Wedding planning all started with the most romantic proposal for WWW readers Sophie and Matt, from there two years of preparations commenced, which resulted in the most beautiful botanical inspired wedding day. We are just thrilled to be sharing their gorgeous celebrations, which were photographed by the wonderful Jenna Woodward Photography whose images we are totally loving today, thanks Jenna!
Our pair chose to tie the knot on the 31st May 2018 at Cripps Barn in the Cotswolds countryside. It’s no wonder with its beautiful beamed barn and surrounding gardens, it suited the rustic and laid back atmosphere of their day just perfectly. A fun vibe was high on the agenda for Sophie and Matt who wanted a music filled wedding with plenty of dancing, hence the awesome playlist and live band come evening. With garden games, head carvers on each table and dancefloor props, their guests were certainly entertained all day long.
Their wedding style was paired back, with white and green tones used throughout to great effect. The greenery laden floral arrangements really looked so fresh and pretty, Sophie’s peony filled bouquet in particular really was breathtaking. Sophie’s Enzoani gown had layers of ethereal tulle in the skirt and a lace bodice which looked just sensational on her. With Matt and the groomsmen in matching blue suits with pheasant print accessories and the bridesmaids in chic multi-way bridesmaid dresses, there sure was a lot of style involved. Just divine!
We were away with our close friends for the weekend at a beach house in Chichester. We were at the pub when Matt announced he needed to set up the house for “a game” and took the guys with him. Us girls were pretty oblivious and continued with gossip and prosecco. We were summoned back to the house to find a sign at the door telling us to follow the path of beach pebbles and candles through the house, “Sophie first”. I reached the kitchen and heard one of our favourite songs playing (Always Attract by Youmeatsix) and started to suspect something at this point, and when I made it to the back garden and there was Matt with the champagne, and he got down on one knee and popped the question! It was very romantic, and the fact that we were surrounded by our friends was super special as we had all met at uni at the same time and so they have been with us all the way through the relationship. They were all ecstatic and we spent the night partying together in celebration.
As soon as we got engaged we knew we wanted a laid back day that was full of fun, for us and also for our guests. When we started looking around we loved the laid back and rustic feel of barns, and it was just a matter of finding the right one. It was never going to be a quiet wedding, and our love of music and dancing meant that we just had to have a band. Another priority was somewhere that allowed us to carry onto the party til late! In terms of décor, we quickly fell In love with a natural feel, with lots of greenery, and as I narrowed in on my dream dress I got the idea of cream flowers with hints of champagne and gold in the decorations.
The Planning Process
We had two years between our engagement and the wedding, and this allowed us to take our time and enjoy it every step of the way (as well as save up for the wedding that we really wanted). We took things pretty slow and steady all the way through, starting with searching with lots of searching through blogs and Pinterest to get a feel for what we wanted. We found and booked our venue with about 18 months to go followed by our photographers and our band. We tried to tick the big things off first and work towards the detail as we got closer to the wedding. We had an absolute ball the whole way through the planning process and celebrated every milestone.
I found both the hair and make-up artists through Make-up by Jodie.
Hair was by Bridal Hair by Helena Sinclair. She was really easy-going and great at interpreting what we wanted and a lovely calming presence to have around on the morning of the wedding! I went for half up / half down with curls and plaited at the back, with plenty of volume in the top. I then had a headdress to put over the front of my head and veil in the back.
The bridesmaids had half up half down with twists instead of plaits. They each wore it slightly differently according to their hair type and their preference which was great. They then had a bit of gypsophila pinned in the back.
Make-up was by Rachael Claire Bridal. She did a great job of the natural look whilst still making it look special. She also did a great job of slightly adapting the look to suit each of my bridesmaid’s preferences. It was a warm day and the make-up lasted really well. Another lovely presence to have around the morning of the wedding!
Your Outfits & Accessories
Sophie: My dress was strapless with a sweetheart neck from Enzoani. It wasn’t the style that I originally thought I’d end up with as I imagined something a bit more boho and relaxed, but once I started trying on dresses I quickly found that it was a shape that suited me, and it felt really special to be wearing a fuller skirt. The champagne tone in the underskirt worked with my skin tone and I found a veil to match at the White Boutique in Leamington Spa, where I also got my dress. My shoes were from a small Australian company for Forever Soles, I knew I wanted something comfy and when I saw the espadrille wedges on Pinterest I loved that they were a bit more relaxed but still felt bridal. My headdress was a one of a kind piece made from vintage jewellery by a lady called Camilla Carrington that I found at a wedding fair.
Matt: Mine and the groomsmen’s suit were from the Wedding Barn in Ufton in Leamington Spa. I hired check waistcoats with a pheasant print on the back for me and the best men.
The groomsmen wore the same suits as Matt from the Wedding Barn, except with matching blue waistcoat. They wore a pheasant print tie which Matt found online. We also bought / hired brown brogues from the Wedding Barn. The best men both wore the same check waistcoat as Matt with plain blue ties from the wedding barn.
The girls wore the twist and wrap dress from Eliza and Ethan in Taupe. I wanted them all to be a bit individual and so they all tied them differently. They chose their own shoes, and all went for neutral colours to go with the dress. They also had free reign over their jewellery, but I bought each of them a Katie Loxton Bridesmaid pouch bag from Narborough Hall as part of their gift.
We originally had about £25k in mind, although we ended up surpassing this ever so slightly!
Cripps Barn, Bibury. We ended up visiting Cripps on the off chance that someone would be able to show us around after seeing other venues in the Cotswolds area. I remember getting butterflies when we first walking into the barn and seeing big beautiful flowers hanging from the ceiling. As we walked around it just got better – the dining room had rustic beams running through it and the grounds were beautiful but not overly groomed. There’s lots of freedom and choice for how you’d like your day to go. The thing that sold it to us with the laid back approach to wedding breakfast options; they have a giant BBQ outside for cooking the meat and you can serve it up in the middle of the table for your guests to help themselves. We chose a guest from each table to carve the beef and bought them an apron each.
The Readings & Music
Sophie’s brother Jake did a reading during the ceremony. We let him choose and he kept it a secret until the day. He chose “How falling in love is like owning a dog” by Taylor Mali. It was perfect as it was light hearted but very sweet, and so very Jake too!
For music we had a collection of our favourite songs as a couple throughout the ceremony. Pre-ceremony we had; First day of my life by Bright Eyes; I forget where we were by Ben Howard; Always Attract by Youmeatsix; There she is by Frank Turner; and Mrs by Leon Bridges playing as the guests filtered in and found their seats.
Sophie walked down the aisle to Heartbeats by Jose Gonsalez.
As we were signing the register we had Here comes the sun by the Beatles and Lovely Day by Bill Withers.
We walked out to Send me on my way by Rusted Root, which also features in our video.
We are big fans of such a wide range of music and spent time putting a playlist together of our favourite songs that we knew would get the party started for throughout the meal and reception. For the evening we hired a band called the Colts, who play a great mix of rock, pop and soul/ motown / funk which was perfect for us. They were absolutely brilliant and even invited my bridesmaid up to sing a couple of songs with them!
Our first dance was Never too much by Luther Vandross, which our band played. We knew we wanted an upbeat song that people wouldn’t necessarily expect, and it got the party going so well!
The Details & Décor
Cripps Barn is beautiful as it is and so didn’t really require lots of extra decoration. We went quite heavy with the flowers to add to the natural/ rustic feeling and they complimented the setting so well. We decided we didn’t want to do much stationery for the day itself, and so all of the important information for guests was written onto big blackboards using chalk pens by Sophie and Sophie’s mum. We had a lot of fun doing this and made us feel like we were really putting our own stamp on the day. The boards were just pieces of MDF cut and painted with blackboard paint by Sophie’s dad.
The beautiful hurricane lanterns which lined the aisle were provided by the venue. They also dotted tea-lights and candles around everywhere which really added to the atmosphere.
We bought lawn games such as skittles and Jenga for guests, particularly the children, which went down well during reception drinks.
We wanted to do something slightly different to a guestbook, so instead we had a “message in the bottle” table where our guests could write us a little message, which we will read on our first anniversary. We also had two instant cameras circulating throughout the day and used a pallet with brown string and fairy lights as a place for guests to pin them up. Everyone had so much fun with these and the photos that we have from it are absolutely brilliant, it really captures everyone mingling and having fun together.
We used picnic hampers and wicker baskets for cards, toiletries etc which added to the rustic vibe.
For the table plan we decided to use our favourite drinks as table names, and then had the idea to display the bottles with seating plan up a ladder. We put little fairy lights in each of the bottles.
For the table decorations we used empty bottles matching the table name for each table and collected other old / antique mismatched bottles for each table. We then put a variety of flowers and foliage in each of the bottles. Table names were also displayed on a small blackboard with chalk pen, except for the top table which we wrote on a gold mirror which I found at a carboot sale. The top table décor was really special thanks to our florist, who came up with adding succulents and glass bell jars and bowls.
For the place settings Sophie bought some plain white gift tags and decorated them with gold leaf, and then we stuck sprigs of foliage through the holes. The names were written in calligraphy by Sophie.
We had some personalised aprons made for the “head carver” of each table, and wrote a little note to them to ask us to carve the meat for us. This was such good fun and got the tables mixing!
We set up a smaller room with games and sweets for the kids. Some of the toys, such as the inflatable guitars, also went down really well with the adults on the dancefloor too!
We hired a cream VW camper van from Pear Tree Weddings to get us to and from the venue, and then Matt and I had a ride in it straight after the ceremony to get a few minutes to ourselves. It was so lovely inside and the driver was great, and they threw in a bottle of bubbly for us to enjoy too!
The cake was made by a friend of my mum’s, Di. It was a four tier cake with different flavours in each layer (chocolate, Victoria sponge, lemon) with white fondant icing and it was delicious! It was then decorated with flowers by our florist.
Our flowers were by Jayne at Blue Thistle. I’m no flower expert but explained to Jayne that we wanted loads of green and white / cream that had a slightly wild feel to them and she totally got it. She had so many good ideas and took my vague ideas and made them into something so special! They really suited the setting and I especially loved the stunning hanging baskets that she created, which gave such a wow factor to the barn.
Our filmmakers are called Through the Lens with Marvin Marius. We found them at the national Wedding show in Birmingham. We were unsure about whether to hire a filmmaker but we are SO glad that we did! Marvin and his team did an unbelievable job. They really listened to what we wanted, which was a fun and upbeat video that captured the happiness of the day. They were great fun to have with us on the day too. I think the packages that they offer were such good value, the brought a drone with them which captured some amazing shots of all our guests, the venue and even my journey to the ceremony in the VW van! They were also with us late into the night to make sure that they captured the party.
Our photographer was Jenna Woodward Photography. Finding the right photographer was one of the areas that took us some time, as we knew we wanted someone to focus on capturing the feel of the day with lots of natural photos. Jenna was recommended to me by a friend, and as soon as I looked through her website and blogs I got very excited! We loved that an engagement shoot was included in her package, as it was great to meet Jenna and Ewan beforehand and get comfortable with them. Jenna spent lots of time planning the day with us and understanding what we wanted, and she has provided us with so many beautiful photos full of love and laughter and we are absolutely over the moon with them! It was a pleasure to have them with us on the day.
We spent a few days in the Cotswolds with our family and friends following the wedding, then went off to Ibiza for our mini moon. It’s a beautiful island and we loved being able to party and relax in equal measure!
We are going on our main honeymoon to Costa Rica and Mexico in December this year.
Sophie: For me it was entering the barn, and being hit by the smell of flowers, everyone smiling and Matt waiting at the end for me. I also really enjoyed the dinner and speeches as it allowed me to sit back and take in everything going on around me. Matt and the groomsmen also prepared a surprise dance to Shut up and dance by Walk The Moon which was hilarious and so much fun!
Matt: The build up and anticipation before Soph arrived is something that sticks out for me. Seeing all the guests arrive and realising all of your friends and family are there for YOUR wedding is quite surreal. Seeing Soph for the first time was pretty breathtaking and I actually enjoyed the ceremony part – I think we liked being centre of attention more than we thought we would! Apart from that, the dance the groomsmen did and the speeches are my favourite memories.
Advice For Other Couples
Enjoy every moment of the planning process as well as the day itself. We had so much fun along the way and made sure that we celebrated even the smallest milestones. If there’s anything that you splash out on, make sure it’s your photographer/ filmmaker, they will be your lasting memory of the day for the rest of your life!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Jenna Woodward Photography
Through the Lens with Marvin Marius
The Wedding Barn
How utterly perfect.
Huge thanks to Sophie and Matt for sharing their stunning wedding with us xo Lou