Ann and Alan’s wedding at Curradine Barns in Worcestershire was a little bit vintage and very romantic, with a pale blue and lavender colour scheme, lots of homemade touches and beautiful flowers. This industrious couple even made their own cake. Take a look...
Tell us about the proposal – how and where did it happen?
I asked for a wok as a Christmas gift, which I received, together with my engagement ring taped into the ring on the handle of the wok! The wok is now known as Frodo, (the Ring Bearer!).
What was your first step in planning your wedding?
The wedding venue! We knew as soon as we walked out of Curradine Barns after our first visit that it was the perfect place. I used a scrapbook for planning: colours, dresses, shoes, decorations, stationery ideas, favours etc.
How did you search for a wedding venue?
Online, calling wedding venues for their brochures and looking out for offers.
What made you choose Curradine Barns?
The countryside setting, nothing modern, beautiful light, good outdoor space, a relaxed atmosphere, excellent food and helpful staff all went to selling Curradine Barns to us. We walked outside after our first visit and I said to Alan, “I want to get married here” and his response was, “I know”! We were both sold! We never had any doubt that we’d found the perfect place.
Also, I spent most of my childhood holidays in Holt Fleet just across the river from the Barns. As my parents are no longer with us, it felt like the perfect place as it was an area they loved and I believed they would be close.
Describe your wedding dress
It is a Mori Lee mermaid-style dress with crystals across the neckline and in clusters around the fitted bodice that was ruched tulle over lace. It was laced down the back with a full mermaid skirt starting from my thighs. The skirt was lace with sequins and a layer of tulle over the top.
I added small lace cuffs which sat at the edge of my shoulders. It wasn’t the style I thought I’d have as I intended covering up more of my chest and back and not showing my figure as much. The bridal shop I used was brilliant and I received great advice. I felt amazing in my dress and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told that I looked ‘beautiful’ and even ‘stunning’!
What accessories did you wear on the day?
The rhyme goes, ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…’ but the bit most folk don’t know about is, ‘...and a silver sixpence in her shoe’. My wonderful friend made a card for me with the rhyme on it and bought me a sixpence from the year of Alan’s birth, (they went out of circulation before I was born). So in one of my shoes was a silver sixpence, (glued to the sole under my instep) and in the other shoe was my ‘something old’ which was my Mom’s dancing medal. She loved dancing and loved shoes so it was a way of having her close. I used beading wire to hang the medal from a strap on my shoe.
My sister-in-law made my tiara, earrings and bracelet. She made earrings and a bracelet for my daughter and helped her make her own tiara. My underwear and wedding night lingerie were from John Rocha at Debenhams and Boux Avenue. I made my own lace garter with tiny crystal beads around it.
What did the groom and groomsmen wear?
Alan, his best man and my 16-year-old son, (who gave me away) wore three-piece navy blue summer suits with ivory shirts and pale blue/navy blue floral ties, hankies and cufflinks. Their buttonholes had a rose to match the ones in my bouquet, (Memory Lane) ears of corn, sprigs of rosemary and duck feathers, (at my request as Alan shoots and is a country boy!) Alan looked very handsome; I fell in love all over again.
Tell us about your bridesmaids and their outfits
My twelve-year-old daughter was my bridesmaid. She wore an aqua blue floor length dress with a tiny ‘puddle’ of a train at the back. It laced up at the back and had ruching around the waist and crystals at the neckline to match my own dress. She has copper coloured hair and green/amber eyes so the aqua blue looked beautiful on her.
What was your ceremony like?
We had a civil ceremony in the Granary Barn at Curradine Barns. The registrars put us at our ease; they were friendly and made our ceremony very personal.
My sixteen year old son, Josh, gave me away; we walked in to an instrumental version of Annie’s Song. My best friend of forty years, Lyn, read a poem during the ceremony. There is a house martin nesting up in the diamond shaped windows in the Granary Barn and I heard him singing when we were saying our vows. Alan and I walked out to an instrumental version of Here Comes the Sun by George Harrison.
How did you personalise your big day?
Our theme was a little bit vintage/romantic. The colour scheme was pale blue and lavender. I decorated wicker hearts with ribbons in our colours for the wall behind the top table. I made scrolls of my poetry with napkin ring-type fastenings made from lace, velvet ribbon and buttons. We had clear table crystals and heart shaped place settings that were attached to the wine glasses with little lilac pegs. We made bunting from paper doilies and natural garden twine. I made our ring cushion and confetti cones.
I made brooches with felt, net and vintage wooden buttons for the ladies wedding favours in blue and lavender.
Alan and I made our own wedding cake: a two tier round fruitcake, which Alan baked and I decorated in our colours with vintage-looking lace and crystal brooches, lavender and ivory sugar paste roses and little blue daisies on the top tier.
A friend made all our wedding stationery as her wedding gift to us.
Wishing branch guest book
We had a wishing branch instead of a guest book. It was twisted / knotted pieces of ivy, which I decorated with silver wire and beads. Our guests wrote messages on heart shaped tags and hung them from the branch.
Our flowers were in hessian-covered jam jars and were cottage garden, herbs and hedgerow flowers.
Did you use blogs or magazines for ideas?
I used all the magazines available and Hitched and My Wedding online. My favourite articles were the real weddings; I found them very helpful for planning and avoiding pitfalls.
Tell us about your drinks reception and wedding breakfast
We had Buck’s Fizz for the drinks reception and as it was a warm and dry day, everyone was outside in the courtyard of the Barns whilst we had photographs taken. It was very relaxed.
My daughter Gracie introduced us into the wedding breakfast as Mr and Mrs Bills to lots of applause! We had mushroom and leek tartlet with balsamic dressing to start, Burgundy chicken with baby onions and crispy lardons in a red wine jus as our main and chocolate torte with a white chocolate sauce as our desert. The food was fabulous!
Alan and his best man were very nervous about speeches but did a fabulous job. Al is known for wearing a baseball cap and our best man said it was the longest he’d ever seen him out of his cap and then proceeded to produce ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ baseball caps! A good friend was unable to attend the wedding and we were all so disappointed that he couldn’t be there. He did, however, send a lovely letter for the best man to read. Another friend of mine had written a poem for us, (he’s my poetry editor/publisher) and he read it during the wedding breakfast.
Did you have a band or DJ for your evening reception?
Alan’s friend was our DJ. My daughter Gracie chose our first dance - A Thousand Years by Christina Perri - and she sang to a backing tape when we danced. It was all her own idea! Gracie went up to the balcony over the Granary Barn, four of her best friends sat either side of her for support and she stood and sang to the room as Alan and I had our first dance. It was a very proud moment for us.
How did you organise your wedding budget?
I used Hitched online and their budget tool.
How did you choose your photographer?
I came across our photographer by accident through a local camera club on Facebook. Her emails and advice were customer driven and I believed her service and style would be too. I’d searched for many months but immediately felt comfortable with Maxine.
We wanted a natural style of photography showing the feel of the day and the mood of the guests without too many posed shots. We were very excited by Maxine’s photographs and the fact that she didn’t insist on pushing packages, albums etc. on us. We are thrilled with our photographs and her service has continued after our wedding day.
How did you choose your suppliers?
I only attended two wedding fairs and did most of my research online or from magazines.
What were your wedding “must have’s”?
The perfect dress, the right wedding venue with beautiful indoor AND outdoor spaces offering first class food, a photographer who would take the kind of pictures we wanted and the right people there to celebrate with us.
What was your biggest wedding splurge?
The wedding venue and food was our biggest expense but a bargain compared to some we’d looked at and well worth the money as it was first class!
What was your biggest wedding saving?
The discount we received on the wedding venue, the photographer gave us a great deal and having a friend as a DJ!
Based on your own experience, give us some top tips…
• The day goes so very quickly and as a second time bride, I knew this all too well! Enjoy the planning, every single moment of it!
• Don’t stress! If anything doesn’t go to plan it’s not the end of the world, a better plan will come along!
• Don’t be pressured by anyone to do anything you don’t want to do, if friends and family are true to you they’ll respect your wishes. It’s your day and you’re the most important people on the day.
• Never accept the first price you’re quoted; ask service providers to help you keep within your budget. If they want your business, they’ll try and help.
• Go with your gut feeling when it comes to suppliers, they’ve probably cropped up for a reason and fate will be playing a part to help you get things just right!
“If we could do it all again, we’d…”
We wouldn’t change a thing! We truly had a perfect day!
Where did you go on a honeymoon?
Two days after our wedding, we went to Normandy, France for a week. We hired a gite in a very remote spot. There were beautiful views and it was so tranquil and romantic. We visited lots of towns and villages and drove through beautiful countryside.
Alan and I both love to cook so we took advantage of the fabulous local produce and fine wines, seafood and pastries, eating out in the garden most afternoons. Although we had mostly sunny days, the evenings were chilly so we lit the wood burner and snuggled down with a fire. We had a wonderful week!
If you would like more information, or to visit Curradine Barns, please telephone 01905 670039 or email Isabel.
Images courtesy of Emotive Imagery ©