I don’t think Friday’s get any better than this you guys! Here we have WWW readers Aimee and Jonny and their relaxed informal countryside wedding, which was held on the 7th April 2018 at the Chiltern Open Air Museum in Buckinghamshire. I really love how their venue gave them the flexibility of a rustic barn ceremony followed by a magical tipi reception, which was provided by WWW faves Country Tipis – yay!
Their festival style day screams cosy, sophisticated vibes and you are totally going to fall hard for the pretty décor and epic florals. Then there was the semi naked cake, festoon lighting come evening, fire pit area, flower wall backdrop and the darling guest book by WWW Supplier Love members Norma & Dorothy. Wow!
Aimee and Jonny, along with their wedding party looked gorgeous in their chosen attire, there was Mexican cuisine (we had the same caterers at our wedding and I can totally vouch for how amazing they are!) and guests danced the night away to some of their fave tracks. On hand to capture the day in all it’s glory were Terri & Lori Fine Art Photography and Film Studio, their photos and film are just so dreamy. Enjoy!
Shortly before Valentine’s day in 2017, Jonny whisked me around London for a treasure hunt! Puzzles on his hand-written notes led us from location to location all across the city; past the embracing couple statue at St Pancras station, to brunch in Soho, up St Paul’s Cathedral, and behind the scenes at the British Film Institute. Finally, we ended up in St Dunstan’s in the East, a former church that is now a beautiful Grade I listed open-air churchyard and gardens. Here, Jonny got down on one knee with a gorgeous diamond and green sapphire ring that he had created for me with the help of the brilliant designers at Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery. I of course said yes!
The vision for our wedding was overwhelmingly relaxed, cosy and simple, with vintage touches. We toyed with the idea of an urban wedding in London, but ultimately we decided that a countryside setting and festival vibes would completely suit our ideas for the day. We had the idea of wildflowers in mind, as well as wooden structures, such as barns, fairy lights, fire pits and tipis.
The Planning Process
We started planning our wedding shortly after we were engaged, researching venues online, and setting down a date. My sister, a professional wedding photographer and videographer, was already quite booked up for the year ahead, so we needed to explore dates where she wasn’t already capturing another couple’s big day! The previous April in 2016 had been warm and sunny, so we took a chance on a date early in April 2018 and booked the date. Little did we know, the Beast from the East was due to strike! Luckily, and just in time for the wedding, the snow melted away and the sun (almost) came out!
In the end, we had just over a year to plan the wedding, which we found was just enough time. Fortunately, we are pretty good decision-makers!
We knew roughly what our budget would be from the outset, and were able to stick quite closely to it, prioritising elements of our day such as the amazing burritos made by Mexican street food aficionados Cantina Carnitas, show-stopping cocktails from our vintage bar supplier, Coxtails, and a stunning two-hat tipi hired from the brilliant guys at Country Tipis.
For our venue, we chose the Chiltern Open Air Museum, a working farm nestled in the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside. On the grounds are two gorgeous, wooden-clad vintage barns, both licensed for wedding ceremonies. We chose Skippings Barn for our civil ceremony, a Grade II listed building full of history, character and a stunning minstrels’ gallery and staircase.
Our tipi reception took place in the adjoining field, linked to the barn by a walkway lined with festoon lighting. Between each of our structures sat our fabulous fire pit to top off those cosy, festival vibes!
The Readings & Music
I actually walked down the aisle to the wrong song! But actually, it couldn’t have been more fitting and I’m so glad that I didn’t ask them to stop and start again, and just rolled with it. Our brother-in-law Dan was in charge of the music and chose ‘I’ll Be Your Girl’ by the Decemberists, one of our background pieces we selected for the signing of the register, so luckily it was a song we already loved. And Jonny was none the wiser!
Two of our close friends performed readings for us during our civil ceremony. The first was ‘Why Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog’, a funny reading that had our friends and family giggling and that spoke to our love of animals. Our second was a heartfelt poem by Neil Gaiman, which came just after our personal vows, so there wasn’t really a dry eye in the room by that point!
For entertainment in the evening, we hired the phenomenal Eddie, the person behind Indie Wedding DJ. Eddie started off the party with our first dance song, ‘Strangers’ by The Kinks, and from there launched into a brilliant playlist including all ten of our must-play songs for the night. Eddie was an absolute master at getting people up on the dancefloor and had no intention of letting anyone sit down for long! We danced the night away, ending up with everyone on the dancefloor at the end of the night for The Killers ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’. Perfection.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Aimee’s outfit: I chose gorgeous tea-length dress ‘Dora’, designed by Lou Lou Bridal and found at Heritage Brides, an independent bridal boutique snuggled in the eaves of a converted stable building in the grounds of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. Heritage is an absolute treasure trove of dreamy gowns, all with a boho, classic, or vintage twist, for the bride who dares to be just that little bit different. Sam, owner of Heritage and all-round amazing lady, was the ideal person in addition to my sister, mum and mother-in-law-to-be, to help me decide which dress was the one, and which to be ruthless about and put back on the rail. As soon as I had Dora on and stepped in front of the huge gilded mirror (so beaut!), I did feel a tiny bit emotional! My nan, who had passed away only a couple of years previously, also had a tea-length dress for her wedding to my grandad in the sixties. I knew she would have loved it! I finished the dress off with a slim beaded belt in on a champagne-coloured ribbon, also selected from Heritage, and matching glittery T-bar shoes by Jenny Packham. Finally, I chose peach vintage-inspired flower earrings from Lola & Alice, sourced from notonthehighstreet.com.
Jonny’s outfit: For myself and my best man, I went for a blue tweed suit in a herringbone pattern, hired from H R H Holmes & Son in Hitchin. Not only were the suits warm and practical for a chilly spring wedding, they also gave us the vintage edge that we were aiming for. I paired my suit with a simple white shirt from T M Lewin, light brown brogues by Gucinari, bought from T K Maxx, a yellow knitted tie, also selected from HRH Holmes, and floral pocket square from ASOS. For a personal finishing touch, I completed my outfit with my grandad’s cufflinks.
We were very lucky in that Jonny’s mum is a trained florist, and that she was happy to create the stunning arrangements for our day, including two bouquets, five corsages and five buttonholes, as well as filling jam jars full of wildflower-inspired posies (what a Superwoman!). She knew exactly what kind of flowers and colours we were after, and was instrumental in shaping the way the flowers looked for the day. We visited a flower wholesaler on the week of the wedding, where she helped us select beautiful pale blush and peach roses, as well as a variety of flowers in complementary colours, and an array of greenery, including fern and eucalyptus leaves.
Your Photographer & Videographer
My sister and her business partner, together known as Terri & Lori Fine Art Photography and Film Studio, captured our day effortlessly and naturally and delivered us some absolutely stunning images as well as breathtakingly beautiful footage that ensures we can relive our wedding frame by frame for years to come. Combining film and photographs with Terri & Lori meant that our couples portraits were a breeze and our ceremony shots were perfectly interspersed with snippets of footage. They each work together smoothly, and are already so aware of each other’s instincts when getting that perfect shot!
After the wedding, we spent three nights in amazing Marrakech but, as Jonny is a primary school teacher, we chose to wait until the summer holidays before having a proper honeymoon getaway. For that, we chose the beautiful Yacatan peninsula along Mexico’s Caribbean coast. During the trip, we spent lots of time on the white sandy beaches, sampled the local tequila, swam with green turtles and stingrays in the ocean, and visited an ancient archaeological site. The ideal mixture of relaxation and adventure!
I chose the fabulous Leah from Belles Beauty to create the hair and makeup looks for me, my sister and mum. Leah was an absolute dream to work with from start to finish. She created looks that would completely complement our wedding as well as making us feel comfortable and naturally beautiful. The makeup was kept light and subtle in browns and pinks, and my hair was plaited and twisted into a relaxed low bun. Mine and my sister’s up dos were finished off by floral combs, designed and made by my very talented mother-in-law!
For my sister’s bridesmaid outfit, we went handmade, ordering a gorgeous mauve-and-pink two-piece from Astra at Timeless Couture, a bespoke wedding dress workshop based in a converted mill in Derby. It complemented my own lace dress down to the ground, with its matching silhouette and midi-length skirt in a gorgeous floaty tulle.
The Details & Décor
Our entire day was utterly enhanced by the brilliant styling of Gemma from The White Emporium, and her gorgeous vintage props. From visiting her collection, and picking out which pieces we wanted to incorporate into our day, to her styling on the morning of the wedding, we knew we were in safe hands with Gemma. On the day itself, Gemma arranged the treats on our step-ladder cake table (which received so many compliments), set up the festoon lighting outside of our tipis, and made sure everything was looking wedding-ready. We trusted Gemma completely, and had no concerns at all that it would all look stunning. We were blown away by the results!
We were again the luckiest couple when it came to our wedding cake. It has been my mum’s dream to create a wedding cake and, when we suggested the idea of a homemade cake, mum was nervous yet excited to give it a go! The result was breathtaking. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful (and delicious!) cake to share with our friends and family. The top layer was lemon drizzle, the middle Victoria sponge, and the final layer an amazing carrot cake. Our cake was finished off with a scrape of pure white buttercream and fresh berries, and topped with a rose-gold calligraphy topper, handmade by Fira Studio and found through Etsy, that read ‘You & Me’.
There are so many! Best man Lee’s speech, perfectly pitched between laugh-out-loud hilarious and sentimental, the classic cocktails, the dancing, and catching up with friends from afar. We also loved having little moments away from the buzz of the party with our friends around the fire pit.
Advice For Other Couples
The biggest pieces of advice we could give is to decide which elements are most important to you as a couple, missing out any traditional elements that don’t suit your ideas for the day, and not to be afraid to go for something unique. Stick to these, and the rest will follow.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Photography & Videography
Terri & Lori Fine Art Photography and Film Studio
Skippings Barn, Chiltern Open Air Museum
Styling & Prop Hire
The White Emporium
Indie Wedding DJ
Groom & Best Man’s Suits
Hired from HRH Holmes & Sons
Hair & MUA
Handmade to order by Timeless Couture
Bride & Bridesmaid Robes
Handmade to order by The Kimono Shop
Bespoke Designs by Chloe at Harriett Kelsall
Aimee and Jonny, what a joy to be sharing your gorgeous wedding day, thank you so much xo Lou