Get ready for a real wedding filled to the brim with happiness, fun, gin and foliage to name a few. It’s a cracker of a celebration and we’re delighted to be sharing it with you guys.
WWW readers Dan and Katie were hitched on the 14th July 2018 at The Long Barn in Hampshire. It was the perfect blank canvas for their day, which meant that they could DIY to their hearts content. Wedding planning wasn’t a totally smooth ride for these two though, when one of their original suppliers went bankrupt. But all was rearranged smoothly and their wedding day went without a hitch.
This pair really infused their personality and shared loves into the details, but did it in the most elegant way. For example the tables featured gin bottles and the seating plan featured illustrated gin bottles, which was designed by Katie’s mother. It worked just wonderfully.
Of course I just love all the florals, the striking semi naked cake creation and the super stylish outfit choices. It’s also great to hear that WWW faves Alive Network provided the entertainment and Mrs Bow Tie those awesome stag pocket squares. Amaze!
Capturing all of those beautiful memories was Three Flowers Photography and we are so thankful to be sharing these stunning shots.
For the proposal Dan had told me that we were going on a couple’s weekend away with his friend Nick and Nick’s girlfriend Emily. I was led to believe that we were going to be staying in a cottage owned by Nick’s family down in the South Downs. On the day that we were meant to be going to the cottage, Dan had to stay late at work and so I had suggested we travel early the next day, but he was insistent that we should go that evening. We didn’t end up setting off until around 10:30pm and arrived in the South Downs gone midnight! Furthermore, I was surprised that when we arrived at the cottage there was only one bedroom and Nick and Emily were nowhere to be seen. But Dan brushed this off quickly. Dan had brought a midnight feast of cheese and wine with him and proposed just before we started eating and suddenly everything made sense. It took me a few seconds to say yes because of the shock and after that I entirely lost my appetite for cheese even though before-hand I was starving. I think Dan was so relieved that I said yes, that he stress-ate the whole lot!
We spent the weekend after that wandering the South Downs, relaxing in the hot tub and drinking gin!
Family and friends are extremely important to both of us and so we knew that although it was our wedding day, our priority was that everyone else enjoyed themselves and had fun. With about 80% of our guests being between the ages of 25 and 35, we knew that it was never going to be a quiet wedding! Which was absolutely fine by us and we wanted as much merriment, drinking and dancing that you could fit into 12 hours.
We didn’t really have a strict theme for the day but I would say that what we ended up with a rustic but elegant, gin-inspired wedding with lots of foliage and copper touches.
The Planning Process
Twelve months flew by when it came to the planning of our wedding. We tried to be as logical as we could when it came to researching and booking suppliers and putting together the other aspects of the day. We took advice from other couples who were recently married, as well as wedding blogs and Pinterest, and made great use of google spreadsheets.
Even with the amount of organisation that goes into planning, you can’t control everything… and we were informed by our caterers that they had gone bankrupt exactly 4 weeks before the wedding. This left us without food, staff and even plates and cutlery! Luckily Gastro Catering were able to step up and agreed to cater our wedding on very short notice, and we are so appreciative to them for doing so. Aaron at Gastro runs an amazing team, he calmed our anxieties, and everything ran smoothly on the day.
The Long Barn was the first venue of two that we viewed. We stopped at two as we knew pretty much instantly that The Long Barn was the one. I fell in love with space, its rustic beams and the thousands of twinkling fairy lights cascading down the rafters. We wanted a wedding that we could really make our own and the barn offered us a glorious blank canvas for us to do so. It’s one of those DIY venues which you hire as pretty much an empty shell and then add all the other elements yourself (e.g. catering, flowers, DJ). Although at first an overwhelming task, building a wedding from the bottom up really allowed us the freedom to create the exact day that we wanted.
The barn is located to the west of the South Downs and has beautiful views overlooking the rolling countryside. We chose to have an outdoor ceremony to make the most of the extraordinary views and hired an open sided marquee to account for all weather circumstances! In the end we were lucky enough that it didn’t rain but the marquee was excellent as offered some shade on a very hot day!
Another great aspect of the barn was that it had two cottages on-site. My bridesmaids and I stayed in one of the cottages the night before and Dan and his groomsmen stayed in the other.
The Details & Décor
In terms of décor I knew I wanted lots of foliage and greenery interspersed with subtle copper touches. The copper vases for the table flowers were a mixture of tea/coffee canisters and more traditional vases that I purchased from George at ASDA. There was quite a bit of DIYing when it came to the decorations also. For example, the glass candle holders (originally takeaway pots) were decorated painstakingly using copper leaf. I took bay leaves from my parent’s garden to decorate the bar area and table plan and the guest book was also designed and made by myself.
We both have a love of gin and so decided to name each of our tables after a different gin that we have tried. Each table had the gin bottle on it that it was named after and I decorated each bottle with copper, hessian string and bottle lights. We collected way more gin bottles than we needed and so we filled the left overs with bay leaves and spread these throughout the barn. My mum is a graphic designer and sign maker and she was an excellent resource to have. She designed and printed our table plan, as well as our order of day, welcome sign, share the love cards and pimp your prosecco sign. She even designed and printed our wedding invites.
Dan is Chinese and his dad owns a Chinese takeaway in South London and so I wanted to reference this somehow into the day. I discovered these favour-sized noodle boxes that I then asked my mum to decorate to look like traditional Chinese takeaway boxes (i.e. the red pagoda, thank you etc). Inside each box was a fortune cookie, some Hong Kongese sweets and a “double-happiness” Chinese sticker.
Other accessories we collected from Gumtree, Facebook market and through accidental finds. These included the vintage suitcase we used for our pimp your prosecco stand, vintage wine crates and our vintage wheel barrow that we put beers in during the welcome drinks. We even managed to find a cable reel in a car park that we made into a makeshift table for outside.
We found Harriot from Jemima Cakes through our florist Lisa. We went for different flavours across the layers: carrot cake with orange filling, lemon cake with lemon filling and brown sugar with chocolate filling. It was delicious and decorated beautifully.
My bridesmaids wore floor length dresses in a dusky pink/blush colour which suited all of their skin tones beautifully. These were purchased from Monsoon. I chose this colour as I felt it complemented the copper/rose gold tones that accented the wedding décor. My 12-year-old niece wore a dress in a lighter shade that was purchased from ASOS.
My hair and make up was done by Tamara Tott who I found after lots of researching online. She is incredibly talented and experienced, and I was extremely happy with my choice. I wanted a very natural look for my make-up (a kind of me but better look) and a relaxed up do for my hair. I absolutely adored my hair on the day, especially the large plait that flowed into my bun.
I wanted my bridesmaids to also have natural make-up but didn’t want them to all look the same, especially with regards to their hair. I also didn’t want anyone to have a style that they weren’t comfortable with. We went for a mixture of up and down styles pulled together by a braid similar to mine.
The Readings & Music
Neither Dan nor I are religious and so we knew that we didn’t want to get married in a church. A Register office wedding was an option, but it just didn’t feel like the right fit. We really wanted the ceremony to be a celebration of our relationship and also of our relationships with our friends and family. We chose to opt for a Humanist wedding ceremony run by the celebrant Lisa von Fircks. Having a Humanist ceremony enabled us to create a ceremony with Lisa that was personalised and truly reflective of us as a couple. Lisa made the ceremony light hearted and funny and yet deep and meaningful at the same time. There was laughter and crying and everything in between. It was absolutely the best part of our day.
We chose two readings. Dan’s cousins read “How Love is Like Owning a Dog” as both our families have always had dogs. I also asked my mum to do a reading- she chose to write her own poem which she entitled “A Light-Hearted Look on Motherhood.” It was excellent.
For music we booked a string trio who played a mixture of classical and modern pieces. We walked into their version of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” and walked out to Bruno Mars’ “Marry You”.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I found my dress at Paverly Bridal in Wimbledon. It was the first dress I tried on and it was my wild card of the those that I had selected. I had always envisioned myself wearing an extremely bohemian, lacey number and had never considered “bling” as an option. What I ended up falling in love with was the dress ‘Maren’ by Maggie Sottero. It’s a sleeveless, chiffon A-line gown, with a deep V-illusion neckline and an illusion open back, all accented with Swarovski crystals and delicate beading. I felt amazing in it!
My shoes were from Monsoon’s wedding collection. I didn’t want too much of a heel as I wanted to be comfortable but also didn’t want to tower over Dan as we are similar heights! My hair pieces were hand made by Victoria Fergusson from her Halo collection. I loved how they combined foliage forms and Swarovski gems to complement my bouquet and dress.
It took some compromise on both our parts to agree on what Dan’s outfit should be. I love a blue suit, but Dan felt a bit too far outside of his comfort zone in anything too bright. We eventually settled on a slightly more vivid navy colour. I wanted Dan to stand out amongst his groomsmen and so he wore a three-piece suit with a matching waistcoat for the ceremony, whilst the other boys wore two-pieces. We found his wedding suit in Charles Trywhitt and had it tailored. Dan’s shoes were also from Charles Trywhitt.
We asked the groomsmen to wear their own blue suits. As for their accessories, I wanted them to complement the bridesmaid’s dresses rather than match them. Dan and all the groomsmen wore burgundy bow ties purchased from ASOS and had pocket squares in a complimentary colour from Mrs Bow Tie. The pocket squares had mini stags on them which I chose as a cute reference to the fact that in wedding terms they are “the stags”. The groomsmen and Dan also all had different coloured socks in muted tones and wore their own brown shoes. They all wore braces to complete their look. Dan also had a pair of braces which he swapped his waistcoat and belt for in the evening.
Lisa at Lily Lupin did our flowers. We met several months prior to discuss the vibe of the day and the ideas that I had for the flowers. I knew that I was in good hands immediately. I choose her initially as I loved her bohemian and natural style that allowed the flowers to really shine. I didn’t want anything too put together or manicured. I don’t know much at all about flowers but had asked Lisa for lots of greens and foliage interspersed with whites and creams with a wild feel to them.
I was so happy with Lisa’s creations. She selected each of the flowers with such thought and consideration and remembered details about our day that I can’t even recall telling her. What we ended up with was English country garden/ hedgerow bliss with daisies and thistle like flowers, interspersed between eucalyptus, rosemary and mint. It smelled amazing! Dan and his best man had a ripening bramble on their buttonholes to match their burgundy ties and tucked away in my bouquet was a small cluster of brambles also.
The bridesmaids had smaller versions of my bouquet and we later used these as flowers for the top table by putting them in a range of different sized vases. Another great idea from Lisa. Each bouquet was also wrapped with a beautiful hand dyed silk ribbon.
Our photographer was excellent!
I found searching for a photographer online pretty challenging and was lucky enough to come across the photos from the wedding of an old school friend when I was browsing Facebook. Their photos were absolutely beautiful. I found out their photographer was Charlotte from Three Flowers Photography and instantly enquired about her availability. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly she was already booked but luckily enough her right hand woman Sarah was free and able to photograph our day.
We liked Sarah’s natural approach to documenting the day and half the time we barely even knew she was there! We wanted lots of action shots capturing the feels of the day rather than excessive amounts of forced photos in the more traditional style.
During the couples’ shots Sarah had some great ideas and managed to find a beautiful cornfield just in time for the sunset. The photos from this time of the day are some of my favourites. She also managed to put up with Dan’s slightly tipsy banter at this point too!
When we began planning the wedding – having a videographer wasn’t on our list of things that we thought we needed. However, the more we planned, the more it dawned on us how quickly the day was going to pass. My grandmother was also not well and so we thought it would be nice to have something to show her so that she could really feel like she was there.
We found Dom through Bidvine and he was such a pro from the start! He communicated excellently with us and the other suppliers on the day; and just like the photographer, he fell into the background so that we were barely aware he was there. The highlight and feature length videos are really well edited and my dad has teared up each time that he has watched either back – so it was well worth it!
I would absolutely recommend that other couples getting married consider getting a wedding videographer. The day passes too quickly and when you watch it back you see all the smaller details that you may have initially missed!
An alcohol fuelled wedding does not come without its memorable moments these include:
- A school friend falling asleep in a field
- A groomsman coping off with a bridesmaid
- A hockey team member losing his trousers
- The father of the bride going completely off script for his speech
- The groom and best man crying on two separate occasions (tears of joy)
Advice For Other Couples
Get wedding insurance! When we were told that our caterers had gone under we hadn’t purchased any. We were lucky enough that we had paid on credit card and so were able to claim the money back.
Consider a videographer – the day goes so quickly and it is a lovely memento to have and share, especially if you have loved ones that are unable to attend.
Enjoy the day as much as possible. Minor things will go wrong on the day but you wont notice as long as you are having fun!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Three Flowers Photography
Bridal Hair Accessories
Groom’s Suit & Shoes
The Long Barn
Lisa von Fircks
Hair and Makeup
MacroVision Graphics Ltd (Bride’s mother)
WOW! Thank you Dan and Katie for sharing your super gorgeous day with us xo Lou