WWW readers Rhiannon & Nick love a barn so there was no question over the type of venue that they would go for! They tied the knot on 20th April 2019 at a church very dear to both of them, and then chose Lapstone Barn in the Cotswolds for the celebrations to follow.
Rhiannon was delighted with the end result of the flowers and I can totally see why! Think hoops laden with greenery and beautiful hanging fairy lights, not to mention the beautiful bouquets for the bride and her bridesmaids.
It looks like the whole day was rather a lot of fun too, and this was all captured by the excellent Lisa Carpenter Photography who also took some absolutely cracking portraits at the atmospheric Broadway Tower. I think you’re going to absolutely love them, thank you for sharing with us Lisa!
Nick and I love to travel, and we always make the effort to go away over our birthdays. Nick surprised me with a weekend away for mine, a weekend to Paris no less! Some may think that it was obvious he would propose but after eight and a half years together and a lot of holidays I’d learned not to get my hopes up!
Little did I know that Nick spent the whole weekend carrying the ring around trying to find the perfect spot for the proposal. His vision of a romantic proposal in the park in front of the Eiffel Tower or on a boat on the River Seine was somewhat shattered when he realised neither of these leant themselves to the wintery weather in late October.
Then it was my birthday. After carrying a bottle of champagne in his rucksack all day trying to find the right moment, it was time for us to go up the Eiffel Tower. By this point the weather had turned from cold to gale force winds and the top of the Eiffel Tower had closed due to the swaying! Undeterred, we made our way to level 2 to admire the amazing engineering and the views. Not one for public displays of affection (or wind tunnels) I was quite literally blown away when I turned to see Nick holding out a super shiny ring whilst balancing on one knee!
As we reached the bottom of the Eiffel Tower, the lights sparkled all over. Although this happens to mark the hour, it was a special moment where we could believe it was sparkling just for us.
We then made our way to a restaurant Nick had booked on the 56th floor overlooking the Eiffel Tower. The view was incredible, and the food was delicious, washed down with unlimited Champagne. Needless to say, we saw the Eiffel Tower sparkle 3 more times before we left our table with a view!
Both Nick and I had grown up in the same village and although not regular church goers the local church holds a very special place in our hearts as it is the resting place for Nick’s dad and my mum.
We knew that we wanted the reception venue to be nearby in the beautiful Cotswold countryside and we wanted to keep things simple to make the most of our stunning surroundings. We chose a neutral colour palette with elegant white roses and lilies and pops of blue and grey flowers to pull the whole colour theme together.
We had so much help from our family and friends, most importantly Jayne (who has been like a surrogate mum to me since I was 18). Jayne used her days off to come dress and flower shopping with me (always topped off with a girly lunch and a glass of prosecco) and she untiringly designed and printed the Order of Service and menu cards, incorporating pictures from the local landscape to make them even more special.
The Planning Process
Being a Project Manager, this was the project I had been training my whole career for! Within two weeks of the proposal we had visited several venues and I had found my dress!
Whilst we had liked all the venues we had seen we hadn’t quite found the venue that ticked all the boxes, but by this point we had concluded that we wanted to have our reception in a barn…it’s probably no coincidence that the two houses we have lived in as a couple have both been barn conversions!
Late one Saturday evening, to our excitement, I stumbled across Lapstone Barn online. It must have been fate that they had a wedding fair the following day! As soon as we walked into the venue, we knew it was the one for us, and only a 20 minute drive from the church.
Although a new venue it was already incredibly popular and the only Saturday they had available for Spring/Summer 2019 was Saturday 20th April. This was ideal on so many levels…it was a double bank holiday so it meant a long weekend of partying, the anniversary of our first date is the 22nd April so it should be an easy one for Nick to remember and I didn’t have to wait too much longer to get married (by this point it was less than five months away)!
We had an agonising few weeks whilst we waited for the Reverend to return from holiday before we could confirm that we could get married at the Church on Easter Saturday, seeing as it is a busy weekend in the Christian calendar, but we were delighted to be told that there was a clear consensus from the congregation that we should get married on that date.
Once the venue, date, dress and invitations were sorted everything else had a little longer to fall into place. I spent lots of time on Pinterest getting inspiration. Everything from table decorations, hair and makeup ideas and wedding transport, there really is nothing you can’t find on there. I also used Facebook and Google to search suppliers and to read reviews and of course I had a spreadsheet for everything…costs, hair and makeup itinerary, to do lists and roles and responsibilities for the day!
Your Outfits & Accessories
My dress was from Daisy B Nell Bridal, an independent wedding dress shop in Evesham. It was the first dress I tried on, I loved it! I continued to try on dresses but nothing compared. When I put the dress on for the second time I loved it even more and took comfort in the owner, Helen, telling me that she had put the dress on the mannequin the night before and had found it on the floor that morning. Something that had never happened before, but I took it as a reassuring sign!
Despite loving the dress, I was worried that it was a little plain – I am renowned for my love of sparkly things and there wasn’t a sparkle in sight! Being the amazing dress maker she is, Helen sewed a beautiful sparkly belt piece on to the waist and tirelessly trawled her suppliers to source sparkly buttons to replace every fourth ivory button on the back, also extending the run of buttons from the waist to the full length of the train. A completely unique dress which had just the right balance of sparkles and sophistication!
Having four beautiful bridesmaids who had all already tied the knot meant that I was inundated with gorgeous accessories. I was the fourth bride to wear the stunning head piece and the second bride to wear the elegant veil.
The delicate pearl droplet earrings were gifted to me by Jayne and the matching bracelet by my brother, Oli.
My shoes were from the Rainbow Club collection and were incredibly comfortable allowing me to party into the early hours!
Makeup was by Nikki of Cheltenham Beauty Bar and hair by Kat of Sparkle by Kat. This was the fourth time I’d had my hair and makeup done by Nikki & Kat, they make a great team and I completely trust them to do a superb job.
I always wear my hair down, so I wanted something a bit different for my wedding day. I chose to have a low bun (ideal for holding the veil in) with curled strands of hair around my face, finished off perfectly with the stunning sparkly head piece.
I don’t typically wear a lot of makeup, so Nikki went soft with plenty of highlighter on my cheek bones for a natural, dewy finish. Silver eyeshadow and a few clusters of false lashes added glamour to the look.
Nikki and Kat had seven of us to do in total so it was a busy morning starting at 7am! They did a great job of staying calm and keeping everything to time, even if the order did deviate somewhat from my spreadsheet!
The groomsmen wore navy suits and waistcoats with light blue ties and pocket squares which matched the colour of the bridesmaids dresses.
The Readings & Music
The church was a fairly traditional affair with an organist, hymns and a bible reading. I entered the church to The Wedding March and we sang Morning Has Broken (a particular favourite of my Mum’s) and Lord Of The Dance. The reading was I Corinthians 13 all about love, read by my very special friend Emma who I have known since nursery.
Our DJ is a great friend and was a guest at the wedding so he played a selection of music during the Wedding Breakfast and played some epic DJ sets throughout the evening reception.
We had an amazing band called Live Wires who did two one hour sets. They started with mine and Nick’s first dance, ‘Grow Old With Me’ by Tom Odell. It was such a special moment…the calm before the band got into full swing with some amazing floor fillers! Live Wires have such a vast repertoire ranging from the 50’s to the current day so they have something for everyone. They kept people dancing the whole time and we had so many compliments from our guests.
Lapstone Barn is a beautiful 18th century barn located near Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds. It is such a great venue, full of character and with high ceilings that provide a real sense of space.
One side of the Northwick barn is lined with full height windows, leading into the secluded courtyard, bringing the outdoors in, even if the weather is not so inviting. The Northwick barn is where the Wedding Breakfast is held, leaving the Stone barn available for the drinks reception (should the weather dictate) and for the band or DJ to set up for the evening reception without anyone even knowing!
The beautiful outdoor spaces are perfect for reception drinks and garden games in the sunshine and the views over the open countryside are stunning. Having our wedding in the Spring meant that we got to take full advantage of the beautiful yellow fields that surrounded the barn.
The staff were always so helpful, both during the planning stages and on the wedding day itself. Everything was taken care of and they made us feel so special on the day, keeping us informed of timings and constantly checking we were happy.
I was lucky enough to be recommended Chrissy of the Enchanted Florist. Having gathered ideas on Pinterest, I knew the types of arrangements I wanted however I was pretty clueless when it came to the types of flowers. I knew I wanted to incorporate lilies into my bouquet in memory of my mum who loved lilies but other than that I was happy to take the steer from Chrissy.
I had a stunning cascading bouquet of white oriental lilies, double white rose lilies (snowboard – meaning devotion), a beautiful blousy double peony (Duchesse de Nemours – meaning good fortune and happy marriage), an antique pink, earl grey rose (fifth avenue – meaning gratitude and appreciation) and a white rose (alpe d’huez – meaning innocence). Also in my bouquet were Ranunculus – which are part of the buttercup family (very seasonal and absolutely at their best in Spring – meaning charm and attractiveness), Eustoma also known as Lisianthus (meaning beauty), a little grey berry (Brunia), Hypericum berries, hellebore and foliage of Eucalyptus and Senecio, a soft grey/green colour.
The bridesmaids had tight posies made up of all the same flowers as mine with the exception of the white lilies which were replaced with a blue thistle like flower (Eryngium/Sea Holly) to compliment the colour of their dresses.
The church flowers were beautiful, both high and low pew ends made up of oriental lilies and Eucalyptus. A stunning pedestal at the alter made up of all the same flowers as my bouquet and an elegant arrangement for the registry table which also became the centre piece for the top table at the venue.
The groomsmen had simple buttonholes of a single white rose, Hypericum berries, Hellebore and Cinerea Eucalyptus.
Chrissy did a wonderful job of making beautiful remembrance arrangements for the graves of my mum and Nick’s dad; my mum’s reflecting the flowers in my bouquet and Nick’s dad’s reflecting the flowers in his buttonhole.
I was set on hoops for the venue to provide height on the tables but height that guests could easily see and talk through. This was something Chrissy used immense creativity with, sourcing gymnastic hoops which she decorated with soft ruscus to frame the hoop then roses, Snap Dragons (Antirrhinum) double Freesia, Lisianthus, Ranunculus the fifth avenue rose, Eryngium, Alstroemeria and fern foliages finished off with hanging tealights to create the amazing effect. Chrissy also attached hoops to some of the walls in the stone barn, finished off with fairy lights, to unite the two barns.
Chrissy was absolutely fantastic to work with, so friendly and imaginative and always making the time to meet me at the venue to discuss ideas. The flower arrangements far exceeded my expectations, Chrissy did an incredible job of interpreting my ideas and bringing them to life.
The bridesmaids dresses were a very light blue with silver beading to compliment the sparkles on my dress. The dresses were from the Monsoon bridal range, accessorised with simple pearl earrings and necklace.
The Details & Décor
A table plan tree took centre stage as our guests entered the venue. I’d been unable to find something ready made for this purpose, so it became a labour of love for my dad who created my vision using twigs, fairy lights and spray paint! I thought this would be a fun and original way for guests to find their table numbers and it also used up some old stock from my dad’s Christmas decoration business!
I am known as something of a ‘Prosecco Princess’ so our wedding reception wasn’t going to be complete without a ‘Pimp your Prosecco’ stand. Something loaned to me by one of my bridesmaids who had bought it for her wedding the previous year. A simple but effective way to add a bit of excitement to the reception drinks with fresh fruit and liqueurs.
To take this theme a little further I had the idea of using prosecco corks for the place names. It was lovely that friends and family collected them for me and a great excuse to have so much prosecco at my hen party! After gathering more inspiration from Pinterest I saw a great way of dressing these corks up with simple bows and pins.
I had always been keen to go on honeymoon straight away so we could stay in ‘the wedding bubble’ as long as possible. Only having five months to plan the wedding, planning a honeymoon too seemed a little ambitious! We wanted to do more than just visit a honeymoon destination so, after a visit to the travel agent, we decided to book an 11 day tour of Vietnam followed by a week of R&R on an island off the south of Vietnam. This was such a great decision as there was very little for us to organise, but we got to see the very best of the Vietnam’s beautiful country and interesting culture whilst still having time to relax.
I can honestly say that the day was filled with memorable moments, here’s a few of my absolute highlights:
Jayne crawling under my dress to straighten out the many layers. Not something she’d planned to do (especially as she tells me it was very hot under there) but it certainly made us laugh!
My dad and my brother coming up to see me in my dress. This was such an emotional moment and they were absolutely beaming with pride. This is when Oli gave me the pearl bracelet which was such an unexpected and beautiful surprise.
Standing in the porch with my dad waiting to enter the church. As the doors opened, I was overcome with emotion. Everyone was there showing so much love and support for me and Nick.
Marrying my man! Seeing Nick for the first time (even if he didn’t turn around until I was practically next to him)! During the first hymn I showed Nick a beautiful locket I had in my bouquet which had a picture of my mum and his dad. They were always going to be a special part of our wedding day.
Arriving at the venue and seeing all my ideas come to life. I had kept Nick very much in the dark about most aspects of the wedding, including how the venue would be decorated. When we arrived at the venue all our guests were already in the courtyard awaiting our arrival, so I took a moment to show Nick our beautiful venue as we peered through the curtain of the barn.
The wedding breakfast! Oli was our Master of Ceremonies and what an amazing job he did. He is a born entertainer and really got his audience going…from a fruit cocktail dance to a MasterChef competition, it certainly made for an unforgettable first meal as husband and wife!
My dad’s speech. I always knew it was going to be emotional but I’m not sure the guests quite knew what was in store. After a heartfelt speech my dad played an amazing video of photos of me growing up which he had compiled to some really poignant music. It was absolutely magical and I can honestly say there wasn’t a dry eye in the barn!
Once the cake had been cut and everyone was poised to watch the first dance, the dance floor was flooded with all the girls from my hen party. Our DJ took to his decks and played Wannabe by the Spice girls to which we all danced a carefully choreographed routine! It was so much fun, a great surprise for all the guests (including Nick) and the perfect way to get the party started! The ‘first dance’ of the night, minus the Groom!
I was so pleased when I came across Lisa Carpenter’s website. I had been uninspired by the work of the photographers I had met previously but Lisa’s portfolio and blogging was on another level. When we met I was thrilled that Lisa had a cracking personality to boot and I knew at that moment that I had found our photographer.
On the day of the wedding I had the best weather a bride could wish for but the weather of any photographer’s nightmares…bright sunshine with no clouds or shade in sight! This didn’t faze Lisa who gave us all directions on where to stand so she could capture the best light for the photos.
I’d always said that if the weather was nice then I’d like to get some photos done at Broadway Tower. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about being in public in my wedding dress but boy did I love it! I felt like a real-life Princess at my castle with my Prince Charming!
Once all the formal photos were complete and everyone had sat down for the Wedding Breakfast then the fun really began! I knew our wedding would be fun but I’d never quite imagined that it would have been so animated before we’d even eaten! We enjoyed watching all the commotion from the top table but loved even more when we looked back at the pictures. Lisa had done the most fantastic job of documenting the whole event – from the smiles, the laughter and the table rivalry, to the love, the tears and the one too many beers! This was a huge testament to how hard Lisa had worked and for the most part without us even noticing she was there!
At some point during the day Lisa even managed to find time to hunt down tracks in the yellow rapeseed field which she whisked us off to to get some romantic shots as the sun was setting and to give us chance to have a little time together before the evening party started.
The evening photos are just as impressive as the day ones. Thoroughly capturing the essence of the party with the addition of some great light effects.
We honestly couldn’t have wished for a better photographer or more perfect photos of our special day which we will treasure forever.
To quote the words from my dad’s speech, I have an ‘unhealthy obsession for cheese’, so it was little surprise that we had a cheese wedding cake from The Cheese Works in Cheltenham. It may not have been the most elegant of wedding cakes but being cheese lovers we went for substance over style!
Advice For Other Couples
Do what you want, not what you think others want you to do. It’s your day (and your budget) and you need to be true to you.
Have a spreadsheet of costs! This helped us do a cost comparison for the different venues we visited but more importantly it helped us manage the costs in line with our budget. Setting this up early helps you list all the things that cost money (you’d be surprised how long that list is) and helps you prioritise what’s important to you versus how much it costs. It also keeps you focused and minimises the risk of panic spending leading up to the wedding!
Enjoy it! Take some time to enjoy the build-up; the days leading up to the wedding and the morning of the wedding. Try not to worry about things on the day, you are the only ones who know how things are supposed to be. If you’re having a good time, then everyone around you will too.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Lisa Carpenter Photography
Daisy B Nell
Cheltenham Beauty Bar
Sparkle by Kat
What a wonderful day! Thank you so much Rhiannon and Nick for sharing your amazing wedding day with us here at WWW. Rachel x