A Rustic Country Fete Inspired Wedding


I so adore these beautiful images for today’s real wedding feature, they have such a gorgeous tone to them.

Helen and Tom wanted a shabby chic, country fete inspired wedding, and boy was it pretty overload. I so adore the baby breath wreaths in particular, they look so very pretty and doesn’t Helen make for a stunning bride…

Thanks so much to the fabulous St Albans based wedding photographer, Hannah Mia Photography for sharing her images today, here is what she had to say about the day;

“I had been looking forward to Helen and Tom’s wedding for months as I really loved my little chats with Helen prior to the day and after seeing her invitations, I knew it would be a real feast for the eyes. It most definitely did not disappoint! Even the torrential rain that had accompanied me on the drive down cleared by the time Helen had her dress on and it turned into a perfect day.
When I pulled up to both venues I was taken aback by how beautiful they were. Helen and Tom did such an incredible job of decorating the barn – that level of detail is a photographers dream, especially as I adore details shots. I have to say, I think the cake is one of the best things I’ve ever seen and I never thought I’d be inclined to take so many pictures of cushions on benches, but, it was just all so perfectly thought out that I couldn’t help myself!
Of course, they were easy subjects as they both looked gorgeous and it was such a sweet day – even I had a tear in my eye during the speeches! Big congratulations to Helen and Tom!!”


Names…. Helen & Thomas

Wedding Date…. 13th August 2011

The Proposal…. Tom gave me my dream proposal without even knowing it! As a little girl I always imagined my proposal was going to be under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning and that’s exactly what I got! Tom gave me a charm for my charm bracelet of a diamond ring in a box; he then gave me the most beautiful ring that he designed and had made by Colin Perry from E.W.B Goldsmiths in Westham East Sussex. It was a stunning vintage style ring with a cushion cut diamond surrounded by smaller diamonds and set in platinum.  The ring soon became my inspiration for the rest of the day and my bridal look!

The Vision for the day…. Tom and I are quite homely people and we love the Sussex Countryside.  We took this for inspiration and tried to create a shabby chic country fete theme for the wedding. Think straw bales, bunting and good local food!

The Planning process…. The planning process for me was a complete chaotic mess in the midst of refurbishing our first home together! For the first year of our engagement we lived in one very small corner of our house while we knocked walls down and created our dream home.

The Venue… We married in our local parish church in Hellingly and then held the reception at Peelings Manor Barns in Hankham.  The hire was for the use of the barn for a full week to the lead up to the wedding so we were able to decorate it as we wanted and in our own time.

The Dress + Accessories….. To match my gorgeous ring I wanted my bridal look to be very classic.  I found my gorgeous San Patrick lace dress was from Sera De’s Bridal Boutique in Lewes and was a gift from my dad.  It was the first dress I tried on in the shop and it was love at first sight. My cathedral length veil was a real find on the website www.preloved.co.uk. It took me about a year to locate but was well worth the search and matched my dress perfectly.  My shoes were a gift from a very dear friend who owns www.lovemagenta.com and were the most perfect shoes for me, I intend on having them dyed a bold colour so I can wear them again.  My Sapphire necklace was a gift from Tom which was given to me on the morning of the wedding.  It matched my ring flawlessly and it became my something blue.

Finding the dress…. I thought that at 5’1 finding a dress that didn’t swamp me was going to be tricky and was going to be a long and tedious task but I was pleasantly surprised.  Sera De’s Bridal was the third dress shop I visited and the ladies there were so helpful and really friendly.  They didn’t try and push me into trying a dress that I didn’t like unlike some other shops I visited.

Groom’s attire… Tom wanted his look to be relaxed and contemporary.  We viewed several suits in the regular suit hire shops but the materials were all really thick and would have been so uncomfortable in the summer’s heat.  We finally made a choice from Next and the ties in the sale from Tie Rack.

The Readings + Music…. My bridesmaid Nicky wrote an absolutely beautiful poem titled “A Beautiful Love” which she read in the church and Tom’s school friend read Corinthians 13.  We wanted the hymns and the music within the church to be traditional yet fun so we chose songs that we both remembered singing as children at school.

At the barn we had a harpist play a mixture of pop, rock and classical music during the drinks reception and then while we ate.  In the evening we had a live band who had everyone on their feet dancing the night away.

Beautiful bridesmaids….. I wanted my girls to be comfortable but still look stylish.  I also wanted the dresses to be different and finding the right dresses was a real challenge. I finally found them online at www.feverdesigns.co.uk for the bargain price of £44 each and they were in my favourite colour which is duck egg Blue which was just perfect! They were obviously meant to be. The shoes were yet again supplied my friend at Magenta and the hair accessories I made from chiffon and pearls to create ivory flowers which would match their bouquets.

The Flowers… Kate from Grand Flowers was fantastic in helping me choose the perfect flowers to match the theme of the day.  We chose vintage roses in a variety of pinks with sweet scented herbs and sage green foliage for my bouquet and my bridesmaids had beautiful cream hydrangeas.  We wrapped lace ribbon around the stems to match my dress.  Each of the groomsmen and mothers had buttonholes or corsages that were created using ivory freesias with the same green foliage behind.

The Cake… We aren’t big icing and marzipan fans so we just had a simple sponge filled with vanilla cream, fresh fruit and pink roses. It was a real talking piece for the guests at the wedding but since we were so caught up with the day we forgot to cut it! We finally remembered just as the last few guests were leaving so cut it really quickly while a friend took our photo on his phone!

Your Photographer…. I came across our wonderful photographer, Hannah Mia, by chance one evening while manically searching the web when our original photographer went AWOL with our deposit and closed her business.  Hannah and I instantly clicked and she  produced some of the prettiest wedding photos I have ever seen.

The Details + Decor…. We wanted the flint of the barn to shine through so we were quite minimal on the decorations.  We hung approximately 500ft of bunting both inside and outside the barn with fairy lights that were set to come on at dusk, just in time for our first dance.  We also strung white whicker hearts from the central rafters that swayed with the breeze.  Dotted around the barn were vintage style vases and jugs of country flowers to bring the outside in; along with hurricane vases filled with pink hydrangeas and church candles for the centerpieces to each table.

I handmade mini jars of strawberry jam and orange marmalade as favor’s for each guest along with a hand written menu’s for each place setting so a touch of colour was added to the tables.

Outside we had several straw bales scattered around the lawn and under the covered areas beside the barn.  We covered them in chenille rugs and patchwork cushions that we made to add a touch of cover and protect our guest’s outfits.  In the evening we had a campfire lit and a big basket of throws to keep the guests warm when the sun went in.

The Honeymoon… We spent 5 glorious nights in NYC shopping and sightseeing and then two nights in Washington DC taking in all the fascinating museums and historical sights.

Memorable moments… The speeches! My dad’s speech was truly hilarious and he had several of my baby pictures blown up to A3 size to show our guests! Tom’s speech was incredibly moving and he remembered his late father who passed away when he was nine, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the barn.

I will also always remember the journey from the church to the barn in the back of the Bentley we hired.  It was so nice to have some alone time with Tom and to sit back and take a breath from all the excitement.

Advice for other couples… Enjoy every moment of the planning process because when it’s gone you’ll really miss it.  Also try not to forget the reason why you’re planning the wedding, its easy to get taken in my all the excitement and to forget why you’re getting married.  We tried to have at least three days in every week that were wedding free days so it didn’t consume us totally.  It’s a hard task but it made us concentrate on the important pat of the day; which was becoming husband and wife!


Credit where credit’s due…









Thanks so much to Helen and Tom for sharing their gorgeous day with us, are there any details in there that have inspired you? xoxo

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