I just love the beautiful countryside setting of today’s real wedding. Fields, blue skies and a lot of love.
Rachel and James tied the knot on the 3rd August 2013 at Shilstone, Devon. They wanted their wedding to be understated, elegant and relaxed.
They kept their details and décor simple, with pretty fresh flowers, elegant stationery and stylish attire. Rachel looked amazing in a dress by Essence of Australia, cathedral length veil and pretty up do.
Huge thanks goes to Ben Selway for sharing his wonderful images today.
THE PROPOSAL | Went to Salcombe in the South Hams for a long weekend get away in October 2012 and stayed at the South Sands Hotel. James and I often head to the South Hams for weekend get aways from London and have done so since we met over 7 years ago, so Devon means a lot to us both as well as I grew up there.
On the morning of the proposal it was a beautiful bright sunny morning and we had decided to go for a beach walk. We headed to Salcombe and got the little boat across the Estuary. We ended up relaxing for a while on Sunny Cove which was deserted and after scrambling across rocks and avoiding high tide (little did I know my ring was with us!).
James popped the question shortly after we’d got to Sunny Cove – it was a perfect! Intimate, romantic & thoughtful with the exception of the dogs which appeared from over the headland and descended on us just moments after James had given me my ring; we laughed so much!
THE VISION | It was important to us both our wedding day captured what we both love; The Countryside and the Beach. We wanted our day to be understated elegance, beautiful, natural and really relaxed.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We pretty much kept a spreadsheet for everything and it was definitely worth getting as many quotes as possible to build an idea of costs and also learn about the wedding planning process. We started with the venue as the number one item and then gradually built around that once booked. We also learnt a lot from our friends who had recently got married and any tips and must do’s/ must avoids.
Getting married in Devon and living in London did mean there was going to be a few extra long weekends over the coming months in Devon but it was worth it to book meetings with suppliers and get things ticked off our list.
THE VENUE | Shilstone, Modbury Devon- No joke, after having only been engaged for about 2 hours we were in the car and on our way to Shilstone House (25 minutes from Salcombe) . Shilstone is a private family home which had been renovated over the years and now does weddings and private venue and party hire. The owners Lucy and Sebastian Fenwick were so lovely and welcoming; it really felt like home when you arrived. I think we were also their first engaged couple to view the venue so quickly after getting engaged and hadn’t even told our parents yet!
The venue was so impressive it really took our breath away. The house was elegant and so beautifully done; just stunning, the grounds were immaculate and so picturesque and the view of the valley reminded me of growing up as a little girl in Devon. The added bonus was there was a marquee in the walled garden for the reception which ticked all the boxes for James and I. It also gave the option of a civil ceremony in the house or outside as an option. We actually couldn’t fault the venue in any way.
We did take another weekend out to venue hunt in Devon but nothing really compared to Shilstone and we were extremely lucky thanks to my parents to secure the venue and our wedding date of 3rd August 2013.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Essence of Australia dress, sweet heart neck line with small lace straps, detailed lace and bead bodice, lace up back and criss cross detail on the dress bodice. Full skirt and train with with full length cathedral two tier veil, small white flowers in my hair, Rainbow Couture peep toe ivory shoes and jewellery bought by my now husband as a surprise to open on our wedding morning. Also had something old something new, something borrowed something blue and a sixpence for my shoe! It was my dream dress!
FINDING THE DRESS | I didn’t really know what I would go for although always thought a fuller skirt and definitely a veil. Best advice is to go to a couple of shops to get you going which stock a variety of styles and designers to build the image and confidence in what you think you love and what you really love including fabric type.
Ended up finding my dress in a shop in York near to where my parents were living and then found the designer nearer my home in Wimbledon London. The good thing about finding it nearer London meant the fittings were easier being just down the road.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | James wore a navy Morning suit which he bought and had tailored and I bought him as part of his wedding gift a handmade waistcoat from Favourbrook. The fathers and Ushers all wore Navy morning suits from Austin Reed and we bought matching ties for everyone to wear. We didn’t want to go with a specific colour scheme and match the bridesmaids colours with the Ushers which worked really well with what the men were wearing.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | I walked down the Aisle to ‘She’ by Elvis Costello. Notting Hill is my fav film and for me captured me perfectly.
James and I left the ceremony to’ FLY ME TO THE MOON’ fun, relaxed and upbeat- one of our favourites.
We had a string quartet for the ceremony and reception drinks (based in Exeter) and a band (Revenge of Gentleman) for the evening reception recommended from my bridesmaid and her husband who had them play at their wedding. The band play covers and are based in London but happy to travel- Otis is the lead singer together with his friends from the TV and production.
We had 3 readings.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had 4 beautiful bridesmaids who all wore the same floor length dress in thyme green from Coast. They all wore matching jewellery handmade form a shop called Nude, in London and wore nude peep toe heels.
I also had a little flower girl, Lucy who wore a little dress in very pale pink and sparkles (at her request) from Monsoon. Lucy carried a small flower basked made by James Mum with petals and had little cream socks and ballet shoes.
All the girls wore small pink flowers in their hair and their hair was done by Jodie Lywood from Devon- I didn’t mind how their hair was done as long as it captured a relaxed natural soft look to compliment my soft up do.
THE FLOWERS | Emma Vowles (based in Totnes) did my flowers, the bridesmaids, ceremony flowers and assistance with table decorations in the marquee. Emma and her team were AMAZING- So relaxed and excited to capture the vision of our wedding day and to be a part of it. We had a couple of appointment with Emma which helped her build an image of our day and what we wanted it to be. I was not sure at all what I wanted other than hand tied bouquets and really left it up to Emma- I was not one bit disappointed. The colours were pale pinks, creams and greens, natural and pretty; exactly what I wanted.
THE CAKE | Went for a Cheese wedding cake which we picked from the Country Cheeses shop in Totness. Shilston catering decorated it for us with foliage and supplied wonderful rustic breads, chutney and fruits.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Ben Selway and his wife Sarah- amazing in every way. We met Ben and Sarah at the venue a few months before our wedding day to walk then venue and get an idea of the images we were wanting to have. Again, we wanted the photography to be relaxed and spontaneous and capture the details of our day. You don’t realise quite how much time you spend with the photographers on your wedding day so having a great relationship with them and clicking is absolutely key- we can’t recommend Ben and Sarah enough, relaxed, great fun, calm, passionate and just got what we wanted- perfect!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | The theme running through out was shells captured on the table plan, order of service, wedding breakfast menus etc… The centre pieces were a mix of ivory hydrangeas and smaller jam jars and tea lights and rustic nautical lanterns, candles and love potion bottles with Ammi. The favours were clotted cream fudge in small boxes tied in green organza ribbon for the men and pink for the ladies.
THE HONEYMOON | Bali & Lombok- booked through Caznove Lloyd- 5 star and trip of a life time. A combination of jungle yoga retreat and white water rafting in Ubud, then onto Lombok for paradise beach relaxation and private boat trips to the Gili Islands staying at Tugu Lombok and ending our honeymoon back in Seminyak, Bali.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Its impossible to name one… James arriving with his ushers in a land rover after getting lost down a Devon country lane and ending up arriving up a muddy bridle path. Seeing Rachel for the first time as she walked down the aisle. Walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing James. Our vows with all our family and friends with us. Girls getting ready time in the morning with my Mum and the bridesmaids. The amazing food and sun shining. Speeches. Photos in the surrounding fields particularly with the cows as the sun went down.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t stress at all and enjoy every minute of the preparations and build up. Don’t get too caught up on the details its amazing how it all works out. Make sure you research and speak to friends who have been married for advice and get a selection of quotes. Stick to what you both want, its your day and the one thing we loved after was everyone saying how ‘James and Rach’ our day was and was so us in every way!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Wedding Cake | Country Chesses
Favours | Hi-t’s Fudge
Photography | Ben Selway Photography
Flowers | Emma Vowles
Hair | Jodie Lywood
Band | Revenge of Gentlemen
Bridesmaids gifts | Nude Jewellery
Grooms waistcoat | Favour Brook
Drinks provider | Charles Stevenson
Honeymoon | Caz Loyd
Wow, such a classic and beautiful affair.
Thanks so much to Rachel and James for sharing their wedding story XOXO Lou