Ask The Experts: 5 Things You Should Do to Have a Green Wedding
Eco-friendly and Green weddings are becoming increasingly popular. Retailers and vendors are offering sustainable options...
Happy Friday everyone, I hope you have had a good week? How has Lockdown been for you so far and what are you plans for the weekend? It looks like rain here in Sheffield, so I plan to turn our front room into a cinema and camp out on the sofa with lots of popcorn and watch a few Christmas films with Dexter. I am also going to do some baking, well it is lockdown after all! Dexter is going to his Nanas on Saturday, (she’s in our bubble so it’s allowed) so Nik and I are going to order in some delicious food and make the most of a lay in on Sunday morning! Roll on the December when we can go out again! On with today’s wedding and we are heading to Stone Barn in the Cotswolds for the glorious wedding of Gemma and Cameron. They went for a Botanical theme and added in lots of greenery, plants, and accents of gold, mixing this with candles, lanterns and fairy lights. The whole day looks wonderful and has been captured perfectly by Cotswolds Wedding Photographer – Dan Morris .
Gemma and Cameron were married on 11th May 2019 at Stone Barn in the Cotswolds. ‘We’ve always loved the stunning beauty and charm of the Cotswolds – so to marry its rural landscape with one of its traditional stone venues was the perfect choice. We had 120 guests and it took 18 months to plan’.
How they met
We met on a commuter train into London and hit it off, before going on a date some weeks later. We’ve now been together seven and a half years.
It was my (Gemma’s) birthday and Cameron had planned a surprise holiday to Saint Lucia for the occasion – with me only finding out the destination at the airport that very morning. On our first night there, he told me we were going for sunset cocktails and dinner at the beautiful Boucan restaurant. Little did he know it’s pitch black by 6pm in the tropics at that time of year… but after an amazing meal, he scoped out a secluded mezzanine just below the restaurant – overlooking the rainforest – to pop the question. It was just perfect, and we went back for lunch a few days later to appreciate the view of the Pitons.
How did you allocate your budget?
Once the venue and guest numbers were accounted for, I drew up a spreadsheet with a tab for each potential cost and we went from there!
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
We splurged on the venue and were insistent on the number of guests we wanted – we didn’t want to make cuts. We also deemed hiring a photographer and videographer super important and would rather pay more for those we felt would capture our day perfectly. As for saving, we collected a lot of our own bottles etc. used for table decorations and recruited my dad to craft an amazing wooden seating plan – other than that, I’m not sure saving was our forte!
How did you choose your photographer?
We initially searched for photographers based in/covering the Cotswolds and Dan Morris Photography stood out by a country mile. His unique style and natural images spoke volumes about each individual couple he worked with – and that’s exactly what we wanted for our day: somebody who is as good at capturing the little ‘unseen’ moments, as well as the key shots.
My dress was by British luxury bridal label, Savin London. Andrey – the designer/owner – also mastered my bespoke veil, by combining one of his designs with the lace trim from my late mum’s wedding veil. Truly special. I visited dress agency Gillian Million (based in Teddington) to source my hair accessories; one was a beaded pearl clip that sat to the side of my hair, and the other, a bespoke hair slide that owner Gillian created using a white flower comb my mum wore at her wedding 39 years earlier. This sat with my veil at the back and finished the look off perfectly. My shoes were a gold strap sandal by Stuart Weitzman; and my jewellery, simple gold and diamond pieces by Stone and Strand.
The suit and bridesmaids
The suits were all fitted by Suitsupply in London and the bridesmaid dresses – all 10 of them! – were via the Debut range at Debenhams.
Theme or colour scheme
We opted for a botanical theme – lots of natural greenery and stylish simplicity, with elegant green and gold tones offset by candles and the venue’s rustic backdrop.
Go Wild Flowers supplied everything, from the mixed green foliage that wrapped the barn’s stunning wrought iron wheel to baskets of fresh white petals used as wedding confetti. The bridal and bridesmaids bouquets were made up of seasonal white flowers and mixed green foliage with long stems. Green ferns and a simple white flower were used for the groomsmen buttonholes, with gypsophila weaved through the bridesmaids’ hair. Eucalyptus and again, ferns, were used in bottles scattered across the tables and throughout the barn.
Think lanterns, candles, fairy lights – anything that would create the right kind of ambience. On dining tables, we placed tall church candles in the neck of water-filled glass bottles and weaved those in between the green foliage. The cake table, post table and self-made memory crates tied in with the botanical theme, with potted plants and magnolia leaves scattered on each surface.
Our trio of canapes included monkfish, halloumi and chicken skewers. The wedding breakfast starter offered up a choice of either smoked salmon with pickled cucumber and horseradish or a butternut squash and red lentil soup. Mains were BBQ’d lamb with a chimichurri dressing or a feta and spinach filo pie with a beetroot and carrot rosti, and a dill and mustard sauce. The barn’s signature goose fat roast potatoes with rosemary accompanied, as did a garlic tomato, avocado and burrata salad; and pickled watermelon salad. Delicious churros and chocolate finished it off nicely!
We went for a three-tier stacked cake, iced with white sugarpatse in a subtle marble effect, with hints of green and highlighted with edible gold leaf. The design – from the Cotswold Cake Kitchen -comprised of a different flavour per tier, combining cookies and cream, chocolate with white chocolate buttercream and Victoria sponge. A gold hoop sat atop the middle tier, decorated with green foliage.
Cameron’s sister Lydia (also a bridesmaid) sang me down the aisle, while we had a DJ for all other music, from the ceremony through to the evening. A true highlight for us, however, was a singing duo we had hired to ‘crash the wedding’. The duo, unbeknown to anyone but us, pretended to work for
the venue before bursting into song after our main course had been cleared. Guests were up dancing on their chairs and singing along throughout – it’s still talked about to this day.
Who supplied the stationery?
Skinny Malink Designs created our invitations, so we kept the same format and had the table plans, menus and all things signage made in the same elegant green marble and gold leaf design. For the
guests’ place names, we sourced preserved (and extremely delicate!) magnolia leaves which were hand lettered in gold pen in faux calligraphy by the uber-talented Letters by Ange.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
We took our honeymoon – dubbed ‘the megamoon’ – one month after we tied the knot. We opted to take a longer break and extend the celebrations, spending five incredible weeks travelling between Hong Kong and Bali, Singapore and Sri Lanka.
We used apple crates to create a stylish memory display in honour of my mum and other family members who are sadly no longer with us. Photos, poems, plants, candles and fairylights completed the set up. We were also so pleased we made the choice to personalise our wedding ceremony, by writing our own promises and vows. I also penned a reading, which proved a nice touch.
Walking down the aisle to my sister-in-law singing Landslide by Stevie Nicks will always be memorable, as was reading our own personal promises and vows in front of our family and friends. But it’s hard to pinpoint one or two highlights, as our faces hurt from smiling ear to ear from start to finish… which can only be a good thing!
Advice for other couples
We would say take a step back at one point during the day and soak it all in as a couple – look at what you’ve achieved together and just how many people are there to celebrate your love. Also, it’s so hard/near impossible to talk to everyone, so make your way around the guest tables in between
courses – that way you’ve spoken to all of your guests and can relax come the evening.
Undoubtedly the ‘wedding crashers’ were the biggest surprise for our guests – no one expected the ‘waitress’ who had been serving prosecco and canapes and the ‘chef’ donned in whites to burst into a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s I Love You Baby. The guest videos and Cameron pulling out the worm dance move mid-first dance was probably a surprise too!
Venue: Stone Barn
Photography: Dan Morris Photography
Film: Jumping Spider Films
Flowers: Go Wild Flowers
Cake: Cotswold Cake Kitchen
Place Names: Letters by Ange
Stationery: Skinny Malink Designs
Dress: Savin London
Hair Accessories: Gillian Million
Make Up: Mireya Harris
Hair: Cotswold Wedding Hair
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