I have actually had the pleasure of being a guest at this stunning venue featured here this afternoon. The Priory Barn in Hertfordshire hosts a majestic barn in an idyllic countryside setting, so it’s no wonder that this lovely couple chose it.
WWW readers Sinéad and Andrew were married on the 17th September 2015 and had 12 weeks to plan their day. Amazingly Sinéad had her wedding dress custom made alongside the multicolour bridesmaid dresses by The Wedding Workshop in Ampthill within the tight time frame. The girls looked so very gorgeous too.
Origami cranes and books took over the décor. Including love story table names, a Harry Potter Honeydukes sweetie table (OMG!) and garlands of cranes hung from the rafters.
These sublime images are by the supremely talented Story and Colour Photography, thanks so much for sharing guys.
THE PROPOSAL | Andy planned an amazing weekend in London, we had lunch at Roka, followed by a walk in Hyde Park where he got down on one knee by the Serpentine and we stayed the night in a hotel on Park Lane. Phoning our family and friends took a good two hours but was so lovely (everyone was so excited!) so the champagne when we finally had it was well deserved!
THE VISION | I panicked after we got engaged because I had no vision for the wedding day and it’s a thing people expect you to have! We just knew it would be big because we both have big families and we wanted everyone there. I also had a vague idea that I liked barns, wanted origami cranes to be involved and that the tables would be named after books. Andy was happy with that so we went from there.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | At first we set on a date in June 2016 to get married but not long after we got engaged we found out that my dad had advanced stomach cancer. As soon as we knew this, we knew we didn’t want to wait until next year – we wanted to marry each other and we wanted the people we love most in the world there – so we called our venue and asked for what availability they had this year and we ended up with a date in 12 weeks time.
The wedding completely took over our lives for the next 12 weeks but it was such a lovely thing to plan and our friends and family were amazing in helping us make it all happen.
My mum in particular was incredible, scouring charity shops for mismatched flower vases, collecting piles of books for our book-themed tables, buying up all the sweets in Bedfordshire for the sweet stall and generally just helping with anything and everything.
The day before the wedding, Andy and my brother set up the venue (and tore their hair out about the best way to hang the cranes from the rafters). They did an amazing job and it meant that my mum, my bridesmaids and I could have a relaxing day getting our nails done and being pampered!
THE VENUE | We were married at St Ippolyts Church and had the reception afterward at The Priory Barn. The team at The Priory Barn are so helpful, the barn is beautiful, the grounds are lovely and the food is to die for, what more can you ask for?!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I thought I’d go for something 1920s/slinky in style but all the dress pictures I kept tearing out of magazines for my wedding scrapbook (everyone should have one!) had tulle skirts.
In the end, the 8-year-old ballerina in me chose my dress and I went for a fitted corset with a lace scalloped back and a full tulle skirt. It was made for me by The Wedding Workshop in Ampthill. I loved it so much!
My something borrowed (and blue) was my mum’s white gold and blue topaz necklace and my parents brought me earrings to match for my birthday.
Ten days before the wedding, on my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary, my mum got her wedding dress and veil out of the loft to try on (it still fits!). The veil was similar to what I was after – just a bit larger being of 1980s Princess Di proportions – so I asked the Wedding Workshop team if they could turn it into a veil for me and that became my something old – and something really special.
My sparkly shoes were a bargain in the sale at John Lewis. I loved them too (though they did hurt my feet. Note to brides-to-be, wear your shoes in).
FINDING THE DRESS | I was worried that finding a dress would the most difficult things to do in 12 weeks. Bridal shops I spoke to said they would be able to get most styles in but there would be a 20% rush fee (and adding 20% to the cost of a wedding dress was giving me cold sweats!).
I grew up in Ampthill where The Wedding Workshop is based and had always admired the dresses in their window but didn’t think they’d be able to make my dress from scratch in 12 weeks but they said I could (and my mum’s too!). I will be eternally grateful to them!
I loved the process of going for fittings and seeing the dress come together from a rough sketch to the actual thing and being able to help shape it along the way. They are basically wedding dress wizards and I can’t recommend them highly enough!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | We were lucky enough to walk into Reiss on the first day of their sale and see the charcoal three-piece suit Andy had in mind on the sale racks! He paired it with a white shirt from River Island and Barker shoes.
The rest of the groom’s party were then briefed to wear a three-piece grey suit. I was worried that all together they might look a bit 50 shades of grey but actually it worked out fine and they all looked very dapper.
We left getting the bow ties and pocket squares a bit late (like, the week of the wedding late, I don’t recommend that!) but in the end Topman came to the rescue!
Our page boys were Andy’s nephews and his sister did an amazing job of getting them kitted out in their shorts, braces and bow tie combo. They looked so handsome.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | I walked into the church to Cavalleria Rusticana and we walked out to Florence & The Machine’s You’ve Got the Love. My sister Lydia read an extract from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Andy’s sister Helen read from The Song of Solomon.
Our first dance was to Artic Monkey’s cover of Baby I’m Yours which was a nod to us meeting in Sheffield. My dad chose Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World to dance to for the dad and daughter dance.
Andy chose the band – The Iron Boot Scrapers – and they were *brilliant*. I wasn’t sure what to expect from an ‘Edwardian rock band’ but they were great fun, looked amazing in their striped blazers and they had everyone up dancing. Everyone was still talking about them the next day.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My wonderful bridesmaids were my sister Lydia, my friend Sally and my brother’s girlfriend Tara. They’re all so different, I knew they wouldn’t suit the same style and wanted them all to feel happy and comfortable with their outfits on the day.
I decided I wanted three different pastel shades but that was it. They chose the colours and the cut. Again, the Wedding Workshop team were wonderful (yes, they also made the three bridesmaid dresses, I told you they were amazing).
They also chose how they wanted their hair and picked out their own shoes (they were in full length dresses, their shoes didn’t need to match).
Our lovely flower girls were my twin cousins and Andy’s niece whose dresses were a steal in the sale in BHS.
THE FLOWERS | Neither of us know much about flowers so we put ourselves firmly in the hands of our florist Oonagh and she did a fantastic job. We didn’t want anything that looked too ‘done’ and we wanted to keep the colours simple (ivory and green). That was the extent of Oonagh’s rather vague brief and was she put together was perfect.
THE CAKE | GOSH Patisserie based in Brighton did an amazing job of our wedding cake. My mum wanted to bake the fruit cake tiers but not decorate them so Sarah from GOSH decorated them and then surrounded the cake with chocolate brownies that were to die for (because I don’t like fruit cake) and also made an incredible carrot cake and chocolate mousse cake for guests coming over for lunch at my parent’s house the next day. Every single morsel was eaten which tells you everything you need to know about how good all the cakes were!
My sister has an etsy business making bespoke cake toppers so she made Andy and I out of fimo for our cake. I didn’t see them until the day itself and they were adorable! They got so many compliments and I’m pretty sure they were the most photographed thing of the whole day!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We came across Story & Colour on a wedding blog and loved his website and his style. Dan is incredibly lovely and talented and put Andy and I at ease and we LOVE our wedding photos so we are so happy we found him!
William Starr Films made our wedding video. His team were a pleasure to work with (so many people commented on what ‘perfect gentlemen’ they were!) and the film they made *perfectly* captures the day from start to finish and is something that we’ll treasure forever.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We loved planning all the details and personal touches!
Our wedding invite was a map that Andy drew that started in Sheffield where we met and travelled through special places ending at our wedding venue. The talented Rona Marin Miller then designed the rest of the stationery around this.
We both love Harry Potter and were having a lot of children at the wedding so it was only right that our sweet shop would be Honeydukes themed. It was a team effort, Andy painted the sign, my dad hung it and attached it to the sweet table and my mum put all the sweet jars together and made the tablecloth (I, erm, art directed).
Instead of favours each guest had a polaroid picture in their place setting and either Andy or I wrote them a personal note on the back. I sourced the photos mostly from Facebook, uploaded them to a private Instagram account and got them printed from Printed.com. Writing the notes took a LONG TIME (I was cursing myself halfway through writing them) but our guests loved it and that made it all worthwhile.
Each table was themed around a love story (from Othello to Winnie the Pooh). In the centre of each table was a pile of that book and then we had an appropriate quote (like: Piglet: “How do you spell love?” Pooh: “You don’t spell it, you feel it.”) instead of a table number. Andy then made the “Find your love story” table plan.
With help from willing friends and family, we also made a lot of colourful coloured origami cranes – two per place setting and then some to decorate the sweet/cake/card tables. I ordered the ones to hang from the ceiling from etsy (couldn’t have made these in 12 weeks!)
I am lucky enough to have very artistic aunts who also added some special touches. Jacquie made beautiful confetti cones out of book paper for the church. Louise put together personalised activity packs for the children coming (these were a big hit) and Ann-Marie designed our wonderful guest book that everyone signed.
THE HONEYMOON | We mini mooned at Babington House in Somerset for 3 nights after the wedding and it was the most perfect little break. Great food, (even more amazing cake!) and luxurious surroundings. We’re in the process of planning a honeymoon somewhere further afield for later on this year.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | So many!
Putting THE DRESS on and heading off to the church feeling nervous, excited and so so happy.
Saying our vows and then leaving the church to Florence & The Machine’s You’ve Got the Love.
Seeing the reception venue fully decorated for the first time.
Walking in to the wedding breakfast as Mr and Mrs Baldwin to a wall of noise with a bagpipe accompaniment from Andy’s dad.
Dancing to the band playing Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya!’ as Mr and Mrs (that was the song we first met to).
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | From the bride: Keep the traditions that suit you and chuck the ones that don’t (another highlight of mine was seeing my friend’s boyfriend catch the bouquet as I wanted it to be all single women and men on the dance floor).
Don’t try and do everything yourself, I really loved everyone pitching in and adding their touches to our day. And if for any reason you need or want to plan your wedding from start to finish quicker than the usual 12-18 month time scale it is totally possible. (Wedding magazines make you think it isn’t, it is.)
From the groom: Trust your gut, we ended up having to make quite quick decisions and it all worked out perfectly. You can easily over think things.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Story & Colour
The church | St Ippolyts
The reception venue | The Priory Barn
Dress | The Wedding Workshop
Cake | GOSH Patisserie
Cake toppers | Blissfully Mini
Rings | Diamond Palace in Hatton Garden
Groom’s suit | Reiss
Groom’s shoes | Barker’s
Bow ties | Topman
Bridesmaid dresses | The Wedding Workshop
Stationery design | Rona Marin Miller
Stationery and polaroid printing | Printed.com
Flowers | Oonagh O’Neill
Videography | William Starr Films and Photography
Hanging origami cranes | World of Origami
Band | The Iron Boot Scrapers
Sinéad and Andrew, thanks so much to the both of you for sharing your wonderful wedding story xo Lou