A Beautifully Festive & Stylish Christmas Barn Wedding

Christmas Wedding Gareth Newstead Photography

We’re getting in the festive mood today with WWW readers Alex and Lucy’s wedding, hooray! They chose to hold their wedding in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve on the 28th December 2017 at Shustoke Barn in Warwickshire. I think it’s a wonderfully romantic time of year to tie the knot and a great way of extending all the Christmas fun!

Their day had some gorgeous festive nods, but also a lot of style. There was gorgeous hand painted calligraphy signage, copper terrariums filled with blooms and a magnificent Christmas tree which certainly set the mood. Lucy’s bridal separates were so pretty, a flowing skirt and an open back lace top with long sleeves. She looked really stunning. Alex and the gents opted for navy three piece suits with burgundy accessories, while the bridesmaids were in pale pink. A really wonderful colour palette and the whole wedding party looked fabulous.

I must also rave about the band, Alex and Lucy chose The Indie Killers via WWW faves Warble Entertainment. They are the same band that we had for our own wedding party and we have said all the same things that our couple today have!

Gareth Newstead Photography captured the festive atmosphere and all the love just perfectly. Thanks so much to Gareth for sharing these special captures with us today.

Christmas Wedding Gareth Newstead Photography

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THE PROPOSAL

We were on our last night on holiday in Venice. We had been for drinks, watching the sunset and were walking along the Grand Canal to find a boat back to the main island. As we walked along looking at the stunning view, Alex slowed down and as I turned around he got down on one knee! It was totally unexpected and I obviously said yes right away! It was a perfect way to end an amazing and unforgettable holiday!!

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THE VISION

We knew we wanted to get married between Christmas and New Year. We both love the festive season and what better way to extend the festive cheer with a wedding! It was really important to us that we had a relaxed day full of fun, enjoying the day with friends and family. We knew we didn’t want a ‘traditional formal’ wedding, so we aimed to create a day which reflected us as a couple.

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THE PLANNING PROCESS

Once we had decided the dates we were aiming for, we began our planning by looking at venues. We decided quite early on that we liked the idea of a barn wedding. We knew we wanted a venue where we could get married and have the reception at the same place. Once we had booked our venue we were straight on Pinterest looking at colour schemes, after lots of searching we agreed on blush pink, burgundy and copper. We then spent several months on the hunt for copper accessories and began filling up our spare room with copper frames and lanterns. A year later our collection had grown! Alex is an accountant so pretty early on we had a wedding spreadsheet which kept us very organised and I am a teacher so every half term break I would tick a few more things off the wedding list! With a year to go we had cars and a band booked, a cake ordered, flowers chosen and I had chosen my dress!

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THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES

I went to Agape Bridal Boutique in Altrincham and as soon as I entered I knew I wanted to purchase my dress from there. The staff are fantastic and so talented!! I had searched the internet for ideas before dress shopping. I knew I wanted sleeves and I wanted a backless dress. I tried on a few dresses and fell in love with some Watters dresses. I also tried on some Catherine Deane bridal separates and struggled to make a decision. The staff at Agape were amazing!! They took on board exactly what I wanted and helped me design my dream dress. They combined the Catherine Deane jersey silk skirt with a hand-made top made in the same design at the top part of the Watters dress I loved. This meant I had a bespoke dress!!!! My veil was also from Agape. I can’t thank them enough for all their help and expertise!

My shoes were from Harriet Wilde. I was looking for a non-traditional pair of shoes which I could wear again. As soon as I saw the shoes online I knew they were the ones! I loved the unusual design and ordered them straight away.

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THE VENUE

As soon as we drove up to Shustoke Farm Barns for a tour of the venue we knew it was a serious contender with its stunning exterior and entrance. When we entered the building we both knew straight away that it was where we could see ourselves getting married. We loved its rustic charm, from the beams and exposed brick, to the windows… Shustoke is stunning. From day one the staff at Shustoke were fantastic! They are clearly passionate about their venue and delivering each couple the perfect wedding. On the day the team ensured the day ran seamlessly and all our guests commented on how helpful and accommodating they were. One of the key elements of our wedding was the food, we didn’t want a traditional roast dinner and Shustoke offered such a wide range of superb food options, it was difficult to choose!! We went with a mixed grill option where one guest on each table served a range of meats, lots of our guests are still commenting on how delicious the food was!!

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THE READINGS & MUSIC

The ceremony felt so intimate and special, we were both in the moment as we exchanged vows. My bridesmaid Clare did a reading during the ceremony. We found it hard to choose a reading that wasn’t too ‘cheesy’ and reflected us as a couple. We chose ‘Marriage is a Promise’. Clare read it beautifully and it felt so personal.

The music was really important to us and we spent a long time creating playlists for different parts of the day. We both love Kings of Leon so after some searching I found an acoustic version of ‘Use Somebody’, we loved the lyrics and this was the song I walked down the aisle to. It was important to us to have an upbeat song to exit the ceremony to and start the celebrations. We chose ‘You Really Got Me’ by the Kinks. During the meal we decided to play songs through the decades, we went from the 1950’s through to the present day playing our favourite songs from each era.

For our evening reception we decided early on that we wanted a live band. We did a lot of research and came across ‘The Indie Killers’. By far one of the best decisions we made!!! They were incredible!! The band played our first dance, we didn’t want a slow dance as neither of us are very good dancers so we chose ‘You and me Song’ by the Wannadies. We danced together for a verse then quickly ushered everyone onto the dancefloor to start the party! From then on the dancefloor was full all night, with the band playing all our favourite songs, it was like our own private festival!!

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GROOM’S ATTIRE

Alex and the groomsmen wore navy 3 piece suits which were hired from Moss Bros. The groomsmen wore burgundy ties and Alex had a burgundy tie with white spots on to stand out.

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BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS

I was incredibly lucky that my bridesmaids are some of the most easy going friends a girl could ask for! We had a WhatsApp group and I shared images of dresses as I found them. They were all happy to try whatever I chose and equally I was keen for them to be happy and comfortable in the dresses. I knew that I wanted the bridesmaids to wear blush pink. I trawled the internet for dresses and came across some on ASOS, which were perfect! Getting married in December I knew that my bridesmaids would need something to help keep them warm. I found some cream faux fur stoles on eBay, which matched the dresses perfectly and looked great for the winter wedding theme. They all looked stunning!!

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THE DETAILS & DÉCOR

We spent months gathering copper accessories including copper terrariums for our centre pieces and frames for photos. Whilst researching décor ideas I came across some wedding signs made by an online business called Painted By Katie. She has an online shop on Etsy and created a set of bespoke signs for us which looked amazing! This girl is very talented if you want hand-made signs I cannot recommend her enough!!

My father in law is to be given a lot of credit for our décor. We had seen a lot of ideas on Pinterest which would have cost us a fortune to buy, but he went away and made things for us for a fraction of the cost. He made 100 copper name card holders using copper pipe and made a huge wooden frame for us to display our table plan on. We think he should go into business creating wedding accessories!!

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THE CAKE

We wanted to go for something different to the traditional wedding cake. We decided we wanted to have Krispy Kreme donuts instead as we love them and knew that most of our friends and family would love them too! After lots of searching I found a local wedding supplier who purchased the donuts and came to the venue the morning of the wedding and created a donut tower. Lots of our guests commented on how much they loved this! Our family also enjoyed eating the remaining donuts for several days after the wedding!!

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THE FLOWERS

Getting married between Christmas and New Year made it tricky for us to find a florist. We contacted lots of local florists who all replied saying they didn’t work between Christmas and New Year. One florist we contacted kindly recommended a freelance florist she had worked with and how glad we are that she did. We met with Judith who was amazing, she really took on board our vision and created the most beautiful flower arrangements for our wedding! We had no idea about flowers but she was able to guide us and help us make the important decisions. We had sourced lots of copper terrariums which she beautifully filled with succulents, foliage and flowers. The bouquets were stunning and she styled our venue beautifully with flowers, foliage and a huge bunch of mistletoe!!

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YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

Gareth had photographed Alex’s sister’s wedding back in 2015. We loved the style of their photos and also liked his relaxed style of photography on the day so knew straight away we wanted to book him for our wedding. Gareth didn’t disappoint! Prior to the wedding he was in contact to find out exactly what sort of photographs we wanted. We knew we didn’t want too many formal photos. We wanted to spend as much time with our friends and family enjoying the day rather than spending all day taking staged photos. Gareth did exactly what we wanted, he completely got the balance of ‘formal’ and in the moment photos and as a result we got stunning natural photos which completely capture our day! We couldn’t recommend him enough!

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THE HONEYMOON

After the wedding we flew to Barcelona for a mini-moon before we returned to work. After Christmas and a wedding we were both glad of a break just the two of us to relax, eat and drink and share memories of the wedding. We are now planning our honeymoon to Hong Kong, Bali and Singapore in my summer holidays …we can’t wait!!

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MEMORABLE MOMENTS

Getting stuck in the lift!! We got ready at a local hotel and on our way to reception to head to the venue myself, mum and bridesmaids got stuck in the lift. There was a moment of panic before my brother saved the day prising the lift doors open for us to escape and take the stairs! I was still early to the venue too!!

After the wedding we discussed our favourite parts of the day. We both agreed that the ceremony was a highlight. It felt so personal and it was as though there was no one else there but the two of us. We were surprisingly very relaxed and both laughing and enjoying the moment together.

Another huge highlight for us was our band. We both love music and our band were AMAZING!! They put on a fantastic show they played all the songs we asked them to play and more. We hardly left the dance floor all night and partied until the early hours! Our guests all commented on how good they were, we have been trying to think of another event we can book them for in the future!!

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ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES

Do not compromise on what you both want from your day. We both said we were glad we did what we wanted, we chose the food we wanted, the cake we wanted, the band we wanted and this made for the perfect day for us. Don’t spend all your time and money thinking about all your guests. At the end of the day it is about you both getting married so have the day you want. On the day your guests will just want to see you both happy and enjoying yourselves!

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Credit Where Credit Is Due

Alex and Lucy, thank you so much to you both for sharing your wonderfully cosy and romantic wedding with us xo Lou

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