We’re fully embracing the Autumn/Winter season today with WWW readers Kitty and Tom and their relaxed vintage vibe wedding filled with warmth and joy. They set the date for the 4th November 2017 and chose Grittenham Barn in West Sussex to host their reception. They envisioned a cosy indoor setting with candle light and laughter. Doesn’t that just sound so idyllic?
The pair found the planning to be enjoyable and relaxed, which is always lovely to hear. They also found their wonderful photographer Rebecca Douglas here on Whimsical Wonderland Weddings, whose images we are utterly loving today. The Dutch Masters inspired florals really blew us away as did the splendid DIY decoration.
Kitty’s Delphine Manivet gown though, wow! I mean she looked just stunning and Tom looked very dashing in his tweed suit. There are so many wonderful touches and moments here lovelies. Enjoy it all in full.
THE PROPOSAL | Tom and I were on a trip to Rome for my birthday, and one day he wanted to have a picnic at the Botticelli gardens (where he planned to propose) when we got there the gardens were closed and Tom got really annoyed! I had no idea why and subsequently got annoyed at him for over reacting and we walked back to our air b’n’b in a bit of a humph.
Luckily the apartment Tom had chosen had a beautiful roof terrace, where we ate our lunch and Tom proposed with a beautiful emerald and diamond ring that he had designed himself. It was perfect and private which I loved.
We then celebrated with wine and gelato before getting caught in the rain – ‘molto romantico’.
THE VISION | We both wanted a relaxed feeling, cosy winter wedding, in the South Downs, close to where I grew up. Even though we had a typically traditional wedding, with a Catholic service, canapé reception and a sit down three course meal, we wanted the mood of the day to be more informal and all our guests to feel completely relaxed. The decorations and flowers were to be dark and moody, a little like a Dutch masters painting, with loads of candles and fairy lights. We wanted the look of the wedding compliment the rustic style of the barn venue and the stunning scenery around it, we love a more vintage look, which we reflected in our outfits and the fantastic vintage 1959 jaguar. We loved the idea of a late autumn/winter wedding right from the start as Autumn is our favourite time of year and we wanted to recreate that perfect autumnal/winters day with all your friends and family eating and drinking inside with a roaring fire and lots of laughter.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | The planning process started soon after we got engaged, and really got going after we’d booked our photographer, Rebecca Douglas and our caterers, Gastro Catering. Since our reception venue was a dry hire we had to plan every aspect of the day’s details ourselves. Having two wedding experts such as Olivia at Gastro and Rebecca guide us through the planning process was a fantastic help, especially with working out the timings of the day. Having a dry hire barn was a lot of work but totally worth it, we got to hand pick all our suppliers and meant we only worked with people who really understood what we wanted, this resulted in an incredibly enjoyable and relaxed year of planning. We’re lucky in that we also had an enormous amount of help and support from both our families and friends who were always happy to lend a helping hand or give their opinion on important matters (like what scented candles to pick!). I loved planning all the little details and the fact that we got to go in to the barn on the Friday and set everything up with Gastro and our families was the icing on the cake.
THE VENUE | Church – The Sacred Heart Catholic church is in Petworth in West Sussex and nestled in the beautiful South Downs. The Priest, Fr. Peter Newsam was very kind and helpful throughout the planning and helping us to organise the paperwork with our local priest in Brighton, where we live.
We knew we wanted a country wedding and to get married close to where I grew up, by the South Downs and be close enough so my bridesmaids and I could spend the morning getting ready at my parent’s home. We also really wanted the reception venue to be as close to our Church, The Scared Heart in Petworth as possible. Luckily, I had already scouted out the local barns when looking for my sister’s wedding the previous year, and already had my heart set on Grittenham Barn. I knew Tom would fall in love with it as well and we booked it as soon as we’d visited it together. Grittenham Barn is a dry hire venue in Tillington, just 10 mins from Petworth. The barn is on the owner’s grounds and therefore gives the feel of being more of a home then a corporate venue, complete with donkeys, pigs and cats roaming around! Nicola who runs the barn is very relaxed and Katherine who helps with the admin was also great, very helpful. The barn also has a little one bed cottage on the grounds where Tom and I spent the night.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My Delphine Manivet was an ivory silk bias cut slip with a stunning French lace top with three quarter length sleeves and a silk bow that tied at the back with the ribbons trailing down the back. I felt comfortable all night and in the evening, I had the option to take off the top and tie up the train, leaving me to dance away. I spent ages looking for a gold headpiece finally finding one from Migonne Handmade on Esty. My shoes were from the bridal section from ASOS and were low enough for me to wear all night without a twinge of pain. I bought a pre-used ivory tulle veil online. For jewellery I wore my gold and green Monica Vinader bracelet that my friends gave me earlier in the year for my 30th, my mother’s diamond and sapphire bangle and her pearl bracelet, some Missoma star and crescent moon stud earrings and in my second hole some Danny Hall little blue studs from my sister and maid of honour. I wore Diptyque’s Eau Rose for my scent.
FINDING THE DRESS | Finding my dress wasn’t easy and throughout my search I really considered every possible option, from vintage to having a custom dress made, my poor sister and mother got dragged to pretty much every wedding dress boutique in Brighton and London! In the end I found my beautiful Delphine Manivet dress from the Mews in Notting Hill, as soon as I stepped inside the shop I knew I would find something there. In the end my dress wasn’t one of the samples I picked but a suggestion from the girl running my first appointment, which shows it’s worth listening to the experts. I loved the lace sleeves that suited the time of year and the fact that it was a little different without being ‘too much’. Most importantly I felt with myself in the dress and it was easy and comfortable to wear all day.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Being a winter wedding Tom knew he wanted a tweed three-piece suit, he also thought brown would suit the colours of the day. We actually stumbled across Walker Slater whilst on a weekend away in Edinburgh and a quick google later saw they had a shop close to his work in Covent Garden, which made his fittings a doddle.
He also bought himself, his best man and three ushers a dark red paisley tie from Walker Slater to wear on the day.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had three readings, the responsorial psalm and our bidding prayers read during the church service. Our first testament reading was Ruth 1:16-17 read by Tom’s sister Rosa . Our second was 1 Corinthians 13 read by our friend Otto. We wrote our own bidding prayers and they were read by Tom’s school friend Jason. Then we had an optional third reading, the prayer of St Francis of Assisi read by my friend Beatrice. For music during the service we had a family friend and professional soprano Lydia Pearson sing alongside the church organist and two hymns. Processional: Suo Gun, a traditional Welsh lullaby . Hymns: Morning has Broken and Seek ye First, Kingdom of God. Lydia sung Ava Maria whilst we signed the register. Recessional: Wings of a Dove.
In the evening we had The Supershakers band booked through DG Music. They were fantastic! Kept the dancefloor packed all night and even learnt our first dance, Sweet is the night by ELO for us.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | For my bridesmaids I had my sister as my maid of honour and three of my best girl friends as bridesmaids. I knew I wanted them all in long navy dresses but apart from that I was happy to shop around for lots of different styles and find an option that suited individually. After a mammoth shopping day in London three of the girls chose Ghost dresses and one from the Topshop bridesmaids range. In their hair the florist made gypsophlia crowns and they wore their own shoes and jewellery – they all looked completely stunning!
THE FLOWERS | I knew I wanted the flowers to be the focus of the decorations and quite dramatic, with dark colours to suit the winter wedding theme. Angelique from Angel Like Flowers, came highly recommended from Grittenham Barn, where she grows flowers in the grounds. This combined with the fact that she is a friend of my Mothers made her the obvious choice. Right from the get go she completely understood my vision for dark, moody florals and a centrepiece inspired by the Dutch master’s paintings and we were all totally blown away on the day seeing the flowers, they looked incredible. I particularly loved my oversized bouquet tied with burgundy velvet ribbon and the large arrangement that we moved from the Church to the barn.
THE CAKE | We chose to have a ‘cheese’ cake, which was bought from La Cave a Fromage in Hove who created a bespoke cake for us after our cheese tasting in the shop.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | I found our photographer, Rebecca Douglas on this blog! After searching for some winter wedding inspiration, Tom and I were really impressed with her portfolio on her website and especially loved her use of light and night time shots. Rebecca was a joy to have with us on the day, everyone commented on how fun and easy she was to have on the day. She also magically edited our highlights photos on her drive home that very night, so we had some beautiful photos to look through with our families at lunch on the Sunday. I think the photos will speak for themselves here – just stunning.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Grittenham Barn is done up beautifully with lots of original features such as exposed brickwork and wooden beams wrapped in fairy lights. One of the barns highlights is a fantastic working fireplace ,which was lit all night and perfect for sitting up in their plush sofas when our guest’s feet (and a few heads) were sore.
As we had access to the barn on the Friday we did the majority of decorations ourselves, Tom and I had spent the year collecting Hendricks bottles for candlesticks, which we decorated the trestles tables with along with some simple foliage. My Mum wrapped more foliage round a hula hoop to create our ‘wreath’ above the fireplace and we bought scented candles from Skye Candles to create a warm, toasty atmosphere. We had Instax cameras and film for our guestbook. We opted out of wedding favours or any extras such as a photobooth, instead we put the money towards our free bar complete with a his ‘n’ hers signature cocktails – which I think our guests greatly appreciated! For the all the printing, invitations, table plan etc I designed them at work with the help of my graphic designer colleague, we then printed them via printed.com. This not only saved us a bit of money but meant everything was to our exact taste and really helped me think about how we wanted the barn to be decorated.
The food was another highlight, Gastro run the catering and we had a British posh comfort food theme, with scallops to start, lamb shank and mash for the main and a duo of puds including a fruit crumple for desert. They also provided a taco bar in the evening, which went down a treat.
THE HONEYMOON | We flew on the Monday morning to Japan via visiting family in Singapore. Travelling around Japan for three weeks wasn’t the most relaxing holiday but was amazing fun.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Some memorable moments include, Fr. Peter spoke beautifully about the meaning of marriage and how it meant always having somewhere who is there for you. On the way to the barn after the service our driver drove us up a secluded country road, so we could have 5 minutes alone together before the reception, to let it all sink in. When taking our sunset photos outside, the most incredible pink sunset happened at the exact moment a flock of geese in formation flew by. Our first dance, and then having all our guests join us on the floor for some serious dancing.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Give yourselves plenty of time to enjoy the planning process, we tried to do things month by month, so it never felt too over whelming. And go on honeymoon straight away so at least you’re in a lovely setting when the post wedding blues hit you!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Rebecca Douglas
Venue | Grittenham Barn
Trestle table hire | Co-Ordination
Catering | Gastro
Cheese cake | La Cave
Flowers | Angel Like Flowers
Car | AG Classic Wedding Cars
Hair & Make-up | Ema
Dress | Delphine Manivet at The Mews Bridal
Grooms Suit | Walker Slater
Gift List | The Wedding Shop
Huge thanks to Kitty and Tom, and their photographer Rebecca, for sharing their incredible story with us xo Lou