April 13th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
The beauty of a barn setting is that it’s a completely blank canvas – no patterned carpets to work around or looming portraits from a bygone era, which may appeal to some but won’t suit everyone.
You can decorate such a rural setting any which way you like and today’s real wedding couple Lisa and James certainly put their own gorgeous spin on Park House Barn. Filled to the brim with guests (including 42 children!) and glowing with soft fairy lights, the barn was dressed for the occasion in a romantic botanical theme, which enabled Lisa and James to introduce their own style while letting the setting’s natural beauty shine through.
We love how a beautiful sunset is present at both their engagement and their wedding day – although, for those of us who married under a rain cloud, there’s a touch of envy at this poetic detail!
With images by Beecham Photography.
lisa says: We got engaged on a campervan holiday in the north of France. We had spent the day on a wine-tasting tour, where James insisted on buying a nice sparkly. We headed out on an evening bike ride to watch the sunset on a local vineyard, only for James to get off his bike and down on one knee, where he pulled out a ring box from his back pocket! I soon guessed why we had bought the expensive bubbles.
We got married on Saturday 22nd July 2017. We knew we needed a school holiday with James being a teacher and couldn’t believe our luck when the first weekend of the summer holidays was still available.
Our venue was Park House Barn at Heversham, although we officially tied the knot the previous day in a small ceremony at Kendal Registry Office. We fell in love with Park House Barn as soon as we saw the location and loved the relaxed feel. Overlooking the Arnside estuary, the views are stunning and on a sunny day you can see for miles. We knew the venue would suit our wedding style and it didn’t disappoint. We would 100% recommend it. I couldn’t imagine our wedding being anywhere but the barn; it really was perfect. We can’t believe how many people still talk about how beautiful it is there.
We chose a country, botanical theme. We dressed the barn in greenery with large trees placed in the barn’s corners. Lots of fairy lights gave the barn a cosy feel as the evening drew in. We knew the barn wouldn’t suit a style that was too ‘done’ and tried to keep the feel relaxed. We filled the barn with green and white flowers. The colours were an easy choice as we didn’t want to detract from the barn’s natural finishes.
Our wedding co-ordinator and barn stylist Emma from Emma Jane Weddings was the most helpful person to know when planning our wedding. She helped choose the style of the wedding, had a large selection of accessories to hire and was invaluable on the day helping everything run smoothly.
I wore my mum’s wedding dress when I married James on the Friday. She altered it for me on her sewing machine to turn it into a knee-length summer dress. It was so special knowing it’s what my mum wore on her wedding day. I was lucky enough to have a second dress for the Saturday ceremony. I found a dress on the sale rail in Marrime Bridalwear in Kendal. It was the first dress I had seen and the only one I tried on! I knew it was the one straight away; it was simple enough for the barn yet had delicate detail to show off the back. You have to think about the dress when you’re using posh portaloos!
James wore a mid-blue wool suit by Ted Baker.
Our eldest flowergirl wore a beautiful mint green dress and the littlies wore ivory, both from Monsoon. We couldn’t believe how close to my dress the styles were; it all blended perfectly.
For transport on the day, I was lucky enough to have my new father-in-law drive me, my mum and my dad to the barn from our hotel in his vintage VW Type 3 Variant. It was a real talking point!
Our photographer was Thomas Beecham. It was an easy choice as he had photographed James’s sister’s wedding and her photos were incredible. I couldn’t recommend him highly enough. His relaxed style and calming nature suited us down to the ground and we were never really aware of him being close by with a camera. James’s sister filmed the ceremony for us, which is lovely as it was so relaxed and now we can watch it back whenever we like.
My bouquet was a relaxed style, full of different greenery with lots of texture. A few white flowers finished off the look. Our florist was a lady called Kerry who owns The Floristry in Kendal. Kerry provided a lot of greenery for us to decorate the barn. We also cut lots of flowers from my mum’s garden.
To help decorate, we invited friends and family to the barn on Thursday and Friday to make the table centres and decorate the willow arch, milk churns and top table. It was amazing to have everyone we love in the barn to enjoy the build-up together.
For the favours, we decanted Kendal Mint Cake Liqueur into demi jars – something people could enjoy on the day and didn’t have to worry about taking home.
Our cake was made by the very talented Kelly from The Little Kendal Cakery. It was a semi-naked cake decorated with left-over greenery from decorating the barn. We had three tiers – strawberry and champagne, limoncello, and coconut and lime. Everyone raved about it.
We were lucky enough to be able to provide our own wine, so we very much enjoyed searching for the perfect white, red and fizz. Our catering was supplied by Cherith at BabaGanoush in Kendal. We had a double table buffet, which suited our relaxed style: a selection of cold meats, a mezze of Greek and Italian nibbles, and lots of amazing salads and rustic breads. Top That pizza van entertained the guests in the evening. We were lucky enough for the sun to be shining, so everyone crowded around to watch them spinning the bases. You could choose your own personal topping too.
For entertainment, the band 24/7 was recommended to us by our brother-in-law who plays in a local band. They are a six-piece band covering all genres of music and play a huge selection of instruments, including brass. They certainly knew how to get the guests on the dance floor – the barn was rocking!
For other special touches, we set out baskets of goodies in the toilet area for guests, which went down a storm: nothing was left! A basket of flip flops were lifesavers for sore feet. The children (all 42 of them!) were kept amused in the kids’ area, filled with teepees, colouring stations, a chill-out zone and indoor cricket. Glowsticks lit up the dance floor in the evening wrapped around the guests’ wrists and necks.
We also had a Polaroid camera, which was a huge success. We had a pegged area on the wall next to the dance floor where they were all on show. It was such fun looking through them when we were clearing up the following day.
It’s impossible to choose a favourite part of the day. It was very special having some time with James as the sun set and we were walking into one of the farm’s corn fields for a few private photos. That time together was lovely to reflect on the day and hearing the band and laughing guests in the distance was priceless.
For our honeymoon, we revisited our first holiday together in Croatia: a beautiful hotel on an unspoilt island called Sipan. It was a lovely chill after the very busy previous week.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to stick to what you really want and love. Don’t let magazines/Pinterest throw you into changing your theme four weeks before the big day like I nearly did! There’s so much choice out there that it’s hard not to have five styles going on at once! And don’t stress about the things you don’t get around to doing; you really won’t notice on the day. Enjoy the build-up everyone; it goes so fast.
During the planning process, I loved reading the real weddings on Brides Up North; the photos were really helpful and inspiring. I now work as a bridal makeup artist (Blusch Make-up Artistry) across the North West, and so I pretty much get to relive my wedding planning through the lovely brides-to-be that I meet.
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Aislinn has a background in journalism, having filled all manner of publishing roles from editor to copywriter to feature writer. She is a former wedding photographer who ran her own business with her husband Michael. Together, they have travelled as far as Australia to photograph a client’s wedding (and spent all their earnings on a campervan trip up the Aussie coast!). Aislinn left wedding photography behind to take on the biggest commitment of her life as mummy to her young son Tom. She has been a bride, bridesmaid and even best woman (she has the speech to prove it!), which is almost all angles covered!
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