A Rustic, Picnic Feel Wedding on a Farm

Sara and Tom were married back in September and they wanted to create an interative day for their guests, with a “rustic, authentic, country, picnic type feel”.

They got really involved in creating the day of their dreams, from arranging the flowers themselves, decorated the beautiful barn themselves with fairy lights and lampshades hung from the beams, they also made the bunting amongst other decor elements… they even made their own photo booth to entertain guests. This really was a family affair where everyone pitched in and i love that ethos… not only that but it looks so so lovely.

Thanks so much to the fabulous North West based wedding photographer, Alex Davies Photography, for sharing her gorgeous images today, here is what she had to say about the day;

“Sara & Tom had a, what you might call, unconventional wedding, and I loved it. All of the elements of details that had gone into planning the reception was fantastic. The bouquets had vintage buttons in them, the bride arrived in a vintage Morris Minor. It’s so great when B&G’s think outside the box and it gives me loads of amazing stuff to photographAfter a lovely ceremony at a beautiful church the couple had their reception at Billy Bartram’s farm barn and did a fabulous job of converting it from an empty room into a stunning and quirky reception venue.”

Names…  Sara and Tom

Wedding Date… Saturday 3rd September 2011

The Proposal… Tom nonchalantly asked me if I wanted to come round for banana pancakes one Saturday morning. I walked into his room and he had made it look almost like a circus tent, using lots of white streamers coming from the centre of the ceiling. He had covered the room with my favourite flowers – gypsophilia and hot pink roses, and he had used his long blackboard to write out “Sara Jeangeorges, will you marry me?”

The Vision for the Day… We were really looking forward to sharing this day with all of the people who were most important to us. We wanted to have a real family feel, We wanted to include lots of little details that would make the day special and very “us”… and we wanted to make it as fun and interactive as possible. We wanted to treat our guests and have one big celebration together!

Some of the themes we wanted to include were a rustic, authentic, country, picnic type feel (although not an actual picnic). Also we wanted a bit of a French feel as Sara is half French (and they do have such good taste).

The Planning Process… When we started thinking about the day we wanted to have a really clear idea of how we wanted it to look and feel before we started thinking more practically. We began by writing a list of words that we would want to characterise our day – family feel, relaxed, informal, interactive, fun, rustic, vintage, french, homemade, individual and authentic.

We then brainstormed loads of ideas of things we would love to include if we could have anything we wanted. No ideas were barred! From there we started to think more practically about what things we could do when taking into account our budget and other considerations.Tom’s vintage carousel idea was out of the question, as it would’ve taken up half of the budget! We came up with a spreadsheet budget and to-do list to plan all that needed doing but as we made decisions we always went back to the initial list of words/vision to make sure it kept to how we wanted the day to be.

Budget… £9,000

The Venue… St Everilda’s Church, Nether Poppleton. Billy Bartram’s Barn, Barmby Moor (near York)

Dress and Accessories… Elizabeth of York (Maggie Sottero)

Finding the Dress… As with a lot of the wedding, I felt very blessed and answers to prayer were coming in all over the place. However finding the dress was quite stressful as all the dresses I wanted -floaty and lacy type ones- made me look frumpy. I called in the help of Mum and she made a few appointments in York. I asked quite a few (probably about 20!) of my friends to pray I would find a dress for under £600. We went to a shop my mum knew of and tried a few things on. I didn’t like anything I tried on and I thought I was going to have to spend a lot of money and wear a dress I didn’t even like. The wonderful lady in the shop suggested one dress that was very sparkly and very white, not my type of thing at all, I said no at first but Mum persuaded me. I loved it, it looked completely different on, and was just right for my body shape. I loved it. It was the last one in the line, a Maggie Sottero dress (in my size!!) so the lady in the shop said she would discount it for me. I then started trying veils on all of which were around £250, which I decided I could go without, however there was one which had a tiny hole in the bottom, I hadn’t noticed so she said she would give me the veil and the dress for … £600. :) We didn’t bother going to the next appointment but went to have scones and tea :)

Groom’s Attire… Blue Suit by Jaeger, Navy Blue knitted tie by Next.

The Readings + Music… Romans 5:1-11, Galations 5:22-26 (The Message), Give thanks to the Lord, Before the Throne of God Above, For the evening we wanted a great live band to make it a real party. We had an amazing one – The Phillipa King band from Newcastle who did a mixture of Funk/Soul/Pop. It was really worth spending the money (£800) as it made the evening.

First dance was ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Daryl Hall & John Oates.

Beautiful Bridesmaids… I had 5 beautiful bridesmaids, all of whom are different shapes, heights and sizes. I wanted all the dresses to be diferent and flattering for each bridesmaid, something they would enjoy wearing. I wanted a variation on blue as Tom was wearing a blue suit. Mum, me and my sister (also a bridesmaid) ended up getting four of the dresses one day at McArthur Glen Discount Outlet in York. For the fifth, our neighbour helpfully had a Coast dress in the perfect size and colour, so we borrowed it for the day.

The Flowers… We wanted a country-flowers-home-made-put-together feel (rather than a ‘formal-by-a-florist- very “done” look’) so we decided to do the flowers ourselves (but with a lot of help from friends). Most of the flowers we managed to get for free – we picked a load of hydrangeas and dried them out ourselves in Tom’s garage. We visited various friends and neighbours a day or two before the wedding to pick flowers from their gardens. We also bought £120 worth of flowers from a flower/garden centre which included:

Gypsophilia, Corn flowers, Thistles, Tanselum, White and also Pink Eustomas, September flowers, Freesias, and Bridal Gladiolois.

One of Sara’s mum’s friends came and helped us put the bouquets and table flowers together the day before. She also brought a lot of country flowers and foliage from her farm and the countryside with her. We’re so happy with how they turned out.

For the church, I used bunches of Gypsophilia tied with a large round of lace (from Etsy, a website where we got LOTS of ideas from!!) and tied them round the pews.

The Cake… We weren’t too keen on the tradition of cutting the cake. However Sara’s mum really loved the idea of making a homemade cake for us. What a beauty, we loved that it was handmade, it had the sash from my wedding dress which I didn’t end up using wrapped round it and it was covered in glitter and had a T and S on it. It fitted our wedding perfectly.

Your Photographer… Alex Davies. We looked at loads of different photographers. We chose Alex as her style of photography just fitted the feel of our wedding perfectly. She was great, able to take a beautiful shots quickly and without interrupting the flow of the day. She also managed to capture all of the details, so we have wonderful memories.

The Details + Decor… Our reception was at a tractor barn on a lovely farm out in the country. This was the first time Billy had hired it out for a wedding so it was pretty rough and ready but packed with rustic charm.

To add a homely feel we hung lots of light bulbs in different sized lamp shades from the wooden beams (Tom’s parents wired together all the lights using plugs, light fittings and a reel of cable).

We made most of the decoration ourselves– bunting (using spare material from Sara’s mum’s sewing box, bias binding, and a lot of sewing!), paper pom poms (using coffee filters). Tom made a ‘Tom & Sara’ sign out of chunky cardboard, polyfilla and white paint! We printed out large copies of photos of us as children and of the two of us and hung them with wooden pegs on a twine washing line. For the table plan we had a giant blackboard (the one Tom used to propose to me) made using a sheet of mdf and some blackboard paint, and then we used Sara’s colourful kids toy letters from when she was a child to spell out the table names. We made a stage for the band out of wooden pallets and chipboard, painted white and then decorated with paper streamers, pom-poms and fairy lights.

One thing we really wanted was for the day to be as fun and interactive as possible; For favours we gave our guests popping candy. We also made our very own photobooth for people to take pictures of themselves – we made a large wooden frame, attached old curtains using a staple gun, and made a sign. We bought a remote for Tom’s camera which sat inside on a tripod. Even we were surprised at how much people loved using it; It was fun to see the flash going off from the top of the booth all the time (and we sent people the photos in their thankyou cards).

We also had a coconut shy outside where guests could try out their throwing skills and win a coconut (very popular with kids)! And we had a sweetie stall (jars and confectionary display glasses from Ikea and TKMaxx, Stripey bags from Amazon).

We borrowed the tables, crockery and cutlery from Sara’s mum’s church. We also found a new vintage shop in Market Weighton (called Grandad’s Shed) that was opening a week or so after our wedding and asked them if we could borrow some of their stock for the day in exchange for putting out flyers on our presents table.

We went for long tables instead of round as we wanted a “pass the salt” type feel with everybody serving each other. Despite researching for ages we couldn’t find anywhere that hired nice table cloths (or chairs). We decided to buy them in the end (material is expensive!) and found an unbleached white cloth from Ikea. We chose red gingham runners as they matched our invitations and fitted the French theme well. For the table decorations we found some beautiful milk pales in Ikea (and bought them when they were half price on sale) and filled them with flowers. For place names we tied kraft parcel tags to the backs of the chairs.

Our food was done by Tarts and Titbits – a York-based deli/caterer who are friends of the family. We wanted a French feel and they came up with this lovely menu: Corn-fed Chickens with a Chesnut Stuffing, Home-made Pork Pies topped with Apple or Cranberries Sundried Tomato Quiche, Spinach & Blue Cheese Quicshe, Pearl Couscous with Mint, Lemon and Spinach, Salad with Courgette, Ribbons of Carrot, Strawberries and Black Pepper, Nicoise Salad, Freshly Cooked French Baguettes and Olive Bread, Garlic Mayonnaise, Onion Marmalade, Mustard, Followed by: Tarte au Citron, Chocolate Mousse made with Oreos (Tom is a big fan of Oreos), The food was served in big bowls on the tables so that people could help themselves. We had wicker baskets for the bread, wooden chopping boards for the meat, and vintage china teacups for sauces and chutneys. We all said grace together and we even asked everyone to send their plates to the ends of the table at the end of the meal.

We found a company who produce custom stamps so we designed one with a Sara & Tom motif on and then used it to print our own invites, orders of service and thankyou cards (we bought sheets of kraft card in bulk). It worked really well and was relatively cost effective too.

For confetti we picked bougainvillea petals together while on holiday in Israel and then made confetti cones out of pages from vintage comics (bought from charity shops).

The Honeymoon… We went to Croatia!

Memorable Moments… A sneaky Tango and a Twix in the wedding car on the way to the reception.

Advice for Other Couples… Get as clear an idea as you can of how you want your day to be before you start planning as it’s easy to lose sight once you’re in the thick of it.

When people quote you prices for things always ask if that price includes VAT as it makes a big difference (and people often don’t mention it). Oh and it doesn’t hurt to haggle or ask for discounts (we got 10% off our wedding rings just by asking!).

Ask for favours! Friends, Family, family friends, churches, village halls.

Go to a marriage prep course (lots of churches do them) – we found this was great preparation for marriage.

Credit where credit’s due…


Band – The Phillipa King Band (www.amvlivemusic.com)

Gingham tablecloth fabric (www.fabricuk.com)

Wooden Chairs (www.eventfurniture.com)
Invitation Printing (www.alocalprinter.com)
Custom made stamp – The English Stamp Company (www.englishstamp.com)
Aren’t they the most gorgeous couple?! Thanks so much to Sara and Tom for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today xoxo
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