October 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime
The rustic wedding inspiration continues on the blog this afternoon with Laura and Sean’s well styled big day.
Choosing The Ashes country barn as setting for their celebrations, Laura came up with a sweet & sugary pastel colour palette to complement the chosen country vintage wedding theme. This worked a treat as all elements of the wedding came together perfectly, from the main party’s stunning attire to the elegant décor and beautiful blooms!
With images by Kate Scott Photography.
laura says: We got engaged during a three week trip to Thailand in December 2013. Sean managed to get the ring through customs, a 13 hour flight, and a tuk tuk ride around the city, without me seeing it in his bag! The evening we arrived, Sean dropped down onto one knee (after romantically kicking a table out of the way!) and proposed on our balcony overlooking the river while a band was playing Christmas songs below! It was perfect – and I cried!
We got married on 15th May 2015. We chose this date as we preferred the thought of a fresh spring wedding, and were also willing to wait 18 months for our perfect venue.
While we were still in Thailand we decided that we wanted a relaxed wedding in a rustic setting. The Ashes country barn, in Endon popped up several times in our search and looked stunning. We fell in love with it instantly and although we looked around a few other venues in the area, they didn’t come close to The Ashes.
The Catholic church we chose for the ceremony was St John the Baptist Church in Alton, in a stunning setting overlooking Alton Forest and Alton Castle.
Our chosen ‘theme’ was mostly rustic, vintage with pastel colours. This just seemed to suit our personalities and it all came together that way, rather than being a planned theme. From the start of the planning we were certain that we wanted a relaxed atmosphere, which also sits well with a rustic setting.
For the colour scheme I had imagined pale pinks but knew that Sean wouldn’t wear pink in his tie or suit! I also loved the idea of having four different coloured bridesmaid dresses so I ended up choosing a pastel palette of blue, green, yellow and pink.
After many trips to various dress shops with my patient mum and bridesmaids, I went for a mix of a classic but princess style dress. It was covered in fine lace and was fitted satin on top but with a massive skirt and train! I loved so many dresses that I had tried on, and almost bought three different styles before I found ‘the one’! The Wedding Dress Shop in Wimbledon was amazing and the team there tailored my dress to exactly what I wanted – I added straps, with a keyhole back, for the church, which I then removed for the rest of the day. I also added a lace up back rather than buttons, as well as a sparkly belt and headband for a bit of glamour! I almost didn’t wear a veil but on my last fitting I tried one on and it really finished the look and made me feel like a bride. On the day my hair was done by Caro Millington and Fiona Brunt did my makeup.
Sean wore a blue with fine white pin stripe traditional morning suit. The groomsmen all wore the same as him.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were from In One Clothing. They were multiway dresses so my gorgeous bridesmaids could choose how to wear them. We also went for four different colours. I kept this a surprise from all the guests and Sean (which was so tricky but worth it) so it was a real ‘wow’ on the day.
We chose classic vintage cars for our transport; a Beauford for myself and my dad on the way to the church, and Sean and I after the ceremony, and a seven-seater Imperial Laudette for the bridesmaids and my mum. These we hired from A Perfect Day Wedding Cars.
As we live in London we wanted to bring a touch of the city to our country wedding and organised a London Routemaster bus to take all our guests from the hotel to the church and then from the church to the venue. Although it struggled up the hills and down the windy roads it looked great outside the barn venue!
Kate Scott was our photographer. We found her through The Ashes website recommendations. We met her when we were booking her parents guesthouse for Sean’s family and got on instantly. Kate’s style of natural, romantic photography was exactly what we were looking for and we weren’t disappointed! She didn’t spend hours making us stand or pose for photos which is what we’d been warned of by friends, so it never felt like we were missing out on our wedding.
We also hired a videographer pair from Adorable Moments. We haven’t watched this back yet as we are waiting for our first anniversary, however the highlights are stunning, and are such a great way to remember the day.
Blossoms florist in Leek did our flowers for the day. I wasn’t sure what I wanted and showed Lucy the florist, a million pictures and somehow she and my mum (with her amazing knowledge of flowers) came up with exactly what we wanted and they fitted in with the rest of the wedding perfectly! I loved the bouquets for myself and the bridesmaids, filled with subtle ivory peonies, ivory freesia, pale pink sweet avalanche roses, pink lisianthus, tanacetum daisies, eucalyptus greenery handtied in a natural, country garden style. She also added a few sparkly brooches in mine to make it stand out.
Lucy filled birdcages we’d sourced with flowers matching the bouquets, for the table centrepieces and decorated the church with delicate pew ends and bay trees with trailing ivory ribbon bows, displayed outside the entrance of the church.
Further décor included painted reused crates to display the order of the day, and wine bottles to show the table plan and table names. We had rustic bunting inside and outside the barn, rustic jugs for the bouquets, and jars wrapped with lace.
We also had an alternative guestbook – we always forget to sign the guest book at weddings, or write the same old thing. So we had a wooden frame made and the bridesmaids took little wooden hearts around to each table for the guests to sign or write a little note on, which were then put into the frame for us to remember!
Instead of favours we made madlib cards for the wedding guests to fill out. We weren’t sure how these would go down and if people would forget about them, but they were a great hit and we laughed a lot reading the stories and ‘advice’ the next day!
My family has a massive sweet tooth, so a showstopper cake was must! Francesca at The Cheshire Cat Cake Company didn’t disappoint with a stunning cake; four tier high, draped with lace and flowers in the colours of the bridesmaid dresses.
For the wedding breakfast we started with fun canapés including Staffordshire oatcakes, finger sausages and sweet scones, which all disappeared pretty quickly. We then served prosecco and beer during the drinks reception – the option of having beer was a bit hit with the men!
For the main wedding breakfast we had a ‘host a roast’ where we chose a carver for each table by handing out funny aprons and chef hats. This was great fun and really included our guests in the day. We would definitely recommend this to anyone getting married.
To provide the entertainment we had a band called One Eye On The Wedding Cake, booked through Warble Entertainment. We loved them instantly and watched their videos on YouTube. They learnt our first dance song and kept the dance floor full all night! They played a mix of music which suited all our guests.
We would definitely recommend The Ashes to other couples following our wedding. Paula was our wedding coordinator and kept everything on track, however all the staff were amazing and were so quick to respond to my many questions by email!
My favourite part of the wedding was dancing all night! All the important stuff was done, all our hard work had paid off, and there was nothing left to do but dance with my friends and family…and my husband, of course! Sean’s favourite part was finishing his speech and enjoying a whiskey with his best man!
Following the wedding we spent two nights in a little cottage near to The Ashes (Middle Cottage). This was perfect and allowed us time to relax and enjoy reminiscing about the wedding before jetting off! Our honeymoon was a road trip up the west coast on America, starting in Las Vegas. We then hired a convertible Mustang to drive to Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Big Sur National Park, and San Francisco. We then finished our honeymoon off with a few nights in Miami.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to think about how to include your guests in the day – the madlib cards and funny aprons worked well for us! We tried not to get too worried about tradition and changed things where they suited us, for example we had a round top table as we wanted a fun atmosphere and for everyone to be talking together.
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