I absolutely love an at home wedding and WWW readers Eli and Jon’s day was just so perfectly personal. They tied the knot at Jon’s parents home on the 5th August 2017 and homemade so much of the décor themselves. From the hay bale ceremony to the hop adorned barn reception, they had thought of every last detail. How special that they wed under a beautiful ceremony backdrop made from trees cut down on the farm itself?
The barn looked simply magical adorned with festoon lights and I love that Eli and Jon opted for a sweetheart table, what a great way to make sure you have some alone time on your special day. You have to see the incredible cake, which was made by a friend too!
Eli went for a stunning princess gown with fabulous sparkle on the top. Jon and his groomsmen kept it informal, ditching the jackets with a waistcoat for Jon and braces and bow ties for his best men. It wasn’t an easy ride finding the bridesmaids’ dresses but the result is wonderful, with full tulle skirts and a sparkly top to match Eli, they look fabulous.
We have wedding photographer Emma Hare Photography to thank for the beautiful images today, simply gorgeous. Enjoy after last pastel detail!
THE PROPOSAL | Jon proposed on the morning of Christmas Eve at the summit of Pen-Y-Fan, the tallest mountain in the Brecon Beacons. We had walked up there on one of our earliest dates but never made it to the top due to torrential rain. Luckily the weather was a little kinder to us that day and although our views of anything more than a few metres away were obstructed by thick cloud at the top it meant that we were able to share our moment together as just us.
THE VENUE | The first and easiest decision was the venue. Jon’s parents live in the family farm house near Dover and we both loved the idea of transforming the gardens and one of the barns to hold our wedding. After having lots of compliments from guests and wedding suppliers Jon’s parents are planning on holding more weddings at Hill Farm so watch this space!
THE VISION | It was important to us that the wedding had a personal and homegrown feeling so we tried to involve friends and family throughout the process. We also wanted a day where everybody felt laid-back and tried not to ask too much of our guests so that they could relax and enjoy the day.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Once we’d discussed our ideas for using the farm with Jon’s parents we needed to set a date. This was based purely on the availability of our DJ! We’d seen him at a friend’s wedding and he had converted both of us from wanting a band. He is based in South Wales where my family are from but made the long journey down to Dover and absolutely rocked the night! Next we had to get around our idea of wanting to get married outside and the rules and regulations around this in England. The solution was to do the legal bit a few days before in the registry office with just our parents and then to find a celebrant to conduct our ceremony on our actual wedding day. This gave us the flexibility to do and say what ever we wanted during the ceremony and lots of people commented on how personal it felt. The rest of the planning was done through taking inspiration from wedding blogs, hours of scrolling through Pinterest, visiting a few wedding fayres and lots of internet research to find suppliers to fit the atmosphere that we wanted to create.
THE DRESS AND ACCESSORIES| My dress was a princess gown from Allure. It had a tulle skirt which created a lovely softness and I had great fun swishing about! The top was adorned in sparkle which I did not think I would go for but I couldn’t take my eye off in the mirror when I first tried it on. The dress had a detailed back and so I decided to ditch the veil and went for fresh flowers in my hair instead. I wore jewellery that I wear regularly but is sentimental as they have been gifts from Jon and my mum. My mum is a lace maker and so she made my garter.
FINDING THE DRESS | I was very excited about this part of the process and went shopping not long after getting engaged. I looked at a lot of dresses online and then went to bridal shops that stocked either particular dresses I’d seen or particular designers that I liked. I ended up finding the dress in an Allure event weekend but with so many gorgeous dresses to choose from it was hard to commit so I tried on a few more at another store first just to be sure. I had a different experience in each bridal boutique I visited and ended up ordering the dress through Sentiments even though I hadn’t originally tried the dress on there. They just made me feel so at ease from the moment I walked in, you didn’t feel like your time was limited with them and having the room to yourself and bridal party meant you could truly enjoy what I found to be a personal experience.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Jon and his groomsmen wore charcoal, Donegal fleck trousers which we ordered from Gibson through House of Fraser. Jon also wore the matching waistcoat and the boys wore a mix and match of brown belts, braces, ties and bow ties. As it was a summer wedding we decided to ditch the suit jackets which also gave it a more informal feel.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I knew from early on that I wanted some kind of tulle skirt for the girls. I saw their dresses on ASOS and loved the colour and sparkle. I think the dress was popular as I had to eagerly wait for sizes to come in stock and having already changed my mind on the dress and ordering different sizes for the girls I can’t even remember how many were sent back! Thank god for free returns! I gave the bridesmaids a rough brief on how I would like them to wear their hair and showed them some examples of ‘messy’ up dos and then let them decide with the hairdresser on the day. They also had fresh flowers in their hair to match mine and my flower girl wore a beautiful flower crown. As I quite like the two piece bridal dress trend at the moment but am not daring enough to try it myself I went for a cute children’s version from Very for my flower girl instead.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We are fortunate enough to have very talented friends and family and so my brother’s girlfriend played ‘All You Need is Love’ by the Beatles on the harp as I walked down the aisle. Our friend Luke played an acoustic version of ‘Baby I Love You’ by The Ramones during the ceremony, we loved that our guests joined in with the chorus. We also chose a poem by Bob Marley called ‘He’s Not Perfect’ which my mum read.
THE FLOWERS | We went for a palette of pastel blue and pinks for the wedding and so the flowers tied in with this. Angela from Dream of Flowers made the bouquets and table settings and they were stunning, we loved her loose and informal designs. My bouquet was taken to The Flower Preservation House the next day so we will soon have a beautiful framed display to keep forever in our home. I love fresh flowers and wanted to include them as much as possible. As we had some budget left at the end we used some of it to buy flowers from triangle nurseries. They were delivered a couple of days before the wedding and my bridesmaid Kayla spent hours conditioning and beautifully arranging them, she was a superstar!
THE CAKE | Our friend Amy very kindly made the cake for us and after two days straight of baking, taking it on a 4 hour journey from Wales to Dover and spending 2 hours on the morning of the wedding assembling it she has vowed never to make a wedding cake again! However we and our guests were absolutely blown away by the cake. We hadn’t quite anticipated how big it would be! The white and gold design took a few discussions and trial and error but looked great and was set off really well by the scattered flower arrangements and sequin table cloth (an ebay shop purchase, definitely worth it!). We actually used our nectar points to pay for the cake ingredients so it really was one of the biggest bargains of the wedding.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We took a long time finding the right photographer and it was an important decision for us. It is a significant spend and the images would become our lasting memory of the day. The photographer is with you for long periods of the day so we wanted someone we felt comfortable with, Emma met this criteria easily and was even kind enough to travel down from London to Guildford (where we were living at the time) to have an initial meet at the pub. Everybody commented on how at ease they felt around her on the day as she blended in with our guests. We loved how her photographs struck the balance between getting the formal shots but also having an eager eye for the more spontaneous moments. Emma was an amazing communicator always answering e-mails promptly and offering lots of great advice.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Naturally, having the wedding reception in the barn we went for a rustic vibe. Jon’s mum inspired the hanging hops and dotted shelves adorned by candles, which to everyone’s amazement were actually fake and remote controlled. When trees in the garden were lopped we used them to build the archway that we married under. This was a special moment in the process as my brother and niece were visiting and so helped construct it, having the arch also made it all seem a bit more real. I then finished it off in the month before the wedding with a string of hops and fake flowers from our friend’s wedding and others that we had picked up along the way. For the centrepieces Jon’s dad made log discs for vintage vases to sit on that my mum had collected from charity shops. I learnt how to write signs (Pinterest was useful here) and made our order of the day from a pallet we stained and a welcome sign using another stained scrap piece of wood. Our friends and families spent months collecting and cleaning jars for us to place along the barn walls with tea lights, so simple but so twinkly!
THE HONEYMOON | After all the planning and preparation we decided organising a big honeymoon straight after the wedding was too much for us. We both love glamping and so we stayed at a site in South Devon called Brownscombe. We had a cute little Cornish tabernacle and wood fired hot tub all to ourselves where after a day of exploring the coast we spent the evenings barbequing, stargazing and looking out for the local owl.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | My dad being unable to walk next to me without standing on my dress while we walked down the aisle! This could have been an awkward moment but we had gone for an intimate wedding and so instead I felt I was able laugh out loud as I knew I was surrounded by close friends and family. After spending months planting and tending to the garden for the desire of an outdoor ceremony our guests arrived to thunder and lightning which continued through parts of the ceremony. However we would not have had it any other way as it forced us to squeeze in to the marquee we had hired for back up and added to the intimate feel of the day. The clouds parted later and we were able to get some lovely photos out on the lawn and around the farm.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Having a D.I.Y wedding is awesome fun and made the day incredibly personal and special to us. Just be realistic about how much work and time projects take (as a rule probably about double the time you expect) ensuring you leave enough time to get all of the last minute details done. We loved that having an at home wedding meant it was truly unique, the downside of this was that unlike wedding venues it had never been tried and tested before. So that we could sit back and enjoy the day and all of the things we had spent many hours planning we hired an ‘on-the-day’ wedding planner. Jon wasn’t sure of this decision at first but we both agree our wedding would not have been the same without the amazing Amanda and her team. We found out in the days after our wedding about the many ways she managed to ensure it ran smoothly from helping my brother’s with their button holes to replacing fuses so that our wedding breakfast was able to be served warm! Another tip for those unsure about a top table would be to adopt the sweetheart table trend. It allowed for Jon and I to share a moment to ourselves, additionally we were both so overwhelmed on the day we’re not sure we would have been great conversation makers should we have been sat with others!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Emma Hare Photography
Hire wear | 4 Seasons
Marquee | Best in Tents
Portable loos | Premiere Flush
Caterer | The Flavour kitchen
Wedding Planner | Amanda Jane
DJ | Boutique Disco
Hair stylist | Kirsty Smith Hair
Makeup artist | Lucy Jayne
Mobile bar | Chic n Cheerful
Wedding dress | Sentiments
Celebrant | Karina O’Donnell
Florist | Dream of Flowers
Bouquet Preservation | The Flower Preservation House
Festoon Lighting | IA Sound & Light
Eli and Jon, thank you ever so much for sharing your perfect pastel day with us on WWW. Rachel x