Laura and Lora chose a rich colour palette, clay pigeon shooting and a rustic setting for their dream celebration.
Having lived in Australia for nine years, Laura and Lora were keen to head back to the UK for their wedding day. Eden Barn, located in the heart of the Upper Eden Valley, caught their attention immediately, with its rustic mood and idyllic setting offering a serene setting for their September nuptials.
Subtle nods to Australia were peppered throughout the couples’ celebration, with the brides incorporating their favourite Oz-sourced wines and a range of Down Under decor to adorn their reception.
Other stand-out details from the day include the clay-pigeon shooting that guests were invited to partake in after the ceremony, as well as the mouthwatering all-vegan feast that the newlyweds served. In fact, the food was so delicious that some guests were even inspired to start ‘meat-free Mondays’ after the wedding was over.
And it doesn’t end there! Keep reading for all the info on Laura and Lora’s dreamy day and prepare to swoon over the photos, from the fairy-lit ceremony all the way through to the cupcake ladder…
Photography by Lloyd-Clarke Photography
Laura says: The proposal happened on the snowy mountains of Thredbo, down near Australia’s Capital, Canberra. We were there snowboarding and skiing with friends. Lora laid out a big elaborate plan to venture to the highest piste and get me to ring the village bell if my answer was ‘yes’; however, bad weather stopped us from getting that high.
Instead, as we ventured down the slopes, Lora asked me to take a group photo on a beautiful lookout area. As I was preparing herself to take the photo, Lora held up a sign asking me to marry her. It didn’t take me too long to realise what the sign said!
We got married on September 1st 2019, which was a Sunday. We chose the date as we wanted to have an end-of-summer wedding.
Whilst back for our yearly visit to the UK in September 2018, we arranged for three venue viewings around different parts of the Lakes. Eden Barn was our final viewing and as we walked in, we completely fell in love. I loved it – I couldn’t stop running round taking photos, especially of the ceremony area and all of the fairy lights.
Eden Barn is a fantastic venue with a fantastic staff to help you before, during and after the wedding. The beautiful surroundings, teamed with the warmth of Carolyn and Cliff (the owners), meant it was a pretty easy decision for us. The only hesitation we had was that it was not right by a lake – however, we soon got over that.
We both wrote our own vows. We wanted to make the ceremony 100% authentic, from the heart and personal for the both of us. Our vows hung from the copper frame we stood before throughout the ceremony in the forms of origami birds. There was a slight gasp in the audience once they realized why they were hanging up there. Our celebrant, Charlotte Pennefather, was so supportive of our vows and really helped make our whole ceremony so unique and heartfelt. She was such a wonderful addition to our special day.
My brother and sister in-law also read A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton. Not only do the two characters in the story really resonate with the both of us but the fact they were dinosaurs really fitted with the light-hearted, informal and fun atmosphere we wanted to create for the whole day. Lora and her godson – who was one of the ribbon bearers – are slight dinosaur enthusiasts…
We didn’t have an overall theme beyond a rustic country look; however, we did incorporate a hint of Australia throughout, paying homage to the country where we first met and have lived for the past nine years.
Our colour scheme comprised deep greens paired with pastels (peaches, pinks and purples). We chose these colours after seeing a picture on Pinterest that featured a beautiful bouquet – we just loved it!
I wore a half mermaid, half-A line Allure wedding dress, which I bought at Brides Of Sydney. It was made of satin mikado and was in an almond colour. I chose this dress as it was classic and elegant and as soon as I put it on, I felt like a princess. To finish off the outfit, I wore some fierce (and blingy!) heels that I got from a boutique shop in Sydney.
Lora’s wedding gown was actually made by a talented friend of hers, Nicole Renee who is in the dress-making business in Sydney. It was a two-piece, comprising a lace top and ivory mikado skirt with a split up the front left side. Lora chose this style as she saw a similar picture on Pinterest and it inspired her; she tried on many different styles during the process but always came back to this.
To accompany her amazing outfit, Lora wore a pair of embroidered flat mules – being a foot taller than her better half, she wanted to stay as low as possible…!
We each had two bridesmaids and a bridesman. I had my sister Sarah, my friend from university, Fran, and and my childhood friend, James.
Lora had her sister Becky, her best friend Jen and Jen’s twin brother, our Aussie neighbour, Steve.
We were so excited about the bridesmaids’ dresses. We never wanted what we consider a ‘typical’ bridesmaid dress and so when we saw these it was an instant done deal. Designed by Sorella Vita and gorgeous in rose gold and deep blush pink, they came in five styles but only two were selected by our girls.
The boys wore white shirts, sandy chinos and brown shoes, with a personal touch to their pocket squares. The two bridesmen, the MC and usher each had a Harry Potter pocket square. There was one from each house, Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. We’re both fans of the series and couldn’t resist another fun little touch!
On the subject of the bridal party: they each gave a short speech talking through our lives from infancy through to adulthood. Both of us gave speeches also which were light hearted, funny (if we do say so ourselves) and thankful to each other and our guests.
Our friend, Simone Cozens, a hair and make-up stylist back in Sydney, flew over to attend our wedding and do our hair and make-up. The ultimate wedding gift we’d say! We didn’t really go for specific ‘looks’; we each had a trial prior to the wedding and so got to play around with some hair and make-up styles. Simone knows us very well and so knew exactly what we needed to look good but also feel comfortable.
Lucy Pearson performed the magic for our bridesmaids and a truly wonderful job she did. She is one patient woman!
We booked a beautiful vintage bus for the guests and two wonderful Land Rovers for our arrivals. We fancied something that fitted with the area, and for us, a country wedding equalled country vehicles. We just didn’t quite have the guts to go for tractors!
For our guests, we booked a vintage double-decker from Cumbria Classic Coaches.
Bethany Clarke from Lloyd-Clarke was our photographer. She is amazing at capturing beautiful moments and people, and we have such a wonderful selection of photos from the day. We would highly recommend Bethany to anyone who is looking for a great photographer for any occasion.
Bennett Media were our videographers – and what an amazing job they did!
We used a number of Australian native flowers in deep, dark greens, as well as pastel purples, peaches and pinks. Blooms used included eucalyptus, protea, craspedias, clematis and roses.
We each held bouquets and three of our bridesmaids had smaller bouquets. The other bridesmaid, Lora’s sister, opted to have a wrist corsage instead as she would be carrying her newborn, Millie, down the aisle. Each father wore a buttonhole, as did my brother.
For the reception decor, we had flowers arranged round the copper frame which we stood at the front of the ceremony room and looked stunning. Flowers were placed all around the barn in no particular arrangement, adding colour and character to the reception area.
All the floral arrangements were created by Sally at Roseberry Floral Design. She did an amazing job of ensuring they looked natural, rustic and vibrant.
In our Aussie corner of the space, we displayed Lora’s father’s didgeridoo, a wooden surfboard, a sign-post of all our favourite Australian towns and cities, a globe to represent the distance and some flip-flops for dancing. We had fruit in crates placed around for nibbles, as well as a Polaroid camera station along with our guestbook.
The majority of our wedding was the result of personal design and creation. Lora’s family helped out tremendously, making everything from the cupcake ladder and Australian signpost to the invitations and seating plan, as well as the stands for the surfboard and didgeridoo. We certainly couldn’t have done it without them!
In keeping with our subtle tribute to Australia, we gave everyone a little kangaroo keyring/bottle opener that was presented in each guests’ wine glass – a little light-hearted gift.
We chose to have two larger cakes, both decorated in a marble effect with flowers on top, as well as a bunch of cupcakes in the same colours as the flowers.
All the cakes were vegan and featured a range of flavours, including red velvet, lemon, coconut and vanilla. They were all made by Gemma at Little Gem Cakes in Bristol.
We had a fully vegan wedding and it was amazing. As it was our (and most of our guests) first experience of a vegan wedding, we were slightly nervous and hoped we wouldn’t turn people off plant-based food for life!
We couldn’t have been happier. We had so many guests telling us how surprised and amazed they were, as well as how inspired they felt to cook new dishes on their ‘meat-free Mondays’ and so on! Southcott Catering were absolute pros.
In regards to wine, we kept the Australian theme going by providing Shaw and Smith Sauvignon Blanc from the Adelaide Hills and red Cabernet Sauvignon from the Clare Valley.
We had Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting for everyone to try out during the receptions. It was so much fun! We both got a chance to have a go – all we can say is that a bride won!
We organised for an acoustic duo Soul2Soul to sing as our guests arrived at the venue, as well as outside during the reception for everyone to listen to whilst they drank, shot and chatted. They also played us down the aisle; our chosen songs were Stand By Me, My Girl and Can’t Help Falling In Love.
Paul from WittWoo Photo supplied a wonderful vintage horsebox photobooth; the photos are a great way to remember the day!
We booked a DJ for the evening, Simon from All Star Disco. The plan was to do a journey through time from modern day back to the ‘70s and ‘80s, making sure there was something for everyone.
Being surrounded by all of the people we love most in the world was the most wonderful thing about the wedding.
Though for both of us, the best time was had dancing the night away. No more stress of things not working out right as the dancing was the last part of the day, we could just relax and enjoy the music. Our choreographed first dance performed to a mashup of songs from Britney to Michael Jackson was a real crowd-pleaser and also a lot of fun, too!
We have not yet had our honeymoon. We are hoping to drive from the East Coast to West Coast of America in a Mustang sometime soon for our celebration holiday.
Engage a videographer! Bennett Media were our last supplier to come onboard but we are so glad that we made that last minute decision. Their videos are next level!
We would also stress to couples who are planning their weddings how important it is to assign the right tasks to the right people. For example, we didn’t manage to get everyone to sign our guestbook, which saddens us as we look back; appointing someone from the bridal party to ensure this got done would have been a good idea. Also, making sure you have one or two people to help gather groups for photos is useful, as it can get rather manic and hold everything up when you’re trying to find individuals!
We’d also definitely recommend having a good MC to help run the day and sort any supplier issues – that’s a must from us!