Happy Monday folks! I hope you had a fab weekend and are ready to immerse yourself in all things wedding this morning. Today I have a beautiful barn wedding to share, held in the stunning Gloucestershire countryside.
Nicola and Henry were wed on the 24th August 2019 in a church ceremony followed by a love filled barn celebration at Priors Court Barn. Hooray! They homemade much of their gorgeous décor themselves, had colourful flowers all round and the most beautiful flower cake ever… just you wait. The barn was draped in fairy lights too for a really romantic feel with live music come evening, the atmosphere must have been magic.
There is a lot of style too, I love all the attire for the whole wedding party. Then there was a really cute classic car for transport on the day and a really pretty confetti moment.
Everything was captured ever so beautifully by Emily & Steve Photography and I am so thankful to be able to share these vibrant images with you.
We got engaged just under a year from our wedding day. It was a warm day in September and we were visiting our old University campus. Henry completely surprised me by getting down on one knee next to the very ponds we’d first met and had our first date. The only onlookers were some ducks and her chicks! It was such a special moment for both of us, in an extremely sentimental spot. We spent the rest of the afternoon sipping champagne in the sunshine before an evening of pizza and wine at an old University haunt.
The vision for our wedding was simple – we wanted every part of the day to completely represent us as a couple. Starting from the invitations which were made from a painting I did for Henry for Christmas, down to the table plan which were names of our favourite places in our University town. When we imagined our wedding it was always very colourful, fun and full of love.
The Planning Process
I’m an Executive Assistant and Henry’s an Event Planner, so as you can imagine we went full “Monica” style with the planning…spreadsheets, mood boards and running orders. For us that was part of the fun of organising our wedding, and meant we were able to relax on the day knowing everything had been planned for! Some lovely friends of ours shared their wedding planning spreadsheet, which we built on as a basis for ours. Having each detail mapped out made the planning much more manageable and fun.
In the early months we locked in the big jobs – venues, caterer, photographers and band. And then actually found we had some downtime. It was a few months before our wedding that everything ramped back up again, but this time it was the smaller details and for us the fun, arts and crafts part of the wedding. This is the part I really felt we put our personal touch to the day.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I really enjoyed the whole experience of shopping for my dress and tried on almost every style, because when else do you get the opportunity?! I fell in love with a lot of dresses but didn’t want to take my dress off when I first wore it. The dress was Rosa by Suzanne Neville. It was the classical shape I love, with a big skirt made from a stunning embroidered tulle. I made a few alterations – added a belt and made the straps thinner – then the lovely ladies at The White Room (in Minchinhampton) suggested I wore a stunning cathedral veil. Definitely the right decision, as I had a lot of fun wearing it on the day.
My Godmother treated me to the most wonderful pair of shoes. I’d been after flats because I never wear heels and really wanted to be comfortable on the day. After a day shopping in London we discovered Sophia Webster and her bridal range – ‘Wifey for Lifey’!
Although it was a typical English countryside wedding, Henry decided against going for tails and instead preferred a more relaxed look of suits. Henry went for a double-breasted navy suit, with a burnt orange tie to add a bit of colour and fit in with the colourful flowers and complement his buttonhole. The suit was tailored by Moss Bros and included a waistcoat which he changed into for the dancing!
We completely and utterly fell in love with Priors Tithe Barn in Brockworth the moment we saw it. It was the second venue we saw, and it was just perfect. The owner, Tim, was so welcoming and allowed us to use his barn and gardens as a blank canvas for our big day. To be honest, both the barn and gardens were so beautiful we didn’t need to add much other than a few personal touches.
At this time Tim didn’t have a website for the venue, I actually found it through a local photographer’s website. And then when I called Tim he informed me that they had just had a cancellation for August bank holiday weekend. It was definitely meant to be!
My wonderful Aunty Alison kindly did the makeup for myself and my mum. I don’t often wear makeup and wanted something really natural, so it was really lovely to have a familiar face and someone I trust doing it.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my hair, other than have it up and quite loose. I absolutely loved what Paco Delgago (from Cheltenham) did and he made it appear so effortless. It wasn’t until getting ready for bed that I discovered how many hair pins I had in there!!
The Readings & Music
Readings from our service
Tealights – Written and read by a wonderful friend of ours, Tilly.
Colossians 3:12-17 – Read by Henry’s sister, Fee.
Music from our service
Processional – Butterfly Waltz by Brian Crain (my mum found this piece of music and Henry and I loved it. This was the only piece we played off a CD.)
Hymns – (accompanied by the church organ) Be Still for the Presence of the Lord, Be Thou My Vision, Thine Be the Glory
Registration of the marriage – Acoustic guitar played by my brother (this was really special).
Recessional – Wedding March by Mendelssohn
Music from our reception
Band – Stanley Park (these guys are a brilliant band and so much fun to have at our wedding. Adding to another personal touch…they are my brother’s friends!)
First Dance – All My Love by George Ezra (played by Stanley Park)
We didn’t have a DJ, but instead I tasked my brother with the job of compiling a Spotify playlist that could play off the band’s sound system during their breaks. It worked really well.
After the venue I think the photographers were the next thing we booked. This was an important decision for us as we love photography and really like a more relaxed, natural style.
We had a few conversations with various photographers but knew the minute we spoke to Emily and Steve that they were the ones for us. We found them online and loved the authentic look of their photos. On the day they made us feel totally at ease, particularly for Henry who’s not a fan of having his photo taken! We were made to feel so comfortable in the more intimate couple shots, as nothing was posed but rather Henry and I just enjoyed the time together and Emily and Steve captured the moments. We love looking back and seeing moments we missed on the day, especially love that we had morning shots for both the Bride and Groom – a real bonus with having two photographers. I also LOVE the build up at the church and seeing all the guests arrive, as I obviously missed that moment on the day.
We felt like they were additional wedding guests and for us, we couldn’t have asked for better photos to remember our day. It’s going to be very difficult to choose our favourites for a wedding album!
The Details & Décor
We absolutely loved pulling together the finer details and décor to make up our day. I spent a lot of the summer in the garden painting and building decorations with my mum. We made the table plan from an old pallet we got off a farm, with each table name tea stained and glued on to patterned card to give that rustic look. Henry and I found a vintage map that became the focus for the table plan.
Henry and I collected large, colourful bottles to turn into centrepieces for each table. We continued tea staining and made table names into luggage tags to hang off the bottles. We attached them with yarn and added a gold ‘H&N’ wax seal for a finishing touch.
Each guest was given a scroll of paper which had questions to answer and a space to give advice to the Bride and Groom. The guests popped their completed notes in the bottles on their tables, and we plan to read them all on our paper anniversary next year.
So much of our decoration was homemade, even down to our confetti which was an amalgamation of leftover confetti from friends’ weddings and petals that friends and family dried throughout the year. It worked really well and was a definite money saver!
We raided my parents’ house and bought blankets, bean bags, cushions to dot around the gardens. There were garden games and homemade signs; a homemade photobooth with fancy dress collected from home; an old wheel decorated with ivy and photos of the two of us… so much went into the decoration and it was such fun to do!
I absolutely love flowers and when Henry and I visited the barn we quickly realised we needed to find someone who could mimic the colourful and natural feel of the venue’s gardens.
I met mother and daughter, Deb and Emily, of Fiorella Flowers over a cup of tea with my mum and quickly knew they completely understood our vision for the flowers. Colourful, relaxed and vibrant country garden style wedding. An added bonus was that they were based locally and grew a lot of their flowers in their own gardens.
I asked for a bouquet that had a gathered, rustic feel, as if I’d gone to a meadow and picked up a bunch…definitely no colour scheme here! I LOVED it and after the wedding even got it pressed into a tile so I could keep them forever.
My wonderful bridesmaids, Trin, Chloe and Rebecca, wore navy tea-length bridesmaid dresses from JJsHouse. I went for the deep navy colour, so their colourful bouquets really stood out. Then my sister and MoH Jo wore a long navy dress from ASOS. This was a last minute change as she had a baby one week before we got married! They all looked really beautiful.
Our gorgeous flower girl and page boy wore outfits from Monsoon Kids and John Lewis. And I found our page boy’s burnt orange bow tie on Etsy to compliment the groomsmen’s ties.
We rented the suits for our groomsmen, Will, Mark, Tom & Tom, from Moss Bros. They offer a great service where you can get fitted at your local store and they deliver them all to your chosen store to collect the day before the wedding. Whilst Henry wore a double breasted suit, we wanted the groomsmen to look a little different so they wore a three-piece navy suit and tweed waistcoat, also with a burnt orange tie.
As a final touch, Henry gifted each of his groomsmen a pair of bright orange socks from the London Sock Company to match their ties. They all looked very dapper.
The cake was more than we could ever have imagined! Not only did it taste unbelievable, but our cake maker continued the colourful and floral feel of our wedding so perfectly…we loved it!
The top layer was a Victoria sponge with raspberry jam, the middle was lemon drizzle and the bottom a chocolate brownie cake with salted caramel. It had yellow icing with cascades of dried flowers framed by fresh flowers joining each tier.
And again, another bonus was that it was an old friend of mine making the cake.
This was all Henry. I didn’t know where we were going until we were outside our gate at the airport and he presented me with an itinerary for our trip (as an Executive Assistant this brought me much joy!).
We had an incredible two weeks, first stopping for a city break in Venice staying at the stunning Ca Maria Adele before we hopped on a train to Lake Como to stay in the beautiful fishing village of Varenna. My grandparents spent their honeymoon in Como over sixty years ago, so it really meant a lot to me to be celebrating ours there.
There are too many, but to mention a few:
We wrote letters for each other to open the morning of our wedding, and although we had said no presents Henry had cheekily hidden one at my parents’ home – a gorgeous bracelet inscribed with our wedding date. So beautiful and I will treasure it along with the letter.
The whole church service was our favourite moment of the entire day, it was so full of love and happiness and a time we’ll never forget.
We had the most brilliant confetti exit followed by a private moment where our driver took us to a beacon overlooking Painswick to enjoy a glass of bubbly. This was a really special, quiet moment for us newlyweds and we really loved having it before the crazy fun of the reception!
Loved walking into the barn to ‘Oh What a Night’ and seeing all the people we love in one room. It was so special seeing everyone from different parts of our lives chatting and laughing together, and all in the setting of the beautiful barn which came together just as we had imagined it.
The speeches. My mum, my dad, Henry and our best man absolutely rocked the speeches. They were emotional, funny and had pretty much every guest in tears before the end.
Advice For Other Couples
Our wedding car driver said to me before I walked down the aisle, ‘remember to remember’, and then again to us both when he drove us from the church. The day goes so quickly and it’s easy to let is run away from you, so just remember to take in every moment and enjoy every second. Don’t sweat the small stuff on the day and instead totally relax and have fun celebrating being married!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Emily & Steve Photography
Priors Court Barn
How magical?! I do love a barn wedding.
Nicola and Henry, thank you so much for kindly sharing your utterly wonderful day with us xo Lou