By Rachel Harrison
Louise and Ben wanted to share a relaxed and cosy celebration with their closest family and friends. They chose to wed at stunning barn venue, Merriscourt, on 26th November 2016. Louise and Ben both went for bespoke outfits, with Louise’s dress created by BOA Boutique and Ben getting a bespoke suit from Hackett.
Whilst the pair were blessed with a beautiful sunny day, they planned so well for losing the November light early in the day and decked out the venue in festoon and pea lights which made for such a warm, festive atmosphere. Taking inspiration from their berry decorated naked cake, they used lots of deep reds and midnight blues, just perfect for the season. Do look out for the incredible hanging floral installation too.
Thanks so much to Benni Carol Photography for the super images.
THE PROPOSAL | 29/07/2015 in Berlin
THE VISION | An elegant but not too formal sparkling Cotswold winter wedding. The colour scheme predominantly came from the cake which was the first decision we made as we are big foodies! Midnight blue, deep reds, pine deep greens and neutral natural whites and wood browns.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We knew we wanted an autumn/winter wedding. The light and colours are so beautiful in November and the best place to show off that beauty is in the countryside surrounded by nature. We knew we wanted a barn venue and we also knew we wanted everything to happen in one place over an entire weekend so once we found Merriscourt the planning process was quite straight forward. Merriscourt court have an amazing house on site you can rent so we had an intimate welcome drinks on the Friday night and then myself, my bridesmaids, my mum and aunt stayed at the house whilst Ben and his family, best men and ushers stayed down the road at the Kingham Plough and The Wild Rabbit (both gorgeous to visit for a weekend). On the Sunday we had a goodbye brunch which was much needed and really lovely. Merriscourt also let you go to the venue the day before to prepare so we were able to add all the homemade touches we wanted.
We both knew how we wanted the wedding day to feel, we have had a lot of tragedy in our family in recent years and we just wanted to have fun and bring our close family and friends together for a day of laughter and we didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously. With that in mind we made most of our choices. We asked our caterers to prepare a wholesome and warming country feast and that is exactly what they did, followed up with our beautiful wedding cake and a humongous cheese table. We also had a dessert table for which members of our families made traditional British cakes and childhood favourites for all to try. We mixed a lot of DIY elements into the wedding to keep it personal and cozy. The bridesmaids helped us make 60 hessian and lace decorated jam jars for the table flower displays which we arranged ourselves the day before with pre selected green and white flowers and foliage delivered from a nearby florist wholesalers.
From this the bridesmaids made their own bouquets which were simple bunches of gypsophila wrapped in a chunky off white lace ribbon tied in a bow. We also made our table number signs with pictures of ben and I at that age of the table number which was amusing for the guests and really filled the room with happy memories. Our talented florist provided the button holes, my beautiful dark red rose bouquet and some beautiful floral displays to bring all the elements together.
Being a winter wedding we had to plan for losing the light early so we had Knight Light Events fill the barns with festoon and pea lighting which complimented the storm lanterns and candles.
One aspect of our planning which we managed to get just right was the pace of the day, we hadn’t wanted it to feel too regimented and formal so we had made it all quite free, with different spaces for the guests to go. The guests were greeted by the ushers and Ben and welcomed into the stone barn for the ceremony. We then went next door to the gallery and the courtyard (we were blessed with a bright sunny day) for a drinks reception. This was then followed by the wedding breakfast in the white barn. We decided to start with three speeches from my mum, Ben and then myself. Then after the meal was the best men’s speeches to kick off the evenings hilarity. We didn’t want the wedding breakfast to last too long so we opted for dessert to be more relaxed with a big dessert table and cheese table in the gallery. Then the evening guests arrived and the party was kicked off with the band calling us for the first dance. During the entire day there were other areas of the venue for the guests to explore, like the courtyard with the Indian fire pit and then a walk on the lawns if they fancied fresh air.
I think as long as you know how you want the atmosphere to feel on the day then the decisions come easily.
BUDGET | £35,0000
THE VENUE | Merriscourt
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | bespoke original design by myself and BOA Boutique which is based in Richmond, Surrey. My dress maker was the incredibly talented Maureen and she also made my mum’s dress.
FINDING THE DRESS | I am not very patient when it comes to shopping so finding THE dress was a little frustrating for me. I went to all sorts of dress shops and couldn’t find the one so I started looking on Pinterest and I worked out which elements of which dresses I loved. I took my idea to BOA Boutique and Shelia drew my dress for me and there it was! THE ONE! All that was left was for the immensely talented Maureen to bring it to life. I then found my perfect shoes at Jimmy Choo which were my something blue. My old was a 1930s Star hair decoration that has been a present given to my mum by my dad. My borrowed was a marabou feather jacket and my new was of course the dress.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Hackett bespoke 3 piece suite in flannel brown. Burgundy shoes from Churches, family cufflinks,
Shirt bespoke from Birkett with embroidered initials, Socks by Paul smith, Tie from drake’s and pocket square from Salvatore ferragamo.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | we chose not to have readings. We had AAMilne Winnie the Pooh quotes in the order of the day and on the kids’ table which was perfect for us……’as soon as I saw you I knew an adventure was going to happen’
Music was very carefully planned. For the ceremony we chose classical pieces that we love and then my very talented bridesmaid Mariah played the harp for my walk down the aisle. For the champagne reception and wedding breakfast we put together a playlist of traditional jazz and swing. One musical event we hadn’t planned was the surprise operatics at the end of the meal! A family friend had booked us a hilarious surprise at the end of the meal which started with us thinking the chef was drunk and ended with the entire room exploding with joy and laughter as 3 hugely talented singers serenaded us! It really was a perfect start to the evenings entertainment which was expertly provided by the up tempo swing band the goosebumps and followed by a homemade playlist of Motown hits through to 90s hip hop
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | my maid of honour and four bridesmaids wore ASOS midnight blue maxi dresses with lace cap sleeves. We also made them bridesmaid survival kits filled with useful items to get them through the wedding.
THE FLOWERS | The big flower displays were created by the talented local Copeland Flower Company. The smaller table displays were DIY.
THE CAKE | The Pretty Cake Company, local to the venue and delicious!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Benni Carol who were such fun and made us feel totally at ease.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | most is covered above but one detail I haven’t mentioned is the wedding favours. We gave each guest a beautiful glass Christmas bauble provided by Sass & Belle which we put in brown paper bags with hand written tags. We also used pine cones to display the place cards and also throughout the venue to bring the season inside.
THE HONEYMOON | we haven’t been on honeymoon yet but hopefully we will at the end of the year. We are currently getting ready to move into our first home.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Obviously the surprise operatics was a big moment! But for me it was actually the moment before I walked down the aisle, I was just so excited and happy and couldn’t wait to see Ben and I hopefully will continue to remember that feeling. Another was my mum’s speech, she had been unwell and had been determined to be good for the wedding, she delivered the most wonderful speech and I can’t explain how happy it made me to see her shine.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | remember to steal away with your partner for a moment to yourselves, the day goes by in a flash and there are so many people to talk to but save time to talk to each other. Also make sure you have a good record of the day, I felt that it was all a bit of a blur and I wanted to re live details again. Our photographers captured so much of the day and it is lovely being able to see it all again after a bit more sleep and a bit less prosecco.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographers | Benni Carol Photography
Venue | Merriscourt
Brides dress and mother of the brides outfit | BOA Boutique
Bride’s/Mother of the Bride’s shoes | Jimmy Choo
Grooms Suit | Hackett
Grooms Shirt | Birkett Bespoke
Caterers | Wesley House
Cake | The Pretty Cake Company
Wedding favours | Sass & Belle
Band | Goosebumps
Florist | Copelands Flower Company
Lighting | Knight Light Events
Invitations/menu cards/order of the day| Vista Print
Thank you ever so much Louise and Ben for sharing your wonderful wedding with us. Rachel x
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