I was an avid follower of Whimsical Wonderland Weddings during the planning, and frequently sent on links for Jeremy to look at! I would look at the blog during my lunch break at work. I looked at a few other wedding blogs but WWW was my favourite as you include so many photos!
Anna and Jeremy
Well isn’t that just a lovely way to begin the week? A huge thank you WWW readers Anna and Jeremy for brightening my day today, both with their kind words and for sharing their totally stylish yet laid back wedding day.
Anna and Jeremy were married at Ash Barton Estate in Devon on the 21st September 2019. They loved their venue as it gave them flexibility for their DIY wedding celebrations, being able to decorate to their hearts content and use the venue from Thursday to Monday. It led to some wonderfully fun additional parties over the weekend, which sounded amazing.
They opted for a literary theme to their day, with nods to their favourite books and authors during the ceremony and in the décor. I also love their rich burgundy flowers and the outfit choices. Anna wore a fitted lace gown with statement flower crown, Jeremy and the gents wore check suits with mismatched ties, while the bridesmaids wore emerald green frocks. Oh the style.
Many thanks goes to Naomi Jane Photography for sharing with us these super beautiful images.
I was a bit of a nightmare in the run up to the proposal, as I kept guessing all of Jeremy’s plans! We had been talking about getting married for a while and I knew the proposal was coming so every time he said he wanted to plan a date day or go out or something I was like ‘are you going to propose’, and I kept ruining it!
He managed to surprise me in the end. We had been out for drinks with some friends and got some ice cream on the way home. We got back to our little flat and were just getting cosy with our ice cream when he got down on one knee. It was the perfect understated proposal in our favourite spot!
We wanted a relaxed weekend wedding with all our family and friends. I love arts and crafts so wanted to DIY as much as possible! We both love reading so we decided to go with a bit of a literary theme and to DIY as much as possible. The most important thing for us was making sure no one (including us) felt stressed on the day and everyone had a good time. We also wanted the wedding to reflect our personalities and all the things we like.
We wanted to do things a little bit differently. We walked down the aisle together, and we both made a speech. My brothers (Bridesmen) also made a speech together which was lovely. We are also merging our surnames McGregor + Gilbert = McGilbert so all our wedding stationery had ‘McGilbert Wedding’ on it.
The Planning Process
The first thing we wanted to do was find a venue we could hire for the whole weekend where all the family could stay. We wanted to be able to choose our own caterers, make all our own decorations and not be restricted by venue rules. This did not prove easy but we eventually managed to find the amazing Ash Barton Estate.
Once we had booked the venue we were able to start planning. We booked the venue over a year before the wedding, so we had plenty of time, meaning it didn’t become too stressful! We were able to spread things out, ticking off the biggest things first and leaving smaller details to do closer to the time.
All our families and wedding party were absolutely amazing helping with lots of things too!
It was important to me that we tried to use as many small and independent businesses as possible for the wedding. Some of our suppliers were people I’d been following on Instagram for a while, but some we found at wedding fairs or on etsy and they were all absolutely amazing! Every single one of our suppliers added something to our day that made it extra special.
£20,000-£25,000. I think we managed to stick to the budget, although it did get a bit messy closer to the time! I had a spreadsheet with budgets for each element which we updated as we went through and this really helped. Just to note, around half the budget went on the venue so that was the biggest cost!
Ash Barton Estate was the perfect wedding venue for us. They had space for all our family and wedding party to stay and we could do whatever we wanted. We really felt at home there. We had the venue from Thursday-Monday with the wedding on Saturday, so we made it into a little wedding holiday for everyone!
It was so lovely having everyone together for the weekend. I’m a real family girl and I’m happiest when I’ve got all my family around me, so having everyone there was so important to me.
We set up on the Friday and had a pre-party in the evening with jacket potatoes, wine, a vat of chilli and lots of dancing around the fire pit. We got up on Saturday morning for breakfast with everyone in the amazing kitchen, then went our separate ways to get ready!
On the Sunday we had a BBQ and made use of the games room in the big party barn, it was a lovely wind-down day before our guests had to start making their way home.
I would 100% recommend this venue to anyone who wants a relaxed wedding and wants to do things their own way.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I found it quite difficult to choose a dress, as I loved all of them but I never had a ‘this is the one’ moment. Honestly, I feel like it is a myth!!
I started out wanting something alternative, possibly coloured, and boho style. The two things I said I definitely didn’t want were strapless and fitted….. guess what I ended up with?! I tried on probably about 70 dresses and went to 6 different shops. I found my dress at Ellie Rose Bridal in Bath. I hadn’t tried any fitted strapless dresses and I only tried this one on for the colour and I was so surprised I liked it. The more I wore it the more it grew on me. It really suited me (if I say so myself) and as someone who never really wears fitted clothes I thought why not take the opportunity to actually show off my figure for once!
My flower crown was made to match my dress and colour scheme by the incredible Frida Flower Crowns. I was so pleased with it and had so many compliments on it on the day. My shoes were from Esska, I’d wanted an excuse to order something from them for a while. My earrings were from Rosa Pietsch and I absolutely love them! I am a massive fan of big earrings and knew I wanted some special ones for the wedding. These were perfect.
Jeremy tried quite a few suits and struggled to find something he liked. There aren’t that many options out there for men! He hired his checked tweed jacket and waistcoat from Moss Bros and paired them with some chinos from M&S to keep it a bit more casual and comfortable.
He wanted a colourful paisley tie and we bought this beautiful Liberty print tie and pocket square from Little Greyhound. His cufflinks were from The Literary Emporium, to go with the literary theme and to reflect his love of writing.
My amazingly talented cousin did my makeup (didn’t need much doing to my hair!) and my bridesmaids’ hair and makeup. I don’t wear a lot of makeup normally so I wanted it to look quite natural but I loved the glittery eyeshadow and I always love a red lipstick!
The Readings & Music
We both wanted to use readings and music that meant something to us. We walked down the aisle to Queen ‘You’re My Best Friend’ as Jeremy absolutely loves Queen and we wanted something upbeat that wouldn’t make me cry!
My cousin Jasmine read an extract from ‘Brambly Hedge: A Summer Story’ one of my favourite childhood books. Jeremy’s cousin Chris read an extract from ‘The Amber Spyglass’ and my friend Suzie read an extract from ‘Jane Eyre’, two of our other favourites.
For our first dance we wanted something to get everyone on the dancefloor so we chose the classic Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’. Which went down very well.
Groomsmen & Bridesmen
Jeremy had two best men, his brother Tom and best friend Alex, and my two brothers Lewis and Ryan were Bridesmen.
The Groomsmen had matching outfits to Jeremy but with mismatched knitted ties from M&S. We left the shoes up to them but they all happened to go with brown shoes. It looked great as it meant Jeremy was the only one with navy shoes!
I had two Bridesmaids in addition to my Bridesmen. My best friend Emily and my oldest friend Helen.
The bridesmaid dresses were from ASOS and they both looked absolutely beautiful in them. I also got them flower combs for their hair to match my flower crown from Frida Flower Crowns, and necklaces from Rosa Pietsch to go with my earrings. Rosa even got rose gold chains for me especially to match their outfits!
Where to start?! We booked Naomi Jane Photography after meeting her at a wedding fair and it was one of the first (and best) decisions we made for the wedding. We fell in love with her immediately! She was absolutely amazing in the run up to the wedding as well as on the day. She made us feel so relaxed and comfortable, and the photos are absolutely beautiful.
Everyone commented on how lovely and calm Naomi was and she got on really well with all our family and friends. It was just like having another friend there. We are so thrilled with the photos, they are better than I ever could have imagined they would be.
The Details & Décor
We wanted to make as much as possible ourselves as I love arts and crafts. We had a literary theme so the tables were names of our favourite authors. Instead of table numbers we had stacks of books for guests to take away, and we wrote a little message inside each book. Favours were bookmarks we made using an old copy of ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’, and chocolate frogs from Seven Hills Chocolate.
My Mum made all the napkins using mixed fat quarters from Hobbycraft, and they made the tables look so colourful. Lots of people took theirs home! She also made bunting for the courtyard where we had our post-ceremony drinks. I made hundreds of tassels, with some help from Jeremy’s Mum, and we hung these up all around the barn. We also cut hearts from book pages, which I then stitched together to hang from the ceiling.
I made all of the stationery, the table plan, the order for the day, and all the signage for the wedding which I loved. I’ve started my own illustration business now so this was a good opportunity for me to do all the things I loved!
Our caterers Seadog were amazing. We wanted a South East Asian themed buffet and the food was absolutely delicious. They were a dream to work with from the beginning answering my incessant questions and were also just lovely to have there on the day.
We found an amazing florist in Braunton, Teasels, who were able to supply us with flowers to do the table arrangements ourselves, and make bouquets and buttonholes for us for the wedding day. They delivered buckets of flowers for us on the Friday, which we then put into all the bottles and jars we had been saving! I was so impressed with the quantity and the quality of the flowers they provided.
Debbie was lovely to work with and she really understood what I wanted for the flowers. I sent her a photo of my flower crown and asked her to match the bouquets to it and she did an amazing job! They were absolutely beautiful.
I made a small wedding cake for us to cut, with a Harry Potter inspired cake topper. We also had a bake off where our guests brought cakes and everyone voted for their favourites. We bought customised McGilbert Wedding aprons for the winners! All the cakes went down a treat.
We had a couple of nights in a treehouse with a hot tub after the wedding, which was lovely and are just planning our proper Honeymoon – three weeks in Japan in March. Which we are SO excited for!
Dancing by the fire pit with my grandma on the Friday night.
Seeing each other for the first time and walking down the aisle together.
My little cousin Jasmine reading amazingly well.
The bubbles blowing in the wind – it was a super windy day.
All the beautiful speeches, especially Jeremy’s which made everyone cry!
Everyone on the dance floor all night – our DJ Inspired Party were amazing and really ran with the cheesy pop brief we gave them.
Advice For Other Couples
Start planning early. Our wedding weekend was so relaxed and I think it comes down to the fact that we planned a lot in advance and were super organised. It meant we weren’t stressing about the little things on the day!
Do your wedding your way. Don’t worry about what other people say, or think you should have, just plan something that reflects the two of you as a couple. Those are the things people will notice and remember about your wedding.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Naomi Jane Photography
Ash Barton Estate
Me! Anna Marie Illustration
Ellie Rose Bridal
Frida Flower Crowns
Wow, oh so lovely.
Anna and Jeremy thank you both so very much for sharing with us your delightful wedding story xo Lou