Overlooking the steep cliffs of South Devon’s glorious coast sits Carswell Farm, where this week’s real wedding couple tied the knot. Devonshire-based photographer Emma Stoner captured this cheerful, festival-style marquee wedding celebration and rocked her West Country roots in style as she captured sun, sea, sand, camping and bell tents in this beautiful little southern nook of the UK. Biased that I am, Devon really is a magical place, and when the suns shining as it did for Carina and Sven, you really couldn’t be anywhere better. Luckily for Carina, her extremely talented friend created the fun décor arrangements, matching everything perfectly to the occasion and making this a bright, bold, all-round festival bonanza of a wedding! Here’s bride Carina to tell us more about her Devonshire farm wedding….
We go to a few music festivals such as Glastonbury and Bestival every year and took some inspiration from these, as well as general Devon vibes from the local area, which is one of our favourites places on Earth.
On top of a hill in Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy overlooking the Med. We had rented electric bikes and rode them up to a lovely viewpoint to get away from the crowds.
Simple and affordable wedding gown
I bought my dress online from Elliott Claire Bridal. It was a simple, asymmetrical design, unfussy and easy to party in! Very affordable too which was a big plus! wore rose gold glittery block heel sandals with a few flowers in my hair and no veil. My great-great-grandmothers pearls were lent to me for the day by my granny.
Sven wore a fine blue/black hounds tooth suit from The Kooples with a blue tie, sage green cufflinks and socks. All the bridesmaids wore different dresses in the same shade of sage green.
Devonshire Farm with Sea Views
Carswell Farm is near where I grew up, down the road from my local beach so we knew about the area. It’s a beautiful, remote spot on the South Devon coast with amazing views of the sea and a secluded beach 10 minutes walk away. There are holiday cottages on site, which were perfect for close family who stayed for the whole wedding week. The venue were happy for us to have camping on site and we had pretty much free rein to do what we wanted.
The ceremony was in my local church in Cornwood. My mum organised her local village orchestra to play as a surprise outside the church as guests and I arrived, which was a nice touch. The church choir with some invited guests sang choral music during the signing of the register. Sven requested the organist learn John Williams ‘The Throne Room’ (famous tune from Star Wars: A New Hope) to play as we exited the church, which was a good, fun twist to end the service!
Foliage Draped Trestle Tables
We didn’t really set a theme but I guess it was a festival-style wedding, there was some music-themed aspects and for decorations it was all about colour. We also had a bbq party on Sunday with a fancy dress theme – ‘Beach dwellers and Sea creatures’. Decorations were all masterminded by our talented friend Lucie Nugent. We had amazing hanging decorations – foliage over the trestle tables with colourful bunting along the length and tea lights in glass globes hanging down. Over the dancefloor we had a golden disco ball and hanging ribbons fanning out from the centre to the edge of the dancefloor. Lucie designed colourful ribbon table runners and decorated coloured bottles to link all the elements together.
It was all done completely DIY! The foliage was partly bought wholesale but mostly sheared from the hedges of bridesmaid Elly’s farm. My dad made all the wooden structures to hang for the foliage, and then it was a big team effort with lots of florist wire on Friday to construct the foliage hangers.
Blueberry and Lemon Naked Cake
The cake was made by my amazing bridesmaid Rachel – layers of blueberry/lemon and chocolate/blackberry naked sponge. We used South Brent Flowers as our florist and went for a natural look with lots of nice foliage, sea thistles for the buttonholes and lots of blues/purples and whites in the bridal bouquet.
Camping and Bell Tents
Lots of people camped in the field adjacent to the marquee (from Hatch Marquees). We had bell tents from Ready Tent Hire, based locally in Ivybridge. Guests could rent these directly from the company for the whole weekend, and we also stayed in one. Many also brought their own tents. There aren’t any showering facilities nearby so we hired a shower block from Andyloos as we had guests camping Friday-Monday.
Emma Stoner Photography
Our photographer was Emma Stoner, who was absolutely fantastic. She really captured the day perfectly, with lots of lovely natural shots and some great moments from all the guests. She got some fantastic sunset shots and stayed right through until quite late in the party. She was very unobtrusive during the service which was very important to us and we really got on well with her throughout the day and before/after the wedding she was great. We didn’t have any professional video but one of our friend’s James made one throughout the day and sent us an edit afterwards as a surprise which was lovely
Wild Garlic and Wine Charms
Wild Garlic provided all the food – we decided to have a buffet table antipasti spread set up outside instead of traditional canapés which worked so well with people sat on the grass and on straw bales outside the marquee. The sit down meal was sharing platters of rare beef with lots of interesting salads and a seafood platter. We didn’t do traditional favours but we did make wine charms. Every guest had their names in beads on a ring marking their wine glass.
I designed our invitations and made them a drawing of the coast and our marquee with bell tents and stickmen people dancing around it. I drew a large sun with rays beaming out and we used this image as a theme for the orders of service. The table names were all favourite songs of ours with the front covers of the albums forming the signage. Place cards were folded stripy pick’n’mix bags.
First Dance and Favourite Moment
Our first dance was to ‘Heroes’ by David Bowie. We love him and his music and the lyrics seemed to fit the day perfectly!
Favourite moment….it was all amazing, but perhaps seeing a full moon rise over the sea in the pink evening sky topped it off!
Karaoke and Silent Disco
We had The Jacks Band from Bristol who were absolutely fantastic. They really got the party going with everyone up dancing, lots of people on shoulders and crowd surfing! They played lots of great singalong tunes and really gauged our audience well and played exactly the kind of rock/indie/Britpop classics we wanted! The band played 2 sets, in between which we had an hour of wedding karaoke, which was hilarious! This was a complete surprise to our guests until they sat down for dinner – the 12 table names were classic songs, with the record cover as the sign for each table. Our guests loved it and everyone got really involved. After all that we had a silent disco which allowed us to continue the party and comply with our venue’s need to switch off amplified music at midnight. We had great playlists donated by different mates and this was another big hit with the crowd. The headsets had a long range so people were also outside dancing round a campfire in their headphones.
After-Party in Fairy Lit Tea House
For those that managed the late one we moved to an after-party to a small ruined ‘tea-house’ 5 minutes walk towards the headland. We decorated it with solar-powered fairy lights and were lucky enough to have a full moon above the sea in front of us, making it a very magical end to the evening. Full marks went to father-of-the-bride Mark for outlasting the younger generation and staying up until 5am at the after party!
It is definitely worth being very organised – we had lots of ‘spreadsheet wedmin’ days which seemed to go on forever but that made the day so easy to just relax into and enjoy.
The Line Up
Photographer: Emma Stoner
Venue: Carswell Farm
Music: The Jacks Band
Caterer: Wild Garlic
Décor: Lucie Nugent
Bride: Elliott Claire Bridal.
Groom: The Kooples
Bell Tents: Ready Tent Hire
Marquee: Hatch Marquees
Toilet Hire: Andyloos