It may be midsummer, but this beautiful barn wedding has me dreaming of Autumn. I totally agree with Jess and Marc on loving all things Autumnal; golden leaves, roaring fires and pumpkins! All elements they injected and infused into their nature inspired wedding day. It was all so relaxed too and their top priority was creating a welcoming, warm atmosphere for all.
They chose to host their celebrations on the 11th October 2017 at Oxleaze Barn in the Cotswolds, it was ideal as they could chose their own caterers for a laid back style. The barns were decked out in lovingly crafted touches; think pumpkins, candles, signage, moss, logs and of course an abundance of seasonal rich florals. One of the things I love most though is their style. Jess looked so beautiful in her intricate beaded gown and the back necklace she chose worked so perfectly. Marc meanwhile went for a mismatched look of a tweed jacket and waistcoat, chinos and custom converse. Awesome!
I really cannot thank Emily and Steve Photography enough for sharing with us these utterly mesmerising images, enjoy it all folks.
I really wanted the ring to have a personal touch, Jess wears a lot of rings and the majority are on the larger side, so something dainty wasn’t really an option. Then I had the idea of making the ring myself. So I trawled the local antique shops and found a small silver fork with a filigree handle, after a fair bit of trimming and a lot of fiddly hammer work I had my ring. The actual proposal was an understated event as I knew Jess wouldn’t have wanted a fanfare, we have two dwarf house rabbits, and while waiting for Jess to get home from work one evening I tied the ring around one of the rabbits (pepper) neck with a piece of ribbon, I then put pepper in the hallway so when Jess got in pepper ran over to greet her and revealed the little surprise! A few moments past as confusion came across Jess’s face, then as the reason for this ring started to dawn on her I popped the question, and thankfully got a yes.
It was important to both of us to create a day that was nice and relaxed welcoming and warm for the guests, and after all the planning us too! So we wanted to choose a venue that would allow us to get our own caterers in (so we didn’t have to have a set formal dinner) and to decorate how we wanted. We’re both big lovers of the whole rustic farm feel having grown up not far from where we got married it felt right!
Autumn is my favourite time of the year because it’s so colourful and it’s the time of year where you get all cosy by the fire and snuggle up! Also sounds weird but I love the veg that comes with autumn like ornamental gourds and pumpkins so really wanted to incorporate these into the décor, October was perfect as all the leaves on the trees are changing and the flower heads slowly turning a beautiful bronze.
THE PLANNING PROCESS
It was quite a long engagement (just under 3 years) as we knew we would need to save and we really wanted to find the perfect venue.
But I was too excited so as soon as Marc proposed I started to collect images on Pinterest and from various sites online for ideas, eventually we had saved up enough to start the hunt for venues and the suppliers for the day, we went to a few venue open days and a really cool boho wedding festival that was held just outside of Bath, and that’s where we found our awesome caterers (who on the day got lots of compliments about their food!)
We decided to do the invites ourselves so we did an ‘antique’ wildlife autumnal theme with a leaf tied with string to keep it all together then wax sealed the envelopes with a brass bee stamp, took forever and Marc did the sealing as I was sure I was going to burn the paper! But looked awesome and was really effective.
After all the months of prep and crafts we had loads of help from family and friends and it all came together nicely!
We didn’t want to leave ourselves in debt so we saved for quite a while until we felt we had enough, and friends and family were very generous and helped us out with food for the evening and getting all the drink in.
Marc wanted to go for a mismatch suit with a tweed jacket so it wasn’t too formal plus he wanted to be comfy! He asked his groomsman to do the same just so they didn’t all match, however he did want a few matching elements so we got some matching ties and pocket squares with a simple filigree/floral design, Marc and the best man also had a pair of personalised converse each, (Marc has never really owned a pair of ‘smart shoes’ so he figured why change!) they were red suede and Marc’s were embroidered with our names and the date. His suit was from Ted Baker and the jacket was from Debenhams.
We had been searching for barn venues and went to see some near Salisbury and had a look online at a few but quite a lot of them didn’t let you use other caterers, we were starting to think we wouldn’t find anywhere as we didn’t want to get married in a manor house or church, then we did a last search online and found Oxleaze Barn, which is situated in the Cotswolds, it came up and we couldn’t believe we’d missed it so we booked a viewing as soon as we could and it was love at first sight, we could get our own caterers in and there was no corkage fee, which was great plus there was a lovely little garden with a fire pit that was lit in the evening, perfect and cosy!
At the time, quite conveniently, I was working for a florist and she very generously offered to do our flowers, I told her our theme and then just gave her free rein knowing she would do an amazing job, she nailed the autumnal colours with a mixture of burnt oranges and reds, and I didn’t want anything to heavy or overflowing to carry as there’s enough to think about when you’re walking down the aisle in heels! She then gave us some loose flowers to add to the cake and I gave her some bottles and teapots to put little arrangements in for the tables.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR
To save a bit of money we did most of the decorating ourselves collecting bits and bobs from charity shops and quirky antique places.
We had found some cast iron stag boot scrapers which were a favourite of mine and we decided to use them for the ends of the tables, we also found some matching candle holders to go with them.
I’m a gardener so for the favours I really wanted to give the guests some wild flower seeds, so I ordered some tiny corked bottles and printed some labels to go round the tops and wrote ‘Sow Me’ on them, everyone loved them and most of them have been planted which is great! Tying in with the theme I also ordered some fabric leaves and spray painted them bronze for the place names, learning calligraphy in a month was hard but again worth it as pretty much everyone took them home which was very sweet.
I purchased some moss to go on the tables as I wanted to go for the woodland look and some wood slices for the jars of flowers to go on, the guys that decorated the fireplace and beams (a company called Styletopiauk) did an awesome job and nailed the look we were after, they also supplied us with some antlers for the tables (all found on forest floors) and some geometric copper tea lights, which were stuffed with moss to tie it all in.
My brother made the desserts, we had a selection of cupcakes with little meringues and biscuits and we really wanted to showcase them as he’d gone to so much trouble, so Marc made a dessert table out of a ladder and some planks of wood and I popped some flowers on there and everyone helped themselves! We also bought a load of scented candles to fill the air with warming spiced smells most of them were cinnamon as it’s my favourite!
THE READINGS & MUSIC
To be honest we hadn’t really thought about the music much even though we love music, it got to a week before the wedding and we suddenly thought we hadn’t chosen anything, I really wanted a nice classical piece or a chilled song to walk down the aisle to and was recommended a piece by an artist called Asgeir who did a cover of Nirvana’s heart shaped box and it was perfect! We both love Stevie Wonder so walked out to ‘signed sealed delivered’ and our first song was ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’ by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. We didn’t have any readings as I would have cried more than I already did on the day!
The cake! I loved the cake! A very dear friend who is an amazing baker made it for us, she’s made many awesome cakes but hadn’t made a wedding cake before, she messaged me the day before the wedding with a film of her kitchen, it was carnage! Bowls and cake mixture everywhere! But it tasted sooo good it was a ‘naked cake’ as me and Marc aren’t a fan of fondant icing, there were three massive tiers of Victoria sponge the bottom layer was the traditional Victoria sponge filling then the second tier was orange and chocolate buttercream and the last was filled with cinnamon and apple buttercream. For the cake topper we decided to use small figures of Walle and Eve as we both love Disney Pixar.
Our photographers Steve and Emily were amazing! We loved the style of their work as it was very natural and relaxed which is what we were after, after a few Skype calls (we were quite a way from each other) we both felt really happy they were very chilled about things and just told us to enjoy the day as they did their thing. They made us feel really comfortable and relaxed as we’re not the best in front of a camera! And the resulting photos are something we will treasure forever.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES
My dress was a Maggie Sottero design in champagne, I loved the lace style cap sleeves and the open detailed back plus it was really comfy! My shoes were Irregular Choice that had a swan for a heel and were surprisingly comfy! The bridal shop ordered the teardrop back jewellery I was wearing which I also loved!
FINDING THE DRESS
I had no idea about dresses, what style how much detail I wanted etc, at the time I was working in Bath and on my way into work I always walked past a bridal shop called Krystle Brides so I thought for the first visit I would try there. My mum and sister came and it felt amazing to look through all of these gorgeous dresses and pick some to try, I didn’t need to go to any other stores as I had found ‘the one’ there and then and was quite surprised, having had no idea what I was after!
My beautiful sister was my bridesmaid and a close friend of mine was my maid of honour. I let them choose their own dresses as I wanted them both to be comfortable on the day, I just asked if they could get the dresses in burgundy to go with the colour theme, they both ended up getting 50’s style dresses, my sister’s was a velvet dress by a make called Hearts and Roses and she bought a faux fur bolero to go with it for the evening from Amazon, my maid of honour got hers from Amazon and went for more of a lace one, they both looked gorgeous!
We went on a mini-moon to Cornwall and stayed in an amazing cabin for a long weekend, which was decked out with a fireplace and lots of faux fur rugs, and a few skulls here and there. It looked like something from the deep south I definitely could have lived there! For our main honeymoon we are currently planning a trip to Japan and hope to go there next spring for the cherry blossom season.
Just getting married to be honest, the whole day is something we’ll never forget, from getting ready in the morning all nervous and excited, seeing my mum, sister and friend getting all glammed up and looking gorgeous, to seeing my dad’s face when I revealed my dress to him for the first time and walking down the aisle whilst he’s squeezing my hand, he was just as nervous as me!
I remember when we were having our meal just watching everyone chatting and mingling, sharing laughs and stories it brought a smile to my face, then looking round at my new husband with food falling out of his mouth! It was perfect!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES
Like everyone says take it all in! Make sure you step back for a moment and just enjoy it, you can miss so much making sure everyone’s okay and having a good time, they are all fine! I had some good advice from a couple I know, they said at some point in the day make sure you both try and meet up just to almost catch up a bit, it’s hard to see each other after everything is done like the ceremony and the photoshoots, we managed to do so in the evening and I would definitely recommend it!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Emily and Steve Photography
Cotswolds Vintage Party Hire
Oh so gorgeous! I love it all.
Jess and Marc, thank you so very much for sharing your magical wedding story with us xo Lou