Zoe & Ben’s Boho Wedding at East Afton Farmhouse

Written by Caitlin Hoare
The weather may not have been on their side, but that didn’t stop Zoe and Ben from hosting a magical (and memorable) autumn wedding at East Afton Farmhouse.

“Zoe-style” is a planning style all to-be-weds can take a bit of inspiration from. Prioritising the elements that are truly important to you (in Zoe’s case, it was the venue, her outfit (of course!), flowers and photography), and for everything else: thrift, restore, recycle, and grab some bargains on pre-loved sites.

Despite the British weather, this fun-loving couple and their family and friends had an absolute blast. They made the spaces work for their Plan B; they dined on pie and mash to warm them up and danced the night away, oblivious to the stormy conditions outside. I love everything about this October wedding, and I hope you do too…

Notes from the Bride

Zoe says…

We chose East Afton for our wedding, attracted by the ‘new venue’ on the island, and became the second couple to book it! The setting was perfect, offering the beauty and character we desired, with accommodations for family and friends.

I didn’t love the wedding dress shopping experience, if I’m completely honest. I had a vision; I’d seen ones I had liked, but nothing caught my eye. A bridal shop in Southampton talked me through how to create my own look by altering a ‘Princess-style’ dress. I told them I wanted drop shoulders, lace and fewer layers in the skirt, and it wasn’t a problem – I’ve always had it in my head that I would buy two dresses and smash them together to create something unique for me, and I guess that happened.

My sister surprised me with white satin heels, and I later wore pre-loved gold heels in the evening. We did our hair and makeup, and Ben’s ensemble was a mix of high-street finds. My bridesmaids wore emerald green dresses and gold heels, all bought at bargain prices!

Decorating the venue was a DIY endeavour, with thrifted items, wooden screens, vintage barware, and peacock chairs all hired from Botanical Vintage. I very much wanted this to be my vision, and my husband-to-be told me to ‘crack on’, so in true Zoe-style, I did. I thrifted for years, made cheesecloth napkins, and bought second-hand gold cutlery, charger plates and anything else needed! Despite the rain, the added elements created a wonderful atmosphere. Flowers and foliage from Summer Lilly’s were exquisite; the flowers were a mixture of white flowers, thistles that represented my grandparents and heaps of foliage for a natural feel. We also had the ladies make a small rustic bouquet from dried flowers and a matching flower crown for our ‘pre-wedding’ at the registry office the day before. Nothing was too much for them.

Our wedding cake, made by my sister’s friend, featured layers of lemon sponge with buttercream. Catering by Clippers Catering included a two-course menu with pie and mash as our main (much needed on a blustery, rainy day), followed by a trio of passion fruit posset, pavlova and mini banoffee. The plates were empty!! We later had these guys rustle up loaded nachos for the evening guests. Hearty, rustic, and one of our hosting favourites. We had staffing behind the bar and also got friends of a friend to run a cocktail bar. We added that little bit of glamour, rocking the cocktails out of an upcycled 70’s quilted bar my father renovated for us.

Photography was one of my top things, and after meeting SJ Jones Photography a few times at various wedding fayres, his portfolio had me. He presented his images professionally in an album, which I wanted instead of this USB malarkey. My husband and I would never have got around to printing hundreds of photos and doing it ourselves. Steve did it all. He was friendly and blended in well on the day. I was very comfortable around him, as were my family. Unfortunately, we couldn’t venture outside into the surrounding farmland and cornfields due to the torrential weather, so we opted for a few photos inside instead. We had to stage a confetti shoot, lug props and decor from one barn to another, and replan on the day, but it worked, and with help from everyone, we got images we will treasure for a lifetime.

Best part of the day

Hmmm, it definitely wasn’t the weather!

Sitting with my husband, on our own table for two, looking out at all our friends and family. Then, dancing the night away to Fusion Party Band in true Lewis-Marlton and Gregory style!! Our families are wild when there’s music, food and flowing drinks.

From one couple to another…

Make sure you take time for yourselves as well as your guests. We made sure we ate at our own table and snuck away for some alone time. We soaked it all up for sure.

I loved having time before and after the wedding as it can be so rushed. In the lead-up, we had a friend’s night in the farmhouse. We cooked, drank and played hide and seek like the big kids we are. We laughed with family and had time to set up our vision. We had a day with everyone the following day, breakfast and no rushing around to tidy up and get out. After Covid, it was a long wait but worth it, that’s for sure!

Treasure the process, DIY where you can, and involve loved ones. Share the experience.


Venue East Afton Farmhouse

Photographer SJ Jones Photography

Florist Summer Lilly’s

Catering Clippers Catering

Band Fusion Party Band

Bridal Shoes and Evening Dress ASOS

Bridesmaid Dresses Coast

Bridesmaids Shoes New Look

Ties and Bow Ties Vinted

Groom’s Jacket Suit Direct

Groom/Groomsmen Waistcoat ASOS

Groom/Groomsmen Chinos M&S

Vintage Decor Botanical Vintage

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