Good morning oh lovely ones! Hope you had a gorgeous weekend and enjoyed the fresh Autumn air. Whether you were out on a woodland walk, wrapped up having an outdoor latte or cosy inside, we hope the weekend served you peacefully. On to our Real Wedding this week and what a glorious wedding it is! A bohemian coastal wedding that just about ticks every festival element in the book. A barn by the sea, bell tents, exuberant flower crowns, folk music, street food and an ethereal goddess of a bride. It has beyond wowed us here at Festival Brides HQ and we are so excited to share it with you! Contemporary photographer Sasha, from Sasha Weddings, has captured this wedding creatively and authentically, and you can tell that she probably had just as much fun on the day as Gem and Tim did. The décor and floral choices are absolutely stunning, and the brides attention to detail is close to, if not perfect.The smiles paint the most beautiful picture of all, with joy bursting from every crevice of the lantern, fairy lit barn. The couple really take festival to its worthy heights by hiring a tent especially for a sparkly glitter tattoo parlour! Our only wish is that we were invited. Here’s Gem to tell you how she ended up marrying the love of her life on a Devonshire clifftop….
We did lots of research on the internet but found our main inspirations from Pinterest! I’d describe our wedding theme as a rustic and bohemian with a relaxed festival vibe!
Tim whisked me off to Dorset for a lovely weekend away! We stayed in a self-catering cottage in Monkton Wyld, which is on the Dorset/Devon border. The weekend was full of treats and he proposed whilst delivering breakfast in bed; this was followed by a fabulous evening at River Cottage HQ on the Saturday evening. It was all perfect! It was the weekend of Halloween 2015, so there was a mysterious and magical tinge in the air which made it even more special. As Tim was nearing the end of a PhD, we both agreed that it made sense to get married after he had completed it, so we decided to make arrangements for 2017. This gave us plenty of time to plan, which was great.
Married in beautiful Devon by the sea
We were married at The Barn at South Milton in Devon. We both knew we wanted to get married in a rural, rustic setting. We also knew that ideally, we wanted the location to be in Devon. It’s a place we both hold dearly in our hearts, as we spend a lot of time there and have created lots of memories there throughout our relationship. After lots of research on the internet I came across The Barn at South Milton. As soon as we saw it, we both immediately agreed that a viewing was necessary as soon as possible! It’s a beautiful and unique wedding venue with rustic charm and amazing panoramic views of the rolling Devon countryside and down to the sea and coastline beyond. Paul and Paula, the owners, were incredibly friendly and very flexible; they offer as much or as little help as you need. We were keen to have a blank canvas and decorate everything ourselves so that it was personal, and it catered to these needs perfectly. It provides a gorgeous barn and surrounding grounds for the whole weekend, and there’s also a self-catering holiday cottage on site for hire, which we found very useful. We were very keen to find a venue that offered a whole weekend as we wanted to maximise the amount of time spent with our loved ones. We were able to put on a BBQ the night before the wedding which was great, as it gave guests the opportunity to travel the day before and get settled in! The fact that it was by the sea was also a big factor. We both love the sea (especially Tim as he is a keen fisherman!) and we loved the idea that guests could utilise the beach during the weekend. It’s a very popular venue; we had a viewing in December 2015, and even though we weren’t getting married until 2017, there were only two dates left so we booked!
Pale blues, pink veronica, daisies and ferns
We are both very keen on wild flowers, and after lots of research decided that ‘The Wilde Bunch’ were ideal for us; they were able to provide flowers and various props. They are based in Bristol, which is where we live, so we were able to go and visit their barn and have a good chinwag/look at what they had to offer. The flowers they created for us were stunning! The table flowers, milk churns, flower crowns and bouquets included wild flowers such as cornflowers, white sweet peas, blue nigella, pale blue delphinium, daisies, little pink veronica, lacy white dill, wax flowers, pink achillea, fluffy white astilbe, white gypsophila and ferns.
Bohemian flower crowns and soft silk tulle
My dress was a Catherine Deane dress called ‘Fantasia’. One of my most important criteria was that is was comfortable and this was one of the most comfortable dresses I’ve ever worn! I’d tried a few other traditional dresses on, and I found them so cumbersome and heavy. This one was made of soft silk tulle and delicate sheer lace, and was a bohemian style which was also a must. I wanted a dress that would compliment the other things I was wearing, such as a flower crown. I bought it from a lovely bridal studio in Bradford On Avon called Flossy & Willow. My shoes were ‘Harriet Wilde – Peony’, purchased online. I wore a gorgeous wild flower crown, which was made by our florist. I did initially wear a veil that was also purchased from Flossy & Willow, but unfortunately it fell out right at the beginning of the ceremony! I purchased some simple silver earrings and a bracelet from a couple of independent jewellery shops.
I wanted bohemian style hair, so I had long wavy curls draped over one shoulder, with a large plait at the bottom of my crown and tiny little plaits amongst the curls. My hairdresser was Jodie from ‘The Pop Up Salon’ who did a superb job! She also did all my bridesmaids with help from a colleague. My make up artist was Kelly Hooper from ‘The Barn’ in Somerset who again, did a fantastic job!
Tim wore a 3-piece bespoke suit made from Porter and Harding “Glorious Twelth” 11oz tweed by the incomparable David Minns at Brown in Town, Bristol. I had 7 bridesmaids, so the challenge was to find a style of dress that everyone liked! At first I toyed with the idea of choosing a colour, and then getting everyone to chose anything they liked as long it was the correct colour. However, after a bit of research, I decided that I liked the idea of the ‘Twist & Wrap’ dresses. They are very effective dresses that can be worn in a number of different styles to suit different needs, so they were very suitable. I purchased mine from Isabella Bridal. Our florist also made some lovely delicate flower crowns for the bridesmaids out of white wax flowers and gypsophila.
Glamping in style
We offered guests the option of camping in their own tents, or hiring beautiful bell tents from the venue. They offered 2 different sizes of tents and a range of options for furniture and bedding etc. They were a lovely addition to the weekend and guests enjoyed being able to glamp in style on site! In addition to the barn on site, we decided to hire a 10x10m stretch tent (and some extra bell tents) which was located just outside the barn courtyard, overlooking the beautiful sea view. We wanted an extra covered area outside where people could relax/drink/dance, which also provided shade and potential shelter in case it rained! It was provided by Igloo Structures who did a great job. They created a lovely atmospheric space with strings of vintage lanterns, festoon lighting, tables/benches, and a chill out area in one corner with bean bags, cable drum tables and lanterns.
Outdoors Humanist Ceremony in the sun
We both opted for a humanist ceremony as we wanted it to be personal and enable us to be more adventurous with our venue choice (The Barn at South Milton isn’t licensed for marriages). We did the legal bit a couple of days before our guests arrived in Kingsbridge, and then had a beautiful ceremony conducted by a celebrant on the actual day. Our celebrant was Kym Murray from Free Range Ceremonies who was a star! She helped us create a lovely personal ceremony and made us feel relaxed during every part of the process. It was held outside in a field in front of the barn overlooking the sea. Guests were seated on hay bales and benches, and we had a rustic ceremony arch made of thick branches, and big milk churns filled with wild flowers either side. We were extremely lucky with the weather; the sun was shining and it was a magical experience! Our readings were performed by two of my best friends, Becci and Maddie; they each wrote their own which was so touching and personal. It also made the ceremony extra fun! We didn’t have any music during the ceremony, but I walked down the aisle to ‘Aphex Twin – Avril 14th’, and we walked back down the aisle together to The Beatles – ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’. It was a great way to end the ceremony and begin the party!
Nautical coastal vibes
We wanted the decor to convey our personalities as much as possible. We decorated the inside of the barn with lots of beautiful wild flowers, provided by our florist The Wilde Bunch. The barn provided rustic trestle tables and chairs, and stunning lighting created with fairy lights and festoons. We also included things like pebbles, lanterns and driftwood to include a coastal element. We hired blue and while enamelware instead of crockery, as it helped portray a laid back vibe (I also have a bit of an obsession for blue and white things!). Our friends were a big help! Our table names were named after fish (due to Tim’s fishing passion!) and these were kindly designed by our close friend and Tim’s best man Dave who is a graphic designer (Crustacean Studio ). My friend Becci also helped with some additional wild flowers for outside, and made us a beautiful structure of our names (copper frames filled with foliage) where guests could hang words that they associate with us onto a garland! It looked gorgeous!
Vintage Furniture and glitter station!
I was keen to hire some additional furniture for outside, so we hired some from Virginia’s Vintage Hire who can provide a great selection of treasures including unique vintage furniture. We hired some additional tables, chairs, benches and barrels that complimented the outside stretch tent perfectly. We included a ‘Photography Station’ for extra fun! I purchased a couple of Fujifilm polaroid cameras and film, and created a little area with lots of props! I combined this with the guestbook so guests could take a photo of themselves and stick it in the book with a little message. This resulted in a lovely book full of memories that we will treasure! We also had other fun things such as a ‘Sparkle Tent/Glitter Station’, which was a bell tent dedicated to glitter and temporary tattoos! I was delighted at how many people got involved with this; nearly everyone did!
Festival Style Street Food
Our catering company were Posh Nosh. We wanted food that would suit the relaxed style so decided on a BBQ buffet (followed by dessert buffet) for the wedding breakfast and festival style ‘street food’ for the evening grub. They also provided our canapés during the reception drinks. The food was delicious and really complimented our rustic theme! Their presentation was fabulous; it was displayed on wooden crates and baskets and sprinkled with flowers. We expected to have some food left, but it all got polished off! The desserts were particularly popular! Maddie (other friend who did a reading) used to be a wine buyer, and was an absolute star in helping us source some incredibly tasty wines for a great price.
Natural, candid shots
Our photographer was Sasha from Sasha Weddings. After a lot research, and as soon as I saw Sasha’s photos I knew she was the one! Her vintage style is stunning, and her quirky creative approach really appealed. We wanted a photographer that focused on capturing natural, candid shots and she certainly fulfilled this. On the day, she was an absolute delight; she wasn’t intrusive at all and was relaxed and fun. She even stayed longer than intended!
Folk music, silent disco and human jukebox
Our band were The Thumping Tommys who were amazing! They play a heady brew of Irish and American folk music performed with a distinctly English style, which created a brilliant atmosphere! As we were so lucky with the weather, they were able to play outside on the courtyard; it was a lot of fun having a good old knees up to them as the sun set! Following the band we had a couple of DJs which included one of Tim’s ushers Felix and Tim himself! The barn weren’t able to have amplified music past midnight, so we decided to have a silent disco from midnight onwards…neither of us had ever been to one before but though it would be a good giggle (which it was!)! Equipment for this was provided by Silent Disco Direct. Tim’s other best man, James, also hired us a human jukebox for our wedding present, Pip’s Jukebox who was incredible! He is a friend of James’ who has turned a garden trolley into a booth, and has memorised hundreds of tunes that he then plays on the guitar/sings at the request of guests (he has a big list that people can choose from!). He usually tours various festivals and has ventured into new territories including weddings, fayres, birthdays etc. He was a brilliant addition to the day!
Our first dance was ‘Brenda Lee – Let’s Jump The Broomstick’. This is a tune that we’ve often danced to throughout our relationship after a few drinks! We both agreed that if we ever got married it would be our first dance, so there was no hesitation! Again, due to the good weather, we were able to have our first dance on the courtyard in the sunshine, which was lots of fun.
Cake made of cheese and chutney
We wanted to steer away from a traditional wedding cake, so decided to go for a cake made of cheese tiers. Our caterers were already providing desserts so we thought cheese would be a better option for the cake! We provided crackers and chutney, and ordered the cheese from The West Country Cheese Co. The cheese itself was layered wheels of Yarg, Stilton, Cheddar, brie and Somerset Camembert.
My advice to other couples would be to leave plenty of time for planning. This definitely alleviates some of the pressure; I found it a very enjoyable experience.
I would like to thank Paul and Paula (The Barn at South Milton) for enabling us to have such an incredible weekend. They were so helpful and positive throughout the whole process; always happy to help during the planning (for a year and half!) and could not have made our big day more special. They were absolute stars! Thank you!
The line up
Photographer: Sasha Weddings
Flowers: The Wilde Bunch
Dress: Flossy & Willow
Outdoor Tent: Igloo Structures
Cake: The West Country Cheese Co.
Entertainment: Silent Disco Direct
Food: Posh Nosh
Band: The Thumping Tommys
Vintage Furniture: Virginia’s Vintage Hire
Ceremony: Free Range Ceremonies
Groom Outfit: Brown in Town