Hello beautiful brides-to-be! Oh how we’ve missed you all over the festive season. We couldn’t have gone a week longer without sharing another amazing real wedding with you! We hope you had a great break and celebrated NYE in style. Maybe you used the chill time to start planning your very own wedding? Or perhaps you used the time to sit back, take a breath and prepare to make 2018 the best year yet. We are super excited about the year ahead and look forward to sharing the very best festival, bohemian real wedding inspiration with all of you. Moving on to today’s real wedding, which took place in Devon, my favourite UK county! (OK, it’s my home county, so I may be a tad biased!) This relaxed, castle / outdoor marquee wedding seeps vintage country elegance from its seams and takes ‘posh festival’ to a whole new level. All of the festival elements were present – DIY décor, hand-written signage, live music, homemade cake……..but, this wedding really has the cherry on top when it comes to ornate grace and charm. Powderham Castle is an exquisite venue which allowed for the bride’s young dream to become a reality whilst mixing it up with her love of festival inspiration. With a retro dash of 90’s, Emma and Steve’s Devonshire ‘formal-to-field’ wedding was born. Here’s Emma to tell you all about her special day….
I did a lot of ‘Pinteresting’ over the year and a half before the wedding. I couldn’t name one place… Festival brides, Rock my Wedding, Brides Magazine, Pinterest, things I would see out and about. Anything and everything really!
Down on one knee in the mud
I am not an over-the-top or (my husband may disagree!) demanding person so the engagement reflected this. It was Boxing day 2015 and we were due to go travelling for 5 months the following day. Steve said that the last Christmas present was on a walk, but without the dog, this immediately rang alarm bells! He proposed to me at the top of a field over-looking my hometown of Exeter just round the corner from my parents house. He got down on one knee in the mud – it was perfect.
Formal to Field!
I chose the Siena Gown by Sally Eagle. I bought it from Luella’s Bridal in Wimbledon – I chose it because I thought it would fit in well at Powderham for the formal part of the day with a veil and heels, but also later in the day when the veil came off, flats went on and we were in a field! The shoes were a bargain and I am not ashamed at all to say that they were from Debenhams! I| wore natural flowers in my hair and the veil was also from Luella’s. All jewellery was from John Lewis. We also bought Steve’s suit from Debenhams. All the bow ties/pocket squares and neck ties worn by the groom and groom’s party were custom made from an amazing French shop in Shoreditch called Le Colonel Moutarde. Bridesmaids wore dresses and accessories from ASOS.
Laura Bukin did my hair. She’s an absolute babe and expert in wedding hair! And Evie’s Make-Up did my make-up and I was so pleased with her. I was really worried about looking over done and not myself but Evie understood the brief perfectly.
Devonshire Castle made the perfect venue
I grew up in Exeter and had visited Powderham when I was younger a few times, I always had it in the back of my mind as a future wedding venue. It has superb views of the estuary and was the perfect place for a little bit of formal at the start of the day. We also had camping at the venue! Even myself and Steve joined in. We hired a special bell tent which the marquee company decorated beautifully. One of the highlights was a canvas pole marquee from Abbas Marquee, their service and marquee were flawless. We had so many compliments on the marquee.
The wedding favours were really retro – 90s sweets, DIY tattoo (personalised with mine and Steve’s names) and either a RSPB or dementia awareness charity badge. Steve also home-brewed some beer that we gave out to people called the “I Do IPA” which possibly went down a bit too well!
All the stationary was handmade by me, but with the help of some stamps from the English Stamps company – big tip: by a stamp with a certain pattern on it and put it on everything (place names, party bags, even loo signs!) for continuity. The table plan and table names was based on New Zealand birds – something Steve and I had got quite into during our travels!
From castle to DIY laced country marquee
We had a Civil Ceremony in the music room of the castle, it was such an impressive room that it didn’t need much extra decoration but we had flowers in jam jars down the aisle with pedastle flowers. We had two readings – one from Steve’s sisters who read a passage from Winnie the Pooh and my best friend read a poem from Bob Marley
There was a lot of reception décor – this is something I really went to town on. We had a wonderful round wooden bar around one the poles of the marquee which had a flower hoop above it. Every table had flowers, confetti on and a ‘party bag’ containing favours and DIY tattoos! I handmade the seating plan, table names and place names. I also made a timeline of photos from every year Steve and I had been alive, and then when we met the lines joined up, it was a cute, sentimental thing to do and people loved to look and (sometime) laugh at it! We had some beautiful bunting which I hired and would fully recommend from Country Bumpkin Bunting. We also had a DIY photobooth with a polaroid and 90s props. There were a few retro 90s items lying about too.
Documentary style photography
John Barwood Photography captured the day. This couple are amazing! Choosing the photographer was probably what we spent most time on. Photos are so important to document the day so you really want to trust who you go for! John and Soph definitely didn’t disappoint they were so good on the wedding day and made it so easy and enjoyable to be photographed – not something I thought I would say! We are so pleased with our pictures from them and love the documentary style to their photos.
Laidback catering and homemade wedding cake
The Pickle Shack catered for us. These guys know how to cater for weddings! They were incredible from start to finish and the food was one of the biggest compliments we received by the guests. We had a selection of canapes to start then a carrot tart to start with. For mains we had a family style sharing meal where they brought dishes to the table and guests helped themselves – we found this was good for bringing tables together! It was a delicious pork belly with potato dauphinoise and salads.
The cake was handmade by my Mum and Auntie and Emma Hewlett arranged our flowers. I used Pinterest for some arrangements that I liked and together with Emma we came up with my wedding flowers that fit with the colour scheme. I love peonies and ferns so these were a big feature.
Jazz and 90’s medley
We had a Jazz duo play as we came arrived at the marque – Pete Canter. They were amazing and gave a good point of focus for guests. Band later on were Mammoth Band – couldn’t recommend them highly enough, they did a 90’s medley and there wasn’t one moment the dance floor wasn’t packed. Steve and I even crowd surfed!
Our first dance was to the Rolling Stones ‘Miss you’. It’s a favourite of mine and Steve’s. We both saw them at Glastonbury a few years ago and thought it would be a crowd pleaser! My friend who is a great dancer even came up with a routine for us. We also had confetti cannons we got some of the groom’s party to let off half way through – it was hilarious and definitely got people dancing.
Very difficult question I get asked repeatedly and still don’t really have an answer for! Top 3… The ceremony and actually marrying my best friend! Seeing the marquee I had been planning and decorating for so long full with all my friends and family having a great time. And the confetti moment during the first dance.
Try and enjoy planning as much as you can. It’s something you’ll only do once. There will be moments where you wonder why you aren’t going down the registry office and getting it over and done with, but on the day, I promise it’s all worth it. Practically, near the beginning of your planning break your budget down into the separate categories (food, drink, outfit, beauty etc) and also have a month by month plan of what you want to be achieved/booked by then – then it doesn’t seem as daunting!
The Line Up
Caterers: Pickle Shack
Band: Mammoth Band
Jazz: Pete Canter
Ceremony venue: Powderham Castle
Marquee http: Abbas Marquee
Hair: Laura Bukin
Make up: Evies Make-Up
Groom accessories: Le Colonel Moutarde
Jewellery: John Lewis
Flowers: Emma Hewlett
Photographer: John Barwood
Stamp for stationary: English Stamps
Rings: Hearts of London
Bunting: Country Bumpkin Bunting