Light & Pretty Summer Barn Wedding

Light Pretty Summer Barn Wedding

With spring in the air, it seems like the perfect time to bask in the sunshine of WWW readers Adam and Alex’s summer wedding at the Tithe Barn in Petersfield on 13th August 2016. Their day was full of happiness and laughter, you can just see how much fun the pair are having in each photo!

Alex wore the stunning ‘Melinda’ by Sottero & Midgely, whilst Adam was a Ted Baker groom. The pair didn’t want to buy into a package wedding and all their painstaking work with the DIY really paid off, as you can see from the pretty and personal touches they added to their day. Who knew mini golf could look so stylish?! From the rather lovely paper lantern lights to the confetti cut from their very own uni textbooks, their duck egg blue theme works perfectly.

The wedding sounded like such a blast and Alex and Adam had a riot on the dance floor with their guests. Even the cake cutting looked entertaining and don’t you just love the idea of a video booth for the evening’s festivities? Alex also has some great advice for couples unsure whether to hire a videographer for their big day.

Thanks so much to Oli and Robbie at KO Weddings for capturing the joy and sharing these lovely pictures with us.


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THE PROPOSAL | After 8 years together, the proposal was still a huge surprise after months of Adam throwing me off the scent and convincing me that a wedding was nowhere near on the cards! In August 2014, on holiday in Mexico, Adam planned a day trip to a beautiful uninhabited island and got down on one knee. After a lot of stunned silence, followed by some profanities, I said yes!

THE VISION | We knew we wanted to get married somewhere near to home, preferably in a venue we’d never been to a wedding at as guests. We wanted to be able to select and choose the different parts of our wedding rather than buying into a package and knew we wanted to be able to put our own ideas and spin on things. A beautiful barn venue, great food and a free bar were our main priorities.

THE PLANNING PROCESS | We had a 2 year engagement but other than booking our venue early on (we wanted a Saturday in the school summer holidays as I’m a teacher, so it was pretty limited!), we didn’t really start the full-on planning until it was a year to go. It was scary how quickly the time went and I wish I had started some things sooner – I have no idea how people manage to plan it in 3 or 4 months!

Once we had booked the venue, our next priority was to organise the food as we knew we really wanted it to be high quality. We tasted some samples from Vanilla at an open day at our venue and were blown away. Our menu tasting was even more unbelievable and we really struggled to narrow the choices down. Lots of people on the day said it was the best wedding food they’d ever tasted and we are still trying to find a way to get them to cook us a meal again or pay to go back for another menu sampling!! The caterers were amazing as they also took charge on the day, co-ordinating everything and making sure it all ran smoothly. We were able to source our own alcohol (the boys did a booze cruise run to Calais for the wine and champers) which saved us a heap of money and enabled us to have a totally free bar for our guests for the whole day and evening, which we really wanted to do (and definitely contributed to the amazing rowdiness of our reception!). After that, it was into the finer details.

BUDGET | More than we planned!

THE VENUE | As soon as we walked into the Tithe Barn in Petersfield, we knew it was where we wanted to get married. I welled up as soon as I walked through the doors! The high ceilings and beautiful arches made it feel very special, and although it was an old building it felt warm and light. It was perfect for us that we were not constrained by any particular caterers, bands or decorations. They gave us lists of recommended suppliers but we were allowed to choose whoever and whatever we wanted. The staff there were just amazing from day one so we knew we could totally trust them to help us make the day the best it could be.

THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was ‘Melinda’ by Sottero & Midgely, with a Richard Designs veil with pearl detailing. My hairpiece was by Beverley Edmondson Milliners and I wore a bracelet made from my Grandma’s pearls as my ‘something old’. I wore my Mum’s pearl earrings as my ‘something borrowed’ she also made me a beautiful lace garter with a little blue bow (my ‘something blue’) and the charm from the first necklace Adam bought me when we were 18 attached to the bow. My bridal hair (along with the bridesmaids’) was done by the brilliant girls at my own hairdressers (Honesty Hair Salon), who closed the salon for us on the morning of the wedding so we could have bubbles and brekkie in our PJs all together in the salon, which is just a few doors down from my Mum and Dad’s house. My amazing cousin, Charlotte Hayward, a very talented make-up artist (and make-up artist to some seriously famous A-listers) did my bridal make up and it was such a lovely way to feel relaxed getting ready.

FINDING THE DRESS | I am not a particularly ‘dressy’ person and always knew a big ball gown would never be my cup of tea and that I didn’t want to go for the strapless look. Other than that, I really didn’t know what I was looking for. After trying on lots of different styles I settled on an A-line fit and fell in love with the ivory over gold tulle Melinda dress by Sottero & Midgeley. However, my experience in the shop I first saw it in was not great and I was reluctant to buy from there after some pushy sales tactics. Luckily, I found another bridal shop, A Bride-2-Bee, nearby who stocked Sottero & Midgely dresses and they ordered one in especially for me to go back and try. My experience there was lovely and completely different and after an appointment there I knew it was definitely ‘my’ dress. It was so different to any other dresses I had seen either at weddings or in bridal shops and I knew it was the one for me! The veil I found there looked like it had been designed to match the dress, with a gold tint and droplet pearls hanging off it. I loved it so much I kept it on right until the dancing got too vigorous!

GROOM’S ATTIRE | Adam, my dad and the groomsmen wore navy blue Ted Baker Moss Bros suits with duck egg and ivory waistcoats and duck egg cravats (involving some YouTube tutorials the morning of the wedding!)

THE READINGS & MUSIC | Neither of us are particularly soppy so found it hard to find readings to suit us. For our first Valentine’s Day together, Adam bought me Edward Monkton’s ‘A Lovely Love Story’ as a present so we decided to use that but with some adaptations. Ann, Adam’s mum’s best friend, read our own alternative version, adapted to be about us. Adam also made this into an amazing story collage in a frame as part of my wedding present. Adam chose for my mum to read “I will be here” by Steven Curtis Chapman. During our speeches, one of my bridesmaids, Bethan, also read a really lovely and funny poem she had written all about our relationship which was super special. We had a string quartet playing during the ceremony who were amazing – the sound bouncing off those high ceilings was unreal. I walked in to Sam Smith, Stay With Me (finding out the real lyrics to this song almost put us off but we decided to go ahead anyway as we loved the song!). We walked out to Jason Mraz, I’m Yours. In the evening, we had an amazing band called Anthem playing a whole mix of non cheesy music – they played an acoustic set and our first dance song, Stand By Me by Ben E King. After that they really got the party going and had everyone on their feet, resulting in absolute carnage on the dancefloor – in a good way!

BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had 5 bridesmaids and although this seemed a lot I could not have imagined getting married without any of them by my side. Sara and Bethan were my best friends from uni and also close friends of Adam’s. Lucy and Jenny were my closest college friends and Rachy has been one of my best friends since we were 5. The girls looked amazing in Lipsy dresses which we got from Asos in the sale at an absolute bargain. We had to take some risks ordering in individual sizes as and when they came back into stock in the sale but luckily it paid off and we eventually got the full set! I bought them all little pearl bracelets with their names on them as a thank you present, which they also wore on the day.

THE FLOWERS | Flowers were an area where I was totally out of my depth so I let my mum take the lead on this one. I went to visit 2 florists before meeting Kerry at Rose Cottage Flowers. She was amazing and was able to pull together images of the kind of thing I wanted from the vaguest of descriptions. She quickly put together a Pinterest board and started pinning ideas so I knew that she knew exactly the kind of thing we were envisaging and I felt totally confident to hand over the reins to her. She was also full of ideas of ways of saving money (for example, by using the bridesmaids’ bouquets for the top table), which was really refreshing after feeling quite intimidated by the costs mounting up.

THE CAKE | We knew we wanted a naked cake as neither of us are keen on icing but wanted to make sure it wasn’t ‘just’ a Victoria sponge! We met with Laura at Meadow Cottage Bakery and decided on a three tier champagne and strawberry sponge, with mini cakes for the wedding party (although in reality, we don’t know who ended up with them!) The cake was decorated with fresh fruits and flowers by our florist and tasted incredible with not a single piece left over at the end of the night.

YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Neither of us like having our photo taken and we found that a lot of the wedding photographers we met at wedding fairs and open days seemed a bit intense for us. We also knew we wanted 2 photographers, which was a surprisingly limiting factor. Oli and Robbie at KOWeddings were perfect for us. Their photos are so unposed and natural and it was brilliant to be able to have photos of both of us getting ready, even though we were getting ready in different parts of Hampshire. They were totally unobtrusive and took amazingly natural and candid shots which really summed up the day. They also provided a late night video booth, which gave us some very entertaining viewing after the wedding!

THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Pretty much everything in the venue was handmade by us. My mum made some amazing big bunting with our names on it which hung from the balcony level of the barn. We combined place settings with favours by making scrabble tile names with magnet strips on the back. Although this was painstaking in the amount of time it took to make them for 120 guests it was definitely worth it as they looked amazing and everyone was so pleased with them. It’s lovely to see them on people’s fridges too! We added personalised labels to these too to thank people for sharing our first meal as Mr and Mrs. On the tables we had hand decorated jam jars for the flowers in our theme colour of duck egg blue and with pearls, brown string and lace and placed them on circular wooden discs. The table confetti was hand stamped out of our university text books (French books for me, maths books for Adam). Although this took an awfully long time, it was worth it when people noticed the finer details! Our table names were named after the different University of Bath halls of residence (my dad’s idea!) and our table plan had the campus map in the centre, with ribbon leading to the different halls. I found a menu board in TK Maxx for £10 which we painted to match the theme and used a ladder photo frame to create our order of service. Our card box was a picnic basket which used to belong to my grandma and our guest book was actually a guest board; a wooden heart which everyone signed. It’s brilliant to have something that you can actually hang up on the wall and look at rather than it being hidden away in a book! On my bouquet, I had 2 small charms with photos of my Grandma and Adam’s mum, as a way of remembering on them on a day we wish they could have been at. Although making everything by hand was time-consuming it was definitely worth it and made it really feel like ‘our’ day. Our food by Vanilla was INCREDIBLE – lots of people told me I wouldn’t eat much on my wedding day – that was definitely not the case with food that amazing!! For the reception, we hired mini golf which was a massive hit!

THE HONEYMOON | The Monday after the wedding we were lucky enough to head off to Maafushivaru in the Maldives for ten days which was just total paradise and has probably spoiled all beach holidays for us for the rest of our lives!

MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Our boys versus girls dance off in the evening which resulted in some dubious breakdancing, some dad splits and my (professional dancer) cousin claiming the final victory for the girls in an epic finale. The free bar definitely helped! At the end of the night we staged a sit-down protest because we didn’t want the night to end! The speeches were also incredible (with some brilliant ‘blooper’ moments) and very emotional. My dad had everyone in tears within the first minute and in hysterics the next, and Adam (who is, by his own admission, as he said in his speech, ‘emotionally stunted’) really surprised everyone with a real softy of a groom’s speech. His two best men, Rich and James did an amazing double act which had everyone in stitches. They were definitely the best set of speeches we’ve heard at a wedding (ok, so we’re biased, but lots of other people said the same!)

ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Definitely get a videographer! It was a fairly last minute addition (and one which tipped our budget over) but we are so glad we did as it is the best money we spent. Newlywed Films were amazing – completely unobtrusive and they created a really classy wedding video with extracts of the speeches over the top rather than just cheesy music. Photos are amazing but having a video, even if it’s just 10 minute highlights, really captures the day in a different way and you get to see things you just miss on the day. We have watched ours so many times and it never gets old. Also, if you can, find a venue which doesn’t charge corkage – it makes such a difference to your costs – especially if you are providing a free bar. And get drunk if you want to! Don’t listen to people who say alcohol spoils the day – it doesn’t!


Photographer | KO Weddings

Videographer | Newlywed Films

Hair |  Honesty Hair Design

Dress | A Bride 2 Bee

Hairpiece |  Beverley Edmondson Millinery

Bridal shoes | Beholden Bridal (Etsy)

Groomsmens’ hip flasks | Infinity Keepsakes (Etsy)

Bridesmaids’ bracelets |  Honey Willow Wedding (Etsy)

Guestboard | Pallet Art UK (Etsy)

Flowers | Rose Cottage Flowers

Catering | Vanilla Catering

Venue | Tithe Barn

Bridal make up | Charlotte Hayward MUA

Lighting |  Cinemattag

Mini Golf |  Altitude Events

Band | Anthem

String Quartet | 4 Strings Quartet

Cake | Meadow Cottage Bakery


What a day, thanks so much for sharing the fun with us Adam and Alex! Rachel x


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1 Comment

  • After looking at the pictures and reading their story, I would love to be her friend!!! She was always smiling!!! Great wedding pictures!! Congratulations!!!!!!

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