for a couple of meetings, and what we loved was how much passion Barbara had for flowers.
I knew I wanted country garden type flowers—stocks, snapdragon and sweetpea with a few roses—in an informal bouquet. We hung sashes of flowers between the pillars in the church. In the barn we had a stunning, and beautifully fragrant, ball of flowers hung from the beams as a centre piece for dancing under.
Barbara even managed to source some gorse for us – not in a standard florist’s selection.
THE CAKE | Our cake was made for us by a close family friend. We asked for pear and ginger, which we didn’t realise is extremely difficult to bake. However, when we finally tasted it it was amazing, and was gone in about 5 minutes. It was decorated very simply with soft butter icing and some loose flowers to match the rest of our flowers.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Our extremely talented photographer was Joanna Brown. We both hate having our photograph taken, and were dreading the photographs. I think if we could have had a wedding without them we would have, but Joanna made us laugh the whole time. We felt really comfortable, and we’ve ended up with photographs that we’re really happy to show people.
Moreover, Joanna was probably the most organised person involved in the wedding; it was Joanna who checked our schedule and advised us how our timings would work better. She even tracked down the wi-fi password that we’d lost, so our Spotify playlist worked during the meal.
When we first spoke to Joanna, she talked about capturing the feel of the wedding, and we think that’s just what her photos have done.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We’re both vegetarian, and one of the first decisions we made was that we weren’t having meat. We managed to find an amazing catering company in nearby Lewes called Cashew Catering, who provided an incredible buffet and first class service for the whole event.
We had determinedly resisted a theme of any kind, but by this time orange was creeping in with alarming persistence (we’d sent out bright orange invitations to match my shoes). Even so we were delighted to source dozens of little glass bowls and hundreds of orange floating candles which made the venue really magical. So we ended up with a theme of sorts.
THE HONEYMOON | We honeymooned in Rome, the first time either of us had been. Our hotel was a converted renaissance house a few hundred meters from the Colosseum and we spent our days strolling through Roman ruins and boutique shops, and eating too much gelato.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Our first purchase, because to us they were the most important, were our rings. We were lucky enough to stumble on Number 10, in the centre of Brighton’s Lanes. The jeweller Marc, custom made my ring in platinum to fit the shape of my engagement ring, and Benjie chose a plain band to match. Even though they must see hundreds of couples, they made it feel like a really personal service.
Perhaps the most memorable experience was the open top double-decker bus we hired to transport everyone from the church to the reception. People waved, and cars beeped their horns as we bowled through the Sussex countryside. As post-wedding experiences go, you can’t beat having a snog on the back of an open-top bus.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Decide on your priorities early. Settle on the most important things first and you’ll be able to take a few risks closer to the day.
Ask your suppliers for advice; it turns out, they know a lot more about weddings than you do! We were really fortunate to find suppliers who were really passionate about what they do.
We fluked out on our suppliers, use all of them if you can, they were all great.
Try to keep your numbers down. Fewer guests means you can afford to treat the people closest to you to something special, and actually get to spend more than a minute or two with them.
Be true to yourself: buy the dress you love, choose the ring you want to wear forever, take your vows somewhere sacred to you, and do it with the people you love.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Joanna Brown
Rings | Number 10, Brighton
Florist | Miss Mole’s Flower Emporium
Ceremony Venue | St. Matthias Church, Brighton
Reception Venue | Court Gardens Farm, Ditchling
Catering | Cashew Catering
Hair | Hayley @ Simon Webster
Dress | White Leaf Bridal
Bride’s Shoes | Chie Mihara
Groom’s Suit | Hugo Morris
Groom’s Shoes | Grenson
Bridesmaid’s Dresses | Pretty Eccentric
Band | SO Quartet
Bus to Venue | Southcoast Motor Services
Car to Church | Finest Wedding Cars
Glasses, tableware, linen | Hireall, Hove
Ekkk so gorgeous.
Patricia and Benjie, thanks so much to you both for sharing your lovely wedding story here on WWW xo Lou