Happy Bank Holiday Monday everyone, I do hope you have had a lovely bank holiday...
Today we are going back to the glorious summer we had this year with this sun filled barn wedding in Warwickshire. Clare and Mike wanted a relaxed day full of laughter and a BIG party, something that reflected their fun-loving nature. This they found in Swallow’s Nest Barn and the results are this rustic luxe day filled with glorious flowers, beautiful decor and Clare’s stunning Rue de Seine gown. I just love the colours, the outfits and the overall casual bohemian feel to this day. Thanks to Sky Photography for the images.
Clare and Mike were married on 29th June 2018 at St Mary’s Church, Cubbington and Swallow’s Nest
Barn, Warwickshire. Our church is very special us as it’s where Mike’s parents and Aunt & Uncle were married. We both felt strongly about getting married very locally to us for a sense of “home”. Mike’s sister suggested the wedding venue to us, and we both got such a good feeling after visiting that it made the decision easy. We wanted somewhere with a great outside space, and a layout that would keep everyone close by all day…we lucked out with the most amazing weather so it was everything we hoped for. We had just under 100 guests for the day and then 30 extra for the evening. We got married almost exactly a year from when we got engaged.
How they met
We’ve been together for 5 years. We met on a night out in Leamington Spa, in our favourite bar. We didn’t have any mutual friends so it was purely a chance meeting, although the first night we met we didn’t actually speak…we just stared at each other all night! Luckily we bumped into each other again the following weekend and the rest is history…
Mike surprised me on our 4 year anniversary with a day out to Kiftsgate Gardens in the Cotswolds. Like our wedding day, it was a scorching hot sunny day and Mike dropped down on one knee at a spot with views for miles over the Cotswolds, it was a total surprise. After lots of crying, facetiming and saying yes we went for a beautiful champagne lunch at Buckhurst Manor in Broadway. Back at our house, Mike had arranged the most beautiful surprise party, with all our friends and family waiting for us. Absolutely everyone had been in on it and had been planning for weeks to make it happen. The house
and garden was decorated like a garden party and filled with my favorite flowers, fairy lights and pallet tables. Mike had even hand cut oak centrepieces from tree stumps in our garden! Our song was playing when we walked in with everyone cheering for us…it was perfect.
How did you allocate your budget?
We focused on spending our money on things that would genuinely make our day better for us and our guests, and not getting hung up on things that wouldn’t. As we already knew we wanted to do certain things ourselves or ask friends and family for help, we were able to make cost savings here.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
We splurged on our venue, our string quartet, Clare’s dress & our honeymoon. The plan was to save on beauty by doing my own make-up…but after a year of buying and trying all of Space NK this was a false economy!
We were able to save a lot of money on the suits, our flowers by using a wholesaler and doing parts ourselves, and our wedding cake. We decided not to have wedding favours and sourced our own wine for the wedding breakfast. We didn’t really make a saving here with corkage added in, but it did mean that we got to have much nicer wine for the same price as the entry options. We also used a lot of decorations that we already had at home like candle holders, crates, lanterns. Our wedding car was free to use as it belonged to a family friend.
How did you choose your photographer?
This was one of our easiest decisions. Our photographer (Karla) is a friend of Mike’s sister and we have a beautiful photo of Mike and our son at home which Karla took several years ago. We both loved the style of the photo, and wanting a relaxed and fun day we loved the idea of having someone we already had a connection to being part of our day. Karla was everything we had hoped for and more; her photos are beautiful but more importantly we loved spending time with her on the day as did our guests.
My dress was by Rue de Seine from The Wedding Club and my shoes were by Stuart Weitzman. I wanted to wear quite a lot of gold jewellery to go with my overall look, and everything had a special meaning to me. On my right hand I wore my grandmother’s wedding ring (something old) and my great aunt’s beloved aquamarine and diamond ring (something blue). I borrowed a diamond and gold bracelet belonging to Mike’s grandma, and wore a diamond and gold necklace from Tiffany & Co which my parents gave me for my 21st birthday, which I never take off. Mike surprised me on the day with a gold horn necklace from Missoma which I also wore for a boho feel and this gave me something new
to complete my good luck charms.
The suit and bridesmaids
The groom and groomsmen all wore the same suit from Next, with shoes from Loake and tweed bow ties and pocket squares from dickiebow.com. Our bridesmaids wore dresses from Coast and shoes from ASOS. We managed to find very similar children’s suits for our son and nephew from John Lewis and our flower girl wore a dress from Monsoon that had a similar crochet lace to my wedding dress.
Theme or colour scheme
We based our colour scheme around our flowers, so pale pink and peach were the starting points. We didn’t want our scheme to feel too sweet or kitsch, so added a black and white stripe ribbon element into our stationery and table settings, then reflected this in our flowers with white anemones. Overall we wanted the theme to feel a mix of rustic and bohemian with some luxe elements to stop it feeling too twee or vintage.
We both love David Austin roses, so chose to have Sweet Juliet roses as well as pink and white peonies and sweet avalanche roses. We mixed our favourite big, blousy flowers with smaller spray roses and textural greens for a rustic feel. To add a personal touch we had rosemary from our garden at home. We used a floral wholesaler for the flexibility of arranging some things ourselves and getting support where we needed it. Using a wholesaler also meant that we could afford to have more expensive flowers overall, and more of them.
We wanted to create a rustic but luxe vibe so we mixed using reclaimed wood with mercury glass in our decoration scheme. Our venue lent itself perfectly to this as it had industrial style furniture and fixtures to give it a bit of edge, as we didn’t want to go vintage. We placed candles and smaller bud vases of flowers everywhere, and used empty Diptyque candles as vases to bring the monochrome element in to our decorations. We loved having giant white balloons out the front of our venue with ribbon tails made from peach velvet, blush satin and rose gold lurex ribbon.
Beef carpaccio with asparagus cream, followed by rump of lamb with pea puree and crushed potatoes. For dessert we kept it light with a summer pavlova. In the evening we served sliders which were cooked outside on a barbeque.
Our cake was a team effort by my mum and Mike’s sister, Hannah. Mum baked a 3 tier vanilla sponge with vanilla buttercream and fresh passionfruit curd, which was also homemade. Hannah then assembled and skimmed this with icing for a semi-naked finish, and we added fresh flowers to each tier. It tasted absolutely delicious.
We both love dance music, and our compromise for not getting married in Ibiza was to have a DJ playing all our favourite tracks! We used Anthony Parella from Alive Network who totally “got us” and did an amazing job keeping the dancefloor full all night. We were nervous about having a lot of dance music vs the usual wedding playlist but it worked so well and we were both so happy we stayed true to ourselves and didn’t have music that wasn’t our thing.
Who supplied the stationery?
Our stationery was designed by our talented friend Kate Oldroyd, who works with Clare as a CAD designer. We used printed.com to make it happen!
So much: our cake, our flowers, using suppliers who we already knew. Mike made our wedding sign from pallets that we had leftover from our engagement party, and we used lots of decorations from our home. Our best friends had brought us a jeroboam of Taittinger champagne as an engagement gift, and we popped this with them on the day to use for our toasts. Our wedding car was a beautiful 1938 vintage Bentley which belongs to one of my parents best friends, so even being driven by him in our car was personal to us.
For both of us, our favourite moment was our first dance. We had agonised over having “our song” vs something that would be more widely known, but we made the right decision by having what was personal to us, Sky & Sand by Paul Kalkbrenner. All our friends and family stood around us, cheering and making us feel like the most loved people in the world.
Advice for other couples
Get as organised as you can upfront so in the few days running up to the wedding you can start to wind down rather than reach peak stress levels! I was a true Bridezilla for about 3 weeks before the wedding, but in the final few days I chilled out and we had fun. Also, be true to yourselves, don’t drink or eat anything you wouldn’t order at a restaurant or dance to music you don’t like. It’s your dream day, not anyone else’s.
Clare: My biggest surprise was how overwhelmed I felt with love and happiness. I thought I would get nervous but the nerves never came…I couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle to Mike, and was on cloud nine all day. All our friends and family mixed so well and the vibe all day was so relaxed, happy and fun (and boozy!) – everything I wanted and more.
Mike: Clare being early…never to happen before or since!
Bow Tie: www.dickiebow.co.uk
We’re a friendly husband and wife team of 2 photographers based in Northamptonshire. We shoot documentary with a little mix of art. All-natural flowing photography.
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