By Louise Baltruschat Hollis
Photos by Patrick Partridge Photography
Oh, Ellie and Nick your gorgeous pastel Fairoaks wedding in Herefordshire totally stole my heart. Why? Let me share all.
Firstly, I adore that they planned a surprise wedding under the guise of a weekend birthday getaway. The moment they shared the news with their guests sounds incredible! And what a way to plan your day, just the two of you – so lovely.
Then of course there were the sensational, stylish outfits and those pastel wildflower style florals. It’s great how they embraced the rainy weather, instead of hunkering down indoors, they hit the dancefloor with brollies, it looked such fun. So great to see their harpist was found via WWW fave wedding supplier Alive Network too. YES!
Patrick Partridge Photography, I can’t thank you enough for sharing these sensational images with us.
Not your typical proposal that’s for sure.. as there wasn’t one really!
At the end of 2020, during the covid lockdown, we decided to secretly plan our wedding day. We had the beautiful Fairoaks Barns in Herefordshire booked for Nick’s postponed 30th birthday weekend, with our family and close friends coming to celebrate with us.
The surprise wedding day idea came from reading about a couple who had surprised their guests on what they thought was their engagement party and it turned out to be their wedding day. We liked the idea of planning it together exactly how we wanted, and with lockdown restrictions up in the air it meant that if we couldn’t go ahead with the wedding nobody knew anyway so it totally took the pressure off.
We always wanted a small wedding where everyone stayed the whole weekend so we knew Fairoaks would be perfect, it really just felt like the right moment in time to have the wedding of our dreams.
Everyone arrived on the Friday, excited for the birthday weekend celebrations to then find out that…
It was an unforgettable moment.
We wanted an intimate, romantic, natural wedding day where everything ran smoothly from one thing to the next…
But we knew as amazing as the surprise wedding idea was, pulling it off would be challenging so we booked Georgina Rose Events early on in the planning to make sure that we could achieve the vision we were hoping for. Georgie was amazing – she was a big support and an amazing on the day coordinator that ran our day to perfection.
Nestled in the Malvern Hills, with lovingly restored old barn buildings, Fairoaks was our dream wedding venue. The surroundings are so beautiful we didn’t need to think about how we’d style the space, and since we spent the whole day outdoors our pictures and film capture the magic of the scenery which we fell in love with.
Bride: I intended to go wedding dress shopping at the end of December 2020, but another lockdown meant all my appointments were cancelled. I knew that waiting was a risk as I would only have a month to get my dress ordered/altered so I took a risk and ordered my wedding dress without trying it on!
While I think most women wouldn’t be comfortable with this (and also understand that it is a really special moment to go and try on dresses with loved ones), I think it can be done for brides like me who have a vision in mind…
If you look at your wardrobe and really think about the style of dresses that flatter your figure, what your go-to shape is and how you want to feel on the day you can really start to narrow down what wedding dresses you really would like.
I found my dream Made With Love ‘Louie’ dress @avalouisebridal – Imogen was amazing and I was so happy I took the risk when I finally got to try on my dress for the first time a few weeks before our wedding day. The 3D hand-sewn detailing reminded me of cherry blossom, I fell in love with it and didn’t want to ever take it off!
Groom: Nick and his groomsmen wore a light/stone-coloured linen blend three-piece suit. Nick has always been into tailoring and wearing suits at work he wanted something different for our wedding day. The linen blend suits he found at Moss Bros were so smart and also really comfortable to wear for the whole day.
We had a celebrant wedding led by the wonderful @pipthecelebrant. Pippa created the most perfect ceremony that was totally personalised to us and our guests there.
For our ceremony and arrival drinks/canapes, we had the wonderful harpist Jessica Louise – she was amazing, and our guests loved the different pieces she played.
For the evening we had The Parklife band play – they were just brilliant! After more than a year not being able to enjoy live music, it was so amazing to have the guys there for everyone to let their hair down and party the night away.
We were really lucked out with our photographer – not only does he take smashing pics, he is a totally wonderful person that was so much fun to spend time with on our wedding day! We are really grateful to Pat for capturing the best day of our lives so perfectly.
We met our videographer through our photographer Pat, and clicked straight away with Mitch too! Mitch created the most wonderful film, I can’t go longer than 3-4 weeks without watching it back I love it so much.
Mitch and Pat were a great team on our day – something I’d also recommend for other couples to think about is booking suppliers that are recommended or have worked together as it really adds to the day with everyone working as a little team.
The theme for the florals was pastel wildflowers – I didn’t want anything too structured, and with the amazing backdrop wanted it to suit the wild nature around us. Charlotte created the most amazing bouquets and floral arch to frame the Malvern Hills for our ceremony.
The moment we told our guests was unforgettable, it was a moment so special for us but everyone that was there to be a part of it too. While the pictures of our wedding day by Pat are completely amazing, we treasure so much the reaction pictures Pat took the night before of the reveal moment… they really take us back to that moment.
We loved the moment after our ceremony, where (with bubbles in hand!) our wedding planner @georginaroseevents took us up to our reception area to see it all set up before our guests went up there. It was a little moment just the two of us where we could just take in the day together.
And the best one was the rain in the evening! No one would want rain on their wedding day (including me!) but with an outdoor wedding in the UK we knew it was possible so prepared well with some pretty white/clear brollies as a backup.
It did rain, but it was so fun with everyone dancing under their umbrellas – it also made for some of our favourite shots from Pat and Mitch!
It sounds obvious but it is so important to do things your way. Thinking about what is most important to you and prioritising that throughout the planning will keep you on track and result in the day you really want – not what you think everyone is supposed to do, or what other people want you to do.
We didn’t plan a surprise wedding because we didn’t want anyone else’s input, but because we knew it was something we would never get to do together again. We were able to share it just the two of us and give our guests a memorable moment when we finally dropped the news!
And the other tip… do prepare well if you are going for an outdoor wedding in the UK – a wet weather Plan B (even if it is just some brollies) is a MUST.
Oh so beautiful!
Ellie and Nick thanks ever so much for sharing your joyful surprise Fairoaks wedding with us.
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Credit where credit is due
Photographer Patrick Partridge Photography
Filmmaker Mitchell Clulow
Florist Blooms By Charlotte
Dress Made With Love Bridal
Dress Shop Ava Louise Bridal
Bride Jacket Miss Poppy Design Shop
Harpist Alive Network
Band The Park Life
Makeup Poppy Mae
Hair Individual Glamour
Spray Tan Bronze and Glow
Caterer Your Plate Or Mine
Jewellery Brilliant Earth
Planner Georgina Rose Events
Shoes Forever Soles
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