You know a wedding is going to be a good one when they have a...
Today we are off to Surrey for a gorgeous barn Wedding, complete with some beautiful portrait shot in a Bluebell Field. This spring time wedding has been sent into me by Jaye at Tux and Tales and I just love the simplicity of the day, the lack of fuss and the down to earth nature of both the bride and groom.
Alex and Gemma were married on 5th May 2012. The wedding ceremony took place at St Marys Magdalene church in Sheet followed by the wedding breakfast at La Piazzetta in Peters-field with the reception at Mellow Farm in Dockenfield. ‘We had about 60 for guests for the ceremony and meal, and 100 in the evening. We started planning the wedding in August 2011.’
‘Our perfect day. Simple Spring Time English wedding.’
How they met
We became friends about 7 years ago at work at a time when we were both in different relationships. Alex makes everyone he meets try rock climbing so it wasn’t long before we shared a group of friends. On reflection it seems we both secretly liked each other, but didn’t realise at the time. Our relationships ended and about 3 years ago and Alex took the opportunity to tell me he liked me and it all happened from there. He moved in about 6 months later. A year later we bought a house together. He proposed last year and now here we are happily married with our two cute dogs.
We went camping and climbing in Cornwall and all weekend it rained making me a very grumpy Gemma! I had noticed Alex had been carrying his bag everywhere but didn’t suspect anything because he kept telling me it had his clothes and wallet in. On the day we packed up I thought I better put those ‘clothes’ with the rest of them and I opened the bag to find a small bottle of champagne. The bag was quickly closed. I didn’t say a thing and I went home reflecting on the entire weekend thinking ‘oh my god’… The next night Alex insisted we take the dog for a walk up a beautiful local hill called the Shoulder of Mutton where there is a memorial stone for the poet Edward Thomas. I thought ‘oh my god’. He proposed at the top with a temporary heart shaped silver ring and the little bottle of fizz. I told him he didn’t have to do this and the rest is history.
A combination of size, location, cost and fate made us decide on the location. We picked the barn first and that ended up giving us the date. It was the right size, simple, restriction free and guests could camp!
We originally hoped to get married in Petersfield registry office to keep costs down, but it wasn’t available on the day we hoped to get married. I wasn’t originally very keen to get married in a church, but when we first started seeing each other I remember Alex saying if he ever gets married it will be in Sheet Church because he was christened there and it is close to where he grew up. We made inquiries and it was available. The vicar was so incredibly lovely. It just all ended up making sense getting married there and ended up being perfect.
We approached caterers about feeding guests at Mellow Farm, but the quotes we kept getting for relatively simple meals seemed outrageous and just kept adding up even though we wanted them to keep everything to a minimum. So we approached our favourite restaurant La Piazzetta who said yes to letting us take over the whole place and then bent over backwards helping us create our dream wedding breakfast with no large round tables and white table clothes, just good old simple Italian food and a great atmosphere.
How did you choose your photographer?
Photographs were incredibly important to us and we were prepared to allocate a large chunk of our budget to the photography. We looked at wedding blogs to help us identify a style we liked and then started looking for something within our budget. Our search started with photographers within a reasonable distance to us, but this expanded and expanded as the few we initially made contact with were busy. I could remember seeing some photos on a blog that I really liked, but couldn’t remember where or who they were by. Bit of internet searching later and we tracked them down. They were by Tux and Tales so we got in touch with them. Hey presto, the rest is history and we are so, so, so incredibly happy with our choice!
Second hand Charlotte Balbier dress (Tabitha), shoes in sale on ASOS by Shelley, accessories from ebay.
The suit and bridesmaids
Marks and Spencer’s suit, Coast bridesmaid dress.
La Piazetta and Alex came up with an amazing varied menu for our day guests to choose from. Steak was the most popular choice! The tiramisu was delicious. In the evening a local not for profit organisation, Rkdia, put on a simple BBQ for us at the barn.
Music was important to us, we had foot stomping blues from John Crampton followed by The Deloreans who completely rocked the place. We’re trying to find another excuse to have them play for us again.
Our only theme was that we both had to like what we chose. It was pretty much a combination of anything goes and hoping for the best that in the end everything would come together. Things had to be simple and affordable.
White ones… the bride and bridesmaids had a combination of avalanche roses, white freesia, lisianthus and white stocks straight from a wholesalers called Nursery Fresh. The bouquets, button holes and corsages came to little over £100 which we thought was amazing. Alex’s mum and a friend did the flowers in the church.
We tried to keep it real and not over complicated. We had chosen each venue because we find them beautiful anyway so to over decorate them would take away from why we chose them in the first place. In the barn it was a combination of DIY, borrowing bits and bobs like hundreds of tea light candle holders and bunting and relying on the simple beauty of where we were.
We relied a lot on fairy lights and candles. Alex made a load of chalk boards which we used to direct guests around at the barn. He also found an A board in a skip which we used to let people know what was happening and when. He also made a load of wicker hearts to hang around. Neither of us wanted a traditional guest book so we used a free template online to make a finger print tree which everyone loved and is a lovely colourful keepsake of the day.
Special moments or highlights of the day
Having all our family and friends around us on the most important day of our life so far was incredible. Seeing all our little plans come together and guests really enjoy themselves helped make the day for us. The day wouldn’t have been the same without our best friends Lisa, Ben and baby Bella who traveled all the way from South Africa to be with us.
Good communication has to be the most important thing in planning your big day. We had some challenges keeping the day time part of the wedding small which was how we wanted it, especially in forming a guest lists that ‘everyone’ is happy with, but we stuck to our guns, were honest and open with people about the choices we were making and why they were important to us and it all worked out in the end.
It is also amazing how quickly the costs can add up. Having a budget and sticking to it was difficult, but you can manage it so long as you are realistic. There is so much helpful advice online… use it.
Biggest surprise of the day
We didn’t think my father was going to do a speech because he was too nervous and said it would stop him from enjoying the day which we accepted as we wanted the day to be relaxed and just good fun. He stood up on cue with his prepared speech and did us both proud with an amazing speech.
Supplier shout Outs