This has to be one of the loveliest submissions stories ever today. Groom Robbie contacted me to submit their wedding whilst on honeymoon, to surprise his bride Helen, isn’t that just so lovely? There was no way I wasn’t going to share their super pretty and perfectly rustic wedding with you. It has it all, from the glorious summer sunshine, to the wonderful barn venue and DIY touches galore.
WWW readers Robbie and Helen were hitched on the 1st July 2017 at The Great Barn in Rolvenden, Kent. A relaxed country affair was order of the day complete with good food, music and booze! Sounds pretty wonderful right? Well their guests were certainly in for a treat with a pimp your prosecco station, fish and chip canapés, a BBQ, Millie’s Cookies dessert and tacos. Scrumptious!
Beautiful blooms took centre stage throughout alongside wooden details, including pallet signs and hay bale seating. It all looked just amazing. As did our couple who were elegant and timeless in their chosen outfits.
Sarah-Jane Ethan, thank you ever so much for sharing these incredible images with us today, what a delight!
THE PROPOSAL | We went glamping in a Shepherds hut in the North Kent and spent the afternoon at Chapel Day vineyard. We went for a walk in the countryside and found a secluded spot with only cows as witnesses. When we sat down, Robbie gave me his phone and said he needed me to read an important email he had just received. To my surprise there was no email open but a photo of our cat Leo with a handmade sign round his neck saying ‘will you marry Robbie’ and when I looked up surprised, Robbie was down on one knee with a ring!
THE VISION | Rustic, country, relaxed, DIY, good food, good music and lots if booze!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We had 22 months from getting engaged to married, which was a long time to plan but being a DIY wedding we had a lot to do! I read countless wedding blogs and spent a lot of time on Pinterest and Robbie kept track of the budget and suppliers with a big spreadsheet. We both convened on evenings and went over all of our ideas, it was a good team effort.
THE VENUE | I wanted to get married in the countryside in Kent as it reminded me of my Nan and Grandad. We found The Great Barn in Rolvenden very early on in the search and it ticked the criteria we had. It is a beautiful old beamed barn surrounded by an apple orchard and open fields tucked away down a country lane. It is a completely empty space, which you decorate from head to toe. This suited us perfectly as we loved the idea of being able to choose everything ourselves and create our vision from scratch. It was more hard work but totally worth it.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was by Sophia Tolli, I loved the colour and shape of it, and it wasn’t too heavy so I could dance all night! I wore my mums pearl necklace and a veil plus a headpiece with beautiful silver leaves on it. Robbie also brought a silver and pearl bracelet, which I was given on the morning of the wedding. Sarah from Powder and Pin did me a half up half down curled hairstyle with a plait as I wanted a relaxed hairstyle. For my make up, I also wanted a natural look and Harriet Rainbow did an amazing job.
FINDING THE DRESS | I only went to two shops and I found my dress pretty quickly, about 18 months before the big day.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Robbie had a bespoke three suit made from Copperfield’s tailors in Moorgate London owned by a lovely father and son team. He chose a blue prince of Wales check, layered with a subtle window pane made from a beautiful Italian fabric called Cacopoli. He paired the suit with a blue knitted tie, a white cut away collar Eton shirt and dark brown dune brogues. The whole outfit came together so nicely!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | I walked down the aisle to Ed Sheeran ‘Tenerife Sea’ and during the signing of the register we had Ray La Montagne ‘You are the best thing’.
We walked out of the barn to Kodaline ‘The One’ and then we had Fred Clark a lovely singer who played acoustic music with his guitar in the orchard sing John Mayers version of Beyonces XO whilst we walked out of the barn for the second time as everyone threw confetti.
We had 2 readings. One was read by our old house-mates Charlotte and Jamie (Time Travellers by Terah Cox) and one by Robbie’s Aunty Helen (Wild Awake, by Hilary Smith). Both have a travelling theme!
Our first dance was by Samm Henshaw “Only want to be with you” (the unplugged version), a fairly unknown song but the lyrics are very beautiful and the music lends itself well to swaying for the first dance!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My two sisters and my best friend from Uni were my beautiful bridesmaids! They wore navy blue dresses from Coast. I love plaits so all of them had slightly different plait hairstyles. The morning of the wedding I decided their hair would look nice with gypsophila in it so my dad went out on a successful mission to find some! My flower girls wore monsoon dresses!
THE FLOWERS | I knew I wanted wild flowers, including daisies, and pastel in colour, I didn’t really have any other stipulations. Gwenda Jeffs from Bohotanical did an amazing job! My bouquet looked even better than I imagined it would!
The day before the wedding, me, my sister, Kirstie my bridesmaid and Robbie’s mum went to Blooming Green in Maidstone and picked our own flowers to decorate the barn with. It was extra work and hard but I’m so glad we did it! We had a couple of hours with free reign of the fields with so many beautiful flowers to pick from! Kirstie and Jennie then arranged all our flowers into different gin and beer bottles for the table and venue decorations and they looked incredible! Everyone was shocked we had done it ourselves.
THE CAKE | Robbie’s clever nan made us a three tier cake (Victoria sponge, lemon and fruit cake) covered in edible daisies. The cake topper was made by Helen’s friend Charlotte. Me, Robbie and Leo the cat as we wanted him to make an appearance!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Sarah Jane Ethan. We wanted a natural photographer and were so pleased with how our photos turned out. Sarah was perfect, it didn’t feel awkward at all just relaxed and fun and natural. Our photos are full of big smiles, and SJ really captured the day well, couldn’t have asked for me.
Helens friend Louis was the videographer, and we’re so happy we made the decision to have a video, I watch it back all the time!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Robbie’s Mum handmade about 150m of bunting using bought fabrics and old clothes from our nieces and a children’s tipi for the kids!
We had a slight travel theme because we love travelling and holidays! This included Robbie’s Mum cutting up old atlases and maps for some of the bunting, our table names were places we’ve visited and we had a compass and globe as part of our décor.
We spent the last year drinking a lot of gin and Robbie brewing beer, so we used gin and beer bottles for our vases on the table.
As well as drinking lots of gin we also had to drink a lot of prosecco to collect the 95 corks needed for our table names! We placed funny Polaroid photos in a cork with a scratch card for the favours, unfortunately no one won any big money!
We had some games; a coconut shy, tin can alley, ball in a bucket, swing ball and giant Jenga
We wanted the wedding to feel personal to us, we had quotes hanging around the barn, photos of our parents on their wedding day and some cat memorabilia!
Helen also carried home a huge (very heavy) pallet one day and decorated it with photos of us throughout the past 7 years.
Helen and her friends love drinking prosecco so we had a pimp your prosecco bar, which included different juices, cordials, chambord and prosecco shimmer!
A photobooth, most of the props sourced from Helens mums dressing up box as a primary school teacher!
For food; we had a fish and chip van for canapés, small portions of fish and chips. Australian Catering did us a great BBQ for main. We had giant Millie’s cookies for each table for dessert, as the first present Helen ever bought Robbie was a giant Millie’s cookie! And in the evening we had a taco truck housed in an old citreon fire engine, which did delicious tacos!
THE HONEYMOON | We went a few days after the wedding and spent 2 weeks in Canada. The first week we spent hiking and cycling the rockies, it was incredible the scenery was beautiful. The second week was more relaxed and we chilled in our boathouse on the water in Vancouver Island, finished up with a few nights in Vancouver City.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Helen: I have so many to chose from, but my favourite moment was on the dance floor the DJ played Westlife “You raise me up”. One of the girls picked me up onto their shoulders and one of the boys picked Robbie up onto his and we spent the song swaying around in the air holding hands and watching all our friends and family dance and sing along.
When we were having our photos taken SJ took us to a field behind the orchard, where we laid a blanket down and me and Robbie sat among the grass. I was lying in Robbie’s arms, the sun was shining on us and I could see our friends and family in the orchard all playing games and drinking and having fun, exactly how we had envisioned our day to be, it was perfect!
Robbie: Seeing Helen for the first time just made me think ‘wow’ and that I was very lucky to be marrying her, I felt extremely privileged she had actually chosen me! There was also a moment around 9pm where the sun was setting and the big barn doors were swung open. Some people were dancing inside, some were dancing outside and everyone was smiling and laughing and I was holding Helen’s hand to walk outside and I was very proud of the day we had created not only for us but for everyone around us that we cared about.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | The day goes so quickly, make sure you take time to spend with each other! And try and take time to enjoy yourself, we had lots of games and afterwards I realised I didn’t even have a go on any of them!
Try to relax and enjoy your first dance, Helen found it really awkward having everyone staring at us, dance so asked everyone to come on really quickly and join, but in hindsight I wish I’d just relaxed and made the most of the moment.
We had a small top table of just Helen and I and our parents for the meal. This was a nice time to chat to Helen and also spend quality time with out parents who had put a great deal of emotional effort, support and money into making the day possible.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Sarah-Jane Ethan
Videographer | Louis Russell
Make up | Harriet Rainbow
Hair | Powder and Pin
Games | I Do Devoted Dreams
Music | Fred Clarke
Wasn’t that just utterly beautiful!?
Robbie and Helen, thank you both so very much for sharing your special story with us here at Whimsical Wonderland Weddings xo Lou