Midsummer Country Marquee Vineyard Wedding

Fullerton Estate Wedding Hannah Larkin Photography

Fullerton Estate Wedding

Classic but relaxed country wedding

Richard and Calum


WWW readers Richard and Calum are joining us with their utterly gorgeous Fullerton Estate wedding in the Hampshire countryside today. They were married on the 29th June 2019 (which turned out to be the hottest June day ever recorded!) at Guildhall Winchester followed by a classically beautiful marquee wedding in the vineyard. They chose a Midsummer date to make the most of the light evenings and I am sure the sunset through the open sided marquee must have been just magnificent.

I love so much about Richard and Calum’s wedding; WWW fave and Supplier Love member Nikki Stark Jewellery was not only their MOH but also made their beautiful wedding rings, there were super stylish outfits, Bjørn their adorable Golden Retriever joined them at their reception and there was lots of wonderfully rustic touches to the decoration of the marquee. I have to say the florals though were glorious, I just love that they now have many of them in their garden too.

Hannah Larkin Photography thank you so much for sharing with us these super stunning images from a really special wedding celebration.

Fullerton Estate Wedding Hannah Larkin Photography

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The Proposal

As told by Richard: After six years together we often got asked when we were going to get married, we always gave a sort of vague answer and brush the question aside. We have sort of been unofficially engaged for years now always putting it off whilst we concentrate on life’s other priorities. I was happy plodding along with our house and our pets.

Until one quiet Friday night Calum asked me to marry him. Not in some vague future plan sort of way but to actually marry him, ring on the finger marry him. Obviously, I said yes. And like that we went from boyfriends to fiancés. No elaborate proposals, just two people in love, who wanted to spend their lives together.

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The Vision

We knew we wanted a large wedding, filled with friends and family, young and old. We also wanted a country wedding, with a more traditional ceremony, followed by a relaxed reception. Lots of our guest were coming over from New England, they had never been to an English wedding, so we also wanted to make sure it was special for them too.

We had a vague notion of getting married as near to Midsummer as possible, we had sort of adopted the Swedish tradition of celebrating Midsummer (despite no Swedish links ourselves). It was wonderful having daylight so late into the evening.

Calum, who was brought up in Hong Kong, but from a Scottish family wanted a ceilidh to finish the evening.

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The Planning Process

Richard is a graphic designer so created a series of mood boards covering everything you could possibly imagine – outfit, flowers, colours, cake etc – to get the vision clear. It really helped having these mood boards to refer back to and to explain to others what we were thinking.

The three big things for the day were location of the ceremony, location of the reception and catering.

Once we had found the venues that developed our thinking for the day. For example, The King Charles Room at Winchester Guildhall is quite a formal space, so we felt this warranted a String Quartet for the music. The Rabbit Bank has a beautiful view of the countryside so we wanted to make the most of this with an open sided marquee and arranging seating so guests could sit and enjoy the sunset.

For the wedding breakfast we liked the idea of having an unconventional meal option, we settled on classic Swedish meatballs. Our cater was recommended by Lucy at The Fullerton Estate. When we first spoke to the team at the Little Kitchen Company, they understood what we wanted. At the tasting session we knew they were right when the chef was talking to us about the day and said ‘oh, that’s going to be fun!’ when he looked at the menu choices and gave us some great options for the evening meal that we had been struggling with. The meatballs went down very well with our guests young and old.

There were certain things we weren’t that worried about, we didn’t need expensive outfits for example, but then we were concerned with the non-tangible things, like having a relaxed atmosphere and wonderful memories.

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The Venue

Being quite traditional types, we would have loved a good old Church of England wedding but that is not an option for two grooms, so we had to find a civil venue instead. We found the King Charles Room at Winchester Guildhall, a beautiful room in a historic building that fitted the bill. The staff at The Guildhall were so kind and helpful which really helps sooth the nerves.

We knew we wanted a countryside wedding but wanted a venue that allowed us to be creative. We explored some other options before we found The Rabbit Bank at The Fullerton Estate, a vineyard and farm close to where we live and close to Winchester. We visited on a glorious summer’s day and knew straight away that it was the perfect place for a midsummer wedding. It is pretty hidden away with a spectacular view of the vineyard, fields and not much else. The team at The Fullerton Estate also gave a recommendation for the marquee company who were fantastic in making the plan come together on site.

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The Readings & Music

For our reading we had and excerpt from “Union” By Robert Fulghum. We felt this summed up how we felt about each other, and our relationship. We also had ‘Falling In Love Is Like Owning A Dog’ By Taylor Mali. We have a Golden Retriever, and this really struck a chord with us, and made us and our guests smile.

We entered together to a version of Delibes’ Flower Duet played by our string quartet. This piece was made famous when used in the British Airways advert and we had always quite liked it – according to the quartet it was an unusual choice for a processional.

Whilst we were signing the register the quartet played Michael Giacchino’s Married Life from the score to the Pixar film Up, one of our favourite films. And Henry Mancini’s Moon River from the score of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

It was a bit of an extravagance to have a quartet play, but it was so worth it they were wonderful. It was a joy to choose the other pieces for the quartet to play, we created a playlist of all the pieces we chose and can play it back if we need a moment of happy relaxation.

We had an excellent accordion player at the reception which gave just the right sort of nostalgic and romantic vibe. The younger guests were fascinated watching him play.

The evening ceilidh was great, the band were just right for our occasion. Calum knows all the dances as he was taught them when he was younger. Watching the generations mix and learn Scottish country dancing together was so enjoyable. We didn’t have a first dance per se, everyone got up and joined us in the Gay Gordons.

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Your Outfits & Accessories

If we are honest, outfits weren’t a big concern for us – obviously we wanted to look smart but that is about it. Richard bought a new suit, and Calum took this as an opportunity to get a new kilt, as his previous one was from when he was 18.

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Grooming

Very low key – The night before the wedding we went to our local barber for a haircut/shave/beard trim.

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The Flowers

Flowers are very important to us as Richard’s mum Celia is a florist of over 40 years’ experience and did all the flowers for the day. Richard has helped his mum out at countless weddings, so he has a good idea of what he wanted. We were after classic arrangements but in a more modern and looser style with an all-white colour scheme. Flowers included peonies, sweet peas, and scented David Austin roses which smelt amazing, these were especially lovely in our buttonholes. To decorate the marquee, we wanted garlands of greenery that our friends made the day before the wedding.

Richard is a keen gardener, so we wanted this reflected in the décor. We had vintage apple crates planted with white flowers and herbs, hydrangeas, box topiary, and trees planted in vintage buckets. These were all subsequently moved into our garden as permanent reminders of the day.

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Wedding Party

Calum’s Best Man, Mike that had flown over with his family from Boston, and Richard had his best friend Nikki as his Best Woman. They supplied their own outfits.

Nikki is also a jewellery designer so she made our wedding rings, it was a lovely moment when she handed us the rings in the ceremony.

What do you call bridesmaids without a bride? Something we never did quite figure out. We had 3 younger flower girls – two, Reece & Aislin had also come over from Boston and then Phoebe who is Richard’s niece. They wore M&S flower girl dresses, with some pretty flowers pinned in their hair and carried little floral posies. Emily, Calum’s 15-year-old God Daughter acted as a sort of Maid of Honour (aka Chief child wrangler) wearing a grey dress from Next.

Nikki made necklaces for the flower girls with a single London Blue topaz.

Our godson Dexter and Richard’s nephew George were Page Boys wearing outfits from Gap.

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Your Photographer

We decided that we would rather have a more relaxed style of photography rather than lots of formal or elaborately posed shots. We also wanted someone that was comfortable with a same sex couple (to be fair I am sure most photographers would be, but it is nice to see another same sex couple in their portfolio, or something written on their website to this effect). We had been looking around for a while but not finding anyone quite right before our Best Woman, Nikki, who works in the wedding industry, put us in touch with Hannah. She talked about telling the story of the wedding which really chimed with us.

We really enjoyed working with Hannah, she made us feel comfortable in front of the camera and got some beautiful shots on a very hot and sunny day. (Also, she also loves dogs so that was a good sign!)

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The Details & Décor

We avoided a colour scheme in the traditional sense, instead focusing on a neutral palette and natural materials. Richard put his graphic design skills to good use to create the invites and the on the day stationery.

As fans of a G&T we had a gin bar with a selection of 10 different gins, and various garnishes and styles of tonic water. We set this all up from scratch, finding the dresser on eBay and styling it up the night before. This was very popular later in the evening.

Our artist friend Ali helped with all the painted signs, she has a steady hand and a good eye for detail.

We decided to forgo a top table and went with four long trestle tables instead. The tables were decorated with floral arrangements, terracotta pots of herbs and candles – although it was too hot to light the candles until much later in the evening. We had fun naming the tables, eventually settling on English Gardens, French Chateaux, New England Towns and Scandinavian historic sights – all places that we love.

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The Cake

Our friend and former neighbour MJ made the cake for us, and it was delicious with tiers of chocolate, elderflower and lemon, carrot and vanilla sponge! We had given him the flavours as ideas of what we wanted, but he misread the instructions and we ended up with a layer of each flavour. We cut the cake using Calum’s late father’s ceremonial sword, which was a great way to include his memory in the day.

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The Honeymoon

The day after our wedding we went to watch baseball. The Boston Red Sox were playing The New York Yankees at The London Stadium (the Olympic Stadium), their first games ever in the UK. After the game we went for beer and burgers. We stayed at The Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel in Bloomsbury.

We then went for a few days at The Lygon Arms in The Cotswolds to unwind and catch up on sleep. We are planning a longer honeymoon, but alas global events keep on postponing it.

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Memorable Moments

We had our group photos on the steps of Winchester Guildhall right after the ceremony, it was wonderful to have all our loved ones congregate together straight away, there were lots of hugs and kisses.

On arrival at the reception we had accordion player doing some French tunes. It was one of the hottest days of the year, so our English country wedding suddenly felt more like a vineyard in the south of France.

Our 2-year-old Golden Retriever Bjørn couldn’t be at the ceremony but he was waiting for us at the reception which was lovely – we are very proud dog dads.

Our wonderfully talented and creative friends and family that helped us make the day so special.

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Advice For Other Couples

As two grooms there were certain wedding traditions that just didn’t apply to us which allowed an amount of freedom – we could pick and choose the bits we wanted do and ignore any that seemed unnecessary. I think all couples should take this approach to traditions, just follow the ones that work for you and ditch any that you feel that don’t, most people won’t notice anyway!

Everyone will tell you that the day will fly by, because it is true.

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Credit Where Credit Is Due

Wow, so romantic. I love those evening portraits in the vineyard. We have many LGBTQI+ weddings in our archives too if you are looking for inspiration for your own wedding.

Richard and Calum thank you so very much for sharing with us your dreamy celebrations xo Lou

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