By Louise Baltruschat Hollis
I read every Instagram and blog post from WWW during the planning process for our wedding. I found it to be massively inspirational and supportive.
WWW readers Tasha and Tom
What a treat we have in store to start the week. The utterly beautiful Wiltshire barn wedding of WWW readers Tasha and Tom who were wed on the 7th September 2019. They envisioned an informal day with all of their loved ones in the Autumn. When searching for their venue Wick Bottom Barn met their requirements of being able to find their own suppliers, no corkage and no curfew. Doesn’t it just sound perfect for the DIY celebration?
Talking of DIY, together with their nearest and dearest, they crafted up a storm! Over five days they set up their wonderfully personal touches and cleaned up afterwards too, what a fantastic effort. I have to say the barns looked ever so magical too. It’s also great to hear that Supplier Love members Entertainment Nation and Alive Network provided the live music!
You are going to love all of the stylish outfits, the splendid florals and the sparkler exit come evening. Photography34, I cannot thank you enough for sharing with us your incredible images.
Having resisted the temptation to blurt out a few spontaneous proposals, I took the earliest opportunity I could to speak to Tash’s father, Dean. Not for his blessing necessarily, but more as a gesture of tradition I knew he’d appreciate, and I couldn’t have asked for a more encouraging reaction. Soon he and I were devising the perfect set up over a cuppa.
Tash and her family (parents and brother) have always been very close, though not geographically since she moved down to London. So, knowing how much it would mean to have them there with her on the night, Dean and I decided they’d travel down from Crewe in secret and be there, along with my family, to surprise her – hopefully after she said yes…
I suggested Feb 2nd as we were already arranging a little getaway at this time and as fate would have it, it was the same date Tash’s parents got engaged! So, it was meant to be!
Just before Christmas, I created a covert WhatsApp group to allow our two families to conspire and discuss the choreography of the evening, which would involve my sister and her partner coming over from Paris, Tash’s folks travelling down from Crewe, her brother coming over from Richmond, my Mum and her husband driving up from the Kent Coast, and finally my Dad and the use of his house.
A couple of months went by and in no time at all we arrived at the night itself. Under the pretence of going out for the gig, Tash and I got dressed up and headed over to my dad’s, where just a few hours earlier I’d been constructing a romantic scene with rose petals, candles etc that my mum and sister would kindly add the finishing touches too and light just before heading to the local pub with the rest of the conspirators. They would all then wait for my text to say we’d arrived, before making their way back to the house.
Upon arrival, Tash was struck by how dark the house seemed and the apparent absence of my dad. Walking through to the kitchen she was bemused further when she found a trail of tea lights leading out of the back door. It was only as I retrieved a bottle of Champagne from the fridge and went into my prepared speech that she began to twig. Her face was a mixture of shock, confusion and excitement. It was great! And when I’d finally got all my words out, just, including those last 4 crucial ones, I removed the ring from my jacket (my mum’s engagement ring from my dad) and proffered it to her. Much to my relief, though after what seemed a lengthy pause that I put down to continued shock, she said YES!
We enjoyed the moment for a little while, just the two of us, with music champagne and candlelight, but I was increasingly aware of the group of people who would surely now be huddled for warmth on the door step – so after a couple of subtle hints I prompted Tash to phone her mum and give her the good news.
Fortunately, their timing was spot on and no sooner had Tash uttered the words “Tom just proposed to me” she was met with the sight of both her parents entering the kitchen. They all embraced, bringing Tash almost immediately to tears. Job Done!
We all celebrated through the night as two families coming together, then as a further surprise on the next night I’d arranged for a number of our friends to join us for a party, before we left on the Sunday for our now ‘celebratory’ getaway.
We both knew that we wanted a rustic and informal wedding, whilst meeting certain traditions along the way. We have always loved autumn so we wanted to try and incorporate those colours where possible too. But the most important thing was that we could get all of our loved ones together and have an amazing day with them. Outside of those things, we didn’t really know what we were looking for but we were excited to start looking for what was available within our budget.
The planning process seemed quite overwhelming at first due to the sheer amount of options there are out there! That, coupled with the amount of brilliant ideas there are on Pinterest – we realised we needed to focus on a brief. So, Tom and I sat down and discussed exactly what our perfect wedding would look like without thinking about budget. It was so helpful to realise the ideas we shared and what we valued the most. For us, it was making sure we could fit all of the family in, make sure we found a venue with no curfew and somewhere we could provide our own drinks without paying corkage. Essentially, we wanted to create a relaxed family wedding without any restrictions. I created a spreadsheet that would contain all of the suppliers we had contacted and their quotes. Once we had put feelers out with all of the suppliers we liked, we could compare what they offered in the spreadsheet and make a decision of who to go for. It also was a good way of figuring out which areas we wanted to spend more money on than others.
We started with a budget but it changed vastly over planning process. With the DIY venue we chose, we realised that there were certain areas that we needed to spend money on in order to make the venue work for what we wanted. We never wanted to spend lots of money on a wedding, but we quickly became aware that we were only going to do this once and we didn’t want to compromise on certain things.
Wick Bottom Barn is the most beautiful listed barn. Constructed in 1869, it is still a working barn on the Temple Farm Estate near Marlborough. The first time we went to view it, it was snowing! We had been to view two other venues before arriving at the barn and we had started to lose faith that we would find what we were looking for. Then we drove through the stunning countryside on the Temple Estate, on what seems to be a never-ending entrance to the barn. When you think you’re never going to find it, the barn suddenly appears from around a corner. And it is a spectacular sight! Set in acres of countryside, the barn has no close neighbours yet it is only 10 minutes from Marlborough High Street. The barn hire is 5 days from Wednesday to Monday. You can bring all of your own suppliers and there is no corkage and no curfew. You can even camp on site if you wish. One thing to bear in mind is that the venue doesn’t have a marriage licence. So we decided to get married at Swindon Registry Office the Thursday prior to the wedding, then have ceremony and reception at the barn on Saturday.
We also contacted Prickly Pear Stretch Tents to see if they could help us make a covered space in the courtyard of the barn. The concern being that, if it rained, our guests wouldn’t have anywhere to go whilst the room was being turned around. Tom and Amy came to the barn to measure up and tell us what could be done, and they couldn’t have been more helpful! The tent looked absolutely stunning and completely complimented the structure of the barn. Prickly Pear is a family run company and they were incredibly helpful throughout the whole process!
I had no idea what sort of dress I wanted. One thing I did know however, is that I only wanted my mum there. The thought of dragging lots of people around when I didn’t know what I was even looking for was a stressful prospect for me. And I knew my mum’s opinion and honesty would mirror my own. So we spent a whole day trying on different dresses in 3 different shops. I tried on 22 in total and we were both totally exhausted. However, It helped shape my idea of what I was looking for. And it was on our next dress shop visit that I found the dress. I visited a dressmaker near Guildford called Isabella Couture. She designs dresses in her own house and then sends them to her seamstress to make. She had a small collection of about 25 dresses to choose from. I was waiting for the “this is THE ONE” moment but it never came. I didn’t have it with any of the dresses. If I can give any advice to brides looking for their dress – don’t put yourself under pressure to find the perfect one. Or to have an overwhelming emotional reaction like you see in the movies. You just have to be happy with how it makes you feel.
Tom wore a royal blue Ted Baker suit from Moss Bros with a knitted burgundy tie to compliment our colour scheme. He finished it with a waistcoat from Moss Bros and a Rotary pocket watch that I gave to the best man to give to him on the morning of the wedding. Tom and I went to Moss Bros together with an idea of what Tom wanted, then once Tom had picked what he liked, all the boys went shopping together to pick the best men outfits.
We were incredibly lucky to have beautiful readings and music during our ceremony. My mum and Tom’s sister both wrote their own readings for the ceremony. They wrote them separately, but when they discussed their content with each other at the hen do – they had both decided to go with very similar themes. My mum took a lot of her inspiration from songs she knew we both liked, and Tom’s sister Laura used a lot quotes from movies she knew we were fans of.
My bridesmaid Molly and her partner Jack gave an acoustic rendition of Only You by Yazoo. Molly sang whilst Jack played the bouzouki, and it was tearjerkingly beautiful!
Emily Westlake at Bespoke Ceremonies conducted our ceremony and she was an utter delight. She was only too happy to work on draft after draft of our ceremony with us over the months prior and we have had multiple compliments on how special and personal the ceremony felt.
We chose Totally Flawless to do the hair and make up of the whole bridal party. Mum and I went for a trial about 2 months before the wedding. Jess, our make up artist, was brilliant and very patient with us! We ended up being in our trial for about 5 hours as we were trying different things. It was great fun!
On the wedding day, Jess and her assistant came bright and early to do hair and make up for my mum, all four bridesmaids and me. I would highly recommend Totally Flawless! I’ve never felt so glam!
I decided that I wanted different dresses for the bridesmaids. My four friends are so different and beautiful in their own way that putting them in the same dress felt wrong. We had already created a colour palette for flowers and other decorations so we decided to give them each a colour from the palette. They chose which colour they wanted and I said that could chose their own dresses as long as I had final sign off. I also set a budget of £100 per dress. Three of the dresses (burnt orange, burgundy and mustard) came from ASOS and one of them (teal) came from House of Fraser. The dresses looked beautiful as an ensemble and we used the flowers and crowns to tie them all together.
We wanted the flowers to look wild and abundant, with an autumnal feel that complimented our colour scheme. I contacted Maria at Luna In The Wild, and she provided us with the bouquets, buttonholes and some buckets of flowers for the table decorations (including the amazing dahlias!). We were very lucky with the flower arrangements on the tables as my mum and Tom’s mum are both a dab hand with a bouquet! With some extra bouquets picked up from Waitrose on the Friday, both mums were busy making approximately 14 arrangements for the tables. And they did a stunning job!
My mum also made the flower ring that hung above the altar, the floral coat stands, the geometric ceiling decorations and the various other floral statement pieces. She made the flower ring over several months with artificial flowers and it was a complete labour of love. We had so many compliments on it and it made the barn feel like a medieval castle!
Tom had three best men – his dad and his two best friends. After a lot of thought about what they would wear, we eventually decided that the Ted Baker suit Tom had chosen was so lovely that we would go for that. So the men all wore the same but Tom accented his with his waistcoat and pocket watch. All suits bought from Moss Bros.
We have various dietary requirements within our bridal party alone, so we always knew the cake was going to be a challenge. Between us all we had two vegans, one dairy intolerance and one gluten intolerance. Thankfully, Tom’s mum accepted the challenge with open arms and she did an amazing job! It looked stunning and tasted delicious (and the trials kept us eating yummy cakes at regular intervals before the wedding too!).
If you have friends and family that can help you do things, then absolutely ask them. People are thrilled to be able to help you, and it means that everyone can be proud of what you have achieved on the day. We were particularly lucky with our amazing families as they were there for the full five days to help us move things, decorate, unpack, hang things, sweep up and EVERYTHING! Everything in the barn was handmade by either us or a family member. My dad made us two folding frames that we could hang photos on. One was to go at the top of the aisle with photos of family members we had lost, but one was to go outside and double us as a table plan (with pictures of the guests on too). I had infused different flavours of gin throughout our engagement so that each table could have a different flavour. These also doubled up at table names as I designed James Bond themed labels for each of the bottles too. The logs we placed them on were cut from trees in Tom’s dads garden. The burgundy table runners had been bought from the local market and cut by my mum. The place name cards had been designed and hand written by Tom and I. The signs outside the barn had been designed and made by my dad. The bunting in the stretch tent and the bar had been cut and sewn by my mum and Tom’s aunty.
I need to give a special mention to Natalie Lovett at Love to Plan! Because our wedding was DIY, I had planned it within an inch of its life so as to try and avoid any unexpected disasters. However, as the day drew closer I knew that I needed someone to take my place on the actual day. I couldn’t look after the smaller details and be the bride. I was against asking family members to do it because I wanted them to enjoy the day too, rather than worry about whether we were on schedule or not. Also, as we were using the barn for the ceremony and the reception, I knew we needed a team of people to turn the room around for us. So I contacted Natalie and told her my plight. She was amazing! She offered us an “on the day” planning service where her and her assistant came in to run the day for us. She also contacted all of the suppliers the week before to make sure any queries they had would go to her rather than me in the days leading up to the wedding. She was totally brilliant and made our day run like clockwork!
I need to also give a special mention to our fantastic caterers Queen and Whippet. Pete and Jo were absolutely brilliant and provided us with a delicious banquet to cater to all of our dietary requirements. Their team were very professional and ran the wedding breakfast to perfection.
Where do we start? We had seen Tony’s work on various blogs and knew he knew straight away that his style was exactly what we were looking for. It was very important for us to find the right photographer because of course, this was how we were going to remember the day that we had been planning for 18 months. So we needed to trust that the person would capture it as we saw it. Thankfully, the photographer was one of the first things we booked so Tony was available on our chosen day. We had several chats before the wedding to get to know each other, and on the day-Tony was sublime! He seemed to be everywhere at once, yet go unnoticed! He was never bossy and everyone commented on how lovely he was. Most of his work is candid (which is why we chose him) but he took beautiful formal portraits too. He has allowed us to re-live the day every time we look at his stunning work, and for that we will be forever grateful!
Husband and wife team Dan and Han at Dan Dolan Films are an absolute dream team! The minute we saw their work we were blown away. I basically cried at every video on their website (which is always a good sign for me!) Hannah was with us at the house in the morning, and Dan was with Tom and the best men. This meant that I got to see all the bits I missed in the morning, and it was so special to see the morning from Tom’s point of view! Everything from the round of applause he and the best men got when entering the barn! When they delivered our highlights video, we were absolutely speechless and sodden with tears. They had managed to seamlessly integrate vows, readings and speeches over the footage and it has made for a truly priceless piece of film. We can’t wait to see the full package in the next couple of months! As with Tony, they have managed to give us the gift of capturing every tiny aspect of our day so that we may re-live it whenever we like. I can’t recommend having your wedding filmed enough! Even if you don’t like being filmed, it’s an opportunity to capture and remember your friends and family exactly as they were on that day.
Videographers: Dan Dolan Films
We had a couple of days at Areais do Seixo in Portugal shortly after the wedding. But we are planning a bigger honeymoon next year. Current thoughts are a foodie trip around Europe.
(Tasha) The whole thing! But if I had to pick one moment – sitting at the top table with my new husband and our family, looking out over the beautiful barn filled with family and friends and realising how lucky we are.
(Tom) Near impossible to choose just one, but if I had to, it’d be the moment I saw Tash enter the barn for the first time. I heard my grandparent’s bell ring which immediately brought a lump to my throat, then Moon river began to play. The bridesmaids led the way and then as the music rose there she was, my best friend and the most beautiful bride I’d ever seen, flanked by her parents, making her way down the aisle towards me. Doesn’t get much more memorable than that.
Do what feels right and make it personal for you both. We added so many personal touches to our day (too many to mention) and it felt absolutely perfect for us.
Our family and friends were absolutely amazing throughout the whole process and we couldn’t have done it without them. Our wedding was a team effort and we are eternally grateful to have such a wonderful group around us.
Dan Dolan Films
Emily Westlake at Bespoke Ceremonies
Wick Bottom Barn
Prickly Pear Stretch Tents
Queen and Whippet
Natalie at Love to Plan
Bridal Party Bouquets
Luna In The Wild
Bridal Party Hair & Make Up
Does it get any more gorgeous?!
Thanks so very much to Tasha and Tom for sharing their delightful wedding day with us xo Lou
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