Seeing as it’s officially Spring finally, we can really enjoy these breezy and fresh late Spring wedding celebrations in full today. It makes me so excited for the season ahead; fine weather, beautiful blooms and love in the air, which is all showcased here beautifully and captured so wonderfully by Razia N Jukes Photography.
WWW readers Sam and Andrew were hitched on the 13th May 2017 at The Tythe Barn in Oxfordshire. They held their ceremony in the gardens and the wisteria arch aisle really was something else, it must have looked even more spectacular in person too. Following their ceremony the celebrations were held in the magical barns, which were festooned with fairy lights and tables as far as the eye can see, adorned with greenery. It certainly had wow factor.
The fashion here today has to be one of my favourite styling elements though. The bridesmaids in neutral dresses with their raw silk ribbon tied bouquets looked utterly sublime! Sam’s bouquet really was the centrepiece with its trailing blooms and large roses, which also followed into her chic high bun hair do. Sam and Andrew both looked incredible in their chosen attire, which was timeless yet on trend and totally fitting for their day. Enjoy it all folks.
THE PROPOSAL | We were on holiday in Carvoeiro, Portugal for a friends wedding and it was Sam’s 30th the following week. The plan was to head back to London for celebrations but on the way back to the airport I (Andrew) had planned a detour to a resort on the coast, Vila Vita Parc in Vila Lara where we had a day and night of relaxation, food and wine arranged, all under the pretence of a birthday gift. When we got back to the room that night, I gave Sam her birthday card as the clock struck midnight to celebrate her birthday. I then had a second much smaller ‘gift’, another card that just said ‘Will you marry me?’ The next day we headed to the airport but detoured again to Vilamoura (where we go every year as a family) and I had arranged for Sam’s parents and her sister and fiancé to fly out to carry on the celebrations!
THE VISION | We really wanted a relaxed wedding and the most important thing to us was to have everyone in one place for a big party really! We weren’t too worried about traditions or getting married in a church so we opted for a barn wedding and wanted to make it our own, involving close friends and family in the day as much as possible.
In terms of how things looked, we went for a ‘less is more’ approach; the barn and gardens were a great canvas and we went for a relaxed, clean and simple look, sticking with whites, greens and pretty lighting. A kind of polished boho / organic type feel if you like!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | After discussing our ideas for the day and getting a rough plan on paper, Andrew was more than happy for me (Sam) to do most of the planning. I absolutely love anything creative and have a background in event planning so embraced the challenge. Andrew’s work schedule at the time was pretty crazy so he just took on certain areas; the drinks/music etc. and I did the rest. My mum was an amazing help and soundboard as well as great at putting things in perspective when needed! Our engagement was 18 months so we had a lot of time. Whilst we made the big decisions early on, we didn’t really start getting into the detail until about 10 months out. In the last few months we started having ‘Wedmin Sundays’ when we could and combined it with brunch/lunch somewhere so we could just get through things, that way we didn’t have it on our minds the whole time as it can be quite consuming!
THE VENUE | We found the Tythe Barn online. It was the only venue we saw and we loved it instantly. It is a stone walled thatched barn that still has a lot of its original features in place. It, along with the adjoining cowshed, has been restored with a lot of love and care using traditional materials and the results are incredible. Will and Emma who run the barn are fab and were super accommodating with all our requests. They have a great team of people around them too.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | The dress was an Annasul Y dress from her 2016 collection, which I found at The White Collection in Clevedon near my (Sam’s) family home in Bristol. She is renowned for her 1920’s, retro glam inspired designs, but when I found the dress, if styled differently, I knew it would work perfectly with the look I wanted. The dress was beaded lace and had a lot going on so I wanted to keep things simple and just wore sparkly drop earrings and satin shoes to match the belt and straps of the dress. (I had personalised converse for the evening as my dancing shoes and a blue ribbon for the bustle as my something blue).
FINDING THE DRESS | I would love to say I tried the dress on, cried and knew instantly it was ‘the one’ but honestly, I didn’t. I think the whole process is glamorized somewhat and whilst of course it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to try on the most beautiful dresses that are so different to anything else you have ever worn, the reality is you are in a half naked with a stranger, clipped and squeezed into something that doesn’t fit, seeing yourself from every angle known to man and having to make a decision on what it will eventually look like once it is tailored to you! I felt nervous making a decision like this but knew I loved the dress on the hanger, the style and what I thought it would look like on me once fitted, when I went for my second fitting, I fell in love with it and felt a million dollars on the day. Abi at The White Collection makes the alterations herself and is amazing.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | I (Andrew) wanted a blue suit with a contrast waistcoat, we tried on quite a few and landed on one from Hackett. The waistcoat was from Suit Supply along with the tie, pocket square and socks. Shirts I got from TM Lewin and shoes from Aldo. I wore initialled silver cufflinks Sam had bought me for my birthday a few years ago.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had a civil ceremony in the gardens of the barn (still not sure how the rain held off!). We had two readings, ‘Love’ by Roy Croft was read by our great friend George and a poem we co-wrote was read by Sam’s best friend Alice. We decided to write a bit of a tongue in cheek poem about each other’s quirks and bad habits to lighten the mood a bit, it got a few laughs so we were happy! We had a fab singer/acoustic guitarist Laura play during the ceremony. Our entrance song was Bloom by The Paper Kites and we exited to Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I (Sam) had six bridesmaids; my sister Lucy was Maid of Honour, three great school friends; Alice, Aniqa and Lucy, Andrew’s sister Jo and Sophie a great friend from uni. The girls wore different style dresses from David’s Bridal in a biscotti colour as we decided to go for something quite neutral. We all did our own hair and make up together in the Nook at the barn; an amazing prep area literally at the end of the aisle. Andrew also had two best men, a chief usher who did the MCing and five ushers who were fab!
THE FLOWERS | I (Sam) spent quite a while trying to find a florist and met with a few. Knowing the flowers were going to be one of the main bits of décor on the day, I wanted to find someone who got the look we were going for. When I met Emma at Pollen Florists in Woodstock, she got it instantly and we landed on a very natural, almost whimsical, romantic feel. For my bouquet, we went for trailing foliages (passion foliage and eucalyptus) and white and ivory flowers including Peonies, Avalanche and Naomi Roses, Astible, Astrantia, Sweet Peas, Jasmine, Solomon Seal and White Scabiosa with trailing taffeta and satin ribbons. The girls each had a slightly different hand tied bouquet with the same flowers and foliage and the buttonholes took the same approach, Andrew had a peony for his. Emma also created over 50m of garlands (Soft Rucus, Eucalyptus and Salal foliages) for the banquet tables, table plan and welcome sign and two incredible free-standing displays on black iron pedestals for the ceremony. I was blown away on the day and everything was better than I imagined. We took my bouquet to my Grandma who sadly couldn’t make it on the day and so she got to enjoy it too.
THE CAKE | We wanted a naked cake and used Lauren at All Cakes and Sizes in Oxfordshire. We went for a mixture of classic vanilla and zesty lemon sponge. My mum and I are gluten intolerant so she also made an amazing gluten free version of the lemon cake. I found out this year I am also dairy intolerant so my mum surprised me with an incredible gluten AND diary free cake so I was able to enjoy some on the day as we had cake for our dessert with fresh berries, coulis and cream.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Another thing we took a lot of time over. We love photography and wanted to find someone who would capture real moments and emotion, nothing too posed or staged. We came across Razia online and loved her work, when we met, her energy and passion for what she does really shone through and we booked her the same day. She was a joy to work with, extremely professional and dedicated but all balanced with a calming influence and flexible approach and we are over the moon with the end result. We also had a videographer, Rory from Magic Chair, we loved his cinematic style and approach to storytelling. We are yet to see the end result but he was a pleasure to work with.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | I (Sam) took this opportunity to learn some new skills. I designed all the wedding stationery and printed elements on the day myself as well as did all the blackboard and sign writing, a lengthy but extremely rewarding process and one I think I might explore as a mini business venture on the side! The rest of the décor, aside from flowers was made up of a LOT of fairy lights, candles, ribbons and a few balloons.
We used different things on the day to involve as many people as possible and bring some personality into the day; we used our order of service as a fun ‘getting to know the bridal party’ piece, we had a complete bridal party entrance to The Beatles ‘Eight days a week’ pre dinner, got our own back on a friend who ended up having to sing to a room of 120 bemused guests, had a speeches drinking game and ‘guess the length of the speeches’ sweepstake, a rogues gallery of funny photos and memories of everyone there and beer pong in the evening.
Good food and drink were really important to us, we used Jamie Oliver’s Fabulous Feasts to cater and they were amazing and made the whole menu gluten free. For mains we had steak or chicken and chips with loads of yummy salads and sides. We had tea and coffee cocktails after dinner (Baileys Espresso Martinis and Tanqueray Earl Greys) and wood fired pizzas in the evening.
THE HONEYMOON | We decided to go to California for our honeymoon the Tuesday after the wedding. We went for a semi chill/semi travel trip and over 3 weeks covered; Newport Beach LA, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Glen Ellen (wine country) and San Fran, incredible.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | All of it! The build up with close friends and family; turning around after the ceremony and taking in everyone there; the speeches; the fun, the laughter and everyone being there; the minute we realised we had totally forgotten to decide what we would do for our first dance and panic waddled our way through it!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | A few things spring to mind…
Do what you want, it is your day no-one else’s so do what feels right for you.
Set up a separate email account for ‘wedmin’, that way you can keep it separate to everyday life otherwise it will consume you!
Take a minute, everyone says that but it is true, the day goes so fast, try and step away and take it in.
Go with the flow, on the day, plans and timings might go out the window but roll with it and have fun.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Razia N Jukes Photography
Venue | The Tythe Barn
Caterers | Jamie Oliver’s Fabulous Feasts
Dress | The White Collection Bridal
Florist | Pollen Flowers
Videographer | Magic Chair
Wedding cake | All Cakes and Sizes
Gluten and dairy free cake | The Local Bakehouse
DJ | Gigz Management
Wow wee, so beautiful!
Thanks so much to Sam and Andrew and their photographer, for sharing their story with us xo Lou