Travel & Wine Inspired Barn Wedding

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If you love seeing couple’s personalities shine through their wedding story as much as we do, then you’re in for something truly special today.

Debbie and Iain chose to celebrate their marriage at WWW Supplier Love members Farbridge, a haven amongst West Sussex fields filled with captivating brick walls, stylishly converted barns, and an abandoned dairy farm perfect for a newly-wed hideaway. Following a delightfully thoughtful proposal that told the story of their relationship, the wedding itself unfolded through myriad personal touches created by friends, family, and the bride and groom themselves. The couple set their priorities straight: a great venue, natural photography, contagiously good music (to the catchy tune of swing covers by The Long Straws via Alive Network who can also be found in our directory), and free-flowing drink – all of which was paid homage to during the pre-wedding pool party, the wedding day itself, and the pub gathering the day after.

The décor took cue from the couple’s love of travel, wine, and good times, with classic cars, wine crates in bloom, doughnut towers, travel-weary suitcases, and photos of their adventures bringing each of the tables to life. The wild florals included white roses, spray roses, lisianthus, freesias, gypsophila, delphiniums and muscari, blooming on chairs, tables, and hanging behind the couple as they said their I dos.

Join us in reading the bride and groom’s journal and the enjoying the captures of Jamie Dunn Photography, so full of emotion, light, and love.

Enjoy!

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The Proposal

The night before we were heading to Venice for the weekend, Iain suggested going out for dinner the night before to extend our holiday. We decided to meet at Borough Market, but little did I know that he had planned to replicate our first date. He took me to the same pubs that we went to, and then like our first date we ended up in the Shard for a nightcap.

He had reserved the exact same seats we sat in and then once we were comfortable with a very expensive bottle of wine he told me he had a present for me. He pulled out a book which told the entire story of our relationship in photos from colleagues, to friends, to much more. I was in tears by the first page and on the last he had asked me to marry him. It was the most incredible proposal, so thoughtful and emotional.

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The Vision

We didn’t really set out with a vision as such, we knew what was important to us and went with what felt right. We wanted the ceremony and the party in the same place in a barn near Hampshire, we wanted an awesome natural photographer, a cool band who made covers their own, we wanted a free bar and we wanted everything to represent us a couple and our relationship together. In going for all of this we actually ended up with an accidental theme of travel and wine, which perfectly defines our relationship even before we got together.

My friend Christian did all of our design work and created us an incredible logo incorporating all of the aspects of our day in to a swirly curly balloon held by us represented as stick bride and groom. It was awesome and all our stationery followed the same theme. He created a brand for our wedding.

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The Planning Process

Conveniently I am Event Manager, so we were extremely organised with our planning. We had 18 months to prepare and wanted to spread the tasks out over the months. We really wanted to enjoy the planning and didn’t want it to become stressful by leaving everything to the last minute. By the time it got to 4 months out we had a monthly breakdown of the tasks we needed to do, and at 1 month we broke it down to a weekly list. Everything was ticked by the weekend before so we could properly enjoy the celebrations in the run up to the wedding itself.

We made sure during the planning to make the most of any occasion, we had a bridesmaid BBQ so my different friends could properly meet as well as their boyfriends. We made an occasion of the alterations and after the dresses were done headed to a bottomless brunch with our entire bridal party and their partners.

We got married on the bank holiday Sunday, so on the Saturday my parents hosted a pre wedding pool party for the bridal party, their partners and our immediate families. Then on the bank holiday Monday we invited everyone to a pub to nurse their sore heads after the wedding. It really extended the celebrations and meant we got to see everyone loads over the weekend.

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The Venue

We actually looked around 10 different barns trying to find the right place for what we wanted, and then we found Farbridge, we didn’t even need to consult each other before reserving a date for our wedding. It was perfect and we fell in love immediately.

It is a gorgeous barn near Chichester with awesome brick walls. It was so perfectly laid out for what we wanted and the back drop of fields and sheep was stunning. It also has a cool abandoned dairy farm where we got some great pictures.

The venue planning team were incredible, so friendly, really responsive and always helpful – they didn’t push their ideas on you which we found some venues did. They just gave advice and suggestion when you asked for it. The on the day team were fantastic, always there but never intrusive.

The Manager/Head Chef was brilliant, you don’t have to choose from a menu, he will sit with you and develop a unique bespoke menu designed to your tastes. We had a tasting event where we tried four starters, four mains and four desserts just to get an idea of the food quality, the service quality and generally the experience of being in Farbridge. The food was insanely good, every guest mentioned the food to us, and most of them stated without hesitation that it was the best food they have ever had at a wedding.

The bridal suite is gorgeous for you to get ready in and there are seven additional rooms on site for some of your guests, and a lovely breakfast room to have a full English in the morning after.

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The Readings & Music

We had two readings during the ceremony, one we wrote ourselves and asked one of my closest friends from university to read for us. It was a rhyme of the story of how we got together, which we love to tell as we were friends first for over a year.

The second reading we asked one of my best friends to write for us, we didn’t want to hear it before the wedding and he really outdid himself, it was absolutely beautiful. Both readings had the impact we wanted, there were laughs and tears in all the right places and the whole ceremony was beautifully informal but very emotional.

All our music meant something special to us, I walked down the aisle to Rod Stewart Have I told you lately, which was the first person we saw perform together at his Vegas show. Our ceremony songs were Birdy – Wings and George Ezra – Hold my girl, two artists we love and both of which we saw together at Glastonbury the year before.

Our first dance was to Ella Eyre – You don’t have to take your clothes off, a beautiful slow version of the original which became our song very early on in to our relationship. Its not a traditional first dance song which we loved about it. As we re-walked down the aisle together for our first dance there was definitely confusion when it started and no one was really sure what it was. By the time the chorus hit all our guests were chanting it at us. It was one of our favourite memories of the day.

We also had Laura James, an acoustic singer with a stunning voice as background music during the wedding breakfast, and The Long Straws who smashed two sets for our party in the evening – they were a swing/jive band giving new and old music their own jive twist. They were all incredible and our guests loved them both!

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The Details & Décor

As we mentioned we accidentally ended up with a theme of travel and wine. Our table plan was a world map of all the places we had been together, and the table numbers were photos of us in those places on tiny easels. To accompany the world map we had old vintage suitcases dotted around the venue in a pile on the floor and then to hold our cards.

For the tables we had wine crates for our centrepieces, wine corks which held the names of the guests and jam jars dotted around with recycled strips of the bridesmaid/best women dresses wrapped around them and tied in bows.

We had an old vintage ladder in the corner of the venue with some cool plant pots and pictures of both parents at their weddings. And our guest book was a photo book (similar to the book for our proposal) with pictures of all our guests so they could find their face or sign a space.

One of our favourite things at our wedding was our arrival cars. My Dad owns two old cars, a Triumph Herald and Woolsley, which he did up for the wedding, once they had served their purpose they were positioned perfectly within the courtyard for photos, children playing and guest posing. They really made the outside area and became the backdrop for so many photos.

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The Flowers

We found a Gill who owns a company near Chichester called Earth Seed to Bloom who offered us some gorgeous flowers at a very reasonable price. With a blue theme we were quite limited on choosing the flowers and put our trust in Gill to choose the right ones, we just didn’t want anything too manicured. So we ended up with white roses, spray roses, lisianthus, freesias, gypsophila, delphiniums and muscari.

For the tables we bought some wine crates from Majestic for £5 where the money then goes to charity, and she filled them with these gorgeous flowers. She also built us a beautiful backdrop in the ceremony room of seven hanging chains where the flowers were attached to foliage it was stunning, and the ceremony chairs had small gypsophila bunches with hessian ribbon.

For our bouquets, I had a beautiful bouquet of the blue and white mix, the bridesmaids had gypsophila all with hessian ribbon. I hate at weddings seeing the bouquets left to die on tables so we had 4 grey jugs and 1 big white jug dotted around the venue to put them in to which added to the decoration after the ceremony.

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Best Women, Ushers & Bridesmaids

Our bridal party didn’t follow the normal traditions as Iain had two best women, a female usher and a male usher. I kept things a bit more standard and had three bridesmaids and a Maid of Honour, all female.

Iain and Mark bought their suits from Moss Bros, they were grey check with a waistcoat, a white shirt, a grey bow tie from an Etsy shop called Men Lau and matching brown shoes from Next.

We decided that we wanted all our girls to wear the same dress but in different colours, my side wore it in blue and then Iain’s side wore it in grey to match the guys suits so it was clear they were on Iain’s side. The dresses themselves were gorgeous, long chiffon and very simple we bought them from JJs House.

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The Cake

We are not really cake people, but we are pretty partial to a Krispie Kreme so only seemed right to do a bit of a swap! Our donut tower went down like a storm and was decorated with the white and blue flowers and topped with a very untraditional cake topper from eBay, which was a silhouette of a groom lifting his bride whilst she has a glass of wine in her hand, so it suited our theme of travel and wine.

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Your Outfit & Accessories

I bought my dress from Anya Bridal, a gorgeous shop which was actually a barn conversion with hundreds of dresses. They give you the real experience of dress shopping, with a big reveal curtain, a platform and a car sized mirror which you can approach from afar and almost see yourself walking down the aisle.

I actually bought the first wedding dress I tried on, it was absolutely perfect. It was a Stella York, simple chiffon dress, with a laced bit at the top. All I wanted was a gorgeous white floaty dress (I continued to try on another 20 dresses at various shops jut to be sure, but none compared to mine).

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Beauty

Unfortunately my first hair trial and make up didn’t go very well and I ended up having to find someone new very last minute which was probably the most stressful part of the wedding planning.

My Maid of Honour recommended Suzanne Hair and Makeup, who told me that Elliose was available. We had a trial a couple of days later which was incredible. Elloise was so lovely and friendly and very understanding of my previous trial.

She used very natural make up, and put my hair up in a huge messy bun with a plait down the side. I loved all of it and it meant I was able to relax on the day chatting, drinking and getting excited and didn’t even think about what Elloise was doing.

As I didn’t want a train or a veil, to finish off the outfit my mum bought me a stunning hair vine to wrap around my messy bun. Which I bought from Bleu Bridal and it was from Twilight Designs.

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Your Photographer

Our photographer was fantastic!!

We found searching online for photographers to be a bit overwhelming and very challenging, so we met Jamie Dunn at a wedding show at the ExCeL. We would definitely recommend using the wedding shows to find your photographer, its so important to get on with the person as well as see the photos and at a show you can do both and meet so many at the same time.

We immediately liked Jamie, he was really friendly, and his photos were awesome. He takes really cool, very natural pictures and each one tells a story. He is fascinated by light and really uses it in his photography which you can see immediately.

His second photographer was Lloyd who was just as brilliant and had a very similar style to Jamie. He was really friendly and had a laugh with our guests.

During the day we barely saw either of them, they were always in the background capturing the action shots rather than forcing the posed photos like some more traditional photographers. We didn’t even think about where they were we just knew they’d be in the mix of it getting the shots we wanted.

During our couple shots Jamie made us feel really relaxed and was so easy to be around and helped make sure we got some really natural beautiful shots of the two of us.

All of our photos are incredible and we couldn’t recommend Jamie highly enough.

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The Honeymoon

We normally book holidays ourselves, but with the wedding planning we decided to use Trailfinders instead. They were really helpful, matched prices we found elsewhere and took care of everything.

We went straight off on a trip of a lifetime starting in Zanzibar for a few days to chill out after the wedding, moving on to a private safari in Tanzania going to both the Ngorongoro crater and the Serengeti. After this we felt we would need some time to chill out so headed off to the Seychelles to relax and tan, finishing off in Nairobi city for a few more animals before flying home. Incredible.

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Memorable Moments

Iain says his most memorable moment is waiting at the top of the aisle for me extremely nervous, and the moment he saw me all nerves disappeared and he was just excited and unbelievably happy.

For me I can pick out a few moments, getting ready with the girls was incredible. The morning was so much fun and felt like we’d had an amazing day before the wedding had even started.

Walking down the aisle was the most emotional thing I have ever done, my face was soaking wet from tears and the experience of seeing everyone you love with Iain at the top and my Dad by my side was unbeatable.

I’ve already mentioned our first dance but it was definitely one of my highlights, the ceremony room was converted in to our dancefloor and the way that Farbridge is laid out meant our guests naturally formed an aisle for us to walk down together – it was a very different experience to my first aisle walk but so special in its own way as we walked to the introduction of our song. Some first dances can be a bit awkward with the bride and groom waiting on the dancefloor for guests to form around them so I loved every second of this.

The whole day was perfect and whilst it flew by in a flash I can remember so much of it so clearly. From waking up in the morning, to the ceremony, to the reception, to a moment of quiet with our couple shots, the incredible food, the hilarious speeches and the wild party with canapés of jagerbombs circulating the room. It was the best day of our lives and we will never forget it.

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Advice For Other Couples

  • Spread the planning – it’s never too early for some of the prep.
  • Go to a wedding show to find your photographer.
  • Don’t underestimate how long it takes to find the right band.
  • Make a weekend of it – use the day before and after if you can.
  • Bring some empty jugs/vases for the bouquets.
  • Hire an oval top table, its still different but means you chat to the whole table.

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Credit Where Credit Is Due

Photographer
Jamie Dunn Photography

2nd Photographer
Lloyd Richard Photography

Venue
Farbridge Wedding Venue
WWW wedding directory member – Wedding Venues

Florist
Earth Seed to Bloom

Wedding Dress
Anya Bridal

Wedding Dress Designer
Stella York

Hair & Make up
Suzanne Hair and Beauty

Hair Vine
Bleu Bridal by Twilight Designs

Wedding Shoes
Rainbow Club

Bridesmaid Dresses
JJs House

Bow Tie
Menlau

Band
The Long Straws via Alive Network
WWW wedding directory member – Wedding Entertainment

Acoustic Singer
Laura James

Honeymoon
Trailfinders

Thank you so much to Debbie and Iain for sharing their beautiful celebration with us! And many thanks to their photographer Jamie for sharing these wonderful images. Val Xx

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