Homespun Whimsical Eco Woodland Wedding

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I was ever so impressed with WWW readers Dion and David’s wedding day and I think you will be too. Their nuptials took place on the 2nd June 2018 with a ceremony at their local church followed by a relaxed and fun reception at Middle Combe Farm. Dion is an absolute crafting superstar and made so many beautiful personal touches for their day. I’m in love with the terrariums complete with painstakingly painted little people!

Dion and David chose WWW fave Emma Stoner Photo as their photographer and she’s captured every extra special detail just wonderfully. Thank you ever so much for sharing these beautiful photographs with us.

David created a crisp bar! I’m still smiling about what a lovely idea that is and I can only imagine how detailed the tasting notes he provided were! This pair really did make an awful lot themselves for the wedding but DIY lovers, do heed Dion’s great advice about not overdoing it and knowing when to admit defeat! All the food and drink was locally sourced which really adds to the personality of their day. I think you’re going to love this one.

Middle Coombe Farm Wedding Emma Stoner Photo

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The Proposal

During a family holiday on the Isles of Scilly in 2017 we took a day trip to St Agnes together, the furthest island West, it was a beautiful May day and we saw puffins and seals on the trip over from St Mary’s. We walked all around the island and visited the only shop, a gallery, where I spotted a tiny silver ring (the only ring in the shop) with an aqua marine stone that looked like it had been washed up on one of the beaches. I looked longingly at it and popped it back on the shelf. On walking back to the ferry Dave dashed back for something he had ‘forgotten’ returning to ask the question then and there on the beach to the amusement of some walkers who had watched it all from the cliff top. It fitted perfectly with no alteration, if ever there was a sign, then that was it. We drank a very quick glass of prosecco at the pub then rush home to tell my family. We went back to Scilly for our honeymoon and camped on St Agnes for a week.

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The Vision

We spent a long time talking about what we would like our wedding to be like coming up with a few key things. A church wedding with our families followed by a relaxed party where we could organise the bar, food and music ourselves. I work at a theatre and organising is my job so we knew we’d enjoy doing it all. Keeping everything as local as possible was also important to us, we wanted to enjoy choosing everything by meeting the people who had made things and supporting local suppliers.  I spent quite a few evenings trawling wedding blogs looking for Somerset party venues that didn’t have set wedding packages; finding Middle Coombe Farm we arranged a viewing on a boiling hot day just before Glastonbury festival and then didn’t bother seeing anywhere else. Dave acknowledged from that start that I was about to embark on a making marathon and he jumped in too. When you’re spending so much money on one day it makes sense to really enjoy all the lead up, for us it was a year long project rather than a one day party. We loved chatting about it and planning out all our ideas.

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The Planning Process

We loved planning our wedding together, once the venue was chosen and we had already decided upon our local church in Taunton, the rest followed. We visited a few wedding fairs but they didn’t really help, sites like Etsy and Pinterest were much more useful. Middle Combe also had a list of local supplies who had worked there before, as it was fairly tricky to find the venue this was also useful as we knew they wouldn’t get lost.

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Budget

More than we planned but so many things we bought we now use at home or have given as gifts.

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Bridesmaids

My sister and friend Karen choose their own blue dresses, I only saw Karen’s on the morning of the wedding! I bought them white cardigans from Monsoon and made them hairbands to match the slide I’d made for my veil. I love Remon Jephcott’s ceramics so this was a great excuse to buy lovely forget-me-not necklaces as gifts for them.

Our bubble boys, Dave’s nephews, wore blue trousers and waistcoats LittleGreyhound made them child size ties to match Dave. With their matching converse trainers they looked perfect!

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The Venue

Middle Coombe Farm is a beautiful setting, we loved the feeling of being outside for the whole day and evening, luckily the weather was on our side. We served Wild Wingletang Gin from Westward Farm on St Agnes as our welcome drink sprinkled with gorse flowers we had stored in the freezer picked at Lyme Regis. Then we all walked up into the woods for speeches under the old oak tree where we served Sheppys cider with Elderflower instead of champagne, we are living in Somerset after all. The atmosphere in the woods was magical and everyone loved going on a walk as part of the day. We returned to the marquee and barn for a bbq style meal with Feast Without Fuss then dancing with The Wedding Spinner.

Angela and Clydie were very kind and super organised, they ensured the day stayed as laid back as we wanted and we were unaware if anything went wrong. We stayed with our families until Monday, using the swimming pool and packing up slowly. On Sunday we invited everyone back and organised for a pizza oven to visit. Bobs & Suze of Stone Artisan Pizza were brilliant, the oven is wood fired and so fitted with the eco credentials of the farm. Left over food from the wedding day had all been saved and put in the fridges so we could use it up the next day.

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The Flowers

I grew them! This was a wonderful year long project hampered by two metres of snow in March but well worth it. I love flowers and follow many florists and local growers on Instagram. Why fly in blooms when we are surrounded by so many wonderful British flowers? I also bought two beautiful buckets of flowers from local grower Kate of Windmill Farm Flowers, visiting her farm and hearing all her tips was one of my favourite parts of wedding preparation.   I made up my bouquet, bridesmaids posies and nine button holes on the Thursday before our Saturday wedding, the leftovers we took to the farm on Friday filling every vase and jam jar I could find to take. Standing in the garden to do the arranging surrounded by the most flowers I had ever seen was amazing, the smell incredible. I used white peonies and roses, love in the mist, lavender, corn flowers, grasses, cow parsley, herbs, daisies and other blue / cream flowers. It ended up in a loose teardrop shape but I didn’t use wire or foam. I wanted it to look like I had just picked it from the garden, which I nearly did. I finished my bouquet with an extravagant purchase from Little Bee and the Owl, hand died silk ribbons in shades of pale blue.

I also dried flowers for months to make our own confetti, perhaps a step too far but the smell when it was all thrown into the air under the oak tree was incredible.

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The Cake

My Mum made our four tier wedding cake (we asked for two!) following pictures we had found on Pinterest. She is a clever lady and had already made one amazing cake in January for my sister’s wedding. All my friends also made delicious cakes for our cake table and we had them as dessert.

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The Details & Décor

Table Centres

Our table centres were large glass terrariums, little worlds. You can tell by now I love making things so these were another fun project that took over our flat in the run up to the wedding. I painted tiny people to look like us and our family and then set them in the scenes. Our guests enjoyed seeing who they can spot on each table. We even managed to find a tiny replica of our wedding car which I took apart to paint the inside red to match the car, no one will have noticed but we know and it lives in our sitting room now. The others were given as gifts to our parents and best man e.t.c. I’m still making them and have since run a workshop at the theatre where I work.

Above the terrariums we floated from wire fairy light clear balloons filled with ferns. We continued the glass and fern theme with clear glass Christmas baubles that we filled with ferns and hung from the marquee lights.

Favours

Our aspiration was to grow everyone an oak tree from acorns we had collected – ha! The snow followed by blazing sunshine killed off the dream so we packaged up wildflower seeds. We ordered a personalised stamp to finish off the brown envelopes, much quicker.

Table plan and names

Leaf post it notes weaved around the fork prongs to stand upright was one of the simplest ideas I stole from Pinterest. Our tables were named after the collective names of animals and I enjoyed playing with free fonts and royalty free pictures from an old encyclopaedia to make the signs and plan.

Lace flags

I collected bags of old lace doilies and napkins, then a few weeks before the wedding used bonda web to iron stick them all together into giant bali style flags. Flag poles were pricey so I bought two extendable fishing poles and tied them to this. They were a great photo backdrop.

Dave’s Crisp Buffet

I organised the daytime cake buffet and Dave didn’t want to miss out on the fun. His crisp buffet was a huge hit in the evening mainly due to his extensive tasting notes for each of the ten crisps. Perfect with our evening wedding cheese and pork pie cakes, plus home made chutney. He had also caught the crafting bug making little hessian sacks for the crisps.

Fairy House

We wanted to hide something in the woods for our guests to discover on their walk up. Dave made this brilliant little house from a log which actually started growing again. The metal door, chimney and windows are from Fairy Folk Homes. You can put an incense cone in the chimney and it looks like it’s a smoking fire. The children loved it and now it lives in our garden.

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Your Outfits & Accessories

Dion: My Justin Alexander dress was the first I tried on! I pretty much knew what style suited me and I wanted something off the ground. I didn’t want to be tramping around a farm and the woods carrying half my dress, I wanted to be comfortable and to have fun. It was way out of my budget so I hunted on gumtree and found a wedding shop in the midlands selling their sample dress, it pretty much fit but I had the shoulders altered by a local dressmaker.   My cream silk church shoes (LK Bennet) were also preloved and from eBay but my lovely gold vintage style shoes for the woods and dancing were from Hotter to everyone’s surprise, super comfy.

Making my own veil meant I could make it just the right length and add some lace to match the dress. I used wire, beads and clay to make a hair slide to hold it on.

My beautiful acorn cup earrings were a Christmas gift from Dave, made by Eily O’ Connell who also made my wedding rings. We went to visit her in Bristol after finding out the maker of my engagement ring and he spotted them then. Eily made my yellow gold wedding ring to match the silver engagement ring with some tiny chips of sapphire.

The only thing we bought at a wedding fair was a band from Fifth and Spring, Louise was so patient while I tried on everything on her stand and then receiving the band a few weeks later perfectly packaged was really exciting and made me feel very ‘bridal’.

I also wore two rings on my right hand, one inherited from each of my Nans.

Once we got to Middle Combe I added 3 butterflies to my veil made by Vikki Lafford Garside, also gifts from Dave over the last few years. They look so real I couldn’t miss the chance try and fool some friends.

Dave: Having decided on a blue suit we went to Bath for a day out shopping and found a suit in Charles Tyrwhitt. They were really helpful in finding the right fit and ordered it to be delivered to our home. He wore brown Ted Baker brogues with blue laces. We ordered Liberty print ties and pocket squares from Etsy maker LittleGreyhound. He couldn’t decide on a tie or a bow tie so we ordered both and he could then decide once the suit arrived. Dave’s ring also has a link back to St Agnes as jeweller Justin Duance sand casts rings from specific beaches and luckily had St Agnes in stock.

For fun in the evening we added movement sensitive lights to our shoes, the kind you add to trainers for running. I stuck shoe clips to the back of mine and decorated with lace so they went with my shoes. It helped distract from our terrible dancing!

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Beauty

My Mum did my hair for me when they arrived at my house on the wedding morning, she used to be hairdresser and has always cut my hair so it would have seemed odd to ask anyone else. I had a make up practise and did my own. I wanted a calm morning at home getting ready with my sister, just the two of us.

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Your Photographer

Lovely Emma Stoner, who we found online and saw she had photographed at the Middle Combe before. We loved her style and the natural shots. A funny engagement shoot at Hestercombe Gardens in the winter with her shouting “touch noses” while we balanced on a rock over a stream confirmed we had made the right choice.

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Groomsmen

Dave’s best man Tim and usher Paul wore their own blue suits and we gave them matching liberty print ties and pocket squares to wear as gifts.

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The Honeymoon

We didn’t go away until Tuesday morning as we enjoyed spending the time with our families and friends at the farm. We then stayed for a night in a hotel in St Ives before getting the ferry from Penzance to IOS the next day. We stayed on St Agnes but enjoyed visiting all the islands, it will always be a special place for us. Our friends all bought us honeymoon treats as wedding gifts so we had a brilliant week of lovely meals, boat trips and kayaking.

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Memorable Moments

Sitting in the car round the corner from the church, laughing with my Dad as we had arrived too early and no one was ready for us. Watching my sister and Karen running up the road in their posh frocks to make us do a three point turn in a single lane road was really funny.

Watching our nephews very carefully and sensibly walk down the aisle in front of me shooting their bubble guns in the air so that I could walk towards Dave on a carpet of bubbles. Looking up and seeing him laughing at the altar, knowing we will love each other for all our lives.

Our bumpy forty minute drive from church to the farm via all the back roads in a little blue Morris Minor. The sun was shining and Somerset looked beautiful, people waved at us and we had chance to chat before seeing everyone again.

I’m not a confident public speaker but I decided to give a speech as it just doesn’t seem right to have three men speaking for me when I had things to say. I felt terribly nervous but had a plan! I regularly do storytime for little children in my job so rewrote the words of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ and changed it to a Dave hunt, I’d drawn pictures in a book and dished out props and sound effects. It was silly but I managed to tell our story and how we had met again 18 years on from being together at university. I’m so pleased I did it.

Being the last up, sitting by the fire gazing up at the stars realising that I hadn’t slept for about 40 hours but not minding.

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Advice For Other Couples

Hand printing 50 etched wedding invitations was a step too far even for me; I managed 30 before cracking, and I rarely have a sad day crafting. Dave stepped in with a quick scan, edit on the computer and an e-invite. My advice is that very few people actually look at the invite, let alone realise you have made it! Just email everyone.

Shop local, it’s much more fun. Everything you buy will mean so much more if you know who has made it and where it comes from.

I was super organised and planned out when I was going to do each task in the lead up to the day. However we knew from the start we weren’t going to be able to prepare the venue or packed it all up without the help of our families. We were so lucky to have all this help, don’t under estimate how long it takes to set everything up and how tired you will be when you have to pack it all away again. Stocking your own bar, feeding everyone for three days, making loads of things and coordinating all the suppliers alongside your day job isn’t for the faint hearted or to be attempted alone!

You can never have enough fairy lights :)

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Photographer
Emma Stoner Photo
Wedding Directory member – Wedding Photographers

Venue
Middle Coombe Farm

Gin
Westward Farm

Elderflower Cider
Sheppy Cider

Ties & Pocket Squares
Little Greyhound

Gold Shoes
Hotter

Dion’s Rings & Earrings
Eily O’Connell

Butterflies
Vikki Lafford Garside

Dion’s Hair Band
Fifth & Spring

Silk Ribbons
Little Bee & The Owl

Dave’s Ring & Dion’s Bracelet
Justin Duance

Bridesmaids Necklaces
Remon Jephcott

Flower Supplies
Windmill Farm Flowers

Fairy House
Fairy Folk Homes

DJ
The Wedding Spinner

Car
Best Day Ever

Food
Feast Without Fuss

After Party Pizza
Stone Artisan Pizza

Cheese Cake
West Country Cheese

What an amazing homemade wedding, all your hard work really paid off! Thank you Dion and David for sharing your very special day with us. Rachel x

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