Oh the sunshine, doesn’t it just look so warm and golden in that image above by Jason Williams Photography? All of the images here today are just stunning and we are so thankful to be sharing them. The beautifully sunny wedding of WWW readers Alice and Will was held on the 21st July 2018 at Gorwell Farm in Dorset. Our pair certainly made the most of the weather with an outdoor ceremony and a barn reception, not to mention stunning portraits in the golden fields with their photographer Jason. It was important to them both that their wedding was held over the weekend and so the night before guests tucked into pizzas at their tipi village, how wonderful!
The day itself was sublime, with seriously cool attire, a lot of fun and some really colourful décor (I’m looking at you colourful lanterns!). One of the sweetest touches has to be the place name cards written by Alice’s class, just adorable! You are going to be feeling so inspired when you’ve read the lovely report below, enjoy it all lovelies!
On an unsuspecting, chilly, autumnal day, whilst visiting Will’s favourite childhood place – Corfe Castle – Alice said yes as Will was perched on his knees leaning through a ruined medieval window, attempting to get some privacy as countless droves of children were running around beside us.
We wanted all our friends and family to have a great time above all else. The vision was to make it a weekend event: a Friday night around the bonfire with pizza at our tipi tent village to get everyone warmed up and a Saturday full of fun and laughter.
The Planning Process
The planning process was our favourite part. Together, we met with the caterers, flower suppliers, and just about everyone who contributed to our wonderful wedding day. We took inspiration from the weddings we had been to and trawled the internet for wedding ideas that fitted our vision.
Gorwell Barn: the most beautiful setting in a valley full of green, rolling hills and peace. Mary and John, the owners, were so welcoming and went above and beyond to give us the day we had wished for.
The Readings & Music
The readings were something we wanted to be unique. Alice’s childhood friend from Secondary School gave a reading based on two Dr Seuss pieces and it was just so apt for our day and for us a couple. The second reading was made by Will’s Uncle Michael. This was a reading like no other; armed with a feather on his head and some clever adapting of words, the ‘Songs of Hiawatha’ was read with some audience participation.
The day was not without music, from start to finish. To get Alice down the aisle a family friend (Tom Spence) played an instrumental guitar version of Kiss from a Rose, followed by music throughout the ceremony including High from the Lighthouse Family and Ho, Hey. We had then lined up our evening ‘Dorset Ceilidh Band’ to play some Scottish Ayres during the Reception Drinks, which provided a gentle introduction into the Ceilidh Chaos which would later ensue.
Your Outfits & Accessories
The Bride: On the wedding day, I wore a beautiful beaded gown from ‘Blush’ in Leigh-on-Sea. It was on my second outing to find a dress that I found ‘the one’ with my Mum and Nan by my side. I couldn’t have wished for a more fitting dress to compliment our relaxed, country wedding.
The Groom: After twelve hours in Westfield, West London, shopping for outfits with some of the groomsmen, I chose a Navy, chequered suit jacket and matching waistcoat from Hammond and Co (Debenhams) to wear during the day, coupled with a white shirt. Tan chinos and a spotted bow tie finished off the look. I chose this as it was smart, but wasn’t formal attire, something I was keen for the guests and I not to be in!
We had a vision for the flowers after traipsing Pinterest for ideas. It was when looking for inspiration that we decided we wanted to find a local grower to provide us with our flowers. We stumbled upon Leann who owns ‘Little Strode Flower Farm’ down the road to where we were staying and she was just who we needed. After discussing our ideas, we set Leann on the task of growing our flowers and she didn’t disappoint. She delivered them on the Friday and my troop of flower arrangers set to work arranging them. Leann arranged the bigger displays, the button holes, the bridesmaids’ flowers and more importantly, the most beautiful bouquet we have ever seen!
The Details & Décor
This is where the incredible men at ‘Taddle Farm’ come into play. A family business, local to the venue, who not only decorated the barn with coloured lanterns and glowing lights, but provided us with the rustic tables, oak barrels, fire pit and the beautiful lighting at the tipi village. They were so forthcoming with new ideas to decorate the barn and make it ‘us’ and they certainly did that.
One detail that was quite unique was that Alice, a Primary School teacher, had all the name place cards written and decorated by her class, each guest receiving their very own personalised name card (some more professional looking than others!) Continuing with a homemade theme were the signs leading to the venue to direct our guests. Our friend, Andy, designed and hand painted wooden pallets and signs to truly set the tone for our wedding weekend by leading our guests down the long track towards Gorwell Barn.
We must talk about the food! Bea Atkinson of ‘Holway Kitchen’ provided us with the most delicious meal. Brightly coloured salads, delicious local reared lamb and a very yummy eton mess made for an extremely tasty wedding menu. On the Friday night, our pizzas were expertly cooked in traditional wood-fired ovens by the guys at ‘Jalopy Pizza’ and our guests were given a much needed feed after their long drives.
I was so lucky to have the most amazing bridesmaids, who’d have worn anything I wanted them to. With one bridesmaid living in California, we needed a place where she could have dresses delivered. We began with Asos. With some prosecco to help us on our way, three of my bridesmaids and I had lots of dresses delivered and took no time to choose the grey, beaded, mid-length dresses. Five happy bridesmaids later and we had chosen. This may seem too simple, but it really was!
Well basically… they wore the same as me but without the bow tie and waistcoat. It was however a bit of a saga getting the jackets in the various big, little and large sizes which were required. After a tour of the various Debenhams stores in the South East, we did get there..!
Where do we start? From the moment we first made contact with Jason Williams, we knew he was who we wanted to take our photos and when we met in Portsmouth, this was confirmed. What made it more special is that Jason was around for the Friday night to take photos of our guests relaxing by the bonfires and gorging on the delicious pizzas. On the day of the wedding, it was like Jason wasn’t there as he was so chilled and discreet when taking photos of us and our guests throughout the day. He blended in with our guests and took the natural photos we were after with a few family shots thrown in. One of our favourite moments of the day was when Jason took us for a short drive up to the fields at the top of the valley. The photos he took show the stunning landscape and us as a couple; he made us feel at ease like we were just messing around with a friend.
The Bride: My hair was done by Sophie Knell, a local hairdresser I met through Leann, the flower grower. She knew the look I wanted from the start and created a unique up-do that was perfect for the country sunshine. Not one for wearing a lot of makeup, I decided I’d do my own for the day. After a trip to Debenhams to the Clinique stand, I had all I needed for a natural look.
Possibly the best cake anyone has ever seen. Not only was this cake so wonderfully decorated, it was tasty, too. The cake was made by Alice’s friend from school, Ben Male. This cake really was unique as it represented both our surnames: Moss and Wood. We asked Ben to combine these to make our cake and the result was something we never thought possible from some sponge and icing!
We set our sights on the West coast of Canada, taking on Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Rockies. Lakes, oceans, snow-capped mountains and many wild bears later and we had completed our driving/camping tour of Western Canada, leaving us with much more of this fantastic country to explore.
The weekend was full of memorable moments, too many to remember. Starting from the campfire pizzas and the frisbee on the Friday evening, to the ceremony itself with the fabulous sunny weather. Thereafter the speeches, the hay meadow, and the Ceilidh Chaos made for a truly memorable weekend, with memories which we will hold dearly for as long as we can.
Advice For Other Couples
Whilst you cannot please everyone, a prevailing objective for us was to create a relaxing and enjoyable environment spanning a weekend which would bring together a truly eclectic mix of friends, family and strays. I assure you, this may seem difficult to achieve, but with a combination of relaxation, food, drink and entertainment, this can be easily accomplished. By starting the festivities on the Friday, our guests were relaxed and ‘thawed’ in advance of the merriment which was to follow on the Saturday. By ensuring that they were well fed and watered, and that there was a truly comfortable and organic flow to the day, we reduced any cragginess and predictable stressfulness usually spotted in the average human. By getting most of our guests to stay at the venue in the tipi village, we also removed the usual end of night exodus as people fled for their taxis, instead allowing people to creep back to their beds and tents in the early hours at a time to suit them..
The most important piece of advice which we received however, was to take half an hour out of your special day to spend some time together, and to enjoy yourselves and reflect on the day which you have created.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Jason Williams Photography
Leann at Little Strode Flower Farm
New Forest Bell Tents
Blush in Leigh-on-sea
Ohh so delightful! Alice and Will thank you both ever so much for sharing your nuptials with us xo Lou