Planning a wedding and actually being and staying married are two different things. So much...
Today’s wedding is filled with deep tones of burgundy, coupled with pale pink and sage green. We head to Devon for this ‘calm and understated’ Boho chic wedding set against an Autumnal backdrop on a surprisingly sunny and warm day. Sarah and Ross chose Hotel Endsleigh as it held a special place in their heart, plus it has the most amazing gardens. They really went to town with the decoration, choosing dramatic looking flowers, alongside candlesticks, greenery and natural elements of hessian. I just love the chilled out nature of this wedding, coupled with the elegant finish. Big thanks to Nova Wedding Photography for the lovely photos.
Sarah and Ross were married on 19th October 2019 at Hotel Endsleigh, Milton Abbott, Devon. ‘The hotel is local – we were born, grew up and still live in Plymouth – and a part of the Dartmoor landscape that we both grew up with. Sarah’s dad had his retirement lunch in The Stable at Hotel Endsleigh a couple of years previously, in November. We remembered how the gardens, which are spectacular at any time of year – were a complete riot of autumnal colour, the foliage all burnt orange, browns and reds. There was the smell of wood smoke in the air, the open fire and the crack of gunshot from the local shoot – it all melded into this wonderfully calm and understated atmosphere that we wanted to capture for our wedding day. We had 110 for ceremony, 150 in total including ceilidh guests, it took 10 months or so to plan.’
How they met
We were a Tinder match.. we happened to be looking for the same thing! We have now been together for three and a half years.
We travelled to York for a few days away in October 2018. Our hotel was on the other side of the museum gardens, which are beautiful and run right by the River Ouse. We were walking back from the city centre, it was late afternoon and very cold, but the sun was still bright. Ross insisted on meandering around the gardens a few times. He had the ring in his pocket, but was just ‘waiting for the right moment’. Then he spotted Sarah’s favourite tree – a Japanese maple. And with the sunlight glinting off the river, he got down on one knee with the words ‘You know how I love you…’.
How did you allocate your budget?
Traditionally, through the father of the bride.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
Wedding favours were a home-made joint effort. We did not spend huge amounts on wedding stationery – instead, a family friend helped with table names, table dressing was pared-back and simple, allowing for the flowers and foliage to take centre stage.
How did you choose your photographer?
The power of Instagram! We love Nova’s unobtrusive ‘documentary’ style of photography – it fitted perfectly with the relaxed and laid-back vibe we wanted for our wedding.They are masters at capturing those otherwise unnoticed moments during the day.
The wonderful Ailsa Monroe made Sarah’s dress. It was a bespoke design – Sarah had a vision in her head and Ailsa made it a reality. Sarah’s earrings were by Alex Monroe, a wedding gift from her parents. Her bracelet was by Yumé, a local jeweller from Ashburton, who also designed and made Sarah’s engagement ring and wedding band. Sarah’s shoes were a nod to the something blue (quite literally, electric blue) from LK Bennett.
The suit and bridesmaids
Suits – The Grooms’ Room, Plympton. Maid of Honour (Emma) – Dress by Ghost, via John Lewis. Flower girl (Lizzie) – Dress by John Lewis, with a sash made by Ailsa to tie in with Emma’s dress colour
Theme or colour scheme
We had a fairly relaxed approach to this – autumnal, with deep burgundy, pale pink and sage green.
We worked with Amanda Randall Cox from Flowers et al and trusted her vision completely. Guided by her expertise, we gave her the colour scheme and some Pinterest inspiration – and left Amanda and her team to work their magic! Sarah’s bouquet included: Black Bacarra roses, Kala roses, Tuberoses, Acacia, Eucalyptus, Clematis seed heads, Astrantia, Tricyrtis, Cotoneaster and Wax Flower, finished with Kate Cullen hand-dyed ribbon.
Amanda is also the in-house florist for Hotel Endsleigh and again, we trusted in her creative vision, knowing that she would know how to make the most of Endsleigh’s gardens by bringing them into the Stable (for the ceremony) and the marquee (for the wedding breakfast and ceilidh). The only stipulation we had was ‘lots and lots of candles…’ …and there were lanterns and candles everywhere. The marquee itself (LPM Bohemia) was pared-back and rustic, with bare tables and floor boards, allowing the foliage to make the space what it was. Particular favourite parts were the hydrangeas on the tables to add a real burst of colour, along with the foliage from Endsleigh’s gardens wrapped around the marquee’s supporting posts, like three enormous trees! Amanda also arranged a moon-gate to add a focal point for the ceremony and later, the wedding cake.
It was really important to us that the food was good, and Endsleigh executed this wonderfully: Champagne and canapés on the lawn (including wood pigeon pastilla with lemon purée, coriander and soused mackerel and cucumber with horseradish crème fraiche. Beetroot and Ten Tors gin cured salmon, heritage beets, avocado, fennel seed puff pastry, lime crème fraiche. Salt-aged beef wellington, red wine glazed shallots, roast beetroot, salsify, kale, girolle mushrooms. Honey parfait, caramel gel, honeycomb, apple sorbet.
Later in the evening we had a range of pasties, charcuterie and cheeses.
Made by the fabulous Jen from Edible Essence – three tiers, semi-naked in two different flavours – rose and pistachio and red velvet. We also had a separate Groom’s cake made, in a traditional fruit cake.
We decided to have a ceilidh, which was provided by the excellent Amber Fire. It ensured that everyone was up and dancing, with groups inter-mingling. Nothing like some enforced dancing fun!
Who supplied the stationery?
We used Papier for our invitations, save the dates and itinerary board. Otherwise, we enlisted the help of family friends for table names, place cards etc.
Our wedding favours were a joint homemade effort. We filled small hessian bags with local Dartmoor honey (Mr Birdy). Mind, the mental health charity, means a great deal to us, so we supported them by making use of their sunflower seed wedding favours. We finished the bags with rosemary from Sarah’s parents’ garden. Traditionally, rosemary is regarded as an emblem of remembrance and we thought this was a lovely way to reflect on those not able to be with us.
I don’t think anyone present will forget Sarah’s dad’s emphatic, booming and resounding ‘I DO!’ to the registrars question “Who gives this woman to be married?”.
Ross had the entire tent weeping with his wedding speech… including himself!
The autumnal sun came out for the drinks on the lawn – everyone kept saying it felt like the end of summer, not mid-October.
Advice for other couples
To keep in your mind what is really important; to let go of ‘sweating the small stuff’ and accept that not everything will necessarily run to plan or be picture-perfect. After all, it isn’t about what kind of table setting you chose, or the sort of flowers you have to make your day special. They are merely the backdrop; we remember the moments in between, all those smaller interactions. It was the people around us that made our wedding; being surrounded by those who wish us well and those we love.
We would say make sure you take a moment to take stock – as difficult as that can be during the whirlwind of a day – but just take a moment to look out at everyone, feel the love!
Ross said it was Sarah in her cape veil – he could not have predicted that at all! But we must also say everyone’s ceilidh-ing ability was sensational…
Nova is me (Katherine) and my husband Steve and we’ve been lucky enough to have photographed beautiful weddings across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset for almost ten years (wow, where did that go?!) Our style is unobtrusive, quiet, relaxed and authentic. We want our images to tell the genuine story of your wedding day as it really happened. We love the subtle nano-moments, a knowing look, a touch, sunlight filtering through a window, reflections, ‘seeing’ these moments and capturing them beautifully.
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