Annie & Jack’s Wedding at The Pilgrims Rest

Written by Caitlin Hoare
When planning their autumnal wedding at The Pilgrims Rest, Annie & Jack ensured every detail was a reflection of them, sustainable wherever possible and in keeping with their gorgeous ‘green’ theme.

We love an October wedding at the best of times but when the couple go big with greenery, ensure every element is both wanted and needed, and reuse as much as possible, well, the result is even more special.

Not only has Annie kept her *amazing* green faux fur coat to style with jeans post-wedding, she even had her bespoke Clare Lloyd hair piece made into earrings – inspired! Their favours are also some of the best I’ve seen. Begone miniature bottles of bubbles, HELLO gifting guests a tree to take home and plant in their own garden – sustainable, thoughtful and perfect for their greenery theme!

Notes from the Bride

Annie says…

We always said we wanted a venue that we could make our own, that didn’t feel like another conveyor belt wedding, where your options were limited to the ones on offer from a recommendation list. We also didn’t want to have a venue that was too big as our guest list was pretty limited.

Open fires, vaulted ceilings and plenty of character were major selling points for The Pilgrims Rest but also the total flexibility they give you to make the whole day totally personal. Nothing was too much trouble and the answer to almost every question was ‘YES!‘. We also liked the fact that it was dry hire but with a twist. We could save a lot of money by doing certain things ourselves but then bring in the professionals from a well curated list of recommendations. We don’t live near the venue so didn’t have the option to meet many of the suppliers we used so knowing they knew the venue was a great bonus.

The Pilgrims Rest was intimate and there isn’t the option for people to disappear to other rooms or outside. Everyone had to mingle and we loved the fact that we could chat to everyone throughout the day. All the coordinators at the venue, especially Amy-Lou, were brilliant, knowledgeable, excited and thoughtful. On the day itself they made sure nothing was forgotten, and looked after everyone brilliantly.

I always knew I wanted a backless dress and nothing big! I ended up piecing together an ivory top with a drape back from Poppy Perspective with a simple bias cut dress from Charlie Brear. To keep with the dark green colour theme I wore a pair of green velvet heels from LK Bennett and swapped to custom designed green Converse for the dancefloor! In case the weather turned chilly, being an October wedding, I elected to wear a big faux fur coat for some of the outdoor photos.

Hair and make up was a real learning curve as I’m not really into either but used Danielle from Makeover Box (a recommendation from the venue) and I couldn’t have been happier! I love sultry eye makeup so opted for some heavy smoky eyeshadow and plenty of liner while keeping the rest of my face pretty neutral. My long hair is always in a simple ponytail so I knew I wanted a loose but full updo, and to keep my hair off my face. I had a bespoke silver leaf hair piece made by Clare Lloyd which was the same V shape as the back of the dress and was perfect to complement all the leaves in my foliage only bouquet. I’ve since had this hair piece made into earrings so it’s more wearable and doesn’t live in a box.

Jack’s suit was a bespoke three piece from Whitfield & Ward in Wilmslow, Cheshire. They are a traditional menswear business, specialising in wedding suits but, from the initial fitting, knew we were looking for something a bit different. For starters, Jack was planning to wear customised Vans instead of normal wedding shoes. We opted for a truly bespoke suit, in dark grey with a vibrant green lining which Jack designed himself!

We wanted to keep our styling simple, cosy and a bit moody. Jack loves the colour green and I’m not keen on traditional wedding colour themes so we stuck with dark green and plenty of candlelight. Luckily for us, the venue has permanent decorations throughout the year that are then updated each season so we were able to work with the autumn theme they already had in place – we just removed a few of the reds. To continue the foliage theme, and to satisfy Jack’s love of making things, he built an amazing metal arch for the front of the aisle which was then decorated top to bottom by the florists. It was the perfect piece to get married in front of and the arch now lives in our garden as a permanent reminder of the day.

The dining hall decor continued the candlelight and green theme, using dark green napkins, foliage filled brick moulds as the table centres and hundreds of pillar candles which snaked along the full length of the two long tables. The venue already had some hazel branches in the ceiling so we strung up hundreds of glass balls and put battery tea lights in them. This meant we didn’t use any main lights and the candles twinkled against all the reclaimed cut crystal glasses that Jack and I had sourced from charity shops and Facebook marketplace in the months leading up to the wedding. Every wine glass, tumbler and champagne flute was different and made for a really eclectic table arrangement.

I’ve never been keen on traditional floral bouquets and Jack loves succulents so we thought we’d combine the two into a large and dramatic bouquet full of various greens and Echeveria taking the place of flowers. I knew I wanted to carry something big and bold, with plenty of movement and depth. The bouquet contained ruscus, eucalyptus, grasses, succulents, rosemary, ferns and asparagus.

We used beau-k in Battle as they knew the venue well and were a recommended supplier. Everything was arranged over the phone with just a few Pinterest photos for guidance. To keep my dad with me on the day, and to walk me down the aisle, I attached a small pin brooch with a photo of him to my bouquet.

As Jack and I have travelled a fair bit since we got together, we elected for a 5-course tasting menu that brought in our love of various cuisines. We chose Food Glorious Food as our caterers as they supply the venue regularly and know its quirky layout and tiny kitchen!

To start we had sushi from Jack’s time in Japan, then Greek filo tarts, followed by sticky crispy beef with noodles. Main course was lamb tagine with all the trimmings as we planned to go to Morocco for our honeymoon. Finally for pudding we had a trio of small puddings (lemon meringue pie, chocolate brownie and raspberry pannacotta). Everything was spot on and the food was phenomenal!

Our cakes were baked by a friend who happens to be an amazing chef. We will never know how but she brought three 30cm cakes, fully iced and decorated to the venue on the train from London! We chose a traditional Christmas cake for Jack, chocolate cake for me and a gin and tonic cake for both of us! They were decorated with fondant icing flowers to match the wedding foliage and were the most delicious cakes ever…we even took all three on honeymoon with us!

We chose our photographer as soon as we’d decided on the venue and date as we knew exactly the style we wanted. Originally we went through the shortlist from the venue but most were very traditional and we knew we wanted someone with a bit more edge. We contacted one photographer who couldn’t do our date but gave us her own recommendations which led us to Jenny Appleton Photo and Film. Jenny lives near to us so, over coffee and cake, Jack and I knew we’d found the right person. Jenny had such a great vibe and takes slightly different photos which is what we loved.

We elected to have a second photographer too so that we could get photos from different angles and plenty of the guests. Viola Jay Photography works with Jenny regularly and they compliment each other’s styles very well. We had a great time having our official photos done in Battle Abbey; there was no awkwardness or tension and both the girls worked their socks off for some absolutely brilliant shots.

Best part of the day

For Annie – I loved actually ‘getting married’. Knowing I was marrying the man of my dreams and my best friend was so awesome. I cried through my vows but I was so so happy at the same time. I couldn’t stop smiling all day! Ultimately though, for the whole day I felt like I was floating. Seeing everyone who had come to celebrate us as a couple was amazing and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

For Jack – Seeing so many happy faces of our nearest and dearest throughout the day was fantastic. While this did reach maximum weirdness while standing at the top of the aisle and all the guests looking back at me, they all disappeared when I saw Annie walk towards me. Like Annie, I couldn’t stop smiling all day. Occasionally I would see Annie speaking to someone and she was so happy, it would only make me smile more. It was such a good day and such a whirlwind (even doing a speech couldn’t dampen my mood!). And, at the end of the day, I got to go home with the love of my life, my most amazing wife!

From one couple to another…

Get specific with your suppliers!!! Don’t be afraid to say exactly what you want, no-one is a mind reader so get the details down in writing.

The week before the wedding call each supplier and go through everything you expect they are providing – this sounds silly as you’ve already got it all on email or in a contract but if you’ve changed anything during the planning process, don’t presume the suppliers have updated their own spreadsheets.

Don’t get too hung up on the small stuff! What’s a major stressful drama a few days before the wedding won’t even be noticed by you or your guests as you’ll be having too much fun on the day itself.

Take time to be with your partner, just the two of you even just for ten minutes. It’s very easy to get swept away with all the excitement so make time to be alone.

Eat. The. Food. You deserve it!


Venue The Pilgrims Rest

Photographer Jenny Appleton Photo and Film and Viola Jay Photography

Caterer Food Glorious Food

Florist beau-k

Hair + Makeup Makeover Box

Suit Whitfield & Ward

Hair Accessories Clare Lloyd

Wedding + Engagement Rings for Annie Davidson Powell Design

Wedding Ring for Jack Stonebrook Jewelry

Wedding Dress Charlie Brear and Poppy Perspective

Faux Fur Coat ASOS

Velvet Heels LK Bennett 

Green Earrings Etsy

Wedding Favours Alba Trees Online

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