It’s official, you guys are just the best and it’s proved time and time again when I get to feature your incredibly awesome real weddings. I have a long term love affair with colour that’s not going to fade any time soon (pardon the pun!), so of course I loved WWW readers Carl and Emily’s colourful farm wedding. Their vision was for a cheerful bohemian woodland style day and Furtho Manor Farm in Buckinghamshire fitted the bill perfectly with it’s cool barn and pretty surroundings. Being married on the Spring bank holiday weekend, the 5th May 2018 to be precise, was a great choice as the sun shone and with the live band playing the evening turned all festival vibes.
Our pair wanted to DIY their day and really showcase their creativity. Together with family and friends they totally nailed the décor, rainbow colours decked the barns, with ribbons, bunting, coloured glass and much much more. One of my favourite details though has to be Emily’s bright bouquet perfectly tied with rainbow ribbon, swoon!
On hand to capture all the festivities and this gorgeous couple was Ben Cotterill Photography, we are so thankful to be sharing these brilliant shots with you.
Carl: I’d had in my mind for a long time how I’d go about proposing. We were due to go away for a week long break in the UK, and knowing that Emily wasn’t a fan of a spectacle, I figured the best way to go about it was to be relaxed, secluded and romantic. What actually followed was something else entirely. After a long build-up, I thought it’d be better to surprise Emily at home with our dog Ben, and after a patient wait I found the right time to pop the question. Cue an afternoon and evening of celebration, followed very quickly by a trip to A&E after one too many celebratory drinks! I fell up the stairs and dislocated my shoulder! This wasn’t the first time, and it would go down in our relationship history as a spectacularly memorable evening!
Emily: Colourful and cheerful! I’ve always been a fan of lots of colour and lots of patterns and texture. Our house is full of quirky furniture and nick knacks, and I wanted our day to reflect the signature colours and style that we’re known for amongst our friends and family. Keen to steer clear of the wedding norm, and armed with a family of creative and crafty types, we wanted to make each element really personal and bespoke.
The Planning Process
Carl: We had nearly two years to prep. Once we’d found the perfect venue, we sized up all the different things we wanted, from the bunting to the lighting, and we got to work.
Carl: Em and Sophie’s bouquets and the button holes were all created by the amazing Brig at Brig’s Flowers. In keeping with the theme, we wanted colourful, natural but wild flowers which Brig created wonderfully. For the barn, Em’s Mum and Grandma grew and carefully dried hundreds of colourful flowers to decorate the tables and bar area.
Em: I wanted a fresh flower crown, but as I thought it may have wilted a bit by the evening I opted for a handmade silk crown that was made by Emma at Lulu in the Sky. She did an amazing job and managed to match the flowers perfectly to my bouquet – most people thought they were real! I then added matching ribbon to the girl’s hair bands so that we all tied in nicely.
The Readings and Music
Em’s brother Luke did a traditional reading at the church, followed by a sermon from the vicar. Luke also put together a 7-piece brass band that played throughout the service, which then relaxed into an ‘Oompah’ band for the reception welcome drinks (it was really unique!).
Our evening celebration was kicked off with a three piece acoustic band called the T Set, who played our first dance – Baby I’m Yours – and two 60 minute sets of songs we love. It was a beautiful sunny bank holiday weekend, so we had some relaxed pub garden/festival vibes going on!
Carl: We searched high and low for a photographer who could capture the atmosphere we wanted of the wedding. Not just through staged photos, but also through candid shots as well. Ben was perfect for this. He added a touch of charm and professionalism to the day, as well as being a top guy who went the extra mile to stick around and get those extra dance floor shots!
Carl: Furtho Manor Farm. The barn at Furtho offered a unique freedom and flexibility – as well as the time – to plan and decorate in a way that was exactly what we wanted. Paired with the amazing scenery and rustic vibes, we booked straight after we viewed it!
The Details & Decor
Em: The barn at Furtho is a completely blank canvas, which was perfect! It allowed me to carefully plan every single element of the day. Me and my mum spent months collecting coloured glass jars and bottles to decorate the tables. The beams at Furtho screamed bunting to me, so after a family day of prepping the pieces and teaching my Dad how to use a sewing machine, he spent hours and hours sewing it all together (which was very lucky, as I’m not a fan of sewing!).
With a hidden talent for pyrography, Carl crafted all of our woodland animal inspired tables names and seating plan. My brother also made us some giant letters, that we decorated in matching material to the bunting. Then with the addition of lots of ribbon, fairy lights, flowers, pompoms and personalised touches, the picture I had had in my head for months was actually a reality!
We also opted for an afternoon tea for our wedding breakfast and a hog roast in the evening, which complimented the relaxed barn setting perfectly!
Carl: This was a three tiered masterpiece, crafted by the amazing Jamie Bakes Cakes. Again, we wanted simple and great-tasting. We went for a semi-naked, salted caramel and vanilla sponge, and decorated it with the same dried flowers as used in the barn – it tasted amazing!
Flower Girls & Page Boys
Em: With a lot of beautiful young nieces and nephews in the family, we couldn’t help but include them in the day. I had my cousin Sophie as chief bridesmaid, Carl’s twin nieces as bridesmaids, and Carl’s adorable 5 year old niece Esmé as our flower girl. Escorting them down the aisle was the dapper nephew Charlie as our page boy. The girls’ outfits were Yumi from Debenhams, and Sophie’s was a French Connection dress from ASOS. They all wore hand-made flower and ribbon hair bands, and carried colourful ribbon wands in place of the typical flowers. Charlie’s suit was H&M and was finished with a coordinating burnt orange bow tie and button hole.
The Dress and Accessories
Maggie Sottero, Melrose. Purchased from Once in a Lifetime. Flower Crown made by Emma at LuLu in the Sky on Etsy. Shoes were from Office.
Em: I spent a lot of time looking online, and thought I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted to feel like myself, be comfortable but also have something a little bit different. I didn’t see myself wearing something classically bridal. My Mum and I visited ‘Once in a Lifetime’ in Stony Stratford, where I tried on about five dresses in total – all completely different – before finding the right dress. I actually ended up falling for a beautiful lace dress, with a long train – that was definitely bridal – but also had a unique appliquéd lace pattern with a boho feel and open back. It was the perfect combination and without knowing, everything I was looking for!
Carl: With the rustic theme, I knew that the traditional tails were out. I was initially after something in keeping with the traditional “country gent” motif, and tried all number of outfits, before settling on the right choice. I went for a navy woven wool blend suit from M&S with a grey waistcoat. The ties for both myself and my groomsmen were a burnt orange colour from Next. Finally, I wore a pocket watch with my initials engraved that Emily bought for me as a gift before the wedding.
Carl: We decided that we didn’t want to go abroad and that planning the wedding was definitely enough stress for one year, so we had a lovely break in Hope Cove, Devon for a week after the wedding. It was so lovely to relax, reminisce about the day and eat and drink as much as we wanted after a long wait for the big day!
Em: For me it was definitely coming out of the church hand in hand as husband and wife, with the sun shining and the church bells ringing!
Advice for Other Couples
Em: Make sure the day is what you both want and not what people think you should have. You only get one opportunity to make the day about you as a couple, so don’t be afraid to express what you’re all about. We received a fair few sideward glances from people slightly confused by the lack of any one single colour theme, but it all came together and everyone got it!
Credit Where Credit is Due
Ben Cotterill Photography
Furtho Manor Farm
Creative Event Services
Jamie Bakes Cakes
Bar, Fairy Lights & Furniture
Once in a Lifetime
Oh so gorgeous!
Carl and Emily, thank you both so much for sharing your wonderful wedding with us xo Lou