We’re heading to Chaucer Barn in Norfolk today for colourful Mexican fiesta wedding of WWW readers Helena and Matthew, which took place on 1st August 2018. I’m loving everything about their personal woodland nuptials and the fun, party and personal atmosphere that enveloped their day.
I absolutely love the fact that they did their day their way with so many fun and ‘them’ touches. Make sure you check out Helena’s account of her father’s speech, so emotional! There’s so much colour in their day and who better to capture the love of fun than Through the Woods We Ran Photography. Thank you so much for sharing these excellent images with us Glenn and Lauren.
I have to say, I’m really loving the outfits at this wedding too. Helena didn’t find her dream dress straight away but don’t you think her Rembo Styling gown was absolutely worth the wait? It’s great to see Matthew sporting a Mrs Bow Tie number, seeing as they are WWW faves. Enjoy folks!
Matthew and I met at York University and is where our relationship blossomed. Since graduating, we have visited York multiple times to relive our student days. Matthew had planned a surprise trip during half term and I thought nothing of it. He planned on proposing in the quiet area on campus. I unfortunately ruined his plans by inviting some friends to meet us. With his plans scuppered he proposed at the hotel with a fake ring. We celebrated for the rest of the night.
Once back home, we went shopping together to find my dream ring. I always knew that I didn’t want a diamond ring and instead chose a yellow gold, emerald ring surrounded by diamonds. I loved being able to choose my own, and I am sure that Matthew enjoyed not having the pressure of picking something I didn’t like. Although, I would have loved anything he would have picked.
Our vision had three main aims: for our guests to have fun, to be filled with colour and to have delicious food and drink.
Firstly, we made sure that there was always something for the guests to do, we had an archery contest during the reception drinks, as well as lawn games. For the night time entertainment, we had a ceilidh. It was a lot of fun, and got everyone on the dance floor.
During the day, guests could cool down with ice cream from a local ice-cream producer, Ronaldo’s Ices. They had a choice of 10 flavours and in the hot weather they were definitely needed. For our main event we had amazing food from Funnells Kitchen. They produced Mexican tapas for our guests with quesadillas canapés. Tapas included fajitas, tequila and lime chicken, jalapeño poppers, chilli and lots of salads and rice. Guests had a choice of dessert, from Eton mess, inject your own jam donuts and lemon cheese cake. Each were to die for! Later in the evening we had Broadside pizza serve our guests a variety of stunning stone baked pizzas and garlic breads. Crabb and Fox bars provided our guests with refreshments throughout the day, including my favourite (and the wasps’) mojitos.
We injected lots of colour with bunting, flowers and decorations throughout the venue.
The Planning Process
To start off we bought magazines to get ideas of budgeting, what you need to plan and current wedding trends. Once summer hit we visited what seemed like 50 venues until we chose Chaucer Barn.
After this, I found WWW and Pinterest to start forming ideas of how we would like our wedding. Like every bride I had lots of Pinterest boards that I wanted to recreate, which was quickly scaled back once I tried to make them a reality. We visited a few local wedding fairs, including The Most Curious Wedding Fair where we met a few of our suppliers. The rest of the supplier finding was done over hours of googling and Instagram snooping.
We stayed within our budget by doing lots ourselves and prioritising what was important to us. As much as we would have loved to have the day filled with flowers, an open bar and two dresses we decided this wasn’t our priority and instead we focussed our budget on the venue, food and photos. We also had a midweek wedding, saving us a bit of money which we spent on providing nicer wine and more entertainment for our guests.
It took us months to find our perfect venue. We weren’t tied geographically as my family are from Nottingham and Matthew’s are from Norwich but we did have some requirements. Matthew was insistent on having outside space and I wanted somewhere that felt a unique. We eventually found Chaucer Barn in Norfolk and went for a look around. As soon as we saw grounds and the accommodation, we knew this was the venue for us.
The first thing we fell in love was the outside space. We loved that you had beautiful landscaped lawns, a wild flower meadow, wild grass meadows, woodlands and even a mini Stonehenge.
It was important for us to spread the wedding over a few days, Chaucer Barn had accommodation and a camp site, allowing our guests to party with us over two nights.
We also loved the décor of the barn. Instead of being rustic and typically English, the barn had ornaments and furniture from all over Asia, creating a bohemian vibe. The barn was so beautifully decorated that we didn’t need to add much ourselves.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Like finding a venue I also struggled to find my dream dress. I visited wedding boutiques across the country to find a dress that fitted my brief. I wanted something flowy, lacy and with a sense of bohemia. Every dress I did try looked nice, but I felt as though I was dressing up as a bride, instead of actually being one. I decided a different course of action was needed and started researching designers that made relaxed styles.
I found Rembo Styling and immediately loved so many of their styles. I booked an appointment with one of their stockists, Lace and Co Bridal. There I tried on lots of stunning gowns but decided on Floreal. I fell in love with the cape instantly and loved having something that made it that little bit different. The dress had such intricate lace details and it flowed so beautifully. I would honestly pick my dress over and over again.
For Matthew we originally wanted a green suit but struggled to find one. We went into several well-known suit tailors and received quite rude service which left a bitter taste in our mouths. Whilst searching for a new work suit in Moss Bros we found a bright blue suit that looked great on. We made a snap decision and bought the suit for wedding then and there. As Matthew wears a three-piece suit on a daily basis, we wanted to make sure his outfit felt special. Instead of a tie he had a bow tie and he a complementing pocket square, both from Mrs Bowtie.
The groomsman had matching suits to Matthew. For their thank you gifts we gave them novelty cufflinks, matching bowties and a pocket square.
The bridesmaids wore a beautiful maxi dress from Hobbs. I wanted a strikingly bright coloured dress, and the ombre blue dresses fit the bill. All three of them looked amazing. They wore their own shoes and for their present they were given dried flower necklaces to wear on the day.
For my hair, I instantly knew who I wanted to style it. My hairdresser from my home town is so talented and knows exactly how to make my hair pop. He also cuts my mum’s and my maid of honour’s hair so it was a no brainer. We put him in a hotel for the night and he attended the first half of the wedding with his husband before heading back to Nottingham.
My makeup was done by Kirsty and she did an amazing job. We all looked beautiful and she knew exactly would suit us
The Readings & Music
We are both really into our music so choosing which songs to play was a bit difficult, as we wanted to play them all.
As I walked down the aisle, we played Touch the Sky by Julie Fowlis from the film Brave. It suited our woodland wedding and my flowing ginger hair and I loved how wild and free the song is.
During the ceremony we played Prettiest Star by David Bowie and Somebody to Love by Jefferson Airplane.
As we walked back down the aisle, we played Shine a little love by ELO.
During the wedding breakfast we played a variety of Latin music to add to the Mexican Fiesta feel.
Our first dance was to Majestic by Wax Fang. We wanted something a bit different but still a song that we loved.
We chose Through the Woods We Ran to be our photographers as we loved their relaxed style. It was great having two photographers throughout the day to capture moments where Matthew and I were apart.
The Details & Décor
Our wedding had a combination of two themes, Mexico and science.
Along with our Mexican feast we wanted to create a fiesta feel to the day. We made papel picardo to decorate the reception room and a “Taco ‘Bout A Wedding” banner for the bar. There was a piñata outside for guests to hit after a few too many drinks.
For our seating plan we had a “Take a Shot and Take a Seat” with tequila shots served out of cacti shaped shot glasses and bowls of salt and limes. This made for excellent photographs and got everyone in the party spirit.
As Matthew and I come from physics backgrounds we wanted to incorporate this into our wedding. We named each table after our favourite physicists and had flowers in conical flasks and test tubes. Matthew’s Grandad kindly made test tube holders for us and they looked amazing.
We had a firepit outside in case the weather was a bit cold at night, luckily our wedding was during the heatwave of 2018 and instead just added to the ambience of the night. Marshmallows and biscuits were served in science beakers for a yummy s’more station.
We decided to create our own photobooth, using a gold backdrop from Ginger Ray and props that we had collected over the past year. We had sombreros, an Albert Einstein mask, fake Mexican moustaches, glitter, fake tattoos and other photobooth props. We provided a polaroid camera for guests to sign pictures and hang up.
We were lucky to have a family friend make our cake. To match our bridesmaids’ dresses the cake was dark blue and in a marble print. The cake its self was a fruit cake. We also bought some cakes from Sponge in a variety of flavours for guests to help themselves.
Our flowers were by Rambling Rose and couldn’t have been more gorgeous. Lydia understood by vision completely and the end result couldn’t have been better. I always knew that my bridesmaid and I would wear flower crowns and have wild, seasonal bouquets. They smelt amazing and lasted so long afterwards, even in the scorching hot summer.
We are still to plan our honeymoon as we decided to buy our first home together instead. We are hoping to get away next summer.
We did have a minimoon at The Pigs in Norfolk and it was amazing. The food there is delicious and the rooms were so relaxing. We had our own sauna and steam room, and an outside terrace with a firepit. We would definitely recommend for a relaxing break without going too far from home.
Helena: The most memorable moment has got to be my Dad’s speech. My Dad has always been pretty musical, so I thought nothing of him bringing his guitar to the wedding. I simply thought he would want a play the night before when we had a BBQ for our closest friends and family and in the morning whilst he waited for everyone to get ready.
He started his speech like any other Dad speech, saying how nice we both looked, what his first thoughts of Matthew were and how great the day had been. He then picked up his guitar and microphone and started playing the most emotional song I’ve ever heard. No one could have prepared me, or the guests, for this moment, it was absolutely beautiful. He played I Loved Her First by Heartland. I urge anyone with a daughter or who is close to their father to listen this. I am pretty sure there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the room.
My other favourite moment was definitely the ceremony. I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the whole thing. As soon as I heard the music as I walked down the aisle and saw Matthew standing there waiting, I beamed from ear to ear. It was such an amazing feeling looking around and seeing everyone we loved be there for us and supporting us as we declared our love.
Matthew: My two favourite moments are definitely seeing Helena for the first time, and the ice-cream.
Advice For Other Couples
If you can stretch the wedding over more than one day, do it. It is very rare that you see everyone you love in the same room, so try your best to see them before and after the wedding day too. We had a BBQ the night before and a big thank you lunch at a local pub the day after.
We had heard that couples do not spend time together on the day so we made an effort to go around and talk to our guests together, to go for a small walk together and to talk to each other throughout the day. We would definitely recommend doing this. Your wedding day is about you so take the time to enjoy each other’s company.
Don’t go overboard on decorations. We picked a venue that was already beautiful in its own right. We made a few decorations but mainly let the stunning grounds and tastefully decorated barn do the talking. After talking to guests afterwards no one really noticed the decorations we had made, instead they commented on the food, the venue itself and how much fun they had.
Lastly, you do you. A few friends and family didn’t understand our vision and raised concerns throughout our planning period. Some concerns were about our food choice, what we would do if it rained, why we didn’t invite children and even about the entertainment we picked. Luckily, we didn’t listen and carried on planning our perfect day. After the wedding was over, many of those who were concerned told us how great our choices were and that it was the best wedding they had been to. Everyone always wants to voice their opinion but the best advice is to smile politely and carry on planning your day how you would like it anyway.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Through the Woods We Ran
Day time food
Crabb and Fox
Thank you ever so much Helena and Matthew for sharing your fabulous Mexican fiesta with us today! Rachel x