Genna and Ollie married back in the summer on a glorious day in the middle of the woods.
Their whole wedding ethos was about celebrating the nature surrounding them and of course their love. Luckily they found Coombe Farm & Woodland Trust in Devon where they could hold their hand fasting ceremony under the trees.
Genna wore a vintage 1920s wedding dress with flowers in her hair and Ollie donned a vintage tweed jacked teamed with eclectic pieces. There were wild fllowers, camping, wooden wedding rings and home made details. Amazing.
Thanks so much to the wonderful Freckle Photography for sharing their images with us today.
The Proposal… Ollie took me away to Wales as a surprise to stay in a gypsy caravan then an eco barn that was on a hill miles from anyone. He proposed on the 10th anniversary of our first date, by the fire in the eco barn after making me dinner. He simply said “I want to spend the rest of my life with you..” and handed me a small wooden box with a handcrafted wooden ring.
The Vision for the Day… Country fair. We wanted the day to be relaxed and fun, with home made touches and a rustic feel. It was also important for us for people to feel the power and beauty of the natural surroundings, led by the woodland ceremony.
The Planning Process… The most important thing for us was for the ceremony to take place in nature, so we wanted to find a place that felt truly magical for us. We also didn’t want a traditional venue where you have a package deal, we wanted to do everything ourselves and have complete control over what we did. We envisioned a beautiful meadow or woodland where we could have a ceremony and a large yurt for the reception. Then we looked into old agricultural barns that we could do up and make nice for a venue. We struggled with finding somewhere like this and our ideas brought about lots of worries from our parents like where would people park and toilets etc.
We then thought about hiring a large holiday accommodation in a beautiful area so most people could stay over and it could also be more practical, most places weren’t rustic and natural enough for us. That’s when we found Coombe Farm, with its large accommodation, woodland, meadow, old barn and secluded surroundings. It was just perfect!
Luckily they had one weekend available, and once we had signed the contract we only had four months till the big day.
I know I wanted a lot of the things to be handmade so I got family onto making decorations straight away like bunting, table runners, tin can lanterns etc. We also got everyone to collect Jam jars for t-lights and flowers.
It was a steady progress from there seeking out all the other bits like table hire, alcohol for the bar, my accessorises, flowers, music etc. We found things just slotted into place once we knew what we wanted and all our family and friends were there to help whenever we asked.
Budget… We wanted to spend about £6,000, though we did possibly go over this. We were lucky enough to get deals on things to keep costs down, and getting people to make things like decorations, favours, wine, desserts helped a lot as well.
The Venue… Coombe Farm & Woodland trust in Uplowman, Tiverton, Devon. A beautiful secluded place, nestled in its own little valley surrounded by woodland and fields. We had the venue for three nights to ourselves which meant we could all just relax and feel cut off from the world. It has a big old 16th century farmhouse and annex which meant a lot of family could stay, and it had a field/ meadow for guests to camp in. The day after the wedding we all had a fabulous time playing in the outside pool and drinking champagne in the hot tub. It was bliss!
The Dress + Accessories… A reworked 1920’s dress from White Leaf Boutique in Brighton. Fresh water pearl Necklace that was my great-grandmothers, earring were a present from my parents, shoes were flat sandals from Office. I wore real flowers in my hair.
Finding the Dress… Luckily Ollie’s brother and Sister in-law own a bridal boutique in Brighton and they offered to give me a dress as our wedding present. We met up at Ollie’s parents house one weekend and they brought a selection of dresses for me to try. The one I choose was a vintage 1920’s dress which we cut the high neck and long sleeves off of and added lace to the middle, bottom and sleeves. It felt amazing on and turned out better than I could have of ever imagined.
Groom’s Attire… Ollie wanted to go for a country, eclectic look for the wedding day. It started with the vintage waistcoat that was given to him by his brother and sister in-law, which they also altered for him. He slowly built up his outfit piece by piece from high street, vintage shops and market stalls. The only thing we forgot on the wedding day were foliage for his buttonhole!
The Readings + Music… We had a wonderful Priestess called Lizzie to conduct our handfasting ceremony. We had several meetings with her before hand to tailor what we wanted from the ceremony. We had the Bride’s Dad and Sister and the Groom’s Mother and Brother call the quarters which invites natures elements to the ceremony. Brides Dad read a beautiful Apache poem which I think had most people in tears. Ollie and I wrote our own vows and read them to each other, this was quite important to us as we wanted it to be as personal as possible. We had friends hold the broom which we jumped over to mark leaving single life into married life. We then invited everyone to come and bind our hands with the ribbon that they had brought with them, it also gave people a chance to give us there wishes and blessings. It was a very happy moment.
We had two amazing folk musicians meet the guests in the woods to lead them up through the trees to the oak tree and ceremony site. They played for the guests before the Bride arrived. They then lead the bridesmaids, bride and Bride’s Father into the congregation for the start of the ceremony. A third band member then came and played with them back at the barn with upbeat folk music. In the evening we had a young jazz band who went on to playing electro-swing as the night went on.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… We didn’t want to have bridesmaids or groomsmen, as we wanted everyone to be apart of the day. My nieces were flower girls aged 6 and 2. I wanted them to be pretty but relaxed in a boho style in long white dresses, flower head garlands and sandals.
The Flowers… We wanted to go for wildflowers and do to the displays and bouquets ourselves to not only save money but because we wanted the look to be natural and rustic. My Nan did all the arrangements the day before and we literally had flowers everywhere in jam jars with a natural rope bow around them. We got them from a wholesaler in the city, Peamore Flora who orders in the flowers for you. It meant I could have exactly the flowers I wanted in the right quantities etc.
The Cake… Made by a family friend who loves to make cakes in her spare time. Honey and lavender cake, it truly was the most delicious cake we have ever tasted!
Your Photographer… The wonderful Freckle Photography. Emma completely understood what we were after and produced beautiful, creative photos that captured the whole feel of the day perfectly.
The Details + Decor… A combination of home made bunting, tin can lanterns, badges and pretty fairy lights. We hired some straw bales for the marquee which we draped over with knitted blankets. For the barn we hired some rustic tables from a local company and lined with hessian. Pressed leaves were sprinkled on to give a truly natural feel. We also borrowed some old wooden games from a local school for the guests to entertain themselves.
The Honeymoon… We had a mini adventure to Romania where we stayed in the Bucharest for two nights in the beautiful Boutique hotel. We then headed up north in a hire car to Transylvania where we stayed for 6 nights in a traditional Saxon house in a small village nestled in a valley of hills. It was like stepping back into the 18th century with horse and cart and cows going home past the window at 8pm every evening. It wonderful and relaxing experience.
Memorable Moments… Ollie couldn’t get his ring on due to the hot weather, he was determined to get it on and it took him about five minutes to force it on. Also being surrounded by people dancing in animal masks and funny gear was quite a surreal. We have a fabulous video of Ollie dancing in a horses head, I just love how weird it all looks.
Advice for Other Couples… Always go for what you want and don’t listen to other people, its your day after all and you are the ones who have to live with the regret afterwards. No matter what, there will be the odd guest who drops out last minute so be prepared for this. Every so often take time to stop together and take in your surroundings, absorb the beauty and happiness that you have created.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Wedding Dress- www.whiteleafbridal.com
Food (Vegan/ vegetarian)- www.fairfoods.org.uk
Rustic Tables- www.virginiasvintagehire.co.uk
Wedding stationary and favours (me!)- www.gennabyrne.com
Day Band- The Rambling Pitchforks www.seansiegfried.moonfruit.com
Evening Band- The After Hours Quintet https://soundcloud.com/the-after-hours-quintet
Oh how I dream of getting married beneath the trees. So dreamy.
Thanks so much to Genna and Ollie for sharing their gorgeous wedding with us today XOXO Lou