The love, attention and effort that went into making this divine wedding was nothing short of spectacular. From a drinks festival area complete with Pimms, G&Ts and ‘pimped prosecco’ to DIY concrete succulent planters for the favours; you are going to be blown away folks.
WWW readers Lauren and James were hitched on the 14th May 2016 at Gildings Barn in Surrey, and the barn provided the magical feeling they were after. I especially adore the bulb canopy they hired to festoon the ceiling, which worked marvellously with the fairy light centrepieces. The flower arrangements were a triumph, particularly the foliage covered door backdrop and the whimsical natural bouquets carried by the girls. Lauren’s maids looked stunning in vibrant pink dresses and they looked perfect next to her elegant Kitty Chen Couture gown and romantic veil.
Sophie Duckworth Photography, thank you so very much for sharing these utterly gorgeous images.
THE PROPOSAL | I asked Lauren to marry me in Clearwater, Florida on a holiday with her family. Whilst it was a little stressful carrying an engagement ring around Florida for a week, it was worth it for the location and the fact we were with her family made it really special. We had an amazing time in Miami and then moved onto Clearwater and I asked her to marry me on Clearwater beach (to the ‘woop woops’ of several Americans who saw me get down on one knee). After 12 years together, it was always a matter of when, not if!
THE VISION | I had always wondered how our wedding day would be but I have never had it planned out in my head. I always thought it would be super exciting to have it all to look forward to when the time came…
We had no idea where to start – all we knew is that we wanted it to be a fun-filled, magical day spent with all our favourite people.
Neither of us fancied a church wedding but the idea of saying our “I do’s” outside on a glorious sunny day seemed so appealing.
To try and cut costs down (and because I love a bit of DIY!) we really wanted to do a lot of the wedding ourselves. We didn’t want anything too traditional but just to try and build a relaxed day full of love and laughter.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | James proposed in October and we wanted to make sure we just enjoyed celebrating our engagement until Christmas. Come the new year our Pinterest board grew by the second and I couldn’t wait to start DIY-ing! Once we had found our venue it was much easier for us to visualise our ideas and tailor them to certain areas of the venue.
Over the year and a half leading up to the wedding we had some amazing help from our family and friends. We held craft days in mum and dads garden and everyone was so supportive in helping us achieve our dream day. James and I spent numerous weekends and evenings working on all the little details and extra special touches.
We especially enjoyed taking our time to get to know our photographer, Sophie, celebrant, Zena, and other suppliers, which meant they felt as much a part of our day as our guests did.
THE VENUE | We visited a number of barns local to us, but Gildings was most definitely ‘the one’. The day we first visited Gildings, Lauren was led into the main part of the barn with her eyes shut and the look on her face when she opened them said it all!
It’s an absolutely stunning barn that still has its original rustic charm and we were excited to put our stamp on it.
As well as the main barn, Gildings also had various areas on site that we could use throughout the day, including an amazing lawn which was perfect for holding our outdoor ceremony. After the ceremony we led the guests to the courtyard for Pimms, G&T, ‘pimped prosecco’ and kegs of beer, before heading into the main barn for food, speeches, more drinking and dancing! I think our family and friends enjoyed spending the day in one location, rather than moving from venue to venue.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Dress – Kitty Chen Couture – Azure Bridal, Surrey.
Shoes – Lady Dragon Heart – Vivienne Westwood.
Veil – Azure Bridal, Surrey.
I always wanted to get my ‘something borrowed’ from my Mum. She gave me some gorgeous emerald and diamond cluster earrings which were perfect.
James bought me an Eddie Borgo pyramid bracelet in rose gold which I absolutely love.
FINDING THE DRESS | When I was looking for my dress I knew I wanted something that was a little bit different and unusual. I enjoyed trying on lots of various styles and designers but once I’d found Kitty Chen, I could have worn any of her dresses! My Mum and Sister loved one in particular and thought I wouldn’t find anything that suited me and my personality any better. With that in mind, I wanted to get my Dad’s approval and I was a very happy girl when he said he loved it too. I was so delighted with it and Marian and her staff at Azure Bridal were very lovely and helpful!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Considering how fussy I am about my clothes, finding a suit was relatively painless. I knew what style of suit I wanted, so it was more about finding the right colour and accessories to go with it. I had my suit made to measure by the brilliant guys at Anthony Formalwear in Billericay who were fantastic from start to finish. Their made to measure service allows you to fully customise the details of the suit, from the cuff buttons to the lining. I picked out one of the awesome designs from Twisted Linings for my suit lining. They also offer a rental service, so I was able to kit all my ushers and the Dads out in the same suit as mine. We all wore a navy/white dogtooth patterned tie and I had the same pattern on my waistcoat to differentiate my suit slightly.
THE CEREMONY | Standing next to my dad as we were about to start our walk through the field together, I remember thinking how relaxed I felt… (maybe the prosecco and sunshine had helped) but everything felt so perfect.
Our beautiful bridesmaids walked ahead of Dad and I on the grassy path lined with gorgeous flower filled jars on shepherds hooks and copper glittered heart stakes.
The foliaged vintage doors led us through to the most amazing sight… All our family and friends sitting in the sunshine under a tree filled with hanging lace and roses. Not to mention my husband-to-be beaming back at me!
Our ceremony was led by the extremely talented Zena Birch who tailored the ceremony around us and our lives together, reminding everybody why they were there with us to celebrate our day.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We picked two readings ourselves and had a close family friend pick and read the 3rd. Lauren’s two Grandads read “a Lovely Love Story” together and had the majority of our guests either laughing or crying!
The music was definitely more of a challenge – we wanted to find something light-hearted and fun to sing but still with meaning. We had the brilliant Kirk Ensor lead the singing during the ceremony and everyone got stuck into brilliant renditions of ‘Chapel of love’ & ‘Stand by me’.
One thing we were really keen to get right was the music as I knew a lot of our guests were big music fans like myself. We spent a lot of time trying to find the right band and eventually came cross Soul Beat. They did not disappoint! The dance floor was full from start to finish. The lead singers spent most of their time singing and dancing amongst our guests which created a great atmosphere. They were truly incredible.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Our beautiful, brunette bridesmaids looked so gorgeous in fuchsia. The Coast dresses were the first the girls tried and luckily they all adored them. We didn’t really have a colour in mind but wanted something stylish that the girls would feel comfortable in and hopefully be able to wear again. The fabulous colour turned out to be perfect for our sunny day and they all looked a million dollars!
THE FLOWERS | When Hannah handed me my bouquet at 7am in the morning of our wedding I burst into tears. Hannah and her team totally got our vision and put so much work into making our special day so beautiful. My bouquet was such a gorgeous mix of romantic blooms and foliage and I gave Hannah some of my Gran’s old vintage lace to bind it.
Hannah used foliage to dress our door arch outside for our ceremony. We wanted the guests to feel like they were entering a smaller, more personal space whilst also enjoying the stunning spring sunshine.
Our tablecentres were surrounded with eucalyptus, roses and succulents, which Hannah and her team beautifully put together. They looked so gorgeous!
James and I made concrete planters and filled them with succulents for favours as a memory of our day. It was lovely that they complimented our table centres and they doubled up as place names too. Each concrete planter had a small copper tag which we embossed our guest’s names onto. It’s so lovely to see them still now at the homes of all our friends and family.
THE CAKE | I had always wanted my godmother and my sister to make our wedding cake. They have made my birthday cakes for years and it was a must! Instead of making 3 tiers they made 3 separate cakes each with a different design and flavour… Plain sponge (always some that like it simple), lemon (our fave) and salted caramel… delicious!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Wow… we couldn’t recommend Sophie enough. She is super lovely and captured so many magical moments that tell the story of our day so wonderfully.
We were so overwhelmed, not only with our incredible snaps, but how well Sophie helped with the flow of our day. We have had so many kind words said about Sophie – she really is a gem.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | For our outdoor ceremony we decided to get our order of service printed on to brown paper bags. We filled the bags with song cards, homemade confetti and a heart lollipop. We then displayed them in old vintage drawers for guests to help themselves to as they arrived. Next to the drawers we used an old wardrobe door to display our timetable of the day so the guests could see it as they walked through the field, through the foliage covered doors, to the ceremony seating. We didn’t want our ceremony to feel too formal so we used a mismatch of vintage chairs and benches. We also made copper heart stakes which stuck in the grass to line the aisle. We dressed the large tree with lengths of lace to float in the breeze and weighted them down with roses we had purchased from Covent Garden Flower Market.
For our mini drinks festival in the courtyard we used various pieces of furniture to display our drink selections. As Campbell is our married name we sourced some limited edition Andy Warhol Campbell soup tins to use for décor too.
I have a love for all things copper (and neon!) and although we didn’t have a colour scheme – copper/rose gold started appearing throughout the wedding. We bought some large copper piping which we cut down to place on top of all the glass jars so that they appeared to be copper vases. Our Mums also enjoyed helping us make a large tassel garland to hang over the entrance towards the main barn.
For our seating plan my Mum and I made 120 wire chairs out of champagne cages and my dad helped me make a board to display them on. Each panel of wood represented each table in the barn and each guest’s name was written on one of the champagne chairs.
The main barn itself was so gorgeous and we loved its rustic vibe but we wanted to give it a more industrial twist. We hired a bulb canopy from Oakwood Events, which was made up 70 Edison light bulbs and they were amazing. We also added some huge, white painted, metal barn stars to lean against the walls of the barn.
We wanted our top table to be at the side of the barn rather than in the middle so that we could see everybody throughout the meal. We made a cone garland backdrop for our top table out of tracing paper and it was a lovely detail added to all the photos.
We also put up some photos of our grandparent’s weddings up in the barn and hung them on wooden clipboards along with some flowers.
We made our chair backs from tulle fabric and they added a lovely romantic feel to our more industrial looking barn. We filled glass domes with wired lights as our table centres and again they added a magical touch to the barn. Hannah’s flowers looked so stunning around the bases of the glass domes and I was so chuffed with our concrete planter favours and place names.
THE HONEYMOON | The following day, we enjoyed more celebrations over brunch with our family and the wedding party and then jetted off to the beautiful island of Santorini. We both love Greece and had always talked about going to Santorini, so it seemed like the obvious choice for our honeymoon. We stayed in the most amazing boutique hotel and have both promised each other we’ll go back to celebrate an anniversary or two! The service was like nothing else we’ve ever experienced and the views were just stunning.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Honestly, the whole day. We knew we’d enjoy it but it really was our ‘BEST DAY EVER’.
Our wedding ‘marryoke’ was such fun to film and it was great entertainment for all our guests. It makes us smile every time we watch it…… and we watch it a lot!
The speeches were such a special part of the day. I knew Lauren’s Dad would make a brilliant speech, but to be sat with the rest of our family listening to him say such lovely things was a really nice moment for us both. I’d worked really hard on my speech, but was quite nervous about it in the build-up. However, when it came to the big moment, I felt completely relaxed and actually really enjoyed it.
Being on the dancefloor surrounded my all our faves was a fab way to end our magic day.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | From a groom’s point of view, I’d say get as involved as you can in the build-up. Whilst I definitely didn’t do anywhere near as much as Lauren, it would have felt strange on the day to not have at least felt like I’d played a part in creating it. Everyone always says it, but try and take a moment away from everyone else with your new wife. It’s a pretty special thing to have all your favourite people in one place, so take a step back and take it all in.
Be you, and remember it’s your day so build it how you wish. Add the little things if you’d like to – lots of people told me not to worry about all the small details but they were worth it for us and played a big part on our big day.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Sophie Duckworth Photography
Venue | Gildings Barn
Dress | Azure Bridal
Flowers | Hannah Berry Flowers
Details & Décor | Bride’s own. For more information, please contact [email protected]
Celebrant | Zena Birch
Musician | Kirk Ensor
Band | Soul Beat
Catering | The Wheeler Estate
Lighting | Oakwood Events
Lauren and James, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your amazing wedding story here today xo Lou