By Rachel Harrison
WWW readers Chris and Kate enjoyed a dreamy glamping wedding in the countryside complete with lots of lovely homemade touches. They tied the knot on the 2nd September 2017 at their local church in Winchester before the festivities at Manor Farm in Hampshire.
Taking over the whole site for the weekend, guests were able to glamp in safari tents complete with hot tubs! This meant that our pair had company for the whole weekend and didn’t worry so much about getting to speak to everyone on what is an absolute whirlwind of a day – I’m a real fan of this idea.
The marquee for the reception was beautifully decorated in a real countryside style, with wheat sheaves and hops setting the tone indoors and some absolutely fabulous giant wooden C&K letters outdoors. Kate’s Mum was in charge of the flowers and didn’t she do just a fab job? I just love the wild meadowy style of the bouquets.
We have Luke Doyle to thank for the wonderful images today, thank you so much for sharing all the gorgeous details.
THE PROPOSAL | Chris had the ring made at a local jewellers in Winchester. This meant it took a little longer than he had thought so his first proposal plan on a hot air balloon ride was cunningly disguised as a late birthday gift (to be honest we were both glad he didn’t do it then as it was an amazing experience with fantastic views but we were squidged in the basket with the balloon pilot and it would have felt strange to get engaged!) So once the ring was ready Chris smuggled it on holiday with us when we went to Sicily. Again, he had lots of plans to do it at a nice restaurant or on top of Mt Etna but in the end he cooked a beautiful dinner at our cottage in the countryside and got down on one knee in the garden by the fire surrounded by olive trees and only a couple of curious farm cats as an audience. It was perfect.
THE VISION | We knew we wanted a relaxed feel to the day and that we wanted our friends and family to be as involved as possible. We knew we wanted a Church ceremony and I wanted to make lots of things myself. I wanted to enjoy the planning process as much as possible. I had two colours that I was really keen on incorporating, pale pink and dusty blue. Other than that, we really didn’t have a set idea until we decided on the venue.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We started by finding a venue we looked at quite a few different places and quickly realised we liked venues where we could do our own thing. Once the venue was set we wanted to get all the big stuff sorted the church, marquee and food. When we had all that in place we could relax a bit and start to think about the personal touches. A neighbour recommended a free wedding planning service that was offered through a training course in London I thought this might be a good idea because we were doing so much ourselves it would be helpful to have someone to coordinate the suppliers and make things run smoothly on the day. Georgia our wedding coordinator was amazing she really understood what we wanted and was great at giving suggestions but knew we wanted to feel in control. On the day she made everything run smoothly prodding the ushers to make announcements and ensuring the suppliers knew what we wanted and when.
My mum also did an amazing job she enrolled on a flower arranging course when we got engaged and offered to make our bouquets and button holes for the day. This was a great saving and she really enjoyed it. My friends and family also really helped out we had a few meet ups to make things for decoration including weaving willow wreaths and painting signs. It was really lovely to have everyone so involved.
THE VENUE | When we found Manor Farm we knew it was the place for us. The venue is managed by Blank Canvas Weddings and lovely Lynn showed us around. Manor Farm is a beautiful Hampshire farm with luxury glamping safari tents, having the reception there meant booking the whole site for the weekend. We instantly knew this was for us, we wanted our guests to stay in the cosy accommodation (which all had log burners and woodfired hot tubs!) Everyone could arrive on the Friday evening and have pizza from the pizza oven and stay until the Sunday/Monday. We felt this would let everyone relax and it would mean we would have more time to catch up with people as we knew the big day would be a whirlwind! My only concern was what if it rained! We took the risk and it was so worth it the sun shone all weekend and even if it had rained it would have still been amazing. The farm had a large grassy area with stunning views for the marquee and also had room for people to bring their own tents if needed. There were so many lovely parts to the venue including a rustic hedge arch that we could walk through on arrival and a quaint farm track we could decorate with fairy lights to lead our guests to the marquee.
We had our ceremony at our local church in Winchester, a beautiful brick and flint building and one of the oldest churches in the city. The vicar was so lovely and welcoming she really made it special. The Church sits on the hill overlooking the city and had a beautiful tumbling beech tree over the path. The lovely Church volunteers made beautiful flower arrangements that matched the colours we had chosen.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I visited a couple of bridal shops with my mum and bridesmaids. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted before going so I had a look at the shop websites by chance I saw one dress and thought oh that looks lovely. It was designed by Charlie Brear and was so simple and elegant. When we got to the shop I tried on lots of options but when I tried the Charlie Brear -Harwood at Perfect Day Bridal, I knew it was the one! There were lots of tears. I wasn’t sure about a veil but I tried a lovely two tiered piece with delicate lace trim and was sold. I searched high and low for shoes I didn’t want a super high heel and wanted something a little different with a boho feel. Eventually I found Forever Soles an Australian company who made lovely but different designs. The pair I chose had a low heel and peep toe with a fine gold chain that wrapped around the ankle.
I wore my aunt’s engagement ring as my something old and something borrowed and my mother in law to be works at a fancy lingerie shop so she bought me a beautiful garter with a blue ribbon which served as my something new and blue.
The lovely Catherine from Natasha Wiggins wedding hair and makeup understood exactly the look I wanted with a messy up do and lots of flowers tucked in.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Chris and his groomsmen had several attempts to meet up and find suits but often this ended at the pub! Eventually they decided on grey suits with a thick weave from Ted Baker with dark green knitted ties to go with the country feel of the wedding. Chris opted for a matching waistcoat and some lovely dark brown Loake shoes.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had two readings at the Church. The first was Song of Solomon read by my (very emotional) brother and the second was The Owl and the Pussy Cat ready by Chris’s sister. My brother in law is a fantastic trumpet player and he played a beautiful piece by Elgar in the Church whilst we signed the register.
At the venue we had the wonderful Rick Tarrant a local guitarist and singer who plays at our local pub. He played a selection of bluegrass, American and Irish traditional music whilst we had drinks and food at the farm. Later on the amazing Fat Cat Soul Band packed the dance floor offering their own take on modern songs and old classics.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had four lovely bridesmaids and I wanted them to feel comfortable in their dresses. I knew I wanted two in blue and two in pink so I turned my house into a mini boutique by ordering a selection of dresses (probably too many) chosen by me and the bridesmaids from ASOS and other sites. I hung all the dresses around the room and let my bridesmaids try and choose their styles that suited them best. We ended up with four different dresses but they looked wonderful together.
THE FLOWERS | As I mentioned my mum did a fantastic job of making our bouquets and button holes. She knew the look we were going for with lots of greenery and light pinks (roses) and blues (sea holly) in a large messy arrangement.
THE CAKE | My talented cousin and bridesmaid Sophie made a gorgeous three tiered cake, two layers were lemon sponge with orange curd filling and the final tier was vanilla with a lemon and blueberry buttercream. She decorated it with fresh flowers.
We also had an equally impressive cheese ‘cake’. Chris and I are big cheese fans and this definitely paid homage to our love of the smelly stuff!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | The brilliant Luke Doyle was our photographer. We knew him already through Chris’s sister and we really liked his work. The relaxed documentary style pictures alongside a few more posed shots really fitted what we wanted. On the day he worked his socks off taking pictures of us getting ready then jumping in a car to church then heading back to the venue. He captured some really special and hilarious moments so we will remember them always.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | In the marquee we put arrangements of fresh hops on some tables and tied sheaves of wheat on others to create a country feel. My dad made some wooden table name card holders and we dotted homemade candles all over! I hung my willow chandelier creations from the marquee and put the signs up directing people to different parts of the venue.
My wonderful friend made a giant wooden C & K and decorated it with flowers which was a brilliant way to welcome our guests. We put bunting all over the marque and field and made a little area for the children to play.
THE HONEYMOON | We went away two days after the wedding to Indonesia. It was a perfect mix of relaxing on the beach in Lombok and climbing mountains, snorkelling and exploring temples in Java.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | There are so many memorable moments in particular, I remember being so excited and nervous in the car with my Dad en route to the Church. I hadn’t felt nervous until that point when it was like ‘this is really happening’. I also loved seeing our little page boys looking so smart they did a fab job and definitely had the congregation cooing over them.
I also loved spending time with Chris on the day. It sounds silly but its easy to end up talking to anyone but your new spouse! The moments we grabbed in the car on the dance floor and during the meal were really special.
To top it all off in the evening we had a BBQ and marshmallows around the campfires whilst some of the guests jumped back in the hot tubs to relax after much dancing!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Try to enjoy the planning process, its really easy to get stressed but I tried to enjoy the process as well as the big day. It was really nice spending time with friends and family making things together for such a special event.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Luke Doyle
Make up and hair | Catherine at NW Make-up and Team
Dress and accessories | Perfect Day Bridal
Jewellery | Honey Willow
Shoes | Forever Soles
Venue | Blank Canvas Weddings
Food | Moodies
Wedding planner | The Wedding Planner School
Music | Fat Cat Soul Band
Marquee | Alresford Marquees
Just lovely! Thank you so much Chris and Kate for sharing your dreamy day in the countryside with us. Rachel x
Want In On My Happy Wedding Letter?
Join over a thousand engaged couples (and counting) who have snagged my fun no-nonsense regular wedding advice and inspo straight to their inbox. Plus you'll get planning checklists & spreadsheets for absolutely nada.