How beautiful is that above portrait in the corn field? Woah! We’re thrilled to be sharing these stunning images today courtesy of wedding photographer extraordinaire Megan Duffield Photography.
WWW readers Christine and Matt were hitched on the 17th June 2017 and decided to host their reception at Bateman’s Barn in Norfolk. The country barn setting was so glorious and the weather fine. This meant that guests could mingle and play outdoor games to their hearts content. The focus of their celebrations though was the fusion of their families and their South African and British cultures, with African trees as table names, BBQ cuisine and the name tags were tiny African animals. Just so perfect.
There was an orange, pink and blue colour scheme for a really vibrant feel. Christine’s peony and protea bouquet was a masterpiece and the part naked part painted cake really was a show stopper. Christine wanted a gown that was unconventional featuring a unique lace pattern, which is where Cheyenne by Claire Pettibone came in. Isn’t it just exquisite? Matt meanwhile went for bespoke experience at Moss Bros. I am loving his check waistcoat and knitted tie combo. What a gorgeous pair and a stylish real wedding to boot.
THE PROPOSAL | Matt started planning the proposal in September 2015 finding the perfect ring and thinking of how to propose. He also wanted to ask my dad’s permission so that November he met my dad down the pub. In South African tribal culture (me originally being South African) ‘Lobolo’ which means ‘Bride Price’ is when a prospective husband essentially ‘pays’ the prospective wife’s family for her hand in marriage. In more rural areas of South Africa this is normally paid in the form of livestock, i.e cattle. As a nod to South African culture and a gesture to my dad, Matt presented him with a tiny pewter cow. Although I am English South African, this went down very well and of course, my dad gave Matt his blessing. Matt had every intention to propose that Christmas, but changed his mind after reading a list of the top ten worst ways to propose and Christmas Day was listed, which totally put him off. He decided a romantic getaway to Barcelona in the New Year would be a better option… he was right and I said yes! (I would’ve said yes regardless).
THE VISION | We wanted something that captured a sense of both of our personalities as well as cultural backgrounds, me being South African and Matt from Britain, so we wanted hints of Africa combined with a British, vintage feel. It took place in a quintessentially British countryside setting in a converted barn on the border of Norfolk and Suffolk, but there were subtle details of Africa, including a brilliant Marimba band! We wanted to ensure that it would be fun for our guests and a big focus for us was around food as well, we love food! We opted for a delicious ‘Braai’ (South African word for BBQ), which went down very well with our guests.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Our initial focus was to find the venue and we both wanted somewhere relaxed and relatively informal, which is why we were after a barn. We knew that once we had this, everything would fall into place. We made sure to set time aside every week to go through our ‘to do list’ but also ensured that planning didn’t take over our lives. We chose every Wednesday to go over our plans and appropriately named this ‘Weddingnesday’. As we started getting closer to the day we did end up spending most weekends finishing off bits that we decided to make. We wanted a hands on feel to make everything more personal, which is great but also leads to a lot of work so organisation was key.
THE CHURCH & VENUE | St Mary’s Church in Redenhall, Norfolk. This is such a beautiful old church that dates back to the 1300’s, we were so lucky to be able to get married here. Our reception was at Batemans Barn; a beautiful converted barn near Halesworth. As soon as we saw this venue we knew it was where we wanted our reception. It is so geared up to accommodate for any potential scenario that a British summer can bring and it also came with the owners, Nicole and John who have over 18 years’ experience in the industry. Nicole certainly put our minds at ease as well as provided us with recommendations for our florist, caterers, DJ and much more. The venue included the barn, a courtyard that is covered with a marquee, a beautiful little bar serving local beers, ales, ciders and much more as well as amazing gardens, surrounded by farm fields; proper countryside. Next to the barn is the B&B, which includes 5 bedrooms for the bridal party to stay for the weekend, which was so convenient. After viewing quite a few barns, this was the perfect choice for our intimate wedding.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was the Cheyenne Gown from Claire Pettibone’s Romantique Collection. I found this at Blackburn Bridal in Blackheath, London. This dress comes in nude as well but I opted for Ivory. My veil was ‘Ada’ by Britten, which was a single tier veil with full lace edge in Church length. My shoes were a simple Ivory, block heel, peep toe by Faith, which I found on ASOS. I always knew I wanted a fresh flower crown, something simple and delicate and I absolutely loved what our florist put together for me.
FINDING THE DRESS | I always knew I wanted full lace and I wanted something different. I was looking for a memorable dress that may be considered unconventional with a unique lace pattern. With this in mind, I searched high and low for bridal stores that stocked Anna Campbell, Flora, Rue de seine etc. I was also following Grace Loves Lace on Instagram, but unfortunately, they did not stock in the UK. Eventually I came across Blackburn Bridal in London and had a look at the Romantique Collection by Claire Pettibone. Her intricate detailing and beautiful lace patterns drew me in straight away and as soon as I tried my dress on I knew it would fit in with the setting and I felt so comfortable in it.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Matt wanted a blue suit and brown shoes, this he was adamant about :) After having his measurements taken at Moss Bros, he opted for the RAF blue, Ted Baker suit. The bespoke tailoring service offered by Moss Bros was brilliant, from picking the material, the lining, buttons, even down to stitching, you can choose every aspect. Once Matt’s suit was delivered he found a pair of Loake tan brogues and a matching belt that complemented his suit perfectly, he looked very dashing! (said the blushing bride).
THE READINGS & MUSIC | For the processional music to walk down the aisle, my dad and I chose this together as we thought it should be about him giving me away. We chose ‘Wildflowers’ by Tom Petty, as we felt the sentiment was about guiding me to be where I would be happy. I love the lyrics and it was so in keeping with my bouquet and flower crown as well. For our readings in the Church we asked the Reverend to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 (Love is patient, love is kind…). Our second reading was ‘I carry your heart with me’ by E.E Cummings, read by my maid of honour. Our recessional music was meant to be ‘Send me on my way’ by Rusted Root but there was a slight mix up and turned out to be ‘You Send Me’ by Sam Cooke – probably even better, and certainly went down well with our guests. For our first dance, Matt and I chose Leon Bridges, ‘Coming Home’ we both love this song and chose it together. My dad and I chose to dance to ‘Father and Daughter’ by Paul Simon as we thought it was fun, upbeat and very sweet.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | With the help of one of my bridesmaids I found a local wrap dress stockist called Azalea Bridal. They offer a wide variety of colours. Our colour scheme was vibrant pinks, oranges and blues and I didn’t want my girls in anything demur and definitely not peach! I also loved the idea that they could style the wrap dress anyway they wanted, no girl wants to be forced to wear a dress that may look horrible on them. We chose their beautiful Magenta pink dress and it worked perfectly in our colour scheme and matched their bouquets so well.
THE FLOWERS | We created a rather large mood board on Pinterest to try and depict the kind of style we wanted. We were after bright vibrant flowers complimented by simple greenery. After Nicole, our venue owner, suggested Susan from New Beginnings in Bungay, we met with her and she totally put our minds at ease and really understood what we wanted. My bouquet included incredible peonies as well as beautiful pink proteas, and was so full of vibrancy. For the marquee area at the venue we wanted a space where guests could relax away from the tables so for this space Matt and I wrapped up hula hoops with hessian ribbon to hang from the top of the marquee. Our florist covered a section of this with simple greenery, which looked beautiful. We also opted for some simple greenery on the pew ends at the Church and greenery potted in beautiful terracotta pots. The flowers absolutely blew me away and I was beyond happy with what we received. It is also worth mentioning that it was one of the hottest days we had in June, at 28 degrees, and the flowers held out despite this.
THE FOOD | As mentioned, we both love food so wanted something we’d be happy to feed our guests. I really loved the idea of having sharing boards where the food would be served on platters to each table. Nicole, from our venue, suggested that we look into Baytree Pizza as they don’t only cater for pizza’s but have a wide variety to offer. We chose 4 of their delicious canapé options which included, mini sausage and mash and mini Yorkshire puddings topped with roast beef, these went down incredibly well. We had an antipasti sharing platter with cured meats, roasted vegetables, hummus and fresh breads. For the main course we opted for their BBQ option and chose their beef brisket, honey and mustard pork sausages and parmesan, pesto chicken, this was accompanied by side salads wedges and couscous, absolutely delicious! Dessert was also a sharing platter of mini desserts including bakewell tarts, chocolate brownies etc. We asked Nicole if she could put on a cheese platter for later on in the evening and for our evening guests, which included three local cheeses, crackers, homemade chutney, grapes and walnuts, also incredible.
THE CAKE | I have been following Biddy’s Tea Room on Instagram for some time and noticed that the owner, Charlie owned a sister company, Ophelia weddings and events that create the most incredible wedding cakes and totally bespoke. We wanted a combination of naked and iced as well as to incorporate the stamp that we had used to create our invitations. Charlie used our invitation design and painted this pattern on our cake, using our colour palette of oranges and pinks. After tasting a variety of samples we had 3 tiers of different flavours; lime and coconut, classic Victoria sponge and raspberry, rose and pistachio, all incredibly delicious. This was decorated with some of our amazing fresh flowers on the day.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Both Matt and I work in the photography industry so it was really important for us to find a photographer who would capture a story for us. A friend of ours recommended Megan Duffield and after looking at Megan’s work we really loved her subtle vintage style and candid approach. I was dreading the time it would take for all of the group photos, as time is so limited as it is, but Megan was so fast and organised it took no time at all. Being photographers, we didn’t want too many staged photos as we prefer being behind the camera but Megan made us feel at ease and really captured the story of our day, she was an absolute star and ended up staying even later than we expected!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | As mentioned we wanted subtle hints of my heritage with rustic English and vintage touches. Our first task was the invitations as we wanted to design them ourselves. I found a floral stamp in my mother’s craft collection that we used to create the pattern that became part of our cake as well. Matt, being the brilliant graphic designer that he is, very patiently put this all together. Once we had this set, we knew our colour scheme and had a rough idea of where we wanted to go décor wise, taking lots of inspiration from Pinterest amd Instagram (including WWW). We went to the Most Curious Wedding fair in Norwich (so worth it) for inspiration and we really liked plain, exposed wood tables with simple greenery and golden/brass candlestick holders. After this we set out to source all the candle holders, making good use of charity shops and car boot sales to keep the costs down. We managed to find a variety of shapes and sizes and collected over 50 in the end! To incorporate hints of South Africa, we decided to name the tables after African trees, we collected picture frames for each table, painted them and Matt then illustrated each African tree, as well as our amazing seating plan (he’s amazing – insert heart eyed emoji). Our name tags were tiny African animals that we spray painted gold to match the candle holders. For our favours we sourced tiny terracotta pots and both of us spent our evenings decorating these with various patterns and the week before the wedding we filled these with tiny succulents, I really loved doing this. Basically we would see ideas and then work out ways we could either make it ourselves (as this was a cheaper option) or find them in charity shops and boot sales. We also wanted lawn games (very British) so looked to either make or source these and we had a photo booth, that we made as well. For our guests travelling from the Church to the venue, we asked a friend of ours Ben Williams, to illustrate our incredible map! He searched the root on Google Maps and used images of the venue and our Church to add in the tiny details, we absolutely love our map!
THE HONEYMOON | We went to Bali and Gili Air for 2 weeks! It was a beautiful and magical honeymoon and if I can offer any advice, book everything yourself, don’t use an agency! We saved money finding the cheapest flights and then looking for deals on Booking.com for hotels and villas, it is definitely the way to go.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | From our amazing and happy guests who had travelled from South Africa, Australia, China, France, and all over the UK, to seeing each other down the aisle for the first time, the speeches, my grandad singing and playing his guitar for us; it was all memorable and beyond what we could’ve imagined. It truly was such a happy day filled with love.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Try not to let the nerves get the better of you and ensure you have enough time the morning of to reflect and just enjoy it. I was a bag of nerves but as soon as the ceremony was over I felt totally at ease and couldn’t understand why I had gotten myself so worked up. I am sure everyone has said ‘the day goes by so fast’ and it really does. Try and go around having a quick chat to each guest. Matt and I did this just after everyone had finished the main course and before dessert was served. It’s nearly impossible to spend quality time with everyone so this was a nice way of checking in to make sure we had spoken to our guests, even for a short time. Matt’s advice to all grooms is to have a plan to occupy you in the morning, before the ceremony. Matt wasn’t staying at the venue so literally had to wait for about 5 hours before getting in his suit and heading to the Church. I would also strongly suggest doing something the day after. Our venue put on an incredible breakfast and an intimate group of family and friends were able to join us. After such a build up to a day that goes by so fast it’s really great to be with loved ones the next day talking about the day from their perspective.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Megan Duffield Photography
Make up | Kirstie Barton-Grimley
Hair | Paula Harvey
Venue | Bateman’s Barn
Suits | Moss Bros
Bridesmaids | Azalea Bridal
Cake | Ophelia Weddings
Food | Baytree Pizza
Table Hire | Anthology Vintage Hire
Pallet Furniture Hire | Pallet Furniture UK Gas & Air Studios
Florist | New Beginnings Florist
Car Hire | Suffolk Wedding Cars
How perfect! I love it all.
Many thanks to both Christine and Matt and their photographer Megan for sharing their amazing nuptials xo Lou