Yesterday Lara, in a PMQs Zoom session (you can watch it here), challenged Boris Johnson about the much needed roadmap for weddings in 2021 and the news for spring/summer 2021 sounded super positive. Weddings, as we love them, should be back on the agenda and soon. We’re finally seeing light at the very long 2020 tunnel.
So if you’ve just got engaged or perhaps you’ve paused the venue search, take this new glimmer of hope and feel confident in your big day dreams.
To get you inspired, we have the beautiful wedding of Laura and Matt which took place at another of our stunning barn venues, Cripps Barn in the Cotswolds. Gorgeously captured by Sarah Jane Ethan Photography, we think it’s a cracking way to celebrate the news.
Matt and I both grew up in Suffolk, but it wasn’t until I was living in London, that our paths crossed one Christmas when we were both out with friends (which being completely honest was at a pretty hopeless club and the last place I’d expect to meet anyone!). What is pretty unique about that evening is that I was out with my best friend Sarah and when we met Matt and his friend Tom; never would we have believed that 10 years later that this encounter would have led to two marriages! Sarah and Tom married in 2015 and Matt and I married last year. Without knowing at the time, that night 2 days before Christmas in 2008 was pretty special.
Matt and I then dated while I was living in London for 3 years, and then moved to Berkshire together. It wasn’t until 8 years passed that Matt took me to the most wonderful afternoon tea at Coworth Park; and walking through the meadows afterwards, that he knelt down on one knee. It was definitely a surprise and his ‘shiftiness’ while we were walking and trying to find somewhere nice to walk suddenly made a lot of sense!
How did we find the venue… more like how did Matt find the venue?! As soon as he proposed, he told me that he knew where we were going to get married. I was so overwhelmed, I’d only just found out 5 minutes ago that we were going to get married! And the next thing that our venue had already been chosen, which he wanted to show me. Cripps Barn is on the outskirts of Bibury in the Cotswolds, and Matt and I have had long weekends full of happy memories in the Cotswolds so has always been a special place for us. And I only found out during his wedding speech that it was also during one of these weekends away that he’d decided to propose. We just completely fell in love with the rustic charm of Cripps Barn and the beauty of the cotswolds countryside that it’s nestled within.
The Jenny Packham team at Carlos Place made my wedding dress experience the ultimate dream come true and a memory I will never forget. I travelled to London with my Mother, sisters and best friend and we were amazed at how beautiful the flagship store was.
They welcomed us with a glass of bubbles and you have a private appointment in their bridal showroom, and the team could not have been more welcoming or happy to help. All the dresses are exquisite, and Dallas was the first that I tried and completely fell in love with.
It was such an unexpected love, I never would have ever imagined choosing a wedding dress covered in embellishment but it was so completely beautiful and knew I’d feel amazing on the day. I continued to try a further five, but had to return to the first. It was then that I just knew… (and my gosh I never wanted to take that dress off!!) Jenny Packham provide such an impeccable service from the initial appointment, right through to fittings and collection, they made it an absolute joy!
Styling + Floristry
We wanted our styling to reflect the rustic, countryside charm of Cripps Barn, so we kept our styling pretty natural and neutral. Beth from Go Wild Flowers has such a talent with her floristry and was able to capture the exact feel we were hoping for – lots and lots of beautiful, natural country garden flowers, lots of greenery, glass jars full of garden flowers and a beautiful greenery ring in the centre of the barn. For us, we just wanted a relaxed, chilled, summer atmosphere in the beautiful grounds of Cripps Barn for all our friends and family to enjoy.
Between us, and after having grown up in Suffolk, we have lived in many different homes, with our latest venture bringing us to Berlin in Germany. An important song to us, which we used for walking down the aisle, is ‘To Build a Home’ by The Cinematic Orchestra. It’s meaningful to us as you come to realise over the time, it’s not about where you are, but those around you and who you are with that make your home.
We chose The Fanatics to play a very relaxed acoustic set after the ceremony in the garden while guests were enjoying pimms and bubbles, and they rejoined to provide the entertainment in the evening. They were great at getting the guests up and dancing, and really created a brilliant atmosphere. The reason we chose them was because of their version of our first dance song, ‘You Got The Love’ – we just fell in love with the version of this song and love that our guests could join us on the dance floor when the beat naturally picks up.
Cripps Barn know how to spoil you for choice, and we received a lot of compliments on our food which was lovely to hear! We served canapés along with the drinks after the ceremony and chose a sharing feast for our Wedding Breakfast. We had a beautiful homemade pâte, chutney and rustic bread to start, lamb which had been BBQ’d outside for main with rosemary roast potatoes and summer greens and to finish crème brulee with raspberries and shortbread.
As a bit of fun and something a little different, we surprised our guests by making one person on each table the ‘head chef’! Matt’s friend Josh did a brilliant job making this part of his MC; as guests were welcomed to their tables, they were called up individually to collect their wrapped packages of chef’s hats and aprons. It was brilliant seeing how much fun and comedy this created and it made the tables really sociable with the chef cutting and serving the starter and main courses.
Our wedding cake was from an Artisan Bakery in Bourton on the Water. We wanted something to fit in with our rustic countryside theme, so we chose a Naked Victoria Cake – it was DELICIOUS!! And the guests loved it. The day after the wedding, Matt and I sat outside the cottage we were staying in, and enjoyed the last two slices before we went on honeymoon… I will never, ever forget that taste!
Photographer & Videographer
We really wanted someone to capture the natural, happy, relaxed atmosphere of our day and wanted to completely avoid spending a lot of time on staged, formal photos when all we want to do on our wedding day is spend time enjoying our day with family and friends.
So when we came across Sarah Jane’s beautifully, bright photographs that were capturing truly natural, fun, character-filled memories we just knew we had to have her! We were over the moon when we confirmed a booking, and she was the most wonderful person to have as your photographer. She was naturally friendly, made you feel relaxed, and just such a bubbly happy character that slipped into the guests and worked around the whole day in the background capturing every moment with you being aware.
We were also incredibly lucky with Ben from The Wedding Cut. I had a lot of friends previously say a regret they had was not having a videographer to capture the day, and I would absolutely recommend it. Ben and SJ both got on so well, worked together professionally, and both made you feel super relaxed. Ben is super subtle… to the point I don’t think I even saw a camera?! And the results from both SJ and Ben are everything we could have wished for. They’ve truly caught our day in a natural, relaxed style that really captured the essence of our day and will allow us to relive our memories for years to come. Seriously, could not recommend these guys more.
I don’t think we followed specific traditions necessarily, but there were some important personal touches we made that were really special and made some great memories; and I’d recommend to brides to think about personal/unique touches that you could make to your day that would mean a lot to your friends and family (and therefore create more of a surprise, memory and keepsake rather than a expected tradition).
Your partner: Matt and I wrote cards to each other to read the night before. After 10 years, we were getting married, and it’s great to reflect on all you’ve been through together and your hopes for the future. It’s a lovely keepsake to add to all your memories.
Personal Letters to your Parents: I put a lot of thought into these, it’s a pretty special day that is only going to come around once, and it’s not often that you step back, reflect and thank those who brought you up to who you are today. I left letters and a small gift on my parents bedside tables the night before the wedding, so they could ready in their own time.
Bridal Party: What beats having the best of your girls all around you the night before you get married! I pulled together some little gift bags for the night before, filled with treats and personalized cards, laughing about lots of memories! It was a great thing to do after dinner the night before.
Grooms Party & Best Man: Matt bought matching socks for the grooms party to wear on the day and gave our trainer-mad (don’t ask!) best man a special gift on trainers…(bit odd that one!)
Father of the Bride: Instead of a Father of the Bride dance, I surprised my Dad in our car journey on the way to the wedding. The driver had some music set up for the journey which is of sentimental value from my sister and my childhood. It was a perfect, unexpected surprise, and my poor Dad is already a soppy mess without that seeing him off….it made for some good photos that SJ caught though!
Favours: We have sadly experienced the loss of some of our close family, and it was important to us that we recognize their memory during our day. Therefore, we had photos of those that could not join us on our wedding cake table, and our favours were charity pins for Dementia and Cancer Research. We loved how all our guests wore them on their ties, dresses and shirts, it really made us smile!
Venue Cripps Barn
Photography Sarah Jane Ethan Photography
Film The Wedding Cut
Hair and Makeup Alice Taper
Wedding Cars Love Bus Weddings
Florist Go Wild Flowers
Wedding Cake Bakery on the Water
Band The Fanatics
Bride’s Dress Dallas by Jenny Packham
Groom’s Party Whitfield & Ward
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